Saturday, May 7, 2011

Byeynyn's review of ABDC's Rihanna Challenge

Instant Noodles- Saved first, their song is “Hard” and their dancehall move is The Head Top. If any crew this season can groove on their heads, it’s these guys. Much like actual instant noodles, adding a little spice could be a huge benefit. Also, they have the worst costumes ever. It’s like a hippie married a jock AND a leopard. It’s just so aesthetically ugly I’m now convinced the producers want them to fail through transitive properties.

So Instant Noodles begin with two separate groups of three kind of weaving through each other. A guy punches another’s stomach and pretends it’s so “Hard.” It’s kind of amusing, but I want a routine from these guys where they play things completely straight. A guy scoots on the ground (like pets do sometimes) while the others groove behind him. Geo does windmills and baby mills in the front, while the others six-step in the background. All six of them form a nice flag-shaped freeze at the same time. They really need more picturesque moments like that, because they won’t get away with having too many low formations. They are still very ground-heavy in general, and it’s not as crisp this time as it could be. In the very end, they get into The Head Top, but it’s only four of them doing in the beginning while the other two are grooving upright and join in on the headstand booty-pops later. I’d say this is their best display of athleticism, but they have yet to really show technique when their bodies aren’t near the ground. They can’t afford to be slow or the judges (who have been mixed with their comments) will cut them.
ICONic Boyz- After getting skewered by D-Trix last week, these Jersey Shore Juniors vow to take it to the next level. No more beginner level choreography, no sir! Now it’s intermediate level choreo! Their job is to Give It A Run to "Only Girl (In the World)." They are wearing fauxhawks and plaid blue jackets that look like optical illusions. They are cluttered in the beginning, and one of them does a backflip assisted by two people. One kid uses another kid’s hand as a microphone. Well, it’s not like the JabbaWockeez did that move or something first, right? Their movements are higher energy this time. And by that I mean they spin their arms in a circular motion a lot. They form a line and start, errr, giving it a run across the stage. Members slowly drop off to start grooving and doing some heel-toe stuff, and I have to admit that particular section was well done. They shuffle their feet into a staggered formation. During the middle, a kid is way off formation. Two of them hold hands and then do a brief underwhelming handstand freeze together.

ICONic Boyz immediately following Instant Noodles show that IB’s stunts absolutely pale in comparison, but IB stages it in a more presentable fashion. It’s an improved performance by these boys, but the idea of them progressing so far still makes me want to grab a gun and shoot the TV.
IaMmE- So far, the first three saved crews’ names all start with the letter “I.” These guys have to perform to "S&M" (Dirty!) and do The Spiderman. They’re dressed in webbed yellow jackets with black pants and sunglasses. It’s like MC Hammer, except the pants aren’t parachutes. Chachi’s cute, but I need pictures! Pictures of Spiderman! She glides across the stage on the guy’s bodies, similar to the OK Go video with the treadmills. She stands on a guy’s shoulders as the whole group starts grinding and leaning. The group ticks their hands towards the middle, forming something that resembles a spider web. She’s lifted up, her back atop someone else’s back, and the group begins waving and doing their whole brain-banging thing. The costume’s black stripes really accentuate the whole web-like imagery here. Three of the guys form a spider (which is very similar to how they concluded their peacock routine last week). They get into the dancehall movements, including their Spiderman move. They’ve also approached these dance hall moves more spread out and from different formations, which is clever. As Spiderwoman, Chachi attacks all of them, including using a shoulder flip on Emilio. 

It’s a great routine overall, and I don’t even mind that they finish with the standard “girl beats up everyone” storyline. Chachi really gets the spotlight here, and she’s only fifteen? Wow! So much for hating ALL children! They did a real service highlighting her throughout the routine, which a week ago I suggested they should do, and therefore I think this is a brilliant move. Go, me!
Street Kingdom- They get "Rude Boy" and their move is The Dutty Wine, which does not sound like something I’d drink. Most of the guys wear Jamaican colored outfits with no sleeves, while some of them look like they ripped their shirts right off a clown. And this is a great week for a potential showcase to demonstrate they can do another style, because it’s mandatory. I noticed they were using ReQuest’s hand signals in the intro, which is sweet, although now I’ve completely forgotten if Street Kingdom even has a hand signal. They start with tons of krump attitude, only for the R&B to blare up ten seconds in. A guy and a girl are featured in the front, and I keep hoping that this will turn out like a typical SYTYCD partner routine. That would be random and awesome. 

Melissa gets sexy with the dance hall moves, and the others are krumping while still keeping up the reggae vibe as well. They get into the Dutty Wine, and this is their first real attempt at spreading out and doing something synchronized. It’s not noteworthy or complicated, but it’s a respectable effort on their part (I give it a Rude B-minus), and I might add they also play with the lyrics here slightly more than usual. Tight Eyez busts out a scarf (?) and it looks like he’s pantomiming… churning butter with it? This is all while Melissa booty-shakes. In the end, Tight Eyez restrains Jo-Jo, and she pushes Jo-Jo aside. So that’s two performances in a row tonight that strongly focus on a female… but who was the “Rude Boy” in this performance? Was it Jo-Jo? Was it Tight Eyez (because of that scarf)? Are they ALL rude?
Phunk Phenomenon- Their song is "Don't Stop the Music,” the second song for this crew telling them to don’t stop doing something, and they have to do The Chaplin (jerking their legs from side to side). They’re dressed in a red-black color combination, probably leftovers from their last performance. Three of them start out by doing handstands, then hand hops, then some backflips. They dance and three of them do that isolation move where their chest moves but their heads are stationary. I love that move, even though I’ve seen it several times already on this show. They lift their shirts. Kassandra and Devon, at different points in the routine, get their moment to shine in front of the stage. They do The Chaplin and some more dance hall moves. They probably spend the most time doing dance hall moves out of all six groups tonight.

A problem I foresee with this crew is that their signature style isn’t as obvious as the other groups. Phunk Phenomenon might be the most versatile crew here, but all five other groups have something they can lay claim to, something easily encapsulated by a few words. Flips, krumping, visuals, b-boy, acting cute… it’s really hard to peg what Phunk Phenomenon’s “thing” is at this point because they aren’t completely behind a certain dance style, and that might hurt them. Sorry, got off on a tangent there. They slow down the momentum for this next set-up but it’s worth it, because Bebo gets nasty hand-hopping over someone, then going into a headstand, all of this backwards! They throw in a Michael Jackson crotch grab during the “Ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sah” section. Nice touch. They end with Bebo doing another air freeze. This group tends to overuse Bebo, but he’s also the most impressive athlete in the game right now, so why not?
787 Crew- Their song is "What's My Name?" and they have to do the Gallis Step (which is like doing a groovy Matrix lean). Looks like Pery sits this one out because it’s hard to Gallis Step with a wheelchair. They’re wearing pink jackets smeared by a giant yellow highlighter pen. They start out with a cool group visual that looks like something IaMmE would do, except most of the legs are in the air. Daniel does a back flip with a twist, then shakes his booty afterwards. They do a lot of swinging their limbs in their upcoming choreography and it’s fluid and appropriate to the genre, but surprisingly, they’re not very energetic when the reggae section comes around.

I expected better from this Caribbean crew. I think they made a big mistake in having most of their choreography take up a huge chunk of time in the middle. They do the Gallis Step by having three of them do the lean, while the other three are using one of their legs to keep them somewhat stable. Only three of them lean? That’s kind of disappointing. Two of them go from a little b-boying into twin gainers. One of the dudes springs back and forth on his hands and feet until he gets into a freeze. They finish with four of them doing backflips off the stage. This was not the best performance from them, and perhaps it’s no coincidence that this was also their routine with their fewest and most poorly-integrated tricks.
Despite 787 Crew being placed in the Bottom Two for the first time, they are sent home in what the judges considered another close call. And kudos to some of them for being the first crew this season to dance during the Walk-It-Out. Once again, I’m not shocked by the judges’ decision, but more by the results. I thought Pery’s presence on the stage last week was going to be a crowd pleaser that would have kept them safe for at least a little bit. This was also Phunk Phenomenon’s first time in the bottom, and I’m wondering if this is like a “Rhythm City” situation for them, where their standing is closely hinged to their previous week’s performance. Rhythm City’s worst two performances (both coincidentally storytelling performances), “Sweet Dreams” and “The Jerk,” resulted in them hitting the bottom two the following weeks. So it now seems likely that Phunk Phenomenon lacks a sizeable voting bloc that will keep them afloat during a performance that isn’t considered great.

On the other hand, this could be the trend of the Even Seasons, where the eventual winner hits the Bottom Two at least a few times (including when there’s six crews left) before winning the whole enchilada. 
Next week is the dreaded Bieber week, because every other week on this show has to feature a white female pop star. Good or bad, I expect Street Kingdom’s krumping to be a highlight. So get ready to clench your fists and scream angrily at the heavens, because it’s going to be a doozy for these five remaining crews.

Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks again Byeynyn for covering ABDC Season 6!