'America's Best Dance Crew': Beyonce's challenges
Unlike the Janet Jackson and Britney Spears episodes, the Beyoncé challenge was more than just the music the groups on "America's Best Dance Crew" would dance to. In personalized taped messages delivered to each crew, Sasha Fierce herself gave the crews songs and specific dances that they had to incorporate in their performances. A cool interaction, though it would've been awesome to see her perform with the crews like Missy Elliot did a couple seasons ago (one of the best episodes ever!). Still, it was a nice twist and exciting for the crews to realize that Beyoncé knows who they are.
We Are Heroes. Move to the top of the class, you great pop-locking ladies. JC mentioned that they needed to use a bit more of the stage, but their formations to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" were so intricate on TV, no one would notice. Their crisp locking movements added to those statuesque poses. Not to continue the comparisons, but you never got the sexiness with Beat Freaks that you do with We Are Heroes (pictured below). It's one of the things that will also help them go far.
Rhythm City. Coming into the week, they were probably the strongest crew, but dancing to "Sweet Dreams" from Beyoncé brought them down a notch. Too bad they might have been two notches above most other crews. Their dancing in the bed was creative (bringing the sweet dream imagery to life), and their update of the Charleston dance was contemporary, despite JC's warning to them about being more respectful of the history of the dance.
Massive Monkeys. A member of the b-boy crew said, "I wish I was that hoola hoop" after seeing Beyoncé twirl one on her famous hips. The hoola hoop was also the move that they had to do and apparatus they had to use while performing to Beyoncé's "Work It Out." Lil Mama said they brought a lot of "charisma" and that they were exciting, but JC was critical of their dance moves, calling them "elementary." Despite their well-timed move of jumping through and over the hoops simultaneously, they really only used the hoola hoop properly at the very end -- and only one did it.
Beat Ya Feet Kings. They were nervous, according to the video of their practice session, but the D.C. crew definitely worked out Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love." As soon as the challenge was announced, it could've been a dagger, but the crew, especially their female member Porché, came out to win. It may have been tough to integrate footwork, but they tried, and the judges noticed. The "sloppy" comment keeps following them, though. We'll see what that means for next week.
Southern Movement. The Nashville line dancers got Destiny's Child's "Jumpin, Jumpin." The crew had to bounce, shake, dip etc., but was up to it. Though they took JC's advice to heart and were very clean with their moves, it was Sherita Bratcher who helped save them with her bouncing. When she was thrown into the air at the end of the routine, it was not the cleanest move, and it even looked a bit dangerous. But they got through it fine, continuing to make a believer out of Shane and stifle his laughing.
Vogue Evolution. Their challenge was to bring African dance to Beyoncé's "Deja Vu." With big movements, their showmanship is off the charts -- and the crowd loves them. They "woke up" JC, brought the queen out of Lil Mama and impressed Shane, who noted that their transgender member, Naomi, is like "a god in New York" for her dancing. Stands to reason that these are some of the best of the best at what they do.
Bottom two, winner takes all
Artistry in Motion. They may have gotten lucky with having to perform to Beyoncé's "Diva." The audience seemed to love it. Lil Mama called their chain wrangling the "toughest challenge" of the night as they had to be connected by the chain for most of the time. Choreography was sharp and very diva-like, but JC brought up that they only had 45 seconds and may have used too much of the time with the prop.
Afroborike (pictured). The crew performed to Beyoncé's "Beautiful Liar." They were very good and continue to buck the trend of crew dancing by breaking into three sexy boy-girl couples. JC pointed out that they may be the most overtly sexual crew to hit the stage, and both he and Shane remarked that their new dimension of dance is exciting for the audience and good for the show.
Did you catch Mario Lopez's Beyoncé reference at the end? Which crew will be a survivor, and which crew's destiny could end? With two very clean performances, the judges chose to save the couples crew of Afroborike. This was one of the toughest ones to gauge because both were good. The ladies of Artistry in Motion (meet them again here) may have had one of the most tear-inducing exits on the show, but they were able to spread their message of female empowerment and have danced with/for Missy Elliot, Black Eyed Peas, Wayne Brady, Lloyd, Ludacris and Gnarls Barkley -- so, they'll be fine. We all wish them the best of luck.
Next week's martial-arts challenge is a weird one but could be fun. Will Afroborike get the Latin-themed Capoera style of fighting? Will Vogue Evolution's high kicks steer producers towards a karate challenge? Stay tuned ...
-- Jevon Phillips