The World of Dance premiere burst onto the late night TV scene this past week and you’re most likely wondering whether it killed it or flopped worse than Google’s debut of Android pay. We kid – nothing could flop worse than that…
The show, which has been in the works for quite some time, had its casting calls spark up on international headlines, making waves as far back as August of last year.
Executive produced by diva-extraordinaire Jennifer Lopez, it opened with 9.8 million viewers airing Tuesday, May 30th with ratings giving established competitors like “The Voice” a run for their money. That’s right – this is the hot new kid on the block and debuted as the most-watched summer alternative series on broadcast in the past nine years. Muyyyyy Caliente!
For those of you that aren’t already aware, despite claiming global fame with the debut of her film Selena, JLo’s beginnings were actually not in acting or singing at all – but rooted in dance.
In fact, her ACTUAL debut was as a Fly Girl on the TV sketch comedy series “In Living Color”. Prior to this, she was a backup dancer for the 80’s pop boy group New Kids On The Block. After her TV debut with “In Living Color” she also performed backup for Janet Jackson and even had a cameo in her music video “That’s the Way Love Goes”. Go figure.
Fast forward to almost a quarter century later and Lopez is a name unto herself practically eclipsing her former employer Ms. Jackson (if you’re nasty – sorry, we had to).
The show’s judges include JLo herself, along with NeYo, who also apparently judges TV dance competitions when he’s not too busy saving Tyrese from the egomaniacal train wreck shell of a former self that he has become. Judge Derek Hough came in as the killer third wild card. We joke – he’s about as safe and sweet as apple pie on a hot summer’s day – and we just love him.
Then there’s Jenna Dewan Tatum who – well, we’re not really exactly sure what she does. She is marked as host, however, the only sliver of airtime she received was a five-second clip doing a jig with a country-fried clogging contender group (news flash: they lost). She pretty much just spent her time backstage hugging contestants in a glitzy ballgown covered in what looked like pounds of diamonds. PS – she looked gorgeous.
The premier featured six contestants in the qualifier stage and opened with D’Angelo & Amanda, two adorably huggable teenagers ages sixteen and seventeen. The duo wowed audiences with their sassy Latin-infused ballroom dance mix and received scores of 90-88-86 for an average of 88 (the minimum being a score of 80 to pass).
Hough gave some constructive criticism which led to JLo egging him to demonstrate. Hough, clearly happy that he remains still remotely relevant, leapt from his chair and began wildly gyrating his hips while simultaneously scaring us all for life.
Next were Laurent & Larry, twenty-eight-year-old dancers from Paris, France. They instantly oozed a charm and charisma that was unparalleled. Something else unparalleled? Their experience. They were pretty much more qualified than Hough to judge given their boatload of professional experience which included six years of touring with Beyoncé. No big deal.
Even NeYo admitted he was familiar with them, which is I’m sure more than he could say for Hough. Oh – and yeah – they KILLED it – raking in a 95-96-96 for an average of 95.7 – the highest on the episode.
NXT LVL was up and within 15 seconds we were pretty certain they were doomed from the get-go. While the group was in sync and crisp, their routine quickly became monotonous and repetitive. As a result, they ultimately seemed comparatively underwhelming and left celebrating their 60 seconds of fame.
It was easy to see how the next contestants were very quickly going to become America’s sweethearts. Keone and Mari, a young married couple, got their break performing a YouTube routine to Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself”. The video, which garnered over 1 billion views made them #instafamous. They were ridiculously adorable, instantly loveable and their routine was fresh, sweet and pushed them through to the next round.
Kinjaz were next — a theatrical group about the size of a baseball team reminiscent of the Jabbawockeez. Their ninja-inspired outfits were almost as awesome as their painstakingly synchronized routine. Their moves were tight, subtly riveting and they hit it out of the ballpark with scores of 89-92-92 – for a final score of 91.
Last but not least was eleven year old Diana Pombo, who performed a contemporary routine to Sia, was a vision of Maddie Ziegler herself. Her performance was emotionally charged, passionate and theatrical; short — but beautifully well done. Her scores came in at 88-92-89 for a final of 89.7 and the adorable little tyke even received a personal hug and kiss from Ms. JLo herself.
Overall the season premiere was killer and left us hanging on the edges of our seats waiting to see what’s next. World of Dance airs Mondays at 10 pm on NBC. It’s well worth a watch…even if only to stare at Jennifer Lopez.