Hype 5-0 unleashing tricks to win
BY MAUREEN O'CONNELL
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hype 5-0, the high-energy O'ahu hip-hip outfit competing on MTV's "Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew" will perform tonight as one of the fifth-season show's final four.
"In the first couple of weeks, we were playing it safe. I had enough faith that the crew would do well enough" to make the cut, said Josh "Hazmat" Ulep of his seven-member crew. "Now that we're here with the final crews, we're going to start unleashing a lot of our tricks and cool stuff."
Hype 5-0 landed a spot in the nine-crew national competition last month, after advancing from a west regional competition. Each week, the show issues challenges, ranging from disco dances to interpretations of Lady Gaga and Usher tunes. A panel of judges offers feedback; judges and viewers combine to decide on eliminations.
In tonight's show, Hype 5-0's challenge is to "make something come alive" while dancing to "Morning After Dark" by hip-hop producer and rapper Timbaland, said Ulep, noting that no other details could be shared in advance of the broadcast. But when asked whether the crew would continue to reference the Islands — performances have included touches of hula, aloha shirts, grass skirts and even snorkel gear — he said: "There definitely will be more Hawaiian flavor in there."
Ulep rated Hype 5-0's performance of Britney Spears' "3," which ended with the crew's two girls poised for a kiss, as its best-received effort so far. However, he said, the crew had the best time on stage strutting the Electric Slide during the disco challenge.
"None of us knew how to ... disco," Ulep said. "We looked it up, and in every video we found everyone was having so much fun. It's crazy because when it came to show day, we had a lot of fun, too."
Two years ago, under Ulep's direction, Hype 5-0 began training as a synchronized group. In addition to Ulep, 22, of Wailua, the tight-knit crew includes: Brittnie Aguilar, 18, of Mililani; Casey Kalahiki, 23, of Honolulu; Marc "Dueynutz" Duey, 21, of Kapolei; Jonathan "Ramones" Ramones, 18, of 'Ewa; William "Nessy" Soares III, 19, of Honolulu; and Allen-Charles "Brain" Pascual, 26, of 'Ewa.
The crew's energy is fueled by a steady stream of e-mails and tweets from family, friends and fans.
"They're pretty much the reason we have gotten this far," Ulep said. "Not only because of their votes, but because of the inspiration they're feeding us."
Hype 5-0 auditioned unsuccessfully for a spot on seasons three and four of "America's Best Dance Crew." By making the cut this time, Ulep said, "We are making our dreams come true." He added, "This show allows you to do what you love to do with the people you love."
What's most daunting about the ongoing competition in Los Angeles? The relentless push to create new routines? Nope. It's the "goodbyes" for crews eliminated from the hunt for the show's $100,000 prize.
"You make friends with the other crews," Ulep said. "Knowing somebody has to go home every week is the worst part."