Tuesday was the second episode of “The Qualifiers.” First and foremost, the episode began with a message stating, “World of Dance dedicates tonight's episode to all those who are fighting injustice, standing up against racism and taking action to make a change.” Additionally, the judges reiterated how important it was that they are now judging from a warehouse, where participants are expecting to be performing in front of producers, to better grasp how the acts do under pressure without the added effects of being on stage. On Tuesday, eight acts performed in hopes of earning a spot in “The Duels.” 

First up to perform in front of the panel of judges was upper hip-hop team “The Rise.” The leader of the group, Myson Junior, competed in the previous season with a junior team, “Elektro Crew.” After failing to take home the title, Junior decided to bring back an older, more mature group to compete. Junior discussed his trials last season about wanting to catch his absent father’s attention yet admitted this season that the void in his life would no longer be missed. Junior describes World of Dance as a “platform to spread love and a positive message.” After a clean and captivating performance to “6 foot 7 foot” by Lil Wayne feat. Cory Gunz, a performer failed to land his ending trick. From that point on, the energy from the team lowered as they received a yes from Lopez after she praised “cleanliness” and “formations” but only a callback from Hough and Ne-Yo. “There’s some moment’s where I feel like we need that extra moment where we’re jumping out of our seats,” Hough said. Hopefully, “The Rise” will come back stronger and earn a spot in “The Duels.” 

Next, an all-female upper team, “Oxygen” from the Netherlands, were up to fight for a spot in the competition. Their style includes integrations of fusion, contemporary and hip-hop. The crew’s performance to “Lovely” by Billie Eilish received a standing ovation from all three judges. The group was commended for their impeccable cleanliness and blend of staccato and fluid movements. When asked how they all dance as one, the group replied with: “We don’t sleep.” Easily, all three judges exclaimed that they had received a “hard yes” for being nothing but satisfying. 

“Indigenous Enterprise” is an upper Native American dance group who hoped to impress the judges with their individuality and unique dance style. The team was approached by Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas to be featured in a video he was filming. The video ended up winning an MTV VMA award that they claimed “put them on the map.” Their goal is “to bring forward what a real Native American looks like, what a real indigenous person looks like.” Following their performance, the judges complimented their culture and their appreciation for what the genre of dance is about, but the judges questioned if it was ready and competitive enough to be on World of Dance, resulting in the team being sent home. However, the group claimed it was a win for them, as they had the opportunity to showcase their culture and its beauty. 

Junior contemporary duo James and Harris, who oddly look like brothers, met while taking a ballet class when they were only 12. Both boys were surprised another male was taking the class, given competitive dance is made up predominantly of females. The duo described themselves as “just dudes who love to dance.” Their performance to “Moment of Silence” by Lucidious feat. Josh Woods was powerful and genuine. Though they started off nervous, Lopez commented on their evident strength in dancing and believed “these two can make an impact here.” Because of this, she gave them a yes. On the other hand, Hough “didn’t know if it was clean as it could be,” and, therefore, gave them a chance to prove that they are worthy in a callback. However, Ne-Yo came in to save the day by giving the duo their second yes, advancing them to “The Duels.” 

Junior latin ballroom team “305” had the chance to perform with J-Lo in the Super Bowl, obviously idolizing her. The group, with striking neon green fringe costumes, possessed cleanliness and high energy throughout. Hough said “there were missed opportunities” while Ne-Yo said there was a lot of potential, resulting in giving them a callback. Hough and Lopez did the same. 

Upper Latin Ballroom duo Luca and Alessandra came all the way from Peru to reveal their talent to the panel of judges. Luca had a friend ask Alessandra to be his girlfriend, and she replied with “not if he was the last person on earth.” Years later, the two are married and dancing as a unit. They were even each other’s first dance partner and kiss. The duo’s performance of “A Evaristo Carriego” by the Metropole Orchestra was dramatic and telling, leaving viewers wanting more. Following the audition, Ne-Yo gave the two a standing ovation. The judges praised them for being innovative, risky and overall entertaining. The judges sent them through with flying colors and are eager to see what the two can bring in “The Duels.” 

Last season, the winning junior team was “VPeepz” from the Philippines. This season, the adult version of “VPeepz” is here to finish what the kiddos started by attempting to take home the grand title by competing in the upper team division. If the team is anything like their students, they will not disappoint. Yet, after watching the performance, Lopez said they will need to surpass their students, and currently, they are sitting a little below their level. Hough suggested that they become more creative with their tumbling passes instead of simply tumbling across the stage. Ultimately, the team needs to hit harder and up their tempo. Lopez began the voting by giving them a callback. Hough and Ne-Yo, however, gave them two yeses. 

Lastly, upper ballet duo, Styles and Emma from Rochester, New York, came to perform their art. Styles had to make the decision to move away from his mother, who previously had a brain tumor, to be able to dance with Emma. He said it was very difficult, given she is his best friend, and he appreciates her. Due to these hardships, Styles had to apply for a job at the local McDonald’s, working 40 hours a week, to be able to do what he loves. Immediately following the performance to “when the party’s over” by Billie Eilish, the judges demanded more. Lopez exclaimed, “that was absolutely gorgeous” and that she “didn’t want it to end.” Hough described it as “pure quality” and “poetic.” Everyone knows J-Lo waits for the moment she gets “goosies,” and this performance gave her them. The judges didn’t even have to vote. It was an automatic yes. 

@emmadollenmayer

ed56991@ohio.edu