America's Best Dance Crew 3 premiered this week, and much to my delight, almost all of the crews this season are super-fantastic and funky-fresh, especially the posse of fly girls known as Beat Freaks and the literally freaky quadruple-jointed sideshow crew Ringmasters. However, I have mixed feelings about season 3, because my favorite contestants, Quest Crew, seem to have an unfair disadvantage.
Quest Crew have definitely got it going on, but they also have a few familiar faces in their midst: specifically, three much-loved alumni from another equally awesome competitive dance show, So You Think You Can Dance. Now, MTV has no rules (to my knowledge) that contestants from SYTYCD should be barred from appearing on ABDC, and these Quest Crew members certainly have the talent to compete. But I do think that it's odd that on this week's ABDC3 season premiere the Quest Crew dancers' backgrounds were NEVER mentioned once (particularly suspect considering that ABDC show judge Shane Sparks himself is a SYTYCD veteran and has surely worked with these guys before). Plus, there was no casting special this season to explain how these guys were actually recruited to the finals in the first place.
And of course, as much as I love Quest Crew (they're my faves so far), I do think they have an unfair advantage over the other groups, since they already have a built-in fanbase among the many diehard SYTYCD viewers who also watch ABDC in the off-season. Also...will Shane Sparks be biased? He has a history with these guys, after all.
See, the three SYTYCD alums in Quest Crew are among the most popular SYTYCD contestants in that show's run. Most notably, there's Hok, the cutely cornrowed B-boy who made multiple memorable appearances on the program. Hok auditioned for three SYTYCD seasons straight before finally succeeding (he almost got through once, but visa issues prevented the Tokyo-born, England-based dancer from competing in the U.S.). Then, on SYTYCD season 3, he made it to the top 12.
Then there's another season 3 SYTYCD finalist, Dominic--the adorable showboater with a dopey schoolboy crush on SYTYCD hostess Cat Deeley and a comical inability to differentiate between British and French accents. (He mistook Cat for a Frenchwoman...and who knows, maybe he still thinks Hok is from Paris as well.) Dominic was a lovable charmer and a kickbutt dancer, which helped him get all the way to the top 8 in the show's third season, and will probably help him get far on ABDC, too.
And finally, there's one of SYTYCD's all-time best B-boys, jaw-droppingly brilliant street dancer Ryan. This was a guy whose moves were so unprecedented, they rendered even judge Mia Michaels speechless--and when Mia got her hands on him as a choreographer, she molded him into a surprisingly capable lyrical dancer as well. Additionally, Ryan had distinctively jagged Statue-of-Liberty hair that remained remarkably unmussed no matter how frenetically he busted his moves. (I am kind of surprised a hair-gel endorsement didn't come his way after his SYTYCD star turn.)
So, yes, I am torn about Quest Crew. On the plus side, I am thrilled to have these guys back on the air, doing what they do best, what they were born to do: real street dancing, not some stupid cha-cha or paso doble or soft-shoe Broadway routine. But on the minus side, I'm a little concerned that they're going to make the ABDC3 competition unfair for the other crews, due to their additional competitive experience and existing fanbase. And I find ABDC3's total lack of acknowledgement of the boys' background disconcerting--kind of like how I felt when American Idol completely overlooked Carly Smithson's old MCA Records deal last year.
On the other hand, maybe it's Quest Crew who are at somewhat of a disadvantage, as their illustrious SYTYCD credentials may make the judges and viewers hold them to a higher standard. Either way, I look forward to seeing what Quest Crew can do. They better bring it.