Saturday, April 9, 2011

Byeynyn's review of ABDC6's Lil Wayne Challenge

There’s a opening number of all five crews for tonight dancing to Lil Wayne’s “6 Foot 7 Foot”, which I think is a nice touch. Also, the song makes me think of Harry Belafonte for some reason. Since this opening isn’t the one being judged, there’s not much to say except none of the crews particularly embarrass themselves. Something I hated about Seasons 2 & 5 was how quickly a huge chunk of the crews were introduced and then unceremoniously dumped, so I appreciate the new format starting out less heartbreaking. All five crews will be performing to Lil Wayne songs, one will be cut this week (no Dance Battling? Lame!)

IaMmE- Four guys and two girls representing Houston, Texas. They could be the second winning crew whose name is also a sentence! I’m trying not to get overly excited about seeing Philip Chbeeb (of SYTYCD 5 fame) try his hand at the ABDC stage, mostly because I don’t want it to end up being the Philip Chbeeb Show and the Others. From what I heard, this was a crew assembled specifically for the show, which might be why the crew looks as diverse as the Power Rangers. They’re performing “Right Above It.” I… liked this routine better when it was called “Brain Bang”. The musicality really shined then, here the pacing feels a bit off. But barring that, their visuals are clever, almost ungodly. I counted three ridonkulous tutting sections. In the middle, they get a moment to make a nice groove, but it’s their fantastic group formations that should lure the voters.

Phunk Phenomenon- Six guys and one girl, which means that no matter what, that girl will get a disproportionate amount of attention. They’re from Boston, and they’re raising awareness for Sanfilippo syndrome, a rare disease. They are dancing to “A Milli” and… where to start? It’s a little annoying to compare crews to crews in previous seasons, but they dance like a fusion of Rhythm City and Phresh Select. They do a good job of maintaining their energy during their transitions. They use the middle to bust out some fast choreography while the b-boy in the middle does a honkload of windmills and flares and other cool spinning stuff. That is a certified b-boy right there. They group up again and start getting into hard-hitting, in-your-face moves. This season’s already more in-your-facey than last season! Their ending, where the girl knocks the rest of the group to the ground, is overdone, but it’s a good routine.

ReQuest- Eight women who may have borrowed their name from Quest Crew. They hail from New Zealand (suck it, Old Zealand!) and some people might know them from their performance in the most recent Hip Hop International, where they won. They also apparently killed a leopard and used its hide for their outfits. They’re dancing to “Knockout,” which seems like a weird song choice. It’s too rock-and-roll, and beyond head-banging, rock’s not a very danceable genre (see Team Millennia and Blueprint Cru, both who were voted in the bottom two following their rock performances). A few of the members pretend to fight each other, which… is that tonight’s theme? Unfortunately, despite coming across fiercely and wielding a nice variety of styles (including wacking and booty-shaking), there aren’t any major wow moments in this routine. It’s not like they’re incapable of wow moments; I saw several in their HHI performance, but I didn’t see any here. They finish their routine with one of them blowing a whistle. Too many players on the field? Anyhow, I’m concerned they’ll be in the bottom two in the near future because a) they’re a foreign crew b) this routine felt like Blueprint’s except without the popularity of the b-boy element, and c) their sob story wasn’t the saddest. But prove me wrong, America.

Eclectic Gentlemen- Seven guys who may have borrowed their wardrobe from Quest Crew. Purple semi-formal attire is soooo two years ago. They’re from North Hollywood, California, and a few of them teach dance workshops. They’re dancing to “Fireman.” Holy crap, that one dude busts out some wicked hair! I bet it’s perfect for whipping back and forth. There is a nice moment where the leader tuts and they slowly build from that. A couple of them do impressive flips. One guy pretends to be on fire and free-style convulses while another “douses” him. Okay, they had my favorite ending so far, a slow-mo fall to the ground. Classy. However, I do need to see a slightly stronger identity from these guys and a little more complexity in their group choreography. And there was a lot of downtime in the second half of their routine where I saw crew members sort of stand and wait.

Street Kingdom- This LA crew has a whopping TEN members. And remember when I said krumping to Bieber? If these guys fall early, it’s not because of a lack of a dance pedigree. I’m can’t hold it against them if they’ll struggle against pop music. Noticeably, SYTYCD did have a krumper win for its sixth season, so that’s optimistic news for this crew. Their song is “I Am Not a Human Being.” They start out in a circular formation, one of the rare times the camera gets to capture all of them at once. It feels like they have twenty people dancing up there, I’m surprised they don’t bump into each other. Wait, they kind of do. In the second half, they bunch up and get raucous while the leader gets crazy with the krumps. Ugh, visually it’s hard for me to keep track of ten dancers, especially when I could’ve sworn they pulled some people from the audience to dance with them. It’s so high-energy throughout the routine though that it works.

In the end, with ReQuest and Eclectic Gentlemen being the judge’s Bottom Two, it’s the sophisticated EG voted off the island stage. And for the first season ever, a crew from the West is the first group to fall. It’s not completely fair, as it’s possible these first five crews are the best of the ten and the format may have screwed them, but crews that struggle with the judges’ favor early on don’t win anyways.

So will one of these crews walk away with the title? Will Season Six’s winners add their own unique flair to the list of ABDC champions since Poreotix became the first winning team with an X in their name? We’ll take a look next week then the other (seemingly more gimmicky) half performs. Not to get too ahead of myself, but I have a bad feeling about Instant Noodles.