In 2017, TV talent shows feel tired AF to me. American Idol was cool in the early 2000s, but by the time the 2010s rolled around, I felt like it overstayed its welcome. The Voice is interesting, but the format has always felt jarring to me (and the winners go nowhere). So You Think You Can Dance? Never watched to be honest. And, America’s Got Talent… The smorgasbord of talent competing against one another on that show always felt a bit unfair, and to be honest, like a circus. So when I heard a new talent show based on dance was in the pipeline, I was more than uninterested.
A few things pushed me to give World of Dance a shot, though. I’m a big fan of Jennifer Lopez (every time I ride the 6 train, I think of her), and Ne-Yo is a favorite (singer) of mine (he gives a cute 1, 2, step, but for the most part, I was confused about what made him suited to judge a dance show). By the end of screening the hour long pilot episode, I shouted, I cried, I cheered, and I wanted more. JLo has refreshed the TV talent show format, and if given a chance, might have a hit on her hands
The premise of the show is that the best dancers from around the world come to the “world of dance” to compete for a grand prize of $1,000,000. The dancers are initially split into three divisions: junior (any act, age 17 and under), upper (up to four dancers, 18 and over), and team (five or more dancers, 18 and over). After knocking out all the competition in their individual divisions, each of those division winners compete against each other for the milli.
As you can see, it doesn’t matter what age you are, what dance style you do, or even how experienced or known in the dance industry you may already be (the Les Twins, who rose to prominence dancing for Beyoncé, are competing, as well as Keone and Mari Madrid, who has the billion viewed Justin Bieber music video, “Love Yourself”), if you want the moolah, come hungry and kill the damn stage (and yes, some little kids were effortless devouring some of the adult dancers). That nondiscriminatory approach is one element that heightens the excitement while watching. The other is the judging criteria.
The three judges (more on them later) rate each performance on iPads in five different categories: performance, technique, choreography, creativity and presentation. To move on to the next round, you have to make an average score of 80. I thought it was a pretty fair process, but at times, felt a little too easy. Maybe the judges were being soft during the pilot, because it seemed like everybody and they momma were flying through—rightfully so (lots of great talent), but they are going to have to be more selective in future episodes if they are really gonna narrow down the competition.
Speaking of those key-holders, as I mentioned earlier, Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo are judges, along with Dancing with the Stars alum, Derek Hough. Jenna Dewan Tatum rounds out the bunch as the show’s host—who really gives it her all, but feels a bit unnecessary…but GET MONEY, JENNA! (And if you’re wondering who Dewan Tatum even is, homegirl was the star of the original, iconic Step Up film, and is the wife of movie hunk, Channing Tatum.)
World of Dance is such an unexpected, rollercoaster ride of a show. Although the idea isn’t fresh, the execution is. Jenny from the block totally hits it out the park, and has created a great way to wrap up your Tuesday nights this summer.
World of Dance (2017)
Stars Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, Derek Hough, Jenna Dewan Tatum