Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Red Bull BC One 2008 Results

The Red Bull BC One began streaming from Paris promptly at one o'clock Central time today, with impressive live editing and the general pomp and polish that Red Bull always puts into their event. The MC for the show was Rakaa of Dilated Peoples, who was rocking not one but two Zulu Africa medallions around his neck. The judges came to the stage with brief demos. Ivan seemed all through the event, as usual, to have had several too many Red Bulls himself, jumping around and coming to the stage to spin something when bboys were standing off for too long.

I made my predictions about twelve hours before the start of the event, and I was almost completely wrong, except for Taisuke's battles. Let's see how it went down. Winners in bold.

Round One (round of 16)

I had picked Just Do It against Cico's power game, but in the battle JDI came too slow, really not matching Cico's energy at all, even dragging his feet a little when he went for his own power. I agreed with this win for Cico.

Lil G came to the stage wearing a black full-face ski mask, as if he was in a bad crime movie. He was also wearing a Venezualan flag. Hopefully his country will be inspired to step up in the future. Lil G did bring some nice and fairly original power, but he seemed to crash multiple times per round. Taisuke was able to win even though he looked to be holding back. Amusingly, "Lil" G is actually taller than Taisuke.

Kid David came out first, with several brief throwdowns. After his second, Lil Ceng exploded onto the floor, cutting him off from continuing. Kid David yelled that he wasn't done, but it was too late to stop Ceng. Lil Ceng came with crazy power, almost totally clean... and Kid David didn't do much in his third round... Lil Ceng took the battle 3 to 2. Worth notice: Kid David had a nice four beat freeze combo in his second round. I wanted to see Kid David advance, but Lil Ceng did impress me.

The Brazilian Pelézinho came rocking a lot of Red Bull gear, and raw energy. Baek came with a lot of difficult handstand freeze sequences, but stumbled a little bit on one air baby set. Pelézinho scored the minor upset victory with a 3 to 2 judges' decision.

Benny came out looking obnoxious and effeminate. His whole third set was hand hops. Easy win for Wing, but one judge did go to Benny.

Nasa looked a bit like Kid David with his hat and forward-slung neck. Both came hitting beats, but Mounir brought more energy and snap. Nasa also stumbled considerably in round two. Emphasizing the difference in speed and energy, Mounir left his can of Red Bull at the feet of Nasa at the beginning of his run. The judges went unanimously for Mounir.

Lil Kev should win some sort of award for swagger, especially as a young kid, for redirecting Menno around the platform disdainfully, and then coming out fire before Menno has a chance to get started. I did have to scratch my head at one point when Kev did a headspin flexibility variant that I thought Brahim originated, and in the end he did too many headspins, with something of a stumble in his third round, and the judges supported Menno unanimously.

Kolobok looked a little clumsy and slow compared to Ronnie. Ronnie did hesitate once in his second round, but I was very surprised to see the judges go 3 to 2 for Kolobok. I had to disagree myself, and think this is probably the upset of the event.

Round Two (quarterfinals / round of 8)
They did move down the brackets as I guessed, but I only picked three of the eight initial battles. Wow, worse than flipping a coin.

Cico / Taisuke
I named this "the battle of bad hair" as the bboys came out to battle... As the battle progressed, Taisuke used the power of music, and Cico used all other power - and he repeated a bit from his first battle. In his last round, Taisuke put his foot through Cico's legs as he stood there, and Cico snapped his legs together, holding Taisuke for a second. Not a cool move, Cico. Judges went all for Taisuke, bringing one of my picks to the top four.

Lil Ceng / Pelézinho
I didn't pick either of these guys to be in this round. Lil Ceng smoked Pelézinho, and took his (own) shirt off while doing a headspin. Whatever, Lil Ceng. Pelézinho seemed to be repeating a lot, and the judges ruled unanimously for Ceng.

Wing / Mounir
This battle started with an annoying stand-off resolved by hyper Ivan. Mounir went to the wrong side after his round in defiance of Wing. So, two points for swagger, negative twenty points for losing the battle. (Total: -18 points.) Judges all went for Wing, but not the French crowd... This brings Wing to the top four, as predicted.

Menno / Kolobok
Menno waves off Ivan's proposed spin for priority, winning points with me. I thought he'd battle Ronnie here, and I had Ronnie winning. The judges give the battle to Kolobok 3 to 2, maybe because Menno did so many of his similar baby catch power variants. Kolobok did look better than he seemed against Ronnie here.

Round Three (semifinals / round of 4)

Taisuke / Lil Ceng
These two seemed to be friends, and both sides were having a lot of fun. Lil Ceng came with mad power but stumbled ever so slightly on his last run. Notably, in his second round Taisuke came over the top of Lil Ceng's run perfectly.

Wing / Kolobok
I think Kolobok repeated a move from an earlier round exactly, first thing out in this battle. Wing took it despite doing a lot of similar forarm spin and freeze stuff.

Round Four (finals / round of two)

Taisuke / Wing
I had predicted it'd be Taisuke against Ronnie here. The Japan vs. Korea match-up was probably meaningful to some. Taisuke seemed pissed off through the four rounds, but the consequence was lethargy rather than fire. Music also didn't seem to suit him, consistently changing just as he came out. I think if he had brought more energy and longer sets, Taisuke would have had the win, but as it was, a majority of judges went with Wing, adding to his recent Circle Prinz win.

Red Bull BC One 2008 Bracket

This year - just twelve hours from when I'm writing this - the Red Bull BC One international one-on-one bboy battle is being webcast live from Paris. Yesterday they released the first-round battle match-ups, and I thought I'd put down my predictions. It's like March Madness, except I actually have an interest in it and there isn't really time to start a pool. So here we go! Round winners in bold.

Round One (round of 16)

I think the judges (Ivan, Extremo, Hong 10, Lilou, and Storm) will be a bit power-friendly for my taste, but even so, Cico is a blunt instrument. The power Italian used a 90 as a whole round against RoxRite in a previous BC One. His 90s are some of the best in the world, but he'll have to show more bboy elements to make it here. If he comes off clean, the Nike slogan from Holland can make it to round two.

I haven't seen much of Lil G, but he seems kind of like a Venezualen Cico. Taisuke comes close if he doesn't completely match G for power, and the bleach-blond Japanese Zulu certainly has the well-rounded chops to win his first round.

I didn't realize Flying Steps was still around! I'm rooting for RoxRite's musical crewmate here, but I acknowledge the German's power may win out.

How many times has this Brazilian guy been to BC One now? Korea takes this one.

And... Korea takes this one too. Especially fresh off his Circle Prinz win, I don't expect any surprises from the South African entrant. I have a lot of respect for bboys coming from smaller, isolated communities (thinking Brasil and South Africa) but I don't think the conditions produce the internationally competitive bboys that win BC One. We'll see if the evidence supports my hypothesis.

Who are these guys? Mounir at least has video on the Red Bull site. Looks like he's battled Extremo, one of the judges. Nasa is repping Australia and some crews that I generally like (Zulu/Fresh Sox). They both seem to have kind of goofy hyper attitudes. I like Nasa's name more.

I haven't seen anything from Lil Kev in a while, but I remember him as the boy who was so "Blond, Blond, Blond" in Planet Bboy. I may be wrong to discount him because of his youth, but Menno seems like an easy choice here.

This Kolobok guy seems to have some foot-grabbing moves kind of like Ronnie... But he's not Ronnie...

Round Two (quarterfinals / round of 8)
I don't know if they'll just collapse the brackets like this or rearrange match-ups, so this is all even more speculative...

I think Taisuke will come off cleaner here.

Predicting Baek's arsenal gets tired before Kid David's.

No-name vs. increasingly big name.

I like Ronnie's tops more. Not that I like either's very much, but I have to pick somebody.

Round Three (semifinals / round of 4)

I want to see an international final.

Ronnie comes cleaner.

Round Four (finals / round of two)

Ronnie wins again.

Hmm... It'll be fun to see if I'm right about anything. I'm not particularly excited about how I predict it coming out. It seems like it would be more fun for somebody else to win. If I just pick who I want to win from the list of 16, I'd pick Kid David, Taisuke, or maybe Menno. I'm not sure Taisuke has a sufficiently original aresnal to draw from. Who knows, some of these bboys I don't know as well may totally surprise me. Should be a good show.