There was no one competing on “World of Dance” this season more fearsome than Latin cabaret duo Karen y Ricardo in the Upper Division. They steamrolled over everyone in the preceding rounds, so going into the Divisional Final Michael Dameski and Ashley and Zack had their work cut out for them. Dameski knew it was going to take a lot to pull off an upset against the front-runners, so he unleashed his inner ninja. Watch his performance above.
While preparing his routine and previewing it for his mentors Jennifer Lopez and Ciara he was advised to fully commit to the intense emotions of his choreography and really lose himself in the madness of his character, and he did just that. He danced with doubles of himself projected onto the screen behind him and delivered rhythmic and athletic movements that blended his contemporary dance style with an aggressive martial arts feel. And he used the lighting and staging to great effect to enhance the fractured mentality of his persona.
Dameski ended it with such a intense flourish that judge Derek Hough leaped out of his seat. “You’re so solid. You’re so artistic,” said Hough. “What’s so amazing about this performance was your character — the ninja, the warrior — at this stage of the competition was a perfect character to choose.” Ne-Yo thought Dameski needed to “give us perfection” in order to even have a chance against Karen y Ricardo, but he accomplished that. And guest judge Misty Copeland told him, “You have it all.”
Dameski was the last performer in his division, so he had already seen how powerfully Karen y Ricardo threw down the gauntlet … But the ninja prevailed. In arguably the season’s biggest upset, Dameski earned his highest average score of the season (97.8, which included a perfect 100 from Ne-Yo), while Karen y Ricardo earned their lowest (a still-massive 95.3). Did you agree with that outcome? And do you think Dameski now deserves to win the World Final? Vote in our poll below to let us know.