Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ninjaboi's review of ABDC's Kanye West Challenge (Part 1 of 2)

Also, this review will be a bit less thorough than in past weeks, mostly because I haven’t had a chance to really sit and pick apart the performances.  I did watch them and remember most of them, but apologies if this isn’t up to my usual standard of detail, or if I forget specific things. 
 Grading Scale:
10 – Choreography:  There are basically two ways to dance, as I see it.  There’s freestyling, which is the root of all dance.  Then there’s performances.  Performances are further broken up into two parts.  “Wow” moments which are meant to keep your memory on that routine, and “Choreography” which is everything else.  This section looks at how good the choreography wise – this is musicality wise, how much swagger, how complicated, etc.  “Choreography” is basically any coordinated dance movement of the crew’s members outside those moments.
10 – Wow Moments:  As explained above, Wow moments are when you create a moment that sticks in people’s minds.  This can either be tricks, to crazy isolations, to some “story moment.”  However, if we see the wow moment coming, that takes away from it.  The way you build up into the moment is just as important as the moment
10 – Showmanship: This is a variety of things.  Almost a miscellaneous category if you will.  Just off the top of my head, this includes: Appropriate Energy Level, Stage Use, Blocking/Framing, Transitions, Concept, Clean, Musicality, Pacing, Any real small thing that adds to the performance as a whole.
10 – Challenge: How well did the crew A)execute their challenge B)complete it creatively, and C) incorporate it throughout the performance rather than just simply do it once and have it seem out of place.  Also, prop challenges are usually much more difficult inherently, so those give crews a +1 to their overall score.
10 - Improvement: Usually this would be to see how well crews improve each week and work on their problems because one common theme of good crews on ABDC is constant improvement.  Just for reference: 7 means no improvement.  More means improvement, less means did worse.  The rationale is that on ABDC, crews that show that they keep giving better and better performances tend to do better overall.

Just for reference: 10 is perfect.  7 is average.  5 is barely passable.  Anything below that is… very weak.  So Average would be a 35, for reference.  I guess I developed this scale from the academic scoring system where 7 is average, and getting a 9 is a pretty big deal.  It’s rare for me to give out things below 5, or perfect 10s. 

 A word on long mixes – Due to their nature of A)being at the end, and B)being multiple songs and styles, certain things are more important.  The choreo needs to be as if you are holding nothing back.  Not necessarily that you’ve exhausted your move pool, but that you bring the very best choreography possible.  There needs to be moments that need to stick out.  After all, there is a week of voting after this, so there needs to be good reason for this to stick in your mind over the week.  The challenges don’t have to be perfectly done, and there’s less emphasis on integration.  But execution and being creative with it is always a plus.   
ICONic Boyz
Choreo – 5  What bothers me here is that the majority of their routine was basically copying the Poreotics demo video.  Maybe the formations were a little different.  Naturally there would be some overlap.  But still, most crews do something a lil different.  It would be as if someone Season 3 had used Mike Song’s exact tutting combo in their routine.  This sort of affects challenge, but just the sheer amount of biting that went on here affects this score too.  That said, their non-challenge choreography was… underwhelming.  Simple basic choreo taught in any introduction class would be the same difficulty level or complexity.  And I noticed a lot of moments when they weren’t as clean, or in sync with each other.
Wow – 1  Wow, a 1?  This is like the lowest score I’ve given for any category all season.  The thing is, for me they didn’t really have a defining moment in this routine.  The two impressive moments were direct rips off of Supercr3w.  Yes, I get that the song was touch the sky.  But to do that moment in almost exactly the same way, and then to have the nerve to end the performance with the “Ballin” moment… makes me as mad as watching people byte Les Twins on national TV.  Biters will be tossed in the bay, or at the very least have their score docked heavily.  I will say T-swag’s solo was a good moment, which is what saved this score from getting a zero.
Showmanship – 6 Formations and Transitions were meh, Energy was barely passable.  This is a performance where you need to get hyped.  I will say there were some cute moments when they played with the lyrics, but that’s it.
Challenge – 6 Isolations weren’t together, nor were they particularly creative.  Boogaloo was more or less ripped from the Poreotics video, and only T-swag really executed them decently (as an aspiring popper who is working on Boogaloo, I’ve been watching a lot of master Boogaloo-ers).  I don’t expect them to be Poppin Sam level, but at least decent rolls are necessary.  Dougie was the only section I really liked because of the way they did it a bit uniquely on the floor.  Other than that, they “did the challenge,” but wasn’t that impressive, especially as there really was not that much difference from the Poreotix video
Improvement – 6  It wasn’t bad.  But I feel like they have not grown at all on the show.  There were hints of growth mid season, but to go back to the basic choreography that plagued them the first few episodes means they took at step back.
Total: 24/50
Phunk Phenomenon
Choreo – 10 If only I had access to Youtube right now to go into detail.  I saw lots of old school styles in there, particularly this one nice house section.  Their new style choreography was great and really matched the music.  What’s better, is that the structure of their routines has changed.  Before I said that their choreography was very sectional.  Ie, here’s a x second long section we need to fill.  We can insert [locking/popping/housing].  Granted it was well done with the music and always matched, but the awkwardness in transitions sort of killed it.  Here, it seamlessly flowed from one to the other, so that it was hard to imagine a different set of choreography to the music.
Wow – 9 Not as many wow moments or as memorable as say a Bebo-Back or a jumping freeze.  But still, there were some really nice athletic things going on here, paced out very well.  Of note was Bebo’s gainer, and the very ending.  Man, what’s with Phunk and falling down well?  First episode had the Superman, and this last one had the back suicide.
Showmanship – 10 Story telling was here, especially lyrical world play. Even without it in front of me, I really dug the acting during the Gold Digger part when they played with their pockets.  The sexy time in the back during the last section as also good. The formations were dynamic, moving around the whole stage, and the transitions were flawless, especially like I said before, with their different styles of choreography. Energy was mad hype and really gave off the idea that they were going all out.
Challenge - 9 I have no idea what they were talking about with the isos.  They’ve done isos before.  True they haven’t been the cleanest crew all season, but they really did nicely here.  The boogaloo was pretty decent, and the dougie mixed in with the story telling was creative.
Improvement – 8 Phunk stepped it up by changing the structure of their routine and really pulling out all the stops for this routine.  Well Done
Total: 46/50
Choreo – 9 – This is what I’ve been waiting for.  So so far this season we’ve seen different types of Brain Banging.  Most of the time it has been very mechanical, and didn’t flow well with other types of choreography, such as when they’d use their choreography as transitions between Brain Bang sets.  Technically pretty, but seemed a bit “let’s get through this” at times.  Peacock was pretty organic and not quite as rigid.  Here, we see what I’ve been hoping they do all season.  It’s still brain banging, but there’s so much emphasis and power behind it.  It fluidly transitions between other styles of choreography (though I will say while more varied than before, it was still limited to a few styles, as opposed to Phunk’s massive repertoire).
Wow – 10 Do I really need to explain this?  Brain Bangs were awesome.  They paced them out well.  They were creative.
Showmanship – 10 While unlike other long mixes you didn’t get the sense that IME had used up all they had, it wasn’t a bad thing.  This is because IME simply has so much to offer that if they showed it all in a mix that was 10 times as long they’d still have more to show.  In other aspects, better stage use, levels and formations and transitions.  Interesting dynamics, especially when it went from group -> couple -> wow moment.  Pacing was excellent
Challenge – 9 Naturaly they killed isos.  Boogaloo could have been done a tad better, although the whole accented hip isolation thing with the heads between the legs was pretty clever. The dougie was okay with the multiple levels, they seemed a bit precarious at times, but it was okay.
Improvement – 8 Like I said above.  This is what I hoped Brain Banging would be like all season, and they finally delivered.
Total: 46/50

Did they get it right? No, ICONic shouldn’t have been saved automatically.  When you see the numbers tomorrow you’ll see why.  Between Phunk and IaMmE, I personally think either one could have stayed. If you judge by performance over the past few weeks, I think Phunk would have an edge, but in terms of bringing something “new” to the stage, IaMmE edges them out a little bit. Phunk had a lil more energy, but IaMnE was a lil cleaner. Overall either one going home wouldn’t have been a bad thing, if you ignore who was saved.  

Part 2 to follow tomorrow…

Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments. Thanks again Ninjaboi -- we look forward to Part 2!