FHS grad makes 'The Cut,' moves to next round of NBC's 'World of Dance'

Adrian Gomez
Albuquerque Journal
Farmington native John Austin, a.k.a. Poppin John, is competing on the third season of NBC-TV's "World of Dance."

ALBUQUERQUE — Donning a fedora, a button-up shirt and sneakers, John Wesley Austin showed up to "World of Dance" to leave his heart on the floor.

And he did.

On Sunday night, the Farmington native competed in "The Cut" round of the NBC dancing competition.

He was the last of the six upper division contestants to compete on the show. The top three move onto the next round; the other three were eliminated.

After his emotional performance, Austin scored a 95, securing him second place in the upper division.

Austin, known professionally as Poppin John, choreographed his routine to "Painting Greys" by Emmit Fenn. He dedicated the performance to his wife.

Austin used a heart-shaped balloon as part of his routine.

"This represents love," he said in the episode while getting mentored by judge Derek Hough.

The 34-year-old New Mexico native is considered one of the best in the world at his style of pop and lock. His talents have taken him to many places over the course of 20 years.

He's amassed more than 200 million views of his dance videos across multiple platforms.

"My style has been put in a box," Austin told Hough. "I'm hoping this will tell an emotional story."

John Austin competes Sunday on NBC's "World of Dance" show during a performance he dedicated to his wife.

Austin choreographed the piece for his wife, who he met in Mexico 14 years ago.

"She didn't speak English. I didn't speak Spanish," he said. "I paid for our wedding by street dancing."

After his performance, Austin became emotional over the presence of his wife in the audience.

"She left behind everything for me to pursue my career," he said.

Judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Hough were left speechless by his performance.
Hough praised Austin's vulnerability in the routine.

Lopez credited Austin for making everyone feel something with the routine.

But it was Ne-Yo who gave Austin the most encouraging words.

"You have a realistic shot at this million dollars," Ne-Yo told him.