After working it out to Miss Britney, the groups on Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew must now try and update some guilty pleasure dance tracks from the past. Please, Hammer, don't hurt 'em!
Host Mario Lopez wastes little time before revealing which one of the six crews is the first to definitely move on. It's Quest Crew – yay! Before we see their number, we get to see backstage correspondent Layla Kayleigh explain this week's "Wack Track Challenge." The once-popular songs picked are ones that not only got over-played, they spawned less-than-stellar dances. The crews must take said dances and find a way to make them "cool."
1. Quest Crew
Song/Video: "The Right Stuff" by New Kids on the Block
Everyone knows which dance this is, what one of the guys dubbed "The Infamous Crotch-Grab Pendulum" (so genius in it's simplicity). This is the one they knew they'd have to do. Brian says every time they thought they had it, it'd fail or Dominic would ruin it. They start the performance out in a formation pose, doing a few seconds of robot. When six of the guys move out, one emerges from the back seemingly in a handstand. But really it's Hok wearing upsidedown clothes with shoes on his hands. The choreography was solid overall – lots of personality and some shades of Mia Michaels in one part. They end with Steve doing a sick side-to-kick flip and Victor holding a bent handstand for like three minutes after the music stops. Certainly entertaining enough for repeat viewing.
Judges: Lil' Mama appreciated Hok's "upside down" stunt and complimented him being able to change and put his shoes on his feet so quickly. Shane Sparks loves their creativity and versitility, also pointing out Victor's "stall" at the end. JC Chasez slo-moes Steve's crazy kick-flip really likes that everyone gets highlighted in their numbers, spreading the love so to speak.
Between Strikers All-Stars and Ringmasters, one is safe and the other will find themselves in the bottom. Unfortunately, the Ringmasters just aren't connected with the audience and find themselves on the chopping block the second week in a row.
2. Strikers All-Stars
Song/Video: "2 Legit 2 Quit" by MC Hammer
Last week Mike was a little distracted because his baby daughter was born with a bi-lateral cleft palette (the roof of her mouth wasn't fully formed) and she was in surgery to repair it. But he's keeping focused because he's in this competition if for her. Awwwwwww. Don't you just want to squeeze him? Anyway, I can't think of a better crew to get a Hammer track (which aren't all guilty pleasures, just some of the later ones). They come out with high energy as always, not taking very long to throw in a group Typewriter. They also throw in a couple other old school dances (The Troop, anyone?). I thought it was imaginative and used a lot of the floor. Heck, throw Hammer in there and it'd be like watching him in concert. Kudos. Also, about two-thirds of the way through they lose the jackets and remain shirtless, even through judging, much to the delight of the ladies in the crowd.
Judges: JC had some flashbacks to his 11-year-old talent show. That aside, he loved the energy but advised to make sure to keep their movements clean even when they're so big. Lil' Mama (who Mario's says looks like "a hot flight attendant" tonight) thought it looked amazing and slo-moes the jacket strip. She also commends the one guy who didn't get his jacket off in time for going on with the show regardless. Shane called it "the perfect song for the perfect group," agreeing with me about Hammer joining them and adding that he loved their clever formation changes.
The last three crews stand on stage awaiting their fates – two are safe, one is not. Beat Freaks are the deservedly moving on and will be joined by…Dynamic Edition. A slight surprise there. Fly Khicks join Ringmasters on the chopping block.
3. Beat Freaks
Song/Video: "Pretty Fly For A White Guy" by The Offspring
I'm not sure this song actually counts. Sure, the goofy dude does a horribly uncoordinated version of The Carlton in the video but…eh. Bad pick, producers. Anyway, the Freaks are trying to figure out how to adjust to the rock song and update this, the most typical of "white dude" dances. They figured it out quite well. I like their outfits – a sort of 80's Cindi Lauper with a smidge of funktastic. They kick the number of with Jules doing a 30-second headspin-combo (much respect) before taking off her tank top to reveal another tank top with JC's picture on it. They had really good characters and formation changes and their choreography was a great mix of rock and b-boy. At the end, two of the ladies jump offstage and have JC autograph an 8×10 glossy as they go all fangirl. Awesome.
Judges: Shane is very impressed by and slo-moes Jules' headspin, saying "Rainen eat your heart out." He adds that he's jealous and wants to sign an autograph. JC says their look is very Gwen Stefani and it was a fun performance. Lil' Mama agrees and digs who they give different looks every week and loves their energy. She slo-moes Keeley's locking sequence and the duo backspins at the end.
4. Dynamic Edition
Song/Video: "Achey Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus
I can't think of a more appropriate number for these folks this week. Unfortunately there was a little frustration during practice but none of that showed during the performance. I have to give it to DE, to me this is their best performance so far. In a completely odd mix of clogging, modified line dancing and hip hop, they managed to find their voice. It was clean with great formation changes, as always, but they also showed a lot of personality and even spoofed Cara's non-fainting spell. Congrats on the breakthrough.
Judges: Lil' Mama thought they were amazing and loves their consistency. Shane says this performance put them on the map and that he felt they were being themselves, not trying to be like some other crew. JC was surprised by how powerful they came out but appreciated it. However, he didn't like their "crabwalk" floorwork – he thought it looked awkward.
The Bottom Two
As always, a backstage coin flip has determined the order in which these crews perform.
Song/Video: "Macarena" by Los Del Rio
"Wtf," one Ringmaster exclaims when learning their challenge (except he says the actual words). Wtf, indeed. Dynamic Edition weren't the only ones having some frustration-based clashes this week. But, as two guys point out in the package, these things happen and they're family and they're confident things will work out. And they did. They did a really smart thing by mixing the song with some Reggae – super, super smart. The mix of choreography and stunts was spot on and creative. I also got a really clear sense of their collective personality. I'm quite impressed by how much they've grown in just a week. Great job.
Song/Video: "Gonna Make U Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" by C&C Music Factory
Oh…C&C and Fake!Martha Walsh. I remember you so very well. Besides an awful lot of pelvic thrusts, the Khicks noticed they managed to combine the Roger Rabbit and the Running Man which they dub "The Running Rabbit." And that's the move they're trying to tackle. They start out with a little wind machine action in their pose and end with it as well – good times. Interestingly, they decided to use Reggaeton in their mix. I liked the number. I think the highlight was when Wendy did a Matrix-like assisted run across four of the others' backs. They did a lot of Running Man variations, including some stutterstep-slides. And I dug how they ended up using the giant scarves around their necks in the choreography. I think this is the first time I didn't see any "halftime" in their routine, if you get what I'm saying.
Judges: JC was worried when he heard the Ringmasters had "Macarena" but he's impressed that they brought swagger to it and loved the Reggae feel. He slo-moes the "flying Macarena" they did, which was cool. Shane really likes how the Fly Khicks came to win and loved the variations they brought in the number. He slo-moes Wendy's Matrix-run. Lil' Mama compliments the Ringmasters in how much they've advanced in such a short time. Lil' Mama also compliments how the Fly Khicks aren't just relying on their beauty, they're actually bringing it with the choreography now.
This is a week where I'm torn. I think both crews did really well this week and, whoever goes home, it'll be a shame. After a commercial break, what was surely a lengthy discussion amongst the judges, and a lot of stretching from Mario, it is revealed that…the Fly Khicks will be moving on next week and the Ringmasters must be going home. Though disappointed, they're gracious and are glad to bring the style of Flexing to the world. They give many shout-outs to Brooklyn and get our first farewell package of the season as well as a standing ovation. Oh, and one of them climbs up the side of the set and flips off onto the stage on their way out.
Assorted Bits & Pieces:
I can't say there's anything wrong with who was sent home and who stayed, it could very easily have gone either way. And all the crews had solid performances tonight. Next week is going to be tough.
I got to talk to Beat Freak and Fly Khicks before the taping but the audio got corrupted somehow so I'll have to do a second take next week.
SoReal Cru, last season's runners-up, were in the audience this week. They didn't show it but, during a lengthy bit of down time, SoReal performed a three-or-so minute routine for the appreciative audience. They're still just as good as they were in the finale.
I didn't see any other well-known folks in the audience but I did meet a pair of filmmakers – sisters Elizabeth and Emily Dell – who've been taping backstage bits of Beat Freaks since Lady Jules is the star of their scripted dance movie, B-Girl. Go to the website for more information and to check out the clips. I'm looking forward to checking it out.
In next week's challenge, the crews will have to include an illusion or magic tricks in their routines.
Did you have a favorite number tonight? Disagree with who was in the bottom two and/or who went home? Is "Macarena" still in your head too?