The Real Essence of Street Woman Fighter 2: Has it Failed Street Dancing?

Is Street Woman Fighter 2 failing Street Dancing and losing its essence?

Mnet, along with CJ ENM, brought the Street Dance culture to prime television on August 24, 2021, with the premier of Street Woman Fighter. Ever since, they have created many more seasons, including Street Dance Girls Fighter, Be Mbitious, Street Man Fighter, Anybody Can Dance, and Street Woman Fighter 2. They are also preparing to premier Street Dance Girls Fighter 2 after the finals of SWF2, and Street Man Fighter 2 is expected to follow after that.

Amid these successful years of various street dance programs, the fans have started to question if Mnet has forgotten the show’s essence. When the Street Woman Fighter launched, it aimed to put the faces behind the major K-pop performances and street dancers who are often underestimated as back-up dancers to the forefront. They also introduced the basics of Street Dancing to the audience.

Over time, instead of adding more elements of Street Dancing to the shows, Mnet appears to have shifted towards choreography missions. The latest Street Woman Fighter 2 has particularly disappointed fans in terms of tasks and division of scores. In this article, we will dive deeper into the format of Mnet’s Street Woman Fighter 2 and discuss whether they should incorporate more Street Dance missions into the upcoming shows.

The Lack of Dance Battles in Street Woman Fighter 2

While Street Woman Fighter includes some attractive and all-rounded missions, one of the elements that fans look forward to is the No Respect Dance Battles. However, they were particularly disappointed this year as the show aired more drama than the battles (even after including the special stage episode between Ep 4 and Ep 5).

The rules of the No Respect Battle were that every dancer selects one opponent they could beat in a dance battle. They would compete in a one-on-one dance battle for 40 seconds and perform a rematch if the judges couldn’t select a winner. Round 2 included Duo Battles; a particular Ace Battle was also completed with double points.

  • In total, 45 No Respect stickers were shared, and approximately 33 battles were performed. Out of these, 19 Battles were aired, including the No Respect Battles from Ep 1, Ep 2, the special episode, and the Ace Battles.

This number is higher than the first season when out of 36 Battles, a total of 14 Battles were aired. The number is still much lower for a Street Dance competition, including Battlers crews like Wolf’Lo, Lady Bounce, TSUBAKILL, and MANNEQUEEN.

Does Street Woman Fighter 2 favor choreography dancers over street dancers?

Street Woman Fighter 2 is receiving criticism due to the disproportionate choreography and street dance missions. Eight missions are performed in the show; out of them, only two mission includes Dance Battles, and the rest are choreography missions.

Here, we are not criticizing the choreography genre, expert dancers, or the missions but rather the impact this format has on the survival of the street dance crews. To better understand, let’s walk through the missions:

  • First Mission – No Respect, Battle of the weakest

This mission is one of the only missions that is purely based on Street Dance freestyle battles. Due to this, crews like Wolf’Lo and MANNEQUEEN received a head start in the ranking.

  • Second Mission – Class

The Class mission divided the crews into four ranks- the leader class, sub-leader class, middle class, and rookie class. This was a choreography challenge where the team BEBE, who have experience in choreography, shined with the most number of main dancers.

Worst Dance Battle: Right after the Class Mission, the lead dancers of each class picked the worst dancers and competed with them in a one-on-one dance battle. Here, most of the crew members of MANNEQUEEN were selected as the worst dancers.

  • Third Mission – K-pop Death Match

The third mission of Street Woman Fighter 2 was a K-pop Death Match mission where two crews competed against each other with the choreographies on the same K-pop songs from the Big 4 (SME, JYPE, HYBE, and YGE). They were also required to copy one of the sections from the opposite team that was decided among themselves.

The final scores of this round were selected by the total of Judges’ scores + Live audience votes + Global Popular audience votes + Class mission scores. The street dance crews TSUBAKILL and Wolf’Lo were candidates for the first elimination.

  • Fourth Mission – Mega Crew

The Mega Crew Mission was the fourth and one of the most awaited missions. To win this round, all the crews needed to invite a minimum of 30 dancers, including themselves. Mnet also announced a new theme for this choreography mission that many criticized.

The scores for this mission were calculated by the sum of Judges’ scores + Public Votes. They also added 100 points for the winner of the theme challenge and deducted 100 for the crew that failed to include a minimum of 30 dancers. Following this, the battler crew Wolf’Lo again reached the elimination round.

  • Fifth Mission – HwaSa Choreography

In this mission, crews created choreography for HwaSa‘s new song Chili. In this round, the judges provided no scores; instead, the team whose choreography HwaSa chose received 100 points. These were added to the scores from global votes and public participation in the Chili Challenge. 

All the battler crews, Lady Bounce, MANNEQUEEN, and Wolf’Lo, received the lowest scores in this mission.

  • Sixth Mission – Battle Performance Mission

This is the second mission that included freestyle Battles along with two sections of choreography battles. Basically, the remaining six crews battled against each other in three rounds during the Battle Performance Mission.

The first round was a choreography performance including any amount of members, the second was a choreography performance on the opposite group’s theme song, and the last was a one-on-one freestyle battle. The final scores were decided with the total of Judges Scores + Global Popular Votes + Live Audience votes + HwaSa Choreography challenge scores.

Semi-final elimination battle: After this challenge, battlers crews Wolf’Lo, Lady Bounce, and MANNEQUEEN reached the elimination round. As Wolf’Lo had the lowest scores, they left the stage directly, and the rest of the two crews competed in the semi-final elimination battle, where Lady Bounce was eliminated.

  • Seventh Mission – Ending Credit

This mission will be performed during the finals ceremony, and scores will be decided through the sum of Live Broadcast votes and global Popularity votes. This, too, is a choreography challenge that will be impactful in determining the final winner of the series.

  • Eighth Mission – Global Artist 

Street Woman Fighter 2 announced a new mission similar to their K-pop Death Match mission but includes global artists such as Rihanna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Ariana Grande.

The scores for this choreography challenge will be decided in the same way as the Ending Credit challenge, and the sum of both the challenges (7th + 8th) will select the winners of Street Woman Fighter 2.

From the above-summarized walkthrough, we can conclude that the majority of the missions are based on choreography, and most of the elimination battles are performed by the battler crews. Subsequently, they may favor the choreography dancers over the street dancers. Due to this, audiences are missing out on experiencing an all-around street dance competition.

What are the changes necessary in the format of Street Woman Fighter?

Although this season ends with the final two missions remaining, the show’s creators will continue producing the Street Dance seasons. To provide a better stage, here are a few things that they can keep a note of.

1) More balance in choreography and battle missions

The current format has choreography missions in the center and the battles as the elimination rounds. As such, the show becomes a challenge for expert choreographers, and battlers crews frequently end up in the elimination round.

Due to this, viewers miss out on an opportunity to learn more elements of Street Dance culture, and the participants miss out on a chance to showcase their talents. The crews of Street Woman Fighter 2 that are popular as choreographers, such as 1MILLION and BEBE, are also well-versed in Battles. How great it would be if fans could experience that side of the crew.

2) The judges vs. audience scores

We have previously covered who should decide the rankings in survival shows in the article Judges vs. Audience: Who Should Decide The Finalist of Survival Shows. We highlighted the importance of judges and audience scores; however, their impact is slightly different on shows like Street Woman Fighter 2.

The judges are knowledgeable about the dance techniques, so they should have more influence on the ranking of the contestants. However, the audience’s votes are more critical for challenges such as HwaSa’s Choreography and K-pop Death Match missions. The scoring system of the show should be more balanced.

3) A stage for Street Dancing

Street dancing includes genres such as popping, locking, breaking, whacking, voguing, dance hall, hip-hop, house, and more. When most of the challenges are of choreography, the crews must incorporate their expertise in the genre mentioned above into one song.

While it sounds fantastic, it does make the Street Dance competition just a dance competition. As that is not the aim of this show, Mnet should incorporate challenges that can capture the rules, regulations, and street dance culture, for example, having a Class Mission based on the dance genre and adding more variety in the elimination round than a simple one-on-one dance battle.

Street Woman Fighter and its other sister shows are all excellent in providing a stage for the dancers. The show is also top-rated in South Korea and among international fans. However, they shouldn’t stop at this peak and continue their initiative by incorporating more Street Dance elements, which is the true essence of this show.

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