Derek Hough previews the ‘different dynamics’ and format changes on ‘World of Dance’ for season 4 [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

World of Dancereturns on Tuesday night, May 26, for its fourth season, and there are changes in store for NBC’s reality competition series. We recently talked about a couple of those changes with judge Derek Hough while also discussing his choreography work on “Holidays with the Houghs” and “Disney Family Singalong.” Watch our whole chat above.

For starters, “World of Dance” won’t begin on the epic stage with its dramatic lights as usual. Hough and his fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo will surprise contestants backstage to watch and evaluate their initial auditions. “The first couple of rounds are in this really cool warehouse where it’s really stripped back, and the idea is you just have to stay ready,” Hough explains. “This is about showing that process, and also the fact that they don’t know we’re going to be in there … It creates different moments we’ve never had on the show before, different dynamics, different emotions, different energies.”

The Duels will also be a little different. That’s a head-to-head round where the acts that have advanced from the Qualifiers face off in single-elimination knockouts. But in previous seasons the dancers got to choose who they went up against. Not this time: “What’s really cool too is … they don’t know who it’s going to be until they walk in the room for the first time and meet.” So how will the competitors react to their rivals: will they be intimidated, relieved, excited or energized?

The contestants will be thrown a couple of curve balls this year, so this season will test which performers can adapt to unexpected developments. But the competitors on the show are already at such an elite level that it won’t be hard to find people who will rise to the occasion. “‘World of Dance’ really is the best dancing on television,” says Hough. “That’s what makes it so special.”

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