Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ninjaboi's Review of ABDC5's Usher Challenge

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

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

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