This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason The show doesn't premiere until a few days after this post's publication; we got a screener.
Should You Let World Of Dance Hoof Its Way Into Your Heart?
The new dance competition from producer Jennifer Lopez really seems to want to cram the entire world of dance into this ten-week show.
What Is This Thing?
World Of Dance is a ten-episode summer dance competition that head judge Jennifer Lopez compares to "the Olympics of dance." From the looks of it and the fact that it's on NBC, "The Voice but for dance" might also be a handy descriptor.
When Is It On?
It premieres May 30 and will air Tuesdays at 10 PM ET on NBC, right after...I'm gonna guess America's Got Talent? (I checked, I was right.)
Why Was It Made Now?
With So You Think You Can Dance hoofing out its last season (...we think.....probably), Dancing With The Stars looking similarly long in the tooth, and America's Best Dance Crew somehow long since cancelled, the TV landscape could use an infusion of energy into its dance programming.
What's Its Pedigree?
Jennifer Lopez isn't only the head judge and centerpiece of the marketing, she's also the executive producer. Also, "World of Dance" is a global brand in and of itself, holding dance competitions all over the world for almost a decade.
As the other two judges, Ne-Yo doesn't make a whole ton of sense as a dance judge, but he was pretty good fairly recently in NBC's The Wiz Live!, so who's gonna complain? Derek Hough -- Emmy winner and all-around golden boy from Dancing With The Stars -- rounds out the judging trio. As a host, Jenna Dewan Tatum is no Cat Deeley, functioning more like the Erin Andrewses and Brooke Burkes of the DWTS universe.
Give this to World Of Dance: they really want to showcase dancing. There are obviously the requisite getting-to-know-you segments with the upcoming contestants, but the actual dance performances get a lot of highlight. The early focus on big dance crews bodes well for a show looking to fill an underserved niche, and the fact that they have no problem lifting dancers who were already great on shows like Dance Crew only serves to bolster that Olympics-of-dance feeling. Also -- and I've thought this since her American Idol days -- Jennifer Lopez makes a great judge for a show like this. She's supportive but smart, and she not only critiques the dancing but the whole strategy of trying to be successful on TV. Of one clog-dancing troupe, for example, she says that now that they've done essentially the one clog routine this show will likely ever feature, they need to add a lot more bells and whistles if they want to stand out.
In addition, scoring dancers on a 100-point scale -- and using an actual rubric that evaluates five elements (performance, technique, choreography, creativity, and presentation) -- is admirably transparent.
Oh my, is this show ever busy. You get the sense that they're taking the title of the show literally and trying to cram the entire world of dance into one show. It's just too many things ever to feel like it's telling one satisfying story. Trying to do juniors and hip-hop crews and ballroom AND weirdo stuff like clog-dancing all in one hour is an impossible task, and the over-produced nature of the show doesn't help much either.
The rules of the competition are similarly extra. Dancers will compete in one of three categories (juniors, adults in numbers of four or fewer, or groups of five or more) and across five rounds (qualifiers, duels, something called "The Cut," the divisional final, and the world final) in order to arrive at the title of world's best dancer(s). The dance styles range from hip-hop to ballroom to tap to clogging, and that was just the first episode. We've also heard there will be tap and contemporary styles. It's not just that judging between them will be like measuring apples and oranges; it's that it's nearly impossible to get the audience into a rhythm while jumping around to all these different divisions.
And while Lopez is good, Hough is a bit of a showboat, and Ne-Yo's critiques amount to a lot of vague "I just need more from you" nonsense.
As a quick ten-week hit of dance, this will probably tide you over. But in trying to be all things to all fans of dance shows, it's probably fragmenting itself to the point where it's neither fish nor fowl. Jennifer Lopez superfans and dance-crew die-hards might want to take a look, since those were the the parts of the show that get the most attention. Everyone else can probably just ride out the (likely) last season of So You Think You Can Dance and cry.