Monday, May 23, 2011

Ninjaboi's review of ABDC's Nicki Minaj Challenge

 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.
Group Performance:
-Very difficult to tell different crews apart at a glance aside from ICONic boyz due to costumes being similar.
-Overall: chaotic.  Massive props really limit floor space.
-Props to Jaja/Kassandra/Bebo solos.
-Did the Boyz get a new choreographer for this?  Because it seems a lot hotter than their normal choreography.

Choreo – 6: Brain Banging is awesome and definitely a step toward the evolution of tutting as a whole.  In it’s own right, it is a form of dance, and maybe some would consider it “choreography.”  However, I personally feel like it has to evolve just a little bit more before it can be the only thing done in a routine.  Maybe for one or two people it could be choreography.  But for 6 people, it just needs to grow a bit more. Right now each “image” they are creating, by the very nature of it being a single image, is only a singular moment that is awesome.  However, choreography to me should flow well and naturally.  Regarding what I would consider choreography: It was fairly generic in terms of composition.  Sure I saw some swagger in it, and some ticking which I liked.  But it was pretty generic.  Maybe not as generic as certain crew’s choreography from earlier this season, but it wasn’t anything mind blowing I hadn’t seen from other crews before.  There were moments where it looked like it could take off, but then they’d stop and go to a brain bang set again before it could really take root and grow.
Wow – 8: So until I can really see some tutting that can be considered choreography for a full six person crew, I’m considering it wow moments.  That being said, I thought that while their tutting was mindblowing as usual, and Emilio had some cool moments, it was a bit overdone.  I’ll talk about this more in the challenge section, but basically since each image was for a childhood game, and because they did so many, it was more “moments” than choreography.  Maybe this is just me, but when your “moments” which are supposed to define your performance take up the majority of your performance, they lose some of their impact.  So basically all the moments were at a 9 level, but oversaturation took it down a point.
Showmanship – 7: Formations were still sort of clumped together like in early weeks, though a bit less so.  While I know M4L is a slower song, I can’t help but feel like they could have brought more conviction to their tutting.  Sure there were moments where their emotion got through to me, like Jaja’s solo or Chachi’s playfulness.  But to me it was lacking a bit of an emotional content that’s like the crew is laying themselves out on the floor for us.  Other than that, it was pretty standard.
Challenge – 8: Like I said above, they really killed their challenges. There were 6 childhood games I counted in there at different points, so good job on that.  However, again the oversaturation was a bit much.
Improvement – 6 – Given where they could be right now if they had grown from Rhianna episode instead of reverting back to their standard episode 1 format, I’m sorely disappointed.  They haven’t really killed that many performances in the same way other great crews in the past have.  From where they should be versus where they are, and where they could have gone with this, I think they need to step it up.
Highlight: Jaja’s solo
Total: 35/50
ICONic Boyz
Choreo – 7 – Their choreo is getting a bit better.  It’s like they’re finding a style that suits them more, something along the lines of animated, high energy and a little playful.  It’s not grimey and fierce, nor is it technical or clean.  But it was pretty fun to watch actually.  Maybe it’s cuz one of my inspirations for my animation popping has been watching how puppets move I was able to catch some things.  It wasn’t genius, but passable.  Toprocking was really weak though.
Wow – 6 – Not their forte.  Weak handhops.  Some popping and some theatre.
Showmanip – 8 – Def their forte.  Used stage well, bouncy energy.  Interesting formations, including partnerwork sections that framed things. They played their character well with humor.  Could have been cleaner a bit.
Challenge – 7 – There were some subtle things that showed some thought about their process. At the beginning, the puppeteer made the two high five.  Handhops were controlled by hands moving up and down.  Done okay, with some good moments throughout.
Improvement – Wasn’t their best, but pretty standard for where they were been
Highlight – Transviloquist Thomas
Total: 36/50

Phunk Phenomenon
Choreo – 8 – Wow.  I’m really impressed in how varied these guys are in their choreography.  This was probably one of the grimiest performances this half of the season.  But it wasn’t all grimey.  I saw some high level regular new style of differing levels of griminess.  It was high level choreography. One thing I want to point out is how their choreography doesn’t necessarily have them all facing front.  There were some spacing issues, and we all say Bebo’s slip up (which I’ll dock them .5 a point for later).  The dougie section was priceless as well.
Wow – 8 – As always they deliver.  It wasn’t as structured as in previous weeks where we have everyone circling Bebo as he does something mindblowing.  We did see some subtle tricks from them throughout though, and the ending when almost everyone is doing some power was great.
Showmanship – 7 – There were some great things here.  Kassandra being lifted up multiple times to creat levels was great.  There was Bebo playing to the lyrics “Nightmare on Elm Street and guess who’s playing Freddy.”  The Dougie coming in was paced very nice.  They had mad energy, though they sacrificed some cleanliness for this.  Formations also were nice, though some spacing issues.
Challenge – 7 – They did it.  Like a pro belly dancer? No.  But in many ways.  Bebo upside down, two of them on their sides, and the one in the center with the scarf.
Improvement – 7 – This was pretty close to classic Phunk, if a bit less clean than I woulda liked.  So clean it up a bit and again, there isn’t much for htem to work on.  They even had their choreo clearly matching the song rather than having section.
Highlight – Either the Dougie, Power fest, or Dtrix’s tutorial
Total – 38/50 - .5 for Bebo’s messup = 37.5/50
Street Kingdom
Choreo – 8 – I will agree with anyone who says they took mad long to get into the choreography. But the choreography they did have was really good.  It was in the same vein as last week, with simultaneous krumping among all of them.  But it was a step up a bit when it wasn’t exactly the same, but some differences between everyone in order to create dope images.  If it had gone on for just ten seconds longer, I think they would have stayed.
Wow – 8 – I think this was pretty impressive for mostly some images they did.  In the beginning they had some nice hat tricks going off, but then some in in character stuff like the police squad around a body, the flying man, and the monkey bars.  Also the airplane was nice, moreso for how they went into it and framed it well rather than difficlty.
Showmanship – 7 – Some nice levels and formations in here, especially with the transitions.  I feel like this is where they’ve grown the most, so instead of seeming like a mass of unorganized dancers, they had dope transitions and formations.  However, that pacing issue with 20 seconds being that slow in the beginning was what took this score down a notch.
Challenge – 8 – They did their challenge well.  It was more than just the costume, but some of the images they created really matched their theme.  They did more than one, and they didn’t over do it.
Improvement – 7 – Wasn’t better than last week, but it was in the same vein and not that much worse.
Highlight – Right at where they start really taking off, there are three of them on the ground straddled by 3 others standing up.  Note how they roll as the whole group moves over. Small, but effective.
Total: 38/50
Did they get it right? Raw score, it was a tie.  Maybe Bebo’s mess up should have cost Phunk, but in the end, either crew going home wouldn’t have been disastrous.

Notes for next week:
For all the crews – It’s the top three. Kill it.  Own it.  Show off everything you have. Don’t hold anything back.  If ;you don’t own this performance, you will not win.  Period.
IAMME – Moon Tuts please.  Balance out the Brain Bang with other things.
Phunk Phenomenon – Watch how clean you are.  Keep the energy up all throughout.
ICONic Boyz – Keep evolving your choreo style.  Work on creating some more technically difficult moments. Don’t take on styles you can’t really do well.
For the night  - out of 50 (mean 40.4, SD 3.21)
1)    Street Kingdom – 38 (+1.12 SD)
2)    Phunk Phenomenon – 37.5 (38-.5 for Bebo’s fall) (+.81 SD)
3)    ICONic Boyz – 36 (-.43 SD)
4)    IaMmE – 34 (-1.37 SD)

For the season  - out of 240 (mean 216.86, SD 21.93)
1)    Street Kingdom – 229 (+.55 SD)
2)    Phunk Phenomenon – 227.5 (+.48 SD)
3)    IaMmE – 227 (+.46 SD)
4)    ICONic Boyz – 184 (-1.5 SD)

For the season weighted out of 220 (mean 165.08, SD 14.64)
1)    Street Kingdom – 174.2 (+.62 SD)
2)    Phunk Phenomenon – 171.8 (+.46 SD)
3)    IaMmE – 171.1 (+.41 SD)
4)    ICONic Boyz – 143.2 (-1.49 SD)

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