Season 3 of NBC World of Dance aired last night with the first round of performances of The Duels: The Upper Division. Celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough, and Ne-Yo had the task of scoring each match-up, knowing only one act from each Duel will move forward to The Cut.
The Duels has a new element this season, giving the lower-scoring acts a chance at redemption. After The Duels concludes, the 2 highest scoring eliminated acts within each division will battle for a second chance to advance to The Cut.
Watch the full episode now, and check out our recap below to see who made it to The Cut, and who was eliminated.
Matchup: Tobias & The EZ Twins vs D’Angelo Brothers
Tobias & The EZTwins
Tobias & The EZTwins added several competitive elements to their performance, including a few tap combinations as a means of pushing themselves creatively. Ne-Yo complimented them on their upper body choreography, and Jennifer Lopez didn’t think there was enough difficulty in the piece.
Final score: 87.3
The D’Angelo Brothers had a rough week, with a broken nose and thumb setting their practice time back. The judges thanked them for accepting the feedback they received the last time they performed, and Derek Hough warned, “complexity is the enemy of execution,” warning them that the level of difficulty can be overshadowed by poorly executed choreography choices.
Final score: 89.7
Winner of The Duels: The D’Angelo Brothers
Matchup: Jonathan Y Jorge vs Denise & Josh
Jonathan Y Jorge
Last week, Jennifer Lopez asked Jonathan and Jorge to include more salsa elements to their performance in The Duels, which they delivered. Derek Hough said their routine was fun, but asked for their routine to be refined: crisper, cleaner, and slicker.
Final score: 90.7
Denise & Josh
Denise and Josh brought the judges an extremely emotional performance, and the judges each able to name parts of the performance that they loved. Ne-Yo and Jennifer Lopez disagreed as to whether the performance was “duel-worthy.”
Final score: 90.0
Winner of The Duels: Jonathan Y Jorge
Matchup: DD Flection vs Poppin John
DD Flection chose Poppin John to battle as an idol, and wanted to show him what they’ve become. Derek Hough didn’t feel like he connected with the performance emotionally, but did feel like it was an appropriate performance for The Duels.
Final score: 89.0
Poppin John brought a great battle element to his performance, incorporating moves directed at DD Flection in his performance. Jennifer Lopez called his performance “sickening,” and his musicality “off the charts.” Ne-Yo felt like he was free styling towards the end towards the end, while Jennifer Lopez disagreed and felt the choreography was intentional.
Final score: 91.3
Winner of The Duels: Poppin John
Matchup: Derian & Madison vs Derek Piquette
Derion & Madison
Derion and Madison’s performance was full of intricate, innovative moves. Derek commended them on their creativity, and Ne-Yo felt he didn’t need a story, it was gritty on its own. Jennifer Lopez asked for a big finale.
Final score: 90.0
Derek Piquette brought beautiful artistry to his performance, partnered with great strength. He used the feedback that Jennifer Lopez gave him after his last performance, and ended with a greater ending than “the typical contemporary ending.” Ne-Yo compared him to last season’s Michael Dameski,
Final score: 89.3
Winner of The Duels: Derian & Madison
Matchup: All Ready vs Briar Nolet
All Ready included creative humorous choreography in their performance, adding elements of a dance battle into their performances. Derek Hough hyped their charisma, and thanked them for brining joy to the room.
Final score: 92.3
Briar Nolet’s performance was incredibly athletic. Jennifer Lopez said what she left out on the stage was “unforgettable,” and Derek Hough praised her intention. Ne-Yo felt it was a showcase piece, rather than a performance meant for The Duels.
Final score: 90.3
Winner of The Duels: All Ready
The two highest scoring eliminated acts of The Upper Division were Denise & Josh and Briar Nolet. After a tough battle, the judges chose Briar Nolet to move forward to The Cut.
The next episode of NBC World of Dance airs this Sunday! Watch as the best dancers in the world compete for a $1 million prize. Don’t miss exclusive interviews, performances, and more from the definitive source for all things World of Dance.