Sunday, March 21, 2010

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.
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.
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.
 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.
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.
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!