Pure World of Dance Season 1, Week 9 (Divisional Finals) – Power Rankings

Well, surprising just about nobody at this point, the Les Twins love affair continued and they seem to be poised to win the whole thing…*yawn*. I think I’m just trying to enjoy the rest of the show for what it is: a great platform for great dancers where we see some great dancing.  Not sure I really agree with the politics of it all, but it is what it is.

I was pleased last night with the fact that every single act at least made an attempt to up their game and really go all in for their spot in the finale – everyone seemed to think a bit bigger with these routines. Not sure that the judges got it right all the time, but again, I guess I’m just at the point where I feel like “it is what it is” and just hope that next season leaves things a bit more open-ended.

1.) Keone & Mari – These two won the night, and should have won the whole competition, in my opinion – they were the one act that not only improved week to week, but also showed us something completely different each week and had probably the best and most creative choreography of any of the acts this season.  They timed their growth arc perfectly – each successive routine was better than the last.  Saw a lot of bitching and moaning on Twitter about Ne-Yo giving them a perfect score (mainly from insecure Les Twins fans that seemed to fear their fave getting ousted); but really, I think Ne-Yo saw the writing on the wall where Keone & Mari were concerned: I think he kinda knew that there was no way Jennifer was going to put them through over her precious Les Twins, but he knew just how strong their choreo and overall presentation was…and so he did it to show appreciation.  And really, I don’t think a perfect score was too far off – the only minor bobble I saw was the slightly sloppy lift Derek mentioned.  I really think WOD’s best chance at a nomination in the Outstanding Choreography Emmy category next year lies with these two and their body of work on this show – I’m guessing their duel, cut, and divisional final routines.  Every piece really did feel like performance art.

2.) Swing Latino – I appreciated that they managed to stick with what they’re good at, while also injecting in some homages to other dances – it may have been a tad messy in spots, but it felt fresh to me, and as always, everyone looked like they were having the time of their lives up there.  Loved the dress set-up at the beginning; also loved the couple dancing on the platform. Not a whole lot else to add, just liked how they stepped their game up while staying true to themselves…

3.) Eva Igo – I’m not all that wild about contemporary – or at least the kind of contemporary we’ve seen on WOD this season – but I was glad that both contemporary ladies left did seem to at least try to step out of the flailing/stretching comfort zone we’ve seen them in so far this season.  And of the two contemporary ladies left, Eva is the better of the two at properly emoting and really connecting to the routine – I believed the aggression in this routine, and thought the post-apocalyptic vibe was unique and interesting. Not sure she’s got the juice to win, and I’m still salty about The Lab not being here at this phase of the competition…but of the two ladies left in this division, I think the right one went through.

4.) Les Twins – Was this my favorite of the four routines we’ve seen from them? YES. It was nice to finally see them trying to do something at least a little bit different.  Just kinda sucks that it took one of them getting injured to thrush them into unfamiliar waters and make them adapt! Yes, it was a creative concept – I dug it, but I’m not sure it was as stellar as J. Lo would have you believe…seemed  like it took awhile to actually get to the dancing portion, and I feel like we’re still seeing the same steps over and over again. And when you compare it to the likes off Keone & Mari, it just PALES in comparison.  But whatevs, I guess – I think they’ve been marked as the winners from day 1 and that’s not likely to change.  But man, they better wow the hell outta me next week – if they’re truly a million-dollar act, I need to see something mind-blowing.  My mind has yet to be blown by them…

5.) Kinjaz – I actually really enjoyed the Kinjaz performance as I was watching it – even teared up a bit, because I could tell how much it really meant to them.  But in the grand scheme of last night’s show, I find that they were a bit unmemorable – I think this routine was just a bit too subtle and cerebral to really stick out and compete with Swing Latino’s high energy.  I think they unfortunately had a bit of a different problem than Keone & Mari, in that they didn’t really plan their growth arc well – I think their duel routine was the strongest and most impressive, and probably should have been the one they did for their divisional final. I think this round was one where you really needed to go all out and leave it all on the floor – and this was just a bit too chill. Great idea, but maybe not the best timing.

6.) Diana Pombo – I just think that, next to Eva, Diana kinda paled in comparison – and we unfortunately saw a bit of her emotional immaturity in this routine.  It wasn’t a bad routine, per se – I just found that some of her emotions seemed incongruent with the music itself/the set/the overall tone of the piece.  She was more angsty than anything, and I thought the aim of the piece was more to show off a sense of childlike wonder. I did notice that she seemed to town down the many displays of flexibility, though, and seemed to focus more on actual choreography, which I appreciated. I think Diana just needs more time to mature in both her emotions and her dancing, more than anything else.

So who is your pick to win the whole thing? Did the judges get the divisional final results right?