Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review of ABDC's Katy Perry Challenge by Byeynyn

 Phunk Phenomenon- They are saved first, and their song is "Waking Up in Vegas," where they have to make a roulette wheel. They’re dressed in tuxedos with red sequins (with numbers on the back). They open by “waking up” and run into place to do some quick choreo. The group does some top rocking. It’s shown that Kassandra, wearing a bride’s veil, decides to get “hitched” to Bebo. They are just TRYING to promote all the classic Vegas sins. Except for drugs. At least until the song inserts some nonsense about Charlie Sheen #Winning. For the roulette part, Bebo does headspins while the other six surround him and move on the floor in a circular motion, making this the third consecutive routine he does something cool in the middle while the others dance around him. They get into more high-energy moves. The five members not named Bebo or Kassandra dance off the stage, and Bebo flies into them like they were a mosh pit. They push him back onto the stage, Bebo and Kassandra start fighting, and eventually Bebo leaps in her arms with a ring on it (yes, HE leaps in HER arms) while the rest of the crew stands in front of the judges’ table. It’s nice that they’re telling a story, but hasn’t Bebo already featured way too much so far?

IaMmE- They get the song "Peacock” and they have to, gasp, make a peacock. It helps that there was a random peacock wandering around for them to look at. It also helps that they’re wearing yellow and green jackets (Philip gets the lone blue jacket because he’s special). The song is fast, which is a nice change of pace, but it’s also the least sexy song ever. They start out with a bunch of hands and legs everywhere, like a peacock spreading open its tail feathers. They move forward while wiggling their arms. They partner up for a bit, and then get into a line formation. Brandon starts waving, and the others continue said waves. They’re unintentionally meeting ReQuest’s challenge as well. They start doing a little bit of high-energy choreo as they transition into a diagonal line. They do some popping with their elbows sticking out. Brandon peels out and starts a chain reaction of dancing (they dance into the next person’s pose, who then joins in), but it’s not perfectly in sync. Or it looks that way because Brandon’s twice as tall as everyone else. They’re definitely getting the hang of using the stage more. They get into another indescribable formation with Moon in the center, hands everywhere (including below his crotch, tee hee). In the end, another peacock is formed by just the guys (which earns them biology points), with Emilio doing a handstand. I realize a lot of their moments are spent as a group, but at some point, they need to have solo moments for each of their members.
Also, it’s a pity nobody’s corrected Lil Mama, since she once again says a crew “ceases to amaze her” when she means the exact opposite.

787 Crew- They’re dancing to "Hot n Cold” and they have to make a roller coaster. They’re dressed in blue, not at all outlandish. Lame. Well, they sure can flip, as some of them do corkscrews. They do some choreography, then some swipes. The general pattern is that they have five to eight seconds of decent choreography, then they go into stunts, rinse and repeat. Half of them do an impressive leap over each other. I can’t say I remember seeing that stunt on the show before. Perry enters the stage via wheelchair while the others use their arms to form coaster tracks. Maybe. I think those are coaster tracks. (They also react by… doing more flips!) Having him show up seems like a cheap way to meet the challenge because not much is mechanically different between a wheelchair and a coaster, except for safety bars. Even wheelchair-bound though, his dancing is more intricate than the typical fare from ICONic Boyz. It’s mostly upper body stuff (of course) but it’s quick and energetic. The non-crippled members all do front flips in a chain reaction as Pery wheels across the stage, so that’s their roller coaster. I’d have preferred to see how they’d have done this challenge without him, but wheeling him out was a smart move in winning the audience over.

ICONic Boyz- The boys are dancing to "Teenage Dream," another song with content they have no experience of. They’re wearing letter-man jackets. I guess that’s kind of adorable, like a baby wearing a suit. They have to make a wall, then break it down. They start with three guys on the knees of the other four. I guess that’s their wall? They really didn’t do a good job breaking it down. They do some choreography (including what could be an attempt at isolations, but don’t quote me on that), then lie on the ground and slide along the stage. Is that supposed to be their walls breaking down? I feel like I need a guide. They get up and do some thrusting, and the audience cheers. I roll my eyes so hard and fast they start generating wind. They finish with a guy smirking in the center, while the others surround him in awe (despite him not doing anything impressive, really). I just cannot get behind this crew, and it’s not because they’re children. I liked the children dancers that have won Britain’s Got Talent. This is just a crew being cutesy and getting raves for it. To be fair, they haven’t been particularly obnoxious either. I personally found Poreotix’s off-court antics to be more juvenile and annoying, but at least they had a memorable dance style. And this show needs to be about dancing. I’m very worried if these boys wind up skating to the end for beginner-intermediate dance skills.

And, oh boy, I do not usually talk about the judges’ comments, but this gets ridiculous. D-Trix opens by saying bluntly, “It wasn’t good.” He also notes that their wall wasn’t really broken down and thinks they need to be cleverer. Lil Mama says she loves them and they are her babies and their minds are freer because they don’t pay rent. Uh, what? JC tells D-Trix not to be a crackhead. What?! D-Trix interrupts to point out that it would be a different story if they were twenty. True. JC refutes that it’s about pleasing the audience. Also true. JC and D-Trix almost look ready to fight each other while Lil Mama stands in the middle silently wondering how many of the boys she could adopt. Anyhoo…

Instant Noodles- Thankfully, they are dancing to "Firework" and NOT “I Kissed a Girl” as previously speculated. They’re wearing orange and grey workout clothes, with two firework patterns over the chest area. Gee, thanks, clothing designers! Their task is to make a chain reaction and explode, which isn’t much of a challenge, though none of the challenges are really difficult this week. They start with a guy doing a butterfly twist. They, as a group, do ballet poses (nothing too complicated, mostly pliés and jetés). Chuck gets a ballet solo. He does kind of get featured on the more silly stuff. Also, doing ballet is somewhat of a hex on this show. Look at Live In Color, ASIID, and even Blueprint Cru. Heck, look at Alex Wong (SYTYCD 7). Ballet is just a bad omen. A guy crab-walks backwards. Again, there’s a lot of solid floorwork going on. The routine really takes off when they start doing a variety of tricks in time with the firework noises. There’s flares, windmills, threading, and coin drops, all of which the cameras have a hard time keeping up with. The explosiveness is well documented, but the whole chain reaction part isn’t. When I first saw the routine, it looked like an impromptu cypher. I blame the cameras. They finish with a guy holding a one-handed handstand while the others fall to the ground. It’s a close race between these guys and 787 Crew for all-around most athletic crew, except 787 does most of their stuff in the air, while IN does most of theirs on the ground.

Street Kingdom- They’re performing to "E.T." and their task is to make a space ship. It’s a good song choice because Kanye West’s vocals take over for a good chunk of it. They’re dressed in camouflage jackets, which will make the clumping they do even more visually confusing. The female, Melissa, is featured heavily in the beginning. Much of their non-krumping choreography consists of jerky movements. A guy gets stabbed (not literally). A lot is going on at once. They have ten people who spend most of the time spread out doing different movements. Watching this crew has to be a vastly different experience for a live audience member rather than an armchair viewer. Anyhow, a guy gets “abducted” into the air and still krumps. A guy crosses his legs and gets… pushed forward? Okay, then. More krumping. They form a spaceship, and it’s somewhat similar to the airplane Super Crew did, except larger and everyone’s on their feet. Tight Eyez pulls his yellow shirt over his face to act like an alien. Ew, you can see his tongue licking it. Half of them jump offstage to krump some more. I feel the overall krumping attitude is the same here as it was the previous episodes. I don’t think Street Kingdom is trying to make krumping any more accessible to the massive audience, and I’m not sure they really care.

ReQuest- They are dancing to "California Gurls” (since they’re the only all-gurl group left) and they have to make a wave and ride it. The real challenge is doing it in a way that hasn’t been done before on this show. They are wearing booty-shorts and polka dot waistbands. They begin with some choreography on the stairs, and girlishly run towards the stage. They get into booty-shaking, which I have sorely missed for years. They love to combine femininity with hard-hitting moves. They lift a girl onto some shoulders while the others stick their arms out. The girls create another “wave” by splitting into two groups and curving their arms in a wavy motion as Malaena runs through it. They get into some locking. It’s interesting to finally see how a group with eight people can go through many different formations. They get on the ground and slide towards the left side of the stage, accomplishing the wave task in a different manner. Kaili lifts her leg up high. Wow, Snoop Dogg sounds so bored in this song. They get in a line, with a hand on the person in front, and make one final wave with their bodies, bending backwards as they fan themselves. One of the girls runs off stage to kiss D-Trix on the cheek. I wonder if they had to draw straws for that task.

After having our largest bottom two ever, it’s ReQuest that’s sent home, leaving on a wave of graciousness. They were unable to escape being in the Bottom Two their entire duration. I expect that this group will continue to excel in future Hip Hop International performances, mainly because HHI is a different, merit-based competition. It’s a shame they had to go quite early, because ReQuest did so many things right every time (they met the challenges, their routines were clean and fluid, they displayed a signature style) but they just couldn’t seem to get voter support from the general viewing audience. I don’t blame the judges for their decision; it seems like they knew saving the talented foreign crew would be another uphill battle. Next week the six groups perform to Rihanna. I’m looking forward to the dances, but I’m already dreading the results.

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