World of Dance Season 4 has a disappointing new audition format

WORLD OF DANCE -- "Qualifiers" Episode 401 -- Pictured: (l-r) Ne-Yo, Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)
WORLD OF DANCE -- "Qualifiers" Episode 401 -- Pictured: (l-r) Ne-Yo, Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC) /

World of Dance Season 4 premiered with disappointing new qualifying rules

With the recent premiere of World of Dance Season 4 on NBC, dance-loving viewers should have been excited to see the return of one of the best dance competitions on television. Unfortunately, there have been some less-than-enticing changes to the Qualifiers.

In a move that should have put more focus on the talent and less on the production, the series’s audition round was moved from the flashy World of Dance stage to a more scaled-down warehouse area. Jennifer Lopez, fresh off her Super Bowl appearance, explained how much time she and her back-up dancers had spent rehearsing in a similar space to prepare for the Pepsi Halftime Show.

The purpose of using the smaller stage for Qualifiers was to make sure World of Dance contestants “earned” their move to the bigger stage in a similar manner to what J-Lo and her dancers had done.

This effort to require dancers to work to make it to the big stage was the only refreshing change, especially considering the usual set is, at times, so overly bedazzled that it distracts from the actual performances.

World of Dance
WORLD OF DANCE — “Qualifiers” Episode 401 — Pictured: Jefferson y Adrianata — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/NBC) /

Dropping Qualifiers scores makes World of Dance just like other dance shows

Somewhat inexplicably, World of Dance Season 4 no longer has a minimum qualifying score for dancers to advance to the Duels. In fact, scoring has been completely dropped from the Qualifiers. Now, dancers are put through to the next round by having a majority of judges give them a “Yes.”

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If that sounds exactly like the audition process for a certain other dance competition series, that’s because it is. Of course, we’re apparently no longer allowed to mention said series on World of Dance.

Former So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation contestant, Leon “Kida” Burns, appeared in the World of Dance Season 4 premiere; but his 4.1 million followers (at the time of taping—they’re now up over 4.3 million) were due to a childhood appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and not any other TV series.

As question-worthy or controversial as some scores have been, at least having clear judging criteria and some sort of logical “ranking,” so to speak, of dancers has always made this series stand out. But, at least until the next round, that’s gone.

Why did Jefferson y Adrianata make it through to the Duels after receiving negative feedback when compared with a previous season’s act, while GRVMNT only made it as far as callbacks with somewhat similar critiques? There’s no way compare, so it’s anyone’s guess.

World of Dance
WORLD OF DANCE — “Qualifiers” Episode 401 — Pictured: GRVMNT — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/NBC) /

The World of Dance Season 4 premiere also had wasted airtime

Sure, this show has always had some clips of dancers backstage with the host or introducing themselves. But when, exactly, has World of Dance spent so much time on joke acts and “Judges Eating Junk Food” segments?

At least when Jenna Dewan was hosting, the backstage clips involved one dancer talking to another. Now, they just feel like they’re around to waste as much time as possible, which makes less than zero sense. Were there so few watchable auditions that nothing else could be added to the final cut? That’s doubtful, at best.

World of Dance
WORLD OF DANCE — “Qualifiers” Episode 401 — Pictured: The Williams Fam — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC) /

And speaking of an apparent lack of good footage to air for Qualifiers, why did we spend so much time with the “single and ready to mingle” dude-bros from The Williams Fam?

If it was just to let World of Dance viewers know that Derek Hough has a TikTok, or that such acts are appreciated but not necessarily always of professional caliber, we’re pretty sure we already knew both of those things.

Far be it for anyone to expect a series with “Dance” literally in the title to stay focused on the dancing for the full hour. World of Dance used to be a shining example of how to approach this, but well, the fourth season isn’t looking promising at this point. Here’s hoping things improve.

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What did you think of the World of Dance Season 4 premiere? Did you like the new rules or miss the old stage?

World of Dance airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.