Howard and LeKeith Talk About America’s Best Dance Crew – Week 6

Down to the Final Four! Yet somehow, we still have so much to say! Join us, won’t you?

Howard: So, ABDC thoughts? How about that opening?

LeKeith: I liked it. I guess the problem is that I watched it after I watched the VMAs MJ tribute so that definitely factored in.

Howard: I thought it was entertaining as well.

LeKeith: I was more amused by the judges in the cage, I suppose.

Howard: Though to be honest, it would have been totally OK if they just cut in Jabba’s PYT performance instead.

LeKeith: Yes!

Howard: And then cut to everyone around the judges in the cage.

LeKeith: I love that performance. They could to cut to everyone watching the PYT performance and then have JC say, “See? This is how you dance!” I kid, I kid.

Howard: HA!

LeKeith: But I’m upset with America. I was so close to predicting the Top 3 from the get go. Thanks, Afroborike

Howard: America does not love the East Coast. But they love them some West Coast action.

LeKeith: No, no it doesn’t.

Howard: Well, let’s be fair. At the end of the day, it was the judges that did not love the East Coast.

LeKeith: I appreciate that Boogie Down Bonx realized that it’s harder because of the distance though.

Howard: Yeah. We’ll get to that in a bit. Let’s start with We Are Heroes. Can we admit that their song was obviously intended for VE?

LeKeith: Yes. Who else would it have been for?

Howard: You know the producers behind the scenes thought, “Ruh Roh,” when VE got eliminated last week.

LeKeith: Otherwise it would have been like giving a Shakira song to Southern Movement.

Howard: They did an OK job of it though. I was entertained, but I was not blown away.

LeKeith: I’m a sucker for tutting, especially when done well

Howard: It was pretty awesome when they moved as a unit.

LeKeith: Exactly!

Howard: But I think they should have rethought the trick of throwing the fans. Because it didn’t work all around. Which was sadly accentuated by the slow-mo. And even where it did work, it wasn’t super impressive.

LeKeith: Yeah, I didn’t realize the problems they had with the fans until the slow mo. My favorite part of the whole routine was when they moved as a unit; when Mami got off her knees to her feet to the tune of Vogue, I loved it.

Howard: I am shocked that none of the judges pointed out the girl-on-girl kiss, which was a nice callback to one of Madge’s other big performances.

LeKeith: Me too! I thought Shane was going to be over that for sure.

So, Afroborike

Howard: They had some crazy sexy tricks. And the chain opening was kind of cool.

LeKeith: Here’s the thing about that performance: I could see it easily as part of Britney’s live stage show

Howard: But I remain, as always, fairly cool to their performances. And I can’t really explicate it.

LeKeith: It’s not terribly difficult but it captures the theme really easily.

Howard: There’s just something about their performances that feel very… workmanlike?

LeKeith: I agree. That’s a good way to describe it. For example, the ankle lifts were done without the extra enthusiasm. You can tell they’re thinking about what comes next, let’s say. And I’d rather have seen either the Latina Britney be lifted higher than the Faux-tina Britneys or all 3 ladies lifted at the same height. Instead, they were all at different levels. And for a team that is complimented for its lifts, that not a good thing.

Also, I wonder if the curse of the subtitle will put them in the Bottom Two. Or does the gift of the Phat Booty negate the curse of the subtitles?

Howard: Well, honestly, I can’t figure out what’s been keeping them alive this long. Phat Booty might have something to do with it.

LeKeith: The gift of the Phat Booty. That’s the only thing I can think of.

Howard: Though I wonder if we’re seeing a repeat of the Season One phenomenon. Where the Asian vote is getting split between WAH and MM. Which resulted in Status Quo getting into the top two, rather than freaking Kaba.

LeKeith: Huh. I was thinking of the Fly Khicks from last season, who were there far too long. They too, had the gift.

Howard: That’s true. But I don’t think it’s what has floated them this long. But in either case, I fear that they’ll be the safe crew.

LeKeith: Same here

Howard: Even though I would love to see a WAH/MM finals. Speaking of Massive Monkees, let’s discuss their performance.

LeKeith: Sure!

Howard: They definitely had the highest wall the climb with a N’Sync number.

LeKeith: I liked how they were able to work around the popping section. And how they recalled another NSync performance, like WAH did with Madonna

Howard: As always, I appreciate their ability to work in a lot of choreography.

LeKeith: Yes. It’s well done.

Howard: I think being in the bottom two made them bring the fire, which was good to see. I was honestly a little worried for them, especially since they were going up against Rhythm City.

LeKeith: I was too. I thought they were a little sloppy at parts but overall I enjoyed the performance. Although Jabba did the human microphone as well. And boy bands used headsets, not microphones.

Howard: True.

LeKeith: I’m not mad, I thought you would be though. Now if they made a human headset, I’d declare them the winners

Howard: HA! You know what MM really, really likes? That sliding between another dude’s legs trick.

LeKeith: Yes they do

Howard: I think their challenge next week should be: “Make a routine that doesn’t use that trick.” For Afro, their challenge would be: “Make a routine that isn’t centered on the phat ass.”

LeKeith: I did like the cartwheel without hands trick though.

Howard: That blew my mind.

LeKeith: Mine too! But I agree. Perform a routine without your signature moves would be nice

Howard: So let us turn to the sad tale of Rhythm City. I think their routine was very entertaining.

LeKeith: I agree with you in part. I thought they’re routine was good but confusing.

Howard: I feel like Shane’s proclamation that it needed to assault MM came a bit out of left field.

LeKeith: Let’s discuss Shane in a second because that guy was all over the place.

Howard: OK. I will concur that it was bit confusing.

LeKeith: I think I agree with Lil’ Mama, which is kind of a shock, but I couldn’t tell who was Chris Brown if there was supposed to be a Chris Brown. Or if there were supposed to be 2 CBs, then that’s fine.

Howard: Agreed. Also, Alonzo – don’t say that you’re like Chris Brown.

LeKeith: Oh. Man. I wanted to smack him for all of New York for that comment

Howard: Chris Brown may be an amazing musical talent, but that’s like saying you feel a kinship with Ike Turner.

LeKeith: or rather, Chris Brown him on behalf of New York

Howard: Also, it is troubling when you ask a group, “Who should play Chris Brown?” and everyone turns to you?

LeKeith: HA! What made it worse was that it was his girlfriend who said it

Howard: HA! Are we at a point where it’s OK to make Chris Brown a role model again?

LeKeith: No. Next question

Howard: OK, so I liked their choreography. But I agree that it was a bit messy, conceptually. I feel like Rhythm City had a lot of trouble with routines where they had a story.

LeKeith: They did. Like the Beyonce Bedtime Stories

Howard: The Nightmare routine and the Schoolyard Beatdown routines got them into the bottom 2.

LeKeith: Yeah, that didn’t make sense to me either.

Howard: This one didn’t have a routine, per se, but there’s a quasi narrative in that they’re trying to ape Chris Brown’s video. So I feel like that’s where some of their trouble came from. Trying to do too much at once.

LeKeith: I agree. Because things that they wanted to showcase, like the Chaplin routine, got muddled

Howard: If you look at MM, they aped one or two elements from the video and then fit that around their own flavor. Chris Brown’s performance on the VMAs last year was so long that there’s no way they could have fit all the highlights into one routine.

LeKeith: I did like the finish though with the girls doing bodystands (?) off the guys.

Howard: Yeah. They had an amazing finishing pose.

LeKeith: I think that’s the other problem the show had. Brown was 2008, the next closest performance was Britney in 2001. NSync was 1999 and Madonna was 1993-ish. I don’t really consider Brown’s performance all that iconic probably because it only happened last year. I know him because of the Doublemint commercial, not the VMAs

Howard: I’d respectfully disagree.

LeKeith: understandably

Howard: That performance was easily the highlight of that year’s VMAs.

LeKeith: I’m not saying it wasn’t the highlight.

Howard: And if it wasn’t for the whole DV situation, we’d probably be heaping more praise on it. I think it loses some of its Iconic nature due to the performer associated with it.

LeKeith: I’m saying that I didn’t know who he was and after the VMAs, I didn’t take notice of his stock. Until Doublemint, because that’s my gum of choice

Howard: In all fairness, Chris Brown also performs in a genre of music that you generally ignore.

LeKeith: This is true

Howard: In that R&B pop sphere, that performance definitely pushed up his stock.

LeKeith: I largely listen to Chris Brown at weddings where I do the robot.

Howard: The Chaplin entrance, the table jumping, the MJ imitations – all hallmarks of an Iconic performance.

LeKeith: maybe that’s why it didn’t register. I recognized those things but didn’t particularly care.

Howard: Fair enough. But let’s get to Shane “Crazy Pants” Sparks. I swear, Lil’ Mama slipped him one of her Space Hats.

LeKeith: I agree. I think it’s the long sleeve thermals.

Howard: As someone who wears those, I object. But then again, it is like 90 degrees in LA.

LeKeith: You wear crazy thread thermals?

Howard: Look, I love it when crews throw down a challenge to other crews in their Battle Fo’ Yo’ Life performances. But it is far from a prerequisite.

LeKeith: My issue with him is that he said what he said to Rhythm City which is contradictory to what he said to Afroborike

Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. because I agree and disagree with the two issues that were addressed by Shane and JC’s tiff. Yes, Shane was wrong to say that Rhythm City should specifically call out MM and try to out-MM Massive Monkees. Whereas previous battles have not necessitated the need to call out your opponent. In theory, you wouldn’t know who your opponent was with enough time to incorporate their style into your routine.

Howard: I agree.

LeKeith: But, I agree that what makes ABDC different from other Dance Competitions is their Dance Showdown or whatever we want to call it if not a battle. And just knowing that you’re in the bottom 2 could cause a crew to dance with a greater sense of ferocity and energy than a safe crew. While that shouldn’t be the case, we know it to be true for many a crew.
To JC’s point that the routines are designed to entertain the audience in studio or at home, I believe that can be done without losing the energy that Shane looks for in the final round. One shouldn’t be lost in favor of the other.

Howard: I agree. Though I lean more towards JC’s interpretation than Shane’s. I know that the show has the word “Crew” in it. But there are judges for a reason. We don’t turn to the crowd with an applause-o-meter. This isn’t Dance 360. (As much as I want that to come back.)

LeKeith: whereas I’d lean towards Shane’s. That’s the show I’d rather watch because I can see audience pleasing performances on SYTYCD. Where the talent is arguably better. But I have a few more gripes with Shane

Howard: I guess to me, the show that Shane is describing never existed. I mean, the first episode of each season kind of has that. But in general, you can easily attribute the urgency and energy of the bottom two each week to the fact that they’re in the bottom two. Regardless of any kind of battle set-up.

And in prior weeks, the winner of the bottom two was always decided by who put on the better performance.

LeKeith: I think it’s safe to say that the first episode of every season is Shane’s favorite episode

Howard: Yes.

LeKeith: That and probably the Hip Hop decathlon episode. And I think it might be because I could see the show being pitched to him a way to showcase the crew culture (and I mean primarily b-boys and poppers) to the masses.

I think Season 1 held onto Shane’s idea longer than the other seasons have been doing. That’s not to discredit the talent in Seasons 2 – 4. It’s just that the larger any show gets, the more susceptible it is to change.

But for the record, Shane, stop using hyperbole

Howard: HA!

LeKeith: Hyperbole: MM did not get the largest applause in the history of the show.

Howard: Yeah. I think that easily goes to Fanny Pak after their Missy performance, where even Missy got hype. Or possibly a Quest Crew performance. But that first example sticks out in my mind.

LeKeith: I was thinking of Jabba where Raynin did a 10 minute headspin. But those work too. Especially that Fanny Pak performance. The point is that it’s debatable, not definite. Shane needs to learn that

Howard: It’s true.

LeKeith: Question: did you DVR Sunday’s 7PM ABDC show?

Howard: Yes.

LeKeith: So did you see Sway staring at Katy Perry’s cleavage?

Howard: Yes!

LeKeith: More importantly, did you hear Katy Perry say, “Don’t Touch My T*tty!”

Howard: No, but that’s awesome. And on that note – we out.

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