America's Favorite Dance Crew exclusive
America's Best Dance Crew is back and judge Lil Mama phoned SheKnows to give us the inside scoop on the hit show entering its third season.
Alongside fellow judges Shane Sparks (hip-hop choreographer: Britney Spears, 'N Sync) and former 'N Sync singer JC Chasez, Lil Mama brings womanly wisdom to America's latest favorite dance show.
Mama can dance!
SheKnows: As someone who's been a part of the show since the beginning, with all the buzz about dance, you have to feel great heading into the new season.
Lil Mama: I'm feeling really good. It's really a balanced show. I can tell you that in terms of entertainment. You're never going to know who's going to win at any point, unlike previous years. It's going to blow your mind.
SheKnows: You are someone, who dance-wise, has probably seen things that you've never seen before, but are you still witnessing dance that drops your jaw?
Lil Mama: It's always great to see people who work so hard to keep their bodies in shape. These people work so much so they can do things we've never seen. Towers of three people standing on top of one another, to see that done before my eyes is amazing.
SheKnows: You're face, when these dancers do these amazing things, your thrill is written all over your face.
Lil Mama: If someone does something that really surprises me, (laughs) it's going to be written all over my face. I can't hide it.
SheKnows: What else is amazing to me is the diversity of the groups competing on America's Best Dance Crew. Even 20 to 25 years ago, there was a dancer look. This is not the case anymore.
Lil Mama: It's amazing. I'm very impressed in how it's more of an experience than an impression. I've never underestimated anyone. I never have and when I go into any situation, I'm always expecting the unexpectable. What goes on around the world and in our own country, when I'm introduced to it, I'm like 'that's cool.' That's cool to see all these different styles come out. I'm from New York and we have all kinds, but there are a lot (of dancers) who want to be a popper or locker. Now, you have people converting dance styles – mixing them up.
SheKnows: What do you make of the new explosion in interest in dance. We just had the finals of So You Think You Can Dance and there's Dancing with the Stars and Dance Your Ass Off. It seems American can't get enough of dance regardless of the genre. As a dance person, what do you think of all that?
"Dance to the forefront"
Lil Mama: I think it's incredible. It's time for dance to come to the forefront. Dance has always been one of the most interesting parts of every entertainer's show or movies. To see it raw and uncut, is incredible. People want to see that. They want to look at a show where they can get that. America's Best Dance Crew is the best dance show because we give you everything.
SheKnows: What's it like during the tapings, your interactions with the fellow judges? It really seems like you, JC and Shane Sparks have great chemistry.
Lil Mama: We really do, we're all cool together. It's really fun working with one another because we understand each other. We all have worked with dance and or were dancers before, so at the end of the day, we have a connection. It's always so cool to talk with them.
SheKnows: I think that's why the buzz is so high this summer. As you sit down as a judge, what do you look for in a routine that would warrant your praise?
Lil Mama: Originality, creativity, unity…excitement and love -- I react to that. If I had to pick one, I would say energy. I look for great energy. Dance is very emotional. When someone can move you with a great performance, you've done a great thing.
America's Best Dance Crew airs Sundays at 10 pm on MTV.