Surprisingly, the nine-year-old was the dancer who seemed the least fazed when surprised by the “World of Dance” judges during “Qualifiers 1.” Jazz prodigy Savannah Manzel was calm, cool and collected when she walked into her producer audition and saw Ne-Yo, Jennifer Lopez and Derek Hough waiting there for her — or maybe she just thought those were the producers. She didn’t seem to feel any pressure when she performed for the trio, and her performance was such a showstopper that they literally stopped the show with her, ending the episode with her performance. Watch it above.
Manzel has fewer years of experience than a lot of her rivals this season will have had — fewer years on the face of the Earth too, of course. But her seven years of training mean that she has spent 78% of her life on the dance floor. And it showed. “You are a pretty amazing dancer,” said Lopez, who called the young hopeful “strong,” “athletic” and “flexible” with a “beautiful face that lights up the room.” Hough thinks he needs to call his nieces to tell them to “step it up.” Ne-Yo agrees that “the bar has been raised.”
There are no scores this season for the Qualifiers round. The judges simply tell the dancers yes or no for a spot in the next round, the Duels — or the judges can offer a call-back to an act that has potential but needs to show them more before they’re convinced. But Manzel isn’t going to need to wait for a call-back. She got unanimous yeses from the panelists, and whoever she faces in the Duels may be surprised by both her age and how hard she’ll be to beat.
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