Category: America's Best Dance Crew

'America’s Best Dance Crew': Flo Rida brings his brand of dance

Flo Rida will perform live tonight on MTV's "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" with the competing crews (see a sneak preview of it above), something that hasn't been done on the show since the second season.

Back then, it was Missy Elliot who lit up (literally) the stage with her "Shake It Like a Pom Pom" song alongside the final crews: Boogie Bots, So Real Cru, eventual Season 2 champ Super Cr3w, and Fanny Pak, who happens to be back for Season 7.

This week, each crew will also be required to do a routine to one of Flo Rida’s popular songs. With hits like "Wild Ones," "Good Feeling" and "In the Ayer," his music is tailor-made for a hip-hop competition dance show, and the rapper knows how much the culture of dance actually influences his musicality.

"Most definitely. It's one thing to make music, but to see people actually dance shows the soulful part of it. When [what you do] makes people go out there and want to dance, that's another voice for the music and definitely inspires me," he says.

The multi-platinum artist has seen the progression of hip-hop and hip-hip dance grow from the streets to the classroom to being "piped in over the loudspeakers when I go to the gym or see people in exercise classes doing the moves." The recent passing of Dick Clark underscores how the public has always gravitated toward musical entertainment that features dancers showing the world new steps. The mainstreaming of hip-hop dance is due in no small part to current shows like "America's Best Dance Crew" and movies like the "Step Up" franchise popularizing the style.

"Watching movies like 'Krush Groove' back in the day, B2K getting out there, ‘ABDC,’ 'Step Up 2: The Streets' that I was involved in ... it's just a joy to watch people get out there and dance to music. People like Big Daddy Kane used to rap and dance to music, and to me, helped show the relationship that [rap, hip-hop and dance] have together."

ALSO:

'Dancing With the Stars' recaps and news

Dick Clark: Chaperone to generations of music-loving teens

Simon Cowell: Howard Stern will shake up 'America's Got Talent'

-- Jevon Phillips

'America's Best Dance Crew': L.A. auditions herald season 7

Randy jackson americas best dance crew
"Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" is entering its seventh season on MTV, and while the popularity of dance shows such as "ABDC" and "So You Think You Can Dance" may be dipping a bit in terms of ratings, a niche demo of viewers is still passionate. That was evident at the Los Angeles auditions, which took place at the CenterStaging studio in Burbank over the weekend with dozens of crews trying to make it to the televised portion of the show.

At 6 p.m., crews that might have been here since 6 a.m. were still practicing in huddled groups, listening to music, or freestyle dancing for the many cameras that followed them. Crews with more experience were easy to spot as they worked on formations and last-minute intricacies in the parking lot. "ABDC" choreographer Rosario McCoy watched dancers file in and out of the audition room, but also had ideas on what to look for (he's a dancer, so he moves a lot!).



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'America's Best Dance Crew': Casting director Michelle McNulty on the new season

Michelle "America's Best Dance Crew" took an extended break before announcing last week that the next season had been greenlighted. Though it's no "American Idol," with 15 million votes on the finale, it seemed like "ABDC" would've been a quicker done deal. To get some more insight on the coming season, we talked to casting director Michelle McNulty, right, who called the break "reenergizing" for the entire upcoming season. It's too early to answer some of the questions we may have (Any new challenges? Where will auditions be? Any judging changes?), but now that we know "ABDC" is returning, who better to talk to about what the show could be looking for than McNulty, one of the main crew selectors?

Jevon Phillips: Were you at all worried that the show wouldn't come back?
Michelle McNulty: No, I guess not. I think it's kind of a nice break because we did so many back-to-back-to-back [seasons] ... it's reenergizing everybody for this new season. I feel more energized and I think dancers are going to be more energized. I think they will have grown because they've had more time to work on their routines.

It has been a minute ... It was such a great last show that we did, though, that if it had gone away, it would've been a great way to go.

JP: Do you know all of the cities for the auditions yet?
MM: We're still discussing and finalizing those. Obviously, L.A. and New York are always our big cities and we're still deciding on the rest of them. I think we're going to four cities this season and auditions will be at the end of January, beginning of February.

JP: Do you go to all of the auditions in all of the cities?
MM: I usually hit every single one of the cities ... I'm always there at the callback.

JP: Most of the crews out there know that you're looking for personality, originality and skill. What else?
MM: It's "America's Best Dance Crew." People know the show now and know the past winners and even the runners-up and the success they've gotten from the show ... We want the dancers where we know that the dance that they do on the audition and the dance that they do on the finale will be just as phenomenal. I don't like for crews to ever hold back. Originality is huge because we're coming into the sixth season and we've had so many crews. I don't want to see a bunch of copycatters.

And we always look for different styles. Clearly it's a hip hop-based show, but we always want to see other styles. The jump-ropers were a perfect example and they killed it on the show. It brought such a different energy and vibe to the show. Break Skate is another example of that...

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'America's Best Dance Crew': Beyond the show to the Jabbawockeez' MUS.I.C.

The first has ascended. The Jabbawockeez, "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew's" original champions, are set to premiere their own original stage show in Las Vegas -- at the MGM Grand no less -- when "The Jabbawockeez Present: MÜS.I.C." launches Friday for a stay on the Strip that runs until May 26.

Jabbawockeez-muse-i-see2
Super Cr3w and their Meisters watch collaboration, Quest Crew in "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" and rocking with Snoop Dogg ... "ABDC" champion alumni are doing big things, We caught up with Rynan "Kid Rainen" Paguio of the Jabbawockeez just to chat about the group's new Las Vegas show, the old "ABDC" show, and life after winning the title.

You guys had a great performance in the Champions for Charity episode of "ABDC."  Was that a precursor of what audiences will see in Vegas?

Definitely. That was just a sampler, a little teaser of we're going to do in Vegas cause that Vegas show is a 90-minute show. Since we were on TV, and wanted to capitalize on that, we definitely wanted to give a little piece and let people know that we're on to different things. Moving to the next.

How was it being back on the stage, and for that show in particular with all of the champions?

The show itself was good vibes. The main thing that we all realize is that every time that you're on the show, you know someone's going home. The challenge is to stay on as much as possible to win. But during this championship charity show, we were all winners. There was no challenge and everybody had really positive energy. When there's that competition, you kind of steer away a little bit, but when there wasn't that competition and everybody just wanted to help each other have a great show, it worked to our benefit because every performance that I saw was great.

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Reality TV producers dish (and more!) at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society luncheon

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What do "Deadliest Catch," "The Surreal Life," "Punk'd," "America's Best Dance Crew," "Ghost Hunters," and "Jersey Shore" have in common?

Their executive producers are all a bunch of rowdy cut-ups. Well, maybe except for Jason Goldberg of "Punk'd," who repeatedly called himself a "virgin" when he served as a panelist on Wednesday at The Hollywood Radio and Television Society's Newsmaker Luncheon. It's true that in a crowd in which executive producers fessed up to Macing the talent on their shows, to not caring if The Situation gets beat up by three boxers, and to watching "American [Insert expletive here] Idol," Goldberg, who is Ashton Kutcher's partner, stood out as The Quiet One.

The rest of them, well, they were full of "situations," including host Chris Harrison, ("The Bachelor") who can absolutely hang with the rest of them. The other panelists were: Thom Beers ("Deadliest Catch"), Mark Cronin ("The Surreal Life"), Randy Jackson ("America's Best Dance Crew"), Craig Piligian ("Ghost Hunters") and SallyAnn Salsano ("Jersey Shore").

Jackson kicked off the 65-minute session, before Harrison asked any questions, with one observation: "I feel like I’m on, like, ‘The Real World: Revisited” or something. Like, how was it in the house? It’s my first time here. I’m just trying to really figure it all out." The rest of the session was filled with that brand of humor, as well as a lot of curse words (courtesy of Piligian) and plenty of insight.

Here are some excerpts from the session:

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'America's Best Dance Crew': Arnel Calvario critiques the Champions for Charity episode

Arnel Calvario -- choreographer, member/founder of Kaba Modern and manager of Beat Freaks and Fanny Pak -- has graciously lent his time this season to recap some episodes of "Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew" and provide commentary, along with Chonique Sneed, from the perspective of a dance community professional. He wanted to share his thoughts on the Champions for Charity episode, with quotes from insiders and former contestants, and what the show means to many. -- Jevon Phillips

Arnel Give it up to MTV and Warner Horizon for putting together an amazing show for five great causes for the Champions for Charity episode. Each of the five winning crews were paired with a charity that promotes youth to do something positive in their community. It was refreshing to see the show air background stories on the charities while also giving a $10,000 donation check to each charity representative. There to support their dancing peers, members of Fanny Pak, Kaba Modern and Beat Freaks were in the studio audience. Even "Blind Side" actor Quinton Aaron came out to watch the special episode.

"I watch the show all the time and this was definitely the best episode ever. I really enjoyed every performance tonight," he said.

Before getting into the individual crew performances, all five crews graced the "ABDC" stage with the first collaboration of this caliber of talent. While the opening number was not the cleanest, it definitely was dynamic and entertaining. I liked the concept of each crew being dressed as royalty with transitions announcing each season winner. Show choreographer Napoleon D'umo shared that every crew really impressed him.

"We only had less than six days to put the show together and all of the crews’ work ethic was amazing," he said.

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'America's Best Dance Crew': This was for charity, but ...

So, it took a while to get my thoughts together about Thursday's "Champions for Charity" episode of "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew." We've already mentioned the charities that the crews were dancing for, but now, post-show, we can discuss what we saw.
 
No need to wait to get to it: I think Super Cr3w came out on top, just barely eking by Quest Crew because of its unveiled member. Totally just my opinion after being there then watching it a couple of times, and I even had Quest on top at first. No, it wasn't a battle. Yes, everyone was actually really good. The show wasn't approached by the crews as any type of competitive event either, which I'm sure would make a difference. There was no fight, just a desire to show that they've grown and to entertain the crowd (while, of course, performing for a cause they each respected).
 
Poreotix's strong suit was always its humor and storytelling ability. The troupe showed that to the fullest with its "Alvin and the Chipmunks" routine, with some awesome tutting sequences and fast movements.  Sometimes too fast to see all of the intricacies that the members put into performances. Also, the "Alvin and the Weareheroes Chipmunks" music was cute, but maybe it should have been mixed with a heavier beat/bass line.  They were performing, but the crowd couldn't really get into it with them.
 
We Are Heroes was great. Really great. Its presentation was the best of the night from the action figure boxes onstage to the costuming. Nichelle in that Catwoman suit and Hiro as Barbie and Riquel as Wonder Woman and ... well, they were all awesome-looking. The dancing was great as well with pretty good formations and intricate arm movements. That drop into the splits was awesome and painful at the same time. The athleticism displayed by Aly and Nichelle also just goes to show why they came out on top in a season in which many tried to lay claim to the title.
 
Quest Crew. Oh, Quest Crew. The cleanliness of the tricks that this crew does -- the no-hand headstand, the air flairs, the tutting and popping -- has to be the envy of crews worldwide, and even on other planets. Steve turns a simple flip into an event with bicycle kicks. Hok's finger-tutting has very few, if any, rivals. And even with all of that, they just put together a great, highly entertaining routine. They're funny, but not as funny/goofy as Poreotix. They breakdance, but not as much as Super Cr3w. Their presentation is smooth, but not as cool as We Are Heroes or JabbaWockeez. But put it all together, and Quest Crew was a step above almost everyone.

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'America's Best Dance Crew': Before the Champions for Charity episode

The best of the best perform Thursday night as the five champions take the stage on "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" in the Champions for Charity episode that partners the crews with subjects from DoSomething.org.

Let's get it out of the way: It's not a battle. We can all speculate on whether the pop-locking of We Are Heroes could defeat the robots of Poreotix, or whether the theatricality of Jabbawockeez could overcome the varied styles and creativity of Quest Crew. But we won't. This is about charity. We caught up with the crews backstage as they were practicing for the show and were able to ask them some really quick questions.  First up is the new champ, Poreotix -- still a bit giddy over their win.


The newbies are dancing for 18-year-old Jackie Rotman and an organization called Everybody Dance Now!, getting at-risk kids off the streets and maybe more into dance. Next up are the first ladies of "ABDC": Season 4 champs We Are Heroes. With the women wearing such elaborate outfits, we could only get the spirited Hiro to sit still for a second to talk. I don't even want to spoil what their outfits are going to be, but they really need to consider performing down at Comic Con!

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'America's Best Dance Crew': Video from the red carpet and an international rant

After Poreotix took home the title from "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew," they and all of the other crews headed over deeper into the Warner Bros. lot for a red carpet (that was actually orange) event and after-party to celebrate the season. On hand for us was choreographer Chonique Sneed, who was actually there during the audition phase for this season's competitors and has watched them grow from episode to episode.

A quick point on the regional performances: the South won it. Swagger Crew, Jungle Boogie and Royal Flush not only had the energy but also a "shirtless" groove that was infectious. The West was precise and clean, and with Poreotix, Heavy Impact and Hype 5-0, had popularity on its side, but the West didn't reach the Dirty South's levels of enthusiasm. The East? Well, the Saltare interlude wasn't the cleanest it could've been, but Blueprint Cru and Static Noyze, along with the jump-ropers, did try hard to entertain.

Before we get to the video, I have to go on the rant that I've been going on for the last couple of seasons. This season, Blueprint Cru's ascension helped solidify my point of having the show become "World's Best Dance Crew" at some point. Maybe it doesn't even have to replace "ABDC," but rather be a totally different show that pits the "ABDC" winner against other crews worldwide. The Canadian crew, who were really good in their stepping section with Poreotix during the finale, show that -- for those who don't know about Hip Hop International and other global dance organizations -- there are some awesome crews outside of our borders that audiences would go wild for in this melting pot of a nation. OK, I'll stop there. 

Here are lots of videos featuring Randy Jackson, Omarion, JC Chasez, Lil Mama, Heavy Impact, Harry Shum Jr. from "Glee," Blueprint Cru and champions Poreotix. First up is a message from Chonique.

-- Jevon Phillips

'America's Best Dance Crew': Poreotix transforms into the champion

Poreotix, the robotic crew hailing from Westminster, Calif., became the Season 5 champion of "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" on Thursday night, continuing the West Coast's dominance of the show.

Runner-up Blueprint Cru was the closest the East had come since Status Quo got second in the first season. The competition was closely contested all season long, though, with no one really breaking out as the dominant favorite, much like last year's We Are Heroes-Afroborike finale. [Correction: In an earlier version, I said the We Are Heroes-Massive Monkeys finale. It was We Are Heroes and Afroborike. It was barely up, but Alex saw it, so there you go.]

From the beginning, when the crew's Taylor Swift-inspired tutting and reenactment of the Kanye West-Taylor Swift VMA moment captured the judges and viewers with their theatricality, the tick-tick-tick crew has been among the favorites. Blueprint Cru, hailing from Montreal, had a built-in obstacle with Canadian voters not helping to prop them up as East, West and South voters generally do. Their perseverance saw them through, but small missteps in their final performance, and again, Poreotix's creative overall staging and storytelling ability, were too much for them to overcome.

There will be more from the finale, including video from choreographer Chonique Sneed, later on.

Congrats, Poreotix!

-- Jevon Phillips

'America's Best Dance Crew': Swizz Beatz, Arnel Calvario and the final two revealed

americas best dance crew poreotix blueprint cru

This season of "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" has been a tough one to gauge -- from the emergence of Jungle Boogie and Saltare to the backing of Blueprint Cru (or lack thereof) to the steady popularity of Poreotix and Hype 5-0. Many have their favorites, but there wasn't a clear, dominant crew.

Despite all that, we are finally down to the top two. But before we get to that, and to the season's assessment by guest commentator and Beat Freaks/Fanny Pak/Kaba Modern manager Arnel Calvario, we were able to speak with one of hip-hop's hottest producers, Swizz Beatz, backstage. He made custom beats for the three remaining crews (only two of which we got to hear) and their Last Chance Challenge. The busy musician talked a bit about how he came to enjoy "ABDC," and the hard work it takes to succeed.

Now on to Calvario's recap and observations on the episode and the season:

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'America's Best Dance Crew': Magic's in the air, and only three remain

The magic or illusion challenge episode of "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" is usually a crowd-pleaser, and with four crews full of personality, it proved to be another good one.

Before the groups went at each other, though, they united for the requisite all-crew number, with one major twist. They were joined by a professional as Lil Mama got into the act, appearing magically from behind a free-floating door after the crews performed smaller introductory numbers in the crew garage before becoming one on stage. The crews were colorful, Lil Mama (sharp, precise movements! Why wasn't Omarion out there, too?) did some kind of quick-change magic in the middle of a crowd of dancers, and even Mario Lopez got into the act by helping the crews disappear from the stage.

When they're dancing in a group like that, one of the characteristics of this season is evident. With Blueprint Cru, Jungle Boogie and Hype 5-0, you have three crews that are essentially dance / choreography crews, whereas Poreotics' style and robotic base sets them a bit apart. No tap-dancers or ballet experts or clogging, stepping or high-flying acrobatic crews -- meaning a bit less diversity of styles. Obviously, their regions and personalities offer differences, but by now, you know what you're going to get from most of the crews. Mostly, tricks won't suffice here at the end. Clean routines, good interpretations of themes/challenges and voter support is, more than ever, what will put someone over.  And with that said ...

[Correction: In an earlier version, it was stated that Hype 5-0 danced to Adam Lambert's "For Your Entertainment." Nope, they danced to "Morning After Dark" performed by Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and SoShy. Also, Jungle Boogie danced to Lil Wayne's "Da Da Da." Thanks, Mel. Never blindly copy a press release, kids!] Hype 5-0 is the first crew saved. Wow. They are a good crew -- nice people in general -- but I expected them to be on the bottom. As they say in the video below,  that "aloha spirit" is definitely with them. Their challenge, set to "Morning After Dark" performed by Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and SoShy, was to make an object come to life. And it was not impressive. Nope, I can't do it, but it was still not all that great.  The dancing?  Also, not exciting, but they were pretty clean. They've always been thought of as the energetic crew and they did have energy, but their performance was not particularly spellbinding. Omarion said that he felt like their choreography hasn't  changed from episode to episode, and JC Chasez said that he saw all of them "thinking," and of the choreography, just saw a "lot of running around from place to place."

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