We’re just one week away from the season 3 premier of World of Dance (February 26, 2019), a.k.a. your soon-to-be obsession that allows you to live vicariously through the world’s most talented dancers.
And while you silently critique the competition from the comfort of your couch, three smooth-moving stars will be holding nada back as they do the real judging onstage.
But wait, who are the World of Dance judges this season?
Well, if you’re a die-hard WOD fan, you’ll be happy to know your faves are back and better than ever. OG judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, and Derek Hough are all returning for their third season with the show. (On the hosting side, Jenna Dewan is not coming back—whomp whomp—but Access Live host Scott Evans is ready to take over the show.)
Judge #1: Jennifer Lopez
Jenny from the Block is bringing the heeeeeat this season—as she does with literally everything (including her red-hot relationship with A. Rod). Aside from being a judge, she’s also a producer on the show, which makes her twice as passionate about shining a spotlight on the world’s best dance talent. In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, she said, “[World Of Dance is] honestly one of the most entertaining things that I get to do in my work. I feel like I have a front row seat to the best show ever… Seeing all these young dancers—they do death-defying tricks, the emotion that they bring, the passion that they bring—everything about it, to me, is exciting.”
Even if you have two left feet (*raises hand*), just imagining the chance to perform in front of the actress, fashion designer, dance superstar, singing sensation, entrepreneur, humanitarian (the resume goes on) is enough to make ya sweat. And J.Lo is beyond ready to make the talent werk for it. She wants only the best of the best this season, and she’s already recruited some past contestants to perform on her upcoming tour, “It’s My Party: The Live Celebration.” The stakes couldn’t be any higher.
Judge #2: Ne-Yo
The Grammy Award-winning singer first made his mark in 2006 with R&B hit “So Sick,” but he also has a fair share of TV and film credits like Empire, Stomp the Yard, and Save the Last Dance. Those last two introduced the world to his “so sick” dance moves.
Today, he’s still breaking it down in the YouTube series “Step Up: High Water,” inspired by the classic Step Up movies (ugh, young Channing Tatum). FYI: Season 2 premieres on March 20.
Watch Ne-Yo rave about fellow judge J.Lo’s Grammy performance:
And if he didn’t already win your heart with his smooth vocals, his passion for WOD will def do that now. “Finally, here’s a show that gives dancers the respect, recognition, and the financial compensation they so absolutely deserve,” Ne-Yo told the Chicago Defender.
Judge #3: Derek Hough
Yup, Hough, as in brother to celeb dancer Julianne Hough. So, you might say dancing runs in the family. Since his first lesson at age 11, Derek’s gone on to win Dancing With the Stars six (!!) times, score two Emmys for his choreography, and, nbd, write a New York Times best seller.
Oh, and he also recently produced his own solo tour:
No stranger to competition or star talent (he’s tangoed with everyone from Maria Menounos to Amber Riley), Derek’s well-versed on the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into scoring a spot on the stage. Odds are that’ll play a big role in his judging. So don’t expect too many harsh comments from his chair—he’s up there to be “supportive,” according to an interview with TVInsider.
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