America’s Best Dance Crew Season 5: Regionals – The South

America’s Best Dance Crew is back for it’s 5th season which means that we’ll be here to comment and critique the competition week by week giving our predictions and thoughts on each of the performances. Last season I got a lot of shit for some of my predictions so hopefully I can stir up just as much conversation this year. So without further adieu lets get to it.

Season 5 instantly starts out a little different than season 4, for one Shane Sparks has been replaced by Omarion. If you’re confused as to why Shane was replaced, it may have something to do with the fact that he was charged with 8 counts of child molestation… pretty serious stuff. As far as I know nothing has been proven and his lawyers assure us (as they always do) that the charges are baseless and the truth will come out in the end, but in the meantime MTV apparently didn’t feel that it was right to put Shane on the show so they replaced him with Omarion. Before seeing tonight’s episode I was open to the change in judges, even though Shane is by far my favorite judge, but after seeing tonight’s show, I may actually prefer listening to Lil Mama over him. I guess we’ll just have to see how he does, it was the first show so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The second thing that’s a little different is the format of the start of the show. Instead of jumping right into the first week with the final 9 groups already competing, we get to see the top 5 groups from each region battle it out for 3 spots in the finals and tonight was The Dirty South. Once the 5 groups all performed the judges chose the top 2 who automatically move forward and then the remaining 3 had to battle it out for the final spot. Let’s get to the performances (after the jump).

[I apologize, MTV hasn’t put video of tonight’s show up yet, but I’ll hopefully have them up tomorrow]

Up first was Jungle Boogie. This group brought their “crankin” style to the stage in an interesting, but fairly good performance. I will say that I wasn’t feeling it at first, but compared to the other groups that went tonight they were actually pretty good. There were a few sloppy moments in the performance, but I think everyone had the first night jitters and can’t expected to be perfect… it’s not like it’s the finals yet anyways. So like I said, they were decent and the judges apparently thought so as well as they were voted in the top 2 and moved forward to the finals.

Next up was Ghost(? pretty sure, GF is watching The Buried life so I can’t go back to check so let me know if I’m wrong with the order). Their style is totally different than any of the other groups on the stage, it’s more of a slow melodic type dance and I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. It had sort of a creepy horror movie type vibe to it, partly because of the “white out” contact lenses, but more so because of the interesting popping moves and the way the dude in the center was able to move his head like it was totally detached from his body, that was pretty cool. So while I actually enjoyed this group’s main performance more than Jungle Boogie, they sadly did were not picked as one of the top 2 groups of the night and were forced to battle for the remaining spot, but we’ll get to that in a minute. And since people were asking, they performed to a master mix of the song “Android Porn” by Kraddy, which you can find on Kraddy - Android Porn / Steppin' Razor - Single - Android Porn here (the master mix on the show may be a little different than the recorded version).

Swagger Crew was up next and I think it was pretty obvious that they were by far the best group of the night. All of their moves were pretty tight and the whole performance was entertaining, but I do agree with the judges that about halfway through, when the intensity picked up, everything just went through the roof and became an amazing performance. So if you couldn’t tell this group was the first group that the judges sent through to the finals and I have a feeling they will do pretty well in the competition, but of course we’ve only seen 3 out of 9 groups so far so that could obviously change in the coming weeks, but so far I feel they are the best group we saw tonight.

Next up was X-treme Motion and right out of the box I already had a feeling these girls would succumb to the, kind of, curse that other girl groups in the past had succumbed to, and I was right. They tried to bring a style called “buckin” which is, I guess, getting really low and kind of popping your ass out really fast? I don’t know, I didn’t quite get what they were trying to do and apparently the judges didn’t either as they were not voted into the top 2 and had to battle at the end of the show. And while I wanted to give them a chance they didn’t really impress me at all with the performance. I feel like this kind of group is more suited for a poms type atmosphere or a cheering type thing (sorry I don’t really know the dance terms for what I’m trying to say), but I don’t think they were really a fit for this competition, which is kind of how I felt about Artistry in Motion last season.

And finally we have Royal Flush and honestly these guys did not impress me at all. Their main performance just seemed very sloppy and simple. The moves didn’t seem as powerful or as difficult as some of the other groups and I just couldn’t get into it, not to mention the use of the cards was completely corny as Omarion said (might have been the only good advice he gave anyone all night). I don’t really have much else to say about this group, really wasn’t feeling their main performance and neither were the judges as they too had to battle it out against Ghost and X-treme Motion.

So that leaves us with the final battle between Ghost, X-treme Motion and Royal Flush. X-treme Motion came out first and did alright and may have actually been the best of these 3 groups in the final battle, in my opinion. Ghost was up next and seemed really out of place with this kind of fast paced dance style. Their slow moves and freaky popping didn’t really hold up with the beat of the song and the energy of the other two groups, which is a shame because I thought their main performance was the best of these 3 groups. Lastly, Royal Flush came out and didn’t really do a “group” dance. It seemed more like a feature, meaning they spotlighted one or two people from the group out front for a few seconds while the rest of the group did something in the background and then they would rotate. It was ok, but I wouldn’t say it was spectacular, but in the end the judges decided that their final performance was the lesser of the 3 crews and were given the go ahead to the finals.

So there you have it, from the dirty south our first 3 crews to make it to the finals are Swagger Crew, Jungle Boogie and Royal Flush. And if we’re making predictions as to how it would play out if these 3 were the only 3 in the competition, it would be that exact order. So this season started off decent, I’m looking forward to seeing what we get from the East and West coasts in the next couple weeks and then of course I’m excited for the finals to start on February 18th.

So what did you guys think of the first episode? What did you think of Omarion? meh… Do you like the idea of seeing the regional finals instead of jumping right into the final 9 crews?