If you found yourself not totally understanding what the theme of tonight’s ABDC episode entailed, you were not alone—the five remaining all-star crews were also a little perplexed. After all, it’s pretty confusing when the challenge is supposed to be based on “VMA Fashion” but then host Jason Dundas says, “But this challenge is not about style or what the crews are wearing.”
So what is the deal, Dundas? Whatever the “VMA Fashion” challenge’s intent, the five battling crews just decided they could incorporate clothing into their dance in whatever way they wanted. And that is fine by me, because it resulted in some mind-bogglingly creative choreography. If the Step Up movies have taught me anything—and, boy, have they—it’s that being part of a dance crew isn’t really about following the rules, anyway. So, while every crew interpreted the fashion theme in a different way (some with theatrics, some with gender dynamics, some with, uh, shadows), the challenge of incorporating clothing in surprising ways seemed to similarly push each one of them out of their comfort zone.
And the halfway point of this short season is the perfect time to start showing us something new. It was kind of expected that Elektrolytes would be in the judges’ Bottom 2 again this week, but that meant one more crew had to be newly introduced to the hot seat, and that group was Quest Crew, who dealt with some last minute changes to choreography last week due to injury. So, who rose to the challenge, and who was sent packing from the competition with nothing to show for it but Frankie’s eybrow glitter permanently stuck in their suitcases?
SUPER CR3W; “Baby Baby” by TropKillaz
Standout Move: THAT PINWHEEL + PUFFER VEST REMOVAL, THO.
I don’t care what the judges have to say about topping last week’s performance—I’ve come to expect excellence from Super Cr3w and this choreography was excellent. The judges wanted the crew to use more clever tricks with their clothing, but for me the greatest trick (maybe of the night) was that every time I looked at Super Cr3w, they were wearing something different… without me even noticing that they had done any clothes swapping! It took a re-watch of that epic kalaidescope/pinwheel move to even understand that as the members were rotating, they were also rapidly removing their vests. And that’s not even mentioning the minute-long head spins, hat work, or one-armed tripods. Or the abs. Oh, the abs.
KINJAZ; “Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake, feat. Lil John
Standout Move: I’d like to say it was the impressive Twinjaz’ flips, but I am much more easily entertained than that—it was the zipper magic right from the jump.
Every week it’s difficult to pinpoint a standout move for the Kinjaz because they specialize in sharp, explosive choreography that’s consistent throughout. And their dancing tonight was as powerful as ever. But having seen all five crews perform, it’s easy to look back on this one as the least innovative with the fashion concept. The red carpet tug-of-war was an interesting idea, but in execution, it didn’t end up being any more exciting than the standard “Kinj-ized” choreography that came after it. The judges liked their performance but Frankie warned them against becoming too predictable.
I.AM.ME.; “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” by Pentatonix
Standout Move: That final trust fall into nothingness. Dra.mA.tiC.
Now, if we want to talk innovation, I.aM.mE really went for it…like, really went for it, maybe one step too far. Their three part plan was certainly aspirational, but I almost wish they had chosen just one of their concepts and totally nailed it… can you imagine if they had done the whole routine on the floor instead of just giving us a little tease at the end? I.aM.mE is so full of innovative ideas that a little more editing might end up showing off their best ideas and trimming out the ones that don’t click. I loved the “creepiness” of the overall routine though, and it totally came alive about the time Phillip started bone-breaking halfway through. Those two-toned costumes were certainly the wisest actual fashion choice of the night.
THE BOTTOM 2 FACE OFF:
ELEKTROLYTES; “Feel Right” by Mark Ronson, ft. Mystikal
Standout Move: That gravity-defying intro that I still don’t understand no matter how many times I watch it.
The Elektrolytes are theatrical; they’re energetic; they’re full of personality. But in between all of that entertainment, I think they just don’t have as much skill in choreography as the other four remaining crews. Which means that even when they have a ton of talent to showcase, it’s not always displayed to the best of their abilities. The judges pointed out that they didn’t master their props tonight, and for me this performance just felt like a little too much acting and not quite enough dancing. That living room intro was a great example of balancing those two things perfectly, but from there, the balace tipped to the wrong side of the dance crew scale.
QUEST CREW; “Bang Bang” by Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Jessie J
Standout Move: The ponytail work! The poncho!! THE PINK PANTS!!!
At any given time, I have no idea how many pairs of pink pants were on that stage with Quest Crew. Not only was Quest Crew playful and innovative with their wardrobe, but they were masterful in the way that they manipulated it, and respectful of what they were representing with their fashion choices. They weren’t making a mockery of dressing in drag—they were dressed like women and dancing like Quest Crew, just in a whole new way that we’ve yet to see from them. That pink pants scissor slide, into a pink pants flip, into a pink pants ribbon dance was flawless, and bringing in Frankie’s “hair on fleek” comment from the premiere while manipulating around Hok’s ponytail (about which the comment was originally made) was just a subtle stroke of genius.
So, needless to say, Quest Crew was safe, which means champion crew Electrolytes was sent home for the first time in their ABDC career. Who do you foresee battling for survival next week, and who might crack under the pressure of double performances?