Three years have passed since “America's Best Dance Crew,” aka “ABDC,” was cancelled by MTV after seven seasons of often-spectacular performances by hip-hop dance crews. When it returns July 29, it will look very different–and have a live finale right before MTV's VMAs.
The teams competing, however, will be very familiar: they're the winners of seasons 2 through 7 — Super Cr3W, Quest Crew, We Are Heroes, I.aM.mE, and Elektrolytes — plus a new group, Kinjaz, formed from team leaders of other dance crews, including season-one winners Jabbawockeez.
The significant changes to the competition series start with the subtitle. Instead of being preceded by “Randy Jackson Presents,” the show title is now “America”s Best Dance Crew: Road to the VMAs.” The former “American Idol” judge turned mentor doesn't seem to be on board with the new season, as his name isn't listed among producers. Instead, it's produced by Hip Hop International's Howard and Karen Schwartz, who were involved with the original series, and Rob Lee's Bayonne Entertainment.
That's because it'll conclude with a live finale right before the Video Music Awards. (Actually, the finale will air right before the pre-show, at 4 p.m. ET on Aug. 30.) The entire season will be VMA-themed, getting dangerously close to being just an extended advertisement for MTV's VMAs.
MTV says that the show will air “six all-new 'Video Music Award'–themed episodes” during which “the all-star crews will have to create routines inspired by 'VMA'-related elements and challenges.”
Also on the Host Mario Lopez is out, replaced by Jason Dundas; all the judges are gone, too, including JC Chasez and Lil Mama. Instead, “Big Brother” cast member and social media mogul Frankie Grande will be a judge alongside singer T-Pain and singer/actor Teyana Taylor.
That's a lot of change, but it's also a lot of potential, especially with the winning groups (almost) all returning to compete against each other. An all-star season featuring should be enough to draw fans back, and their talent should make for a terrific competition, regardless of the VMA tie-ins.
Here's a compilation of dances from season-six winners I.aM.mE to give you a sense of the kinds of performances to expect: