Thursday, May 31, 2012

iNSIGHT reviews ABDC's LMFAO Challenge

Mos Wanted Crew - Their song was “Sexy and I Know It” and their  challenge was to create a catwalk on stage. 
-First off, I agree 100% with the judges that this was definitely not their best performance. I’m a MWC fan and I’m willing to admit that right off the bat. 
- what I loved about this particular routine was the fact that they really gave the LMFAO feel and attitude. LMFAO is energetic, funny, and really out there, and I thought what they did was smart because they really got into character, really letting it emanate through their performance as they did all season long (e.g., during Drake week, they really took their time and killed the choreography along with giving us that sort of Drake‘swag’.) 
-They had great energy, great choreography, and killer execution of the challenge. 
-I found it very interesting when JC said that it seemed a bit slow at times, because MWC is known for being selective when hitting the beats (they don’t stick to the obvious beats), so that wasn’t really too much of a big problem in my eyes. 
-I do have to say that this performance does pale in comparison to their others. I didn’t really find anything necessarily ‘wrong’,but it just wasn’t their best. It wasn’t. But overall, great job! Overall, I’d give it a 7/10
Elektrolytes - Their song was “Champagne Showers” and theirchallenge was to not only DO the ‘Ro bot’, but to create a giant robot.
 -Elektrolytes did a fantastic job this week. They not only killed their challenge, but they did it THREE different times!

- I feel they were smart by really giving the audience the robotic feel and sticking to it the whole performance. I really got into it right off the bat when they started it off with some robotic precision
-Another strong aspect from this performance was the fact that they didn’t do AS many flips, which I absolutely appreciated.  Although they still did what they do best, their focal point was their challenge, just like it should be. 
-But I do have to say that I felt it was repetitive, in away. They started off with their challenge, which was great. Then they spread out, did some choreography, then back into the robot formation, spread out again with some choreography, and then back to the robot. I felt it was the same count the whole routine.  Robot > spread, dance > Robot > spread, dance >Robot. Although they did really blow me away, I felt like it was repetitive as an overall routine. 
-They had great execution of the challenge, great character, great stunts, great dancing.
 Overall, I’d give it an 8/10.
Rated Next Generation - Their song was “Sorry For Party Rockin’” and their challenge was to ‘Tut’ and jump through the arms of another member. 

-Just like always, RNG killed their choreography. This is a dance show, so it’s refreshing to see a crew like this one to keep it real and keep it fresh.
- I agree with JC when he said their tutting wasn’t his favorite. I felt they could have killed the tutting so much more considering their skill and potential! 
-They didn’t kill their other challenge either. They did 2 jumps throughout the whole routine, and I felt it was on a rather mediocre level.
-a strong component to their performance was that they did hit a precision section, which I felt was absolutely ‘RAW’! 
-Their challenge could have been taken to the next level. But overall they killed their choreography, they got into the “Rocker” character, and they gave us nice precision throughout the whole routine. But this was definitely not their best. 7/10
8 Flavahz - Their song was “Party Rock Anthem” and their challenge was to have an explosive moment, and to do the “T walk, Spongebob, and Quest Crew moves”. 

-By far one of their best performances EVER this season. 
- I absolutely loved the get-ups. The wigs were so legit. They all looked like tiny Redfoo’s.
-Back to the review. I absolutely loved their athleticism, energy,and dancing. They killed the T-Walk, Spongebob, and QUEST CREW section.
- I loved the fact that they used their challenges in their transitions. I stated during a previous episode that their sense of formations as a unit was a bit one-dimensional, but it seems they have grown out of that this episode! 
-  I do feel like their explosive moment could have been a lot better considering these young ladies’ athleticism and STRENGTH, so with Cam only doing a baby freeze in the middle seemed to be a bit dull to me. 
- But WAIT. They redeemed themselves by doing the famous Quest Crew Side-flip! Of course, no one can do it better then the original, but hey,these young ladies definitely held it down and they did their best. 
- 8 Flavahz went all out this episode. These young ladies impress me week after week after week. This brings me back to their Britney Spears week, which is amazing because I knew from the start that these girls would be DANGEROUS on this show. Great job! Overall, 8/10
Click here to leave comments and to return to the first page. Thanks again, iNSIGHT!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

From Ninjaboi's Desk - Rihanna Week

10 - Choreography
10 - Wow
10 - Showmanshpi
10 - Challenge
10 - Improvement

If you're reading this, you know what these all refer to. 

+.5 for Props
-.5 RNG - urban chore bias
-1 MWC - style influence bias
-1 FP - utter fascination last week bias
+1 ELEK - consistently bottom routine bias

Choreo - 6 - Not a lot of it. Mostly "sassy" walking around, and posing. Something I'd expect out of a week 1 crew rather than a top 5 crew. They could have easily done maybe something African to this song because of the types of beat in the song. Mind you it's not as bad as say beginners children chore. But still, when I can't find a single consecutive 8 count that's not solid choreography back to back, without posing or running around, that's bad. Overall, it felt a lot like their first routine with the cheerleader bubblegum pop feel to it. Only with less dancing.
Wow - 6 - Normally I'd give them props for their stunts. Even if you consider that flips are pretty much par for the course for them, there was the no handed double side flip (not sure what it's called). But aside from that,you have horribly sloppy swipes, which I had to double check it a half dozen times to really see if that was what they were trying to do, they were that unrecognizable.  Poor execution, plus they really haven't come up with a REASON for having the flips in the choreography. It's one thing if they're placed in well like in OrQuestra, where it built to a crescendo to end with an exclamation of Steve's flip. Here, I see no compositionally-sound reason why they should be flipping everywhere.
Showmanship - 6 - Transitions were weak, largely consisting of prancing around. The hugeass birthday cake limited their formations somewhat understandably, but even then, overall this piece was simultaneously too cluttered and cramped, without a real reason for it. Energy felt muted, there were some levels (though minimal), and formations and blocking was just to the point where I start flipping tables. 
Challenge - 5 - Okay I get it, maybe they didn't have a say into what kind of sparklers they would use. But goddammit, at least move when you're holding the sparkler. Dance is MOVEMENT. and when you're not even gonna sway side to side or walk around holding your sparkler and deprive us of even basic movement, I can't really say you integrated the prop well into your routine. Standing there and holding a sparkler is not the same thing as dancing with a sparkler. 
Improvement - 5 - Pretty much in all aspects, they got worse. Choreography was weaker than we've seen. Completing the challenge was weaker. Wow factor was weaker in execution. Showmanship factors were all subpar. Overall a disappointing routine.
Total - 28 +.5 prop = 28.5

Choreo - 8 - Dope as always. THey really captured the grooving aspect of the song, with the drawl of Rihanna's voice and matching that with their bodies. They also really too the advice to let individuals do their own thing, and that they don't need to be in 2 rows of x people to do choreography. Such a dynamic performance and excellent top level choreography that many adults couldn't match.
Wow - 8 - Two really dope things here that other crews could learn from. One - you don't need super athletic moments to have a moment. Those slowed down body rolls? So much control and so on beat, and it really fit in well with the "theme" of the song so to speak. Second - they worked the moments in well. They didn't need to set it up, but at the same time, when you rematch it it seems natural for that moment to be there. And they used them for a purpose. The two solos highlight the characters in the story, the hat tricks create a human curtain for the"kiss" midway through, framing that well. The only complaint is that the glides at the end could have been a tad bit smoother, but other than that, excellent.
Showmanship - 9 - Great story. They really worked on blocking (keeping their hair under control with the hats really keeps it spaced out, visually. The opening diagonal transition to get Bailey across the stage without walking was really dope. They really filled out the stage, facing all directions without making it look empty. No real problems at all that were under their control *cough camera crew*
Challenge - 7 - Some cool hat tricks. Unfortunately camera crew decides to ignore said challenge so we can't see much except the tail end, but the formation they're in suggests something Brain Bang esque. Sort of stuck in, though they used the hats elsewhere in the routine as a storytelling prop (high level thinking there). So they did it. Yay.
Improvement - 9 - Think about what RNG was criticized for early on this season. Poor spacing. Lacking stunts. Lacking story. Having homogenous choreography. Could use better formations. Use the stage more. That is literally a checklist of things that they have accomplished in this routine compared to where they used to be. That is growth, ladies and gentlemen, and that is why RNG deserves respect.
Total - 41 -.5 bias +.5 prop = 41

Mos Wanted Crew
Choreo - 9 - Are people really saying that MWC has weak choreography? Really? There is no other crew in recent seasons (with the possible exception of Fanny Pak) that has as intricate, with as much musicality. Just as an example - The body rolls this routine. The song "Cockiness" has a motif of undulating beats. Beat-drawn out -Beat. That calls for a body roll, and they undulate their bodies in the same way and to the same intensity as the music moves. Even aside from the body rolls, they in general move between doing hits, then slow mo, then sudden acceleration. And then when Rihanna spews out a quick series of words, they move correspondingly. Even little riffs elicit quick footwork trills from Ian. No execution problems. they even play with the "cockiness" joke that's obvious, but in a classy manner. 
Wow - 8 - Aside from "jacket" related ones… Lando's roundhouse kick, Rickey's slow mo on beat 90, The aforementioned Ian quick footwork. JP'S TWERKING, Brian doing another puppeteer cannon thing at the end. All really dope, on beat, and a good mix of athletic and highly technical solos. None interrupted the flow of the routine. 
Showmanship - 9 - This is more like their first routine, which is a great thing. Formations and transitions were on point. The energy level for this slow, sexy RnB song was totally appropriate. If they had gone and flipped all over the place, that would have totally been inappropriate, but taking it slow and sensual really highlights the song. Framing and blocking of big moments were great. 
Challenge - 8 - They really used the jackets well. From opening them up and making them flow with their movements, it suited them. The jacket slide across the stage was dope. My favorite though is the fake arms with Jun - I needed to double check that, but it was very clever. They used it all the way throughout the routine, and like they said, upped the ante by adding trench coats on top of the regular 3 piece suit. 
Improvement - 8 - No execution flaws, working in more wow moments, yeah, I'll say they improved.
Total - 42 - 1 bias +.5 prop = 41.5

Choreo - 7 - Congrats Elektrotyles. This is the first routine that I really liked your choreography. Lines were sharper, there were some good house foundation in there, and there was almost constant movement. Props. A lot less posing compared to past weeks. 
Wow - 8 - They're doing a bit better job of maing sure that the moments they put in are there for a reason, and that they're blocked well. The hand stand during the dub step section, The mike-flip could have been set up a little bit better, I wills ay the dubstep Mario corkscrew jump was also done well, and gave them a good reason to reuse the same dub step formation again, so I'll excuse that.
Showmanship - 8 Good stage use, and they moved around it a lot. Some formations were weak (walking) but the subtle lean was pretty good. The biggest part was obviously the shirtless mike singing, playing the crowd, with that X factor. May not be dancing per se, but it was entertaining. 
Challenge - 7 - Mixed thoughts on this. Like 8 Flavahz, aside from the mike flip, it was largely holding the mike while dancing. That said, they did move around the stage and passed it around to everyone. So I'll compromise and give em a 7. 
Improvement - 8 - Overall a solid performance. I would have expected this somewhere week 3 or 4, but granted, improvement is improvement. 
Total - 38 + 1 bias +.5 prop = 39.5

Fanny Pak
Choreo - 9 - No it's not the typical urban hip hop that the majority of crews show. But they bring a certain… grace with them when they perform. Betweent eh hard angles, and then the soft turns and twirls of their movements, with gentle inflections that are oh so subtle. MWC and RNG may bring it hard, but RNG brings soft grace, in a great way. Their choreography really complimented their theme of being "free spirited" anti-war activists. When most people dance, they dance. When Fanny Pak dances, they create art. It doesn't have to be hit hit hit hit, one after another faster than anyone. But when Fanny Pak can emote with their body, you know there's something special.
Wow - 8 - With Fanny, it's almost never with having super athletic stunts, yet they blow you away when you watch it again and again. Aside from anything relating to the rifle, the bye-bye-bye section, with the floor work + the reference (I'm pretty sure they knew their fate). The knee spins when the rifles were being tossed. The sexy no handed bridge. Small things, with huge impact.
Showmanship - 9 - FIrst that message. Few other crews even try to tell a story, let alone spread a message with their dancing. So big props for that. I think musically this was hardest to dance to since its as so damn slow. But Fanny pulled it off. Formations were great. The levels were SUPERB here, with floor work all the way up to the tossed rifles. Great influence over that stage. Transitions were seamless. Attitude and facials just added to the whole thing.
Challenge - 9 - Props are always hard to use. Of all the crews with a non-clothing prop, Fanny Pak pulled it off the best, doing twirls and drills with those rifles, All throughout. They took the rifles and made it relate to their theme. The toss into the air. The ending sign. They owned that prop.
Improvement - 7 - if anything, Fanny Pak couldn't really improve on last week cuz it's so hard. But what's impressive is that that was at so high a level, and now they're matching that level consistently. Mad props for that
Total - 42 - 1 bias +.5 prop = 41.5

Raw Scores
42 - FP
42 - MWC
41 - RNG
38 - ELEK
28 - 8F

Modified Scores
41.5 - FP
41.5 - MWC
41- RNG
39.5 - ELEK
28.5 - 8F

Cumulative Scores
237.5 +/- 3.5 - FP
226.5 +/- 2.5 - RNG
224 +/- 7 - MWC
208 +/- 2.5 - 8F
205.5 +/- 3 - ELEK

Power Rankings
1) RNG - The perfectly set up ABDC crew at this point. They're young. They have the views. They've constantly grown and shed most if not all of their flaws pointed out early on. They can dance as good as, if not better, than most adults. Easily can see them winning the whole thing.
2) MWC - Fanbase is keeping them alive. They haven't given a badly put together routine yet, and the only black mark on their name so far are some execution errors, which realistically speaking didn't really detract that much from their routine, and they've shown they can recover. So long as they don't mess up in the coming weeks, they should be fine.
3) Elektrolytes - FInally a solid performance, which may convince people that they should stay in this. They got the heart, and somehow they got the fans. 
4) 8Flavahz - weak weak performance this late can be pretty fatal. Their fan base has been pretty strong, but will they stick with them after a weak performance such as this?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wings reviews ABDC's Rihanna Challenge - everything but the dancing

NOTE: These categories were chosen because they allow me to jokingly poke fun at the judges, crews, and producers. It should be understood that I have complete respect for everyone involved in the production of ABDC and this review is meant for amusement only.
There are five categories and each section has a scoring range of 0-10. A perfect performance will score 50 points and anything less is mortal. The categories are: Stunts, Cuteness, Challenge, Camera Angles, and Judges Comments.
Stunts are the most eye-catching piece of any performance. They demonstrate athleticism, creativity, and gravity. Crews will rated on how many times they use stunts because flips are kool. The more frequent stunts appear within the performance, the higher the rating will be.

Nothing defines entertainment better than adorable. All dancers should strive to create an atmosphere of soft “Awwwwww’s. Dance crews that pretend to act tough are merely uncomfortable with their inner Teletubby and will be shunned in this section. Oppositely, the crews that embrace their cuteness will receive higher scores.
I will be commentating on how each crew used the challenges they were given. The more abstract and creative the execution was, the more points the crews will earn. On the other hand, if the crews pull Another Boring Dance Challenge, or an ABDC, then they will receive zero to none to few to not few points to nothing. Just be creative.
Camera Angles
Camera angles may be the largest influence in a performance. If you aren’t able to watch the performance, what else matters? The crews that have decent camera angles that highlight their performances will receive more points than the camera angles that take away from the performance. 
Judges’ Comments
The judges’ comments are the feedback for the crews each week. Their words are influential toward all the viewers at home. Therefore, I will be judging the crews based off of my judging of the judges’ comments that are judging the crews. Make sense? The crews that receive the more logical feedback will score higher than those that receive jibber-jabber.
Opening Performance –This Performance will be rated by whatever comes to mind when re-watching it.
Cool construction site theme- (+2 creativity)
The dance has nothing to do with construction- (-2 prop overdose)
All the props are black and yellow- (-1 Wiz Khalifa)
MWC member solo- (+4 suave)
Double trampoline! (+2 danger)
Wait…double trampoline- (-1 why?)
Elektrolyte’s dive, 8Flavah’s handstand, MWC flare, Glenda back handspring- (+23 awesome overload)
This season really is amazing- (+7 epiphany)
Total: +34.  Unfortunately, after tax deductions we are left with +5. The five points will be evenly distributed among the remaining five crews; one point per crew. Don’t spend it all in one place!
1.) RNG  
Stunts:Did you spot the flip? Seriously, go back and watch it again. Now did you see it? Neither did I. This section has been pinning RNG down all season which means I will have to give them another zero….wait no, I’m wrong. I got it. RNG has been pulling one long stunt the entire season. A synonym for “stunt” is a “trick”. A “trick” is a “deceit”.  A “deceit” is a “practice of misleading.” OMG. By not doing actual stunts they were misleading us by doing one long stunt. Sooo RNG’s stunt was to not do stunts. I can’t believe that worked. 10/10. (If anyone can work that one out, kudos to you.)

Cuteness:Nothing gets my heart strings more tingly then a good romance story. The only thing that would have sold this performance any more would have been teenage vampires. Yes that was a Twilight joke. Laugh Dangit! Anyway, RNG has once again brought the “awww” factor that fills the cuteness meter for this week. Well done for telling a story and keeping young love alive. My reaction to your performance was similar to goldfish crackers, we both smiled back. 10/10.

Challenge: This week RNG was required to perform a hat trick. Immediately the sports fan in me anticipated the crew to recreate a hockey game and pretend to score three goals on each other. Instead, they used actual hats. Surprise everyone. RNG lined up all their hats up and proceeded to rotate them into cool patterns. The execution was original, I will give you that, but there was just something missing. Better luck next time. You guys earn a 3.

Camera Angles: Total Times Camera Angles Switched-30
I found out what was missing from the challenge this week; the challenge itself. During the hat trick execution RNG split their crew up. From left to right across the stage the crew was separated Jennique, the hat trick group, and Bailey. The camera angles decided to focus on one of the three at a time. If the other two groups weren’t dancing it means that the camera angles were wise to focus on the only group that was dancing, or that we missed two-thirds of the entire crew if everyone was involved. In other words, either we missed part of the challenge this week or we didn’t depending on when the camera angles decided to show each portion of RNG. We don’t know what we missed, but the camera crew for RNG will know they are missing a large chunk of their score this week. Take a 2. 

Judges’ Comments:
Dtrix- “Last week y’all were in the bottom and y’all just pooed on the bottom.”
Lil Mama- “I’ll tell ya this much, RNG y’all gangsta for real though.”
JC- “It did start a little bit slow.”
Ok let’s take a look at the feedback we have here. Ummm the judges told RNG that they were gangsters and that they….pooed on the competition? It did start off a little slow though which is hinting toward constipation. Constipated gangsters?  Well done judges. Words of wisdom. There you have it, the feedback of the year award. For this blatant use of sarcasm the judges receive a 9…that was sarcasm too. With the overall theme of the judges’ comments referring to bowel-impaired mobsters you guys actually receive a 3.
Total: 28/50
2) 8Flavahs
Stunts: I noticed that aside from the partner aerial, all the flips and stunts used in this performance were either on the giant cake or performed while getting off the giant cake. Their uses of stunts in this performance were the coolest ways I have ever seen anyone play with their food. If they can backflip off cake, I can surely do a head spin on broccoli. Needless to say, they didn’t use as many stunts as last week which saddens my previously pleased heart strings toward the edge of depression. –sniff-. Pick it up 8Flavahs. If you can do that and teach me how to do a handstand on macaroni and cheese, than you will receive more than the 4 points you did this week. 

Cuteness:This performance had me shivering. And not in the good way. I was disturbed. Usually I would expect “other types of people” to appear out of giant birthday cakes, not little girls. The beginning of the performance had me distracted for the rest of the performance. The only other piece of this performance that I caught was the children’s outfits, which reminded me of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Yikes. Even the stop, drop, and roooooollllll at the end of the performance looked like upside coach roaches (Well said Nancy). Nothing could make up for my disastrous series of connections for this one. I am sorry 8Flavhas but you are slowing descending from your throne of cuteness. Please don’t ever do this again, and I will never give you a 1 again.

Challenge: 8Flavahs had to create a fire effect and then extinguish it. In other words, the little girls had to do exactly what their parents told them not to do. Next week 8Flavahs will have to incorporate talking to strangers, then the week after that they will have to steal some candy. All jokes aside, half of the girls did stand upon the giant cake and play the candles this week. The effect was cool, but it was unneeded. They weaved the challenge into the performance, but not the dance. Good job girls for getting an early start for the fourth of July but the challenge wasn’t as explosive as the candles themselves. For half of the members becoming pyromaniacs, you receive a 5.

Camera Angles: Total Times Camera Angles Switched-31
I can’t complain. The camera angles were good. You heard me. They were good! Everyone and everything involved in this performance was highlighted and viewable for the audience. As my father would say “even the blind squirrel eventually finds a nut.” I guess….this is two thumbs up for the camera crew. –Pushes button- “That was easy.” 10/10.

Judges’ Comments
JC- “The only thing is, at parts it’s kinda like you guys got a little grimy. I don’t know. You might be a little too young for me to kinda get into the grimy thing.”
Dtrix- “I loved the fact that it was brilliant that you guys had four candles representing the average age of your crew.”
Lil Mama- “Y’all are on fire.”
It would appear that the judges are split about 8Flavahs age tonight. As impressive as it is for the crew to be appearing on a show like this as toddlers, they really shouldn’t be getting grimy. I am glad that JC agrees with that statement. Imagine how awkward it would have been if he said something like “Y’all need to get grimier each week.” Ohhh boy. On the other side of the judges’ comments, Lil Mama thinks that 8Flavahs are on fire with their age and performance. It would appear that 8Flavahs have split the judges, which splits their score in half. 5/10.
Total: 23/50
3) Mos Wanted Crew
Stunts:Ricky just destroyed all future stunts that will appear on the show this season.  I don’t exactly know what to call that move but it looked like a potential air flare into a one handed spinning freeze. Or technically speaking, the move was awesome. Even though I need to buy a book of b-boy moves, I don’t need to official name to comprehend the wow factor from this stunt. As cool as it was though, it was the only stunt MWC brought this week. They need to incorporate the number of tricks from last week with the jaw dropping effect of this week. I grant thee a powerful 7.

Cuteness:This week has just crumpled in cuteness. Maybe it was the giant trench coats. Ya…it was the trench coats. I usually grade cuteness on how comfortable I would feel with the crew in a dark ally. This week, I’m scared for my life. You also know it wasn’t a cute performance for MWC when Lil Mama didn’t mention Ian at all. Even the song didn’t help. “Cockiness…I love it. I love it. I love it.” Uggggg This week America didn’t see the butterfly’s that are Mos Wanted. After careful decimal rounding you guys get a 0.

Challenge: MWC bringing back the story telling! Those that remember Drake will understand MWC drive to eliminate themselves of the clashing white hats that were in their performance. If you look carefully in this performance you will observe the members removing their trench coats slowly throughout. Absolutely Broadway. This crew really does surprise you with how emotional they can become when working with outfits each week. I don’t know about you but I am touched. Keep up the wonderful work MWC, it takes a real crew to be able to emotional connect to your audience with a challenge you are given. I will use your 10 this week to wipe the tears from my forever-touched cheek.

Camera Angles: Total Times Camera Angles Switched- 25
Things were looking great up until the point where things got “cocky.” Around the point when the boys start playing charades with the word cockiness, they camera angles lose their touch. The camera angles switch to the left, they only show half the crew, they do this and this and blah blah blah. The worst camera angle for this performance is the part when Jun gets tossed into a jacket and his arms are replaced with his team mates. Sure it was a cool illusion but the better illusion was how the camera men made the rest of the crew disappear. Who knows what was going on during that time?  For an exponential decrease in camera angle decency you guys receive a 4.

Judges’ Comments:
Mamacita- “Just the way you guys framed the performance was tasteful, and I enjoyed it.”
JC-“This was a great, great performance this week. Well done.”
Dtrix- “This week I think you guys stole the show.”
Well this is disappointing. I am unable to make fun of anything the judges said for this crew. It is all positive and logical to the performance. Curse you judges! 10/10
Total: 31/50
4) Elektrolytes
Stunts:Elektrolytes are stepping it up and using moves from their special book…their flip book. Get it? Boom! Lame I know. Apparently Elektrolytes had in their book, “flip off microphone stand.” Fortunately for them, they were able to use a microphone stand this week and did just that. However, just like MWC the Elektrolytes really had only one stand out stunt this week.  The old saying “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” is spot on. Elektrolytes need to stop learning from history and return to the good ol days of flip city. For the one flip this week you guys earn one point plus 3 more bias points. 4 total.

Cuteness:Ahh I see you read my review from last week.  I mentioned how taking off your shirts in the Pitbull challenge had my inner cuteness meter in a knot. This week you guys returned by… unbuttoning the shirt of one of your members. I am afraid to say that this week I am not confused about my cuteness. The showing of the skin just doesn’t cut it this week. However, the nerd glasses were a nice touch of cuteness. Y’all were showing your funky fun side tonight, which counts for something. In shorts, keep your pants on. ABSolutely keep your shirt on. On top of that, keep your jackets on. SOLEly keep your shoes on. Use your head and keep all your hats on. I want you like I desire all my salads, dressed. 2/10.

Challenge: That microphone was the 9th Elektrolytes member this week.  That prop did some partner work, worked with all the members, and allowed one of the Elektrolytes to flip off him. Yes, the microphone is a guy. In fact, his name is Mike. Mike was the center of attention this week and was incorporated wonderfully. I would suggest bringing Mike into every performance. Nine points for each member of the crew.

Camera Angles: Total Times Camera Angles Switched- 31
I am going straight to the problem with this section. The part of the performance when the back flip off the microphone occurs, the camera angles switch the side of the stage. If that isn’t bad enough, the camera angles are able to control time. The flip somehow slows down with the return of the infamous ABDC slow mos. The rest of the camera angles are decent. Decent is normal at this point. For poor timing with time slowing down at the wrong time of your performance, you guys get a timely 4. Better luck next time.

Judges’ Comments: (NOTE: as a result of being in the bottom two, Elektrolytes only hear feedback from two judges.)
Lil Mama- “Another one of my favorite moments was Sal when he did like a pelvis pump with the Mike and I was like wow that was funky.
JC-“The beginning was a just a little bit sloppy. I saw a couple of you guys get a little lost, but I will say you guys picked it up. It was Elektro-fying.”
While Lil Mama’s focus is glued on another type of “cockiness”, JC gave some good feedback to Elektrolytes. He wasn’t afraid to tell them that they need to tighten up and I’m not afraid to tell Elektrolytes that they should consider a Lil Mama restraining order. Last week was Lil Mama talking about Ian from MWC. This week it was the pelvis thrust. Now if Ian pelvis thrusts next week, she will lose it. I want to see that happen. Ohh and good feedback will get you a 7.
Total: 25/50
5) Fanny Pak
Stunts:Fanny Pak. Fanny Pak.
Don’t you want to win?
You must do more stunts,
Then just making your rifles spin.
I don’t know why, but when this crew doesn’t do any stunts they bring out the poet in me. Come on Fanny Pak! No one wants me to Dr. Seuss it up in here. For the sake of everyone, start flipping! 0/10.

Cuteness: Cuuuuuuuuute. What can I say, the first ten seconds of the performance speaks for itself. The attitude in this performance was simply amazing. I can’t help but feel happy when this group performs. It is clear that this group is having a blast up on the stage. While they weren’t as cute as the cutest Fanny Pak I have seen (see Fanny Pak’s When I Grow Up performance.) Still well done with being adorable this week and take a much deserved 8.

Challenge:This week Fanny Pak had to integrate rifles into their performance. Fanny Pak takes it a step farther and brings an anti-war theme to this performance this week. They toss around their pink toy rifles and bring a 11960s attitude. In the end of the performance the guns become help in becoming one giant peace sign. Now I usually joke about the way a challenge is done but Fanny Pak was definitely committed to this meaning. The challenge was done very well and expanded into an original touching theme. Peace, Love, Happiness, Hope, Caring, Generosity, Understanding, and Strength are 8 points that actually matter this week. 8/10.

Camera Angles: Total Times Camera Angles Switched- 34
Now the camera angles were generic. Of course there was the split second random zooming and side views but nothing stand out until the end. At the end the camera angle changes to the first overhead camera angle I haven’t minded. The peace sign that Fanny Pak creates is clearly visible which completes the final piece of the performance. Decent camera angles, decent score of a 7. 

Judges’ Comments: (NOTE: as a result of being in the bottom two, Fanny Pak only hears feedback from two judges.)
Dtrix- “Everything was put together so smart. I love your guy’s brains. I love Fanny Pak”
JC- “And what you have done this season has been art to me. I look at this group as a group of artists.”
Hey more positive feedback for the judges!  Both male judges were pleased with this performance and they complement Fanny Pak accordingly. I suppose I don’t really need to say anymore. In fact, Fanny Pak’s performance just about shut down all my critiques of them this week. Either I am losing spontaneous creativity or Fanny Pak just can’t be touched this week. Survey says both. I am tired. 8/10.
Total: 31/50

Totally Accurate Rating
1-2) MWC/FP -31
3) RNG- 28
4) Elektrolytes- 25
5) 8Flavahs- 23

Thanks for taking the time to read this review once again. Same as last week, if you have a suggestion for a section you would like to me add into this review please share. Next week will be filled with shuffling, wiggling, and shots shots shot shots shots shots. . I can’t wait and until then, have a wonderful week. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Photos from ABDC's LMFAO Challenge Taping

More backstage photos from America's Best Dance Crew's LMFAO challenge:

Sthanlee has several wonderful photos, including this one of 8 Flavahz:

Here's Sthanlee's photo of Elektrolytes:

And his portrait of Fanny Pak members with Riquel Olander (our guest interviewer for the week:

Chris Trondsen has some photos too, including this one of JP Goldstein of Mos Wanted Crew about to get his head shaved:

Here's Chris' photo of Bailey (RNG) in his LMFAO finery:
And here's Chris with JC Chasez:

And a photo (unattributed) of Riquel Olander and Chris Trondsen:
The_Real_Winson tweeted a photo of the stage set up for the group number
Click here to leave comments and to return to the first page.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Byeynyn's review: ABDC's Rihanna Challenge

Rated Next Generation- RNG’s performance from last week was enough to propel themselves out of the bottom two. Their song is “You da One.” Their prop challenge is to incorporate bowler hats and make a cool trick with them. They’re shown having a hard time holding onto the tiny brims of the hat, and they’re doing pushups as an incentive not to screw up. The crew’s also worrying about balancing dancing and homework. I guess appearing on TV doesn’t count as an excuse to not do homework.

With the bowler hats, they’re dressed in a jazzy style, similar to a Bob Fosse musical, although Jennique has a red dress on. She does a housing/jazz shuffle to the side as Bailey steps out to woo her. Their romantic storytelling here is appropriate to the song, though by doing a romance, they automatically limit it to Bailey and someone else. The routines have had a disproportionate amount of Bailey. Might as well rename the crew “Bailey and the Next Generation.” While they’re in the center, the other five are spread out on stage playing around with their hats. It’s fairly easy to miss. The group goes into some body rolls. Jennique gets a chance to do a popping solo, and Bailey gets a solo as well. The five back-up dancers bunch up to make a formation using their bowler hats. It is a lot like something IaMmE would do, except without the wub-wub noises. They all group up and lean back, doing neck isos. As the couple glide across the stage, Bailey picks up the boutonniere flowers from the others, handing them to Jennique at the end. Cute.

D-Trix says this was their best performance so far and also mentions something about poo. He says the hat trick reminded him of IaMmE, and he likes RNG’s intricacies. Lil Mama calls them gangsta. She likes how their opening was a clever use of the stage. She also likes their grooving. JC says the transitions and partnering was nice, but thinks it started slow (audience boos). He liked the routine but it wasn’t his favorite from them. I do appreciate how this was RNG’s best story-telling effort, and really liked how they allowed some more time for some members to have solos, especially Jennique’s, but I pretty much agree with JC’s criticism. Maybe I’m used to seeing them move lightning-fast after the two previous performances, but this routine generally felt slower and not nearly as energetic by comparison. Last week’s “1000 Hands” dance had many big motions coupled with intricate ones. This one felt a little short on the big movements. I still enjoyed it, but it wasn’t as good as last week’s.
8 Flavahz- Both kid crews are saved first and are safely in the Top 4. 8 Flavahz gets “Birthday Cake,” which is a much raunchier song than the innocent title suggests. They think it’s ironic they get that song right after celebrating Angel’s b-day (which is not really irony but coincidence.) Their task is to create a fire effect and extinguish it. Seems like a terrible challenge to give to CHILDREN. Especially children with BIG HAIR. ABDC, what are you thinking?!

The youngest girl, Charlize, is dressed like Alice in Wonderland. The other seven, wearing an awful stripes/plaid combo, were likely dressed by the Mad Hatter. Their cake is basically a covered table, which is a shame because a gigantic baked cake would have been awesome and delicious. Tiara and Tamara (Sister, Sister!) jump off the cake and hold hands while doing aerials. There are some moments where they do bits of choreo I feel I’ve seen in earlier routines. There are other moments where they try to add griminess, and it looks unnatural and forced. The 2-4-2 tutting section using the cake for levels is pretty creative though. Tamara does swipes on top of the cake. Four girls in the back hold the giant fire sparkler candles, but don’t dare move them around at all. They really couldn’t do much for that fire challenge, unless they were willing to sign a hundred liability waivers. In the end, the four girls in the front yell, “Stop, drop, roll!” Cute.

JC thought the routine was really fun, but admits to being weirded out when the young crew got too grimy. The audience boos for reasons I can only assume are gross. JC points out not to get repetitive with the front walkovers and handsprings. He thinks they can do better. D-Trix loved the routine, though he agrees about the trick repetitions. He calls Charlize a star. He loves how they have four candles, representing the average age of the crew (his words, not mine). Lil Mama thinks they are on fire. She loves how they are performers that sell every performance, though she agrees with JC that it wasn’t their best. Lil Mama has the weird ability to express the same opinion as JC but ramble it in a way so that she doesn’t get booed. I personally think this was their weakest performance so far. They struggled to add musicality, although it was mostly due to a terrible song choice. Usually they’re able to get into the vibe of the song they’re given, but it just didn’t work out here. They still have several areas they really need to work on (mainly strengthening choreo and not repeating tricks) but I feel half the blame for this routine goes to whoever decided on the song and challenge.
Mos Wanted Crew- Their song is “Cockiness,” which I doubt is coincidence. All they really have to do is act as they normally would. They have to wear jackets, and because the theme is about being cocky, they decide to use trench coats. Okay, but what’s their CHALLENGE? They mention how tough it is to demonstrate their intricate moves through the jackets, but I’m not convinced it’s that hard relative to the other props. At least they don’t have to wear frilly dresses. Jawn drills them hard during rehearsals so they don’t mess up and accidentally bump man-bags. Being dance teachers, they go and visit their students for motivation and probably a reminder to those kids to vote.

They’re in business suits, and they’ve got trench coats with orange highlights, but they look more like Quidditch players. After a long uninterrupted section of group choreo, Lando does a roundhouse kick on his way to the front. Some of the members place the coats underneath others and drag them across stage. It frames into Ricky doing a spinning handstand freeze leading into a pike, which is MWC’s best trick thus far this season.  At one point in their choreo, they all gesture towards their crotches, fitting the overall theme of “cockiness,” if you know what I mean. And I’m sure you do. Four of them open their coats and make their heads slide across the top, matching the beats of the song. They have another illusion where Brian pretends to be Jun’s arms from right behind him. You may have seen something similar on Whose Line Is It Anyways. JP, during his solo, sucks… his… thumb? In the end, they all take their business coats off and throw it at the front.

Lil Mama says they were cocky and confident. She says they dressed like gentlemen but still came hardcore. She says it was tasteful. Lil Mama has yet to consider ANYTHING as too tacky or tasteless. JC says the performance woke him up and is so glad they performed tonight. He says the jacket work was flawless, and says the performance was great. D-Trix thinks they stole the show. He likes JP’s bone-breaking solo and grinding of the air. He likes that they are there to win. It’s good to see them performing at fuller capacity after last week’s major missteps. It does seem like they’re going to have the easiest path into the finale, but they need more performances like this rather than like the previous few weeks to justify it. No more dicking around.
Elektrolytes- Voted into the bottom two for the first time, their song is “Where Have You Been” and they have to incorporate a microphone stand. The group is trying to combine their in-your-face style with the smoothness that usually comes with a classic mic stand. They bust out a secret playbook, naturally with magic glowing effects, that lists a bunch of useable stunts and tricks (“The Uncle Buck,” “The Randy Jackson,” “Spare Change”). Those names sound promising, although doing a “Randy Jackson” on stage sounds terrible and bloated. They want to use some of the good moves. I kind of half-expect a storyline where they end up losing their secret playbook but realize the power was inside them all along.

They’ve got blue jackets with sparkly stripes and Buddy Holly glasses. The mic and their costumes represent 50’s rock, as the song is sort of a reference to the late 50’s song, “I’ve Been Everywhere.” They start out doing a lot of non-gimmicky choreo, likely to compensate for last week. The members begin housing to the front as Joey glides with the mic stand. As they get into their wub-wub section and group up, one guy walks on his hands and finishes with a two-handed flag freeze. Later the guys toss one guy into the air as he spins around. While two people get to the front to do isos, they set it up so that the mic stand is held horizontally aloft for Sal to do a back tuck off of it. Marcus takes off his jacket and opens his shirt. I think this is the third time in two weeks that he’s shirtless. Unless he’s added an extra nipple, it’s still more of the same. The group runs to the side of the stage and Marcus does his best rocking power ballad impersonation while the wind whips his coat. It would have been funny if a guy behind him was pretending to make his coat flail, but I’m pretty sure I saw a guy off-stage running off with a fan. They definitely use a lot of the stage in this routine. As they get into their ending positions, the guy in front does the “Elvis Legs” pose.

Lil Mama thought the performance was clever and the framework was off the chain. She likes the flip off the mic stand and when Marcus tore open his shirt. She really enjoyed it. JC thinks they handled their prop well and liked the energy. He points out a moment where they got sloppy in the beginning, but thinks the routine was electrifying. I think their increased energy was able to carry them through most of the routine. My favorite moment was the house/glide portion, which wasn’t a stunt but was clever in fitting with the musical rhythms. In addition to tightening up their choreography, they need to keep improving on setting up and staging those flips so the effect isn’t weakened by the predictability from the set-up. They lucked out a little by being given the most up-tempo song, but they took advantage of it early on in the routine, which was smart.
Fanny Pak- They’re performing to “Talk That Talk.” They have to incorporate color guard rifle spins, which I think is the hardest of the prop challenges tonight. It’s the only prop that pretty much has its own school organization devoted to it, assuming your school does not have a Trench Coat Fan Club. They’re struggling with it. They decide to induct the four new Fanny Pak members into their super special awesome club by giving them permanent tattoos of lightning bolts. Yer a wizard, Sohey!

If a hippie mated with a soldier, the babies would be what Fanny Pak is dressed as. Holding pink rifles and making peace signs and their slogan would be, “MAKE LOVE, BUT ALSO WAR.” (They’ve dressed as soldiers already in Season 2, so heaven forbid they use similar costumes as before!) They start out with some booty-shaking. At one point when they spread out, they look like they’ve just gotten back from Woodstock, if you know what I mean. After some choreo with the rifles, they all stomp them to the ground. Gerald gets a chance to show off his stick-wielding skills by spinning the rifle around, including around his neck. Five of them toss the rifles in the air much like a color guard would, and all five of them manage to catch it. I’m thinking Fanny Pak has been the best crew on this show when it comes to using props as well as storytelling. After more group choreo, which is mostly Fanny Pak’s particular style but a tad more sexualized, most of them get on the floor and pelvic thrust the air. In the end, the group uses their bodies and the guns to form an overhead peace sign. A peace sign made from rifles. Okay, that image is ironic.

D-Trix doesn’t get why Fanny Pak is in the bottom again. He calls them three-dimensional (Lucky! Most of us only get to see two!) He also compliments their groundwork. He says they’ve done great on this show and have been true to themselves. JC considers the group a bunch of artists and likes the anti-war message. He calls the section where Cara and Natalie do their low grinding very “Rihanna-esque.” He says their theatre is great, their lines are great, and says they’ve done great this season. You can tell the judges aren’t happy that Fanny Pak has been in the bottom so often. Were it completely up to them, the results would be vastly different. It’s another crisp routine for Fanny Pak filled with artistic movements, but it’s not the kind of performance that will pull in hordes of swing voters. Fanny Pak sticking with its own style is a statement of integrity, but not necessarily a winning formula.
Elimination- Fanny Pak, still unable to overcome the backlash and escape the Bottom Two, is finally cut by the judges. They appear to be at peace with the decision, but it’s still gotta sting. Mario gives him some personal compliments, and Matt uses his final words to thank his team and the judges. They get the sad journey montage and send the audience off with a synchronized bow. There are several reasons why they didn’t get as far this time, but I suspect the biggest reason is a drastically different voting audience. The fact that they did well, even if better, on Season 2, doesn’t fully explain why they’ve struggled with the votes so early this season. Historically, nothing’s ever stopped many voters from voting for their favorite crews even after a bad performance. I speculate a large mass of voters who were present for Season 2 have tuned out at this point. It’s also likely that Fanny Pak’s unique style still hasn’t gotten through to the majority of America, and possibly never will. At the beginning of the season, I would have been shocked if Fanny Pak didn’t make it to the Top Four, yet here we are. The times, they are a-changin’.
Next week is LMFAO, and Quest Crew (who has basically been tethered to LMFAO since “Party Rock Anthem”) will show up to make an appearance. That’s a guest appearance I’m looking forward to.

Click here to leave comments and to return to the first page. Thanks again, Byeynyn!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ninjaboi's Better Late Than Never Pitbull Review

Grading Scale
For those unfamiliar with my rankings, I judge each crew based off of 5 factors that comprise each routine on ABDC, and give some sort of indication how well the crew is doing in the show. Each is out of 10 points, for a total of 50. For me a 7 is "standard" level of what a crew on ABDC should have, so a 35 would be an average total score. Major mistakes will usually cost the crew 1 point in a section.
Choreography - How difficult was their choreography? How well executed? How much foundation? How intricate? How agile? How in sych musically? How creative? The more styles incorporated the better.
Wow Moment - How creative/difficult were their "moments" on stage? Did they overuse wow moments, thus decreasing the value of each one? Did they build up to each moment and frame it well? Did it fit in with the rest of their composition, or did they do a wow moment for the sake of having one? Not necessarily always stunts. 
Showmanship - Any factor that really improves upon the performance. This includes appropriate energy level, transitions (working vs walking), blocking, levels, storytelling/conceptual aspect, composition of the piece, use of stage (clumped vs filling), etc. 
Challenge - Each week each crew is given (a) challenge(s). A crew will get a 7 if they simply implement the challenge into the routine, simple as that, provided they don't mess up. Crews get higher than 7 if they "embrace the nature of the challenge), either by shaping the routine around the routine, or by taking it to the next level, or both. Mind you, a crew that does only the challenge for the whole routine is letting the challenge rule them, rather than them ruling the challenge.
Improvement - A 7 means that they performed at the same level as last week. As ABDC tends to favor crews that do better from week to week, upping your level each week is important. 

Also note that there are various modifiers to these scores. Crews with a second challenge receive an extra half point. Crews with a mandatory prop challenge, due to their inherently more difficult level of challenge, get another half point. I also have my own individual biases, which result in point deductions. For this week, Mos Wanted Crew receives a -1 modifier since I've known about these guys and followed their craft since before ABDC

Choreography – 6 – The big big big problem with this crew is their insistence that their routines be consisted mostly of stunts, very simple/basic choreography, posing, and transitioning between different formations. Dancing and choreography is supposed to give the music physical form and interpret it. Simply moving for the sake of moving and to simply fill the stage with movement does not make for impressive choreography. With good choreography, there is a REASON for each movement you make. I don’t see that when I watch Elektrolyte’s so called choreography, which is in itself rare to see in their routines, beyond simply having movement to get between formations.
Wow – 7 – Elektrolytes – I’ll be frank. Your  stunts are getting old. With the exception of the knee roll in the first half of the routine, there was literally nothing we haen’t seen before, either from you or other crews on the show. Backflips, butterfly kicks at the start. Partnerwork was done way more impressively than Massive Monkees and Supercrew. ith an assisted pike (which isn’t that impressive).  Stripping for votes isn’t that impressive, especially after ICONic Boyz ruined it for us. The lifted flip was done more impressively by Collizion Crew earlier this very season. Bring something new, stop spamming your flips in place of choreography, and get into your routines without having to prep so much for it.  The only reason this is not any lower is that really dope knee roll.
Showmanship – 7 – Stage use: good actually. Transitions – actually pretty strong, especially for the capoeira section between groups, though the last one was weaksauce. Formations were good, Energy was a bit less than their typical brand. Still lacking anything magical or outstanding to give this crew more than a brief notice given the rest of talent tonight.
Challenge – 7 – So my in person experience with capoeira is limited to a couple of events at school where the capoeira group held workshops and let the audience members participate and go against some of the experienced members. Based on what I personally experienced, I had mixed reactions to their use of capoeira. First, it is true that capoeira is a lot of butterfly kicks, one handed armstands, and cartwheels. I really did like how they did a lot of partnerwork, especially with the hand holding position at the beginning. However, Lil Mama’s comment about not touching the opponent was a bit misguided. While that is true that in capoeira you’re not supposed to collide, the reason is because you’re supposed to be skilled enough to get so close and still not hit each other because you can react, while still going through the moves and not holding back. In this routine, Elektrolytes were a bit farther apart from each other than most capoeira partners I saw were, so that could be considered a bit of “cheating” to get away with it, which won’t fly. Not all the time (like at the beginning they were good), but for most of the ones in the middle. So there were some good parts (incorporating the partner work), but some bad (not doing it so well).
Improvement – 6 – After last week’s clever story telling, I briefly held hope, only to have it crushed underneath the lack of choreography and the deluge of flips. JC was right, at least in the part about this one being a step down from last week.
Total: 33

8 Flavahz
Choreography – 7 - The sad part is, given what we saw in the first few weeks from them, I saw only a few sections of outright choreography. Don’t get me wrong, when they do choreography they do it well. The part at the beginning when Cameron was on the left of the stage, and the part right after they ripped off the skirts are the sections I’m taling about. The rest were dedicated to trying to wow us. That’s about 11 seconds (that I count) of solid choreography, out of a solid minute. I would give them an 8 in choreography given the raw technique, skill, and execution of their choreography, but there’s just so little in it, I can’t say they did a lot of choreography.
Wow – 7 - While I would greatly like to see them use their choreography as their core strength rather relying on acrobatics to wow us, I do have to admit they do keep it fresh unlike other crews. The bridge/flip at the start was cool.  The 3 girls in the front doing kicks were pretty dope. The two person cartwheel was insane. My personal favorite though was a flip. Now that’s odd for me, but the use of the skirts in the flip to create a circle effect was hypnotizing. That said, I still think that they do overuse them in random moments, and don’t really build up to them appropriately, which is what is ultimately holding me back from accepting their overuse of flips.
Showmanship – 7-  First that story… I was a bit confused, so I’m giving a mixed review for that. I get the ringmaster schtick, but then the random attack of the dancers with a blowdart? A story is good and all, but you need to be able to convey what you’re saying and it’s been a week and I don’t get what the story was. Stage use was pretty good. Even if they didn’t really make the typical straight line you associate with can can, they made sure to go in pairs around the edge of the stage, and in a circular formation to let everyone see the can can. Formations and highlighting were good up until the aforementioned random murder. 8 flavahz has this unfortunate tendency to block actually pretty decent choreography with random stuff going on in the front that distracts from the dancing. Oh, and Carmen’s ringmaster piece was mixed. I felt it was a mix between random posing and gesturing and dancing with them, which got distracting.
Challenge – 8 – The can can was pretty prevalent in this routine. You se them holding their skirts for a majority of the routine, either actually doing the can can(though I don’t think I actually ever saw the classic right knee, right kick, left knee, left kick that I associate with the can can), but you also see other elements of French dance with ballet foundation at the beginning. The whole Parisian circus theme ties in well (again with the weird story). So overall well done with the challenge, much better than just sticking it in.
Improvement – 7 – Not much better than last week’s (though better execution of the challenge), but fitting in with the rest of their performances, again not their best.
Total – 36

Mos Wanted Crew
Choreography – 8 – The choreography wasn’t actually bad. Overall the first half (before the Russian section) seemed to be focused on the agility/strength of their lower body (the staccato hits, the “tiptope” line reference). The second half, I could tell the energy sort of went out of them after the mistakes, but musicality, it was also on point (the song slows down and lacks the same staccato beats at the beginning, so their movements also smoothed out, with the arm slides, and the grooves.
Wow – 8-2 = 6 – So I think what Mos Wanted Crew was going was to show that they could do some awesome “wow” moments as well, but unfortunately they failed to execute. Obviously we have the hat trick, and the jump when Brian did a teabag both woulda been greatly framed and amazing had they been executed. As it is, the only stunt they pulled off was Rickey’s handsprings at the end. Minus one point each for their goof ups, so 2 goofups for execution.
Showmanship – 8 – 1 = 7 – So a lot to like here. Obviously one of the strongest openings of the season thus far. They played the military theme of the Soviet Russians, with both the beginning and end in a nice circle (maybe this whole routine was a drill)? Though Brian did mess up the ending, so I’m docking one point for that. Levels were used pretty well. Formations as usually were varied, and transitions were so smooth that I didn’t notice. I will say the energy was mixed, given the loss of momentum, but
Challenge – 8 – So they actually didn’t have any problems completing the challenge. That’s a killer challenge to have, especially considering that I think some of the members have knee injuries. But even with that, they took their challenge to the next level, first with the Russian presentation talked above. They also mixed up how to do the traditional Russian dance. They had multiple levels (a standing variation) mixed it up with paetnerwork and solo work, and even a quick group formation. They got in the spirit of celebration that this dance entails (did anyone see the movie Patton where they danced this?)
Improvement – 6 - Overall, it actually wasn’t a bad performance considering the mistakes. I didn’t catch them on my first run through, but even when you include them, the rest of the routine (choreography, challenge) all were done well.) Obviously making mistakes isn’t good, so I’ll give them a 6 here, but had they not, I actually would have given them an 8 since they would have shown more wow factor. Hopefully execution later tonight is on point.
Total – 35 -1 (bias) = 34. Would have been 40 (-1 bias) = 39 had they not messed up.

Fanny Pak
Choreography – 9 – I’ll talk more about this later, but Fanny really incorporated A) all sorts of Indian dance styles, not just Bollywood into their routine, and B) the fused it so well that you could still see the influence, but it was something distinctly Fanny Pak that no one else could convincingly sell. More importantly, I think Fanny Pak tonight showed strong choreography in that they looked so much more ALIVE when they were dancing. The movements they had, and the conviction behind their choreography – each movement had a purpose, as that purpose were vital to life itself. They so convincingly sold themselves in with their choreography, that each hit, each graceful movement and slide, all complemented the music perfectly,  brought us to India, and gave a mark of who is Fanny Pak. The showed slow graceful movements, hard hits, great control, high energy, and just playful spirit in their choreography, all within a minute.
Wow – 8 – This routine I think gave the best example of “wow moments” that don’t need to be stunts. The use of scarves (an unnecessary prop) to create that illusion was both in line with the challenge and artistic. Glenda’s travel through the members and collecting their scarves. I’m pretty Sohey was doing something in the back for the back half of the audience, showing a smart, thoughtful aspect of their choreography.
Showmanship – 9 – Stage use – Even with more members and the scarves,t here still is more room on the stage. By using the scarves to make a wall they halved the size, giving them a larger presence on the stage, in addition to the moving. If you can, go back and watch closely for the facials. They change so much in the routine, but fit the movements so well, from smiling to a werk face, to fierceness, to sassy, to toughness, to pretty much any emotion, but it fits the movement. Transitions and blocking were flawless, as is typical of Fanny Pak. Even the subtle things like pulling the scarves out of their Fanny Pak to harken back to Season 2 days where they would do that every episode showed thought and planning that few crews put into their routine. Plus that ending? To go from movement to still (including dropping to your knees all of a sudden?) is no small feat.
Challenge – 10 – Okay. So this is the first 10 of the season. And I wouldn’t give it if I wasn’t 100% sure that they killed the challenge. First some qualifications – I not only went to a high school with a high South Asian population, my college also has a strong Indian representations. I’ve seen amazing choreography of many south Indian styles, which all these kids my age do very well, either for cultural or religious reasons, but also for competitive reasons as well (and they win). I could point to a lot of things that made me give them a 10. For one, they incorporated not only high energy choreography from Bollywood movies, they had seated choreography with more religious connotations, the choreography with scarves (I’m not good with names, sorry). Even when they didn’t do straight up Bollywood, they incorporated the foundational aspects of it in their technique. The way they placed and pointed their feet. The way they held their hands. The lines of their arms and torsos. The angles of their limbs. The jump step when moving across the stage. The hip movements. Soft graceful movements contrasted with hard hitting, high energetic hits. Even the use of facials to convey emotion. That ending pose. My god. Fanny Pak did Bollywood, and more, all throughout the routine, while at the same time making it distinctly something only Fanny Pak could do. That is the ultimate sign of owning the challenge.
Improvement – 9 – Last week was great. They should not have been in the bottom. But given my glowing review, I think that this routine may be very underrated by most, and could possibly be the routine of the season, given their mastery of not only Bollywood, but movement itself.
Total – 45

Choreography – 9 – This routine was similar and different from Fanny’s. Similar in that they showed a lot of different styles, but whereas Fanny focused on the styles related to the challenge and injecting Fanny Pak into their styles, RNG focused on using their strengths (foundational hip hop, street styles), and making it work with the music. I saw house, bboy, and their newstyle urban choreo, along with some groove. It still worked, and it was just executed so well, flowing between these styles almost seamlessly. Strong foundation, creative transitioning, sick musicality. RNG is just growing more and more.
Wow – 8 – Outside the obvious challenge of the 1000 hands, they had some good moments. At the start, they do a bit of toprock, then spin around to do knee/floorwork. The hits between the two girls in the middle after the fouettes (which admittedly were out of synch). The opening obviously was so mesmerizing with the head hits, and the shuffling feet across the stage. Even the cannon across the stage where Bailey triggered it by popping up and the girls popped up 2 by 2 in a diagonal was a moment to remember.
Showmanship – 8 – First the whole China theme worked really well. They used the stage a lot better compared to past weeks, moving back and forth across it to great effect. I think the biggest thing to comment on is the use of levels. They had a decent amount of work on the knees. The next step would be to mix it up and contrast it with upright chroegoraphy at the same time. Transitions are also improving – for example they used the fans to distract the audience well while working into position, even as it was done somewhat simply. Even the energy and commitment are great. I think another thing to mention – when they tied up their hair, they seemed a lot more spaced out than before. It may just be an optical illusion, or if they’re actually more spaced out, but it looks a lot nicer than when their hair is in each other’s and their own face.
Challenge – 8 – As with Fanny Pak, I’ve had a lot of experience with this particular dance (even choreographed one myself). It is a lot harder than some people would give it credit for, but moving on. I loved how they reinterpreted it. First the traditional technique was present (lining up, hand position, even having expression in the person at front). However, they put an RNG twist on it by making it a bit more harder hitting than usual (usually its more fluid and less focused on hits and more on flowing quickly). Even the second one, they upped the ante a bit with using fans, and then peeling off into the ending pose, which is smart. I will say I wish they could have done a bit more with the fans in the routine, which visually would have been amazing. But beyond that, they definitely played to the Chinese angle, incorporating martial arts and the bowing at the beginning, was smart and staying in that character was great.
Improvement – 9 – As Dtrix said, this crew is constantly growing. From using levels more, to spacing themselves better, to using more styles in their routines, and embracing their challenges to a deeper, more intellectual level, they are just getting better and better.
Total – 42

I totally agree with the decision for both crews in this bottom 2 to stay, even if I don’t agree with who should have been in the bottom 2. With some respect to other tough bottom 2s, here are reasons why I think they didn’t do it for others.
Any top 3/top 4 difficult bottom 2, they logistically couldn’t because that would mean it would be 3 crews who are finalists, which I don’t think they want to have 3 finalists, they want the final week to be between only 2 crews. Top 4, it will be 4 crews doing the decathlon challenge, as well as the last chance challenge, so production wise, it may be that they won’t have time to get ready.
The rest of the top x crew episodes, I think that the reason this didn’t happen is because, as far as I can remember, no really tough bottom 2 were was dominant over the rest of the night as these two crews were.
As far as the integrity of the show… well given that they had to get ICONic Boyz to perform tonight to attempt to get ratings… yeah I don’t think that’s much of an issue.

Since only MWC has a bias, I’ll just combine this week’s pre/post bias rankings.
45 – Fanny Pak
42 – RNG
36 – 8 Flavahz
35/34 – MWC without/with bias
33 – Elektroltyes

Cumulatively, over the whole season here are the ratings.
196 +/- 2 Fanny Pak
185.5 +/- 1.5 RNG
182.5 +/- 5.5 Mos Wanted Crew
180 +/- 2 Flavahz
167.5 +/- 1.5 Elektrolytes

Based on these, I think I’ll give next week
Fanny Pak -1 bias for me being so enthralled this week with them
RNG -.5 since their urban choreo is really to my liking.
MWC -1 since I’ve been liking their choreography from before the season so much
ELEK +1 since I’m pretty sure that them being in the bottom of the rankings all season long every single week means something.

Power Rankings
1) RNG – I think coming out strong this week, after a solid week last week and just their continual growth, plus great support from the judges (ie saving them for having such a dominant routine) I think the breakout routine at this point in the competition will help them keep the momentum going, so long as they don’t face the bottom again (which viewcounts being more than MWC’s suggest they won’t, at least next week).
2) 8 Flavahz – It’s getting further and further from their performance-of-the-week Vogue, and they’re leaning more towards stunts and less dancing. I think that will become apparent soon, as some people are picking up. Granted, they still have a decent number of viewcounts, so they’ll go far. But if they don’t come hard again soon, the fact that they’re always saved first could play against them as people forget their routines as great performances come later in the episode, leaving them forgotten and thus unvoted for.
3) 4) Mos Wanted Crew - There is growing opposition to this crew, for a number of reasons. Some are legitimate (ie messing up), and some aren’t (don’t blame the crew for their fanbase, or for being professionals already and having an “unfair advantage since they’re so good.”) Even so, I think people overreacted to the comments about execution, and disregarded what JC said about having a great routine put together. If MWC messes up again, I think the bashlack will hit them too much. If they want to win, they need to have a performance of the week next week (ie tonight), a top 2 performance in the top 4 week, and they need to absolutely murder the multistyle challenge in week 3, to turn haters.
4) Fanny Pak – While I think that they are absolutely being so consistent every season week, and bringing something new literally every single week, and having flawless execution, and such strong technique, it seems America just doesn’t agree, sending them to the bottom 3 weeks in a row. No crew has stayed in the bottom 2 more than thrice, usually being eliminated on their third strike or on the episode right after. The only exception is Blueprint, who had immunity for 2 weeks, and We Are Heroes, who had their third bottom 2 in the top 3, not this early in the season. If they hit the bottom once more, I’m betting they will go home. Hopefully they won’t, but low viewcounts suggest otherwise.
5) Elektrolytes – a lackluster performance this week, plus a more and more apparent lack of versatility in what they can offer (flips flips and more flips) will limit them. Low viewcounts suggest a bottom 2 next week.

Shoutouts to 54Maxxann, Clarence, Wings, Molasses Gang, and NancyT.

Till my next review (hopefully sooner again),

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wings reviews crews on ABDC Pitbull Challenge: stunts, cuteness, challenges, deja vu factor & camera angles

There are five categories and each section has a scoring range of 0-10. A perfect performance will score 50 points and anything less is mortal. The categories are: Stunts, Cuteness, Who they remind me of, Challenge, and Camera Angles.

Stunts- Stunts are the most eye-catching piece of any performance. They demonstrate athleticism, creativity, and gravity. Crews will rated on how many times they use stunts because flips are kool. The more frequent stunts appear within the performance, the higher the rating will be.

Cuteness- Nothing defines entertainment better than adorable. All dancers should strive to create an atmosphere of soft “Awwwwww’s. Dance crews that pretend to act tough are merely uncomfortable with their inner Teletubby and will be shunned in this section. Oppositely, the crews that embrace their cuteness will receive higher scores.

Who they remind me of… - Everyone knows the most effective way to rate a crew is to compare them to another crew from past seasons. The crews will be scored on how precise they plagiarize, mock, and mimic past crews. All originality will result in a decline of points.

Challenges -I will be commentating on how each crew used the challenges they were given. The more abstract and creative the execution was, the more points the crews will earn. On the other hand, if the crews pull Another Boring Dance Challenge, or an ABDC, then they will receive zero to none to few to not few points to nothing. Just be creative.

Camera Angles - Camera angles may be the largest influence in a performance. If you aren’t able to watch the performance, what else matters? The crews that have decent camera angles that highlight their performances will receive more points than the camera angles that take away from the performance. 
Opening Performance –This Performance will be rated by whatever comes to mind when re-watching it.
-Dangerously placed lifeguard tower- (+6 danger)

-Song: Every word Pitbull says sounds the same- (-3 pronunciation)
-Glenda Flip!- (+10 addiction)
-Elektrolytes Lifeguard solo (+2 lolz)
-Mos wanted wants abs the most- (+1 curiosity…….-4 killed the cat.)
-Umbrellas opened inside (-3 bad luck)
-Iconic Boyz (-5 for not saving the best for last)
-That performance was a beach (+2 comedy)
-Really craving a churro right now (-4 irrelevant information)
Total: +3. One point goes to Glenda. One point goes to my churro fund. And one point goes toward liberty and justice for all.
1.) Elektrolytes
Stunts: So I saw several flips in that performance. Just several flips. Elektrolytes, you guys have really taken a step down this week. Sure the stunts were there but man, they were lacking energy and the usual boom boom pow. I apologize but I have no choice but to flip off your stunt choice this week. Pun intended. 3/10

Cuteness:Not a cute performance in the least. They had so much fighting attitude going on they were overshadowing their inner undercover agent from last week. Only undercover agents can fight and pull off an Elektrolyte cute. Yet, they managed to find a loop hole in my system by stripping half of their crew at the same time. So….Bow-Chica-Wow-Wow? Not sure if that is cute or creepy at this point. But hey, I suppose you guys get points once again for confusing my inner adorable meter. A 2 should satisfy this conundrum.

Who They Remind Me Of….:This week Elektrolytes remind me of Massive Monkees from Season Four during the martial arts week.  That week Massive Monkees choose to do a 540 from their martial art style of extreme martial arts. In the end, they bit off more than they could chew with that challenge because not every member could do the move. This week, Elektrolytes chew off more than they can bite…..wait a minute. Elektrolytes take their challenge way too far while Massive Monkees couldn’t take theirs far enough. So hey, that was a good comparison for once. I am really proud about this section. Elektrolytes get an 8 and I am going to go blog about this moment.

Challenge:Your challenge was to perform what again? Tapioca? Paprika? Ohh Capoeira, how could I forget with a name like that? Anyway the total number of kicks done in this performance, spread among all members to make the score even higher was- 28 but give or take like ten. Whatever the number was it is safe to say that Elektrolytes owned their challenge Copernicus…or whatever it was called. They kicked this challenge out of the competition. For that you receive an 11/10. Holy mixed fraction!

Camera Angles: Total Times Camera Angles Switched: 28
This means for ever kick that was in that performance, the camera changed angles. This performance the camera focused on the only people doing tricks and kicks. As always, if you aren’t in the front, you don’t matter and therefore dance for NO ONE! Mwahahahaha. Sorry.  My favorite camera angle in this performance is right after four of the members take off their shirts the camera can’t help but zoom in on one of the shirtless members while he expresses pain or anger. I suppose other than the camera angles zooming in on alllll the moments (which is expected at this point) not many key sections in this performance got cut out. Not a bad start for the only crew on ABDC that never gets voted off. 6 for the Camera Crew!

Total: 30
2) 8Flavahs

Stunts:Take that Elektrolytes! It was like 8Flavahs took every stunt they have done on the show to this point and placed it in that performance.  Alright not every stunt but enough to become my new stunt crew for the week. WOOHOO! R.I.P Elektrolytes. For murder this week I grant thee a 9.

Cuteness:I thought the end of the world would come sooner before I take points away from this flawlessly cute crew. But it happened. I didn’t see my loveable girls up there this week. It was probably the fact that these girls killed one of their own with a blow dart. For some reason that moment reminded me something from Lord Of The Flies. If you somehow know what I am referencing then you are as scared as I am. If not, then you have a new summer book to read. I am sorry but I have no choice but to heavily and brutally diminish your score. Ummmmm 9/10. 

Who They Remind Me Of….:This week 8Flavahs reminded me of Beat Freaks from that horrible season 3 week, Wack Tracks. Even though that week was so forgettable, I remember Beat Freaks having the wackiest clothing. They wore poofy skirts much like 8Flavahs did this week. This was seriously a poor connection, but not many crews have done the can-can so I was left with little room for creativity. Better luck next time. Take an 2. 

Challenge:How much wood can a woodchuck chuck? Did she actually sell seashells by the sea shore? Can you do the can-can? Yes they can can-can. And they did. They only problem I had with the use of your challenge this week was, it wasn’t the center of your performance. You could have done the can-can in a straight line. You just can’t can-can in a circle. Can-caning takes precise precision to perform the perfect picture because producing the can-can is a particular product that has to be particularly on point. What am I saying? Hahahahahaha. This was fun to write. And you guys get a 6.

Camera Angles:Total Times Camera Angles Switched: 31
Now you may have to re-watch the performance for yourself but this performance included more camera shots from the side of the dance floor than any other performance. Even the performance starts with the camera man panning across the side of the stage while one of the 8Flavah members does some tricks! At one point the camera man flies into the air and takes a shot from above the girls while they can-can. Yup. When you say it like that it no longer seems like a logical idea now does it MTV? This performance had me questioning my directions so much I pulled out my compass. Now I’m lost. That’s a 4 for the four direction I can no longer determine.

Total: 30
3) Mos Wanted Crew
Stunts:Let’s See. Ohh I see a one handed freeze. One member throws up a hat and the one doing the freeze…drops it. No big deal. Moving on. Ok, another member jumps over another member and…T-Bags him? Was that supposed to happen? Either way there must be stunts that are successful here. Did you see the synchronized backflips? They were harder to spot then Waldo but they were there. And the performance finishes with the only stand-out stunt; a side tuck, flip, stunt. I just use as many words as I can to describe something when I don’t know the technical name.  In total, that performance had the stunts….but they didn’t shine. They didn’t glow. They were deader than Lil Mama’s clothing choices this year. No life what-so-ever. But still, it was the thought that counted. Right? For stunts this week you deserve a 9.

Cuteness:This performance wasn’t that cute. I mean y’all were militant and strong this week, the cuteness wasn’t there though. But then…ahhhh….Ian came through the middle. And that’s all that matters. Seriously, if you want to win this thing, then Ian stays in the middle. Ian does a solo. Ian is what we want most. I’m naming my first born Ian. Ian. Ian. Ian. Ian. Cute but a 5 out of Ian. <3

Who They Remind Me Of….:Man I hate this comparison but Saltare from Season 5. Several time during season five Saltare, a jump roping crew, had several mistakes in their performance with one train wreck specifically. Unfortunately, Mos Wanted’s performance reminded me of this and they weren’t even jump roping. But like always; if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward. Pick er up Mos and you will pick up your score. 5/10.

Challenge:This week Mos Wanted had to perform a Russian dance that had a specific name but the name ran away from the internet in depression because Pluto is no longer a planet. Sooo Russia. They came out and definitely compiled all my stereotypical Russian moves into one performance. Not much more can be said but I want some Vodka right now. I suppose that is the ultimate sign of Russian success. For holding back my communism jokes, you guys get a 7.

Camera Angles:Total Times Camera Angles Switched: 27
So two notes here. One- at one point toward the end of this performance the camera focuses only on Ian’s face. Seriously, go see for yourself. They actually show Ian for a good irrelevant second or two instead of the rest of the crew. Second, during the time that one of Mos Wanted’s members fails at leap frog and lands on his other member, the camera shot switches to a closer view of the fail. –insert theory on how MTV wants MWC to lose because they are highlighting the fail-. And then the truth is revealed, the camera crew is the ones who took my Vodka. 4/10.

Total: 30
4) Fanny Pak
Stunts: There was a nice lift at the start, but then there was a Glenda!!! So not a Glenda flip, but a Glenda split. You may not consider this a stunt but I don’t consider you a person, so we are even. You’ve been reduced to rock status. So quiet you rock. Glenda finally did something acrobatic and I will soak in this glorious moment. Two Glenda moments in one episode; life is good. And so is the score this week: 8

Cuteness:I don’t want to say that this crew was cute this week but once again, a crew has found a loop hole in my cute-o-meter. That performance was just balanced? Is that good term? They weren’t super cheesy nor where they gladiators. It was a decent display of attitude and….those smiles are killing me. Too many pearly whites! Ahhh I can’t take it. Don’t look at their teeth. They will convert you, I swear. Must....not….look at shiny….I will do whatever you want Fanny Pak. You want a ten? At your wish master. 10.

Who They Remind Me Of….:I wasn’t sure but I could have sworn I saw Leiomy up there this week from season four’s Vogue Evolution. During season four, Vogue Evolution used scarfs during their Bollywood week. The only thing missing this week was the Vogue Evolution attitude. Both crews had attitude but man Vogue was fierce. Fanny Pak was missing their ferocity tonight. The scarfs just aren’t enough to keep this comparison alive. I am sorry Fanny Pak but one of you needed to dip. 2/10

Challenge: Bbbbbbbbbollywood! No relation to Hollywood or Woody Harrelson as I originally thought. The dance is from India and they destroyed this challenge. Every move they did included an intricate use of their hands and the scarfs they brought. I felt like Bollywooding along. I am patenting that verb. 7.

Camera Angles:Total Times Camera Angles Switched: 31
Come on Fanny Pak, splitting up your crew like that at the start of your performance is only asking for poor camera angles. At the start of the performance the camera shots cover the three sections of people one at a time. While I am impressed they got to all three I am sure that I missed, ohh I don’t know, like 80% of the rest of the crew. Other than another poor camera angle start the angles are edited fairly well by showing us most of the crew. I seriously think that the producers will have a heart attack if a shot is stationary for more than a few seconds. That would be silly to think you would cover the most of a performance by remaining in one shot…..mmhmmm. No me gusta equals a 3.

Total: 30
5) RNG
Stunts: Check out Bailey bringing an aerial this week. That was nice. As much as I liked seeing that stunt that was all RNG had to bring this week. Yikes. RNG you know that stunts are plural right? Crews don’t do stunt, they do stunts. That’s a grammatical failure RNG. Learn to balance your school work and dancing. Pshhh. 4/10.

Cuteness: You better watch out 8Flavahs. This is two weeks in a row that RNG has stepped up their cuteness. This week’s performance had more attitude than a room full of teenage girls. RNG is shedding their tough behavior they had in the beginning of the season. Keep this kid-fun personality and I will order myself tiny RNG dolls. Ohh and an action figure one of you Bailey. As my good friend Buddha used to say “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. “ And you are currently concentrating at the top of your cuteness. For a fantastic display of childhood you earn a 9.

Who They Remind Me Of….: Well this is a first. This week RNG also managed to remind me of the martial arts week performance by Massive Monkees. I think it was because both performances made me want Chinese food. Or maybe it was the shiny outfits. Music? I really can’t put my name what exactly reminded me of that performance but meh. I’m too lazy to think of anything else. You get what you get and don’t throw a fit. And this week you get a 6.

Challenge: This week RNG had to perform the dance of a thousand hands. Now let me do the math- 7members x 2hands each= 14hands total? Someone check that for me. Geez RNG you guys really fell short here. You had to do the dance of a 1000 hands not the dance of 14! I’m not good at math and you didn’t fool me. How did no one in rehearsal catch that mistake? While I am sure it would have been very hard to gather an extra 493 people to do that dance, you could have at least hit the triple digits with this one. I have no choice but to give you a 1 for the one percent of hands you managed to include.

Camera Angles:Total Times Camera Angles Switched: 29
OMG I will be the first to say it. The part when RNG is performing the 1000 hands dance is the longest time a camera angle has stayed the same. I said it! That’s a total of eight seconds of not moving. Someone dial up Ripley’s because I don’t believe it. The rest of the angles don’t matter anymore. It’s a Christmas miracle. It’s a hole in one. We won the lottery. Glenda flips and now this? Best ABDC week EVER! AHHH ten ten shabam! 10/10

Total: 30
Totally Accurate Ratings-
1-5) Every single crew-30
Would you look at that. Shame someone has to go home this week. Based on these ratings the judges should have saved the bottom two because the crews were all the same this week. Ohhh well.

Hey thanks again for reading another one of these reviews. If you just skipped to the bottom of the page and didn’t read it all then you should keep your mouth shut, you rock.(hehehehe) Anyway, hope that the review brightened your ever wonderful day. Also, I have, and will continue, to mix up the sections week to week to keep the entertainment level steady. If you have a suggestion for a section you would like me to judge the crews on or if you want me to bring back a section, then I would love to hear your opinions. All impute is appreciated. With that I am off. Until next time, have a good one.
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