Originally posted May 17th, 2012 on Intersections.
*** Spoilers, or not. ***
This week’s episode of America’s Best Dance Crew Season 7: Return of the Superstars featured some more “celebrities” (a.k.a. viewer rating ploys), namely Pitbull and the ICONic Boyz. Anyone else notice how MTV draws attention to anyone remotely famous sitting in the crowd?
Pitbull walks on stage & says some silly things. All the crews tackle ethnic dances this week (international love). Costumes were on point this week. Overall a solid week.
Weekly Lil Mama Fashion Report (taken from the BloggingABDC Play-by-Play):
42% of voters think she’s finally a grown up
48% miss her craziness
9% are confused about her wearing clothes
Group Number – “I Like How it Feels”
Summary: Ohai Mos Wanted Abs (0:06). Reveal ICONic Boyz at 0:11, only to forget how small they are. I like the umbrella shenanigans behind the boys at 0:25.
10:03 – NancyT (BloggingABDC): This is not dancing, this is Brownian motion
Don’t worry Nancy! I got your nerd jokes!
10:04 – Caballera del Diablo: the new (ICONic) boy came in extra small
Thoughts: I like! The choreography was less blah and just hype and fun! The stage was so crowded though, I’m surprised no one was punched in the face, or maybe that did happen, too many people to notice though. MUCH better than the Flo Rida Opening number.
Summary: The knee spin (0:12-0:14) at right on the “rumba, rumba, rumba” was dope, but what the other members did to frame it was elementary simple and didn’t even look that great. The transition into that section (0:07) was also slow and uninteresting. The guys circle up and get “kicked” in the head to these claps (0:16-0:18). Then there’s a weak group choreo section from 0:20-0:24, quickly followed by another focused pair doing capoeira stuff (0:26-0:30) framed by the other guys doing not enough to count as dancing, but just enough to be distracting. Cue another weak group choreography section from (0:40-1:00). Half the guys strip at 0:48. Really dope iso section followed by major flip from 1:00 till end.
Lil Mama: You guys did a good job not violating your partner.
Thoughts: JC thought that there was too much capoeira & repeated movement, and D-Trix agreed with him. Although he thinks they’re the most underrated crew this season, he thought that the challenge took control of them and that they didn’t own the challenge. I second these statements, but I also think that this performance exemplifies my issues with Elektrolytes in the context of this show. The first comment I made was that there was a really dope stunt, framed by elementary choreography. It seems like Elektro’s main focus is their stunts/wow moments, but at the sacrifice of their actual dancing. I mean, even though I said the choreography was really simple, the actual dancing sections were filled with half-hearted hits on obvious beats. They also spend so much time prepping a stunt and very little thought on hiding or disguising their prep work, so the moments end up being anticipated and less amazing. I also felt the framing of their stunts/moments weren’t great; a lot of the non-focus dancers were moving around too much and being distracting.
10:10 – NancyT (BloggingABDC): You know it’s a lame routine when they have to resort to taking their shirts off — quote from Sarah
Clearly these guys can dance (recall Ben MURDERING the routine last week), but it concerns me that it doesn’t seem to be something they’re all that worried about. This is America’s Best DANCE Crew, not America’s Best Stunt/Trick Crew. All that being said, these guys certainly know how to end a routine.
8 Flavahz – “Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor) ft. T-Pain”
Challenge: Can-can (France)
Summary: Angel is back this week, yay! Be strong, girl! 8F was doing some fancy and clean execution of kicks and turns from 0:08-0:11. The girls were doing the can-can (starts at 0:27), jumped, turned and dropped into the splits at 0:30. I like how the energy picked up when the girls rip off their skirts (0:40) and go into the twerking section.
Thoughts: Wow. These girls didn’t waste a second of that routine. Camren. Omgah. Ok, words, let’s put them together into sentences. First, the routine was mad clean and technically difficult. While Camren was the ringmaster/conductor, the rest of 8F didn’t just sit there idly, but killed it just as much as she did. This was also one of those routines that probably didn’t suffer from the camera cutting because the girls used the whole stage and were killing it no matter where they were in formation (check out everything that’s going on at 0:24).
I think what I like so much about 8F this week was that this routine, although it had similarities to FP’s routine last week and Elektro in style, these tiny little girls were able to beat these adults at their own game. Recall that a major problem I had with FP’s performance last week was how the energy was so much lower in the first 40s of the routine before the stripping. 8F had a costume change at roughly the same time, but the first costume didn’t detract from their performance. In fact, it was cool to see that the girls could perform in those big skirts (I can’t imagine how hard it would be to hide a mistake when the skirt follows your leg movement).
8F and Elektro get the same type of critiques in that they are both extremely stunt heavy crews. However, I’d argue that 8F is significantly cleaner and have better execution of their stunts. They have yet to fail a trick or stunt. Like I mentioned above, I was irritated how the uncleanliness of Elektro took away from the stunt they were trying to give focus. 8F’s non-spotlight dancers were moving considerably more than Elektro’s, but were perfectly in sync so that they didn’t distract from the focus, but still added to the dynamic of the performance. Let’s be honest, Elektro wasn’t moving for most of their performance, and it still looked messy. That just shouldn’t happen.
Imma say it again. Technical proficiency can do wonders for you on this show and 8F along with Mos Wanted are the crews to beat.
Mos Wanted Crew – “Give Me Everything ft. Ne-Yo”
Challenge: Barynya (Russian)
Summary: Opening section was HYPEEEEEE WATCH IT NOW (0:00-0:12). Failed hat trick at 0:12, but not major, pretty decent recovery as the judges pointed out. However, I didn’t like the walking to the back row at 0:15. I lol’d at the poses at 0:28.
D-Trix: Man, Lando, you look the part man… This could’ve been your best performance… it COULD HAVE. It’s not just dropping the ball, but how you react to it. Normally you look at the front, but if you look at the back and someone’s hurting from what happened then you guys just gave up on the brotherhood.
Thoughts: Opening was dooooope; the boys were going FULL OUT, which was nice to see. The transitions flowed and were good this week. The boys were hitting all the right beats. Those hats and costumes look reeallly stiff and uncomfortably warm, yuck. I think MWC also had arguably the hardest challenge. Yeah, I know capoeira is difficult with all the kicks and stuff, but Elektro is filled with trickers and bboys, so it was totally up their alley. This isn’t what MWC does at all and stuff like the Barynya that is so low to the ground is really physically taxing and the boys really utilized those levels, but kept them nice and stable and weren’t bouncing around all over the place. They only showed it briefly in the video package, but Bam was rubbing his knee. He injured his knee a couple months back and needed some serious rest and PT. I can’t believe he lasted through this week without his knee exploding. Be careful Bam!
@BrianPuspos: They would use the bad footage haha. We still killed it!!!@junquemado: I can’t believe they did that…
Word on the street is that MTV intentionally used the bad take of Mos Wanted’s performance this week. I understand everything the judges said and I agree that if you mess up, you don’t stop performing, but that isn’t what bothered me about the performance. The problem is that Mos Wanted had another weak ending to their routine; there was all this hype building that amounted to nothing but a couple of mistakes. The ending section wasn’t really anything at all. Grooving is fine, and great for demonstrating musicality, but it shouldn’t be the ending to a hype one minute piece. If Mos Wanted had ended with a bang, I bet the judges wouldn’t have focused on the mistakes that much because they weren’t life-ending.
Fanny Pak – “International Love”
Challenge: Bollywood (India)
Summary: I like the beginning formation, especially the arrangement on the stairs at 0:00. Check the sick head isos in the bottom right hand corner from 0:06-0:09. Cue lots of colorful fabric dancing more than FP from 0:25-0:40. I really liked the footwork from 0:52-1:00 – I just wish that was the whole routine. I think the collecting of the scarfs at 1:01 was awkward, took too much time, and was kinda pointless.
Thoughts: I realize that my Fanny Pak routine recaps are turning into “Christine discovers yet another problem with FP,” but I got to be honest, I didn’t really like this routine at all. I actually really like Bollywood as a dance style. I love the colorful costumes and big, hype movements. However, FP had a lot of pauses and sections where there wasn’t a lot or enough happening. The costumes were pretty, but I think that might have distracted from the actual performance. FP was obsessed with doing choreography with all the fabric, but most of what I remembered from the performance before writing this was a lot of colorful fabric flying around. See below to understand what I was expecting. The choreography is not that difficult, but is just super fun and engaging:
At times I also feel that FP’s facial expressions come across as campy or ingenuine. It gives me the feeling that they are dancing for themselves and don’t really take time to actually engage the audience. Did anyone else notice how practically no one cheered during the routine? Because of the rather absent crowd response, you can’t make excuses for them and say that the routine suffered from all the camera cutting… the performance was actually flat. With all that costuming and Bollywood, the performance should’ve easily been hype, but it wasn’t. Speaking of costuming, FP seemed like they were relying on that and their scarves to dance for them. FP is so heavy on production that their dancing gets lost in the process. If you’re going to wear that much bright fabric, you have got to out dance it. Sorry. I would love to go to something like a living art gallery created by FP, but not a dance show. The two things would probably be the same for them anyways.
Ok, final issue with FP this week: I feel that Fanny hasn’t really grown on this show at all. They haven’t taken any major risks and have stayed in their pocket from week to week to week. Honestly, that’s not going to cut it. It’s Top 5. You should be pulling out all the stops by now. Yeah, Mos Wanted fucked up, but hey, give them props for taking risks and trying things they’re not completely comfortable with. Bollywood isn’t nearly as physically demanding as the Barynya. Also MWC at least had really hype and dope sections outside of the mistakes. What’s FP’s excuse? Just being there live makes everything 342980820384x more invigorating and they couldn’t really get the crowd going. I’m guessing that’s probably the reason that they’ve landed themselves in the bottom for the past 3 weeks. Despite the poor results, FP has done nothing to change America’s perception of them, so of course they’re going to land in the bottom again. If you really want another chance, prove that you’re willing to do something new, and ACTUALLY push yourselves to new limits if you really want it. Before this week’s episode aired, I thought that FP was a goner for sure, and even more convinced after their performance, but they’re safe for now. Sorry, just not having it.
RNG – “Hotel Room Service”
Challenge: Dance of a Thousand Hands (China)
Summary: Head isos while heel-toe-ing perfectly on CRACK (0:00-0:05). The counter movement was perfect so it looked like they were breaking their necks. Awesome. Just a little house (0:09) before a drop (0:10) into some clean floorwork (0:11-04). MOAR HOUSE (0:16-0:18). Whip out the fans at 0:21 (love the red on blue contrast, btw). RNG kills the Dance of a Thousand Hands. Check the musicality (0:29-0:33). Ohai pirouettes at 0:34. RNG at 0:37, “don’t mind us while we destroy some beats really fast, it’s fine.” Beatkill at 0:43. Oh my godddddd. Even though the transition at 0:53 was really simple, RNG kept the energy up and the ending illusion with the Dance of a Thousand Hands position at 0:59 with fans was reeeeally dope.
D-Trix: This show is about bettering yourself and you guys have grown the most of any crew on this season.
Thoughts: Hands down my favorite performance of the night. Costumes were on point. Choreography was on point. Energy was on point. Faces were on point. YES. This is what I want out of ABDC performances. It’s hype, yes, but it’s actually a good demonstration of musicality, creativity, and technical prowess as well. Ugh. Flawless shit. Nuff said. Really though, I don’t have to tell you why it was amazing. It just was. Go watch it. NOW. Oh wait, I wished that RNG was saved and FP was sent home. Honesty, yo.
Eliminated: No one.
D-Trix: The most difficult bottom two of any season.
JC Chasez: These two crews had arguably the best performances of the night.
Final Thoughts: Ugh, not sure I agree with the judges comments, but overall it was a much better week than I expected it to be. Although I’m irked that RNG wasn’t rewarded for their killer performance, I’m actually quite happy with the dance styles that were pick this week; they were all interesting and fun styles. Overall, I think the crews did a good job incorporating the styles into their routines. That being said, it’s top 5. The game needs to change, everyone is qualified at this point, so everyone needs to step it up. Bring it.
Alright, that’s enough ranting from me. Join me next week for the Rihanna recap!
I can’t wait, just because this makes me lol & feel happy on the inside: