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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Retro Review: Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew

Executive Producer: Randy Jackson
Duration: 2008 - 2012 (MTV)
No. of seasons: 7
Release date: Jan 13 2008 (US)
Produced by MTV, Warner Horizon TV
Cast: Mario Lopez (host), Lil' Mama (judge), JC Chasez (judge), Shane Sparks (judge), O'Marion Grandberry (judge), D-Trix (judge)

'Did not deserve to be cancelled'

The loss of America's Best Dance Crew, when it was first announced in 2012 that it would be cancelled after 7 seasons on MTV, was largely disappointing and I would say it has left a big hole in Reality dance shows.

For me personally, America's Best Dance Crew as a spectacle and entertainment-wise, is far more exciting and colourful as a dance show than say 'So You Think You Can Dance?', which I lost all interest in when it came to the live shows, since season 8 of the show. Except for the audition rounds.

America's Best Dance Crew was a dance reality TV show contest, where dance groups known as 'crews' from America and across the globe compete against each other, in a range of weekly tasks to music in order to compete for the big cash prize and the coveted ABDC trophy. The dancing and choreography was more Hip-Hop based and less so on other standardised types of dance, in contrast to America's Got Talent and SYTYCD where you have Jazz, Modern, Tap, Ballet, Contemporary, as well as Hip- Hop etc.

Mario Lopez was a pretty good presenter and he seemed to come off as a natural on the mike as he introduces the crews, one by one. Insofar as the judges go, NSYNC's JC Chasez was the more level headed one, who tried to pinpoint the crews strong and weak points and offer constructive feedback. Rapper Lil' Mama was... okay. You could tell from her, she'd be the most outspoken judge out of the 3, because she isn't afraid of saying what she thinks, regardless of whether or not people will disagree with her. But she is an interesting character. And lastly, D-Trix of ABDC season 4 winners Poreotix; he is the judge who people either agreed or disagreed with some of his comments, so therefore I'd say he acts as a middle man between JC and Lil' Mama.

The best seasons of the series are arguably the first 3 seasons. After that, when MTV and the producers opted for the Seasons of the Superstars concept, it stripped away the essence that made ABDC so unique in contrast to SYTYCD. The music, the song choices at the time was FAR better than in seasons 6 and 7. Back then, with the weekly themes, it wasn't the case of having one artist a week, but a range of artists & genres of songs. And it worked a great deal. But with Seasons of the Superstars, we had to listen to remixed songs, as well as watch routines dedicated to that particular artist. And with that in mind, it limited many of the dance crews freedom to express themselves. Creatively and choreography-wise, some of it was just not very good.

Speaking of the remixes of the songs during seasons of the superstars, it ranged from okay... to the downright dreadful. The producers may have had a say in what songs should go with each routine, but my goodness, the DJs or be it District 78, the people who remixed some of those songs, need to do better. Before in the earlier seasons, the music was more R&B, urban-sounding that reflected the urban dance scene at the time. Because of it, I liked the remixes then. But with R&B and Hip Hop today going towards that techno, euro-dance direction, -which is awful anyway- came some of the over-produced, pop dance-based hip hop. A lot of that pop dance R&B, Hip Hop sound is reflected in the song choices of the last 2 seasons.

Had the show continued today and had I been the producer of America's Best Dance Crew, I would've got rid of the Seasons of the Superstars concept, have less of the child crews and diversify the music more, with less remixes but also have more 80s, 90s, early to mid 00s pop, R&B, dance, hip hop songs. Bringing in themes such as movie challenge, Timberland, Darkchild, 80s challenge weeks for example.

Seasons 6 and 7 might have paled in comparison to seasons 1-5 (well season 7 that is), but this show did not deserve to be cancelled. Given the amount of reality shows that are on MTV, this one is their best one by far & it is a shame that because of the poor ratings, it ended too soon. 

If you haven't seen America's Best Dance Crew but you are into dance or dance shows, then definitely watch it. 


Seasons ratings: (out of 10) 

1 - 9

2 - 9
3 - 8
4 - 8
5 - 8
6 - 7.5
7 - 7

Overall: 8.5 out of 10 

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