Sunday, May 29, 2011

Byeynyn's review of ABDC6's Kanye West Challenge

All three crews join forces to dance to “All of the Lights.” That’s right, ALL of the LIGHTS. All three crews begin on separate parts of the stage, just how I like it. They take turns showing off various poses. They join forces for a bit, but split up once again. IaMmE does more formations, Phunk Phenomenon does more hard-hitting choreography, and ICONic Boyz also does more simplistic moves. It’s a pretty good summary of this season in general. Once again, Bebo does tricks in the center of the stage while everybody dances around him. He’s got to be this season’s MVP. And then everyone in the audience is waving glow sticks! It’s a rave! The crews hop up and down with their hands in the air like they just don’t care. The routine ends with a bunch of pyrotechnics in the background. Geez, they weren’t kidding about “all of the lights.” Not a bad start, though I’m sure the crews are feeling way more concerned about the performances that actually matter.
It’s ICONic Boyz that gets an automatic spot in the Final Two, leaving IaMmE and Phunk Phenomenon to duke it out in what’s sure to be a brutal Bottom Two. For this week, five-sixths of Poreotix show up in the video package to demonstrate the dance challenges. The three crews must do the Dougie to “Gold Digger” (another thing I’m sure ICONic Boyz doesn’t know), Boogaloo to “Touch the Sky”, and Isolations to “Love Lockdown.” All of these Kanye songs are several years old, but I’m not crazy about his newer stuff either.

ICONic Boyz- Crew member Vinny talks about being bullied for dancing, but is glad he’s inspiring other kids to one day outlast older and more talented dancers in a reality competition. He doesn’t say that second part though. They talk about how tricky Boogaloo is, since each crew has to pick out one of the dance styles to complain about. They define Boogaloo as moving the hips then going upwards, then talk about how they need to loosen up since they’re so used to being clean (ha!) and precise.

They’re dressed in bandannas, bright yellow shirts, and black jackets. It’s horribly loud and tacky, but it’s the only time this season they’ve worn something interesting. Also, T-Money (the only one I can pick out of a line-up) gets a bowler hat. They come out pretending to blow trumpets. T-Money takes the lead for most of the Boogaloo section. One kid gets tossed in the air Super Crew style. Normally I’d consider that a knock-off, but it’s very relevant to the song, which is “Touch the Sky.” A guy gets his jacket removed and thrown into the crowd. They all get into a row to go into Isolations. I think I’ve pointed this out before, but there is one kid who dances worse than the rest. He is frequently out of formation and not very sharp, and he’s possibly the youngest. They all do a nice leg slide into the ground. Finally, they go into the Dougie, which they wisely shake up by doing it lying on the floor. Their dance to this section also becomes quite literal to the song lyrics. They pretend to “drive a Benz”, have that “look in his eyes”, and also “mopping the floors.” They conclude by throwing money in the air. Tossing money is always a good thing; it’s amusing how most of the previous winning crews have incorporated it into one of their routines.

During the judging, D-Trix briefly compliments Poreotix for honoring Kanye West Week, which is ironic considering their first performance on the show did the exact opposite of honoring Kanye. Lil Mama defends her support of ICONic Boyz by stating they are cute, young, and talented. What does that make the other crews, chopped liver? JC says it’s not their best performance, and I agree. Outside of the floor Dougie, nothing they did impressed me dance-wise. I’m almost completely desensitized to the fact that they’ll be on this show forever, but I still won’t believe they’ve gotten this far based on merit.

Phunk Phenomenon- They win the coin toss that we never get to see, and they will go first for the Bottom Two. They talk about how challenging Isolations will be, even though I doubt it. Isos are about isolating a part of the body, and Isos have been on this show forever, so try not to act shocked. Nikko talks about doing this for his father. And if people really cared about sob stories, this would be the most tragically cruel show ever. Half of the time, the crews mention this right as they are being sent home.

They’re sporting green basketball jerseys with BOSTON on them. Considering the Boston Celtics landed THIRD in their conference this year, I’m not sure copying the look is a good idea (also I am a huge basketball nerd). They start with the Dougie and Kassandra’s back is leaning on someone else’s back as they all groove. She goes off and plays the part of the “Gold Digger” by shaking her booty rapidly. To no one’s surprise, Bebo does a cool stunt. Their next section is Boogaloo. They whip out a few flips, and Bebo does a Gainer off someone’s chest. The whole group gets into some toprocking. Trey grabs and twirls Bebo on the ground before pulling him to fly over his shoulders. They bunch up and do Isos. It’s nice and includes a few limb movements and chest floats. Devon and Kassandra get close and touch each other, the way Usher would to his boo. X-Clusive is featured once again for the high-energy house movements. While the others sit down with their legs crossed, he finishes by jumping in the air and landing on the ground with on his back. Ow, I even felt that one. His pain threshold must be intense.

JC liked that everybody had a moment to shine in this routine, although I will personally add that the moments with Bebo and X-Clusive were a lot more obvious. All three judges are positive about the routine, and they are running out of compliments to give the crews. I’m surprised Lil Mama hasn’t invented another word to compliment people with. It’s a great all-around showing. If I had anything to criticize, it would be everything after the Isolations and before X-Clusive’s suicidal jump, because to me, it feels like they’ve done that before.

IaMmE- IaMmE is pumped to see Poreotix. They don’t even pretend that Boogaloo and Isolations are going to be a challenge for them, so they are obligated to fret about the Dougie by default. Philip says none of them have done it professionally, as if Dougie Expert was a real profession. Moon tears up and talks about how his parents will see him perform if he makes it to the finale, which automatically makes them the most supportive Asian parents ever mentioned on this show.
They’re wearing outfits of grey and sky blue, except the two women seem to be wearing granny quilt cummerbunds. Still, their outfits have often been the best ones, which is usually the sign of a winner. They start with the Isos, done at multiple levels. Philip’s arms are twisted into a pretzel. He goes into a back bridge, and Jaja walks over him. Moon gets on the ground and pushes the group while he is sliding. They get into a formation and hands are spinning everywhere. Then heads are spinning. And I’m sure the judges’ brains are spinning too. Then they go into the Dougie, with the girls doing it on the shoulders of other guys. Two of the guys do swipes. They do more grooving with some of the guys on their knees and some on their backs. The girls then lie on the floor and two guys are over them, and for a second I thought they were going to do the horizontal tango. But the other two guys do cartwheels over their backs, so it’s fine. Finally, they go into their Boogaloo. They do some intricate stuff while three of them are on the floor mirroring it. They lift Chachi in the air and Jaja takes her spot. They do their Boogaloo just fine. They make a human pyramid, in the crab-walking position. They kick their legs a bit and Emilio does a front flip over them.

As expected, JC does his best to imply, “I wish these two crews weren’t the bottom two crews, but if I criticized ICONic Boyz, their ICONic mothers would write me angry letters.” JC is uncharacteristically hyper and praises their creativity. Lil Mama calls them inspiring, which… thank goodness. I’d like to think children can be inspired by dancers who don’t have to be the same age, race, or gender. It’s not just ICONic Boyz that can inspire young people, sometimes it’s just the really good dancers. IaMmE had a great performance from start to finish. Their Boogaloo section was the least glamorous by comparison, but they’ve set a high bar when the biggest complaint I can think of is, “Well, why didn’t they Boogaloo while upside down or in the shape of a boat or something?” Admittedly, IaMmE getting Isolations and Boogaloo as dance challenges are not really “challenges,” to the same degree that being told to add salt and pepper to a dish wouldn’t really be a cooking “challenge,” but they still had to make it memorable, which they accomplished.

Phunk Phenomenon’s Bostonian skills are no match for the IaMmE heat, and they have to walk it out. Both crews were heavily raved by the judges, so it was a matter of past performances and Phunk Phenomenon having been in the bottom several times. If the objective was for one of these crews to hopefully garner enough votes to overtake ICONic Boyz in the end, IaMmE was the logical choice. Phunk Phenomenon gives one of the best walk-it-outs I’ve seen on this season. They act classy in their farewell speech, grab their banner before it hits the floor, dance to the music, and some of them take their shirts off. All the important bases were covered. It’s just two crews now, each with another chance to appeal for votes.

ICONic Boyz gets to perform first for the Last Chance Challenge, which is a misnomer because it’s apparently not going to be the last chance. They talk about how they didn’t expect to make it this far, but now they want to win (sure, who doesn’t?) and sunshine and lollipops and whatever. Their piece is called “The ICONic Dream.” They’re wearing white tuxedos with blue accents, and their theme is a Hollywood red carpet entrance. It’s kind of similar to the performance ICONIC and Status Quo had in the Season One Finale (coincidentally enough to the song “Phenomenon”), so I guess these Jersey Boys can’t even come up with their own original theme.

ICONic Boyz steps out of a fake limo. They go into their choreography and… wait a second! Mario lied when he said the crews came up with the routines from top to bottom, because ICONic Boyz didn’t come up with this song. It is unmistakably Ne-Yo and Pitbull. They couldn’t even be bothered to come up with their own original music either? Anyhow, the choreography is on par with their moves in their first routine. Nothing is blowing my mind yet. Halfway in the routine, one of the kids does some tutting and the rest of the kids join in later (borrowing the sound effect the show typically uses for IaMmE’s Brain Bangs). Yep, the most memorable part of this routine is them doing something a competing crew is more famous for. Five of the kids fall forward to the ground while one kid just walks into the arms of another. He doesn’t glide or moonwalk or anything, he just… walks. Then he gets pushed aside. They end the routine with a synchronized bow, which is classy, but they also just did that same bow move earlier this episode.

IaMmE’s Last Chance Dance is titled “ILLemental.” They’re each wearing a different colored jacket to represent a different element, and taking full advantage of their ethnic diversity that would rival even Captain Planet’s. And thank goodness for that diversity, because it makes recapping this a lot easier. If I said the Asian dude did something, you could probably figure out who I meant. They talk about having a superhero theme and finally having control of their entire performance, and I can kind of tell that this is a routine they’ve been itching to do for quite a while. Also, Moon isn’t allowed to rap anymore.

The first section part is audio of Philip doing spoken word poetry while the group does intricate movements on the ground in near darkness. Then they each get their moments, and the music kicks in, thankfully. Def Jam Poetry with Chbeeb might be a little too upscale for this show. Earth, Fire, Electricity, Wind, Machine, and Water! If you combine those elements you get… a broken machine, probably. Emilio (Earth) does some high flying kicks. Chachi (Fire) does some grooving. Jaja (Electricity) does some ticking, then some weird marching thing. Brandon (Wind) does footwork. Methinks Emilio and Brandon should swap elements. Moon (Machine) does some finger tutting. Philip (Water) waves like, uh, water (and gets vaguely Asian music for some reason). I should mention that during each of these solos, the lights correspond to the color of their jackets, and the other five are doing support and it’s a different formation each time. They join forces to Brain Bang. Their next formation looks like gumballs rolling down two gumball machines. They do another formation which looks like a diamond, and Philip asks, “Who are you?” Well, that’s an easy question. Then they finish by spelling out “I M E” on the ground. Standing ovation.

Will ICONic Boyz, with their seemingly insurmountable fanbase, patty-cake themselves towards a win? Or will IaMmE’s Brain Banging be able to catapult them to victory after surviving the penultimate elimination, much like every winner before? This is definitely one of those seasons where I feel like there’s a huge disparity between the skill levels of the two finalists, and the results will ultimately make or break how well this season will turn out. Personally, I know who IaMvoting for.

Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks Byeynyn for the consistently funny reviews!