On this very special Britney Spears themed Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew, the crews not only must dance to one of her master-mixed songs, they must also perform a specific Brit-related task in their choreography. Quite the challenge indeed. It's ABDC, bitch.
With all the crew gathered onstage, Mario Lopez announces our first two safe crews are…Beat Freaks and Strikers All-Stars. Cut to a package with backstage correspondent Layla Kayleigh explaining this week's challenge and introducing Britney's long-time choreographer Andre Fuentes who sit in on one of their rehearsals and let them know what moves they must work into their numbers.
1. Beat Freaks
Task: Display both tough and sexy sides
Many of the b-girls aren't used to being girly and sexy when they dance so Andre runs them through a couple exercises to get them comfortable with it ("Hair, hips, and lips," as he says). None of them really show a lot of skin so extra uncomfortable but, as Rino says, you just gotta let it go and perform. Rino is dressed in an outfit like the video's secretary bit while all the other girls are in suits. Halfway through, the others rip off their jackets and throw off their hats to reveal bustier tops and shake their hair. It was a great number. I loved the choreography and how they played two distinctly different character sets – it's definitely on my repeat viewing list.
Judges: Shane said the world wasn't ready for it, he wasn't expecting it and loved it. Lil' Mama commended their use of props and loved that when they danced as "men," she believed it. JC thought they adapted and performed wonderfully.
2. Strikers All-Stars
Song: "Gimme More"
Task: Create mirror images
They had some issues figuring out the mirroring in rehearsal but didn't have any problems during the performance. They had a giant empty picture frame that they also used as a mirror (they began and ended in poses like a group portrait). The choreography was great and diverse and their use of the prop was fantastic. I'm really impressed.
Judges: Lil' Mama loved how they tackled the challenge, which JC agrees with. He also likes that they're playing to their strengths – hitting moves hard and not backing off. Shane called them "the truth."
With all the remaining crews on stage, between Team Millennia and Dynamic Edition, one is safe and the other is in the bottom. Sadly, Millennia finds themselves once again on the chopping block.
3. Dynamic Edition
Task: Chair choreography
Last week, right after finding out if they were safe, Cara suffered from an anxiety attack before they performed. She gets a little emotional because it was overwhelming to be where they are and showcase their talent after being made fun of by a lot of folks back home. I say those folks can suck it. Hard. During rehersal, Andre had them doing hip thrusts on the chairs to loosen them up. It sort of worked. All four girls are rocking long, curly blond hair (three are wigs). I like the costumes in general. They're precise as always and had a good idea with the choreography, it just didn't come together all the way. Partially because it's hard to dance on chairs when you're wearing moving taps on your shoes, partially because I don't think they weren't really owning their characters.
Judges: JC loved the cleanliness but thought it wasn't powerful enough. It didn't really work for Shane despite him loving what they do, adding that seeing them in the outfits makes him think of the movie White Chicks (DE laughed at that comparison). Lil' Mama thinks they look great but they were too cheerful, not sassy enough.
Our last three crews stand on stage. Two are safe, one is in the bottom. Quest Crew is safe, as they should be, and joining them are…Fly Khicks. Ringmasters will be up against TM.
4. Quest Crew
Task: Perform part of the routine blindfolded
This number was sick. I can't even accurately describe all the awesomeness. Like Beat Freaks, they did masculine/feminine sections of choreography. It was fantastic and you should just go watch it now. Repeatedly.
Judges: Shane slo-moed the blinded somersault section into a spider and enthusiastically dug it. Lil' Mama thought they "tore it down" and loved that they gave "Britney." JC simply said it was his favorite performance of the night.
5. Fly Khicks
Song: "(Hit Me) Baby One More Time"
Task: Execute precise movements featuring sharp turns
They start out with two girls on the stage while the other four dance behind a backlit sheet at the entrance. They come out strutting and had really good energy, hitting the moves hard – sometimes a little too hard but it's all good. I commend them for dancing in heels because I wouldn't attempt it on that slippery stage. The turns were good and one of the girls ended with a triple spin, grabbing her leg one spin in, and ending in a center split. Crazy. I don't think I've ever seen anyone do that before and I watch a lot of dance shows. Thank you ladies for delivering some solid choreography.
Judges: Lil' Mama loved the overall vibe and thought the did their challenge well, adding the note that they were hitting their steps so hard it sometimes looked like the weren't together. JC congratulates them on nailing their task, it wasn't his favorite of the night but he liked it. Shane agrees with them both and slo-moes Michelle's turn at the end.
Song: "Me Against The Music"
Task: Use hats and canes at some point
Given how hard it can be to work with props, they did fantastic. Of the three girls, one was dressed in a white suite, another in a black one like Madonna and Britney in the video. This is easily my favorite performance by them this season. They had great characters, hit the moves with a lot of energy, and I really dug their choreography. I feel like they've reclaimed their identities with this number.
Task: Create a giant performer
The task comes from the fact that there are guys on stilts in the video. They start out performing their challenge, four of the guys using hoodies and baseball caps to make it look like they were giant, long-necked guys. The circus theme really works in their favor and the choreography content is up by like 500% this week. The last section wasn't that clean but it's the first time it seemed like they performed a whole number as opposed to a bunch of stunts. Kudos.
Judges: Shane thought the number put Millennia back on the map and loved the choreography. He slo-moes the cane section, which was cool. Lil' Mama loved the Ringmasters creativity. JC thought Millennia did well with the props, enjoyed their performance, and singles out Wobz for doing a great job in the white-suited Madonna role. JC also thinks the Ringmasters were very creative and calls this "a heartbreaking decision."
So, after all is said and done…Team Millennia has been eliminated. It's a double-edged sword because at least they went out on a great performance but it sucks that they were eliminated despite doing so well. They're proud that they ripped up the floor tonight and take it pretty well.
Assorted Bits & Pieces
I got to talk to Andre Fuentes (who's fantastic) for a little bit before the taping. He's been a fan of the show since the first season and was happy to be on board this episode. His Early Standouts: "I wanna say Beat Freaks by far are a really strong crew, individually they're all such strong women and as a group they're kind of a powerhouse, they're something to be reckoned with. Also I wanna to say Quest is amazing. I love watching their personalities, they're all comics too. They're all really cool guys. Strikers All-Stars, another amazing crew. There's a lot of individuality in all the crews but those three kind of stand out to me." Regarding The Very Different Styles Represented This Season: "…[D]ifferent crews are going to have different capabilities and I'm glad that they're showcasing so many different styles. Take for instance Dynamic Edition – they're one of my favorites also because you never would normally know what clogging is and to have that showcased on a show like this, where all of America can actually root for them, I think it's amazing."
If you hadn't already seen it, I also interviewed Shane Sparks. Love him.
I'm quite impressed by how well everyone did overall. My three faves tonight were Beat Freaks, Quest Crew, and Strikers All-Stars. I think the deciding factor, the thing that separates them from many of the other crews, is their ability to fully embody the character of a number. All the groups have personality but not all of them are able to adjust accordingly.
I don't know if I exactly agree with Team Millennia going home. Yes, Ringmasters are exciting and different and improved quickly, but overall I liked TM's routine better. I was kind of like watching a music video. It was a tough decision, for sure.
Again, I'd like to thank Fly Khicks for making a breakthrough this week. To me, they haven't been really coming with the choreography so far and I think this was a step in the right direction.
Dynamic Edition and Ringmasters are the most likely candidates for the bottom next week. If Ringmasters can't clean up their choreography, I'm not sure it'll be fair to keep them around.
Next Week: "The Wack Track Challenge" where crews will have to dance to "cheesy" songs. Does 50 Cent's "Candy Shop" and "Magic Stick" count? I think they do. Besides, they're practically the same song.
Your thoughts on this week's challenge? Which number(s) was your favorite? Agree with who got sent home? Think you know who'll be in the bottom next week? Any musicians/dancers you'd love to see as the subject of a challenge, maybe even appear on the show?