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Dance tilt jurors don’t let contestants’ drama cloud their judgment

By: - Reporter
/ 12:40 AM March 19, 2019

Billy Crawford, Gary Valenciano, Maja Salvador, Pia Wurtzbach

I don’t judge their dances based on the drama. I base it on how they express the drama through their dance. That’s how it’s always been from the very start.”

This was according to Gary Valenciano, one of three judges in the weekly reality competition “World of Dance Philippines,” which features dance performers, including solo acts and larger groups, representing any style of dance.

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Gary, Billy Crawford and Maja Salvador discussed with the Inquirer what their considerations are in terms of choosing which contestants are a cut above the rest. This is because, setting the competition aside, the performers also share their sources of inspiration, challenges and personal stories with each other, as well as with the judges.

“What I look forward to is seeing them rise above their personal problems, come to the stage and perform with their heart and soul,” Gary pointed out. “That’s when you see how worthy they are of being called champions. I always compare them to my favorite basketball team. The Golden State Warriors are champions, but once in a while, they lose a game. This doesn’t mean they’re no longer champions. If they work harder, there will come another opportunity to prove that they truly are winners.”

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When the judges “go beyond” contestants’ emotionally charged stories, Billy observed, “that’s when we become technical about the dance. We can’t help but get moved by a performance. We don’t allow emotions to dictate our judging. The three of us always talk. We communicate to each other because we all want to be on the same page, especially because we’re talking about people’s dreams here. We help them succeed and fulfill their dreams.”

Maja said she would often get “emotionally attached” to a contestant when she could relate to his or her story. “I remind myself not to let that happen. I have to focus on the performance, the dance,” she stressed. “I am very honest with them in terms of what I see. When I point out their errors, I see in their faces that they also know their mistakes.”

Maja said that being a judge had taught her a lot. It has also made her more conscious of how she performs. “I would often catch myself checking if I’m doing my dance routine correctly, whether or not I’m ahead of, or behind the beat,” she explained.

For her part, former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, who cohosts “World of Dance” with Luis Manzano, said she was sure she was the one who learned the most.

“Luis is someone to look up to when it comes to hosting. Not only is he good in both English and Tagalog, he’s also able to easily shift from being funny to serious,” said Pia. “Sometimes, I find myself observing him. We’re always apart. I’m often seen backstage, because I send off the contestants to him. I watch him on the TV monitor so that when the contestants return to me, I already know what to do.”

Luis, meanwhile, said that the moment a person thinks there’s nothing new for him to learn, “that’s when everything goes downhill.”

“No matter how good you think you are, or how good people say you are, you should always aspire for self-improvement,” he said. “As with Pia, there’s something new to learn in every new partnership, in every new show. As each taping progresses, I learn how Pia and I can become the perfect partners.”

“World of Dance” airs every Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN.

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TAGS: Billy Crawford, Gary Valenciano, Maja Salvador, Pia Wurtzbach, World of Dance
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