Dance and rap duo Ayo & Teo will serve as the hosts and judges of Quibi’s new dance competition show, The Sauce, airing on Monday (April 6).
The brothers were first welcomed into the spotlight by Usher, who noticed their dancing talent over social media, and invited them to perform with him at the 2016 BET awards. Starting from humble beginnings in Ann Abor, Michigan, the pair now live in Atlanta and are best known for their 2017 hit, “Rolex,” which landed at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Now, Ayo & Teo have been tapped by Usher once again for The Sauce.
The new series will follow the brothers as they explore the unique dance cultures of various cities across the U.S., finding and teaching the freshest online talent who will then compete head-to-head for a cash prize.
RealStreetRadio spoke to the duo ahead of the show’s launch date to discuss everything from their distinctive talents and TikTok challenges, to working with Usher and what fans can look forward to on The Sauce.
RealStreetRadio: Talk to me about your first big hit, “Rolex”, and how your life changed after that.
Ayo & Teo: It’s still overwhelming, even now, years later. It was a hit, and it’s still doing well. It gets millions of streams still. And it’s crazy that we were just having fun and the result was, we made a song like that. We were looking at it like, “we already know how to dance, we have the fans,” and we tied the music thing, and it went crazy. It’s just going to forever go.
RealStreetRadio: So before that, you initially intended to be a dancer or musician?
Ayo & Teo: We were always creative, it was both. We really didn’t choose one thing. When we first got into music, Teo was a singer, Ayo was rapping, but we would also dance together and win talent shows. We got more serious with dancing as we got older. We’re very multitalented and our parents put us in lots of activities growing up — anime clubs, drawing, instruments. We played piano, trombone. We had talents our whole life but our dad didn’t let us have wifi. When we were like 14, finally we got online and were able to share our talents with the world.
RealStreetRadio: Since you’re so multi-talented, is there one thing one of you is good at, one isn’t good at?
Ayo & Teo: We’re both good at a lot, but we played different instruments. Teo played piano. I [Ayo] can play but not by ear. I [Ayo] played trombone. And for dancing, we have more muscle strength in certain areas, but overall it’s equal.
RealStreetRadio: Do you guys get competitive with one another?
Ayo & Teo: We’re real brothers, so we do what we do. Of course the comments are going to discuss us, they’re going to say who did better — but that don’t mean nothing. We’re real brothers.
RealStreetRadio: Who was your inspiration, growing up? Was Usher one of them?
Ayo & Teo: Growing up we watched Usher, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, James Brown, Otis Redding. Our parents had all that on VCR.
RealStreetRadio: You were in the “No Limit” video even before “Rolex” came out. How did you first link up with Usher?
Ayo & Teo: He was the first big big celebrity who hit us up, he found us online. He flew us from Michigan to L.A. to perform with him at the 2016 BET awards, and that’s when we did the [“No Limit”] music video. I [Teo] didn’t get to perform because I was too young and I didn’t know about the talent permits until the day before the show.
RealStreetRadio: How is working with Usher?
Ayo & Teo: It’s butter. That’s our big brother. We’ve known him almost five years now, so it’s really solid. He’s fun, he always wants to play Fortnite with us. His choreography is really hard. He’s the first to have formally taught us choreography, he taught us to dance to every beat, hi-hat. [For the tour] We had to learn that in three days, it was 12 hour days. He brought us to Tampa, to the Barclay’s center on tour — everywhere! It all helped us prepare for when our song took off, and we toured for ourselves.
RealStreetRadio: Why do you think he called on you guys? What sets you guys apart from the other viral dancers?
Ayo & Teo: There’s battle dancers, Instagram dancers, choreographers. We’re more like performance, freestyle, and we used to battle dance too. We’re more high energy, we bring that energy into any trend or style. That’s what makes people want to practice and pay attention to what we’re doing. Dancing’s evolved so much due to social media, we’ve brought so many styles into Instagram, the net. What we do is something people really have to practice. When we came onto the scene in 2013, 2014, we already came with so much knowledge. And that’s when artists started approaching us, too.
RealStreetRadio: So, what do you think of the TikTok movement?
Ayo & Teo: We’ve had a really close relationship with Triller since 2014. They weren’t really a [popular] thing until Triller hit us up and asked us to get on it. We brought them a bunch of users. We started all the dance trends on music.ly [TikTok used to be music.ly]. We do currently use both. It helps us out too, because at the beginning of our career, Triller had us open for Jermaine Dupri at The Roxy.
RealStreetRadio: There’s been dance competition shows out there before (So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew). How is The Sauce different?
Ayo & Teo: We grew up watching all those, and when Quidi hit us up about this we were excited. This is something we always talked about doing, one day. The difference with this show is the real editing, the graphics are crazy, so lit. The way it’s shot in the street. It’s done like a real street competition. And it’s about the youth, just seeing all that energy on the street.
RealStreetRadio: Do you feel like you learn from the dancers in each city?
The way the show works, we show them [contestants] moves, they then have to incorporate our three power moves in their own style. They really learn from us, as dancers we know so much, we’re teaching them really advanced moves, so seeing them do it back to us is really fun. It was fun to watch them learn. There were a couple dancers that are really, really good — that’s all we can say, we don’t want to give it away.
RealStreetRadio: I don’t want you to give away the episodes too much, but, what city was your favorite to visit?
Ayo & Teo: California and Atlanta. Atlanta was hype. We can’t wait for everyone to see that one. We live here, and that’s where the main sauce is. All the dancing trends are from here. The Nae Nae, the Draw. And the sound everyone gravitates towards — Young Thug, Gunna, that’s all Atlanta.
RealStreetRadio: I saw a guest judge, Blocboy JB for the Memphis episode. Do most episodes have a guest?
Ayo & Teo: Yes, every episode has a guest judge, and just good guest dancers in the sessions. If you ever watch our videos, we do big sessions with our friends. It’s similar to that.
RealStreetRadio: Who else can fans look forward to seeing in the show?
Ayo & Teo: We got Atlanta’s own Lil Keed, we got Dillon Francis, we’re not going to say too much more though. Of course we got Usher himself at the L.A. finale. But it’s going to be a lot. Fans gotta tune in.
RealStreetRadio: And lastly, apart from working on this show, do you plan on releasing more music?
Yes, we have over 150 songs. We have a lot in store. We made a lot of promises to our fans. It’s coming!
Fans can catch the 10-minute episodes by downloading the Quibi app, and otherwise can follow the twins to see them bring music to life with their dance videos.