This week on America’s Best Dance Crew 2, the crews had a video challenge. They had to incorporate dance elements from videos – mainly R&B and pop – into their own styles. Shane Sparks thought it was the best episode yet.

There were definitely several groups who landed in my Best spot with ease and with routines that both nailed their task and showcased the particular personality of the crew. One crew tried its best but still lands in the Worst…but for the rest of the show, in reviewing the routines again, I felt like the overall episode was less impressive than it seemed on first viewing.

But the good news first!

BEST

Having just come off covering the most recent season of Top Chef, I am seeing Super Cr3w as the Richard Blais of America’s Best Dance Crew. Is there crossover between the audience for those shows besides me and our editor John Kubicek? Well, in case folks aren’t familiar, Blais came into Top Chef and dominated so strongly, it seemed for a while like they ought to just hand him the title and then let the rest of the chefs compete without him.

Super Cr3w seems similarly positioned to dominate. While JC Chasez faulted them for not having enough choreography (leading Sparks to primly point out that breaking is choreography), I can only see this team failing to win votes if they get too cocky. They have a lot of personality, tons of fun creativity in how they tweak their routines, and what seems to be extremely sharp skills. John pointed out in his recap the move that blew my mind, where some of the dancers appeared to just jump up in the air prone from a push-up position. I can barely do a non-girly push-up, much less hurtle my entire body three feet in the air. Come to think of it, I couldn’t even jump three feet in the air standing. I’m not a dancer, so that’s not really saying anything, but if something like that were easy for a dancer, I think I would have seen it before. Mind = blown. (Also mind = blown by the still accompanying this article. Is your arm supposed to bend like that?)

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As to their potential downfall, when asked in post-performance interview if they are the crew to beat, they either very humbly or very wisely did not pull any attitude and were gracious towards all the teams. Good job, guys, keep it up.

Fanny Pak might not be as explosive as Super Cr3w, but they are very creative and their performances are fun to watch, even if this one wasn’t technically perfect. What is so great about Fanny Pak is that they have a very clear idea of what Fanny Pak is, and this clear style makes their routines cohesive and well thought-out. 

I don’t mean to make it sound like A.S.I.I.D. doesn’t have skills, because the crew clearly does, but I can’t get away from how much confidence and stage presence the performers have, and how it makes them so entertaining to watch. I don’t think there was any one thing that was really outstanding in their performance, other than the deep back bend they did that would make any yoga master proud.  But it was still one of my favorites for how enjoyable the whole was to watch and for the swagger, as Lil’ Mama likes to acknowledge, the group brings. I also agreed with JC Chasez that they made the slower-tempo song feel more energetic and lively.

On the other hand, Supreme Soul hasn’t charmed me the same as the above three groups, but this performance was really strong. The routine was so intricate but they made it look effortless, and as the judges noted, made up for the weak performance last week.  I loved the slowed-down warp they did at the end; as the judges have noted, your performance doesn’t stop when the song does, and those who give you a little extra something show their creative flair.

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WORST

I hate to put them in the bottom twice, because they seem like a nice and talented group of women, but against the other crews, I think the right decision was made to send Sass x7 home. I wish they had gone a little further with the snake charmer/belly dancer undulation movements. They had the belly dance hip bells on and everything, but the routine seemed too tightly controlled for the kind of loose gyrations needed to capture the mood of that song.

THE REST

I still see SoReal Cru’s potential (and liked their outfits betters!) but they are still just not quite at the top for me. I think the groups at the top either had more creativity in their routines or were tighter technically. SoReal Cru doesn’t seem to have as strong of a sense of crew personality, so when they make minor errors on America’s Best Dance Crew, it’s not as easy to forgive.

I am not quite sure why I am sort of fond of Phresh Select, probably because they used New Jack Swing last episode and I thought that was a bold move. (Also I am old and it made me nostalgic.) But this routine – despite some great moves and costumes that disproved my assertion last week that no one can get loose in a vest – just didn’t wow me. I think, like SoReal Cru, the group is maybe a little bit less set on what their crew personality is, and until they have a vision to present, the routines seems muted, even when strong.

Xtreme Dance Force did well with their challenge, I agree. The fact that I’m not putting them in the top might just come down to personal taste. They haven’t yet charmed me, and so the pretty boy thing just rings a little hollow when you don’t find them particularly alluring. However, I did admire their ability to spring back after Sparks’ harsh criticism, so maybe if they can stay humble and work hard, I’ll come around.

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Boogie Bots are still not quite there, but this routine was getting closer. I could see this group having the creativity of Super Cr3w or Fanny Pak, but they seem a little discombobulated and just need, I think to continue to refine their vision.

– Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Image and video courtesy of MTV)