“World of Dance” resumes its Duels round tonight, July 14, after taking a week off around the July 4 holiday. Once again, dance acts from the Upper Division go head-to-head in single elimination combat. So how do contemporary duo Jake and Chau fare against Josh and Erica? NBC previewed both of their performances online. Watch Jake and Chau’s routine to “Chainsmoking” by Jacob Banks above.
This combative routine reminded me a bit of the classic Duels performance by Charity and Andres that received the show’s first ever perfect score of 100, but was this just as perfect? Judge Derek Hough thought they did an “incredible job. That was so beautiful, interesting and innovative” with intricate lifts and transitions, including one move that looked like it was “straight out of Mexican wrestling.”
Jennifer Lopez especially admired the way Chau was dancing on the knuckles of her feet at one point: “When you’re a dancer, you’re not necessarily doing stuff that’s great for your body at times … but you feel it, and there’s just no other way to do it. And I think that’s what I loved the most about this performance is that it pushed the boundaries and edges.”
But guest judge Stephen “Twitch” Boss wanted to see more side-by-side dancing, which would have been “super impactful” when mixed in with all their complex partnering. And Ne-Yo pointed out a couple of mistakes that he couldn’t overlook given the high stakes of the competition. During one of their side-by-side sections, their timing was noticeably off. And they bobbled one forward flip towards the end.
Hough noticed those errors too and had even pointed them out mid-routine. It doesn’t take away from everything else they accomplished during their performance, and pushing your limits is the name of the game, but when everyone is elite, even small mistakes can be the difference between staying and going. It all depends on how Josh and Erica answer that challenge.
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