JC Chasez (above with Layla Kayleigh America's Best Dance Crew host) is a judge, along with choreographer Shane Sparks and rap diva Lil Mama on ABDC. Since the show’s inception, he’s been a judge that is particular with execution and choreography that sometimes leads to audience members booing him whenever he has a solid critique of any of the popular b-boy/dance crews. Don’t call him a Simon Cowell because he understands the hardship the groups have to face.
JC took a few minutes out of his time before the show taping backstage to wow me with his judging sensibilities.
ASIANCE: You’re in your second season as a judge on “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew” and it seems like you’ve been a bit harder on the b-boy/breakdancing crews, why is that?
JC: I’m not necessarily harder on the b-boy crews but you know, I will point out things that should be worked on. Here’s the thing. I respect all these crews. I respect the athleticism of these b-boy crews because they are doing things that take a lot of agility and a lot of strength, a lot of concentration. I’m going to tell you right now that a lot of those flips on my best days is not happening. I have the utmost respect for these guys but at the end of the day, in order to entertain for a long period of time, there has to be more. You have to so range. If all you do is back flips for an hour, it becomes less impressive 45 minutes in. The first back flip is wowing, the second one is wowing, and the twentieth one has lost its edge. I’m looking for range and execution.
ASIANCE: Talking about range, do you see that with Fanny Pak? Personally, I thought of them as the underdog but then now they have some contention to get to the top.
JC: They are definitely an underdog. In my opinion of what they have over all the groups, they have a creative element. They are a bit more visionary when it comes to the overall entertainment level. They don’t do a thousand back flips and yet you’re excited to see them, as you are an acrobatic group. There is something to be said of that. But I think at times some of the groups have given us that. It’s just a matter of everybody living up to their fullest potential.
ASIANCE: It’s coming down to the wire with only five groups left as of today (Tuesday, July 22, 2008), it’s harder for you as a judge to send someone home?
JC: It’s definitely tough to be a judge right now because basically I’d say four out of the five groups; we’re like it’s going to be impossible to send home.
ASIANCE: Do you feel like there’s going to be a surprise upset where you say, “Oh My Gosh, we have to send one of these groups home.”
JC: Here’s the thing. On any given day, these groups can have their best day and they can have their worst day when the pressure is on that day.
ASIANCE: For you seeing these groups perform, does that give you the bug to get back out there and dance?
JC: I enjoy it and I enjoy watching these groups. I’m very fortunate to be in a position where I have a front row seat to a great show. To be it’s like a dancing concert to me while I’m kind of taking notes along the way. I’m a fan of all these groups. I know how hard they work and they put their time, their thought and energy into it and I appreciate it. I know I’m judging but I’m enjoying it. When I see them working at it, it’s inspiring and makes you want to go to work.
ASIANCE: I asked Shane Sparks about this, what group or what particular moves from a group has blown you away this season?
JC: Any in particular move, ah, maybe the air flairs. I just love the lines that I see with Fanny Pak. The lines they use are so unique. They are not going with generic lines when they are putting their legs or arms out. They are giving me something that is angular and eccentric. I’ve haven’t been overexposed to it, so I feel like I’m watching something new all the time. I also love the cleanliness of SoReal. They’re great. When it comes to execution, they are unbelievable. I would say those two are the greatest.
ASIANCE: Once the show wraps up, what’s in the pipeline for you?
JC: I’m doing this show. I’m also going to shoot a small part in a film. Also, I’m always in the studio writing whether on my stuff or other people’s stuff.
ASIANCE: Any plans for an album?
JC: That’s always in the pipeline.
(As of this writing, there are four crews left. They include Fanny Pak, SoReal, SuperCr3w and Boogie Bots. The show airs on MTV every Thursdays at 10:00 pm et/pt. with reruns through out the week.)
Interview by Peter Gonzanga of Pacific Rim Photo Press