Sunday, June 05, 2011

America's Best Dance Crew (Season 6) - Finale Anticipation

As ever, ABDC is wrapping up its season with two crews facing off for the title: I aM mE, a popping crew featuring none other than Phillip Chbeeb, and Iconic Boyz, featuring, in D-Trix's words, "a bunch of dancing Justin Biebers." (More accurately, they're more like Justin Bieber's younger brothers, as the Boyz are mostly 11 years old.) The difference between this season and past seasons, though, is that, as MGK argues, they're the equivalent of Sanjaya Malakar:
[They] aren’t terrible or anything, and in fact are really impressively good for a bunch of eleven-year-olds… but ultimately, they’re a bunch of eleven-year-olds who are up against dancers who in many cases have been dancing for longer than the average Iconic Boy has been alive, and the relatively basic nature of their routines makes it pretty obvious that they’re outmatched.
Iconic Boyz have inexplicably outlasted my two favorite crews of the season: Phunk Phenomenon, a solid all-around crew with great choreography and a great b-boy named Bebo, and Street Kingdom, an all-krumper crew led by none other than Tight Eyez, one of the style's creators and legends. (Street Kingdom struggled at times this season, but when they were on, they brought more epic fire than almost all other crews, past and present.) The judges can't hide their relative lack of enthusiasm for Iconic Boyz, either -- in the top three episode, their praise for IB was damned and faint, but they enthusiastically gushed for Phunk Phenomenon, and were practically transcendental about IME. Lastly, in the penultimate, otherwise completely useless episode where IB and IME battled head-to-head, IME absolutely clowned IB, which I'm considering a precursor to the end of IB's improbable run, and MGK's Sanjaya comparison is key to understanding why.

In addition to Idol, vote-in shows of all kinds have had contestants who progress deep into a competition despite not having the same talent as their peers (all the Coreys on SYTYCD, for instance). However, just as online alarmists reach a certain panicked pitch at the possibility of a clearly unqualified winner, the voters on these shows have demonstrated their ability to self-correct and prevent the Sanjayas from winning. Charm and cuteness can carry a Sanjaya far, but a minimum of talent ultimately rules these programs. (I'm not sure why this self-correction happens -- maybe voters, confronted with the Armageddon of an Undeniable Hack Winning, feel shamed into voting for the worthier contestant, or, the CUET voters constitute one discrete demographic voting en masse, while all the other demographically disparate voters, who previously had been splitting votes among the various contestants, can collectively coalesce behind the other remaining finalist to form a super-coalition to outnumber the speed-dialing fingers of the ZOMG CUET set.) To its credit, ABDC, despite featuring a bunch of finales where one crew obviously doesn't belong, can boast of a worthy list of past winners who can seriously grind, and with all of them (the Jabbawockeez, Super Cr3w, Quest, We Are Heroes, and Poreotix) set to perform tonight on the finale, we'll be witnessing before our eyes a manifest reason to expect IME to pull out the win tonight.

That said, I'm aware that ABDC could fall prey to numbers in a way that Idol or SYTYCD don't. I assume that a cable show is going to have fewer voters than a broadcast show, which means that the smaller sample size of voters allows for greater volatility in the results, and so the people tweens dialing in for CUET might actually overwhelm viewers voting for SKILLZ. There's also the disquieting fact that Iconic Boyz have the distinction of being the only crew this season to have never been in danger of elimination (and we know that they received the most votes heading into the top 3 episode), a testament to their vote-getting abilities.

Nevertheless, I'm putting myself out there: by the end of tonight, I aM mE, America's Best Dance Crew.

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