Thursday, March 20, 2008
Kaba Modern eliminated in MTV 'Best Dance Crew' contest
Despite many fans and judges' praise, UC Irvine dance team doesn't make it to Top 2.
By KATHERINE NGUYEN
The Orange County Register
Which crew deserved to be eliminated Thursday on "America's Best Dance Crew"?
STATUS QUO of Boston
KABA MODERN of Irvine
JABBAWOCKEEZ of San Diego
Total Votes: 79
KABA MODERN: The UC Irvine dance team on the set of MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew."
MITCHELL HADDAD, SONY STUDIOS
After making it to the top three groups battling it out on MTV for the title of "America's Best Dance Crew" and a $100,000 cash prize, UC Irvine's Kaba Modern was eliminated on Thursday's episode.
At the start of the show, it was down to Boston's Status Quo group and two crews from Southern California – Kaba Modern and San Diego's JabbaWockeeZ. Status Quo emerged as the viewer favorite, managing to nab the most number of votes to keep them safe in the competition.
That left Kaba Modern's six dancers – Mike Song, Jia Huang, Lawrence Kao, Cindy Minowa, Tony Tran and Yuri Tag – to square off with JabbaWockeeZ's crew of masked and gloved dancers.
The theme of Thursday's episode was paying homage to classic hip-hop dance moves. JabbaWockeeZ churned out a frenetic breakdance routine that landed them a roaring standing ovation from the audience.
Kaba Modern showed off what's become their trademark: Precise, intricate choreography with a few funky twists and fluid flair.
"I love their attention to detail," said former N'Sync member J.C. Chasez, one of three judges on the show. "To move like that takes a lot of discipline and I just love their personalities on the dance floor, they're so enthusiastic."
The audience, made up of mostly JabbaWockeeZ and Kaba Modern fans, began chanting: "Keep them both! Keep them both!"
In the end, the judges voted to send Kaba Modern home, even though various blogs and YouTube comments were teeming with fans anticipating a finale with only the two West Coast crews.
When it was announced that Kaba Modern was eliminated, the group huddled together on stage in a big group hug.
The audience began chanting again: "Let Kaba dance! Let Kaba dance!"
Until the last few episodes, Kaba Modern had consistently placed at or near the top for all the challenges, which ranged from dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to mimicking a popular MTV dance video and portraying movie characters.
But Kaba Modern faltered in last week's challenge. The task was to add hip-hop flair to a Broadway number and Kaba Modern had to perform to Grease's "You're the One that I Want." During the routine, Yuri Tag missed a step and was later singled out during a critique by judge Lil' Mama.
This week, the dancers explained what happened: "Our music got changed last minute," said Mike Song. "So at 10 p.m. the night before, we had to make adjustments to our choreography."
Song and others from the group said they will go on with their normal lives; a few who were attending UC Irvine will go back to school.
Shane Sparks, a noted industry choreographer and judge, also had high praise for Kaba Modern.
"I think Kaba Modern is one of the most talented crews on this show. They're a very controlled and disciplined group."
With the finale a week away, Sparks revealed that he had a favorite crew: "This whole time I've been rooting for JabbaWockeeZ but now Status Quo is the crew to beat."
MTV officials said "America's Best Dance Crew" has become the network's No. 1 new series this year. More than 5 million viewers voted during the last episode. A second installment of "ABDC" will air in June and auditions for new crews will held in April in major cities like Los Angeles and New York.
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