The wait is finally over! Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough, Ne-Yo and Jenna Dewan have returned to NBC for the highly-anticipated second season of ‘World Of Dance’ and this year’s competition is absolute FIRE.
You can stop searching the deep web for old Les Twins dance videos! World Of Dance is back, and it is LIT. Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough, and Ne-Yo return to their judges seats and Jenna Dewan to her hosting and mentoring duties for the premiere of the dance competition that shook the world last year! This time around, the competition is cutthroat, the dancing is fierce and we are ready for it! For those who need a little refresher before getting into the first round of performers, dancers compete in either Junior (17 years old and under, 1-4 dancers), Junior Team (17 years old and under, 5-15 dancers), Upper (18 years old and older, 1-4 dancers), Upper Team (18 years old and older, 5-15 dancers. In this first round of qualifiers, they need to score an 80 or above average from the judges to make it to the Duel round.
The first performance of the evening was by a group who travelled all the way from Mumbai, India to compete for the top prize — Desi Hoppers! The crew won the competition for best dance group in their country and are self-described as the “One Direction” of India. A mix of Bollywood and hip-hop, the guys were an awesome start to the competition with a perfectly synchronized performance to Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape Of You” remixed with Indian drum beats. “What a way to start season 2!” J.Lo exclaimed after the men ended in a stunt, where one of the guys jumped up into a split and was caught by two others. She then totally coined the new replacement for “Wig Snatched,” laughing that she almost “lost her braid.” LOL. After the judges locked in their scores, Desi Hoppers were given a solid 96 — earning a high 98 from Ne-Yo! We’ll be seeing them at the Duels!
Second to compete was Sean and Kaycee, two junior-level dancers who have been friends for years as “competition kids.” Shawn was actually on the first season of World of Dance, but was approached to join the show again and wanted to bring Kaycee along with him to compete as a duo. Dancing blindfolded, yes, blindfolded, the young pair blew everyone away with their completely in-sync coordination. Without being able to see, the two narrowly avoided hitting each other, while evoking breathtaking emotion dancing to “Silence” by Marshmello ft. Khalid. Following their performance, J.Lo was moved to tears, telling the two, “The idea of not being able to see in a relationship, but being so close to somebody, then taking that off and allowing them in,” Jennifer said through emotions, “It was very beautiful.” The judges were incredibly complimentary, giving the duo a 96 overall! We can’t wait to see more of these two!
After an impromptu dance by J.Lo, S-Rank took the World of Dance stage. Their fun, and impeccably choreographed hip hop dance wowed the judges. J.Lo even recognized the team leader from the first season! “I was here for the last year and I wanted to make a dream team, and here we are. S-Rank means superior!” he told the trio of judges. S-Rank scored a 91, sending them to the Duel rounds!
Next up was a shy, 16-year-old dancer named Jaxon Willard from Utah, who danced to the song “Fragile,” as a way to tell his story. Jaxon was adopted by an all-white family and was a victim of teasing and bullying in junior high school because he was black. “I’ve been called the N-word. That was hard,” he told the cameras. “This performance represents how I feel. I’m scared to share who I am, but this is me.” He began his emotional routine close to tears in a nude outfit, while showing off his insane choreography that shared his feelings of loneliness and fear. Each judge gave a standing ovation, and Derek Hough, in particular, was close to tears. In explaining his story to the judges, Jaxon revealed allowed him to be vulnerable. “Jaxon, you are beautiful,” Derek choked on his words. “You embody what it is to be a dancer, and a storyteller and a human being. Thank you.” Then, when Jaxon revealed he choreographed his own routines, the judges totally lost it, as did a crowd member who yelled, “You’re going to win this show!” He received a 94 and we can’t wait to see him again!
Up next was Flip, decked out in sparkling red suits, dancing to a remix of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” The electric performance by the group was received well by the judges, although Ne-Yo and J.Lo were unsure about their competitiveness. The ladies received mid-80 scores from the judges, but just barely made it through with an 82.7.
The next duo was Japanese hip hop legends Hilty, 35, and Bosch, 36, but age is just a number and these men move like they’re teens. Their high-energy performance had the crowd going wild between their flips and tricks in perfect synchronization. Damn, these guys still got it! J.Lo compared it to Les Twins, former World Of Dance champions, and told them they needed to step up the difficulty if they were to make it through. Ne-Yo and Derek agreed, wondering if the two were competitive enough. Unfortunately, these two dance legends didn’t meet the 80 mark to make it through to the next round.
Chilean pair Karen y Ricardo, have been dancing together since they were 9 years old and then fell in love — now they’re engaged. WHAT?! Adorable. The couple absolutely stunned with a breathtaking dance filled with lifts, splits, hair flips and SALSA! If you’re wondering how Karen moves her body like that, we’re wondering the same thing. The judges couldn’t contain themselves and Derek jumped up on the table in excitement. “That is what you call setting the stage on fire!” Jennifer exclaimed. “That wedding dance is going to be LIT!” Derek yelled. Ne-Yo added, “This was the first million dollar performance we’ve seen yet!” Whoa. Ne-Yo and Jennifer gave Karen y Ricardo STRAIGHT 100s, and Derek came in with the 99. Did we just watch the season 2 winner of World Of Dance!? The highest score ever in the history of the competition, in the first round. We can’t wait to see more of these two.
Be sure to tune in every Tuesday night to World Of Dance at 10 PM ET on ABC, and follow along on the HollywoodLife.com recap!