America's Best Dance Crew recap: VMA Nominees
The final three crews attempt to leave a lasting impression as the power shifts to the people to declare America's BEST Best Dance Crew.
Well, that was fast. After just five weeks we’re already down to the Semi-Finals—and then, within the same episode, the Finals— with the remaining three champion teams performing their final two routines. Last week, it felt a lot like the judges made the wrong decision on which team should go home, and that tonight’s Finals could have gone in a very different direction (for one thing, a marriage proposal dance). But in the end, everything about these three crews’ final dances felt pretty right. And now, since the judges decided to exercise their “Nah, we’d rather not” power, the decision of who wins among the Final 3 is truly up to the audience.
So, will it be Quest Crew, the team that shows us something almost entirely different every time they hit the stage, but always with the same amount of energy, personality, and flinging themselves through small spaces? Will it be Kinjaz, the only crew that doesn’t yet have an ABDC title, who continue to manipulate precise, powerful movements to tell new ninja tales? Or will it be Super Cr3w, the most emotionally moving and innovative story-telling crew of b-boys you ever did see?
The teams made their final arguments to be named America’s BEST best crew tonight, starting with performances to 2015 VMA-nominated tracks. The judges were then supposed to eliminate a crew before the “statement performance” round—kind of like a statement necklace, but you can’t get it at J. Crew—but they opted to keep all three crews in the game, which is fine by me, because I’m afraid I might not have agreed with their decision. And by “afraid,” I mean “100 percent sure.” But it’s up to America now! This is what you’re looking at…
QUEST CREW; “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk The MoonThe balance between past and present was just a random theme that Quest Crew decided to throw into this routine… and it totally worked. Coming off of last week’s final emotional performance, the guys turned it right back around like they always seem to be able to do, giving a fun, semi-ridiculous, all over the place performance. From crotch-flips to coordinated pants-drops, to the evolution of jumping through tiny arm-hoops, their performance perfectly represented the idea of just shutting up and dancing (with me).
KINJAS; “Earned It” by The WeekendI knew five seconds into this performance that it would likely be what I’ve been needing to see from the Kinjas. The issue I can never quite shake with them is that I’m missing the magic that other people are seeing; with their decision to keep themselves entirely segregated to the bleacher section of the stage, there was no way I could miss anything. And as far as thematic execution goes, they totally nailed it. They were sensual and seductive in a way that we’ve never seen from them before, and that dangling of the masks at the end was pure genius.
SUPER CR3W; “Where Are Ü Now” by Jack Ü, feat. Justin BieberThis was a truly ambitious song choice. As they said in the intro package, 150 beats per minute is nearly impossible, but their Chicago footwork went down flawlessly, with Neguin in particular looking like his feet were on fast-forward. Super Cr3w’s transitions, however—the moments where they weren’t trying so hard to keep up with the beat—felt like they left the routine a little too exposed. But I did love seeing Super Cr3w display a softer side of themselves while simultaneously moving at 100 mph and executing approximately 1,000 elbow flares in a row.
After the judges chose to move all three teams into the Finals to dance for America’s vote, they were challenged to leave a “powerful lasting statement” onstage.
QUEST CREW; Febreeze” by Jack Ü, feat. 2 ChainzI hate saying this, because I think they could very much still win on the body of work they’ve presented thus far, but I don’t think this was Quest Crew’s greatest effort at a “lasting statement.” They definitely served Rufio-realness with their post-apocalyptic look, and the routine was big and bold, but it didn’t define what a dynamic crew they’ve shown themselves to be over the last five weeks. Rudy’s “kama” work—welcome back Rudy!—was pretty thrilling and D-Trix’s solo was as stunning as always, but this performance felt less cohesive, less clever in its movements than many of the Quest routines that have come before it. Which is really too bad because…
KINJAZ; “O.G” by TroyBoi…if you were looking for a time to make your ultimate mark, this was it, and the Kinjaz—for me, at least—finally showed up. When you’re up against gravity-defying b-boys and mind-warping tricksters, subtlety won’t often be to your advantage. But tonight, Kinjaz waited until the very end of their time on ABDC to finally show us the heart and soul of where their routines have been coming from. They literally took us to their dojo and introduced us to their sensei, and with the help of some crazy screen work and their patented intricate synchronicity, I think I finally came to understand the Kinja appeal.
SUPER CR3W; “Block Rockin’ Beats” by The Chemical Brothers (with Q VLN)The last two weeks on ABDC have proven that you just can’t go wrong with live music, and in taking it a step further, combining modern b-boying with classical music played by violinist, Q VLN, Super Cr3w wrapped up their time here with one bad ass, black-tie-not-optional bow. Talk about building momentum… starting with Do-Knock’s theatrics, then moving into masterful break solos from Ben, NaSteve, and Little G, slowly building on more complicated arrangements with the entire crew as the violin transitioned into the synth-y Chemical Brother track, and finally ending with the quintessential Neguin-jump over his entire crew—it felt like Super Cr3w just gave us everything they had, and reminded us of all that they’ve given throughout the season.
So, which of these three champion crews sealed it for you tonight? The vote is open to the public over at MTV and the finale airs at 10 p.m. ET this Saturday night.