The pressure was on John Wesley Austin to do something different on “World of Dance” Sunday night.
He lived up to the challenge, but it wasn’t good enough to automatically move to the series finale this coming Sunday.
Austin will have to wait until the May 5 broadcast to see if his was chosen as the wild card pick to remain competing for the $1 million prize.
The Farmington native – known as Poppin John – was one of the Top 3 in the upper division and choreographed a “Matrix”-like routine to Common’s “Universal Mind Control (UMC).”
Donning a baseball cap and a metallic half-trench coat, Austin glided his way across the floor, hitting his moves precisely while keeping the audience and judges entertained.
The 34-year-old New Mexico native is considered one of the best in the world at his style of pop and lock.
Judge Derek Hough told Austin that this was his best routine of the whole season.
Austin replied, “This is a hard style to appreciate and I’m so happy that I’m here representing for poppers and street dance.”
Meanwhile, judge Jennifer Lopez said Austin’s routine took her back to her childhood in New York.
“You take it to a higher level and you elevate that memory for me,” she said. “Thank you for that.”
He scored a 95, but was beaten out by Briar Nolet, who earned a 95.3 in the same division.
Austin said the days leading up to the divisional final were full of pressure, though his wife helped make it easier.
“Having my wife with me through this whole process, it’s been really special,” he said in the broadcast. “And if I can get into the finals that can be a life-changer. We’re ready to have kids and, if I win this competition, that would give us the opportunity to afford a house, start a family. I’m here to win and this round can change everything.”