I’ve recovered from my trauma and am ready to write about a less baffling and tumultuous show. Last time on Street Woman Fighter we saw Lee Chaeyeon and the rest of the WANT team lose to LACHICA in their elimination battle. Even though arguably the biggest draw for the show is now gone, enough personality remains in the rest of the cast to keep us entertained for the last few episodes.
The mission to choreograph Jessi‘s new song “Cold Blooded” acts as more of a mini-mission, as not much broadcast real-estate is afforded to the prep process. We pretty much only get to see the results, which are pretty standard for the most part. Prowdmon get conceptual with their choreo, going for a traditional-inspired sword dance. AIKI from HOOK dons a bedazzled brassiere and does a little twerk for their go. Psy and Jessi say that YGX‘s choreography is the most clean (and the least complicated), which leads them to being selected as the winner. The rest of the crews are asked to participate in the recording process.
And just like that we’re already half-way done with episode 7.
The main mission following the next elimination will be the ‘Men Of Women’ mission, which asks each crew to work with a handful of self-recruited male dancers for the performance. The crews introduce their special guests at a lavish rooftop dinner, complete with the required kowtowing to the show’s beverage sponsors. The editing here jumps around in time between the performances, rehearsals, and the dinner, so let’s just go in order of performance.
LACHICA invites the Coming Out Crew and 2AM‘s Jo Kwon for their “sculpture”-themed performance, a vogue-centric stage using Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way” as the backing track. LACHICA’s Simeez runs a heels company, and Jo Kwon happens to be one of her best customers. They snag the “tornado” pants and gloves from their work on CL‘s “Spicy“, and Jo Kwon gets to dress like a big spiky S&M sea cucumber. Expectations aren’t high from the other teams, as their concept gets a prediction of low ranking.
After the performance, Gabee can’t help but hold back tears, having pulled off her dream performance on the show. The judges resonate with her honest emotions and give them high marks.
HOOK wants to bring a fun vibe to their concept, which will use The Weather Girls‘ “It’s Raining Men“, and call on popping crew Da’onez for support, as well as super special guest WetBoy. WetBoy went viral for dancing in the rain and parleyed a Chris Brown repost into a full-blown music career.
HOOK’s theatrical performance comes complete with a complextro breakdown in order to feature the guest poppers, topped off by the WetBoy appearance and a human bicycle setup. Very fun, but HOOK themselves weren’t featured very prominently.
CocaNButter‘s recruits are a cadre of masculine krumpers: Counter, DOOR, and KNUCKS. KNUCKS is leader Rihey‘s IRL boyfriend, who wants to return her crew the confidence they’ve been depleted of following weeks of low scores. In addition, bboy Juice and contemporary dancer IBAN also join the squad, as CocaNButter want to choreograph a performance that involves a plethora of genres. The celebrity quotient may not be high, but the skill is there.
On CnB’s prediction card, YGX keeps coming for them, and Zsun in particular is not having it.
The performance itself is well-executed; CocaNButter are able to weave in the multiple styles of dance deftly and logically. The decision to use scant costuming is functional, as the lights are used to draw silhouettes and draw attention to specific parts of the performance. The judges are impressed by their dynamism and intensity.
HolyBang‘s secret guest isn’t that much of a secret. At the dinner, leader HoneyJ brings out her long-term partner and collaborator Jay Park. The pop star has a long history as a bboy even before his debut, so it’s a natural fit. Along with Jay comes JOONY, WaSsup, xion, and Mr.Force, veterans that even Monika has a lot of respect for. They plan on an “interstellar”-themed performance.
Their performance has HolyBang doing what they do best: hip-hop dancing. The unisex outfits accentuate their moves but also allow the celebrity guests to blend in without sticking out. Along with their strong synchronization, both the judges and the other crews remark how cool it is that a celebrity like Jay Park is able to deemphasize his profile.
Prowdmon only has one guest dancer, drag performer Kyam of Elizabitch. Their concept involves both sides gender bending, with the Prowdmon crew donning wigs to appear more masculine.
Their performance is pure modern dance, interpreting Jill Scott‘s “Womanifesto” quite literally with their movements. With no beat and a simple humming melody, it’s absolutely wild to see a performance like this on the show. It’s also immediately apparent that it’s not going to score very high. But a stage as conceptual and academic as this invites a lot of interpretation and reaction, and even just within the confines of the competition, it’s a brave performance.
YGX is the final crew to present and their guests are all-stars from the YGX stable, including the Kwon Twins, who have been dancing with YG Entertainment‘s biggest stars for over a decade. Also present is performance director Park Hyun Woo, Yoon Jin Woo, and Park Hyunse. They’re going for a high-school theme, and the other teams aren’t so impressed.
YGX’s performance is energetic and fun. YELL finally has someone else to breakdance with. But stylistically it has a lot of crossover with their previous Mega Crew performance, and they didn’t necessarily do that well last round either. The judges are concerned with the repetition as well, asking if they have anything else left in the tank.
The final performance over, Kang Daniel takes the stage to announce the judges’ results.
6. YGX – 274 points
5. Prowdmon – 276 points
3. LACHICA – 286 points (tie)
3. HOOK – 286 points (tie)
2. HolyBang – 289 points
1. CocaNButter – 292 points
CocaNButter cries and their loyal himbos hoot and holler at the results.
It’s judgment time, as the crews file back into the arena. Again, the global vote will factor into the final score, along with the bonus points earned from the Jessi sub-mission. The lowest ranking crew at this juncture will be immediately eliminated, while the 4th and 5th place crews will have to battle in order to secure a spot in the final.
The crews file back into the fight zone in anticipation of the final results. First, the points for the Jessi sub-mission are announced. 100 points go to Jessi’s pick, and then 100 points go to the global pick. YGX, as previously announced, get the P Nation points. The global points go to HOOK. Gabee encourages AIKI to show her ass more often.
Finally, Kang Daniel begins to reveal who moves on to the final. The first announced are HolyBang, who rank 2nd overall for this round, with a global score of 700 points. Their global vote ranking for this mission was the top overall. HOOK, however, gets 2nd in the global vote, and, along with their Jessi points, win 1st place overall.
3rd place and the last safe spot in the final round goes to CocaNButter over YGX. Even with 100 points from the Jessi mission, YGX is unable to bridge the gap from their lower than expected performance in the Men Of Women mission.
The final result to announce is 6th place. Prowdmon unfortunately comes in last, meaning they are eliminated immediately. Monika expresses her apologies to their fans, but no regrets for their performances.
The last bit of business to take care of is the last crew vs crew battle. YGX and LACHICA will battle it out over 5 rounds in order to decide who goes on to the final and who is eliminated. LACHICA comes with experience, having previously battled their way to victory over WANT last round. YGX wonders if they might not be exhausted from having gone the distance last battle. The first round, like before is a full crew battle. The next two are 1v1s, the fourth round is a 2v2, and then there’s one last 1v1 battle to decide the result.
LACHICA go first in the team battle, coming at YGX with a hip-hop dance routine. YGX return fire with a high-energy routine, complete with a dig at Gabee getting caught in her pants during the first episode. The meme does its job and YGX takes the first round.
The second round is Rian vs. YELL. YELL flexes her bboy skills with impressive flair, but struggles when they dance together, partially because of not being able to hear the music properly due to her hearing impairment. Nonetheless, Rian takes round 2.
Round 3 is a clash of leaders, LeeJung vs Gabee. Gabee pulls out her trump card with the Gloria Gaynor, but still loses to LeeJung’s fresh exuberance.
Round 4 is 2v2, and the pairings are somewhat unexpected. YGX sends out YELL and Isak, while LACHICA sends out Simeez and Peanut. Instead of the expected waacking performance, Simeez and Peanut once again turn to a fierce hip-hop routine via DMX‘s “Get It On The Floor“. YELL and Isak follow suit with sharp routine themselves. LACHICA takes round 4, making way for (yet another) rubber match.
The final round features YGX’s Yeo Jin, and LACHICA’s Peanut once again. Yeo Jin flexes energy and creativity, but Peanut’s world-class waacking routine puts everyone at attention and ultimately takes the round 3-0. LACHICA moves on and YGX are eliminated.
So, prior to the grand finale, we bid farewell to two of the most popular crews on the show. But Mnet has done a decent job of fleshing out the narratives of the other crews, which gave the show plenty of momentum heading into the finale.
Recap of that (and the show) coming shortly.
- I’m not at all disappointed that Prowdmon went out like they did; their stage for the semifinal was high-concept but low-performance. But like Monika said, their initial goal was to prop up the dancers who worked so hard in Korean entertainment without fanfare. That goal was accomplished rather quickly. To have a farewell stage that, in their way, challenged the ideas of gender and womanhood, it was probably the best way to send them off.
- It was about time that themes of gender and queer culture finally poked their heads into the show. While there wasn’t a direct dialogue about it, the overt presence of not one but two queer-coded performances being a part of the semi-final made it unavoidable. I feel like Street Fighter Woman has enough general popularity (definitely moreso than Girls Planet 999) that perhaps it might be some viewers’ first time seeing these types of things. And like Gabee said, “someone will be cheered up watching our performance“, which rings true! It’s just really funny she has to code things that way on this show.
- LipJ with a mouth full of food screaming about WetBoy is a mood.
- YGX dug up a gem with their choice of music with this DJ Jayhood/Sharaya J track. As a huge fan of Jersey/Baltimore/Philly club, seeing the continuing influence of the regional club style still persist in modern performance always brings joy to my heart. I also knew they wouldn’t rank very well, it’s battle dancing, and battle dancing is often difficult to get across as a sensational, organized performance. The format of the style lends itself to a lot of integration and improvisation, which allowed the YGX crew to incorporate all their interests, a little bboy flare here, a little bit of vogue there.
- LOL at everyone in HolyBang turning to Jay after Prowdmon’s performance to ask for a translation and him just being like “uhhhh…”
- A lot of the dancers on the show have had their iljin turns, but Gabee’s bad girl reversal is just as compelling. If you show someone the first couple episodes of SWF and then say Gabee was the one who was going to appear first on Chuu Can Do It, I don’t think many would believe you.