Resident Judgmental Dancer here, putting out the word: If you’re not excited about NBC’s World of Dance, you’re doing life wrong. Yes, it’s another reality tv competition. Of course, we already have a little something for everyone out there. But World of Dance isn’t just another dance show. The series is unique in its multi-division format, its clear judging expectations, and its ability to (at least in the first episode) cut out all the crap and focus on the talent. Throw in some star power in the form of judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, and Derek Hough — not to mention Jenna Dewan Tatum as host — and that just makes the whole thing that much better.
Seriously, World of Dance is the reality competition series dancers have been waiting for. Check out some of the highlights that put this series in a world of its own.
Unlike similar series, World of Dance has clear judging criteria.
Dancing with the Stars has its 10.0 system. But where those scores come from is often about as mysterious as an X-File. Each contestant on that series seems to be scored based on the judges’ whims. Is the 10.0 about improvement? Or is it about technique? Is it about performance? Something else? The world may never know.
And for as much as So You Think You Can Dance is a way more legitimate dance competition than DWTS, there’s still that undefinable something that Nigel Lythgoe and friends are always trying to find. Sometimes, it seems like skill is weighted more heavily than that “spark;” others, it’s the reverse. Then, there are those weird situations where nobody really knows what the judges are thinking, other than, “hey, we have too many contemporary dancers so let’s low-ball someone.” I love SYTYCD, but sometimes, it’s impossible to know why some dancers make the top however-many over others.
World of Dance doesn’t have that problem. It’s very simple. J-Lo, Ne-Yo, and Derek Hough (Der-Ho?) get 20 points each to assign in each of five categories: Performance, Technique, Choreography, Creativity, and Presentation. A dancer (or team) has to average 80 points between their three scores to make it to the next round.
Sure, there’s wiggle room and the potential for subjectivity? But it’s virtually impossible to be that “feel good” story of someone who can’t dance worth…uhhh, you know…and still move on based on personality or whatever. Similarly, it’s impossible to be technically brilliant, yet repetitive and bland AF (we get it, you can do a développé), and still make the cut.
An actual note I took while watching the premiere:
Technique is actually part of the scoring system?! Guysssss. Yasss.
Amazing level of talent. A-ma-zing.
I won’t spoil just how many dancers reach that 80-point mark in the World of Dance premiere versus how many don’t. But I will say this: There was not a single audition that wasn’t really, really good. You won’t see an audition show with a time-wasting montage of failures. I’ve never been here for that; and in at least its first episode, neither is World of Dance.
To be spoiled on the series’ contestants, check out ESPN’s exclusive. Note: ESPN, a sports network, got this scoop. In case you needed a reminder that dancers are athletes, there it is.
World of Dance is very, very focused on the dancing.
There’s not a lot of room for waste in the series’ first hour. The judges offer thoughtful feedback and don’t ramble for what seems like hours just to hear themselves talk. Even when they seem to get a little bit chatty or slightly off-topic, it doesn’t last long. The stage is (unfortunately) your typical, showy television set; but the camera spends far more time on what we’re actually here to see — dance — than the folks sitting and watching.
And even the dancers’ introductory videos are, somehow, interesting.
I’ve never cared for the “blah, blah. Meet [dancer]” crap on any of these series — even my favorites. But because there’s so much respect otherwise paid to the dancing itself in the World of Dance premiere, its inclusion of personal stories didn’t send me running for the bathroom. Or the kitchen. Or the twitter, for that matter.
Watching World of Dance, viewers will really just get the feeling that dance is entertaining in its own right — no embellishments necessary.
Variety, variety everywhere.
World of Dance features competitors of virtually all ages, with both Junior (group, of any size, with dancers ages 17 and under) and Upper (18+) categories. So, if you liked the kids’ version of SYTYCD last summer but still kind of missed watching adults? You get the best of both worlds here. Similarly, anyone who can’t choose between watching individual dancers and supporting crews won’t have to make that decision. In the Upper division, teams can range anywhere from a solo dancer to a group of four. If four isn’t a big enough number four you, there’s the Team division, which boasts groups of five or more adult dancers.
World of Dance also boasts dancers proficient in a variety of styles. So, if you’ve always loved getting to learn about various dance styles from the series currently running, your education will continue here.
World of Dance premieres on Tuesday, May 30, at 10/9c on NBC. Don’t miss it!
And check back here as we recap and discuss all the dance-y goodness after the show!
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