Only six acts remain on "World of Dance" and after tonight that number will be cut in half as we head into next week's finals. The Divisional Finals are here and every act is so amazingly talented and beautiful to watch it's going to be an impossible task to judge these. And no matter what happens, there will be heartbreaking cuts.
Each act is judged 0-20 points in each of five categories for a possible total of 100 points. Dancers are broken into Team, Junior and Upper divisions. 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.
Kinjaz came out first and brought their weakest performance yet. This is one of the most exciting dance troupes I've ever seen, and it seems they fell into the same trap that killed the Jabbawockeez: they tried to bring emotion at the cost of excitement. Even worse, while the movements were slower they somehow became less precise. Don't get me wrong, these guys are great and coming into the night, they were my clear favorite. But I'm disappointed in their semifinal performance. But then Swing Latino came out and also failed to really impress. This time, you could see that there were a lot of people on the stage and like Kinjaz there were moments where the synchronicity was lacking. Maybe it was the nerves that got to both groups, but both have been tighter in the past and both were a little disappointing tonight. I have favored Kinjaz throughout, but the judges have liked Swing Latino, and pushed them through here, as expected.
The married couple always brings beautiful storytelling to their work, and this time they were dancing to their song. This time the told the story of their love, very cleverly presenting it in black-and-white with gray makeup, hair and props. I'm a little worried that there wasn't as much emotional punch as this was a happy story, but these two are visionaries. After suffering an injury, one of the twins was in a wheelchair, saying he couldn't stand up. They worked with it the best they could, but it was definitely their least exciting performance. Les Twins were the clear favorites to win the whole competition -- they had the highest overall scores to this point -- but I don't think they're in a position to overtake Keone & Mari at this point. Clearly, the judges disagreed. Hopefully that leg recovers so they can really represent the show at their best.
Keone & Mari Judges Scores: 95
Keone & Mari My Score: 19 (Performance), 18 (Technique), 19 (Choreography), 20 (Creativity), 20 (Presentation) = 96
Les Twins Judges Scores: 97.7
Les Twins My Score: 18 (Performance), 17 (Technique), 18 (Choreography), 20 (Creativity), 19 (Presentation) = 92
As expected, Diana came out and gave a very strong performance, but I found myself having more of a difficult time connecting with her performance this time. Maybe it was the poofy dress obscuring more of her lines than usual, or the ambitious nature of the piece, but I found myself confused as she worked her way through it. Was this supposed to be jubilant, distraught, confused? I was all of those things at different times. And then Eva came out with fire in her eyes and you could immediately see why the show ended on her performance. What an astounding presentation of attitude, talent, choreography, skill and storytelling. She is incredibly strong and flexible, and her musicality was on point. It was so beautifully intense, I was mesmerized from the first beat. And then, as soon as it ended, the intensity transformed into her usual laughing smile. That's a performance piece!
Eva Igo My Score: 19 (Performance), 20 (Technique), 19 (Choreography), 20 (Creativity), 20 (Presentation) = 98
Next week it's the world final, and there are only three acts left. Divisions are cast aside as it's head-to-head-to-head for the first-ever “World of Dance” winner. Can Eva Igo overcome Les Twins and Swing Latino to emerge victorious?
We'll find out on the season finale of “World of Dance,” next Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.