New year! New talent! New—gulp—host (look, we like you, Scott Evans, but Jenna Dewan will forever hold a special place in our dancer hearts 😢)!
That's right, friends: NBC's "World of Dance" is officially back for round 3. And last night's qualifying round made us wonder how exactly the "WOD" team defines "qualifying," since it feels like we saw several acts that are clearly destined for the finals.
Not that leading with front-runners is a new thing for "WOD." Fun fact (as noted by these folks): In Season 1, eventual champions Les Twins were introduced in the premiere episode, as were future divisional finalists Keone and Mari, Diana Pombo, and Kinjaz; in Season 2, eventual world finalists S-Rank popped up in the premiere, and so did future divisional finalists Sean and Kaycee, Jaxon Willard and Karen y Ricardo.
But we digress. Who were the acts that knocked our [pirouette-friendly] socks off last night? Meet The Crazy 8's, Lauren Yakima, and The Kings.
At first, The Crazy 8's seemed like just another group of insanely talented contemporary minis. (How ridiculous is it that that's become something we're used to seeing constantly?) But the Orange County, CA-based group took things up a notch with inventive choreo we haven't seen a million times before—and a collective flexibility level that hovers somewhere between "boneless" and "Elastigirl IRL."
We know and love Lauren Yakima. You know and love Lauren Yakima. But that doesn't mean we weren't surprised by just how fantastic her gorgeously controlled, emotionally powerful "WOD" debut performance was. (And we NEVER would've guessed that she was crazy nervous!) We've got "goosies" too, J.Lo.
Mumbai-based "Bolly hop" crew The Kings already has an "India's Got Talent" championship under its belt—and now it's COMING FOR YOU, "WOD." Crews consistently do well on these big dance competition shows, which reward their throw-all-the-bodies-around style of virtuosity, but we have never seen the likes of the tricks The Kings pulled out last night. Did they really, actually climb each other like stairs?! Does not compute. DOES. NOT. COMPUTE.
Also, we'd like to give a special shout-out to the fantastic Jonathan y Jorge, who brought same-gender salsa (and some very fabulous see-through glitter hoodies, yusss) to the show's stage. We're not sure their technique is quite clean enough to get them to the finals, but we are thoroughly enjoying every second of their spin-tastic "WOD" journey.
Til next week, when we'll see the second qualifying round of delightfully overqualified acts!