Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ninjaboi's Review of ABDC5's Chart Topper Challenge

This week being an actual “challenge” week, I’m rolling out 2 new categories to my scoring system, both 10 pts each:

Challenge – how well does the crew incorporate the challenge, and put their own twist on it?  Do they just dance to it and throw in the challenge at the end or is it fully integrated throughout the routine, and even in a way you wouldn’t have expected.  This category is defined each week.  It is also adjusted base on how difficult the song was. Example of 10: Beat Freaks’ Magic Ball routine, We Fly High by Supercr3w, VMA challenge by Massive Monkees
Improvement – how well the crew builds on things that they need to improve on. Mostly based on judge’s comments from previous weeks, and seeing if they address those issues. However, crews that begin to improve to the point where they lose “who they are” as a result will be penalized.  If a crew didn’t get any real critiques, then they get a default of 7.  Example of 10: Quest Crew learning how to do transitions

As a reminder, the other three categories are
Choreography: How intricate, how complex, but most of all how TOGETHER everyone is. Not limited to footwork either. – Example of 10: Kaba Modern’s Technologic Routine
Wow/Tricks: Is there something that makes you remember the routine? Usually athletic tricks, but insane tutting, or humor also works – Example of 10: Jabbawockeez’s 3 minute headspin
Showmanship: Is it an overall performance, and not just a showcase of talent?  Faces, energy, stage use, formations, highlighting of individuals, comedy, story telling, to name a few. – Example of 10: Orquestra 


HYPE 5-0
Choreo – 8 – The choreo itself was pretty good.  Not quite as good as last week’s but it was decent.
Wow – 6 – They had their moments.  That body throw and the jackpot moment. But nothing to special
Showmanship – 7 - I don’t agree with the judges about the energy.  But they used the stage well, and nice facial expressions. Good formations, clean as always, and transitioned well. Overall, pretty entertaining to watch.
Challenge – 6 – Not all that great, challenge wise.  It more or less dancing to the music, and finding beats and rhythm and how the body corresponds.  Good choreography in itself, but undirected.  The song itself wasn’t really a “give it to me” song, though I’ve seen their choreography to it before, but it wasn’t too difficult either.
Improvement – 6 – Not much improvement over last week, to be honest.  The only thing that makes this one memorable was (for the fangirls out there), the men taking off their shirts.
Notes: The thing I notice with this crew is, while their choreography is sick – is choreography for choreography’s sake, I think.  While that’s alright and all, that puts them at a distinct disadvantage against crews that have directed choreography – either to a theme or to a story line.  But, if they can do that, I think they’ll be in good position.  On a side note: Thanks to Hype for the shoutout in this week’s interviews!
Total: 33/50

Choreo – 7 – Not the most difficult choreography to the world, they can definitely dance and I think excluding them based on their size is unfair. It was a bit sloppy though, like that pirouette.
Wow – 7 – We’ve seen the backflips last week, we get that they can fly.  But that tunnel of love was new, and pretty interesting.
Showmanship – 6 – Facial expressions were pretty good, and their transitions were a tad, though not much, better.  But I think the novelty of bigger guys grooving is starting to wear off.
Challenge – 7 – This song was more or less given to them.  It’s a very grooveable song, and they did groove, on the floor, while upright. 
Improvement – 5 – The flavor of this routine was that it wasn’t really that distinguishable from last week.  It was new, but there wasn’t much aside from the tunnel where I could go “First week, this crew did this.  Second week, they did this new thing.”
Notes: Overall, I like these guys.  But they have to bring something new next week that we’re not expecting.  We get that they can be light on their feet, but is that all they’re trying to show?  I’d be pretty impressed if they can throw their weight around while krumping.
Total: 32/50
Choreo – 7 – I know JC says that they need to do more footwork type choreography, and not just isolations.  But this was still an overall TOGETHER piece, which I see as most important.  However, I’m docking them major points, cause I’m not sure if anyone else say this, but I think Can messed up during the glide.  Instead of pointing up, he almost lifted his shirt up and just waved his hands.  Aside from that though, pretty sick.
Wow – 7 – Not as impressive as Taylor Swift’s Kanye moment, but I like the knuckle wave and the tats. And again, their isolations are so impressive that they get points here.
Showmanship – 9 – Definitely their strong point.  They told a story (not wanting to wake up between the day and nite), and that was pretty insightful to have the moon and sun tattoos.  For some reason, I get the same impression I did with Jabba – that every routine of their’s is like its in a mystical, dreamlike state.  Maybe it’s just this song, the shades, the glitter from this week.
Challenge – 8 - Not the easiest song to dance to, Day and Nite.  If anyone in this competition were to dance to it though, the dreamlike sound of the song fits Poreotix the best.  And they did use the song itself as a theme throughout the routine, which is good.
Improvement – 7 – Nothing from the judges to improve on from last week.
Notes: I expect that they’re holding back. They’re in Pac Modern, and some from Sickstep.  Thus I know they can do Choreo and Breaking.  In fact, this is just like Kaba Modern in season 1 – First episode was mostly isolations (remember the robot?).  Second week was a music video challenge, and they pulled out the hard choreo then.  So I’m sensing that that’s what’s going to happen.  Also, like Hype, thanks for the shoutout in the interview!
Total: 39 – 10% penalty = 35.1

For the West, Poreotix definitely should have been saved.  Between Hype and Heavy Impact, technically Hype should have been said.  But it’s a one point difference, and Heavy Impact has that story MTV wants to sell.  So it wasn’t entirely unexpected.

Choreo – 7 - It wasn’t bad… but a far cry from Regionals.  Idk, it was missing that swag
Wow – 6 – I don’t know if anyone noticed with the lights, but there was a flame in there, which given Croom’s story about his burned out house seems appropriate some how.   And there were a few freezes, but nothing memorable, really.
Showmanship – 6 – I feel that they showcased Elizabeth too much.  I mean, she is supposed to be the Rihanna, but then that took away from some of the stuff the other guys were doing.  Their energy was great too, but it came off as more of angry than confident.
Challenge – 7 – I actually got this routine – playing off the army theme in the music video (salute, binoculars), and Elizabeth was supposed to be Rhianna.  Pretty interesting.
Improvement – 4 – Swagger said that they were laid back when other crews were sweating because they had practiced beforehand?  But I got the sense that they were trying too hard here for the simpler moves, as opposed to the laid back Swagger Crew we knew.  Plus they had two weeks to rest up, so we were sorta expecting more from you.
Notes: I really really honestly love this crew.  But this performance was, with no excuses, much less than what we were expecting from you.  Sorry guys.  I will say I wish I could have seen the full fire trick, given what I heard about the original not being permitted by the fire marshal. On a side note, you all pulled a no-no.  Any crew that mentions the possibility of marriage on this show will go.  Rhythm City (Dominique/Alonzo messing around with it), Massive Monkees (Lil Lazy’s wedding), and now you guys.  But by all means, good luck and many blessings to Caba for his coming marriage.
Total: 30/50
Choreo – 8 – Energetic, and pretty fun to watch.  Not as intricate as other crews, to be honest, but their unique style just fit.  I dig the African section as well.
Wow – 8 – Wow.  That backflip on the edge of the stage was cool.  And this wasn’t as impressive athletically as it was memorable, but that whole group grind just made it stick in your head.
Showmanship – 8 – I think they got lucky a bit – the four crews before them had been pretty low energy, so when these cats come out, it, as JC said, woke us up.  But even then, they used the stage well, had decent facial expressions, highlighted members, etc.  Bonus using the cat theme.
Challenge – 7 – Of all the crews, I think they got the song that best fits them, given the high energy song.  It just seems like a song they’d be good with.  But I saw only a little bit of them “getting low.”  I mean, the song was given to them, and they killed it.  But for me, they could have at least thrown in a bit longer section with them getting “low” like in the music video.  It was there, and probably taking a bit more away from the other stuff would have been bad.  Idk.
Improvement – 7 – I don’t remember anything distinct for them to work on,
Notes: Some call this the best of the night.  It depends on what you’re looking for, but the energy of this crew is seriously contagious.  It seems the judges want more energetic crews this time round, so they’re getting a boost there.  Hopefully that energy gives them enough momentum.  I also wonder… what are they gonna use next week as their animal?
Total: 38/50
Choreo – 6 – For all you naysayers saying they’re only a trick crew: In Your Face.  While it wasn’t the most spectacular choreography, it took up the majority of the routine.  Some of the isos/tutting near the beginning were a bit sloppy though.
Wow – 7- Again their forte, though not as much as last time.  Flips, and threading.  And of course their cards.
Showmanship – 6 – They timed their tricks well, and used the stage well.  Overall, their formations were okay, if a bit sloppy at times.  Also, Gissette took center light, which was okay, not great, though I think Tyrone may have been a better choice, as at the end.  Overall, pretty good.
Challenge – 7 – Honestly, I think that this crew had the hardest mix relative to what they do best.  Poreotix at least got the song that, among the rest of the crews, they had the best chance.  This song would have been a better fit for a choreo based crew like Hype or a lyrical story crew like Static Noyze.  Even the music video’s choreography seemed more like something JC would do back in the day. The only decent choreography not based on lyricals or isolations I could find was from some crew in Japan, and even then it was the whole song, heavily remixed.  Props to District 78 for fixing the song.  As for what Royal Flush did, they got in with the music.  When it said “Let’s fly away,” they flipped into the sky.  When it said “Great Escape,” they did threading, which reminded me of escaping a knot.  When it said “Let’s run away,” they ran into position.  When it said to get down, they got low to the ground.  Excellent
Improvement – 9 – Most improved crew.  Without a doubt.  They did choreo and did a new card trick (Btw, I totally called that they’d throw them up in the air last time).
Notes: Now that I look back at it, it was one of my favorite performances of the night, given what it meant for them to show that they could do choreography while still showing their tricks.  I got a feeling they can fly under a radar.  Personally I’d love to see a battle cipher cause apparently they have mad bboy skills.
Total: 35/50

So, Swagger Crew going home was obviously the right choice, much to my disappointment in a larger sense that they wouldn’t be able to show us all they had, which I know is a lot.  But so far, the South is showing up the West. 


Choreo – 7 – They’re trying to move outside the jumprope only stuff, showing us some isolations and some salsa-type moves.  Which is fine and all.  But with the isos, make sure they’re really really clean, as if they’re compared to other crew’s, they’ll fall short as more crews get weeded out.  In terms of hip hop type choreography, still lacking.  In terms of using jumpropes together, as I said last time… it’s still good.  But it’s starting to get somewhat old.  I appreciate how hard it is to hold the jump rope for someone who’s holding your jump rope, and how they’re crossing, and am duly impressed.  But it still feels like showcasing more than choreographing.
Wow – 7 – You can’t deny that the choreography adds that wow factor.  But compared to last week, the only relatively athletic thing we saw was the monkey roll. 
Showmanship – 6 – Used the whole stage, but was sort of a given, seeing how long their ropes are.  Transitions were pretty good, though I did note a sort of dead moment when they’re waiting for a beat.  Also, they repeated one trick – the jumping through members.  Energetic yes.
Challenge – 6 – the only real embrace of the challenge I noted was the salsa bit, given that it’s a Pitbull song.  Other than that, nada.  Next week will be interesting to see, unless there’s a video with jumpropes in it.
Improvement – 6 – like Heavy Impact,
not much was different from then to now.  You even lost the athletic flips and stuff.  Though I will say I appreciate you moving toward a non-jumprope position.  But still, give us some defining moment years from now we can say “Saltare’s week 3 performance was defined by [insert defining moment].
Notes:  All I’ll say is that it’s going to be interesting to see these guys do a music video, especially if its one without jump ropes.  Can they do it?
Total: 32/50
Choreo – 7 – Pretty good, though it was interrupted from time to time with the story telling moments, I think.  Overall though, it was pretty good.  I will say that the cat fight segment was a bit hectic… though whether that was intentional or not, I don’t know.
Wow – 7 – They live up to their motto of art before tricks.  Not many tricks here.  They get some points though for major creativity, especially with the full circle story telling.  Plus give some props to Enrique for catching Suzette with a hurt back.
Showmanship – 10 – It’s a battle between this crew and Poreotix in terms for this category.  This week, they had a better, more coherent story.  Energy and facial expressions were on point.  Suzette has taken the limelight twice though, they may want to let someone else shine next week.
Challenge – 8 – This song was more or less fed to them.  It has a clear storyline, which they excel at delivering.  And they did deliver alright.  Clear story line, and very well thought out.
Improvement – 8 – Omarion told them they needed to show more soul last time (major disagreement).  They definitely did, whether you agree with him last time or not.
Notes:  They seem to epitomize what I’m talking about with choreography with direction – every routine has some directed purpose to it, and is not choreography for choreography’s sake.  I would want to see them dance to Mozart, as the judge’s said.  Though, to be honest, if they get another romance song, it may get old to watch that story repeat itself.
Total: 40/50
Choreo – 8 - Not quite as precise I think as last time, but still impressive and they came hard.
Wow – 7 – They had more of this, with throws, some theatrics, and the bboy highlight again.
Showmanship – 8 – So many different styles… and they also made good use of their bodies as screens/curtains to reveal members… that happened about 5 different times from what I saw.  Energetic for sure, and made good use of the stage and facial expressions.  Nice attitude at the appropriate moments.
Challenge – 7 – It wasn’t quite on point… but I could get something along the lines that “That’s not my name” is about mistaken identity.  Here, you have so many different things about this crew that you couldn’t point out any one thing as the defining moment, since there were so many things in here.  A bit of a stretch I think, but they did alright.  Matching the lyrics was pretty good too (“Chicks standing up against the wall”)
Improvement – 7 – They threw in that wow moment as suggested.  Aside from that, not much else to improve on
Notes: All I’ll say is that watching them dance in Canada in thick overcoats was extremely entertaining to watch.
Total: 38/50

So, as for the crew to go to battle, I was extremely disappointed that Static Noyze went.  For crying out loud, they had the best score of the night.  But what’s done is done.  I suspect the judge’s were more wowed than I was.  I’ve had a few days to mull over these, while they had to make a decision in a few minutes.  But still… get it right.

Hype 5-0:  Guys, why do we have to wait until battle to see this stuff?  This definitely was better than your regular routine, though there were some dead moments during the police section.  But that was pretty clever, using those lights.  Though ya’ll have some affinity for vehicles?  Try it in a regular routine maybe.
Swagger Crew: I like the way ya’ll came in.  But overall, it seemed like ya’ll were sorta tired by that point.  And ya’ll pulled an Afroborike, with Elizabeth, which distracted from the rest of the crew.
Static Noyze: That clock was genius and alone probably saved you, again.  The rest of the routine wasn’t too shabby either.

In the end, we ended up having the lowest scoring crew go home, although it pains me to accept that fact.  Also, what were the judges thinking sending the other two crews into battle?  Oh well, next week is the return of fanbased votes. 

Hype 5-0 – I’d suggest having a direction with your choreography.  Let the choreo have a point to it, rather than being for choreo’s sake
Heavy Impact – Give us something more than just grooving. Don’t lose the groove, but augment it with something else.  I’d totally dig a krumping section.  Make the camera shake, that’ll get someone’s attention with your energy.
Poreotix  - Pac Modern or Sickstep – dig up something from your other crews and use it.
Jungle Boogies – Keep the energy, not much else to say.
Royal Flush – I wonder what card trick ya’ll will pull out next.  Also, keep the choreo, fix your lines, and maybe even the balance between choreo and tricks.
Saltare – work on some really strong hip hop choreography, without ropes.  Or maybe have the choreography with the ropes going.  But don’t showcase jump roping for a third week in a row.
Static Noyze – I don’t know what more the judges want from you, but keep the story telling. Maybe spread the limelight to another member aside Suzette, because she’s overshining some other members.  Also, get better, Enrique.
Blueprint – It’s clean still, but some points weren’t as precise as I think you all would like.  The throw was a tad awkward.  But overall, not much to say. 

I’m adding a new dimension to this.  First, I’m taking the judge’s views of the crews – which they seem to really rave about right now. (+ = favors, 0=neutral, - = seems to not understand) Then, I’m taking the score I put up this week, and a cumulative score to show potential.  Finally, I’m looking at one channel with youtube views of the routines and seeing who has the most views, as a guideline for which crews America likes.
Format: (Judge’s opinion, this week’s rating, cumulative score, total views)

1.Blueprint (+, 38, 62, 5407) – The judges seem to really like them, and they have been very consistent.  They also have a decent following in terms of people looking them up because they were good, though how much this is of Canada not being able to watch until Sunday I don’t know.
2. Poreotix (0, 35.1/39, 59.4/66, 13429) – Despite being called out for not having as much choreography, they have the foundations for it.  Like I said, this is a lot like Kaba Modern’s situation.  Plus, I doubt they will go to battle, given this much interest in them.
3.Static Noyze (-, 30, 61, 6859) – While the judges don’t seem to understand them, sending them to battle two weeks in a row, they’ve impressed a LOT of people, so I don’t think battle will be an issue for them.
4.Royal Flush (0, 35, 57, 3259) – While some call Static Noyze the dark horse, I think this crew is one to watch out for – they’re receiving a decent following, and definitely show that they can improve.  Plus they have the underdog side being that they’ve tried for so long.
5.Hype 5-0 (-, 33, 55, 3861) – While having a disappointing week, America (or maybe it’s just Hawaii checking up on their routine before it airs), is following them.  Hopefully they won’t go to battle though, because the judges seem to not understand their regular routines as much.
6.Jungle Boogies (0, 38, 60, 2992)  - While they had one of the better performances tonight, America doesn’t seem to remember them as much.  But they show that they have the ability to provide consistent routines.  While they probably will sneak by under the radar, they have to get a better following.
7.Saltare (+, 32, 55, 3386) – A lot of people on here don’t like them, and I can see why (no issue with them myself).  The judges seem to love them though, and they do have a sort of base with jump ropers – (a lot more people than you would expect)
8.Heavy Impact (+, 32, 52, 2559)  - Personally, I really like this crew and their grooving style.  So do the judges.  But America has graced them with the least interest, and to be honest they have provided two routines that are very similar, and markedly below the performance level of a few other crews (they even scored cumulatively lower than Swagger Crew [53]).  Step it up guys, or you’ll be going home soon.

-Swagger Crew’s walk it out – good job keeping a positive face guys, and even being able to have some fun with it. I know I’m going to miss you all.  And again, good luck to Caba!
-Judges – on point for some critiques, wild off the mark/controversial in others.  JC so far has been the best so far.
-Props to District 78 for mixing these tunes sickly.  I recommend that you go to their site and find the thought process behind all these mixes.
-Best Behind the Scenes moment: Saltare’s mix getting changed for the word “gushy” for Hotel Room Service.  Either that or, according to Poreotix’s blog, going to watch Valentines Day and then doing a flash mob freeze with the other crews.

So, can’t wait until next week, when we see if youtube views correspond to how America votes, if the crews you want to stay stay, and how they deal with the Music Video challenge.  Good luck to all the crews!
Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments.