*** YO, THIS IS A RECAP. SPOILERS.***
Week 2 of America’s Best Dance Crew Season 7: Return of the Superstars brings us Elektrolytes, RNG, Collizion Crew, Funkdation, and Mos Wanted Crew. Not only was I stoked about the crews on this episode, I was also glad that I got to watch the show on TV this week with my friendsies. This week, the crews took on the Flo Rida challenge and even had the chance to perform with the man himself in the group performance. After the opening number, Flo Rida jumped behind the judges table to offer some rather fluffy comments on the crews’ performances… and Lil Mama was a normal person again this week and that just brings joy to my heart. Onwards past the jump for summaries & comments!
Note: all the times refer to MTV’s full episode.
Opening Number – “Wild Ones”
Start Time – 1:01
Summary: RNG starts off the episode in animal masks and quickly takes them off. Collizion Crew follows up with good energy, with two members cartwheeling into perfectly synched backflips (1:37). Elektrolytes shows up and grooves on the steps with Flo Rida. Funkdation pops on the stage and does some fundamental hip-hop stuff before the camera cuts back to Flo Rida. Mos Wanted Crew mobs the judges table, hands them all some shades. At 2:11 for some reason the crowd is clawing at the air, pretending to be “Wild Ones,” I guess. Not my favorite. MWC hits the stage, throws up some hand signs for the Kub Skoutz & Contour Hooligans. The boys groove for a bit until Elektrolytes hits the center stage to do some stuff you can’t see because the camera zooms in on Flo Rida.
Thoughts: This is when I get really upset with MTV. The title of this show is America’s Best Dance Crew, and yet the opening number of this episode reduces all the dancers to background dancers. The group choreography was simple and not even fun to watch… and that was the point; the opener was all about Flo Rida. Despite all the political and questionable decisions, ABDC was monumental in bringing all these street styles into the public eye, giving dancers a chance to earn their own glory. This performance took several steps backwards, giving the vast majority of the camera time to Flo Rida and not the dancers. Not happy.
Elektrolytes – “Club Can’t Handle Me”
Start Time – 7:58
Note: You may notice that the banner that pops up with the Elektrolytes name and logo says they’re from Gilbert, Arkansas not Gilbert, Arizona.
Summary: Elektrolytes starts off with their main stunt from their Hip Hop International 2011 performance (hit 1:05 if you’re viewing the link) and pretty quickly moves into another group stunt (8:08). The energy picks up at 8:15 with the groove that transitions into a higher energy section… then we hit a pretty messy tutting section from, 8:20-8:22 that is pretty quickly followed by a weak locking section, 8:26-8:28. Personally I thought 8:32-8:36 was their strongest section. There’s a pretty well executed stunt, 8:43-8:46, but it resembles similar stunts by both Quest Crew and Poreotics.
Thoughts: I honestly expected a lot more from Elektrolytes, especially considering how well they’ve done at Hip Hop Internationals the last couple years. It wasn’t the fact that they didn’t pull out all the stops, or even the reuse of stunts that bothered me, but just the general sloppiness. These guys are capable of so much more and there’s no reason for that duck pond that happened at 8:26 – I’m calling it a duck pond because the ducks = not 90º angles and the pond was created by my resulting tears. Harsh, yes, but these guys are so much better than this. Not only did I find their performance underwhelming, but they did little to nothing to establish their personality on the show. All I remember is that they’re from the most boring town in the United States… and I’ve heard of these guys before. Step it up guys because I KNOW you have it in you.
RNG – “Right Round”
Start Time – 13:16
Summary: RNG walked on stage with plenty of steeze. The super fast section at 13:30-13:33 was pretty dope. Check out all the grime at 13:44 and hit the last beat really hard at 14:05.
Thoughts: Why the short summary? Well, I think the thing that really needs to be said about RNG is their presence. They absolutely murdered every moment of their choreography technically and had the faces to match. RNG is clearly absurdly talented dancers and certainly natural performers. Even Flo Rida was feeling their performance, though he may not have put it in the best terms.
Flo Rida: I gotta check some IDs.
Collizion Crew – “Low”
Start Time – 18:35
Summary: Collizion Crew starts off with a pretty simple groove, but then pulls out a big stunt at (18:48), pictured below. They played up the crowd and judges alike, 18:56/18:58 and 19:08. The shoulder isolations at 19:05 were on point. Gotta love the move at 19:24 to the line “gave that big booty a smack.” The ending with the karate chop was just killer.
Thoughts: I AM SO HAPPY COLLIZION CREW EXISTS. In many ways these guys are what Stepboys should be. They are entertaining and work gags into their sets, but they keep them to a minimum and don’t let that detract from their dancing. Their stunts are genuinely impressive and creative. CLZ’s technique and foundation is definitely there. YES. Just so much yes. Love these guys. They did a great job of showing off their style as well as their energy as a crew. Their fun-loving personality is very natural and not as low-brow and forced as the Stepboys. This was a great first impression which was crucial for these guys considering they’re one of the least well known crews on this season. If you haven’t checked it out already, check out my interview with Jeremy Strong to learn more about Collizion.
Funkdation – “Good Feeling”
Summary: This Mexican crew starts their performance with a rather adorable section where one member pretends to play the piano with the rest of the crew’s legs as the keys. There’s a pretty decent house section and some fairly impressive stuntwork. The couples section, 24:25-24:29, showcases some Latin flavors as well as Funkdation’s strong women. Unfortunately it is followed by a weak locking section right before the piece ends.
Thoughts: I liked the beginning, I thought it was artistic and fun, but I didn’t see the need to go back into that formation at the end of the piece. While Funkdation claims to be a crew rooted in fundamental hip-hop, their technique isn’t really there. The house is pretty good, but the locking leaves much to be desired. I wonder how much of this problem is due to a less-than-rich hip-hop environment that they come from. From the couples section, it’s pretty clear that the girls are strong movers, so the problem with their hip hop technique may just be that they are less familiar with it than the more Latin movements. A decent performance, but there’s certainly room for improvement. Funkdation came off as fun, but not the most memorable crew, in my opinion.
Mos Wanted Crew – “In the Ayer”
Start Time – 29:05
Summary: Mos Wanted starts off with some controlled grooves until Jawn Ha hits a spin at 29:12. Check the badass drop at 29:21. There’s a clever transition at 29:23 that plays with the word air. The boys hit a super fast section at 29:31 and then slow it down at 29:33. By far the coolest section in the set, 29:39-29:42 toys with the concept of air while doing some really cool partner stuff. MWC ends with Ricky Cole doing a front handspring into a flip while the rest of the crew hits a partial shablam.
Thoughts: Yes. I’m so happy that I’m not upset or disappointed. Not gonna lie, but I was worried that Mos Wanted’s talent wasn’t going to come across on national TV or that they wouldn’t have time to develop their concepts or movements fully in the minute they’re given. I was also stressed out because I thought that MWC might disappoint me like I.aM.mE. did in their first week last season. NEVER HAVE I BEEN MORE GLAD TO BE WRONG. The happiest.
1. Mos Wanted Crew
2. Collizion Crew
Battle: Mix’d Elements vs. Funkdation – “Turn Around”
Start Time – 36:10
Summary & Thoughts: If you pay close attention to what each crew is doing while the other crew is performing, Mix’d Elements is clearly the crew that’s more experienced in battles. Funkdation was pretty much sedentary and unresponsive while Mix’d Elements was performing which caused them to lose energy. I think that may have contributed to them getting off beat at 36:43. Note, though, that they didn’t recover from that and stayed out of sync for the rest of the battle. Honestly, I think the judges made the complete wrong decision here. Mix’d Elements was technically superior, more engaged, and significantly cleaner than Funkdation was.
Mix’d Elements’ battle sets demonstrated greater familiarity with street battles, like the human machine gun ending at 36:35. At 37:02, members of Mix’d Elements start mocking what Funkdation is doing, just like in a real battle. Mix’d Elements’ second battle set was super strong, pulling elements of early toprock at 37:19, some headspins (granted not the cleanest ever), a solo beat kill at 37:30, and a group beat kill at 37:38. In comparison, Funkdation’s second set was mostly composed of solos by the members that weren’t put together well and transitioned sloppily. Even the headhops at 37:49 that should have been an amazing moment were terribly stressful considering the slight slip that caused me to think I might witness a death on national television for a hot minute. I’m not sure what Funkdation was attempting at 37:55 and the popping section at 38:01-38:06 needed some SERIOUS work and the ending stunt was something we had already seen in their set earlier in the night.
Final Thoughts: The judges totally made the wrong call during the battle. There was such a huge difference in ability and it was totally unfair for Mix’d Elements to go home. This makes me even more irritated that Stepboys didn’t get placed 5th last week, especially now that Collizion does everything they do, but better. Overall, I’m glad Collizion and Mos Wanted did well, but the elimination was completely unfair.
Aaaaand that’s it for the week folks! Thanks for reading. Come back next week to see how the crews fair with Madonna!