As a super-fan of So You Think You Can Dance, and really all dance competition shows, I've known about MTV's own dance show America's Best Dance Crew (oh, I'm sorry "Randy Jackson presents:" America's Best Dance Crew) since it's first season. SYTYCD choreographers Shane Sparks and "Nappy Tabs" have both been a part of the show, and most famously the ABDC's first winners the Jaberwockys have gone on to become a pretty famous dance crew.
In previous seasons I've just been able to catch a couple of episodes here and there, and I've never really had a chance to attach myself to a particular group.
All that's changed in season 5. Just by chance I was able to catch a rerun of the first episode of this new season and have enjoyed every second since then. What I like about ABDC is that it begins with a regional sort of semi-finals; so there's no annoying "audition rounds" and we just get to see quality dancing right from the get go. It would be like if American Idol or SYTYCD started right off with Hollywood week.
After each regional competition the judges decide who gets to move on to Nationals; this is where America jumps in to vote. At the beginning of each show host Mario Lopez announces the crews who garnered enough votes and are safe that week; as he reveals this we're then treated to each team's routine for that week's challenge. When it gets down to the bottom 2 teams, they each battle it out using their routines or another routine that they're asked to prepare ahead of time.
The judges then decide who of the two crews is safe for the week.
Okay, let's talk about this season's judges. JC Chasez (yes, the dude from N Sync) and dancer/hip-hop choreographer/rapper Lil Mama have been mainstay staples since the beginning. Past seasons have had awesome Shane Sparks as a judge, Tabitha & Napoleon, and other choreographers have also sat in.
This season they went with singer Omarion as the third judge. I dislike Omarion. He's annoying. He was in that stupid hip-hop boy band B2K right? Were they known for their dance moves? Is he now, as a solo artist famous for being a good dancer? Because he sure as hell acts like he's God's gift to hip-hop dance movement. He sits there with this super smug look on his face at all times and is usually really condescending to the contestants. And often his critiques make no sense. I want Shane Sparks back! If he's not doing this show that better mean he's back on SYTYCD dammit!
Anyway, this week was the Lady Gaga challenge for all of the crews. But first Mario announced that there was some fuck up with the television voting so they weren't going to have a bottom 2 or eliminate any team this week, but will be getting rid of two teams next week.
Oooh I bet some of these crews were thanking their lucky stars that the phone lines got jacked up (I'm looking at you Saltare). I'll give some highlights on my favorite crews this season.
Static Noyze - these kids are the arty theatrical (read "gay"/fag hag) ones from Cambridge, MA. I LOVE them. Their style is like if Bob Fosse and Lil' C had a child. You know that scene in The Birdcage where Robin William's character is hilariously going through all the choreography styles? - Fosse Fosse Fosse, Martha Graham Martha Graham, Madonna Madonna Madonna - well Static Noyze takes that and adds hip-hop and poppin' & lockin' to mix as well. This Gaga challenge was right up their alley and they felt a ton of pressure. The song that they were assigned was Gaga's "Beautiful Dirty Rich". One of their main dancers is this little Filipino boy name Pete who totally rocked the drag (dancing in heels!), taking the Gaga role and being awesome as usual.
The next group that I like this season is Blue Print Cru from Montreal Canada. Now, Canada can't vote, so each week I worry about these guys getting enough votes, and considering that last week they were in the bottom, I definitely think they benefited from the vote screw up. They got "Bad Romance" which I think is one of the more danceable tracks. But this eclectic mixed gender crew is very structured, and their routines have all of these precise movements so I wasn't sure if they'd be able to translate Gaga's disjointed "Bad Romance" choreography. I shouldn't have worried. They were AWESOME. JC and Lil' Mama both proclaimed it was the best routine of the season. Even Omarion had to grudgingly give it up to them (although with a total backhanded compliment as is his wont). And they were the only team to get immunity for next week. Well deserved y'all.
And I want to give a quick shout-out to the 2 all male crews that I usually don't pay that much attention to - my big boys in Heavy Impact, and the poppin' robots Poreotix. I thought they'd suck at this challenge but they did pretty well considering.