"World of Dance" Week 4 Recap: The Road to Redemption

Briar Nolet did NOT come to play. (NBC)

Have you ever felt that the Duels round on NBC's "World of Dance" was a bit unfair? During the Duels, each act's success hinges not on how objectively good they are, but on how good they are relative to a single challenger. Which means that mediocre acts can move forward if they best slightly-more-mediocre opponents, while frontrunners who're given tougher matchups end up knocked out.

Newly-engaged goddess J.Lo and her team get that. Which is why, last night, "WOD" introduced a twist designed to make the Duels more just: a redemption round. Formerly, five acts were eliminated in each division during the Duels. But from here out, the two highest scorers of those five will go head-to-head to earn a wild card spot. And that made last night's Upper Division Duels significantly more exciting.

Who just dueled it? Who was redeemed? Who made Derek Hough scream like a teenage girl? Onward to the episode highlights!

First, let's talk about Jonathan y Jorge vs. Denise and Josh, aka fantabulous salsa virtuosity vs. emotionally powerful contemporary. Ultimately, the former beat out the latter by less than a point, allowing the show's first same-sex salsa duo to continue its very sparkly journey. But Denise and Josh weren't done yet: As we found out a bit later in the show, their high score was enough to earn them a spot in the redemption round.

We were honestly obsessed with both Derek Piquette and Derion and Madison going into their Duel, but figured Derek's magnetic charisma gave him the edge. Whelp, we were wrong: The judges thought Derion and Madison's dynamic, intricate routine had more substance than Derek's emotionally charged performance—.7 points more substance, to be exact. (At least now Derek will be able to take some real time off for his double hip replacement surgery. We're pulling for you, Mr. Piquette!)

It'd be hard to find two more different competitors than street duo All Ready and contemporary queen Briar Nolet. We thought both of them absolutely killed it last night, with All Ready bringing the humor and crazy energy and Briar bringing the technique and dramatic intensity. All Ready ended up the victor, but Briar's still-impressive score meant she got a second chance in the redemption round.

So, in the end we had two contemporary phenoms, Denise and Josh and Briar Nolet, fighting for the wild card spot. But while their first-round scores were very close, we thought Briar completely dominated this face-off. Girl. Was. FIRE. And the judges agreed with us, advancing her to the Cut. (They must know she has a history of winning!)

Dance on TV
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Madison Jordan and Jarrod Tyler Paulson brought their real-life romance to the audition stage. (Adam Rose/FOX)

It's usually right around the third or fourth week of "So You Think You Can Dance" audition rounds that we start itching for the live shows. Sure, the auditions are fun, inspiring, and entertaining, but at a certain point, we reach audition saturation. (And the live shows are just so good and feature so much more Cat Deeley.)

All that said, Nigel and co. kept things spicy this week, so our attention remained firmly glued to the screen. (It's been 16 seasons—who are we to doubt Nigel Lythgoe, sir?) Here's how it all went down.

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Dance on TV
Photo by Erin Baiano

When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.

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