by Gina B.
SO many season finales lately! This is the time of year where network television normally gets boring, but we actually have exciting new programming to get us through the summer.
We recently got the opportunity to sit down with Ne-Yo to discuss his new show -- World of Dance -- which debuts on NBC, on May 30th! He has removed his signature hat, and joined fellow judges Derek Hough and Jennifer Lopez for this new dance competition show.
If you follow dancers, you might have heard of WOD, which began in 2008 as a solo event, became an international urban dance competition with a popular presence on YouTube, and has now been turned into a network series.
It took a very special show to attract Ne-Yo's attention. He had taken a break to spend time with his new wife and baby, and when he returned to the scene, he was ready to return to the music. But when he learned more about the show, his interest was piqued.
"A lot of people don't really know this," Ne-Yo explained, "but dancers are NOT paid well. At all." Even the dancers who go on world tours with some of the biggest artists in the business are not well paid, and don't achieve notoriety despite being incredible performers in their own right. What drew him to the show was the opportunity to give dancers the "respect, recognition and financial compensation that they so absolutely deserve."
So what separates this show from other dance competition shows? According to Ne-Yo, it's the caliber of talent. "You have to be the best of the best to touch this stage. There are some dancers that you may have heard of before, and some that you've never heard of, but literally every single person on show is the best at what they do." Also? The $1M grand prize is a life altering amount of money, and made all of the competitors go even harder for the win.
Contestants were selected from a global pool of professionals and are categorized in three buckets: Juniors (any size act, 17 and younger), Upper (groups of 1-4, 18 and older) and Team (groups of 5+, 18 and older).
As an R&B singer/songwriter, Ne-Yo's contribution to the qualified panel of judges that includes professional dancers along with classically-trained host/mentor Jenna Dewan Tatum, goes beyond the technical aspects of dancing. As he describes it, "I'm looking for the passion. I'm looking for the person who's dancing like his or her life depends on it. The person who dances because they have no choice -- they have no option but to dance. I need to see that on your face. I need to feel that from your body as you perform. That's what I'm looking for."
He promises that viewers will experience 10 unprecedented episodes of amazing dancers and a nail-biting competition.
Tune in or set your DVRs for tomorrow night on NBC, and prepare for a summer of dance!
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