The 10 Best Performances From Season One Of J-Lo's 'World Of Dance'
I got hooked on World of Dance earlier in the season after my better half made me watch it with her, and while I often end up fast-forwarding through much of the cheese (basically anything that isn’t dancing and scoring) there were some really great performances this season, especially if you’re new to the reality TV dance game like I am.
Last night was the grand finale, with the winners of the three main categories competing. The categories were Junior, Adult and Group.
A 14 year old superstar dancer with basically no joints named Eva Igo won the juniors by a country mile.
I know that looks like her screaming in pain as she blows out her hammy, but from what I saw, she was born without hamstrings.
A supercharged Latin dance troupe called Swing Latino won the Group competition. That was tough because I love the Kinjaz, whom they knocked out. But saying that, Swing Latino was probably the most fun, energetic, and spectacular performer in the competition — as in ‘spectacle.’ They were both amazing and kind of nuts, but in the best way. Loved them. They brought so much raw, exciting passion to the stage. And consistently the flashiest costumes.
The international sensation duo of Les Twins represented the Adults, winning the division while one of them danced in a wheelchair.
The Highs and Los of the Season
Bad: I felt like the show really wasted ‘host’ Jenna Dewan Tatum. They put her in the worst outfits, with her hair often changing length during the show. They reduced her to this sort of depressive concierge — relegated to hugging the losers and saying ‘I’m really gonna miss you guys!’ over and over and over again.
Good: The Judges: Ne-Yo can do zero wrong in my mind. Ditto for Derek. J-Lo was great all the way through.
Really Bad: But there were a few moments where I was like HUH? In one of the cut challenges, a group of dancers called ‘Ian Eastwood and the Young Lions’ knocked international award winning supergroup Jabbawockees out of the competition. It could be just me not understanding dance, but that was nearly enough to have me quit. With every other group, it was a group. But with ‘Ian Eastwood and the Young Lions’, it was just this insane vanity project for one guy. Everyone was there just to put him in the spotlight. And he’s really talented, but the whole design of it and the inherent arrogance, it just turned me off. Of course he’s a YouTube sensation with like a trillion subscribers. I don’t get humans sometimes.
Bad: The judges saved their big scores for the division finals. Most weeks, you’d be lucky if you saw a 95. But in the divisional finals we got two 99’s and a 100. So by then you kind of know where the bar was and then, out of the blue, with dances that were clearly not like VAST improvements, performers were getting like a thousand points from the judges. It was weird. Then, nothing like that in the finals.
Good: Real, honest to god talent, everywhere you looked. Or kind of almost everywhere. Some performers were a bit over their heads, but the show sped past them.
Bad: The team that got the 100, Keone and Mari, were great, and should have absolutely beaten Les Twins. But somehow, Les Twins, with one dude in a fucking wheelchair, beat what was essentially a near-flawless performance. I love Les Twins but one of them was in a wheelchair!.
That said: If I was the producer I would have done the same thing. (God I hate admitting that.) You don’t shelve an international sensation for a quaint and adorable duo. You don’t say, ‘we have the Boston Red Sox or the Murray Point Tarantulas. Let’s give the Tarantulas the win.’ Nope. It doesn’t happen. I don’t care how good the Tarantulas are. Television is all about ratings. And when Les Twins are healthy, I don’t think anyone can hang with them.
Strong: Camera work was almost always on point. Some people hate the cuts to the judge’s reactions during the performances, but it didn’t bother me and that’s an editing decision anyway. For the most part, we saw what we needed to see and from the right places.
The Million Dollar Winner
It was Les Twins who won it all last night, and a prize of One Million Dollars.
I thought they were the best out there, across the board, so they deserved it, but they’re also the only ones who are already rich. That million dollars for Swing Latino or Eva Igo would have changed lives. When Swing Latino started crying when they were eliminated I wanted to bury my face in a pillow and sob for a week. They’re the loveliest. I wish we could just crowdfund them a million dollars to take back to Colombia.
But, based on skill alone, this was the right choice. One of my favorite shots of the season was this one, of one of Les Twins opponents, after they saw them dance for the first time:
Yep. That more or less sums it up. That’s how skilled they are. They’re from another planet.
It was a fun season, outside of some very, very questionable judges decisions and some extra thick Velveeta. I’m not sure I’d watch it again because of those ‘rigged’ decisions. I’m almost positive they knew the elimination order, roughly, from the beginning and just tweaked the scores to make those scenarios moderately believable. So then, if it’s not really a competition, is it worth investing in? It might be the kind of thing where you just catch the 3-minute clips on YouTube and go from there.
Then again, I’d probably miss Ne-Yo. He’s rad as fuck. I’m questioning all my life decisions that somehow didn’t get me to grow up and be best friends with Ne-Yo. He has the best smile in the universe.
It was a fun season. My rank of the dancers would have been:
1. Les Twins
3. Keone and Mari
4. Eva Igo
6. Swing Latino
The Top 10
#10: Les Twins — They’re just in a class by themselves.
#9: The Lab — was from the junior division. This was another performance where a better team was knocked out by a lesser one. That happened way too much this season. The better team should win. Period. I think The Lab should have gone up against Eva Igo in the divisional final, but whatever. Anyway, this is all like 8-12 year olds from broken homes. The :50 mark of this blows my doors off. And they have this 8 year old dancer who is FIERCE!
#8: Les Twins — Their performance in the finals. They’re kind of astounding.
#7: Swing Latino — Their performance in the finals. They’re so much fun to watch.
#6: Jabbawockees — This was their opening performance. These guys are fucking amazing. Knocking them out early felt like a preposterous slap in the face.
#5: Kinjas — their opening performance. I can’t get enough of it. Love them, love the song, love the performance, love everything.
#4: Eva Igo — She went from timid young rabbit to million dollar runner-up asskicker in one season. Hot damn, she’s talented. This is her performance in the finals:
#3: Keoni and Mari — A husband and wife team, they’re all about telling a story. I love them.
#2: Les Twins — This was their first performance and my favorite.
#1: Kinjas — This is, hands down, the coolest and most entertaining performance of the season.
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