Oh, hello, Dance Spirit Cover Model Search finalist Diego Pasillas! We loved seeing a member of the Dance Spirit fam up on the "World of Dance" stage, so maybe we're biased, but Diego and his fellow dancers blew us away. They had incredible chemistry, impeccable technique, fantastic emotional depth—everything the judges have been looking for this season. We felt like we were a part of the love triangle, too! Which might be why the judges were so impressed—all three sent MDC 3 on to the Duels.
Contemporary dancer Keagan Capps performs to "Zombie" by Gabriella during the World of Dance Qualifiers.
Street dancers CBAction perform to "Boom Boom Boom Boom" by Vengaboys during the World of Dance Qualifiers.
The “World of Dance” season four Qualifiers continued on Tuesday night, June 16. So which acts impressed judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough enough to advance to the next round, the Duels, who did they invite for a callback, and who did they eliminate outright? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
In past seasons the Qualifiers have taken place on the show’s main stage with the judges evaluating contestants on a sliding scale from 0 to 100. The show changed things up this year, though. Now the judges are surprising this year’s hopefuls at what they think are supposed to be auditions for producers of the show. That’ll show the judges if the dancers can stay cool under pressure. And instead of scoring the performances, the judges are just telling them yes or no, or inviting them for a callback if an act has potential but their performance wasn’t entirely convincing.
Ballet dancer Maddy Penney performs to "Lonely" by Noah Cyrus during the World of Dance Qualifiers.
It’s not as easy to get a yes from the judges as you might think. Out of the nine acts featured last week in “The Qualifiers 3,” only four immediately advanced to the next round: contemporary dancer Keagan Capps, fusion team Chibi Unity, urban duo Josh and Erica, and contemporary trio MDC 3. Three others got callbacks: Hip-hop crews Avant Garde Collective and The Young Cast and jazz team Show Stoppers.
The last two, Latin ballroom duo Antonio and Maria and breaking crew The Break Ninjaz, were given their walking papers, though the judges are always encouraging of young dancers to further hone their craft and try out again in a future season. So how tough were Lopez, Ne-Yo and Hough on this week’s competitors? Follow along below starting at 10:00pm (times listed are Eastern).
Upper Team Show Stopper performs to "16 Shots" by Stefflon Don during the World of Dance Callbacks.
A dancer from Upstate New York is making moves on the national stage.
Kurtis Sprung from Caroga Lake, New York, advanced past the Qualifier Round on NBC’s “World of Dance” Tuesday. He performed shirtless in jeans to the tune of X Ambassadors’ “Torches,” and all three judges saw his potential.
“That was really, really beautiful,” judge Derek Hough said. “What I love about your dancing is that it’s very unique. It’s almost, like, awkward... and I mean that in a very positive way. Because you do something and momentum wants to continue this way, but I noticed in moments you would do something (else), you would fight that and do the other way.”
“You’re amazing,” Jennifer Lopez added. “You’re strong, you’re flexible, you’re emotive, but you’re cutting yourself short in some of the movements and I think that’s ‘cause you’re in your head. You got to get out your head a little bit ... you need to feel it here, which I think you do. Your body needs to follow that.”
Sprung will next appear in The Duel Round on the reality TV dance competition, now in its fourth season with host Scott Evans and judges Hough, J. Lo and Ne-Yo. The winner takes home a $1 million prize.
Sprung, 26, is a contemporary dancer from a small town of less than 1,500 people in Fulton County. According to his show bio, his love of music and sports pushed him to combine his two interests with multiple styles of dance including acrobatics.
He’s performed with the Bad Boys of Dance, the Phoenix Ballet and most recently choreographed and originated a principal role for The Beatles-inspired Cirque Du Soleil show, “Love.” Following the success of his work with Cirque, Sprung moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in dance and choreography.
The pressure is always on in the "World of Dance" universe—you're always performing for J.Lo, Ne-Yo, and Derek Hough (not to mention a national television audience), after all—but last night's episode felt especially high-stakes. For the first time, the show added a Callbacks round, an in-between moment to reevaluate 10 acts that impressed during the Qualifiers, but not quite enough to advance automatically to the Duels. And with only four Duels spots left to fill, every act was eager to prove that it had an edge on the other Callbacks contestants.
So, who made it through last night? (And how did our current cover stars, the fabulous dancers of Project 21, fare?) Here are the four acts that'll be coming back for another round:
The Young Cast
The Junior Division hip-hop crew was the last to perform last night, but the first to discover it'd earned a place in the Duels. Not a surprise, given the judges' enthusiastic response to its super-clean, super-intricate routine, which had a standout opening.
We are always here for a strong Latin ballroom team, and last night, the Junior Division dancers of Miami-based 305 had Derek on his feet. They leveled up from their Qualifiers performance, with more compelling choreography and more precise execution—enough to put them through to the next round.
These Junior Division hip-hop dancers seemed like underdogs based on their Qualifiers performance—but their intro package showed just how hard they've been working since then. And while we will never hear Lil Jon's "Outta Your Mind" and not think of this, GRVMNT's scrappy, in-the-pocket routine to the song last night almost made us forget all about Alex Wong and tWitch's famous therapy session. We're excited to see this team continue to grow in the Duels.
We try to remain impartial when it comes to TV dance competitions, but we were sad to see Project 21's "WOD" run come to an end last night, especially since the limited glimpses we got of their chair-oriented routine looked pretty impressive. We'll miss you, P21!