‘World of Dance’ performance: Maddy Penney combined ballet with contemporary, but was it the best of both worlds? [WATCH]

Teenage ballerina Maddy Penney introduced herself on “World of Dance” during Qualifiers as the opposite of the shy, demure ballet stereotype. She considers herself loud and outgoing. But how did that translate to her Qualifiers performance to “Lonely” by Noah Cyrus? Watch her routine above to find out.

“That was really great,” said Jennifer Lopez. “I saw a mix of contemporary in there. It wasn’t traditional ballet en pointe. And it’s great to see somebody who can do some of the contemporary, go up en pointe, and have this amazing technique.” But that’s a double-edged sword. Because contemporary is wildly emotional while ballet is more tightly controlled, and Lopez wanted more of the raw expressiveness to come out in her movements in addition to her stellar technique. Ne-Yo agreed that the pleading quality of the song Penney danced to didn’t quite come through. And Derek Hough thought it was just too emotionally “safe.”

So what was the verdict? The judges were all over the place on this one. Despite her impeccable athleticism, Hough said no. But Ne-Yo thought she showed enough potential to warrant a callback. And despite her misgivings, Lopez voted yes to advancing Penney to the Duels outright. The judges were at an impasse, but rather than split the difference and just give her a callback, Lopez lobbied Ne-Yo to change his vote. He thought about it for a moment, and then told Lopez, “I’m going to ride with you this time.” He upgraded Penny to a yes, which means she’s moving forward in the competition, but she’s going to have to show them more emotion in the Duels, and she’ll especially need to convince Hough, who voted to send her home. Which judge did you agree with on this tough call?

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