'America's Best Dance Crew': The disco inferno burns two
At first we might've wondered if there should have been a dance-off, or more of a battle format, for the double-elimination episode of "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew." But each of the crews in the unfortunate bottom positions came out with that mentality, even though they performed full routines. We'll get to that ...
This was the disco challenge, probably harder than most think it is, especially considering they had to incorporate lifts. These crews were not Afroborike, where that move came so naturally. It was going to be interesting to see if, in trying to project the '70s -- a time of afros, bell-bottoms and more -- the crews could also channel the vibe that the time seems to evoke. The first crew to perform nailed it.
Blueprint Cru was immune due to their awesome Lady Gaga interpretation, and in their video intro they wanted to keep that momentum going. Performing to Chic's "Le Freak," they did. This Montreal team brought a vibe that was very disco. The Funky Guitar dance move, the cool lifts, the "Soul Train" line high kicks ... I was excited. More than the judges apparently, or maybe they just hadn't gotten into it yet. Their comments were OK, but I didn't hear any 'impressed' sounds coming from them.
The first crew with a high enough number of votes to get through was Saltare. The jump rope crew got The Tramps' "Disco Inferno." There was a lot going on in their performance, and it was cleaner than the video challenge, but may not have been as good as the Lady Gaga artistry. Yes, I'm saying this knowing that their jump ropes were on fire at the end. Like Lil Mama, I thought it was cool, "like watching a circus." But also like Lil Mama, "I want to see y'all dance!"
Next crew to go was Poreotix with Michael Jackson's "Dancing Machine." This seemed so perfect for them, but they were great for a reason I didn't expect. The robot crew had the mechanical, a lot of groove, and even threw in the most breakdancing I've seen them put in a routine. We've seen the hints of it, but this was a great overall look at what Poreotix can do. They could've done lots of MJ's robotic moves, but switched it up with the Funky Guitar, windmills, and even threw in a clever formation in the end with one crewmember bench-pressing another multiple times. JC said, "For the last three weeks, you guys have been losing me more every week.... This week, you might have gotten me back."
The last saved crew was Hype 5-0, dancing to Peaches & Herb's "Shake Your Groove Thing." As Omarion noted in his ending critique, this crew came out hard. Energy has become their trademark and their strong suit. They used it here and had some good moments, but the performance as a whole wasn't memorable. Lil Mama commented that there was a point in their performance where it clicked and they were grooving, but that they had to make sure that was evident throughout the routine. Yep.
The bottom three. Heavy Impact. Static Noyze. Jungle Boogie. Like the Highlander, there can be only one. Heavy Impact went first, and came to win. Their routine was energetic, with each member of the crew repping a different '70s look while dancing to the Bee Gees' "You Should Be Dancing." They did OK, but their strength was big-man grooving, and this moved away from that. It's a product of the challenge, but could've been stronger.
Static Noyze came next, performing to Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven." A great song, this crew also came out with a battle mentality, featuring their tallest member centrally most of the time. There was lots of pointing, and they probably had the cleanest and most interesting lift. But when it came to lifts, no one could beat ...
Jungle Boogie, dancing to (what else?) "Jungle Boogie" by Kool & the Gang. First off, Raqi, their resident choreographer and the only female member of the crew, performed the lift. Strong in so many ways. The routine itself was clean, and like Blueprint Cru, they definitely channeled that '70s vibe with the afros the moves, the attitude and the fun of the music. If not for the slip last week, there's no way this crew would've been on the bottom, and that's the way it worked out in the end.
Jungle Boogie continues on, while Static Noyze and Heavy Impact were eliminated. We'll talk to the crews when they return later this season. It would've been great to see the Heavy Impact guys create a number to next week's Usher challenge, but it takes a little luck to go along with all that skill they and Static Noyze displayed. With the crews remaining, all of them stepping up their performances, this is the most difficult field to handicap that "ABDC" has probably ever had.
-- Jevon Phillips
Photos: Saltare heats up the stage during their performance; Poreotix displays a show of strength for the competition; and things are looking up for Jungle Boogie in "ABDC" after surviving the double elimination. Credit: MTV