Can A Contemporary Dancer or Group Ever Win World of Dance??

Or a ballroom dancer or tappers, for that matter. As I noted in my final live blog post for the season, hip hoppers have always won, either in pairs or groups.

Season 1 – Les Twins
Season 2 – The Lab
Season 3 – The Kings

The Kings describe themselves as Bolly Hop but there is little Bollywood and lots of hip hop in most of their dances. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE the Kings and I’m not disputing their win at all. Their routines were fantastic, they always got me excited, and so on. I might even go so far as to say that the other finalists’ routines didn’t quite live up to The Kings final routine.

Can any routine ever hope to live up to the excitement of a routine like The Kings final routine? As Hip Hop, or Bolly Hop, it’s always going to be high energy. Very high energy. Contemporary, most of the time, is NOT high energy.

Also need to say that this is not really a critique of the judging, per se. I think the judges, over all, do a great job in a very difficult situation.

So, what do you do to fix it, if it’s even broke?? I think I need to go back and watch the winner and runner up from each season. First up, Les Twins.

Coming in second to Les Twins was Eva Igo, followed very closely by Swing Latino. Side note, in Season 1, three finalists each danced twice. I’ve included (I think) their final performance.

Now, both of these routines are excellent. I actually loved Swing Latino and the final scores were VERY close. When you averaged the two dances together, Les Twins ended with a 93.8, Eva with a 93.7 and Swing Latino had a 93.2. A razor thin margin.

Season 2 was won by The Lab. I LOVE the Lab and I was rooting for them the whole way, no lie. But…who was the runner up?? Michael Dameski, another soloist doing contemporary. Now, I was not rooting for Michael. At the time I didn’t think he was all that and preferred either the Lab or Charity & Andres. But a pattern is emerging, ain’t it? πŸ™‚ Here’s the Lab’s final dance:

The Lab’s choreographer is VERY smart. They took the hip hop vibe, co-opted the contemporary emotions and came up with a dance that makes me weepy to this day. And there is no arguing with the synchronicity and the style of this dance. That’s a winner. Here’s Michael’s final routine.

Another good routine. No doubt. But does it stand up against The Lab?? And if not…why not? Of course, sometimes the final routines aren’t all equal and it comes down to contemporary versus hip hop. I would argue that Michael’s final routine didn’t deserve the win, compared to The Lab. It didn’t touch me, there didn’t seem to be anything special about it when compared to contemporary in general. That’s the way it goes sometimes and it brings up another question that I will discuss below.

Now, season three just happened, but let’s re-watch the dances with a couple days distance (and maybe clearer heads in some cases – yes, I saw ya’ll tweeting Derek telling him his scoring was crap). First, The Kings:

Now, don’t just watch the faces of the dancers and the judges – look at the faces on Zack Everhart and the other Unity LA dancers. They knew IN THE MOMENT after seeing that dance that they lost. There is no question – that dance was a work of art. Theirs was as well…but how do you compete with what the Kings did as a contemporary dancer? Here is Unity LA’s final performance:

This was a beautiful dance, a Monet like one of the judges said. What was wrong with it? Not a damn thing.

So now, essentially, you have three hip hop winners and three contemporary runners up. Coincidence? Probably not.

What are the differences between the winner and the runner(s) up? Well, there are a few things that are markedly different:

  • Many times it’s a younger dancer competing against people with more life experience to influence their dance. Dance is about emotion and your emotions are (usually) richer as you age.
  • Contemporary, as typically (way too typically) done, is slower, softer, beautiful, without the uptempo to get your heart pumping and the crazy tricks to make you hold your breath.
  • Hip Hop doesn’t have RULES; ballroom and, to a lesser extent, contemporary certainly do. One wrong step in a Tango and Derek will see it. One sickly foot in contemporary and Derek AND JLo will see it for sure. In Hip Hop, you pretty much have to fall over for it to be seen as an error.
  • Props. Lots and lots of props. Ballroom doesn’t do it. Contemporary rarely does it. Hip Hop?? All. The. Time. Β If you look at Les Twins final, or The Labs second to last dance…many props and used extremely well.
  • Jennifer likes to talk about narrative, and sometimes it seems that the emotion of contemporary is a substitute for a narrative. All three of the Hip Hop winners have a strong narrative or story going on. Β Most of the time, I watch contemporary or ballroom and can’t see the narrative. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH NOT HAVING A STORY OR A NARRATIVE…but I do find it interesting that all three winners DO. It certainly seems to help.

That’s quite a few differences between winners and losers. The combination of them might make the difference. So, between Les Twins and Eva Igo – were the winners deserving? Well, all winners are deserving for one reason or another, but I didn’t (at the time) see Les Twins as better than Eva. Up until the finale, I had seen them as rather one-note. Eva seemed to have more range and she was many years their junior. Michael Dameski versus the Lab? Well, I thought the Lab were firing on all cylinders all season long – I think that win was clear cut. Much more clear cut than Season 1. Unity LA versus The Kings?? Again, I thought the Kings had the better finale dance…but if Unity LA had done their divisional final dance on the final would it have been closer? Probably. But they might not have won their division.

When thinking about the final routines and how it can make or break a competitor…should everything hinge on the finale night, or should there be more attention paid to the work they did across the whole season?? Did they grow and evolve? Were they fantastic on night one and then fade away? Should there be a scoring category that takes into account growth or lack thereof?? Or should the scores of the entire season be averaged?

It’s hard to ignore that hip hop has won all three seasons, and really, season 1 is the only time I take issue with that. So what can be done? What more can they do to level the playing field? Will contemporary EVER win?? For the love of god, Ballroom is the hardest and gets no love – not fair, IMO. Most of the time, I get the impression that Jennifer, at least, prefers contemporary to most other styles. And Derek is going to go tougher on his specialty while Ne-Yo and Jennifer are relatively clueless on ballroom/latin. So, what do you think? What can be done? And does the show REALLY need fixing or did it work out the right way every time??

May 8, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

World of Dance Season 3, Week 10 – Who Won that Pesky Wild Card?? (SPOILER, plus Vote)

Well, this is a tough one. Twelve acts performed on Sunday night and only four made it through…along with one mystery act who they very cruelly left until next week. The Wild Card. Well, I had a suspicion of who it was (not that anyone reading this blog will believe this) and I was right!! If you want to know, you’ll have to scroll to the end after all of my blather. πŸ˜‰

There are a couple things to look at and points to make, as I make my case for who got it.

  • None of the junior division dancers got it because the dances seemed very edited.
  • Only two teams scored 100s in their final dance and one is already in the finale…the other isn’t.
  • The composition of the finale – they already have a contemporary duo, a bolly hop team, a hip hop team and a contemporary single.
  • Last season a Junior Hip Hop Team won (The Lab) and in season 1 a hip hop duo won (Les Twins – thanks JLo, bad call IMO).

Let’s recap the possible contenders for the Wild Card slot. From the Junior Division we have:

Julian & Charlize (95.7)
Kayla Mak (95.3)

You can re-watch their dances in a previous post…both beautiful routines. But…I don’t think they’re the Wild Card because we already have two hip hop teams in there and we already have a contemporary single. Also, their scores aren’t as high as I would like for a finalist.

From the Junior Team Division, we have:

Dancetown Divas (95.7)
The Crazy 8’s (93)

You can watch their routines in a previous post as well. The little nuggets (Crazy 8s) won’t be the wild card mainly because their limitations are starting to show. Only natural since they are so young. Amazing, but no. Dancetown Divas?? For whatever reason, latin/ballroom don’t seem to get a fair shake on this show – even from Derek half the time. I don’t think they’re going to make it, although they should.

Next, the Upper Division:

Poppin’ John (95)
Derion & Madison (92)

Check out their routines at the link. So why not Poppin’ John?? Well, I think he’s shown us all he has and is not dynamic enough for the finale. As for Derion and Madison? Low Score plus lots of hip hop already.

And finally, the Upper Team Division – which I’m pretty sure contains the Wild Card winner. πŸ™‚

Unity LA (98.7)
The Heima (93.3)

Now, it’s not going to be the Heima because there are already two hip hop teams in the finale, not to mention that they seemed to run out of gas a bit in their last routine. Their scores are trending downward. Unity LA on the other hand got 100s from Derek and Ne-Yo and they keep getting better every week. They had the highest score of ANYONE not already going to the finale, plus a higher score than EVERYONE in the finale except the Kings. Plus a contemporary group is rather unusual – lots of contemporary singles and duos, but a group of this size?? That’s usually reserved for hip hop. So, that’s why I thought they would be the Wild Card.

If E! is to be believed, they did get the wild card. Funny, I posted the video of Derek dancing yesterday and didn’t notice that they spoiled who won the wild card. πŸ™‚

Five acts remain in the competition heading into the world final this weekend: Briar Nolet (Upper division), The Kings (Upper Team), Ellie and Ava (Junior division), VPeepz (Junior Team), and Unity LA (Wildcard).

Those acts will each dance twice, and whoever comes out with the higher average score will be named the season three world champion.

So, is Unity LA a good choice for you? Or do you want someone else to win the Wild Card?? Vote below!

—–

May 3, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

World of Dance Season 3, Week 10 – Did the Right Team Win the Upper Team Division?? (Vote)

The Heima. The Kings. Unity LA. Without question – to me – the strongest division right now. All three acts are top notch, there’s not an obvious lesser team in the group. Which is why I think one of them won the Wild Card – but we’ll talk more about that later. πŸ™‚ Here’s a reminder of how they scored in their division final.

The Heima – 93.3
Unity LA – 98.7
The Kings – 99.7

And their dances…The Heima first.

I didn’t feel like this one was up to their usual standard and their score went down from the previous week as a result. Great team though. Maybe just peaked at the wrong time.

Unity LA, on the other hand, peaked at just the right time…it just wasn’t peak-y enough. πŸ™‚

This was a fantastic routine…trying to remember if Tessandra Chavez, their choreographer, also did a door piece on So You Think You Can Dance…which is where Zack is from originally (as a TAPPER??). Crazy. But I feel like there’s been many routines with doors on that show. This one is at another level – stellar.

Finally, The Kings muscling through an injury, big time.

Holy crap. Watching that again, I see it even clearer. The Kings were determined to win. They wanted it REALLY badly and you could tell in the fierce way they danced. Just fantastic. The tricks were mind blowing. Well deserved win, IMO.

So, what do you think??

May 2, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

World of Dance Season 3, Week 10 – Did the Right Dancers Win the Junior Division?? (Vote)

Yeah, I don’t think this Division turned out how I expected, but I think I was surprisingly okay with that. πŸ™‚ Perhaps because Jennifer tried really hard to get her way, but I think that Derek and Ne-Yo prevailed for a change. I’m down with that.

Nothing at all against Kayla – very beautiful dancer. I just like the unusual and I think that Ellie and Ava are that in spades. But I get ahead of myself. Here’s how is stacked up at the end of the night:

Ellie and Ava – 96
Julian and Charlize – 95.7
Kayla Mak – 95.3

Dang, it was close wasn’t it?? Let’s take another look at the dances. First, Kayla Mak.

Beautiful. Next, Julian and Charlize.

It’s all coming back to me now. I had the feeling at the time (last Sunday) that this whole division was edited down for time and it did them a huge disservice. I think it’s really noticeable in this routine. Very good routine, loved the styling and colors and the dancing was first rate…but it seemed short. That bugs me. I feel like they got short changed, these two in particular.

This routine from Ellie and Ava doesn’t appear edited and it is gorgeous. It’s my opinion that the right dancers won this particular division – at least on this night. πŸ™‚ What do you think??

May 1, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

World of Dance Season 3, Week 10 – Did the Right Dancers Win the Upper Division?? (Vote)

IMO, the Upper Division is a tricky one. Not a lot of repetitive acts, everyone seems extremely talented, I liked all the dances. I don’t envy the judges on this show!! As a reminder, your competitors are Poppin’ John, Briar Nolet and Derion and Madison.

:::sigh::: I really loved Derion and Madison. A lot. But Briar, IMO, just killed it last night. And then I saw a bunch of people on twitter screaming about how Briar just does gymnastics and Poppin’ John should have won. That sounds like John’s fanbase, because what about Derion and Madison?? And I would be the first one to call out a gymnastics only routine – and I don’t think Briar was it. There is such a thing as acro and she was amazing! Remember, I’m the harshest contemporary critic around and I think she nailed it. Let’s watch the dances again.

Derion and Madison took third place with the following routine…

Seriously, this routine was brilliant right up until the last ten seconds or so. Still totally bummed out for them. Poppin’ John next…

As I said, I saw a few people complaining on twitter about how Briar didn’t dance and Poppin’ John was so much better. Er, dancing is in the eye of the beholder. I thought Poppin’ John did a great job, but if I were judging based on my preferred style, John didn’t dance at all and shouldn’t even have been there. I mean, hello?? Latin and ballroom is far more dancing in my opinion. But WoD (along with SYTYCD before it) has made me appreciate all the different style of DANCE out there. In this case, I think that Briar and Derion/Madison both outdanced Poppin’ John. That’s just my opinion.

A lot of dancing is the pictures you make, and no one tops the pictures that Briar makes in this routine. The box lighting, the costume, the DANCING, were all first rate. Did she have some gymnastic type moves? Sure. But Poppin’ John’s dance wasn’t as technically difficult and Derion and Madison had that tragic mistake at the end. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Anyone know the choreographer on this one?

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Was Briar the winner or did one of the other dancers get hosed?? Based just on last night’s routines, did the right person go through??

April 30, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

World of Dance Season 3, Week 10 – Did the Right Team Win the Junior Team Division?? (Vote)

Okay, so the battle was between the VPeepz, the Crazy 8s and the Dancetown Divas and the VPeepz came out on top. So, did the right team win the Division?? Refresh your memory on the dances, and then vote, below.

First up, the Crazy 8s. I always talk about all the teams/dancers during the live blog, but these posts are about me re-watching and determining if my opinion has changed after sleeping on it. In the case of the Crazy 8s, my opinion really hasn’t. I love the little nuggets, but to be truly great contemporary dancers, there needs to be some life experience – for that they hung a lot on Naya, but that was necessary. I get that. But these little ones are amazing dancers and I think in three years or so they will be unstoppable.

Next up, Dancetown Divas. This was an excellent routine. Truly stellar. I love a big group of girls doing ballroom because “we don’t need boys to do ballroom.” Amen, sister. Unfortunately there were a couple of tiny mistakes which looked a bit glaring because of the size of the group. If one girl is off, it’s noticeable. But I loved everything about this routine, from start to finish.

Finally, VPeepz. I loved this routine. It was so clean and sharp and it was entertaining!!

So, I know ya’ll voted for your favorite in each division last week. But, honestly, did the right team win the division?? Or was someone robbed?? Forget about last week for a minute and tell me, based on last night – did the right team win?? Personally, as much as I love Crazy 8s and Dancetown Divas, I think the right team won.

April 29, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

World of Dance Season 3, Week 9 – Who is the Winner of the Junior Division?? (VOTE!!)

Well, if case you were wondering, and even if you weren’t, I got spring fever this week and was outside too much to blog. πŸ™‚ I’m going to have to refresh my memory on the Junior Division Cut Survivors so I can pick my favorites. We’ll discuss who got robbed later. The standings going into the Divisional Finals are:

Ellie & Ava with 95.3
Kayla Mak with 93.7
Julian & Charlize with 93

I don’t think this Division is as clear cut as some of the others may be. Ellie & Ava have been pretty strong all along.

This dance was really, really good – hard core. But what got me most was the shots of granddad in the audience afterward. Does that count? πŸ™‚

Kayla Mak up next…

Absolutely Kayla’s best dance so far, and you know why?? Because I actually saw the ballet this time. Previously, I thought she was just another contemporary dancer wearing ballet shoes. Not this time. And I LIKE that. It’s different.

And that brings us to Julian and Charlize…

This is also my favorite dance of theirs!! Dang, that was really good, and I think Jennifer gave them good advice. I have no clue who to vote for. I think the Juniors are over all a weaker division than some of the others, but they’re still fantastic. Hmmm….

I have to go with Julian & Charlize, with a close second of Kayla Mak, and an equally close third of Ellie & Ava

This one is tougher. While I think Julian and Charlize won the week, I’m not so sure they should win the division based on their body of work. I think it could go to any of the three…who do you pick??

April 27, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

World of Dance Season 3, Week 9 – Who is the Winner of the Upper Team Division?? (VOTE!!)

Well, what do you think? I think, based on the way the show was cut the other night, that there is at least one group that has no shot in the divisional final – and that makes me sad. This seems like a clear cut race between the top two groups, unless WOD is playing some games. Let’s review the dances and then you can pick who you think is going to win the division.

The Heima – 97.7 and the top spot of the night. Rightfully so, although I love all three teams quite a bit. I think this routine was genius, using their hands as masks instead of the usual masks, showing that they’re going to reveal themselves to the audience…and some of the moves!! That rocker move? The transition to slow motion in the middle?? Genius.

The Kings, also with a 97.7. Seriously, a transformer?? That was KILLER. I saw a few people on twitter saying this routine wasn’t really dance (and that it would have been better on AGT) – dance is highly subjective, and if a world class dancer like Derek says it’s dance, it’s dance. πŸ™‚ And it was amazing.

Unity LA – 93.3. The video below is the entire dance uncut – which makes a HUGE difference. I was almost at the point of thinking that Radiance should have gotten through over them, in spite of Unity LA being one of my favorites since day one. No more, upon seeing the full dance! I’ve been talking about this issue for three seasons now (and I notice that others are *finally* on the same band wagon), and I have to give WoD props for getting a two hour show which allowed them to greatly reduce the number of dances they cut for time. They do a huge disservice to a group like Unity, who have been nothing short of fantastic all season long. Hell, they do a disservice to everyone who makes the show – after all, the vast majority are fantastic going in. This particular cut is a mystery to me. Typically, they cut dances where the dancer/team of dancers don’t make it through to the next round. That’s somewhat fair (although unlikely to garner any Emmy nominations for the show from an academy where dancers and choreographers are doing the voting). But this one I don’t understand. Are they implying that Unity just doesn’t stand a chance against the other two teams and therefore just cut them?? Why not cut one of the eliminated teams? This is nonsensical – it’s like they’re giving away the ending ahead of time. I guess we’ll see from the voting if that matters or not. Maybe The Heima and The Kings are just that far ahead.

So, what do you think?? Who had the best Dance of Week 9?

Who should win the division based on their body of work??

Also, what do you think of the decision to edit down Unity LA’s performance?? Was it total crap?? And what does it mean??

April 22, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Coming on Week 9 of World of Dance Season 3 – The CUT Continues…

This ought to be good!!

Come on, Unity LA!!

April 19, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

World of Dance Season 3, Week 8 (The Cut) – Who Got Robbed?? (New Poll)

Okay, so we’ve discussed the winners of the Junior Team Division and the Upper Division, and voted who we think the real winner is, but who got eliminated last Sunday that just…shouldn’t have been eliminated?? To refresh your memory, these are the teams that didn’t make The Cut:

Upper Division
All Ready
D’Angelo Brothers
Jonathan y Jorge

I loved all three teams that were eliminated from the Upper Division, but honestly, All Ready were most intriguing to me. Love their latin vibe combined with some hip hop.

The problem is, I also really love tap. :::sigh:::

Dang. The thing that bugs me, even though I loved the three teams that won, is that there is serious training and skill that goes into ballroom and Tap. I kinda feel like, sometimes, these styles don’t get the credit they deserve. I get that contemporary and popping are also difficult, to a degree, but they seem to get preferential treatment on this show – even from Derek, at times, because as an award winning latin dancer, he’s got a tendency to be tougher on the latin dancers. And he’s a tapper too. For that matter, he does killer contemporary…so why does he seem to favor it? Because it gives him all the feels like it does JLo?? πŸ™‚ Anyway, Jonathan y Jorge are up next.

Everything I said, above? Holds true here as well. Ah well. I think I’m voting for All Ready as “robbed” from the Upper Division – I think I could replace anyone from the top three except Derion and Madison. How about you?

Junior Team Division
Elektro Crew
Get Down District
JDC

Hmm…at first glance, I don’t think any of these three were robbed. Let’s rewatch their dances. Elektro Crew – I really like them, but I can’t point to any of the three winners (Dancetown Divas, Crazy 8s, VPeepz) and say that Elektro Crew should be there instead. That is, after all, the definition of being robbed, in this case.

Get Down District – note here that WoD lists this as a “full performance” when it’s clearly not.

They were fun, but I think they need more seasoning. Next up, JDC…

Again, not a full routine although it is labeled as such. WoD is doing much better this year, in this respect, but they’re never going to get Emmy Awards if they keep chopping dances up. Anyway, what we see of this routine appears to be at a lower level than the three winners. They should all try again next year after they find better choreography and practice like crazy.

So, was anyone from the Junior Team Division robbed?? I don’t think so, but what do you think??

April 18, 2019 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)