"World of Dance" Series Premiere Recap: Can We Have Some More?
Diana Pombo performing her solo on "World of Dance" (NBC)
Well, that was perhaps the fastest hour of television ever.
We knew that NBC's "World of Dance" competitor lineup was stacked, but the show's premiere episode last night gave us just a taste of the deep talent field, with performances by only seven acts. None of them disappointed. But in the words of J.Lo herself (spoken, in her case, about a gorgeously understated routine by Kinjaz): We want more. Can we have some more?
Yes, yes, we know: Patience! That "more" is coming later in the season, based on what we've seen in the preview reels. And we appreciate the show's commitment to doing this right, with its detailed 100-point evaluation system that factors in performance, technique, choreography, and presentation (much the way judging works at normal dance comps), and its multi-tiered, multi-round format.
So, what were the SUPER highlights of this all-highlight show? Let's start with out-of-the-gate front-runners Les Twins, two very familiar French faces that even the other competitors couldn't help but gush about. Their detailed, emotional, super-tight routine earned a big standing O from the judges, and the night's highest score. Lopez especially loved them because their uncanny connection reminded her of her own twins, which, d'aww. (These guys certainly have a way with the divas—first they capture Beyoncé's heart, and now J.Lo's?)
We've been excited about Keone and Mari Madrid's appearance on the show since we first spotted them in an early trailer, so we did a little happy dance when they popped up last night. The couple pulled from their Greatest Hits™ collection, performing an updated version of the "Happy" routine that went viral a few years back. While the subtleties of their style didn't all quite translate in the show's big-arena environment—which, we're going to say right now, definitely gives larger acts an edge—their singular charm totally won over the judges. Plus, they mentioned they're on the show because they want the security they need to start a family and OH GOODNESS JUST GIVE THEM THE PRIZE ALREADY WE NEED BABY MADRIDS IN THE WORLD.
The last act of the night, and the evening's only solo performer, was 11-year-old contemporary gumby Diana Pombo, who had the crowd on her side from the beginning because she's tiny and adorable and was incredibly sweet in her pre-performance interview. Diana did the kind of solo we've watched over and over at competitions—in fact, she did a similar routine last year at The Dance Awards, where she won Mini Best Female Dancer—but it's still awesome to see this kind of dance on national television, and she was completely committed to the choreography. She said that J. Lo is her idol, which earned her a great big hug from La Lopez herself, and ended the night on a nice warm fuzzy note.
We'll leave you with Derek Hough's demonstration of proper hip action, because YAAAAAS D. 'Til next week!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.