Going into the “World of Dance’ Divisional Final there seemed to be one safe bet: Karen y Ricardo. The Latin cabaret dancers had been overwhelming the competition all season, scoring a then-unprecedented 99.7 during the Qualifiers, then 98.3 during the Duels, and then 99 during the Cut. No one else in the Upper Division came close to those numbers. So did they live up to their own hype in this last proving ground before the World Final? Watch their routine above and let us know what you thought.
Their performance to “Bemba Colora” by Celia Cruz was no less impressive than their previous work on the show, even demonstrating brand new moves that seemed like they should be physically impossible, like one where Ricardo spun Karen horizontally behind his back — they called that the “chicken roast.” And judges Derek Hough and Ne-Yo gave them standing ovations for the faultless performance.
“It was, again, another stellar performance from you guys,” said Jennifer Lopez. Hough “was a little worried” that Karen y Ricardo’s style would lose its appeal after seeing it multiple times, but “I don’t get tired of seeing quality dancing.” Guest judge Misty Copeland thought “everything came together so beautifully.” And Ne-Yo agreed that it was “amazing start to finish.”
And yet … it wasn’t enough. They averaged 95.3, which would have been an exemplary score for most dancers (and it was a higher score than the Junior Division and Upper Team Division winners received), but it was a big step down for this pair, even though they didn’t make any discernible mistakes. While Hough said he doesn’t get tired of seeing quality dancing, I wonder if maybe a little bit of the magic wore off after seeing them four times.
Meanwhile, contemporary soloist Michael Dameski has ranged from softness to fierceness, and in his Divisional Final routine he showed a completely different side of his artistry — the ninja side. Dameski’s intensity and his versatility earned him a score of 97.8, which was his highest score all season, and it came just when he needed it the most.
Did you agree with the judges scores? Or did Karen y Ricardo really deserve to advance to the World Final. Vote in our poll below to let us know what you thought of this shocking outcome.