'World of Dance' Premiere: Jennifer Lopez Is Full of Fun, Derek Hough Breaks Out His Ballroom Moves & More!
By Desiree Murphy
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Attention dance fans -- World of Dance is about to be your new favorite show!
Hosted by Step Up star Jenna Dewan Tatum and executive produced by Jennifer Lopez, the latest dance competition show premiered Tuesday on NBC, and as expected, it was highly entertaining from beginning to end.
Joined by Dancing With the Stars alum Derek Hough and singer/dancer Neyo at the judges' table, Lopez, chic in a bright red Valentino dress and matching lip, was all smiles while meeting the first round of contestants as she made her WOD debut.
"There's been dance shows, but we wanted to create the Olympics of dance," the singer, who was formerly a judge on American Idol, explained. "This is the chance to say, 'I am the best in the world.'"
If you haven't watched just yet, brace yourself for lots of head spins, pirouettes, back flips, freezes, never-before-seen partner lifts and more -- we're talking the absolute BEST of the best, after all! Here's a breakdown of exactly what the competition entails, and what happened during the exciting premiere:
What's the prize?
Over the next 10 weeks the best dancers in the world compete for one million dollars and the title of World's Greatest Dance Act.
How does the competition work?
Dancers compete in three divisions: Junior (under 18), Upper (up to four dancers, ages 18 and up) and Team (five or more dancers, also 18 and over). Each act is judged on a scale of 20 points in five different categories, which include performance, technique, choreography, creativity and presentation.
How many rounds are there?
Four! The qualifiers, the duels, the cut and the divisional final. Then, the three division winners will battle it out in the world final before the first-ever World of Dance champion(s) is announced.
What are Lopez, Neyo and Hough like as judges?
Fair, complementary and energetic. Each bring a different level of expertise to the table, but overall they seemed to be generally kind to the majority of the acts, unlike Len Goodman's strict reviews on DWTS, and more like a combination of Heidi Klum's critiques on America's Got Talent and Mary Murphy's on So You Think You Can Dance.
Hough being a ballroom expert, we noticed he was a bit more critical with the dancers competing in that genre, even getting up and out of his seat a few times throughout the program to show them how it's done. Neyo was more straight to the point, delivering quick, honest feedback for each act.
As for Lopez? At this point in the competition, her critiques seem to be on board with how she judged the aspiring singers on Idol. But because she comes from a dance background (she got her start as a Fly Girl on In Living Color in the '90s), we're curious to see how that will change as the competition heats up.
You'll see a few familiar faces…
If you were a fan of America's Best Dance Crew, you're in for a treat! Some of the most talented hip-hop crews from the popular MTV dance competition show are making their return to TV by competing on World of Dance, including season one champions, JabaWockeeZ, season two victors, Super Cr3w, and season eight runner-ups, Kinjaz.
Les Twins (who have danced for artists like Beyoncé, Big Sean, Meghan Trainor, Jay Z and Missy Elliot) and Fik-Shun, the season 10 champion of So You Think You Can Dance, are also competing for the prize.
"It doesn't matter how big your name is and how many people know you," the French twins explained. "If you don't kill it, right now, today, you're gonna be gone."
They're up against acts like D'Angelo and Amanda, a ballroom duo from Miami, Florida, whom Lopez dubbed the "Aladdin and Princess Jasmine" of the dance floor, and Keone & Mari, a married couple from San Diego, California, whose urban dance routines have gone viral on YouTube, getting the attention of Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres and Kendrick Lamar.
We're also keeping our eyes on 11-year-old Diana Pombo, an insanely talented contemporary dancer who also hails from Miami. She performed a stunning routine to Sia's "Bird Set Free" during the premiere, and we'll be the first to say it… Watch out, Maddie Ziegler! This girl is coming in hot with her "Latin flavor," as Lopez so perfectly put it.
World of Dance airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. As we patiently wait for next week's episode, watch the video below to see behind-the-scenes snaps from Lopez, Tatum, Neyo and Hough.