Queens of the Crews
BY William McGuinness
August 17 2009 12:00 AM ET
Before a Friday morning rehearsal of Randy Jackson's show America's Best Dance Crew, dancer Jorel Rios pulled on a pair of Dolce & Gabbana sweat pants and tied his gold Nike Air Force 1's while fellow Vogue Evolution member Leiomy Maldonado dragged a sponge of cover-up across her forehead.
The group of five New Yorkers had been working on their routine throughout the week, struggling through practices and stressing about their timing. Though they had to perform in a style unlike that of their underground ball scene, they still thought they had an advantage over the other groups. It was Beyoncé week, and gays like them had been emulating her for years.
America's Best Dance Crew brings groups from across the country to Warner Bros. studios, where they perform and get eliminated one at a time in dance-show style. Hosted by Mario López and judged by industry people or former celebrities trying hard to appeal to an urban market, the show weaves an underdog subplot into the competition to such an extent that viewers may consider texting a vote for all of the groups.