The ever-gorgeous Kayla Mak (Jordin Althaus/NBC)

“World of Dance” Week 9 Recap: Cut to the Feeling

"World of Dance" is not messing around this season. Last night, J.Lo and her crew took an ax (just a metaphor, of course, but we're imagining it as a beautifully bedazzled ax) to the "WOD" playing field, eliminating six beloved Upper Team and Junior competitors. Brace yourselves: We've entered the land of Very Tough Choices.

Which acts were spared that sparkly ax? Read on, intrepid friends.


Junior Division

Yes, the whole "guy trying to charm the hard-to-get-girl" schtick is, as J.Lo herself noted, the "oldest story of time"—but Julian and Charlize's routine made it darn fun. Their super-crisp, perfectly-executed choreo earned them a solid 93-point score, and a spot in the Division Finals.

We would've lost it if Kayla Mak hadn't made it through this round; in our opinion, the contemporary ballerina has been consistently underrated throughout the competition. So we were relieved when the judges gave her routine—which showcased her signature combination of delicacy and strength—solid mid-90s scores.

Contemporary sisters Ellie and Ava took a bit of a risk last night with a number inspired by their grandfather, a Vietnam vet—a difficult story to tell, and one that Jennifer "didn't get at all" after watching their rehearsals. But the intensity of the finished routine was enough to sell all of the judges, who sent Ellie and Ava through to the next round.

Upper Team Division

The Kings, big-time frontrunners, not only met but exceeded everyone's expectations last night with a routine that somehow included elements of both Bollywood and animation. Derek didn't just give them a standing O—he gave them a standing-on-top-of-the-table O.

Big props to Unity LA's use of props (sorry), which can be a tricky proposition (sorry again) for contemporary groups. The canes in their emotional number symbolized the huge demands dancers make of their bodies, and accordingly how short their careers can be—a sentiment that hit home with us, and the judges.

Rounding out the winners' circle last night was The Heima, the dynamic-yet-polished Korean b-boy group that might be the only act capable of dethroning The Kings. Our heads were spinning just WATCHING their insane head-spinning, which earned them a perfect 100 from Ne-Yo.

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All photos by Joe Toreno. Grooming throughout by Lisa Chamberlain for The Rex Agency.

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