‘World of Dance’ Duels: Josh and Erica make ‘risky’ use of suspenders, but Derek Hough and Ne-Yo clash over the performance [WATCH]

Urban dance duo Josh and Erica made it out of the “World of DanceQualifiers round with a little ambivalence from judge Ne-Yo, who didn’t think Erica hit her moves quite as hard as Josh did. In fact, Ne-Yo had voted to give them a callback while Jennifer Lopez and Derek Hough voted to send them through to the next round. But now they’re fighting for their lives in the Duels, where they’re up against the contemporary team of Jake and Chau. So were they both able to step up their game? NBC previewed their Duels performance to Billie Eilish‘s “Bury a Friend” online. Watch it above.

Josh and Erica made a gutsy decision to incorporate their clothing as props. They both wore overalls and periodically snapped and unsnapped their suspenders together, creating interesting effects, obstacles and opportunities for innovative movements, though it seems to have come off better in the studio than it did for me on camera. There were moments when the judges reacted excitedly to a maneuver and I had to rewind to see what had actually happened. However, they had a great feel for that song’s deep percussive beat throughout.

Ne-Yo thought this routine was “interesting, ” but “I kind of still felt that” Josh was hitting harder than Erica. “Next to him it really sticks out,” he explains. but Hough strongly disagreed with that assessment. “She was hitting hard … I don’t know what you saw, Ne-Yo.” He admits his “butt was clenched at the beginning” when he saw that they were using their suspenders as props, but thought they “executed it amazingly.”

Lopez also thought it was a “risky routine.” because the suspenders put them in a position “where you can’t do as much as you normally could do … and it puts you a tiny bit in your head. But I think you pulled it off amazingly.” But “do I think you did all you could do to beat [Jake and Chau] is still a question.” And that’s a tough question for guest judge Stephen “Twitch” Boss because the two teams presented “very different pieces of art,” and it’s all about who delivered that watercooler moment that gets you talking.

Were the suspenders enough to do just that? The preview video doesn’t include the judges’ verdict, so we’ll have to wait until tonight’s show to find out who won the Duel and who will have to cross their fingers for a shot at the redemption round.

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