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Spoilers ahead for the June 9 episode of World of Dance Season 2 on NBC.
NBC is the place to be in summer TV when it comes to reality competition shows, with offerings ranging from the glitz and glamor of America's Got Talent to the more subdued but satisfying Songland. A standout has to be Jennifer Lopez's World of Dance, however. Lopez is on board as executive producer as well as judge alongside fellow dance superstars Ne-Yo and Derek Hough. In some ways, World of Dance follows the expected formula of a competition show, but it stands out in a way that really works this season thanks to the Callbacks.
For Season 4, World of Dance introduced the Callbacks round of competition, which comes between the Qualifiers and the Duels. The dancers who absolutely blow the minds of the judges right off the bat are sent straight from the Qualifiers to the Duels, but sometimes the judges see dancers who seem almost-but-not-quite great enough to duel their way toward the top prize. In Season 1, they would have had to either send home dancers who might just have needed one more chance or advanced somebody who actually peaked with their first performance.
Enter the Callbacks. World of Dance's Callbacks stage gives the judges the option of bringing back the dancers they're uncertain about for another try to blow their minds. Instead of having to give a hard "yes" or "no" on absolutely everybody, the judges have a middle ground.
While it seemed possible back when this new feature was first announced that the judges might fall back on the Callbacks a little too heavily rather than send people home, the latest episode proved that Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, and Derek Hough still put plenty of thought into their decisions and stick to their guns. They don't advance everybody right off the bat, but they also don't send everybody home, and it's working.
Admittedly, World of Dance is only a couple episodes into Season 4 and hasn't even gotten to the Callbacks stage yet, so it's possible that I'll be eating my words within weeks because the Callbacks option has some kind of flaw that I'm not seeing just yet. At this point, however, I'm all in on the Callbacks and am looking forward to seeing some of the middling dancers take their second shot and show how they took (or didn't take) the judges' constructive criticism into account.
The incorporation of the Callbacks stage in the fourth season (which already had a big change from Season 3) also shows that the World of Dance team is willing to try new things and let the show evolve rather than potentially grow stagnant with season after season of the same format. The Callbacks will mix things up without changing what has made World of Dance such a hit so far, and I for one am excited to see what happens in the rest of Season 4.
The Young Cast dance group were the first ones to be sent to the Callbacks stage in this episode, which was especially touching considering their journey over the years. They had been trying since World of Dance Season 2 to make it to the Qualifiers, and finally made it in Season 4. They weren't sent to the Duels, but they will get a second shot at advancing in Season 4. What's not to love about that?