Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Crush!'s Report from the taping of ABDC's Hip Hop Nation/Last Chance Challenge

Here's the rest of Crush!'s report after attending America's Best Dance Crew's Hip Hop Nation/Last Chance Challenge: 

First up in alphabetical order is Blueprint Cru. All the crews had to incorporate dance styles from the across the country, such as New Orleans Bounce, Baltimore House, and Bay area Turfin.  They went through every dance style and it was very clear what style they were doing at the moment. They did great to fuse the dance styles, into the their own original choreography. They got down and dirty, and gave us that gangster feel.   The highlight of their performance was when they got into partner-work and did some threading together. It was creative and haven't seen that done before. 

Next is Hype 5-0. As the rest of the crews still in the competition, Hype had to incorporate the dance styles. They had said that in previous performances they have been trying to please the judges, but its been watering down what they could really do, so they are going to stick to the true Hype 5-0 style. Their performance started out strong and fast. They were doing choreography that made me feel like I was back at the regionals...The part that stuck in my mind the most was when they were calling out the other two crews. They first called out Bluprint Cru by having one of the girls being "choked", like what blueprint Cru did in the Gaga Challenge, and then one of the guys comes out and punches her down. Then Josh calls out Poreotix with their signature shades and puts them on, then takes them off and kicks them into the air, breaking them into pieces. The audience booed when Omarion called for the replays of Hype calling out Poreotix. Once it played all the Poreoheads went and booed disrespectfully. But when they showed the replay of BP's callout, the audience stayed quiet. i guess it's better to stay quiet than boo. 

Finally is Poreotix. In their package before their performance, they said that it was going to be difficult to incorporate some of the dance styles into their routine. Their main reason why its going to be hard is because they have, what they call "Asian Booty Disease" or something like that. They thought they were going to have trouble to incorporate the New Orleans bounce because of it. In the New Orleans Bounce section, they were popping their booties and much more, I actually laughed, which i never do in their performances... all the screaming the audience were doing made my ears hurt. 
 
The final two crews still in the competition, both had equally amazing Last Chance performances! Cant wait to see them Thursday!

Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks again Crush!

Kyle's report from the Hip Hop Nation/Last Chance Challenge taping

Here's spoiler-free excerpts from the rest of Kyle's  report from the taping of America's Best Dance Crew's Hip Hop Nation/Last Chance Challenge: 

Gonna review each crews performance in alphabetical order to not give any spoilers away :)  

 Blueprint cru! the task at hand was to master 3 different types of dances from across the nation (baltimore house, turfin, and new orleans bounce)   Once judge kept commenting on how "funny" their performance was and how they took on so many different styles that were different from their own
 
Hype:   hype mentioned in the package that they would go back to basics and bring their true style back, which they did. Hype brought the choreography, and pretty much blended each style of dance seamlessly into the routine. they also incorporated the BP bad romance "lift by the neck" move and wore oversized sunglasses in the performance sort of as an homage/mocking of the other 2 crews (but when they made fun of poreotix, they got booed in their own performance!) 
 
Poreotix: they started out by holding signs saying which of the three styles they'd be performing during the routine, (to which JC said that it made it easier to critique each section).  


Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks Kyle!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Howard and Lekeith Present Their Top Ten Tips for the Final Three Crews

Here's the rest of Howard and Lekeith's Top Ten Tips for the Final Three ABDC Crews:

2. Don't Be Afraid of the Cheap Pop
LeKeith: Yes! The Cheap Pop is a Tried and True tradition insports and entertainment.
Howard: Not to be a hater, but the end of Jabba's first performance consisted of the crew running into the audience while Kid Rainen did some INSANE head spins.
LeKeith: It's true.
Howard: Normally, a crew might get dinged by the judges for that. But when the crowd gets that hype, it's hard to hate on it.
LeKeith: Exactly! If the crowd gets off their feet and is dancing along, you have won over the home audience as well.
Howard: See also: SoReal Cru's Hulk Hands.[picture on the first page of this post]
LeKeith: HAHA! That's the inverse effect. Instead of the cheap pop, I'd call that the "Really?!" pop.
Howard: No way! Hulk Hands FTW.

3. Do Give It 150,000 Percent.
Howard: Because nothing less with satisfy Lil' Mama.
LeKeith: Because when it comes to dance, there's no such thing as Math!
Howard: HA! I do think that it's an important point though. Do you have any tricks, stunts or crazy moves that you haven't done yet? This is the time to break it out.
LeKeith: Yes, absolutely.
Howard: See: Quest's awesome backflip push over two people.
LeKeith: That was a "What Was That (In a Good Way)" Moment. People remembered it and voted for it.

4. Don't Forget That Lil' Mama is a Real Person.
LeKeith: Speaking of Lil’ Mama, this is the truly last time for her to dispense some incoherent, illogical yet poignant remark.
Howard: I don't really have anything to add. I just wanted to highlight that Vintage Lil' Mama quote.

5. Don't Be Afraid to Break Out the Sexy.
Howard: Kaba Modern's only fault? Their ladies didn't take off enough clothes.
LeKeith: This is true!
Howard: Quest's key to victory? Hirano taking his shirt off.
LeKeith: I like your line of reasoning. Skin to Win.
Howard: Granted, only one group with females has ever won the competition. Also, Fly Khicks. But I stand by my advice.
LeKeith: But it's like the inverse of the 150,000 percent rule. If you've been relying on the sexy all season, we're a little tired of it. But if you haven't, it's a nice surprise.
Howard: True.
LeKeith: Another dimension, if you will. The booty dimension.
Howard: The only other negative? The Perv-o-Tron 5000 is missing.
LeKeith: That's Okay. Between JC and Omarion, it's like the Perv-o-Tron 2500. It's an older model but it still works.
Howard: I will take that. And I hope JC lusts after another member of Team Canada.
LeKeith: Yeah... I hope he doesn't.

6. The Circus is a Bad Idea.
LeKeith: Oh my god!
Howard: I'm looking at you, Status Quo.
LeKeith: Don't Ever Do Clowns EVER! This did not help your chances
Howard: This will be the biggest temptation for Team Canada, as they've gone the circus route before.
LeKeith: HA! But it was a French Circus
Howard: Seriously though. No one likes clowns.

7. Do Think Carefully About Your Music Choice.
Howard: Let's go through the songs from previous seasons:
LeKeith: Okay.
Howard: Status Quo's "Jack in the Box".
LeKeith: I just hate Clowns so much.
Howard: Jabba's "The Red Pill".
LeKeith: A nice change of pace.
Howard: Super Cr3w's "S to the Chest".
LeKeith: Meh?
Howard: SoReal Cru's "Smash It Up".
LeKeith: Dumb.
Howard: Awesomely dumb. Let us never forget the autotuned, "We're gonna smaaaaaaash it uuuuuup!"
LeKeith: Let us please forget.
Howard: Beat Freaks' "Freak the Dream".
LeKeith: Bad and a little Preachy.
Howard: Quest Crew's "Or-Quest-ra".
LeKeith: Crazy Awesome.
Howard: Luckily, they've moved away from making the crews sing their theme songs. But seriously, choose wisely.
LeKeith: Even if you’re just making your own beats, remember: less Ra√≠ces, more Ichiban.
Howard: A bad song decision will make me hate you. Even more.

8. Don't Forget What Brought You to the Dance
Howard: I know there's a lot to cover in the hip hop decathalon, but don't forget what brought you to the finals.
LeKeith: That's true. The difficulty on the hip hop decathalon is two-fold: The first part is the challenge itself, but the more important part may be the ability to stay true to your style while
doing the first part.
Howard: Agreed. Looking back, the weakness of Beat Freaks' routines at the end of Season 3 was that they didn't work in enough b-boying. Or b-girling as the case may be.
LeKeith: Right. Shane Sparks (we hardly knew ye) said something really interesting during one of the challenges. He can see when people are dancing by the numbers versus feeling the moment. In this dance challenge, going by feel makes it a more natural performance. Like Safe Cracking in the Italian Job.

9. Don't Go Second If You're in the Bottom 2
LeKeith: Yes! So True.
Howard: I know the crews may have no control over this. But it's a guarantee of failure.
LeKeith: If it's decided by a coin-toss, you better sneak in a two-headed coin and call heads.
Howard: Unless you're We Are Heroes.
LeKeith: True. Those ladies are the exception to the rule.

10. Don't Give Up on College.
Howard: Reading is fundamental, kids.

Thanks guys!. You made my day and maybe my week, depending on the results of this week's show. Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ninjaboi's Review of ABDC5's Illusion Challenge

Review of scale:
Choreography – Together, Intricate, Creative, Executed well
Wow – Athletics, Humor, Intense small movements, “Moments” in the routine
Showmanship – Story telling, Energy, stage use, formations, transitions, stage presence, timing, musicality, facials, ending, opening, WAS IT AN OVERALL SHOW AND NOT JUST A CHOREOGRAPHY PIECE.  Among other things.
Challenge – Did they execute, integrate, and put a new twist on it?  Scaled for more difficult tricks.  Usually props are harder, so more lenient with those.
Improvement – Did they get better while staying true to themselves?
Minus 5% from Poreotix score due to personal bias.
 

CHALLENGE THIS WEEK
Each crew had to accomplish a specific illusion.  I’m looking at how convincing a trick it was, whether it was executed well, and how well it was integrated as a whole into their routine.  
Furthermore, I’m looking at the whole theme of the evening:  Was it a magical routine, full of mystery and wonder?  Or did they just stick in a trick in there once and call it such?

HYPE 5-0 – Bring something to life.
Choreo – 7 – Aside from the small section at the beginning, a large part of this routine was dancing with the poles.  Together?  Yes.  Intricate?  What we saw yes?  A bit lacking in quantity?  Unfortunately, yes as well.
Wow -  6 – Not as much here.  There was a bboy freeze, and the over-under (see challenge section for more on this).  But not much in terms of “moments.”  Ticking was interesting  though, and I appreciated it.
Showmanship – 7 – Energy was a bit lower for their standard.  Transition/formation wise, I noticed the girls had to get off stage and run, which took away from their overall performance.  As for putting on a show, I think the way they put it in our face that they were doing magic was pretty good. Highlighting individuals was good.  Musicality was good too.
Challenge – 8 – First, I’m going to argue with judges here.  They said they “thought” too much.  Well, part of the magic routine was making it look like they were doing the magic, ie making the sticks “come alive.”  While I will say it looked more like Poreotix’s challenge, the overall feel of their movements tended to make me think they were willing the objects to move themselves.  The way they presented themselves was appropriate as such.  Secondly, the over-under on the stick was to show that there were no strings attached, and not to just recycle choreography.  As for the trick itself, I couldn’t tell how it was done.  Crush said there were strings going around, but I’m still questioning that because they twirled the sticks around and moved around the stage, which makes the strings part very unbelievable.  I will say that the trick may have taken away from them doing choreography, so it wasn’t integrated that well. But it was executed very well.  The illusion of the head roll helped add to the overall magic feel of the night.
Improvement – 7 – A bit disappointing overall for me.  Not a bad performance .
Highlight – The semi-contortionist zombie like walk after the headroll.  Sorta had that creepy factor that makes magic mystical.
Notes – While I will say that JC does have a point that this routine had a lot less choreography than usual, I disagree that it was lacking in something.  Maybe we could have seen more choreography, but the way they were able to show mastery of their magic trick made up for it.  I feel that this crew is getting panned way to harshly by fans.  Their choreography does not suck.  The judges give them mixed reviews from week to week. Hopefully next week they’ll just go with what they know – high energy, hard hitting choreography.  And show us again why from the start we called them a top 3 material crew.
Score – 35
*****
POREOTIX – Telekinesis
Choreo – 8 – This week, we see a return to their popping foundation.  While some liked Disco week and such, I can appreciate this style just as much as the large movement choreography they’ve been doing the last few weeks.  It was together, for sure.  And intricate.  Now, I will say it wasn’t their best choreography (gets booed by crowd), but it was still GOOD CHOREOGRAPHY.  Just not the best they’ve had.
Wow – 6 – The ticking man was obviously the best part I think, as was the way they ended it.  And the way they play off the lyrics is always as impressive as any athletic flip.  Compared to past weeks though, there weren’t as many “moments.”
Showmanship – 9 – In terms of putting on a show, the way they started and ended were masterful.  The playful battle with the cube, using it as a weapon was pretty interesting.  Energetically, higher than one would expect overall from this crew.  Transitions were a bit iffy for me, but then again, they were limited by the giant prop on stage.  But their stage presence was still charismatic as usual, making you laugh as they danced.  Matched the sound effects (the giggle and West side shoutout still get me)
Challenge – 8 – The trick obviously draws parallels with Beat Freaks (see below).  In terms of execution, the cube only moved along one axis, which was sorta limited.  But the way in which the cube went over the members to show there was nothing supporting it was pretty good. And the fact that the cube was spinning makes any string-theory somewhat unbelievable considering tangling, though still possible.  As for making an overall magical aura to their routine though, that was a bit lacking.
Improvement – 7 – Some say this was a step down.  And if you look at it from the mindset of the past two weeks, yes it was. But from a more open mind inclusive of more dance styles, this was just as impressive.  Different flavor maybe, but that’s the way it goes.  I think they did well, given the music selection.
Highlight – Small thing, but right at the start as the lyrics go “Right Hand Hi,” they made their right hands go higher.  I don’t, know but for some reason I always love it when crews go ahead and work directly with the lyrics of the song.  Also, when the cube is rotating, they’re doing isolations with their body to match that as well.
Notes – I got a lot to say about this crew below.  But of note is that I think that JC didn’t critique them as hard as a lot of people are making him out to.  He’s just holding reservations I think.  As I hope and pray Poreotix has been holding back all their legendary moves from past pre-show routines for the finale next week.
Score – 38 – 5% = 36.1
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Based on last week’s scores, I did expect to see either Blueprint or Jungle Boogie here (37 both), but with Hype (35) substituted for one of them.  Though big props to the Aloha state for pushing through for them!  Respect and Mahalo!

BLEUPRINT CRU – Levitation
Choreo   - 9 – As always, these guys strong points.  Together, yes.  Intricate, yes. Fumbled? No.  But I will say that to some degree, there was a bit of limitation, to a lesser degree than Hype’s, of how their trick kept them from giving more.  The upside down tutting was sick, if a bit reminiscent of WAH for some reason.
Wow – 5 – Come on guys.  This time Bboy Hero didn’t even do much except for a single flip.  The upside down tutting part was good, but not quite at the level that it becomes “Wow” material. They did have some moments, but those were more elements of story or their challenge telling than a dance motion that was technically or physically impressive.
Showmanship – 10 – Wow. Just Wow.  The whole circus concept.  Even if the start was slow, it was slow for a purpose.  It was clever playing off the common circus practice of taking audience members as victims.  The creepy clown aspect (ugh.  Clowns) was well played out.  Facials and story telling were flawless here, just as in Gaga week.  Ending was just as excellent.
Challenge – 8 – First, the overall mood to the challenge was great, if a bit fed to them.  I mean, funhouse/circus more or less equals magic.  The trick in the beginning with the handkerchief, and the ending flip to look like a person hanging in midair was cool.  But as for the actual trick per se… The reason they didn’t get a 10 here was while they did have the overall feel and did accomplish the trick, it was painfully obvious how they did the magic trick.  On my first try, I noticed how abnormally stiff the “ringmaster’s” leg was.  In the package as well, Franz’s leg never moves.  You even see his pant leg moving around behind the “leg.”  Even when Bboy Hero slides underneath her to show there’s nothing supporting her (they got points for this btw), he carefully avoids hitting the leg.  The fact that I could tell how they did it on my first run through sorta ruined this aspect of it for me.  Otherwise, well done.
Improvement – 7 – While this was a good performance, and great technically, I just get the feeling that Blueprint isn’t improving.  It’s not that they’re not trying hard.  But I feel that they’re giving all they have already.  This wasn’t their best performance for me, although one of their better ones.
Highlight – Right at the end.  You had a levitating person with switched arms and legs for a moment when Bboy Hero did a flip and then another guy jumped behind him and stretched out.  Very clever image right there.
Notes – More on their voting problems below.  But one of the great choreography crews to hit this stage for sure.  Creative to boot.  I don’t know what else America really wants from them, unless it is for the rest of their members to do more athletic stuff.
Score - 39

JUNGLE BOOGIE – Pass Bodies through a Solid Surface
Choreo – 8 – Woo! The return of Cranking!! This style really excites me, more than most other styles.  High energy, and a good deal more dancing than I’d say more crews this episode.
Wow – 6 – Even moreso than Blueprint, the relative lack of Wow moments this week was obvious given their proficiency with them.  There was that one pretty good Monkey flip.  But that was it.
Showmanship – 7 – Excellent energy, good start.  A bit lacking in having an overall “concept” to the routine, aside from the twins thing.  Their thing where they do the animals has made an appearance again, if brief.  Overall though, it was less of a mix between magic and dancing and more of distinct separation between the two.  Formations were clever in that they accented the fact that there were twins, going with the mirror thing agin.
Challenge – 7- Like with Blueprint… I must say I was able to spot how they did it.  Solid surface?  That sure wasn’t glass. Most likely some stretchy-like reflective surface that would snap back in place once the twin got through.  I will say the fact that we know they were twins was pretty open, but it breaks the cardinal rule of “Don’t let them know how you did it.”  As for the other elements they stuck in there to try and add to the mystique… Rolling back hoop is just putting spin on a hula hoop.  The arm through the twin ending… Just a matter of punching between the body and arm since you can’t see from the front, and you even see this as the camera is pulling away.  Again, first time viewing this I got this.  So let’s recap. Executed?  Yes.  Convincingly?  Not as much.  Other magical elements there?  Yes.  Those as easily explained?  Yes.  A+ for Effort, but not for completion, so it balances out somewhat.
Improvement – 7 – Honestly, I miss the animal stuff.  Great to see a return to cranking, though.  Again, a high level performance, but not their best, imo.
Highlight – Either one of the twin-fighting moments, or when they did the hula-hoop recall.  While I know how its done, what was impressive was how the rest of the crew responded to the snap-back.
Notes – Overall, they had better dancing than the other crews.  But the execution of their challenge was a bit off, which is what got them compared to Blueprint. I really will miss watching this crew.  Hopefully they swing my way, since we’re both in the South!  Also, I love how they dealt with the elimination.  A lot better than the other 4th placer last season…
Score - 35
*******************************
In the end, the night could be broken into two halves.  The half that had more trouble mixing magic and dance (doing too much magic (Hype) or too much dancing (Jungle Boogie), and the other two who have pulled away somewhat, and have become more of the people’s favorite (Poreotix) and the judge’s favorite (Blueprint)

Also, big props to all crews and Lil Mama as well for putting on one heck of an opening number.  Maybe it wasn’t my favorite, but it was a masterpiece nonetheless.  

This repeat of a challenge begs the question if this was better than the last time we used this challenge.  While I don’t have the time to go back and look at all the performances and judge them the same way, I’ll just look at Beat Freak’s, who set the gold standard, and compare.  
-Excellent use of magic prop.  Really was another member of their crew.
-Excellent integration of dancing with magic.  Danced while doing the magic, rather than dance, THEN do magic.  
-Made the magic look effortless
Overall, I don’t think anyone really topped this performance.  Of note is Poreotix, who had more or less the exact same thing.  Now, these are pretty different routines, given that the small ball did not limit Beat Freaks’s movement around the stage, and was also much more clumsy to move around.  So it’s really not fair to compare the two with the same expectations. I will say though that Poreotix could have done a lot more, such as show there were no strings attached to the top, or move it in a direction aside from forward and backward.  
**********************
Now, as it is the end of the season, there is a lot more stuff to talk about.  Mostly just because this is something that’s always interested me as an individual.  Voting Dynamics and Business Marketing.  

Voting Dynamics:  
Historically, the top 2 crews in the bottom 4 have also been the top 2 crews of the season.  This means that Hype and Poreotix would be in the finale going by this.  But as this is a season of firsts (first regional, first foreign, first immunity), anything is possible.  Now, given that the “cumulative voting myth” has been dispelled, what must each crew bring next week?
-Poreotix has a bit easier time than the other crews, I think.  Given that they are the crew with the bigger fanbase this season, provided they don’t pull a Beat Freaks and flub up their next routine, they’ll keep their fans.  If they kill it, which would be nice, especially if it means a return of some of their more legendary pieces, then they could win over more votes from whoever’s crew goes home.  So if their fanbase is a 10, they need to do a routine at about a 7-8 or higher.  Most likely to be the crew that does not touch the bottom this season
-Hype has a bit harder road for them.  Not quite as large a fanbase as Poreotix’s given the indicators I use, but large enough to get them top 2 this week.  The judges seem to be more critical of them than the other 2 crews, and is giving them mixed advice from week to week.  Not cool btw.  So, they’re going to have to absolutely kill it next week, as in surpass Quest’s Hip Hop Decathlon (the gold standard for all routines for the season imho).  And still provide a strong Last Chance Challenge.  So if their fanbase is an 8, their routine needs to be a 10(+).  
-Blueprint is somewhere in between.  While they have had a few issues with getting votes (understatement of the year right here… they haven’t been outside the bottom when voters could vote for them), the judges really seem to favor them.  Not saying that’s a bad thing, but in a situation where they pick between crews, if both routines killed it, this may be the deciding factor. However, they can’t slack at all with their routines, because for the final count, there are not judges to pull them out of the bottom.  They need to win over America.  So if their fanbase (in the US) is like a 5, then need a 9-10 performance.  

So one crew will be sent home.  Now, the question is: which crew will they support?  Historically, crews that go home have their fanbases rallying behind whoever survived elimination, hence the curse of the top 2.  For whatever reason, whichever crew survives the final battle always wins.  Maybe it’s cuz they got last and leave a stronger impression.  I don’t know.  But that seems to be the case.  Then again, in a season of irregularities, this could easily be broken as well.  
Mind you, these following analyses are based on the assumption that no crew flubs up and all perform at the same level, mind-blowing all of us (which is entirely possible btw).  This means factors such as existing fanbase remain the same, and judges bias stays the same

-Poreotix – unlikely to be in the bottom.  But if they do go home, if their votes go en masse toward one crew, that crew can likely pull it off.  But if they’re split, I’m looking at a Hype win
-Hype – likely to be in the bottom, and likely for the judges to send home.  If they split, Poreotix wins. If they go for Blueprint, it looks to be pretty close, I think.   

Blueprint – likely to be in the bottom, and likely for judges to save.  If they do go home, however, their votes, if they go to Hype, will make it close.
Another thing to consider are fans of crews like Static Noyze, Saltare, and Jungle Boogie. Who will they go for?  Right now it seems as if they moved for Blueprint, but that wasn’t enough to keep them out of the bottom 2 this week either.  Will it be enough next week, and can they pull off an upset like WAH+RC+MM vs Afroborike last season?
So the question remains.  Who will you support if your crew goes home?
********************
Business Model:
As I’ve said before, one big thing I admire MTV for is their business sense. ABDC creates celebrities.  And who gets to say they made the celebrities who they were, and own them for a year?  MTV does.  So what they do is they look at the start of the season for crews that could meet a certain market niche.  And as the season goes on, they see if they A)Really can fulfill that potential to entertain B)relate with the fans and C)generate a viewer response in the form of votes, which hopefully in the future translates to buying tickets to shows and merchandise.  Crews that don’t generate that response eventually get weeded out.  
Now, I know you all think I’m going to say that “Oh, Blueprint hasn’t generated that response at all by being in the bottom whenever they could, so MTV won’t go for them.”  And yes, I do admit that from this mindframe, Poreotix would be a better choice given their fanbase, although Hype also can meet that as well.  But I will say that, with all respect to Blueprint, they are amazing dancers.  Some have pointed out that it could be MTV trying to branch out to other, international markets this way.  But then again, I see a repeat of Afroborike here, although the opposite of the viewer response.  MTV here gets international interest in ABDC by having a Canadian crew, just as Afro generated Hispanic interest, both domestic and foreign, by staying to the finale.  MTV has worked to make sure Blueprint stays, getting them visas and such.  So could it be that Blueprint is to get more ratings?  Again, no insult to Blueprint at all.  If they win, I’d be only marginally less happy with the results (which isn’t saying a lot).  But will it sit well with viewers that a crew who has not once out of the bottom 2 except when the judges put them there is America’s Best Dance crew?  Did they earn over their hearts?  I don’t know the answer to that question for sure, but I suspect that the answer, for a lot of people, would be no.  (Prepares to be shot).  

On a side note: Poreotix has captured this idea of “make yourself marketable” better than any other crew I’ve seen, even Jabba and Quest.  (here comes out the fanboy I have to usually repress)
-They’re funny guys, with personalities that connect well with the audiences and share their feelings more than other crwes
-They came out with a very strong first impression in that they were the most memorable performance out of regionals.
-When JC started to get on them, they reminded us during Disco week that they can do more
-They’ve kept most of their really really good stuff hidden until this last week.  IE: Hip Hop International set, Tetris set, World of Dance sets, Body Rock sets, VIBE set, and so on.
-They have signature trademarks (sunglasses) that are easy to associate with them
-They make each performance memorable, by entertaining the audience, usually through humor.  Click here for  Jet Li’s thoughts on dance as entertainment vs a means to its own end.
-They are more than just dancers.  They are all around ENTERTAINERS.  
/okay, fanboy rant over.  
*******************
So now: Power Rankings (Judge’s favor, this week’s ranking, total ranking, youtube views)
1)    Poreotix (0,36.1/38, 240.6/263, 13293 on one video and 8693 on another on the same channel even distribution between Canada and US) – While a lot of people will hate me for this and call me biased, the judges I view as somewhat neutral to this crew, but the fanbase is one any crew would be jealous to have.  In size at least… certain trolls come to mind…
2)    Blueprint (++, 39, 252/254.1, 10746 with a much denser view concentration in Canada than the US) – Judges will save this crew over any other at this point, unless Blueprint flubs up, and the other crew kills it.  
3)    Hype (--, 35, 244/245.95, 9388 even concentration between US and Canada) – While I love this crew and would be just as happy to see them in the final, they’ve incurred a lot of hate from Jungle Boogie fans.  And the judges seem to just have it in for them sometimes.  

So that’s a wrap!  Shoutouts to BABDC FUZION, BABDC FAM, JOKERZ, my Multicultural crew at school, and special shouout to Meowie!  Also, my my picture this week, there is a bit of magic involved.  Can you guess what it is?                  -Ninjaboi


Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks again, Ninjaboi!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"The 4th ABDC Judge" renders his verdict on ABDC's Magic Challenge

Here's the detailed review of ABDC's Magic Challenge, written by "The 4th ABDC Judge":
HYPE 5-0: That was really good. Let me start with the intro and how you used the poles. You jumped, twirled, and slide your poles and that was creative. Like what JC said, the ticking wasn’t that great but I still thought it was cool. Your floor work was also nice. Your challenge was to make the poles come to life  and it was hot. At first I thought “it has to be on strings, but then you used it as a pointer, without even gripping it. Also, Omarion said you guys keep doing the over and under, so what? I think it’s sick because you keep finding creative ways to do it. The pole one was really cool. Finally, how you dropped the poles showing that they weren’t real was creative.  My advice, I felt like when you were working with the poles, the other 4 just disappeared into the background. It’s not just cause of the camera angles, just make me keep my eyes on all of you. Overall, great work.
Slo-Mo: The over and under trick. I liked that because one slight move from it, someone could have crashed. Great job.

****
POREOTIX: Not to be mean, but I thought your performance was overall just okay. It wasn’t like the old Poreo that I like watching. Let’s start with the opening, you were very on point with each other. The kick in the air and the two guys spinning with it was cool. You did bring your humor as always. I did like the grooving thing the 5 of you were doing as the last person was bringing the cube, you weren’t just standing around. I also liked how you you slide under the cube as it was going. My advice, it seemed kind of easy for you guys. You are in the final 3, you have got to step it up.
Slo-mo: When you were passing the cube, you were going with it. It was fluid like and it was cool. Good job Poreo.
**********************
Bottom 2: I hate seeing the bottom two, all these crews deserve to be here and now they are just going down. It’s devastating.


BLUEPRINT CRU: This was a great performance. This week, you guys were theatrical with the audience member trying to get out of that crazy show. You also showed us you flexibility this week. TL, getting you leg that high and B-boy hero with the bridge. As usual, you were clean. Your challenge was to levitate someone. The trick was sick and when B-boy hero went under her, that was great. You even did another magic trick, nothing special but I liked it. My advice, keep up that fighting spirit. You’ve been in the bottom 2 so many times, but always came back. But great job.
Slo-mo: The flip and the legs. When he flipped, it was weird because the other dude jumped up and it looked like you had 4 legs. It was a good trick. 
*****
JUNGLE BOOGIE: I really liked your performance. I did however thought your intro was eh. But it all changed when you popped your hand out. Raqi’s acting was good. But then, came the cranking. It was then Jungle Boogie. Your fast footwork and high energy made it a very good performance. I also liked the hula hoop thing(when you roll a circle and make it come back) because the group mimicked it. You even sent you hand through him. That was sick. My advice, work on intro. It was kinda slow for me. But other than that, great job.
Slo-mo: The over the shoulder flip. It reminded me of regionals and I liked it a lot. Great Job.
 *******************
Final Comments: 
  • Don’t anyone ever say the South cant dance because after this, you know they can.
  • Blue Print could hold the record for most bottom 2 survivals because right now they are tied with We Are Heroes
  • With Jungle Boogie out, there's:
    • a 66% chance a co-ed crew will win
    • a 33% chance that a non-West crew will win
    • a 100% chance that I'll be sad when this season is over
Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks again, 4th ABDC judge. I'll be sad when this season is over too!

Friday, March 26, 2010

BJHayPinoy's detailed review of ABDC's Magic Challenge

I’d also like to state that there was a discrepancy on the MTV page with who got what song. Hype 5-0 was said to have gotten Adam Lambert’s – For Your Entertainment, but instead had Morning After Dark by Timbaland (which was supposed to be Jungle Boogie’s song). Jungle Boogie received Lil Wayne’s – Da Da Da. Hopefully such mistakes won’t be repeated again.

OPENING NUMBER: This whole opening number caught my eye from the beginning until the end. I believe this was the best opening number of all five seasons, especially with the magical element. Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo did well to transition the dancing and magic. They both focused on fast paced and well worked transitions. Each crew was highlighted well. Poreotix was first and immediately gave the magic vibe. They showed that there was no one in the door, but the second time the door was opened Jungle Boogie bursted through to highlight their crankin’. Blueprint and Hype were followed. One of the major highlight’s was Lil’ Mama coming through a sort of vaulted door and danced in sync with the crews. This showed America that Lil’ Mama really can dance and knows how to dance and be on the level of professional that these competing dancers embody. The ending was great because I do not really know how all those people disappeared behind the ABDC banner. Mario appeared at the end to introduce Magic Night and that was a GREAT way to honestly start off the show.
*****
HYPE 5-0: Hype had the song Morning After Dark by Timbaland featuring Nelly Fuertado and Soshy.In the pre-performance video package, they tried different things like making a chair come alive, or a ping-pong ball. They tried to make a person as well also, but it looked a bit weird.  Their prop ended up being a cane it seemed like they were having a hard time. The performance started off well I believe. One of the first things I’d like to point out is that the routine overall was a great performance, but I believe it was lacking. This week, the magic was there for me I have to admit. That’s the first thing you want to show, but I believe Hype was pushing the canes a bit much and this time I have to agree with the judges on some points, but not on the choreography call-out. The crew was playing well to their choreography, especially with two great moments in the beginning. The lead into the ticking section was great, I didn’t expect that kind of detail out of Hype 5-0 because I usually see the “choreography” out of them and I think they’re one of the crews that pull out choreography very well. The next thing that I’d like to point out is the fake foreshadowing because I thought the “object coming to life” challenge was going to be used on Jon Ramones. There was a portion where Josh stuck his left hand out and Ramones seemed dead. Ramones glided and spun his body along Josh and ended up going to the front of him and going into a “trance-like/corpse-like/dead body pose.” It was great, but I wish Hype 5-0 played off that foreshadowing element a bit more. I also think the canes were focused on a bit too much and they tried to incorporate magic throughout the routine, but I believe Hype 5-0 could have came a lot of harder and been a little bit more creative with the challenge. The judges are correct when saying this is the episode the PUSHES you for sure into the finals. This is the penultimate that makes or breaks your position in the Final Two Crews, The Top Two. Next week I hope Hype 5-0 knocks America out of their seats because this time, it’s a two minute performance and the next challenge is the Hip-Hop Nation.
WOW Moments: The first WOW moment was the ticking section because I do not expect Hype 5-0 to be detailed and intricate with their choreography. The lead into the ticking and it seemed like they were going to end up in different contorted positions. I’d also like to really focus on the Josh and Ramones moment where Ramones ends up looking like a dead corpse. Ramones slides along Josh’s left arm and after spinning and twisting his body around, looks like an animated dead corpse. That was great. The over under was great as well, where they did an over under using the levitating cane, but I do not really see where Omarion comes out with “Hype 5-0 does the over and under too much.” Another great moment to me was when Jon, Will, and Josh took the canes and pretended to shoot down the last crew banners remaining to give a sense of they want to take the trophy.
Word of Advice: I believe that Hype 5-0 definitely needs to step it up and I do not want America thinking they’re the SoReal of Season 5. I also do not want people to keep constantly saying that Hype 5-0 does not deserve to be where they are because they do, but they got to step it up.

*****
POREOTIX (Right Hand Hi): Poreotix had the song Right Hand Hi by Kid Sister. Their illusion was to “move an object with their mind.” It’s like a form of telekinesis, that’s what I thought. Haha, the pre-performance package was enjoyable.  Franz Harary ended up helping Poreotix by pushing the wooden chair and broke it against the wall. The telekinetic idea was shown VERY WELL in the pre-performance package. I believe Poreotix didn’t have a killer performance, but nonetheless still had a GREAT performance. The first thing I’d like to point out is that Poreotix did well to embody the magical element and the challenge itself. The beginning started off with intricate choreography as well as a focus on presenting the box, so Poreotix did well to embody one of the original ways to show off a magic illusion (You know where the magician and a girl come out and they present the magic or the seemingly magic-less item). I’m not sure, but it seemed to shift from a seemingly regular, ugly and boring box/cube, but as the choreography continued on throughout the routine, the box seemed to transform into something nicer and sleeker with a nice black coating. It was cool when Chad was doing choreography and having a little showmanship in the box. What Poreotix did to embody the challenge as well was the way they used the cube. One of the things that stuck out most to me in my head was the use of the word “telekinesis” to play with our minds. Poreotix had a moment where they were pushing the cube forward and backwards between them to seemingly replicate “telekinesis.” And that point, I thought Poreotix was going to stop with the box and not do too much with it, but they kept the choreography flowing. There were many highlighting sections in this performance. The beginning was straight up choreography based and came out with the attitude of we’re just dancing and we’re going to show that this magic is a part of dance. Poreotix did not let the prop own them. The next part was the playfulness and comedy that Poreotix incorporated because they were beating each other up with the box and trapping each other up with the box. By the end of the performance, I was laughing with their facial expressions and attitude. When the box was pushed directly at five of the crew members by one of the crew members to emulate the bowling ball trick, I was thoroughly satisfied.
WOW Moments: The first wow moment was the tiny b-boy section in the beginning. While four of the guys started off with intricate choreography, the two b-boys broke away and slid to the front to incorporate extra style. This wow moment incorporated Poreotix being HIGH ENERGY with their moves and that’s something I don’t expect a lot. It was an element of their box which they performed fantastically. The next moment is the illusion itself when Poreotix was seemingly using their minds and “telekinesis” to push the cube back and forth.  The next wow moment is the beating each other up and trapping each other in the box moments which is a part of Poreotix, the humor. The last moment to me was the ending. It was amazing and I think that cube coming at them REALLY FAST at the end to emulate the bowling ball knocking down pins tidbit was great and also scary. I wouldn’t wanna be hit by that cube. Dumbo's ticking running man was a great moment that showed intricacy and body control also. 
Word of Advice: Only one real word of advice. The choreography wasn’t the best out of them this week. They really brought it in Disco Week and Usher Week but the popping wasn’t brought out tonight, or really for the past few weeks which detracted from the performance a bit. Poreotix is getting songs that really throw away their popping style and make them seem like the “asian crew” of the season.
*****
BLUEPRINT CRU: Blueprint Cru’s song this week was Pink – Funhouse. Their illusion was to become “lighter than air. In the pre-performance package, Franz Harary showed the crew how to levitate Nathalie. So far I believe that Blueprint embodied the “feel” of the magic the most throughout their whole performance. The way that Blueprint started off was with choreography and it felt as if we were at a circus and watching a circus performance. The one thing that Blueprint Cru did was to start off as if we were watching a magic show/circus performance. Derek presented the performance and it waved to the left of the stage to show that Vincent (being the assistant to the magic) selected Nathalie as a volunteer for the act to be performed. This was a good way for allow for showmanship, but the one thing that I caught was that the members were on stage only really staring at Nathalie come on the stage until a peel-away of choreography pushed the performance back to the feel of dance. That was the only portion of the performance that kind of detracted from the dance aspect, but I applaud Blueprint for allowing showmanship and also a different element to their style of dance, which is precise, coordinated, and a “blueprint” style of Hip-Hop that comes together. The magic was well kept through the performance. While Nathalie was being levitated, she kept a facial of expression of extreme shock and disbelief because she could not believe she was being levitated. In order to eliminate the whole “they used wires” tidbit, B-Boy Nichola slid under her and showed the audience that it was not the work of other things, but it was “magic.” By the end of the performance, the choreography was of course there and skyrocketed as well. There were many levels used that incorporated many different stunts also and I believe Blueprint, so far, did the best to embody their challenge.
WOW Moment: The first WOW moment was the illusion itself. The way the illusion was shown was great, especially with B-Boy Nichola’s slide under Nathalie to show the audience that the illusion wasn’t held together by strings and supports. The next wow moment to me was of course B-Boy Nichola’s breaking moves that complemented the choreography altogether well. I’d like to comment Blueprint for going come out of the box again this performance. The last wow moment was the different levels. TL was being flipped around near the end and ended the flips with a pose and pushed out foot to show understanding of keeping her position and attitude while two of the other girls were doing choreography upside down on two of the guys.
Word of Advice: Bring it harder and I think bring it less with the themes also. Blueprint is one of the crews I want to see embody their precision and blueprint style even more as a whole to showcase their talent more. I believe that they can take America by storm again when sticking to themselves more and more without adding too much to detract from it. The performance was a little slow in the beginning with the showmanship, but the thing that detracted from it was the crew members on stage not doing too much choreography to keep the dance element in.
*****
JUNGLE BOOGIE: Jungle Boogie this week had Lil Wayne’s – Da Da Da. The illusion was to “pass their body through a solid surface.” Franz came to help in with a mirror and showed Jungle Boogie that he stuck his hand through the mirror.  Jungle Boogie came out very well to me tonight and I believe that they had their best performance. The one thing that I’d like to point out is the use of props this week. I believe that some crews had GREAT props, while at the same time, others had okay and decent props. I thought Jungle Boogie would only have the use of the giant mirror. I love the way that the twins were able to utilize the choreography to give the illusion of actually looking in a mirror and looking only at your reflection. The thing that I noticed was that I could see the feet of the twin that was positioned behind the mirror under the giant mirror which detracted from the illusion as a whole itself, but I will not take that away from Jungle Boogie’s high energy performance. The footwork of Jungle Boogie was brought out well after they pulled the twin out of the mirror to make it seem as if there was only one of the twins and that the crew pulled out an exact replica of the same person. The footwork brought out the high energy of Jungle Boogie that lead straight into the crankin’. Jungle Boogie actually embodied their own style the most out of all the other crews. I saw that Jungle Boogie was trying to show America that “THIS IS CRANKIN’ AND THIS IS HOW WE DO.” I loved that Jungle Boogie was able to utilize their own style of dance to COMPLEMENT THE MAGIC, not let the MAGIC complement the dancing. I really want to commend Jungle Boogie because, as well as Blueprint, did well to always feel as if they were in the bottom to and not get complacent and lazy with their positions on ABDC.
WOW Moment: When Jungle Boogie pulled the twin out of the mirror after doing some choreography, I was like wow.. how did that happen. The next moment for me was the fact that Jungle Boogie stuck to their crankin’ throughout the WHOLE performance and I’ve wanted the crews to be able to embrace their original styles more because the show has taken away all the crews original styles and focused on making them dance differently most of the time. The last wow moment that truly stuck out to me was the ending where one of the twins stuck his hand through the other twin and it seemed as if it was his hand that was being pushed through the tiny circular mirror. Jungle Boogie embodied their illusion well also.
Word of Advice: Do not get comfortable and always keep your battle attitudes. I want you guys to be able to branch out and learn more styles to complement your crankin’ and high energy. You showed that you wanted to fight for the top three position and brought it all out to the dance floor and I’m glad that you guys pushed it out tonight.
Note to Jungle Boogie as the Eliminated Crew: Jungle Boogie, I grew to like you guys more and more each week. When I saw your regionals, I wasn’t excited that much but in the Nationals Episode with the How Low performance, you took America by storm and showed that you were top Southern Contenders. As I watched the goodbye package, I was saddened to see you guys go home tonight because I felt that you ripped it hard tonight. I want to commend the judges on a heart-wrenching decision and I hope to see Jungle Boogie in the future for sure. They’re one of the most amazing Southern Crews I’ve seen on this show to date.

ABDC5 Episode 9 Magic Challenge Rankings:
1. Blueprint Cru
2. Poreotix
3. Jungle Boogie
4. Hype 5-0



Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks again BJHayPinoy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Preview from the pressbox: Chris Trondsen reports from the Magic Challenge taping

Here's the rest of Chris's report from backstage at America's Best Dance Crew's Magic Challenge taping:
The biggest difference between the bottom 2 crews was how well they incorporated the magic trick with the dancing. The crew that went home’s performance really revolved around the trick and not so much the dancing.  So in the end, the crew that stayed danced more and didn’t let the magic trick overwhelm the performance.

The crew that went home took it very well.  They stayed after and did some interviews, were happy on stage when talking to Mario after they found out they went home, and backstage were just bright and happy.  Not angry at all.  They were just happy to be able to be on that stage and dance their hearts off each week and have some amazing performances. We were actually fortunate enough to see their van in the parking lot as they went back to the hotel so we were able to say hi and talk to them even more and they were really positive about the whole thing and were very professional.

One thing the remaining crews are going to have to deal with is that one crew is the obvious crowd favorite.  When announced they always get the loudest cheers and if any judge says anything even remotely negative, they get boo’d within seconds.  If this crowd is any indication of how the votes are going, then the remaining crews have to figure out a way to start winning people over and getting the votes before it’s too late.

This week was also tricky for press.  We did not get to speak to the crews before the performance this week because they used backstage as part of the opening performance.  After the taping, there were so many press outlets so it was hard for interviews this week.  Glenda and I saved a lot of the questions from this week and will make sure to make it up to you guys next week!

Some alumni that were there was Steve T. from Quest Crew who was doing interviews for MTV.com and the entire Vogue Evolution Crew.  They had two shows the night before here in Cali, one in LA and one in the OC, and then were teaching a workshop and dance classes the following day.  So they came by to watch the taping and did an interview with us! Leyomi also went on stage for a freestyle session and did her famous Leyomi Lolly along with a few dips and other moves and got the crowd hyped and excited to see her.

Each week, one thing they don’t show on TV is they have dance contests on stage.  So if you ever come to a taping, you have to be prepared to get up on stage and dance if you want to be a part of that!  Winners usually win guaranteed tickets to next weeks taping.

This week, you will also see Omarion do some harsh judging for two of the crews. 
He started off by telling the crews that his judgments shouldn’t be taken personally and then kinda went in on them. He tells one crew that they continue to do the same choreography each week and stuff we’ve seen before, that it’s almost the finals and they have to do better than that.  He tells the crew that ends up going home that he likes them but their performance this week wasn’t very good.. JC judges harshly again this week for some crews and makes people wonder if he’s harder on crews this season then he was last season.

Overall, two of the crews excelled with the magic tricks and illusion challenge this week and two fell a bit short.  The final three is a strong final three and it will be interesting to see who ends up in the finals especially with the way America has been voting. Expect to see a challenge that looks similar to The Beat Freak’s Magic Challenge week that they received, as well as things floating and some stuff that I still don’t even know how they did it!
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Report from the Magic Challenge Tapings

Here's the rest of Crush!'s report:
Blueprint Cru: Their challenge was to make one person in the crew lighter than air. I thought it was going to be one of them floating for a little while, but it turned out much more than that! They had Nathalie floating about a foot and a half off the ground, then Bboy hero slides through under her, demonstrating there was nothing holding her up. I couldn't figure that one out. What i liked about this performance was that they were telling a story of being in the circus, as the song Funhouse comes into play. The whole crew, except for Nathalie, was part of the circus, and she was a visitor to the circus. They had a group tut session, where some members were hanging upside-down. Also, TL and Vincent do a move, which reminds me of Afroborike. Vince spins her into the air, then TL grabs her foot in mid-air, and she lands gracefully into his arms!

Hype 5-0: Their challenge was that they had to bring an object to life. At first I had thought that they were going to have human-like figure dancing with them, but i was wrong. Instead they were given sticks to dance with. The sticks would move around and pull the crew across the stage.

Jungle Boogie: Their challenge was that they had to pass through a solid object. I thought one of the members was going to pass through another member's body, like SAS did in season three. Once they got help with the illusion, I thought it was the most unique illusion of them all.. They had their classic craking, but it looked like you were fast forwarding it. It was fast! They showed their athleticism with flips over each other.

Poreotix: Their challenge was that they had to control an object with their minds.  They were given a giant box thing with holes to have floating around as they performed. It was exactly like Beat Freak's illusion challenge, only they got to use a huge box with holes instead of the shiny floating ball.  They had ticking, strobing, tutting, and popping in this performance. The part that stood out the most to me was when the members started using the box to attack each other, trying to push each other off the stage; that was pretty dangerous, but entertaining!

I did not like the bottom two this week, since I like all the crews that were left. But I believe the right choice was made on who to send home. Now all I have to look forward to is for Thursday night to watch the episode and relive the illusions! They were awesome!



Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks again Crush!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ninjaboi's Review of ABDC5's Usher Challenge

REMINDER OF SCALE:
Choreography: Togetherness, Intricacy, Creativity, Musicality, Execution
Wow: Crazy isolation moments, Athletic stuff, humor, defining moments
Showmanship: Timing, Formations, Transitions, Attitude, Beginning/Endings, Story telling, energy, facials, stage use, overall stage presence
Challenge: Going above and beyond the challenge given them, in their own way.
Improvement: Step up from last week while keeping a sense of who they are.
This week, I’m taking 5% off of my Poreotix score, given that I still have a bias, but people say that it’s not as bad as before.
**********
This week’s challenge had crews completing a specific task with each song.  Also, I’m looking at how well they capture the “essence of Usher,” which I’m calling 1)smoothness, 2)confident coolness, 3)sexiness

JUNGLE BOOGIE - Glides
Choreo – 8 – Pretty smooth and together.  A couple points where I had to go back and check if they were all together (a hand here and there out of place).  Nothing too mind blowing, but it was executed pretty well.
Wow – 7 – Nothing too overstated.  A few flips here and there.  The blown kiss was a funny, but nothing really defined this whole routine that you could capture in a single photo.
Showmanship – 8 – There wasn’t exactly an overlying story, but there were moments, like when Raqi played the fangirl.  The beginning was pretty cool, though I didn’t quite like the ending – call it personal taste.  Their energy was pretty high and their formations and transitions were in sync.
Challenge – 7 – While they were smoother than they normally are (compared to their usual wild energy), and they had the sexy grinds, the glides, which was their explicit challenge were a bit off at some points, as JC said.
Improvement – 7 – Personally I liked last week’s routine better, it seemed like they had more fun with that one.  But this showed that smoother side to them, which I can appreciate.  I still saw the cranking, which I kind of wish they play up a bit more in later routines.
Highlight – The shadow freezes, or whatever it was that Omarion pointed out.  It’s like they multiplied out of one person.
Notes – Overall, the gliding could have been executed a lot better. They said they brought the scorpion this week, and while it wasn’t overstated like with Liger week, I could see the above average level of precision they brought.  I totally think that since next week is Magic week, they should go in Tuxedos and go for the penguin.  But out of all the crews that are here today, I think they broke the most expectations (even their own,) but in hindsight it was really no surprise.

Total - 37
*****
POREOTIX – Take that and Rewind it Back
Choreo – 7 – First off – “WHAAA-TTTT?”  lol. Anyway, while some parts were a bit simple, but others were also pretty impressive.  So it averages out.
Wow – 8 – We’ve been seeing members, mostly Law, Dumbo, and Jet Li, show their athletic side recently.  From that flip over Charles to the “passing the torch,” it wasn’t that they were particularly complicated, but they way they timed it that makes it more impressive.  The underwear was a nice touch, though not that important in the long run, I think.
Showmanship – 9 – Again, this crew shows that they are entertainers.  The ropes set the scene, and they definitely came out looking like they owned the joint.  The “That just ain’t me” moment also showed their humor.  The ending “explosion” was done in a new way, which was nice.  Energy was up, at least by their standards.  Facials are always on key with these guys. The transitions between formations were on and off for me.  Some like the diagonal transition were “whoa when did he get there” to “a bit iffy” like some sort of monster walk into place before the underwear. 
Challenge – 9 – This was, if you paid attention, an expansion of a classic Poreotix move from their “Toxic” routine, where they have this chain reaction, and then undo it. Some may say that’s not fair, but I say that if they happen to have had something like this before, why can’t they use it? Anyway, they also brought the sexy grind, though I think that may have taken up a portion of the routine longer than necessary… but they also kept the smoothness and had that confidence.
Improvement – 7 – I’d say that overall by technique, this wasn’t as good as last week, though still killer.  But in some parts, especially in the wow factor and the showmanship, they stepped it up.
Highlight – “That just ain’t me!”  Still love it whenever crews lip sync the words.
Notes – One thing I noticed was that they were the only crew to have all the guys be Ushers rather than assign one guy that role.  Maybe that makes sense cause they’re the only single-gender crew left.  But if they were the ones who said to put on the club ropes, they really know what to do.  The ropes, while not an explicit part of their routine, “set the stage” so to speak.  If that was their idea, they knew how to best optimize this song, even if they wanted something else.  Now, personally I liked this at the same level as last week’s for different reasons.  Last week was more technically challenging, while this week, was sort of like Quest’s forever piece – they were just having fun out there, I think, which I like to see as much as a crew wow me while being bored. 

Total - 40-5%=38
*****
HYPE 5-0 - Heelys
Choreo – 7 – This is actually a step down for this crew.  In all honesty, these shoes did limit them.  But still, I saw about 5 points in the performance when most if not all of the crew members were either waiting for a count to pass, meaning they were frozen still, leaving a “dead moment.”  Plus, the large movement in your face stuff was mostly gone this week.  I realize that it’s a bit harder to move around like that with the wheels, but I saw a lot of what seemed more like shuffling, nothing too complicated.  It was all together, though.
Wow – 7 – A bit understated here.  There were the initial head isolations, which I always love to watch.  And Hazmat’s quick flips into a smooth glide… pretty good.  But a bit understated compared to last week’s especially.
Showmanship – 7 – Beginning: dope. Ending, what else would you expect?  Stage use was a bit limited, considering that the Heelys would let them cross it really fast.  Energy was a bit toned down.  Formations seemed limited as well, but the attitude they brought of confidence helped.
Challenge – 8 - First off, I can barely do Heelys, so props to them for that, and a bit of a handicap in having the hardest challenge.  Now, I think JC was being a bit unfair.  Br8Sk8 grew up on skates while these guys had about a week.  Cut them some slack here.  I think they took that part of their challenge to heart, though I think overall it may have taken away from their footwork.  There were some sexy parts, but mostly Hazmat’s Usher impersonation was what got them this score.  Though I will say that it may be to the crews benefit to highlight other members a bit more, just cause it will show us something fresh, which the judges like.
Improvement – 6 – A step down I think, from what I’ve come to expect from them.  Hopefully when they have their own two feet on the floor next week, they can bring that back.  Overall it was good, but not GREAT
Highlight – As Hazmat is gliding after his flips, the guys grab each other’s hands and spin in a circle.  A bit simple, but helped accent the smooth Heelys
Notes – I really like this crew, especially their personalities. And I really wish they step it up.  Hopefully, MTV ignores regional ideals, and doesn’t screw them over with that voting error stuff this week.  But I must say, thanks to you guys for taking my really long question in your last interview!

Total - 35
*****
For the bottom two, by my scores last week, it should have been Jungle Boogie and Saltare.  Blueprint snuck in there, I suppose, for a variety of reasons.  Xenophobic Americans, people thinking that their immunity “wasn’t fair,” among others come to mind.

BLUEPRINT CRU – Hands on me
Choreo – 8 – Finally, a return to their technical side.  And no, they did not have this whole thing choreographed for them, alright? The reason that I won’t give them a 9 like my gut says they should is because right at the very end, it was ruined a bit for me cause I saw Bboy Hero slightly out of sync with his arm motions which threw me for a loop.  So
Wow – 6 – Definitely understated.  Only one hollowbackesque move from Bboy Hero, though it was timed perfectly.
Showmanship – 8 – Attitude, facials, transitions, energy, it was all there.  The beginning was eye boggling, and the ending had the right swag to it, if a bit cut off in that it left me wanting more.  Stage use was pretty decent as well.
Challenge – 7 – They had the hand section, which was okay in its execution, if a tad… generic for what they were assigned.  Which was a relatively easy challenge.  But, they had other sexy bits, and smooth parts, though smooth might as well be their middle name, so not much of a challenge there…
Improvement – 8 – As I’ve said enough times now, YAY TECHNICAL BLUEPRINT IS BACK.  Okay, I’m done.
Highlight – 2 points for me here, both which highlight their speed.  Right after the hands part, the explosion out covered a pretty large area.  Then, after that, the sexy part seemed like the whole thing was in fast forward.
Notes – I liked this performance, though I still think their “That’s not my name,” was still their best.  But both were great for the same reason – we see the technical Blueprint, and they have that swag, that attitude about them that’s both serious yet playful at the same time.  Hopefully Americans can open their eyes past their xenophobia and see what this crew has.  Or maybe they don’t realize Canada can’t vote. 

Total - 37
*****
SALTARE - Knockout
Choreo – 7 – From them, they were smoother than a lot of people expected, and had a lot more rope free stuff, if from the central two only.  But it was a definite step up.  I think this whole experience definitely has been a benefit for them as performers.
Wow – 8 – As in past weeks I’ve seen a few more tricks start to be repeated at times.  But that doesn’t really take away from the fact that they’re still doing Bboy stuff in moving ropes.  Excellent use of the ropes as weapons at some points though.
Showmanship – 6 – As someone pointed out, there is a bit of a distinct pattern to their routines.  Non rope stuff -> single ropes -> group ropes -> trade people out of jumping in the middle -> group rope and pose.  Predictability is bad.  In terms of formations and transitions and such, nothing we haven’t seen done over the past few weeks really, so I can’t say that they brought something new to the table that made it a novel piece if you haven’t seen it so many times before.
Challenge – 6 – I loved this challenge.  The execution may have taken up a part of their routine that may have prevented them from doing much else, but  they completed it. They even threw in a bit of sexy Usher in there early on.  The only part they were missing though, was his smoothness.
Improvement – 8 – The fact that they finally learned how to do rope free stuff, and gave us a coherent story to their routine… give them props people.
Highlight – Rope changes.  I know it’s a minor thing, necessary to let everyone jump.  But how they can keep the momentum of the ropes while not getting them tangled up escapes me.
Notes – I know that a lot of people didn’t expect this crew to get this far.  But they represented what they do well, and personally grew along the way, I think.  Good job guys

 Total - 35
 

So, Saltare’s performance pretty much ensured that they went home this week.  Now would be a good time to talk about history.  Historically, the “gimmick crew” has gone home during this week.  And so it happens again.  Now, whether that means the old traditions hold up is up to the voters.  But, what I’ve found is that  the Top 2 crews in the top 4 are the final 2 crews of the season, and that  the crew that gets a bye in the final round gets second place. So will Poreotix go through to the finale without ever landing in the bottom and break that trend?  Will Hype’s voting errors and Blueprint’s inability to win America’s votes keep them from going to the top 2?  

Power Ranking (Judges opinion, This week’s score, Total Score, Youtube views)
1)Poreotix – (+, [38,40], [204.5,225], 28557 +(plus another video on the same channel with judges comments with 14439 views) – They finally won the JC back, they had the best routine of the night, an overall higher score range, and definitely more interest than pretty much any other 2 crews combined.  Plus a rabid fanbase. It’s theirs to lose by pulling a Beat Freaks, or for the producers to rig.  
2)Jungle Boogie – (0, 37, 207, 9035) – This crew is a fun crew.  Technically, I prefer Blueprint’s style more.  But these guys are pretty close in terms of views, and they can do what Blueprint seems to be unable to do without immunity: get votes
3)Blueprint – (+, 37, [213,215.1], 9666) – Without immunity or the judges saving them, America may have very well voted them out by now.  It’s not just about being able to dance, despite how some wish it was – it’s also about winning over America enough that common people want to go ahead and vote for a foreigner crew.
4)Hype – (-, 35, 209,210.95, 8607) – Having a relatively weak (though still pretty dope) performance overall) compared to other crews, combined with the inability of their major fanbase to view the routine at the proper time, AND the seemingly regional oriented top 3 that the producers want, these guys need to blow us out of the water next week if they want to stay. 
 

Well, that’s a wrap then!  Maybe a bit short compared to past weeks, but it’s fewer crews!  
Looking forward to next week’s group performance, and to see if MTV will give any decent challenges next week.  I don’t see any crew failing miserably with these, though Poreotix and Blueprint seem like likely candidates to pull a Beat Freaks Magic Ballesque routine (hopefully with a different trick).  Shoutout as always to the BABDC Fam, BABDC Fuzion, and my Multicultural dance crew that is currently going to drive me insane this week (now you know where I am if I’m not here this week).  --Ninjaboi


Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks Ninjaboi!

Del's Review of ABDC's Usher Challenge

JUNGLE BOOGIE The first crew to receive a “personal message” from Usher (seriously though MTV at least upgrade that crappy TV) was Jungle Boogie! They got ‘Love in this Club’ and we found out that Blueprint Cru was in the bottom 2 this week.
Creativity: 8 – I loved the “shadow mirror” (thanks Omarion) that they did and the rest of the moments provided throughout the routine. Their transitions were good as well, but they could’ve worked on connecting the routine better. I think they kind of just shifted from one moment to the next without actually transitioning well.
Showmanship: 8.5 – Besides disco week, this is probably the routine where I’ve felt that Jungle Boogie showed the most personality. They always have energy and great presence every week, but the past two weeks they’ve embodied the CHALLENGE while still being them at the same time. Last week they looked like a bunch of ‘cool cats’ and this week they got into sexiness without having to repeat their ‘Video Phone’ performance.
Entertainment Value and Crowd Appeal: 8 – Even though the glide wasn’t that well executed, it still got the crowd pretty hot. The thing that drug them down was their moments not connecting which dropped some of the energy from the previous ones. The crowd was into some stuff more than others in the performance and I think if they transitioned better with everything it would’ve came off better.
Musicality: 8.5 – I was impressed this week. I honestly didn’t know that Jungle Boogie could be this on point in their routines from what we’ve seen before. Maybe that was a mistake on my part, but they have got my attention now and it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep this side present in this crucial point.
Execution and Synchronization: 8.25 – The gliding…..was good. I have to dock some points for that foot glide because that was not pulled off well. I had a problem with how some of the members were hitting the smooth and sexy bits a little too hard, but that’s nothing to get discouraged over. Just a minor issue of mine.
Difficulty: 8 – It was a step up from some of their earlier routines, but it wasn’t put together as well as it could’ve been. The routine had potential to be flawless, but I think that they need to refine their game a bit to get to that point.
Wow Factor: 7 – Fun routine, but besides the shadow peel out there wasn’t much of a “wow” moment. It was entertaining I’ll give it that, but I think the killed glide is what hurts it in this area.
Overall average:  8 – A great way to start off the episode and an even greater way for Jungle Boogie to stake their claim for actually winning this competition. I know that some are still skeptical on JB, but they’re a crew that can be dangerous if people don’t watch out for them.
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Our next people to hit the stage are the men who dance inappropriately, POREOTIX!
Creativity: 8 – The reverse was pulled off well, their gags were set up nicely, and they had a great entrance to their performance. Good week for Poreotix so far, but I will say that I wasn’t feeling much of the choreography this week (weird that I agree with Omarion). I think that most of the choreography was setting up to stuff rather than delivering anything.
Showmanship: 9 – Having “Yeah!” I think they were great with having fun out there. The comedy was a little more in line this week than it was during a challenge such as the GaGa one, so it actually added to the performance.
Entertainment Value and Crowd Appeal: 9.5 – I’m sure that the Lil Jon in the audience would give them a 10 here, but that’s not exactly my style. The crowd was on fire the whole performance and the only real gripe I had was when they took the underwear out of their pants. It’s not because I have a thing against underwear, but rather that this moment was a bit of a drop off from such a high energy performance that everyone was going wild for.
Musicality: 7 – Although it was one of their best entertaining performances, I can see a lot of people having a problem with Poreotix in the technical aspects of this week. I’ll give it up to them for their performance in spirit, but with the rest of the dancing it wasn’t that hot to me.
Execution and Synchronization: 8.5 – The grinding section was a little wonky, but they all held it together throughout. Like always they’re at the top as far as being in line with each other goes.
Difficulty: 6.5 – It was a step down from ‘Dancing Machine’ in terms of difficulty and overall technical prowess. I think that this is what initially worried them with the judges, because the ‘Yeah!’ performance wasn’t trying to be difficult. It was trying to be fun and while some might appreciate that, it’ll still raise an eyebrow or two.
Wow Factor: 7 – A bit like Jungle Boogie. It was entertaining (even a lot moreso with Poreotix), but there wasn’t anything amazing that’ll stand out when looking back on it. I feel as if they were all building up minor moments to create a fun, party routine rather than having a huge one.

Overall average: 7.9 – Good, but not as good as last week’s. I think last week’s is obviously something that would be extremely hard to top, but I also believe that Jungle Boogie had the better overall performance when I saw them head to head as well. I know that a lot of people that love Poreotix would disagree with me on that, but note that I’m saying that their routine was still very good and entertaining.
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For the last saved crew we’ve got HYPE 5-0!
Creativity: 8 – They used the Heelies well, but a bit of the usage hurt them. I think it ended up taking away from portions of their performance because they were having to roll around on those awkward things. I will say that JC’s claim of “Break Sk8 did it so you should too” was ridiculous. First off, Break Sk8’s whole thing were that they danced on skates. That’s what made them, them. Second, Hype didn’t fumble with the heelies, just had problems with using them in moderation. They don’t perform with wheels on their feet so I don’t see how you can hold it against them.
Showmanship: 8.25 – Josh was definitely a great source of energy this week. I think the whole crew did well with keeping up with him, but his energy was hard to match.  Whether or not Hazmat was the star of the show, all of Hype was still into the Usher feel. I enjoyed it.
Entertainment Value and Crowd Appeal: 7.25 - This is an area that I think the Heelies hurt them in. While they were fun and all, they weren’t as good as the first two crews were at keeping the crowd involved. We had a great dose of Hype’s usual high energy choreography and besides the heelie problems I think they gave an entertaining show, but there wasn’t much of a connection there.
Musicality: 8 – Some sections weren’t there, but others were right on. They managed to keep a lot of their good moments with the music and didn’t stray from their usually in-tune style too much.
Execution and Synchronization: 8 – There were some problems I had with a couple of members being off (particularly near the end with the girls), but besides that they were together and hard hitting as usual. They did a good job of hiding KC’s ‘issues’ with the routine and I think that some of them not hitting with the same intensity on some steps isn’t that hard of a problem to fix. They did good here this week as well.
Difficulty: 7.25 – I feel like, while good, it wasn’t that much of an improvement over their other routines because the choreography wasn’t as intricate as past stuff they’ve put out. Before there were nice subtle things that Hype did in their performances, but this week the wheels kind of stuck them to drive (ha, terrible pun) toward a more simpler direction. They stuck in little rolling moments that didn’t give them much of an opportunity to add an extra dimension to the performance.
Wow Factor: 7.5 – They did a nice couple of big moment tricks with Josh, but besides that it was pretty average like the last two. The difference here being that these tricks pulled Hype up more than their pure entertainment factor.
Overall average: 7.75 - As much as I really wasn’t feeling this routine, I don’t think it’s as bad as some would say. Sure, it’s not a routine that would project them to the top, but it’s also not a bad routine. It just didn’t stand out much compared to the other ones.
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 First up in the bottom 2, BLUEPRINT CRU!
Creativity: 8.5 – I liked a lot of the transitions they used and the hands section with Vincent was nice, but the only problem I had is that besides the spotlight with Bboy hero, Vince was pretty much the only guy that got featured in this performance. The BP guys are usually adding another dimension to the performance, but this week they should’ve been used a little more. Though I do understand that their challenge did call for them to spotlight someone in particular I think they could’ve done better with the others in the routine.
Showmanship: 8.5 – All pervertedness aside, I must agree with JC about Nat. I think Blueprint as a whole did great embodying the confidence that Usher has when he dances, and all the girls were definitely bringing the sexy vibe right until the ending.
Entertainment Value and Crowd Appeal: 8.25 - The crowd was hot for a good portion of the performance. I think that the beginning wasn’t much, but the rest pulled them in and picked them up.  The end definitely played into their entertainment factor and I think it was also a clever Usher throwback to include, which is something the judges also enjoyed.
Musicality: 8.5 – Like Chonique said in her interview with them, I would’ve liked to have seen Blueprint have more of a groove out there, but they kept true to themselves this week and hit hard the whole way through. Even though I was wishing for a bit more, they still did very good at one of their specialties.
Execution and Synchronization: 8 – Every now and then someone was off, which was a bit unexpected for me to see, but overall the crew fully hit all of their moves. There’s quite the debate over Nic’s move and whether it was a head hollow (that wasn’t executed in full) or not, but I’m not an authority to say so I can’t knock him on that right now.
Difficulty:  7.5 – While they were good at performing their moves, I think that most of the stuff they did wasn’t all that difficult for them to pull off. I’d have rather they went a bit deeper into Usher’s style (without fully diverging from their own as they did with ‘Bad Romance’) and blend it with their own personality in terms of choreography. I feel like the feeling was there as far as expression goes, but they performed their own moves like Usher rather than expanding their moveset to include more of his style this week.
Wow Factor: 7 – As with Usher, every performance this week had their signature moments and it made them stand out in those aspects. With Blueprint I think that the hands, Nic’s freeze, and the ending were great moments that helped boost their score.
Overall average: 8 – Tied with Jungle Boogie as the best routine. In my personal opinion I felt as if this was the best of the night, but the numbers don’t lie here. Saltare would’ve had a hard time beating this one, so let’s see how they did up next.
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Our next bottom 2 crew, as mentioned previously, SALTARE!
Creativity: 8 – The intro was good, the transitions were very creative and they actually held the story together throughout the routine. Impressive creativity this week from Saltare considering that last week I felt as if their disco was a bit lacking in this area.
Showmanship: 7.5 – We had a couple of good facial expressions throughout the performance and the fighting was handled well inside of the ropes as well. My only true problem was that there was some uneasiness on the ladies’ faces toward the end and it all kind of went by so fast that the story lost a bit of traction with the members.
Entertainment Value and Crowd Appeal: 9.25 – This routine is probably only rivaled by their Regional performance as the most entertaining routine that Saltare has put on in their time on the show. It was all very well put together and if anything could’ve put it over the top it probably would’ve been some choreography that surprised the crowd with all of the members out of the ropes, but you really can’t complain when presented with something as nice as this was.
Musicality:  4 – As hard as I usually am on Saltare (especially in this area), this week was a step up here. I think the added choreography was actually not ‘that’ bad and deserves some props for them, but I do wish that they could’ve added some of the bboying they’ve done in the ropes in past performances a little bit more. I feel like they kind’ve sacrificed that part of themselves to show people that they can be as good as the other crews in the dancing area, but they blend best with the music either in the ropes or on the floor. Not so much standing up rope-free.
Execution and Synchronization: 8.25 – Like Lil Mama said, the dancing was a bit stiff when they weren’t in the ropes, but I think besides that and Lisa’s soft performance in the ropes for a good part, Saltare executed well this week. There were 0 mess-ups and with all of the tricks they did that’s very impressive. They definitely went all out this performance and I commend them on keeping it together.
Difficulty: 8.5 – The tricks were bold. The choreography was an improvement for them and the fact that they added their failed trick from weeks past was a very nice addition to me. The flip into the ropes was also sick, along with the backwards turning. Saltare once again added a level that I think we haven’t seen since their Regional.
Wow Factor: 9.5 – All of the moments and tricks made this a really powerful performance. Even with them leaving the show they made a great final impression and if anything that’ll be a good memory for their fans on the way out.
Overall average: 7.8 – Disappointing for their fans I’m sure, but it’s still a great performance to go out on. As far as standings go this routine was right up there with the best in one of ABDC’s tightest episodes. Saltare at least goes out with their heads held high and that’s all that matters.
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With all of that said, this week’s standings are as followed:
1)   (tied) Jungle Boogie/Blueprint Cru (8)
2)    Poreotix (7.9)
3)    Saltare (7.8)
4)    Hype 5-0 (7.75)
 
I know that I’m in for a tongue-lashing from Hype 5-0 fans, but I just want to say that while I STILL think their performance wasn’t as bad as some would make it out to be, it wasn’t as good as the other ones were either. It didn’t resonate that well with me and for that it wound up at the bottom. No hard feelings I hope, but they can redeem themselves next week. For the rest of you though it looks like we’re going to have to prepare for some MAGIC on the dance floor again. Oh joy!