Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ninjaboi's Review: ABDC5's East Coast Audition show

Based on Ninjaboi's rating system, here's his detailed review of ABDC's East Coast audition performances:

LEGENDARY 7: Going into this performance, I was skeptical of whether E-Knock would get to advance, or how much he’s learned.  Overall though, I was pleasantly surprised, if not blown away.
Choreography – 6 – Okay E-Knock, I will say that you’ve definitely improved since Season 1.  Maybe it wasn’t the difficulty level of some other crews out there, but it was there, in the beginning.  Toward the end though, it sort of just descended to a bunch of tricks again.  Speaking of which…
Wow Moments – 8 – Despite what Lil Mama said, this was their strongest point.  The Helicopter was the high point I think.  The knee flip was pretty cool as well, though not as mind blowing after some other stunts we’ve seen. Flips as usual, over people, but these are now somewhat run of the mill.  Also, because it seemed that there was more choreography, there was less in terms of these moments like in Season 1, which took away from it.
Showmanship – 6 – Good use of stage, Nice formations, Average Transitions, Nice “booya moment” by E-Knock.  The choreography was somewhat similar between everyone.  Ending was a bit weak though.  Good energy
Other notes: I think they tried to do different stuff than Season 1, but haven’t quite grasped the concept of suing tricks to complement choreography or vice versa.  It was like they did the new Legendary Seven in the first part, but turned back into Status Quo for the second.  Personality wise, I appreciate E-Knock’s relative quietness (allowing other crew members to be on the camera), and his good attitude of never give up.  And their slight craziness.  But I could still get some soreness out of the interviews.  And this more or less dumping of Status Quo for this crew.
Total: 20/30

DRAZTIK: There was like nothing from these crews online, so I had nothing to go with going into it.  Overall, I’d say that yes, they’re good dancers, but not really that memorable.
Choreography – 8 – This choreography was excellent.  Maybe not insanely difficult or unique, but it was clean, without major error.  Better than some other
Wow – 5 – Sure there were two flips, and that “Britney Spears” moment.  But that was more or less it, and given what we’ve seen, not that memorable.  Coming back to write this after watching the show, I can even hardly remember the routine overall.
Showmanship – 7 – Nice facial expressions, good use of stage, got better only as it went on.  Very strong ending, formations got better and transitions were smooth.  They shared the spotlight among themselves as well.  Not quite as energetic as other crews, but more than some we’ve seen.
Other notes: One issue I found with them as a crew for MTV is that… they honestly didn’t have a very memorable personality.  I recognize that they can dance really well.  But there was nothing to make me remember their interviews – no personality quirks, not as much energy that was crazy.  They seemed a bit too reserved.  That’s perfectly okay, but from MTV’s point of view, having a crew that doesn’t stick in people’s minds won’t be a good crew to try and market.
Total: 20/30

BLUEPRINT: This crew has had an insane amount of hype for them, between having a sick audition and being from Canada.  They definitely delivered, and more.  Even if I’ve seen most of this routine from the Audition tape, I was still amazed.
Choreography – 9 – Wow.  They said intricacy and perfection was their strong point.  And they were right.  It’s not quite perfect, going back and REALLY staring at the screen, I saw a bit of asymmetry in certain sections, but other crews have been less precise and still won.  And given their work ethic, I’m sure they’ll fix it up.
Wow – 6 – Someone said that these people will take ABDC without tricks or stunts.  I wouldn’t say that’s true, because they did have those moments, and they are athletic enough to do them.  They had that Bboying scene in there, the high lift/jump.  Somone else (I forget who) said that these guys have tricks as dessert or appetizer, but not the main course.  Excellent analogy.  It was there, it acted as a good transition, but didn’t take away from other things.
Showmanship – 8 - Excellent use of music, going between different styles of music and dance. Nice attitude moments.  You got the sense they came hard, but they had it under control.  Good formations and transitions, using tricks to complement the rest of their routine.
Other notes – Not an overly arrogant crew, but not too quiet either.  You get the sense that they want to just take in this American (specifically US American) experience and do the best they can.  And they don’t let the hype they’re getting go to their head.  The message they share and the work ethic they represent isn’t some cause they’re fighting for or trying to promote (even the Canadians aren’t all Eskimos thing), but their way of life that they’re not trying to push.  Plus they have amazing accents, lol.
Total: 24/30

STATIC NOYZE: I saw their audition tape, and compared to some of the other crews I saw, they were above average and definitely show worthy.  But to be honest, they underwhelmed me compared to what they brought.  To be fair though, they are very similar to Vogue and Fanny Pak, and I didn’t particularly “get” those crews either, even if they did very well.  So who knows, maybe it’s just my personal taste.
Choreography – 7 – Pretty good.  It was intricate enough for me to go back and watch for all the little things I missed.  It wasn’t quite as good as Blueprint, or maybe as clean and professional as DraZtik, but the most emotional performance I’ve seen thus far, getting close even to Jabba’s Red Pill or even Orquestra.
Wow – 6 – Well… there was that lift in the beginning, the roundhouse kick, and that pretty dope transition where she went through the other guy’s legs.  But like Blueprint, all things in moderation.
Showmanship – 8 – Very theatrical opening, very nice transitions and formations.  Good highlighting of individual crew members, especially Suzette.  The raw emotion, if channeled even tighter into their routines, would probably cause someone to cry (out of joy).  Plus they were able to do two more or less very distant styles.
Other notes:  A fun, wacky group, like Fanny Pak, based on their interviews.  There’s been some talk of how the guys being somewhat flamboyant would be a detriment to their vote-getting ability, but only time will tell.
Total: 21/30

SALTARE: Jump roping… At first I was skeptical, then I saw some demo reels on Youtube of the US Jump Rope All Star team.  And I was sold.  Sure it’s a gimmick team, but I like Br8sk8 too, and these guys delivered on the hype I gave to them.
Choreography – 7 – This comes more from personal experience with similar props in my dancing (Look up a Chinese yoyo/Diablo).  Dancing with a prop is more difficult than without.  But dancing with the prop as the main point, especially a fluid one like a rope, requires ABSOLUTE MASTERY of the prop.  So when they did what I call a “suicide” in Chinese yoyo – letting go of the rope and swinging it and catching it – I was seriously impressed.  Plus, consider how the rope makes a sound when it hits the ground, which adds to the music.  Being off beat, out of sync with each other (note how all their ropes hit the ground AT THE SAME TIME), will kill the routine completely.  So I think people aren’t giving them enough credit for the skill and togetherness this requires.  As Kevin said though, there could be more rope-free choreography, which was sort of there, but very very very simple.  Footwork wise, it was very simple.  But overall, if you consider the use of their entire bodies, they have insane choreography skills.
Wow – 9 -  While the flips themselves without the ropes would have been “meh,” having the ropes added a whole new dimension to the routine.  540s, bboy footwork, flips, splits, pirouettes, they definitely wowed you.  If you don’t remember this routine, you have Dory’s memory span.
Showmanship – 7 - Transition/formation wise, not quite as difficult.  Essentially some people on the side doing some tricks to highlight other members who are doing the tricks, then trading places.  But that highlight of individuals was pretty legit.  They also got the crowd on their feet, though that may just be novelty factor.  Plus the ending was really strong.
Other notes: A really energetic group.  Personality wise, definitely not the most exciting crew.  Out of curiosity – what happened to that one Indian girl in the auditions?  But they have the honest desire to share their sport with the rest of the world.  I predict that this year, we’ll see a rise in the sale of jump ropes.
Total: 23/30

Again, going into the battle, the two strongest crews got saved: Blueprint(24) and Saltare(23).  Interestingly the most choreo based crew and the most stunt based crew.  As for the other crews, I think that Legendary Seven was sent in in order to test if they would just do all tricks to try and win.  The other two crews were being tested for their Wow moment, if they could generate one. 

DraZtik – Again, like their performance, excellent choreography, as good if not better than their regular piece, as well as with some humor.  But while they had a few flips, they seemed stuck in at the end, and not too difficult or memorable.
Legendary Seven – Alas, they fell into the trap of battle and did ALL TRICKS more or less.  It was just… too chaotic.  8 flips throughout that whole thing.  Less of a crew and more of a bunch of guys just trying to outdo each other.  Though the bedsheet, if random, was pretty funny.
Static Noyze – Definitely won this.  They highlighted individuals, had the wow moment (legs as guns, voguing dip), and a strong ending.  Sick choreography as well. 
So Static Noyze rightfully got safe into Nationals with their battle routine.

Things to look forward for East Crews:
Blueprint: As always, fixing the little things.  Maybe having another trick in there, though I doubt it.
Saltare: To incorporate more rope-free choreography.
Static Noyze:  To come with more theatrical stuff.  Maybe a clearer story line.  Plus I suspect they’ll highlight a different individual next time

Power Rankings
1)Blueprint: They have the novelty of being a foreign crew, phenomenal choreography, and some bboying to boot.
2)Swagger Crew: While they was still last week, they still have extreme talent and humor as well.  Plus I know they’re working as we read to make themselves better. (Congrats to Caba for having his girlfriend accept his proposal)
3)Saltare: The novelty is carrying them with rave reviews into next week, but they’re already being labeled as a gimmick crew that will burn out early.  Can they learn to do some hard choreography or will they trip up?
4)Static Noyze: Personally, I don’t mind the crew, but I’m not willing to rave about them yet.  They’re this high because they’re more recent.  If they improve and don’t remain stagnant, they can get better.  But they underwhelmed me.
5)Royal Flush: I personally really like this crew, and I hope that Gissette’s back is feeling better so they can do more choreography as well as their stunts.
6)Jungle Boogie: I also like this crew, but given the time and some hate they got, they are in a precarious position to try and win votes.

Other things to note this week:
Omarion – It’s only his second week, but he’s already got an audience “boo.”  He was a bit volatile this episode, but given that he did alright last week, I’m calling it 1-1.  West is the tiebreaker
Lil Mama – On point this episode.
JC – relatively constant, without too much variation.
ABDC South instead of East – hilarious.  But this also brings up whether the South was better than the East.  I’d say both were about the same, but for different reasons.  South brought more energy I think, more hype.  East brought more professionalism, were more reserved.  In terms of dancing, East was better technically, but you could feel the emotion of the south crews more.  

Music - Personally, I liked the South's battle song better than the East's, but hey, that's just me. 

Come back next week to (Mario take note):
-Hear of the Shady Asians of Poreotix
-Experience the Hybrid Choreo/Bboy BreakEFX
-Say Aloha to Hype 5-0
-See if Heavy Impact makes an Impact and throws their weight around
-See if Blended Projekt aren’t just DE v2

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