SALT LAKE CITY — For Springville dance duo Charity Anderson and Andres Penate, it all came down to .7 points on Wednesday night.
Going into the “World of Dance” Divisional Finals round, the 18-year-old dancers still held the record of being the only ones to earn a combined perfect score.
Coming out of last night’s round crowned the Junior Division champions, the Utah dancers remain the only ones with a perfect score to their name. Although they earned one of their lower scores last night — a still impressive 93 — the score was just enough to get them to next week’s World Final.
Last week, the duo’s main obstacle was overcoming the feeling they had to live up to that perfect score. The dancers’ obstacle last night was much more painful — literally: Anderson had to leap across the stage with a broken toe.
A clip aired before the duo’s performance showed how Anderson broke a toe on her left foot — her dominant foot — just four days before the Divisional Finals performance.
“I didn’t even want to think about jumping out of this competition because we’ve come so far,” Anderson said in the clip.
So instead of backing out, the dancer used those four days to adjust to her right foot being the dominant one. Wednesday night’s performance saw her walking out on stage in a bandaged foot.
“This is a fight to the death right now, that’s what this is,” judge Ne-Yo said before the pair launched into their rhythmic, leap-filled dance to Halsey’s “Castle.”
Upon finishing the routine, Anderson quickly gained even more respect from the judges, who commented on her bandaged foot and learned she was pushing through the pain and performing with a broken toe.
“That makes what just happened that much better for me,” Ne-Yo said.
Jennifer Lopez called the duo’s routine “amazing,” and the pair’s combined score of 93 put them just .7 points above hip-hop fusion duo Sean and Kaycee. Unfortunately for “World of Dance” fans in Utah, the Springville duo’s high score means that American Fork dancer Jaxon Willard is also going home.
Willard earned a combined score of 87.8 for his stirring routine to Johnny Manuel’s “Blind Faith.” After finishing his dance, the contemporary dance soloist told the judges the routine was about self-discovery.
“I’m just trying to figure out who I am as a person,” Willard said. “As long as I rely on blind faith, I know it’s going to be OK.”
The judges only had words of encouragement for the young dancer.Comment on this story
“Beyond this show, beyond dance, beyond anything, you are enough and you always have been,” Utah native and judge Derek Hough told Willard. “I’m really proud of you and I think you’re a phenomenal dancer.”
“Jaxon, I’m proud of the confidence that you found in yourself,” Ne-Yo said as the dancer learned his ride on “World of Dance” was over. “I thank you for allowing us to be a part of that.”
Anderson and Penate compete Wednesday, Sept. 12, against the three other division finalists for a shot at the $1 million prize.
“The performance of your lives for a million dollars — so no pressure,” Hough joked with them.
The NBC show's finale will air Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. MDT.