Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ninjaboi's Review: ABDC5's Music Video Challenge

Here’s the scale, shortened, 10 pts each:
Choreography: Togetherness, Intricacy
Wow: Athletics, Insane tutting moments, makes you stop and think
Showmanship: Energy, Faces, Transitions, Highlighting, Formations, story telling, humor, stage use
Challenge: How well complete/incorporate the challenge given them.
Improvement: Did they work on their problems?

POREOTIX (10% penalty cause of my bias) – Incorporate Umbrellas and Sexy moves
Choreo – 7 – They moved away from their intricate togetherness for more big movements.  Not totally a good idea, though was still together, though not as tight. 
Wow – 7 – They had the bboy flip, and the lightning fast peel off.  It was there, but lacking in intensity somewhat.
Showmanship – 8 – the faces, the clothing reveal, good use of stage, put in the energy they could given the challenge, good highlighting of individuals, still tried to give us a show with their humor. 
Challenge – 7 – This was probably the biggest divide between a group’s style and the music video’s style.  Umbrella’s video was mostly girly posing, model walking, etc.  Plus, a prop is always difficult to incorporate if you’re not used to it.  Given that, they did alright, injecting their humor into what little choreography the video offered.  And they still did technically copy the choreography in the video.
Improvement – 8 – While this week wasn’t as impressive as last, they did do what JC wanted – less tik tik tik tik, and more big movement choreo, some bboy stuff. 
Highlight: I’d focus on the fact that they did the bboy flip, showed their versatility.
Notes – I’m mad at the judges.  Sure the umbrella thing I can’t excuse, that would have been best if all together.  But when two other crews mess up worse in their challenge, they get by because “it was hard to do,” compared to JC and Omarion holding them to a double standard. Also, JC asks Poreotix to essentially leave their own style.  Sure maybe a routine full of tik tik tiks wouldn’t be good every week.  But when they do try and incorporate more choreography and bboying stuff, you don’t even bother to try and thank them for trying to move outside their box?  That’s not nice.  Plus, when a judge says “I think it could have been brought to life differently,” I feel that’s disrespectful to a crew’s artistic expression of themselves. I hope they get Poker Face next week. On a side note, thanks for the unintended shoutout!
Total: 37 penalized down to 33.3
JUNGLE BOOGIE – Incorporate Stepping
Choreo – 7 – For some reason… I didn’t get the sense of much crankin.  I saw the melding of crankin with stepping, which was impressive and I loved it (Big steppie junkie), but for pure crankin based on what I saw the past 2 shows, not much of it.  Seemed more of a step routine with an animal theme too me.  Nothing wrong with that, but just different.
Wow – 8 – Having Raqi up on the platform was pretty dope, especially when juxtaposed against the screen.  The stepping was dope, couldn’t tell that some weren’t coming as hard as others really, though it may be different live.
Showmanship – 8 – Pretty good energy, a bit less than usual, but that’s not saying much.  Good facials, Nice ending, sorta like Vogue Evolution’s ending during Beyonce week.
Challenge – 8 – Excellent use of stepping.  The song was actually pretty slow for what I’d imagine they’d use.  Too tame, if you will. But difficulty wise, this was evened out by them having 2 stepping champs.  
Improvement – 7 – Not much to improve from last week, so automatic score of 7
Highlight – Probably the part when they were getting the platform, and while carrying it flipped it over while another guy slid underneath it. 
Notes – there is some controversy on whether or not this crew bit off of Neutral Zone’s Hip Hop International routine.  I’m willing to suspend judgment for now, much like how Quest may have unintentionally bit another crew in the Whack Track challenge.  Other than that, I love their creativity with the animals.  Can’t wait to see what it is next. (Thanks for the shoutout by the way)
Total: 38
STATIC NOYZE  - Use shopping carts
Choreo – 7 – For a strong choreo group, I was a bit disappointed.  I couldn’t how long each “part” of their dance was.  5 secs of tutting in beginning, 14 seconds of group choreo (without many formation changes), 5 secs of flips (either over a cart or around in a circle), and 13 secs of moving the carts around – that’s almost as much time as doing group choreography.  You could tell the shopping carts sort of kept them from doing their best stuff, especially since it got in the way of any big formations
Wow – 6 – The flips were there, even if they say tricks before art, though to be fair it was a very aftistic flip, if possible.  But aside from that, nothing really stood out to me.
Showmanship – 8 – Despite being bogged down, they had a positive attitude about it.  The story was there. 
Challenge – 7 – It was a good effort despite the carts, which may have been a harder prop than the umbrellas (though the music could easily have fit this crew well, unlike Umbrella).  While they couldn’t go all out because the carts were in the way, the choreo they were able to get in fit the music video, and their style.
Improvement – 7 – a tad bit less intense than last week, but not too noticeable, if you consider how much less stage room they actually have.
Highlight: The reveal of Suzette coming from the kart.  Their showmanship at the best.
Notes – Just a thought… did they get any help from Heavy Impact? Cause I think Isaac was actually in this video…  But overall, this crew is pretty interesting.  Not as much of a story this week (though it is hard to top last week), but they make the best with what they’re given.  I’m guessing Paparazzi for them next week.
Total: 35
SALTARE – Do the Bboy moves from the video
Choreo – 5 – By virtue that for at least part of the video they were able to get it going, they don’t get less.  And they did get the tricks on time when they got them off. But seriously, messing up three times in a routine is inexcusable. Plus, when they were outside the ropes, their dancing just seemed awkward.  Even more basic than one and two and.
Wow – 7 – I have to give it to them that they did get some pretty dope tricks off through the ropes
Showmanship – 6 – One thing I like about this crew is their ability to mix up the formations of the ropes. Didn’t see any of that this week. Nor were they able to improv in between screw ups.  I dance using props too (large bamboo poles), and I always tell my crew to improve SOMETHING if they mess up to keep the stage presence going.  I will give this crew points for going through the routine completely through despite the massive mess ups, no matter how much it killed them.
Challenge – 6 – First off, this isn’t much of a challenge for them given that they can do bboy stuff, as we’ve seen.  And then, I think they didn’t complete about half the tricks they meant to.  Hence the lower score.
Improvement – 5 – Definitely a drop down from last week.  The out of ropes choreo was worse than the small section they did last week…
Highlight – Not sure if anyone saw this, but right at the beginning when they changed ropes, one guy did a roll UNDERNEATH another guy who was doing the ropes.  Impressive
Notes – This performance was memorable for all the wrong reasons.  I feel bad for them and all, but unlike some fans, I can’t excuse them.  Them messing up is like a Bboy missing a 540.  It’s what they do, it’s difficult, but unlike them, the Bboy would be called out bigtime for not making that trick.  They knew well the risk of if they screwed up, they would fall apart.  And you can’t excuse them because it’s “more difficult.”  An open heart surgery is more difficult than giving an eye exam.  But can you excuse a surgeon who messes up the procedure just because its harder?  I don’t think so.  Unlike other crews that have their challenge thrust upon them, these props are inherent in their dancing style, so there’s even less excuse for them
Total: 29
HEAVY IMPACT – Incorporate popping
Choreo – 7 – I really liked it this week.  They kept their grooving style, threw in some popping which could have been better, but overall entertaining and together.
Wow – 6 – Not much, just a simple flip near the beginning
Showmanship – 7 - Excellent faces (I personally like an active face while dancing).  Good use of the stage, formation changes, and just the right amount of energy necessary for the video.  Some may not like the way they swag, but their confidence in themselves is something I admire.
Challenge – 7 – Not much of a challenge musically, its in line with what they do.  Personally for me, the popping section could have been better but I still dug it.  They captured the choreography pretty good and the overall mood of the video as well.
Improvement – 6 - A step up from the past two weeks for sure. Biggest issue I have with them is that they’ve shown us the same thing three weeks in a row.  Can I finally see some bboying stuff, or some krumping?  Also they worked on their transtitions, about half of them were better.
Highlight – that sideways shuffle right at the end to get to the front.  Simple but I liked it, reminded me of a moonwalk almost
Notes – I think not enough people give them credit.  They can dance.  They can groove.  The issue we have is that its getting repetitive.  But people are sleeping on this crew, I think. 
Total: 33
HYPE 5-0 – Use the pole (Not for PDC)
Choreo – 8 – Definitely decent choreography.  Not that I didn’t like their past choreography, but I think the problem was that they seemed to be trying to hard with each move they did. Here, it seemed more effortless. Also, the preciseness of the mirror image was impressive
Wow – 7 – The pole itself was impressive.  Mansplits for that long?  Good job man.  Though the dismount WAS a bit sloppy, but not too noticeably so. 
Showmanship – 9 – This crew killed it, perfectly matched Britney’s sexy style.  Good use from the stage from the very very back to the middle.  Facial expressions and transitions were good.
Challenge – 8 – Matched the music video well.  Big props to the girls for doubling up on Britney.  Good non pole choreography as well as in the music video. Music was neither for or against them.
Improvement – 9 – They stepped it up! Like I said, the choreography this week seemed endless, and they worked on their endings. 
Notes – Personally I could have done without the kiss.  I get that it was a homage to Britney/Madonna, but still… use your dancing to express yourselves first.  I think it’s been overhyped a bit (no pun intended).
Total: 41

For the first time, it’s not a battle mix we see for the bottom crews, but their full routines and the judges pick.  I think everyone here was surprised at who got here.  Royal Flush didn’t deserve to be in the bottom.  I though it would be Heavy Impact and Saltare based on my rankings, or HI and JB by Youtube views.  Guess I was wrong.

ROYAL FLUSH – Use Bboy moves as in the video
Choreo – 7 – Not quite like most choreography you see, almost like their choreography is a trick in itself… It’s interesting to watch.  And unlike most crews this week, no screw ups.
Wow – 9 – As always, their strongest point. Not as many as their first week, but the way it complimented the music was better done I think.
Showmanship – 7 They highlighted more members than Gissette this week, which was good.  The trick, and musicality, matching the song to the lyrics was well done.  The best use of the stage, and most interesting formation changes.
Challenge – 7 – To be honest not much of a challenge for them, though props to their non Bboy members for pulling it off without a hitch.  
Improvement – 7 – About the same as last week, plus not much to improve on…
Highlight: Probably the magic trick.  How the heck did they do it???
Notes: First off, I hope C-Rock and the rest of his crew is coping well with their friend’s death.  They didn’t show any weakness in their routine, but I hope they recover from it in due time. And this crew… why did they have to get in the bottom two in the first place?  Pretty good routines last week, and excellent one this week.  I guess just being an all styles crew has become the new norm on ABDC, and they did that again, and it’s not as memorable.  Good luck to this crew, show us big stuff, go for the royal flush!
Total: 37 
BLUEPRINT CRU – Do the headstand
Choreo – 7 – A bit less than last week, mostly limited by Omarion’s choreo in the video.  Their unique choreo was okay, but not as great as other weeks. Chest popping was fun though.
Wow – 7 - I’ve noticed they tend to stick their wow moments all on their bboy… While that’s okay for now, they’re going to have to branch out soon I think. 
Showmanship – 7 – They have a stage presence.  Was able to at least pose in a way so that the headstand fail at least still looked good.  Good facial expression, formations seemed a bit similar to me, but still entertaining overall.
Challenge – 6 – As the only crew with a real “hip-hopesque” song, I expected them to kill it.  The thing is, I felt that they were limited by the music video here and couldn’t, like Static Noyze or Poreotix, show their true style because they HAD to copy the music video’s choreography.  As for the headstand… they messed up.  I’d rather have a crew have only a few members try the challenge and make it than all of them try and a third of them mess up.  Like with Saltare, just because it’s a hard challenge doesn’t mean that you should get a bye, or have it slide, if it’s difficult.  It’s not as bad as when you mess up your own style, but still, get that challenge done right and complete it through.  Poreotix still had the rest of their umbrella routine on point, but they only had 5 seconds of headstand to do!  I’m not even a dancer and I can do headstand for like 30…  Dedication though for cutting your hair…
Improvement – 6- Not much improvement.  Again, they were held back by Omarion’s choreography, but lacked the intensity of previous weeks in the non-Omarion routines.
Highlight: When their Bboy jumped back on his hands and his crew responded.  Sort of like the Quest wave with Steve’s backflip in Decathlon challenge.
Notes – random musing: what if Klaamation had made the show and got this video?  Anyway, the thing is with this crew… I feel that a lot has been invested in this crew by the show.  The guy’s hair got cut.  They got visas.  They don’t want to seem xenophobic (though apparently the rest of America is?)  They gave him Omarion’s video which could have reflected badly on him.  But I still think that letting a crew get by because the trick was tough and all this, compared to a crew that didn’t mess up and still had potential as much as this crew… that’s not right.  I’m sorry, I’m as big a fan as Blueprint as any and didn’t want them to touch bottom 2 until near the finals.  But seriously… if the only one who can do athletic moves is their Bboy, then they’re gonna face a problem if they get another athletic stunt. 
Total:  33  

Seriously, this bottom two should never have happened.  But given that it did, I disagree with Blueprint staying over Royal Flush.  Sure Blueprint may have just had a bad week after two great solid weeks, and the guy cut his hair, and it’d be a shame for the Canadian crew to go home after two weeks (Does the voting have anything to do with this?  I mean, is Canada able to vote?)  But you’re only as good as your last performance.  One crew messed up their challenge, one crew didn’t.  And the crew that didn’t went home… Not right.  Both the voting and who went home.  I love Blueprint and all… but still… it’s a sudden death battle where a single mistake should be the deciding factor… 

Walk it Out:  Pretty dope moves, similar to Massive Monkee’s exit last season.  And a crew actually caught their banner!!! Respect for sticking around for interviews – that’s maturity right there. 
POWER RANKINGS (Judge’s opinion, this week’s rating, cumulative score, total views on youtube)
1.Hype 5-0 (0, 41, 96, 18858) – A big jump, but a lot of people have woken up to what they guys can do.  And they won the judges back on their side, at least negating out any bias against them.  Don’t get cocky guys, but keep delivering.

2.Blueprint (+, 33, 95, 6253) – ooh… I think the producers really really like them.  I know they can dance for sure, I won’t begrudge them that.  But to mess up and get past… sorry, I’m still not over it completely.  Overall, if they go back to their own choreo as opposed to Omarion’s I think they’ll be fine.  But have the rest of the crew work on athletic stuff! 

3.Poreotix (-, 33.3/37, 92.7/103, 29414) – A drop down to third place, only because I think America may penalize them a tad for the umbrella thing, which may or may not be seen as nitpicking by JC. But in any case, a few less votes compared to this much popularity?  Don’t expect them to hit the bottom till possibly top 4.  As for what to work on, I’d say go back to your roots of isos.  Hopefully next week will give you a better song.

4. Jungle Boogie (+, 38, 98, 4760) – Excellent guys.  I’d rank you higher, but you need to develop a bigger fan base, otherwise they may get passed up by other crews that have bigger bases.  But I love the creativity and animal themes.  I can see a possible last challenge theme of “Zoo…”

5. Static Noyze (0, 35, 93, 5715) – I think this crew may get messed over because it wasn’t as strong as last week’s.  Not a bad performance, but they need to maintain a similar level from week to week. 

6. Heavy Impact (+, 33, 85, 4356) – It was okay, but I need to see more, guys!  I want stronger moves now, as opposed to the gliding type stuff we’ve seen the past three weeks.  The judges may save you, but you still need to win America!  I know you have a strong base, but you need even more

7. Saltare (+, 29, 84, 5593) – After this week, I would be surprised if America kept them up there… America tends to be pretty critical of screw ups, and they had thrice as many as other crews.  They need a killer performance to survive next week.
Peace out, Ninjaboi

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