I guess I'm in the minority here because I enjoyed the 'duels' format a hell of a lot more than the hot mess that was the qualifiers. I think it has promise as a competitive premise for one thing - makes the scores of the qualifiers actually mean something which they should have better communicated last time. I also like the behind-the-scenes peek at the strategies each side was pursuing to beat their competitor and some of the judges commentary during that segment had relevance to dance.
Agreed with all the winners besides the team since I disliked both. The swing number was ok, but not something I even remember. The other team was just so frantic I couldn't process it.
Fikshun v. Nick - Nick blew it, hands down. Flexibility is great but contemporary is about communicating emotion and a story along with the technique and there was none of that. In this case, a hip hop soloist has an advantage because that genre IS more about tricks, showy moves, and entertaining.
Kyntay vs. Eva - I must have sat through waaaaay too many junior solo routines because neither the costume nor dance caused me to raise an eyebrow. Here, I guessed the outcome but not from 'fixing' - a good jazz/contemp solo is almost always going to beat out an equally good hip hop duo. As the otherwise useless 'host' said - soloists can show off their abilities without having to worry about synchronizing which always brings the score down. Every competition I've been at, 9 times out of 10 the highest scoring routine in a category (including duos, trios, and groups) is a solo. A few too many 'look how flexible' I am moves for my tastes, but unlike Nick she danced through them and channeled emotion suited to the song without it coming across as fake. Overall, though, I still think kid dancers lack the maturity physically and emotionally to compete against adults.
Keonie and Marie vs. QuickStyle - I was afraid QS would win. I liked them, but for me dance is all about the emotion being conveyed. Since it is such a physical energy, it can be really difficult to convey that emotion through a TV screen (especially when the camera angles are wonky and they keep breaking to the judges reaction) but K&M got me. I could barely watch QS because my heart was still pitter-pattering from the strength of their connection with each other. Really hope they do well as they move against the more popular acts.