Well, Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition faithful, we have just two episodes left until the Dec. 11 season finale and five dancers remain — Brianna, Amanda, Asia, Madison and Jordyn. Anyone care to make an early prediction? Will face vanquish form all the way to the end? Will Robin finally realize that we’re not actually casting the Pussycat Dolls junior troupe? Let’s find out what happens tonight.
We start out with everyone expressing relief at being in the Top 5 and the realization that it will only get tougher from here. Coreen reiterates her shock at Hadley’s ouster over Asia’s. Kristie says Asia overheard Madison expressing the same sentiment and that hurt her feelings, but they won’t hold it against Maddy because the girls get their snark from their moms. She tells her own girl that it’s a competition and not everyone is going to be friendly, so she’s going to have to toughen up. (Especially now that they can’t blame every last thing on Yvette.)
Then the rational train goes a little off the tracks and Kristie says that it’s simply killing the other moms that she and Asia aren’t affected in the least by their chatter and raised eyebrows. Well, your baby is crying right now and you threatened to make one of the other mother eat s**t just a few episodes back, so I’d say you ARE affected. But I do like this calmer Kristie however I can get her.
Also, has anyone noticed that without Yvette to set the fashion bar at extra fancy, everyone has returned to jeans and comfier clothes for practice time? Good for you, ladies! Good for you!
Oh oh. Madison is nursing a hurting Achilles tendon, which worries Coreen more than it does her tough cookie daughter. Kristie opines that Coreen should really probably pull her kid rather than risk a lifetime of damage, but Madison isn’t having that.
A tres’ elegant Abby and Kevin in a funky yellow and blue t-shirt show up to say that today’s skill is flexibility, in all senses of the word. Hence, each girl will be doing a solo at the performance, which makes the moms very happy. No better or lesser dancer to hinder their progress. Also, the ladies’ dances will reflect the ultimate experience requiring flexibility: traveling the world. That means they will be doing ethnic inspired routines — African, Asian, Latin, French and Indian. 45-Minute Combo winner gets to choose first.
Speaking of that challenge, it will entail a Harajuku-inspired routine choreographed by Gina Starbuck. For a moment, I kind of hope this means they will all dance around like the ultimate Harajuku lover, Miss Gwen Stefani herself, but that does not appear to be the case. Still Gina says it’s all about being expressive and a little anime and a little punk rock, so close enough.
Kris is pretty happy about this week’s skill challenge, since Brianna is really flexible all the way around. Jordyn says her back isn’t too flexible, but her mind and her legs make up for it.
As Gina works out the kinks in the group dance, Mayelin hopes Amanda finds her expressiveness this week. Kristie says it drives her crazy when Asia falls behind on the choreo. It’s not allowed to drive the other mothers and dancers crazy, though. Just her.
At break, Coreen wonders if Madison should sit the rest of the group dance out because her ankle is hurting, but there’s no way the girl is going to back down and bend to the will of the other mothers. You go, tough cookie. That’s being a pro.
And then Abby’s back. She’s pleased with the group dance, but not pleased with Asia. Asia gets called up by the teacher to watch the other dancers and figure out why she’s always a beat behind. Madison and Jordyn get called out next, and then Amanda and Brianna perform the routine again. Has Brianna won a challenge yet? I know Amanda has. In any case, it’s Brianna for the win.
Abby reminds the victor to remember her strengths when choosing her dance style. Kris tells her girl to go wild, have fun and do something different. Brianna beams with confidence and chooses African. I’m tickled. I think Brianna’s fearlessness and flair for bold, dramatic moves will make her solo a killer.
Oh oh. Medic the medic is back and he’s worried that Madison might actually tear her tendon. He offers his honest opinion — that she should take a break. Madison smiles at him like the poor deluded man has just suggested she switch to truck driving, then shakes her head and says, “Mmm-mmm.” As Coreen offers her two cents on the situation, I notice a handmade sign that says “Good luck, Maddy. Be u!!!! Bring me Back that Money!”
Madison has one comical little sibling at home, I’m guessing. One with a shopping list.
Asia will be doing a Moulin Rouge-inspired French solo also choreographed by Ms. Starbuck. Kristie says this week is different from the other weeks, because Asia knows the older girls don’t want her here. Oh terrific. Asia just said that because of what Madison said earlier, she wants to beat her up. Then — too late to save Hubby Rik from spit-taking his beer — she adds, “In this competition.” Whew. Your kneecaps are safe, Miss Madison.
And my prayers since the dance battle episode have finally been answered! Amanda is doing a Latin solo, which will be choreographed by Anthony Burrell. Mayelin reveals that Amanda is actually a Latin ballroom champion, which is evident to me, but Anthony isn’t happy. He says she has the movements, but not the flair. He wants to know what she’s waiting for — a theme we’ve heard about this elegant, calm girl since the beginning of (face)time.
Madison gets the Bollywood solo, choreographed by Molly Long — whom I realize I get royally goofed up with Gina Starbuck. Coreen says that Madison doing a Bollywood dance next to Amanda doing a Latin dance is not fair. But Brianna’s not African. And Asia’s not French — although it might have been fun to give Asia Asian, just, you know, because. Jordyn’s got that one and she’s not Asian, either. So it’s as fair as it can be. Amanda just got lucky.
Oh boy. Kelly’s got a samurai sword and from the looks of things, she’s not afraid to use it. Actually, from the looks of things, she would really love to use it.
Kelly says that Jordyn’s toughest competition for technique is Amanda. For great face, it’s Asia. Madison, says Kelly, is just … there. In any case, Kitty McNamee is choreographing Jordyn’s dance which I think she said entails Jordyn being afraid of a butterfly.
Anthony Burrell is swinging for the rafters with Brianna’s African solo, giving it a slavery theme. Now don’t jump down my throat before you hear me out, but I’m a little concerned that he’s actually spotlighting the plight of Africans in America — a wildly worthy and powerful subject — but if Abby is looking for a true African dance (say, the kind she keeps making Nia do on Dance Moms), she may push back. But I really hope that’s not the case, because this dance clearly resonates with Brianna and her mom. Kris reveals that her Armenian grandmother’s siblings murdered right before her eyes during the Armenian Genocide, and the memories bring tears to her eyes. Brianna promises to do her and their lineage proud. It’s a genuinely heartrending moment.
To blow off some steam, the mothers gather for drinks at their hotel while their daughters learn their dances. Kristie decides it’s as good a time as any to point out that those meanie O’Connors are making her little angel cry. Coreen doesn’t think Madison would have actually said what she’s accused of, but even if she did, the sentiment is probably correct. A sanctimonious Kristie lectures that children learn from what they’ve heard and how their parents behave and Kris — who, if you will recall, was literally in the middle of the Kristie-Yvette rumbles on more than one occasion — looks like she is going to swallow her tongue. Kelly rears back and then gestures wildly at Coreen, Kris and Mayelin and says, “They all think Asia should have gone home.”
That does it for Kris, who objects loudly. Coreen stays calm as a puddle and says she’ll say it again to Kristie’s face — Asia is not as technically sound as the other girls. “So you’re saying Asia’s not technically good?” challenges Kelly. Revisit past episodes, Kelly — even Abby says Asia’s not technically good. A lot. And it’s her name on the show. Unfortunately, this fact is lost to the fact that Coreen picked just now to throw out the R-word. <Sigh>
But Kelly just chugs on with her theory that Asia is a scapegoat — and Kristie watches serenely, pleased as punch that she scored herself a lackey to do the lipping off. My personal two cents is that Kelly would love nothing more than to have Jordyn go up against Asia over the other three girls in the finals — even though her daughter can more than hold her own. But I also think Kelly just likes yelling.
Oh. My. Gawd. Funniest commercial ever for the Jan. 1 Season 3 premiere of Dance Moms (see it here). I don’t even care what happens here on out on AUDC. I just want to see Abby channel Jennifer Beals in Flashdance over and over again. Also, happy news for those of us worried that Kelly Hyland might have jumped ship. All five original moms are present and accounted for.
Anyway, back to competition day.
Amanda goes first. Her costume and lipstick are fiery red and her technique is razor sharp, but ay yi yi, I do not see much in the way of expression. And I’m afraid that’s all we’re looking at anymore where this girl is concerned. Snarl, Amanda! Purse your lips! Save yourself! Oh please!
Still, Abby pronounces the dance hot and the dancer a first-class plane ticket to wherever we’re going. Robin calls her a star. But Richy can’t let go of his face obsession, using an unfortunate gas metaphor to make his point. Oh Richy. Also, Abby’s tan line is back for another week but this is the last publicity I shall give it, I swear.
Kristie continues the March of the Improbable Martyr and says that if Asia lasts another week, they’re going require security. I’m not too worried for you, Kristie, for any number of reasons.
Asia goes out and gives it her can-can-dancer all, but her girl-warrior faces seem out of place in a saucy French-inspired dance, and this is the first week I think I’ve looked at her and seen your basic, Mackenzie Ziegler type 6-year-old dancer. She looks like she is over thinking her movements and unsure of what exactly she’s supposed to convey. That is until she ends up in front of Richy, ginches up her face and the dance shifts into a hip-hoppy kind of overdrive. Kudos to Miss Molly for trying to incorporate Asia’s strong suits into the solo, even if zey aren’t all zat terribly French.
All the same, Abby’s over it. She calls out all of Asia’s technical mistakes, and back in the green room, Kelly says with great authority, “Sad feet! That’s what Abby said!” (Uh, Kel? Weren’t you the one who just defended Asia’s technique to the death … or at least the next drink? I think you were.)
Richy says Asia’s face was fantastic, so Asia gives him a little bit more. But Abby has had enough of the Face Excuse sullying the cred of her show, and tells him as much. Asia’s face was fine before the Final Five. But Abby’s not about to send a mere face to the Joffrey with her name on the boarding pass. Undaunted, Richy screams for joy about Asia’s flexibility. I’m pretty sure Abby has finally realized that calling upon the wisdom of experts from the Pussycat Dolls and Lady Gaga was perhaps not the best choice in choosing a classically-trained dancer. They understand entertainment in spades. Backing it up with proper lines and technique, perhaps not so much.
“The problem is,” she tells Asia, “you keep making mistakes and they keep letting you slide.”
Robin says the reason they keep letting her slide is because she’s amaaaaaazing. But you admit you’re letting her slide, correct? Abby’s exasperation levels just reached new heights. And poor little Asia appears to have realized that the older girls might not be so much mean as right
Backstage, Madison’s nerves at the pain in her Achilles tendon are making her cry, too, and I am sweating bullets that she is about to suffer a competition-ending injury that affords Asia yet another pass. I suppose that this is the way it goes in the dance world, but at this point in the show, I can’t take it.
Madison’s dance is complex and frenetically paced and once again, her long, lean body conveys it beautifully. And she doesn’t betray her injury to the judges. Or maybe she does. Abby says she needs to wing her back foot in the air on her grand jetés — even though they were soaring — and she would like to see her higher in her releve. And suddenly Richy’s all about execution and technique, too. I’m sorry, my little squirrel-waver, but I don’t think I can take you seriously any longer. I just can’t. Even Robin swerves from her her usual outer-limits offerings and says Mads made the competition so much harder because she aced her dance. That makes Abby look like this.
Which is probably because Robin follows it up with, “Five years from now when you audition for me, I can guarantee you’ll be a Pussycat Doll.”
I seriously doubt that’s going to happen, lady. Plus, you just made Kristie expectorate back there in the green room.
As they usually do, Brianna’s nerves are giving her a time, pre-dance, which she says is because she feels the responsibility of representing the suffering of her Armenian culture and the African culture. Her dance gives me goosebumps. Please let it give Abby goosebumps, too. Anthony looks a little worried, but Briana gives him tearful props.
Abby is supremely pleased and praises her technique and her emotional maturity. Robin calls it perfection. Richy works his way a little back into my good graces, too.
Jordyn goes last. Man, can this kid dance. Plus she handles that sword prop with so much skill and grace that I think her parents should check under her bed to see if she’s hiding one there and practicing swordsmanship past bedtime.
Abby loved the style and the choreography, but she says that Jordyn actually showed a lack of flexibility. Richy ain’t having that at all. He begins pitching back and forth with his usual Jordyn-induced glee and says Miss Little Bit nailed it. Robin appears to have suddenly tapped into the idea that if she wants to stick around for a potential second season, she’d better return to something related to dance technique and skip the Pussycat Doll recruiting. In a rambling critique, she points out a less than stellar butterfly and says Jordyn was only, like, 98% good. Which inspires this:
Mmm. Yeah. I don’t think these three are going to be calling each other for sleepovers when the final credits roll this season. I don’t think so at all.
And deliberations don’t change my opinion a bit. Abby promptly moves Madison’s, Briana’s and Amanda’s photos up top. Robin seems to suggest that Asia could have done what any of the others did tonight and call her the best dancer here, but I may have interpreted that wrong. These things can be tricky. Richy faults Brianna for being a technically amazing hip-hop slacker. Then he likens Asia to that classically trained dancer, the Tasmanian Devil, but admits that even so, he doesn’t know how long she can slide by on cute.
Ohhhhh. No. She. Di’int! Abby just called her once-beloved little pet a “pigeon-toed squatty little nothing”! You best be hoping Kristie didn’t get wind of that, lady. And if she did, that you aren’t walking back to the hotel alone.
Phew. Abby’s top three are the Top Three, so I’m heartened. Which leaves Robin’s special favorite Asia and Richy’s special favorite Jordyn on the chopping block. Along with two of the show’s most difficult moms. You’re that much closer to peace and harmony, Coreen, Kris and Mayelin. And it’s going to be a flexibility challenge to see who stays.
A literal flexibility challenge. Abby instructs Asia and Jordyn to do splits and backbends and yank their legs this way and that. Though neither do the moves flawlessly, Jordyn eventually pulls her leg too hard, injures herself and seals her own fate. Today is not her day. Brianna, Madison and Amanda and their moms look stunned that Little Miss Face soldiers on. And Asia? Well, Asia — who has recovered quite nicely from Madison’s supposed slight, thank you oh so much — says if she can bump off Amanda next, she’ll be up against the two 13-year-olds. And taking them down will be “easy sleazy lemon squeezy.”
You’re forgetting about Abby, kid.
New episodes of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.