This week on NBC’s World of Dance, the Junior Duels started and the judges continue to narrow the group of dancers that made it through the Qualifiers down to the acts that will be competing in the next round. The competition this week was fierce! No one came to The Duels without a drive to win.
Grvmnt vs. The Young Cast
The first pairing in the Junior Division Duels was Grvmnt versus The Young Cast, both groups are hip hop groups that survived the callbacks to make it into The Duels. Now, it’s time for each of them to prove they have what it takes to make it to the Semi-Finals.
Grvmnt was up first, living up to their name by bringing the groove out onto the dance floor. “Dancers make it look easy,” Ne-Yo said, praising the group for making their performance look effortless, thought he critiqued their more obvious effort at the end of their performance.
The Young Cast followed with a similarly energetic, formation-driven routine. “This is one of the toughest battles I’ve ever seen,” JLo said after The Young Cast was done showing off the moves that have gotten them to this stage of the competition. Derek thought their formations were tight, but their highlight, “wow” moments were actually the weakest in their performance.
When it came time for the judges to vote, Derek thought The Young Cast had what it took to move to the competition stage and the Semi-Finals, but JLo and Ne-Yo both voted for Grvmnt giving them the win.
Savannah Manzel vs. 305
The judges decided to put Savannah Manzel up against 305 because they thought Savannah’s athleticism would be a good match for the group of Latin powerhouses, and they had specific goals for both acts. Savannah needed to work on connecting to the emotions of her routines, and they wanted to see more exciting choreography from 305.
305 made their way to the dance floor first in what Derek called “fiery pasodoble battle mode.” JLo liked their presentation and the formations of their new routine, but she still thought they could have taken it to another level for this performance. tWitch was enthusiastic that their fire would be enough to continue pushing them to be better and better in the competition.
When it was Savannah’s turn, she seemed unphased as a soloist going up against a group, high-fiving JLo before making her way to the floor to perform her routine about battling her way to the Semi-Final. And when her mic pac came off mid-performance, she kept turning as it unraveled until they asked her to start over, removing the mic pac for safety. JLo was impressed that she brought the emotional depth they were looking for, but Ne-Yo still wanted to see more dance alongside her acrobatics.
When the judges voted, JLo and Ne-Yo both picked Savannah, immediately sending her forward to the next round while 305 hopes for redemption.
MDC3 vs. Chibi Unity
For the last of this week’s duels, story-telling trio MDC3 went up against the Chibi Unity and their amazing formations. The judges paired these groups together because both showed off incredible choreography in the Qualifiers.
Starting with energy from the start, Chibi Unity decided to bring a hip hop routine to The Duels even though they had previously performed a contemporary piece. The judges were wowed by everything from their formations to the well-timed shablam aimed at their competition, but tWitch advised them to focus on their main style which they said is contemporary.
Remember the love triangle that MDC3 told the story of in the Qualifiers? Well, they continued the drama in this round, starting literally where their previous routine left off. “There’s nothing better than quality storytelling,” Ne-Yo said of their performance. This performance showcased their ability to balance unique moments and synchronized moves in their choreography, and JLo was happy to see that the girls’ characters “left him right where he deserved to be” at the end.
First to vote was Ne-Yo who wanted to see more of Chibi Unity, but JLo and Derek both voted for MDC3, impressed by part two of their love triangle drama.
Next week, the last of the Junior Duels will take place, and the remaining competitors will hope for a spot in the Redemption round and their final chance at the Semi-Finals.