Break dancing is close to Jennifer Lopez‘s heart since breaking was rising in popularity as she was coming of age in the Bronx. So she was excited to see the Las Vegas breaking crew The Break Ninjaz when they performed during the Qualifiers. The Junior Division team danced to “Beggin'” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. But alas, they didn’t leave the judges beggin’ for more. Watch their routine above.
Derek Hough thought “there were so many great moments,” and Ne-Yo was impressed by the slow-moving handstand at the beginning of the routine: “I don’t think people watching understand how much strength that takes,” he explained. And Lopez added that “that strength, that athleticism is what makes a great b-boy or b-girl — b-human.”
That was the good news. The bad news was that Hough thought their transitions between their great tricks and showstopper moments felt like a “throwaway” and “too relaxed.” And Lopez felt that while the standard of their dancing was good, “to really compete it needs to grow to a whole other level.” So after the initial praise for their performance, Hough said no to advancing them to the next round of the competition. Ne-Yo also voted to send them home, saying they were “close” but “not completely there yet.”
Hough clarified that “we think that if you had a little bit more time, you’re going to come back even stronger.” Lopez encouraged them to keep working hard and “maybe win next year.” I was surprised by that verdict since the judges didn’t have to give just a yes or no answer. They could have given the crew a callback to show the judges another routine. Certainly they had the athleticism and coordination to compete. The judges have seemed just as ambivalent, if not more, about other acts that did get a callback. And a few of those tricks — like one dancer’s no-hands flip on his head — were worth seeing again.
Did you think The Break Ninjaz were underrated, or were the judges right that they need more time to hone their craft?
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