Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ninjaboi Analysis - Season 7 Week 3

Grading Scale (each out of 10 points)

Choreography – Foundation, Execution, Technique, Difficulty, Creativity, Coordination, Musicality of their movements
Wow Moments – Difficulty, How it is integrated, Uniqueness/Creativity, Whether it’s not overused, Framing. Not necessarily big flips, but anything that can blow your mind and defines the routine in a single moment.
Showmanship – Small things that show that you know how to present the dance routine. These include, but are not limited to: Use of stage; Blocking; Formation; Storytelling; Energy level, Framing, Transitions, Levels, Personality, Facial expressions, Theatrics, Concepts, Humor, Pacing, How you end/beging your routines.
Challenge – How well did they integrate the stated challenge in the package in their routine? Is it a one time thing or throughout? Did they own the challenge or did the challenge own them? Did they interpret it creatively? Crews with 2 challenges get +.5 point. Any prop challenge is also another +.5 point due to added difficulty. Crews that simply complete the challenge get a 7. You have to go above and beyond including it a couple of times to get higher.
Improvement – One of the themes of ABDC is constant growth and improvement. A 7 means you stayed the same relative to last week. Crews that don’t take the judge’s advice, or who stick to the same formula that doesn’t work will get less.

Just as a review, a 7 is a "standard" score, doing less/bad will get you 6's and 5's, and going the extra mile gets you higher. I also have biases from last week for MWC, FNKD, and CLZ due to having similar styles, and against ELEK and 8F, one for lacking foundation last week, one for me being unimpressed with their bubblegum routine

Fanny Pak (+.5 second challenge, +.5 prop challenge (heels)
Choreography – 8 – Overall they had good choreography this week. It personally wasn’t as goosebump raising as last week’s, but their choreography, especially the first section when the mirror is still in the back, was particularly good with the lines and small subtle movements.
Wow Moments – 7 – Again, Fanny’s weak point is that you can’t really boil down their routine to a single moment, it’s really one big continuous flow of choreography. I’m not saying they need to do flips, but it is possible for choreography to blow your mind in a single moment. Something as simple as a groove that really kills the beat. That being said, there were some good moments. The flips done IN HEELS were pretty impressive. I also liked the mirror play especially when they did a bit of “magic.”
Showmanship – 8 – Big props on maneuvering that mirror around like another crew member. Not much to say, their professional experience shone through. They blocked the stage well, they had levels, good transitions, theatrics. If I had to ding on anything, the ending was sort of sudden and abrupt, which left me a bit confused.
Challenge – 7 – Heels. Damn. Big props to all of them for rocking the heels. I will say that had I not heard in the package that they had to wear heels, I would not have known it. Which can be either good or bad depending on how you think about it (good because it shows that they have mad skills and can dance just as well in heels, bad because if their challenge is to dance in heels, I want to see them rub it in our faces that “yeah, we do heels and it’s no big deal. Take it how you will). As for the wacking, as much as I know about wacking it was pretty good, with no major complaints. I really only saw it in one section of the routine, so overall they did pretty good in their challenge.
Improvement – 7 – Overall they didn’t show anything new from last week, though they at least stayed consistent with last week. I think what hurt them this week was camera angles being ADHD as usual, as well as the music.
Total: 37 + 1 = 38
Highlight: In the first half of choreography, after the guys sort of march toward the stage, they do a slight twist with their legs. Not the most obvious move, but I really think that’s one of the moves that DTrix alluded to last episode where they can make small movements look big.

Elektrolytes (+.5 bias from last week)
Choreography – 7 – So their choreography was better compared to last week, or at least the first half did. It wasn’t the most difficult, but it was more difficult that last week’s. Their foundations were also stronger this week, with smoother lines. I will say that the whole “locked arm” bits of choreography they had look a bit awkward. They had it last week in their group formation, and they had it this week again.
Wow – 8 – Again, this crew’s forte, and they did well as expected. The crew wide barrel roll triggered by the btwist was pretty dope. The hat trick actually was pretty creative. My favorite has to be the knee drop that guy did – those hurt a ton (I know from experience), and the higher it is the more impressive.  The “chestflip” is impressive as always, if not the most original. One thing that I really appreciated though was that they didn’t go from trick to trick to trick, but they spaced them out a bit.
Showmanship – 7 – They had pretty standard showmanship. Good formations. Good blocking. Their performance really showed that they were hungry for this. I would say that JC’s “give us that other dimension” can apply to them. Yes you do choreography and tricks. But being able to put it together into a concept or story or something similar while at the same time having dope choreography will push you further. Chris’s ending was great, if not strictly dancing.
Challenge – 6 – I have mixed feelings on this. On one hand, they had to at least attempt krump, given it was their challenge. Which is really hard to learn in 2 years, much less in 2 weeks. Which showed – that was not krump. It looked more like angry punching of air angrily and jumping up. It’s like they tried too hard to be angry when one of the very foundations of krump is actually about finding peace. Other foundations (stomp, arm swing, chest pops) were also absent in good krump form. I’m not saying they need to be Street Kingdom level. But at least have good form if you’re going to call it krump. For an impersonation of krump if you don’t really know what it’s about, it was passable. For actual krump, just no.
Improvement – 8 – They definitely stepped it up from last week with their choreography and the pacing of their routines. Hopefully Chris can help them bring that extra dimension to their routines and help them keep growing.
Total: 36+.5 = 36.5
Highlight – Aside from the kneedrop and the barrel roll, I really dug this one part of choreography where they went from fast -> slow -> fast. It was only a moment but it hinted at great body control to change speeds quickly like that.

Mos Wanted Crew (-.5 bias from last week)
Choreography – 9 – Those lines… That coordination… The difficulty level… The musicality… The muscle control… The shifts between tempos… The conceptual side of it to match different beats, as well as playing off of lyrics… Again it’s hard to think of any crew with straight up choreography that’s this advanced or conceptual, with as much foundation and execution.
Wow – 8 – As has been stated before, they don’t do a lot of showy blowups. The closest they got was Rickey’s flare to start it off, but that’s mostly a conceptual thing which, based on the positions of the crew, from the top would resemble clock hands. There were other clock motifs throughout, such as the pairing up. The obviously highlight too is the Brian time-delayed effect ripple. The real thing to pay attention to here is the fact that the timing necessary is crazy. It’s not like the ones at the end are frozen until Brian get’s to them – they are moving in slow motion (thus at a tempo different from the song), match their movements to be exactly where they need to be when Brian catches up to them, instantly change the tempo of their movements, and then when he leaves them, to go slow motion again.
Showmanship – 8 – Levels were here. Transitions and formations were also pretty good. The composition of the set was wonderful, as expected. The emotion/feeling behind the piece carried both a sense of urgency (that matches the son’g theme of “only four minutes”), but also the crew’s confident swagger that they have the skill to carry out the task. But one again, the real highlight are the conceptual aspects with so many clock motifs, tempo changes to match that, and so on.
Challenge – 7 – As far as popping goes, I saw three things that bear mention – A popping foot/kneework thing, that looks very much like boogaloo, the Fresno-puppet (as I call it), right after the coordinated groove, and Jun’s solo in the center as a series of isolations and hits. They clearly showed their aptitude for popping, making the video package seem pretty suspect
Improvement – 7 – Overall, it wasn’t much different from last week. The one thing I would mention though is that the composition of this and last piece were similar – dope as hell choreography, with a bit of bboying from Rickey (both flares), a bit of pairing up for conceptual pieces related to the title of the song, and a heck of a lot of formation shifts. It’s not bad, but if the pacing of each routine seems pretty similar, it could get boring to fans.
Total: 39 -.5 = 38.5
Highlight – I’m going to go back to the knee twist thing right before the pairing up. The balance needed and lower leg strength necessary to pull yourself not all the way up, but only partway up, and then go back down without falling on your butt is insane.

8 Flavahz (+.5 bias)
Choreography – 7 – Before you hate me for this, let give a hypothetical situation. Say crews A and B both know how to do styles X Y and Z equally well. If crew A can only do one style per routine, whereas crew B can do multiple in a single routine, then you can say crew B is more accomplished than crew A and should get a higher score choreography wise. That being said, that was one reason this pretty much vogue-only routine didn’t get as high as some may think. Another consideration is that usually we don’t like routines with a lot of walking only, or being frozen in a single position (which is what I saw aside from a little bit of floorwork briefly). Even Vogue Evolution themselves had a lot more to their voguing than what I saw from 8 Flavahz, so while they did great, I’ll give Flavahz more points in challenge for their stone cold voguing.
Wow – 7 – There were good moments here (the backwards walk, the duck walk, a few gymnast flips, and I saw an invert and a pirouette. That being said, none of it was particularly mindblowing. I will say they didn’t randomly add them in composition wise like last week, but I still felt that they relied a lot on their tricks (and personality) to keep momentum going rather than their actual choreography
Showmanship – 8 – Here they really excelled. Even before getting into technical dance aspects of this, the personality, facials, and energy exuded really set a good tone for this performance and showed a different side of Flavahz than last week. Levels were good, and blocking was okay. I didn’t really like their transitions which were almost all walking. They used their hair really well and pretty much WERKED.
Challenge – 9 – I pretty much explained this in Choreography. They vogued like no other, especially in that Madonna video style (even if there is more to voguing than that ).
Improvement – 8 – This routine showed off two important things for Flavahz – that they do have solid foundations, and a different side to their personality.
Total: 39+.5 = 39.5
Highlights- Ending dips. Always impressive, especially when done in sync.

RNG (+.5 extra challenge, +.5 prop challenge)
Choreography – 8 – You don’t need to include the modifier “for their age” when talking about their choreography. They have as good execution and composition as any adult crew. The agility of their movements  and the control are excellent, something that only comes with a lot of experience. They went as hard as anyone possibly could with this song.
Wow – 7 – Even if they did sneak in one back handspring from Bailey, they still mostly relied on small choreo things to bring ou that wow factor. Bailey’s gliding at the start, Shifting between fast hits and slow grooves. I think their wow factors are relatively ‘safe” wow factors. That is, they really are impressive, but there is definitely more impressive stuff out there, and they’re only putting in as much as they need to break up the choreography here and there.
Showmanship – 7 – I think this sort of threw me a bit, and while it does relate to the challenge, part of their routine was acting. I think they made the best attempt that they could at being “risqué/seductive,” but their bond as more brother/sister than lovers showed through, especially given their age. Message to MTV: Please stop giving minors songs to be “sexy” to. Moving on, they did make a pretty good effort at including a story. I think the groove they had going with the beats of the song were appropriate energy wise. There could be work on the blocking still, as they seem pretty cramped and taking up only a very small part of that big stage. Use up the whole stage guys. Space out. Transitions were okay, if not the best. The use of the chair and chairography was pretty good.
Challenge – 7 – As stated above, the challenge of being “seductive” didn’t necessarily flop, even if it wasn’t totally convincing (and it might be a bit unsettling if it was…). As far as the thrashing challenge goes, given that they said that thrashing tends to be less controlled, and RNG is known for their tight muscle control, looking at the sections where they relaxed up, you can see where they inserted a bit of thrashing here and there. It was there and present, if not a dominant factor in their routine. It was on the cleaner side of thrashing, but that just makes it RNG-style thrashing, which “owning the challenge” is good.
Improvement – 8 – They added that extra dimension like JC asked for. Now, they just need to work on some small showmanship factors (blocking…) and they should be fine.
Total: 37+1 = 38

Step Boys
Choreography – 6 – Still lacking, if better and more present than last week. Foundation was there, wish some bboy and house, if very elementary. I wouldn’t say it’s choreography you would try to teach a kid for his first choreo lesson, but it still very much can have more difficulty. And they admit that, but
Wow – 7 – They definitely made an effort to focus on more choreography rather than stunts here, though some (like the flopping fish, a jump over TWO people, the tutting gave some good moments still.
Showmanship – 7 – First off… onesies? Really? Rarely a good idea. Second, As far as humor goes, it was better this week with more creative than campy. I just wish they stuck to the goofy pre-show humor from their Youtube videos. As far as other technical aspects, I’ll say that they had interesting, if not grondbreakign formations, with again, instereting if not groundbreaking transitions. The ending was definitely a bit sloppy and it just died. Tehre were good creative aspects here, with the whole “wake up at the ray of light” concept, or the goofy finger tutting concept, but I think the effect was tempered by unclean choreo.
Challenge – 7 – I think they may have gotten a bad challenge. While other styles such as jazz and voguing have foundation, and can be made to look clean, there really is no foundation for “acting spazzy.” In fact, to make it clean would be the very antithesis of their challenge. They did have these little moments here and there that really played with the spazzy aspect, as mentioned by DTrix. Plus, they did incorporate the awkward centaur like they said they would! So big ups to them for taking what their fans want into consideration.
Improvement – 8 – Regardless what you think of this routine, I will say that it was very much better for these reasons. A) Humor was less campy than before. B) More foundation and choreography. C) Some unique creative concepts.
Total – 35
Highlight – Right after the house section, and when the drums kick in, there’s actually a section with pretty legit top rock that would not be out of place of a group routine/commando in a bboy battle. So big props to them for bringing some foundation.

Was this the right bottom 3? Well in the first place, MTV, people don’t appreciate it when you send home 2 crews for no reason. Having a double elimination because of a voting error? Yea. Just because? Nop. But moving on, the routines over the past 2 weeks with lower scores were RNG, Elektrolytes and Step Boys. Going from those, three, we would still have our International crews in regardless, but ah well.

Collizion (-.5 bias)
Choreography – 7 – Given the mix, this is actually a lot better than I expected for any crew with this song. Again, I definitely recognize the ATL steez, with even if it was line dancing, I saw some foundation (locking?) as well as ATL club dancing. Not the most spectacular choreography, but given the tempo of the song, it really fit well.
Wow – 7 – I think aside from the bull and the knee drop (and the tap dancing if you want to include that), the only real wow moments were all flips. Not unimpressive, but also not anything out of the ordinary for ABDC. And while they were placed in at “okay” spots in the routine, the buildup to each flip was a bit understated. They didn’t do anything “wrong,” but they could do it better.
Showmanship – 8 – They used the stage pretty well, and different levels well especially with their start. The energy was again appropriate for this type of song. I would normally ding on walking transitions, but the walking aspect of any line dance sort of prevents me from doing that. Formations were good though.
Challenge – 8 – Taking not only the given “country line dancing” challenge, they expanded on it to include a human guitar, the bull, and tap dancing. The line dancing itself was pretty good, again a good fusion of stereotypical line dancing as well as that ATL swagger, which is better than just doing straight up line dancing by far.
Improvement – 7 – I think the song really held them back this week. That being said, they still gave it all and made something out of almost nothing.
Total: 37-.5 = 36.5
Highlight – It’s hard to describe when it happens, but I really liked the section when it breaks down before the tap dancing, when they all end up going down to their knees and spinning around. It was really smooth and done well.

Funkdation (-.5 bias)
Choreography – 8 – Normally I don’t like cheerleader-esque routines on ABDC. No hate to cheerleadres, but the feel between the two ty[es of routines are different. Still, the choreography was  pretty good, ESPECIALLY when they broke it down in the second half when Nicki Minaj’s verse came in on through the dubstep. Excellent control and execution. I wills ay that Foundation wise and difficulty wise I could have asked for a bit more, but still, overall it was actually very good.
Wow – 7 – I think the problem this week was A) they pretty much didn’t show any new aspects to their wow factor. It was mostly the same gymnastics and flips, and even those weren’t framed as well, with just a whole lot of flips and other tricks going on in the end. That being said, they were still executed well, especiallyt eh basket drop. I’m not counting the steam because that doesn’t really have anything to do with dancing.
Showmanship – 7 – The energy was definitely on point, amatching the cheerleader challenge. Other than that, nothing was bad, per se, but still left a bit to be desired, especially when it came to blocking and formation changes (not that many, so it seemed a bit stagnant).
Challenge – 8 – They definitely captured the cheerleader aspect in their movements, at least for the first half before the dubstep. Even aside the costumes, the movements were a bit more angle focused than last week, when it was more on “rocking.”
Improvement – 7 – I was a tad disappointed that we didn’t see more of the old school as well as the subtle latin influences, but this wasn’t a bad performance by any means. It just didn’t really show anything new to Funkdation, or show them greatly upping their level
Total: 37 -.5 =36.5
Highlight – There’s one section where they’re 2 rows of 4, girls in the front, and they do a ripple effect where the girl s all drop in a ripple effect, and the guys highlight them to show one guy doing a Jump shot like a jock. Clever story telling as well as nice visuals.

Choreography – 7 – Irratik definitely has the trademark 8Count technique and cleanliness. No question about that. I also saw some other styles, like locking-inspired movements (if not straight up locking), that mixed up the flow of the routine nicely. The composition of the routine (as in the concept, the flow, the reason they do things in a certain order and such) confused me a bit. They have great choreography no doubt. But in a small one minute routine, being able to have that concept and that story or any sort of “direction” with the routine will help people “get” you and your routine, and thus they’ll be more likely to support you.
Wow – 7 – There were some pretty good pirouettes, and the obvious stacked pushups. I also liked the duckwalk at the end, again mixing up the styles. I don’t think there was any one moment that really stands out as having that big on the impact though, they all felt a bit understated. And when that happens, even if the choreography is amazing, being able to stick in someone’s mind, be it the judges or America’s is the most important. It doesn’t need to be a flip or mad powermoves. Having that moment central to the routine, and building up to it, and framing it with your bodies well can really go a long way not only in making it memorable, but giving it direction as well.
Showmanship – 8 – They used the stage well, and had good energy throughout the routine. I think this was a bit of a weird mix to go through, so props on that. Costumes aside, I think they were sexy without being over the top, which is a good thing. Conceptually, I don’t know if there was a theme or anything in there (chains I don’t think let you FREE to express yourself… and I don’t know how pushups are related but okay). Blocking was okay, at times the stage felt a bit big, others, it felt just right.
Challenge – 7 – Now I won’t say that I’m a jazz dancer who knows everything about the dance. Based on the video challenges (quick turns, big leaps, and fan kicks, as well as pirouettes), I definitely saw where they included that in the routine. As far as killing the challenge and taking it to the level, I’m not sure they did that. Ideally a crew will be able to define a dance style through their routine so you definitely know what it is, if you didn’t before (sort of like the top 3 challenges with multiple styles). I got a hint of what it is thanks to Irratik, but I don’t know whether they took it to the next conceptual level.
Improvement – 7 – They had a great performance. I’m not sure if it showed anything new to Irratik, but they definitely didn’t do anything wrong.
Total: 36
Highlight - I think it was Janick who did ti, but she did some sort of weird pirouette kick thing where she seemed to like invert and twist her body cirque-du-soleil style. Mad impressive and made me wince at how difficult it must be. Props.

Given these very close scores, it really could have been anyone being saved. I suspect interntaionl fans not being as big of a help toward ratings may be suspect, but you can have all the conspiracy theories you want.  Good job to both Irratik and Funkdation for representing the rest of North America on the stage, however brief, and I hope to see a lot more from both of you.

Total Scores
The Raw Scores this week – Given that a raw score of 35 is considered average/acceptable, I think this just shows how good all these crews are that none of them got less than that this week.
MWC/8F - 39
STEP – 35

With the various modifiers (for props, extra challenges, bias)
8F – 39.5
MWC – 38.5
FP/RNG – 37
IRTK – 36
STEP – 35

And with the total score for these three weeks out of 90… (+/- are the total bias modification I've included over these weeks
MWC – 73 +/- 1
FP – 70 +/- 1
8F – 69 +/- 1
CLZ/FNKD – 68.5 +/- .5
RNG – 67 +/- 1
IRTK – 65.5 +/- .5
ELEK – 62.5 +/- .5
STEP – 60.5 +/- .5

For next week's bias modifiers, they are as follows
MWC = -.5 for a bias for them as they influence my style
CLZ = -.5 for nostalgia for Southern Swag

I'm removing my bias modifier for 8Flavahz because they really showed more to them than little bubblegum pop, and also from Elektrolytes because they finally showed more foundation. 

Due to finals and the rest of my life getting in the way, I’m going to have to put power rankings on hiatus this week. Hopefully they’ll return next week.  Shoutouts to NancyT and Molasses Gang as always. Shoutouts to Clarence, and also special thanks to Jenny Valles and Poreotics for meeting with me on Friday. Also, special condolences to Angel for the loss of her mother this past week.

Ninjaboi Out