I usually leave episodes of ABDC feeling a little exhaustion (secondary, of course), but I never expected an episode with such a clumsy pun in the title to leave me quite so emotionally taxed. Whoo—there were tears! From T-Pain. A lot of them!
But that particular emotional rollercoaster didn’t actually start until the last 10 minutes of tonight’s episode. With just four teams left, the crews first split into teams of two to form two “Super Groups.” The crews in the Super Group that landed on the bottom would be facing off for elimination. Normally in situations like these, each pairing might have a gimme—one crew on each team that could be easily disarded no matter what the results. But now that we’re down to these final four, each crew is pretty evenly matched, all champions in their own right (okay, except Kinjaz, but they’ve got their whole descendants of the Jabbawockeez thing going on).
The best thing about the four remaining crews though, is how completely different each of their styles are. From here on out, all calls will be tough calls…
Super Cr3w + Kinjaz = SUPER KINJAZ; “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake
Explosive b-boying plus precise isolations do not a logical combination make. But slap some masks on Super Cr3w and Kinjaz, and they make one cohesive unit. The anonymity of Kinjaz can sometimes leave their routines lacking in intrigue, but here it worked perfectly to blend two crews together in one big show of synchronized athleticism. From the plunging shoulder-stands in the beginning to the final flip, this was a high-flying, high-energy performance.
I.aM.mE + Quest Crew = I AM QUEST; “The Saints” by Andy Mineo
But as fun as the Super Kinjaz routine was, I thought the I Am Quest performance straight up out-funned it. Compared to the anonymity of the super group that came before them, I Am Quest just had so much personality. From the brain-banging (basically tutting on speed) straight from the jump to the moving art on the bleachers at the end, these two crews didn’t just master two styles, they cohesively created an entirely new one for their blended crew.
The judges seemed to agree with that sentiment, which was why it was a little surprising that I.aM.mE and Quest Crew were the teams put up for elimination. But, to be fair, I wouldn’t have wanted to decide between any of the teams on this particular week. All four crews were given control of every element of their performance for the second half of the show and it brought out some of the most innovative work each crew has shown this season.
KINJAZ; beatboxer, KRNFX
When the Kinjaz first said they would be performing without music, I was very concerned—dance is no place for a cappella. But collaborating with beatboxer KRNFX was a little stroke of genius, giving the Kinjaz the perfect showcase for their ability to hit every single beat in a performance. I’m not always as impressed with Kinjaz as others seem to be, but tonight I was in full agreement with the judges about the artistry they created between music and dance in this stripped down, completely focused performance.
SUPER CR3W; “i” by Kendrick Lamar
Super Cr3w were “feeling [themselves],” indeed. There is something so inherently old school about this crew and their mastery of breakdancing, and to see them embrace that in a challenge that was so much about showing their spirit was really fun. And there was Just. So. Much. Happening here! From the synchronized windmills to the “tramp stamp” backflip to that gravity-defying freeze on the bleachers, this was a breathless and brave performance that earned Super Cr3w their spot in the semi-finals much more than their earlier collaboration. These are some of the most innovative b-boys around.
I.aM.mE “Firepower” by Wolfgang Gartner
I get excited for just about every weird, creepy, brain-banging thing I.aM.mE brings to the stage, but from the moment they mentioned the airboards, I knew they might be doomed. So much effort went into mastering those boards—and boy, did they master them—but that effort was practically all you could think about while watching them. That they were carrying each other on their shoulders and doing handstands, and especially the running across the three-person train, was all really impressive, but it was also all about the boards. On a challenge where everyone else went for such a raw connection to the soul of their crew, it made the showiness of this gothic-on-wheels performance feel a little put upon.
Quest Crew; “Take Ü There” by Jack Ü
And when you compare it to the emotional tour de force that Quest Crew brought out at the exact right time in the season, there was just no hope for this battle to go a different way. Quest decided to use the control they were given over this performance to tell the story of… well, Quest Crew. More specifically, it was just them and a bench, used to represent the time they almost decided to disband the crew. As a symbol, it was beautifully incorporated in their dance—supporting them, creating obstacles, facilitating incredible tutting, and sometimes just hanging out in the back while they were spinning and gliding their asses off. Quest said they wanted to show the audience who they are instead of just what they can do; according to T-Pain’s emotional artistic connection to “doing things the way you believe they should be done,” they were successful.
Given all four teams, I.aM.mE wouldn’t have been my choice to go, but the judges felt it was time. It wasn’t all bad news though—Di proposed to his girlfriend in the audience and she said yes! Something tells me T-Pain needs a hug right about now…