This week, the final five crews on Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew must dazzle our brains with feats of prestidigitation. That's a fancy way of saying "magic tricks."
Host Mario Lopez immediately puts Beat Freaks and Fly Khicks on the spot – one's in the bottom, the other is safe. We all know who it should be…and, indeed, the Freaks are through and performing first leaving the Khicks to battle it out. Cut to Layla Kayleigh introducing this week's challenge. Each group will have to work in an illusion/magic trick in their routines with the help of the renowned Franz Harary.
1. Beat Freaks
Song: "Freeze" by T-Pain feat. Chris Brown
This week is a little more emotional for Maryss because this week is the third anniversary of the death of her younger brother who passed after a car accident. He was proud of her and loved magic so there's extra meaning for her. In rehearsal, Franz gives them a "magic ball" that levitates seemingly by itself, but they were having a few problems keeping it in control while dancing. Their costumes are very b-girl – I like them. This number…was sick. Their use of the ball was fan-phenomenal and the solos were great. Watch it because I can't do it justice with words.
Judges: Shane got butterflies and was so excited he could barely control himself. He thinks it's one of the best performances ever on the show. JC liked that they owned the prop. Lil' Mama, working a sort of young, Hip Hop fairy godmother look, gave Maryss props for her solo and loved that they could express themselves without going the Pussycat Dolls route (she didn't actually mention PCD, I'm just saying…).
Back from a commercial, the remaining three crews stand nervously on the stage awaiting their fate. Quest Crew are through, rightly so. Finally, between Dynamic Edition and Strikers All-Stars, after too much ado Mario announces that….Strikers All-Stars are safe.
2. Quest Crew
Song: "Got Money" by Lil' Wayne feat. T-Pain
Illusion: Pass an object through their bodies
The guys were having a hard time figuring out something that would work on the big stage. Franz brought in a knife that appeared to go through the hand. But they're going to need a bigger knife. I really like their theme – they've got a prop table and are gamblers playing cards. Good choreography this week. At the end, when one guy appears to be stealing money, he gets impaled through the chest via a broken down coat track. The tricks were up there as always.
Judges: JC thought they had a lot of good moments and slo-moes Hirano's flip. However, he thought the transitions were weak this time, too much walk then pose/walk then move. Before giving her notes, Lil' Mama tells the audience that their booing is detrimental to the crews when it drowns out the advice and helpful tidbits the judges are trying to impart. She loves that they gave a story to help use the prop, but sort of agrees with JC about the transitions. Shane said his fellow judges gave good notes, slo-moeing Victor's headstand set. One last thing: he cautions that Beat Freaks are right on their tails…
3. Strikers All-Stars
Song: "Swing" by Savage
Illusion: Walk through a solid object
Stikers were having a whole lot of issues too…until the miraculous Franz came and showed them what to do. Their magic trick wasn't worked in as smoothly as the other two crews and the were slightly less clean than usual, but it was still a good performance. They did throw in two extra tricks cleanly though – a little black book that catches on fire and some minor levitation at the end.
Judges: Lil' Mama says they're one of the most consistent crews but this wasn't their best performance. It wasn't mind-blowing, but there were moments. She felt the props kind of hindered them. Shane thought it was really good and loved the illusion, but he also noticed a little sloppiness there. JC agrees that the energy was still there but they needed to kick it up a notch.
The Bottom Two
As always, a coin toss determined the performing order of the crews on the chopping block.
Song: "Starstruck" by Lady Gaga feat. Flo Rida
Illusion: Appear out of thin air
Like everyone, during rehearsal they were couldn't figure out how to execute their illusion. It was really good when Franz showed them…until they started dancing. Ouch. They were clean and pulled off their trick in a creative way (one girl behind a curtain pulled apart to become two) but, honestly, I'm running out of ways to describe their routines.
Song: "Diva" by Beyonce
Illusion: Stretch like rubber
Franz took some of their rehearsal ideas and helped them expand on them. Now it's just a matter of working them into a dance routine. I hate this song but I dug the choreography. They've graduated from a halftime show to a video/award show-type vibe. I like the energy they were throwing down and their illusion was done well and matched the choreography.
Judges: Shane really liked DE's illusion and complimented Brandon on his choreography. He advises they switch up the music to match how they switch up their clogging cadences because people may not realize as they don't know the genre. The Fly Khicks surprised Lil' Mama but not in a great way – the elements of the routine didn't come together as much as she wanted. They also didn't transition to their trick creatively enough for her. Shane agrees with that but adds they did "dance their butts off." JC thought they started out a little slow but really hit their number hard after the magic intro. JC thought the Khicks' chair stretch was better than their actual illusion because it was real. Overall, he dug the number and kicked off his notes for them mentioning how he happy he got when he found out their challenge was stretching. Hooray for a brief glimpse of Pervy!JC!
It's now that time for Mario to drag out the results unnecessarily before revealing that the safe crew is…Fly Khicks! Wow. One of the girls' jaw dropped like they just announced her as Miss America.
The girls of Dynamic Edition are crying a bit but are appreciative of how far they've gotten. As their farewell package plays, there are some intercut scenes of alternately sad and happy faces from the crew. Congrats to them, they did well and their package was well edited. After a group hug, they "Westside Clog It Out" as their banner falls.
Assorted Bits & Pieces:
- I like that all the crews worked extra tricks into their numbers here and there. Sometimes they were so smooth, I didn't notice right away.
- The Beat Freaks straight took everybody's lunch today. I mean, really. Having to follow them this ep was not fair. I'm going to watch their number a couple more times before even thinking about deleting the show.
Though Strikers had a slight dip today, I still think they're a strong contender. Though after tonight, again I have to give it to the Freaks.
I agree with who was in the bottom two and who the judges kept. Shockingly, I've had little gripe with the decisions made by both the voters and the judges this season.
I didn't get to go to the taping this week because I had a cold relapse but I can say that the Dynamic Edition kids are great people and I respect how they're challenging dance boundaries.
Shane and Mario had a brief exchange suggesting they do this challenge every season. That's actually not a bad idea. They could even use the same tasks – it'd be cool to see what other groups would do with them.
Mario didn't mention what next week's challenge was but there are two all-guy groups and two all-women groups left. Innnnnteresting.
Do you agree with Dynamic Edition going home? Who do you think will be in the bottom next week? Have a favorite number from tonight? Any other thoughts or comments?