'World of Dance' recap: Seven acts survive "The Duels," Avery & Marcus knock out "giant" Eva Igo with "performance of a lifetime"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/26/2018
World of Dance kicked off "The Duels" with seven winning acts and Eva Igo's shocking elimination during Wednesday night's two-hour broadcast of the NBC reality competition series.
Wednesday night's episode featured the commencement of "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: Karen Y Ricardo, Expressenz, BDash & Konkrete, Fabulous Sisters, Michael Dameski, The Bradas, and Avery & Marcus.
Seven dance acts were therefore eliminated: Luka & Jenalyn, The Untouchables, Pasha & Daniella, Rascals, Angyil, The Jam Project, and Eva Igo.
The big surprise of the night was Eva Igo -- who finished as World of Dance's first-season runner-up -- getting knocked out of the competition by an edgy ballet/contemporary duo with a super fresh and unique routine.
Just like in the previous "The Qualifiers" round, after a dance act takes the stage, Jennifer, Ne-Yo and Derek each determine 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 points from the judging panel.
However, during each 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 were 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.
Karen Y Ricardo were up first. They had ranked first out of all the acts who made it to The Duels in the entire Upper division, so the pair chose to compete against Luka & Jenalyn, who had placed ninth in The Qualifiers.
Derek told Karen Y Ricardo it's "insane" but they do and they did "death-defying" tricks. Ne-Yo agreed he was on the edge of his seat. After Luka & Jenalyn performed, Jennifer noted it was an exceptional routine and they really "stepped it up." Ne-Yo said it was the best the judges have seen them yet.
Karen Y Ricardo received a total score of 98.3 points -- which included two scores of 99 from Jennifer And Derek -- from the panel, while Luka & Jenalyn received a total score of 93.2 points from the judges.
The Untouchables, who placed fifth in the Junior Team Division, then chose to dance against Expressenz, who finished in seventh place on the leaderboard.
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Derek appreciated The Untouchables' full production, which featured many different styles, but the choreography itself was a little simple. Jennifer thought the dancing, however, was appropriate for the story they were trying to tell.
As for Expressenz, Jennifer said the female group was so strong in their softness and they truly moved her and gave her goosebumps. Derek couldn't believe their turns were perfectly in sync, and Ne-Yo said they played to their strengths.
The Untouchables received a total of 89.3 points from the judges, while Expressenz earned a total of 94 points.
BDash & Konkrete, who placed second in the Upper division, chose to battle Pasha & Daniella, who had placed tenth in The Qualifiers round.
Ne-Yo told Pasha & Daniella he loved the sexiness of their movement but they could've brought a little more, as he wasn't sure their routine was World of Dance material. But Derek loved the narrative that EDash & Konkrete told, and Jennifer was impressed they never broke character.
Pasha & Daniella received a total score of 88.3 points from the judges. EDash & Konkrete, on the other hand, walked away with a total of 94.3 points.
The next duel was between Fabulous Sisters, who had placed second on the leaderboard for the Junior Team division, and Rascals, who were the eighth-place team.
Jennifer complimented the Rascals' grit and swag, while Ne-Yo said their performance was clean and in sync. But Fabulous Sisters really wowed the judges with their beautiful pictures and mature movements. Ne-Yo said the Fabulous Sisters delivered a routine that was "art in motion."
In the end, maturity conquered, as Fabulous Sisters received a total of 95.7 points, compared to Rascals' total of 94.3 points.
The next duel was between Michael Dameski, who finished third on the leaderboard in the Upper division, and Angyil, who placed eleventh.
Ne-Yo said Michael brought "pure artistic beauty" to the performance, and Derek noted "magic happened" as if he had been dancing in water. Angyil brought something entirely different to the floor, with the judges agreeing she has great ability but there was a lot going on and the dance didn't really have a destination.
Michael earned a total score of 94.7 points from the judges, while Angyil received a total score of 88.3 points.
The Bradas then challenged The Jam Project on behalf of the Upper Team division. The Bradas had finished in fifth place on the leaderboard, while The Jam Project had placed thirteenth.
Derek thought The Bradas' use of props was risky but definitely paid off, and Jennifer thought they had a perfect balance of "insane moments" and dancing. As for The Jam Project, Derek said they were "crisp, clean and together," and Jennifer thought the performance was "100 times better than last time."
Ne-Yo admitted he was worried about The Jam Project at first, but they ended up receiving a total score of 88.3 points. However, The Bradas were victorious by a little over one point, with a total of 89.7 points.
The last duel of the night belonged to Eva Igo in third place against Avery & Marcus in ninth place on the leaderboard for the Junior division.
Derek said Eva has an amazing ability to connect with the audience but he'd like to see more of a structured routine, as she tends to lead with emotion and then run from move to move. Ne-Yo called her a powerhouse but wants "the next elevation of Eva," and Jennifer dubbed her "Eva the Beast."
But the judges didn't seem to expect how wonderful and jaw-dropping Avery & Marcus's performance was going to be. The duo wowed everyone with their long lines, stunts, dynamics, elegance and innovative choreography.
"It was probably one of the hardest duels I've seen so far. I just don't even know what's going to happen, to be honest," Jennifer noted.
Eva received a total score of 92 points from the judges with Ne-Yo giving her the highest score of the three, and Avery & Marcus earned a total of 93.3 points.
Jennifer had a pained look on her face over the idea of letting Eva go.
"You have a lot to live up to. You just knocked out a giant," Jennifer told the ballet duo in tears.
"She was great tonight; you guys just brought something fresh to the table -- something new and something exciting, and we want you to live up to that legacy. You guys gave the performance of a lifetime tonight."