After The Qualifiers ended, we were not left in suspense. We are already into The Duels! Now, our favorite acts will be pitted against each other in epic dance battles that will determine whether or not they make it into the third round of the competition.

Karen y Ricardo vs. Luka & Jenalyn

Nine-time world champions Karen and Ricardo scored the highest in The Qualifiers round with their incredible salsa routine, so they got to pick their opponent for The Duels. They chose ballroom duo Luka and Jenalyn who returned from last season for another shot at the big prize.

Karen and Ricardo had the judges biting their nails with one death-defying trick after another. Their ballroom performance was fast moving and everything you would expect from a world champion duo.  Luka and Jenalyn took a more story-based approach to their routine. Using a straightjacket as a prop, they danced out a powerful fight scene. Luka and Jenalyn received an incredible average score of 92.3 for their performance. However, Karen and Ricardo scored a near-perfect 98.3, so this duel ended with our returning favorites going home.

The Untouchables vs. Expressenz

The next duel was very closely ranked. The Untouchables received an average score of 88.7, and their opponent, the contemporary team Expressions scored an 87. Last season, Ricardo, leader of The Untouchables, and his partner went home in The Duels, and it was clear he didn’t plan on repeating those this season.

A powerful gladiator performance from The Untouchables set the bar for this dance battle. The judges were impressed with the production they had created, but Derek seemed to think that without all of the production, their choreography was too simple. When Expressions took the stage, they knew their strength was synchronicity. That along with a new focus on real emotion and vulnerability definitely impressed the judges. The Untouchables scored an average of 89.3, but Expressenz received an average of 94 sending the gladiators home.

BDash & Konkrete vs. Pasha & Daniella

Krumpers Konkrete and BDash challenged ballroom dancers Pasha and Daniella to the next duel. During The Qualifiers, the judges were impressed with Konkrete and BDash’s unique style and their ability to choreography krumping. The same wasn’t true for Pasha and Daniella. Ne-Yo specifically thought that they weren’t competitive enough. Both duos had everything to prove in this dance battle.

Pasha and Daniella took the stage with a ballroom performance full of unexpected subtleties and even lifts, but it still wasn’t enough to impress Ne-Yo who thought they hadn’t brought their performance up to “World of Dance quality.” When BDash and Konkrete took the stage, Ne-Yo and Derek were antsy about the clown makeup, but they fell in love with their ability to tell a story and develop characters. When this duel was over, Pasha and Daniella received an average score of 88.3, but BDash and Konkrete took home the win with an average of 94.3.

Fabulous Sisters vs. The Rascals

In the next duel, both teams traveled a long way to come to the competition. Japanese urban dance team Fabulous Sisters challenged Hawaiian hip hop team The Rascals to this dance battle. During The Qualifiers, both of these teams impressed the judges, but The Rascals brought a little too much adrenaline to the stage, so this performance had to be all about cleanliness.

First to take the stage during this duel was The Rascals. They listened to the judges’ advice from last time and worked on their synchronicity and cleanliness and put on a smooth, attitude-filled performance. Fabulous Sisters followed up with a chilling performance just as theatrical as their Qualifiers performance. After the judges locked in their scores, The Rascals were awarded an average score of 94.3. Fabulous Sisters narrowly beat them with an average of 95.7.

Michael Dameski vs. Angyil

When soloists Michael Dameski and Angyil went head to head, they were pitting their classical training and their own unique style against each other. Regardless of the outcome of this duel, there would only be one Upper Division soloist left in the competition once the scores were locked in.

“You’re like a superhero,” Ne-Yo said to Michael after his performance. All three judges were impressed with his power and the subtleties of his choreography. Angyil followed his performance with a freestyle hip hop routine. Just like Michael, Angyil brought in amazing subtle movements that you could blink and miss. One of these dancers had to go home, though. With an average score of 94.7, Michael sent Angyil (who received an 88.3) home.

The Bradas vs. The Jam Project

Hip hop went up against tap in the second to last duel of the night. The Bradas, Kiwi hip hop dancers from Auckland, New Zealand, impressed the judges during the last round with their athletic abilities, while The Jam Project proved themselves as the rockstars of tap dance. These two groups were made to battle it out.

The Bradas brought bigger and better tricks and included more dance than in their last performance. The Jam Project brought the rhythm and noise with their tap performance. Watching this performance, you didn’t want to blink or you’d miss one of their carefully crafted rhythms. With only a 1.4 point difference, The Bradas won this duel with an average score of 89.7 while The Jam Project went home with an 88.3.

Eva Igo vs. Avery and Marcus

This season Eva Igo is back, and she isn’t playing around with making it to the top of the competition. For her duel, Eva chose to go up against Avery and Marcus. Two against one might not seem fair, but we all know Eva Igo has the strength and passion of a whole team of dancers.

Eva was first up for this duel with one of her signature contemporary performances. If there is one thing Eva has mastered since last season, it is even more powerful and connected performances. The judges wanted to see something more structured from her, but they were astounded by the emotion she brought out on stage. Avery and Marcus followed this with a contemporary ballet performance (plus pointe!) that reminded the judges why they made it through to this round. In the end, the act moving on to the next round with a score of 93.3 was Avery and Marcus, surprisingly, Eva Igo went home with a clsoe score of 92.

This week fourteen acts went into The Duels and seven came out. The dance battles continue next week with even more incredible acts (and even more tear-filled goodbyes). Until then,we’ll just have to cross our fingers that our favorites make it through.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.