'World of Dance' recap: Judges advance six acts to next round, including winner of three-way duel
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/09/2018
World of Dance judges advanced six acts from "The Duels" during Wednesday night's two-hour broadcast of the NBC reality competition series.
Wednesday night's episode continued "The Duels" round in which two dance acts from the same division compete head to head on the stage for only one open spot in the next "The Cut Round."
Judges Jennifer Lopez, Grammy Award-winning singer Ne-Yo, and six-time Dancing with the Stars champion Derek Hough determined the following winning acts: Jaxon Willard, Poreotics, Jonas & Ruby, The Ruggeds, Flip, and Connection.
Seven dance acts were eliminated from Season 2, and they were Lucas Marinetto, Marissa & The Heartbreakers, Freshh, Pursuit, Dem Raider Boyz, Cubcakes Dance Crew, and Funkywunks.
Just like in the previous "The Qualifiers" round, after a dance act takes the stage, Jennifer, Ne-Yo and Derek choose a score from 1-20 points in each of the following five categories: Performance, technique, choreography, creativity, and presentation. The highest score a dance act can receive is 100 total points.
After a duel, the dance act to earn the highest score wins and moves onto the next round, sending the opposing contestant, duo, trio or group home.
Based on the scores given in The Qualifiers, the dance acts with the highest scores in each division are allowed to pick their opponents.
Junior (1-4 people) and Junior Team (5 or more people) competitors are under the age of 17, while Upper (1-4 people) and Upper Team (5 or more people) dancers are age 18 or older.
Jaxon Willard was up first on Wednesday night. He had ranked fourth out of all the acts who made it to The Duels in the entire Junior division, so the dancer chose to compete against Lucas Marinetto, who had placed fourteenth in The Qualifiers.
Ne-Yo said he's "the epitome of power and vulnerability" and his dancing was effortless. Jennifer said there's an elegance to the way he dances, and Derek called him a "master storyteller."
Lucas' tap routine was impressive and entertaining, but Jaxon received a total average score of 96 points -- which included a score of 98 from Jennifer -- compared to Lucas' total score of 88 points from the judges.
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Poreotics, who placed fourth in the Upper Team Division, then chose to dance against Marissa & The Heartbreakers, who finished in eleventh place on the leaderboard.
Derek said Marissa & The Heartbreakers were "super clean and super together," but Jennifer noted some of their moves were a little wobbly.
Jennifer said Poreotics delivered a "wow" and "stellar" routine, but Derek and Ne-Yo agreed they had to wait too long to get to the good stuff.
Poreotics received a total of 87.7 points from the judges, while Marissa & The Heartbreakers earned a total of 83.7 points.
Jonas & Ruby, who placed eighth in the Junior division, chose to battle Freshh, who had placed tenth in The Qualifiers round.
Derek stood up for Jonas & Ruby, saying their routine had it all, and Jennifer appreciated a quick costume change halfway through. As for Freshh, they brought their dance to the next level with their energy and synchronicity.
Jonas & Ruby received a total of 91.3 points from the panel, while Freshh racked in a total of 88 points.
The next duel was between Pursuit, who had placed seventh on the leaderboard for the Upper Team division, and The Ruggeds, who were the twelfth-place team.
Jennifer said The Ruggeds need to come up with stronger choreography with cleaner technique. Ne-Yo and Derek complimented their smooth transitions but admitted there wasn't much of an impact or wow factor.
Jennifer advised Pursuit to stick to their strengths and be themselves although they're amazing dancers. Ne-Yo said the routine wasn't their best, so neither group "brought it all the way for the duels," according to Jennifer.
In the end, The Ruggeds received a total of 84.7 points, compared to Pursuit's total of 82.3 points.
On behalf of the Junior Team, there was a three-way duel considering three acts remained.
Dem Raider Boyz, Cubcakes Dance Crew, and Flip therefore had to go up against each other. All three acts had fallen into the bottom half of the leaderboard in The Qualifiers.
Flip's routine surprised Jennifer because it was intricate and difficult, and Derek added they were "razor sharp" and it was "definitely a redemption dance."
Ne-Yo admitted he was worried about Dem Raider Boyz because of their song choice but they ended up doing a really great job.
And Cubcakes Dance Crew, who lost a member due to injury, showed they are not scared of anything. They showed so much spirit, spunk, beauty and attitude.
Dem Raider Boyz earned a total score of 85.3 points, Cubcakes racked in an average total score of 88 points, and Flip received a total of 90.3 points.
The last duel of the night belonged to Connection, who placed third in The Qualifiers, and Funkywunks, who landed in sixth place on the leaderboard.
Jennifer thought Funkywunks' performance was innovative and Ne-Yo noted they showed a lot of confidence, while the judges explained Connection had a lot of personality, spirit and intelligent choreography.