A new World Champion claimed the Red Bull BC One throne Saturday night in Paris, France. In one of the most competitive lineups in B-Boy history, B-Boy Menno of The Netherlands came out on top, battling his way to victory.
"I feel so good," said Menno of his epic win. "I feel very happy that the judges understand my style and what I was trying to do. I know they respect my style and they understand where I come from. I travel the floor with unpredictable movements. I try to misguide people. I try to trick people with creativity. And I try to fish from different waters, from which most B-Boys fish."
Creativity and originality were awarded throughout the night. Cheerito (Russia), also known for his individual style, was given a standing ovation from the crowd when he lost out to Red Bull BC One All Star Taisuke (Japan). In the end, Menno's creative flow conquered over Taisuke's explosive energy.
The Grande Halle de La Villette, one of Paris' top cultural venues, was packed wall-to-wall with a sold-out crowd. France's most iconic Hip-Hop artist JoeyStarr MCed the night, hyping the crowd round after round, alongside DJ Lean Rock's fresh beats.
This is the second time the City of Light has hosted the World Final. Red Bull BC One All Star Wing took the belt in 2008. But Wing (South Korea), nor any of the three other former World Champions, managed to make their way to the quarter-finals. It was a night of upsets, as crowd favorites, both two-time World Champions Lilou (France) and Hong 10 (South Korea), and local hero one-time World Champion Mounir, were voted out in the first round.
Battles were contentious throughout the night. Red Bull BC One premiered the new Kozen judging system which was adopted by the global B-Boy community this year. Each judge's vote was transparent, allowing the audience to clearly see who won each round.
Judges The End (South Korea), Ken Swift (USA), Yaman (France), Yan (Russia) and Luigi (USA) voted based on a select criteria of technical and physical skills, choreography and creative interpretation of the music. It could have been anyone's game, but Menno sweeped with a 3-0 win in the evening's final battle.
Judge Ken Swift said of their decision: "If you master your style you can win. It's not about old and new styles, it's about mastering your movement, and that's what Menno did in the end. Menno is an evolved B-Boy. He's done his homework and his research. He knows this art form. He's been paying his dues for awhile and I think he deserves this win."
This is Menno's fourth time competing on the Red Bull BC One World Final stage, and his first championship title.
The evening's entertainment also saw spectacular performances from France's original Hip Hop groups Aktuel Force and Wanted Posse, as well as a surprise special performance from Lords of the Underground all the way from Newark, New Jersey.
B-Boy Menno's landmark victory capped off an incredible year with more than 90 Cyphers in 50 countries with over 1500 B-Boys competing for a chance to head to World Final.
Red Bull BC One is a global celebration of Hip Hop, combining dance, music, style and art. Millions of spectators tuned in to watch the live program on TV and online.
Since its inception in 2004, Red Bull BC One has become the premier competition in the world of B-Boying, consistently attracting the best individual breakers in the world. It celebrates breaking culture by using its original one-on-one, knockout battle format, as opposed to the crew-battle style more prevalent today.
The first Red Bull BC One World Final originated in 2004 in Switzerland. Since then, the annual competition has moved from Germany to Brazil, South Africa, France, USA, Japan, Russia and South Korea. The 12th Red Bull BC One World Final will be held in Italy next year.