The Cut is here and over two episodes, it will reveal the finalists, with 15 acts vying for just two spots in each of the three divisions on "World of Dance." That's more than half of the acts heading home after this round. Three acts in each division won't make the cut, but before they get there they'll be mentored by the judges. Each judge takes on one division to help prepare them for the toughest round yet. And the panel is joined by renowned ballet dancer, Misty Copeland.
The competition is broken up into three divisions: Junior (under 18), Upper (up to 4 dancers, 18 and over), and Team (5 or more dancers, 18 and over) -- and each act is judged 0-20 points in each of five categories for a possible total of 100 points. I'll be breaking my scores down by division as well to see if my top two acts match the judges.
A quick reminder about me: I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer, all for this moment: armchair judging a dance competition. From a young boy learning a shuffle-ball-change to performing with the St. Louis Ballet Company, I experienced the ups and downs of one of the most difficult physically demanding sports on the planet.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Ne-Yo, Jennifer Lopez, and Derek Hough. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe. In each category, I'll be ranking them from worst to first, revealing my top two acts at the end.
We didn't agree completely on the ranking in this category, but the judges and I were in synch about who should move on to the next round.
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We barely got to see this dance, but from what I saw, it wasn't strong enough. There was just something lacking in their presentation, and the choreography wasn't particularly challenging. But I appreciated their clever burglar theme.
This little crew hit hard and upped their own game this week. This was one of the best performances we've seen from any dance crew, and these are children. I love the little one's stank face, and I loved the way they were able to incorporate some smoothness into their hard-hitting formations. They incorporated some nice visuals in the piece, taking advantage of stank face's tiny body to lean and flip her around quite effectively. This is a smart crew that knows how to entertain.
The Lab Judges Scores: 86
The Lab My Score: 18 (Pe.), 16 (Te.), 16 (Ch.), 17 (Cr.), 18 (Pr.) = 85
The Mihacevich Sisters
The sisters took J.Lo's note about connecting with one another and gave their strongest performance yet. The use of the couch was brilliantly managed, and they even had a few cool moves they did incorporating it. But even more importantly, we got to see into their lives, sharing in love, laughter and even silliness of being sisters. That was beautiful to behold, and a brilliant move. Their sisterhood is what makes them special, much like Les Twins, and it was nice to see them putting a spotlight on this. I was blown away by how much I liked this piece.
The Mihacevich Sisters Judges Scores: 85.5
The Mihacevich Sisters My Score: 18 (Pe.), 16 (Te.), 17 (Ch.), 17 (Cr.), 18 (Pr.) = 86
Once again, Diana poured all of her passion onto that stage, and yet it didn't mesmerize me quite as much as some of her earlier performances. One of the things that's amazing about her is some of the things she can do as a dancer, and we didn't see as much of that. It was more about storytelling, which is important, but when you're fighting against four other acts for only two spots, you need to bring everything you have to bear. She's incredibly talented and emotional still to watch, but I worried she didn't bring enough. The judges, though, seemed to consider those earlier dances in their scoring.
J.Lo urged this technically strong dancer to throw off her insecurities with her cloak for real and put true emotion into her performance, and it looked like it worked. She blew me away with her powerful movements, and I could feel that she understood the words of the song “Creep.” What young person doesn't? Some of the move she performed were mind-blowing, her body control and balance are just out of this world. Diana Pombo was a favorite coming into this, and she'd always edged Eva slightly in overall performance. J.Lo's notes must have hit home, because this was Eva's night and a home run on the dancefloor.
Eva Igo Scores: 92.5
Eva Igo My Score: 19 (Performance), 19 (Technique), 18 (Choreography), 20 (Creativity), 18 (Presentation) = 94
Once again, this group at times looks like just chaos on the stage. But when they're together, it is a thing of beauty, and they can stick stunts like nobody's business. I'm of mixed feelings, as I thought they shouldn't have even made it this far, but I can't fault the talent that they possess. With a group this big, though, they need to find a way to make it look always clean and tight so that we don't get visual overload and can actually appreciate all that they're doing. The technique I saw was strong, and the partnering is fantastic, it's just a lot to take in.
This was a little jarring at times because as Ne-Yo pointed out, b-boy style and emotion don't really work well together. So it was no surprise that there were some elements of this routine that didn't really work at mixing the two together. But at other times, they absolutely nailed it in a way I've not seen from a b-boy crew. Seeing this tender side of them, but still hitting hard with those hard moves on their heads and hands, once again proved that this crew is fighting hard to win this competition, taking risks, and leaving it all out there. The final spin stunt was a little awkward and seemed superfluous.
Super Cr3w Scores: 88.8
Super Cr3w Latino My Score: 17 (Performance), 17 (Technique), 18 (Choreography), 20 (Creativity), 19 (Presentation) = 91
And that's where we wrap things up this week. So we'll carry these scores into next week's show and see if any of the remaining teams can take down Swing Latino and Super Cr3w. Plus, the Upper category rounds out the final six acts moving onto the next round. See you there.
"World of Dance" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.