Pure World of Dance, Season 2, Week 3 (Qualifiers) – Court’s Thoughts: The Good, The Bad, & the WTF???

I apologize for the tardiness of this review – due to tornadoes in my viewing area on Tuesday night (not where I live, but in my viewing radius), my NBC affiliate preempted WOD in favor of weather coverage, so I had to wait until Wednesday to watch the show on Hulu and do both the music and this little review.  Additionally, I’m still adjusting to a migraine medication that is making me very, VERY drowsy and a tad cranky, so I apologize if this review is less than sunshine-y…then again, I found the acts in this week’s episode to be a bit lackluster on the whole, so I’m not sure I’d really be honest if I put a hugely positive spin on this week’s show.  Seems like they may have aligned some of the less-stellar acts this week with what will probably amount to a bit of a dip in ratings that shows typically experience 3-4 episodes into each season, before picking back up midway through; then again, maybe this wasn’t intentional, and the way this particular group of acts cobbled together just fit nicely with the storyline and that’s why we ended up with a preponderance of okayish acts all in one episode. Either way – I’m not sure we see the majority of these acts lasting through the duels, save for maybe one or two having a huge breakthrough…

The Lab, Lite: Rascals. Had I not been dazzled by The Lab last week (and last season), I probably would have had a lot more of a glowing review of this group – but unfortunately, up against The Lab, Rascals have the heart, but not the polish. The Rascals weren’t bad, per se; I just found myself comparing everything they did to The Lab, and Rascals paled in comparison in nearly every aspect: the cleanliness, the staging, the choreography, the execution. I’d stake money on it that they get pitted against The Lab in the duels, and just absolutely blown out of the water…which sucks, because I get the feeling Rascals are the less-privileged group just trying to keep up with the Joneses, and probably work every bit as hard as The Lab. This is the sad side of the Junior division – seeing kids get disappointed.

Charity & Andres meet Sean & Kaycee – with an edge: Josh & Taylor. Probably the only act this week that I thought was anything worth sneezing at – and I’m not even entirely sold on them being a contender, just based on other similar acts we already have in the lineup for the duels.  I thought Josh & Taylor were the best of both worlds of Charity & Andres and Sean & Kaycee – they had the polish of the former, with the edge of the latter, and the whole performance was very edgy and cool.  The only problem I have is that they may actually be too “cool”, and I could see the judges (Jennifer in particular) gravitating more towards the contemporary angst of Sean & Kaycee or the romanticism of Charity & Andres. I’m hoping Josh & Taylor have something completely different up their sleeve for the duels, because if they can prove that they’re versatile, I could see them ousting one of the other two couples I mentioned…possibly Sean & Kaycee…?

I Thought Hilty & Bosch Were Already Eliminated…?: Lock N Lol. I’ll admit, I thought this group was a ton of fun and I was thoroughly entertained – but the difficulty level just wasn’t really there, though I will commend them on being really, really clean and tight on their synchronization, and I enjoyed the creativity with the costume changes. Unfortunately, they just felt like a remix of Hilty & Bosch – just a slightly larger group, with the same token “look, we really are ‘World of Dance’ – we have dancers from all over the world!!!” explanation for why they’re there, even though they unfortunately probably don’t stand a chance in this competition.  I think they’re probably going to get their asses handed to them in the duels.

Not Really A Fair Fight: LD Dance Company. This is one of those acts that I feel a bit sorry for, because I feel like they were probably lured into trying out for this competition, so WOD can claim to be diverse, but they really never stood a chance of ever being successful on this show simply because what they do is not what WOD is looking for.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with what they do – I actually have a tremendous amount of respect for traditional Brazilian samba (my stepmother trained in it from age 6-24) because it’s deceptively easy-looking, but actually involves a huge amount of technique; but I feel like the skill of it is unfortunately lost on most Americans, as most only see the bright, sparkly costumes and booty-shaking. I will give Ne-Yo a free pass, as he is the least technically-learned judge and probably doesn’t know enough about it, but I feel like Derek & Jennifer should have known a bit better, and at least thrown in something to the extent of “I wish America knew how tough samba is, what you did is actually very difficult!!!” before dismissing it as “just not enough diversity in the steps to be competitive on this show.” If there’s one respect in which I feel this show falls short, it’s educating the masses on various styles of dance – too often I see lesser-known styles reduced to “Eh, there’s just not enough there to be competitive” rather than actually making an effort to say “Sure, they may not be the right fit for this competition, but what they do is still very valid in its own right.”

Diet Super Cr3w: The Ruggeds. Oof…I guess I should have known when they started the show out with this crew, that this week’s episode was going to be a tad lackluster. I need to remind myself that every competition reality show needs some cannon fodder for the first round, and they do seem to be placing more of an emphasis on getting acts from all over the world this season (without as much regard for whether or not they can actually hack it in this competition)…so for this act to be as underwhelming as it was, I suppose was to be expected.  I guess my biggest gripe was just how disorganized it seemed to be – the b-boying moves were decent (and I actually loved the guy in the center doing flares in slo-mo, and the ending move), but nobody seemed to care deeply about synchronization, and everything looked a bit sloppy. They reminded me of Super Cr3w from season 1 and ABDC – perhaps the early years, before they actually tightened and polished everything up.  Gut feeling is they get paired up against a better crew in the duels (maybe S-Rank?) and get sent packing.

Quickstyle, but with Robots: Elektro Botz. I liked this group, but I’m not sure I loved them – I think I was more impressed with how they sold the dance, showmanship-wise, rather than being blown away by anything specific they were doing dance-wise. They were creative and whimsical, but I have seen robotics done much more cleanly – namely by Poreotics, who we’re going to be seeing later on this season, and who have the potential to make Elektro Botz look like rank amateurs. Will the whimsy carry Elektro Botz? We’ll see.

Jaxon Willard in an Australian Suit: Michael Dameski. Not going to pretend, and you guys already know – I’m not a huge fan of contemporary dancers. So I wasn’t really expecting to be dazzled by Michael, before even seeing him dance, and there were upsides and downsides I saw to his dancing.  The upsides: I liked that he didn’t seem to revert to gymnastics and acrobatic tricks quite so much as some of the other contemporary dancers I’ve seen, and I will say that his ballet technique seems very well-honed. The downsides: he seemed a bit inorganic and clinical (as opposed to Jaxon’s more organic, emotional approach) in his dancing, and it seems like his shorter stature limits him from really extending quite as much as the more willowy Jaxon. Do I like one more than the other? Eh…I’m still not terribly fond of solo contemporary dancers, but I think I will give a slight edge to Jaxon for just being a bit more compelling to watch, where Michael can be a bit more…robotic. Not sure either one has the star-power to win this season, though.

So did you guys find yourselves a bit let down by this week as well? Or did you find yourselves impressed?