Dear Abby, Richy and Robin:
You may not cause Yvette to go home, because I will have to go back to thinking up my own names for these blogs and I’d rather not.
Unless, of course, Yvette stops dropping Yvettisms. Then you go right ahead and do how you do whenever you do it.
OK. Now that we have that little bit of business handled, let’s get to the episode.
With introductions out of the way in last week’s outing, we resume getting to the bottom of what the mothers are all about. Yvette says the $100,000 cash prize would be nice, but she and the Hadster are really gunning for the Joffrey scholarship. Kelly/Imitation of Christi (who I just noticed even has the requisite tooth gap) has decided that she is not the Mrs. Nice who came to Lexine’s rescue last week, and announces that she’s not there to socialize or make pals. She and Jordyn are only there to impress Abby. If they weren’t from Cali, I would half expect to see these two show up on Season 3 of Dance Moms. Assuming Jordyn doesn’t win.
Then our host Kevin Manno appears to inform the gang that this week’s theme is “Monsters of the Night.” Tiger Mother Maria digs it — cool costumes, vampires and zombies. And speaking of scary stuff, Kevin wants to know if the kids also like scary choreographers, because heeeeeere’s Abby, looking not scary at all in nice fall shades of cocoa brown and pumpkin orange. No jewelry, though, which breaks my heart, because I’m a fan of Abby’s jewelry.
Abby announces that this week’s skill is physical strength. So when the dancers strike a pose, she wants to see their muscles. Except, that’s not a skill. That’s having muscles. No matter. Abby especially wants to see muscles from Mr. Zack. Uh. Can’t girls have the skill of muscles as much as boys? Must I be irritated already, 4 minutes into the episode? Zack obediently flexes, but Abby isn’t impressed. Mostly because I’m guessing Zack has yet to hit puberty and you really don’t see a lot of prepubescent muscle men running about. Tiger Mother and Zack’s mom, Gina, are put off by this whole deal, as well. Good. I’m glad I’m not the only one.
Then it’s time for the 45-Minute Combo. This week, instead of getting to choose their dance style for The Main Event that we’re no longer calling The Main Event, the winner will get to perform a solo. #DancerHadley is especially excited about that. Victor Rojas, who has toured with Lady Gaga and Janet Jackson and appears to not be a believer in tying — or even lacing— one’s shoes, will be the instructor. I’m afraid he’s going to fall down, but I guess it takes physical strength not to do that, so there you go.
Jordyn is all about the choreography, artfully lurching and bopping around, but teeny Asia is having a bit of an issue — mostly because she is six and at that age most folks tend to be a little fuzzy about which is their right and which is their left, not to mention a whole lot of other monster- and dance-related things. She looks perplexed and Kristie is worried. Victor wants the dancers to make the combo ugly, whatever it means to them.
Then he notices aloud that Elisabeth is also a bit off, so Erin decides it’s time for a nice preemptive strike in case things go haywire with her kid once again. Smiling away, she tells Kristie that today is the fourteenth anniversary of the marriage that is tragically ending; hence, her daughter is a mess. Could be. But I can guarantee that when I was a kid, I had no flyin’ idea when my parents’ anniversary even was. In fact, my own husband and I scheduled our wedding one day before his birthday, so we’d always have a context clue — and even so, we can get a dab forgetful. Erin tries to crank out a few tears in her aside, but mostly it just leaves me wondering why she is putting her kid through this rigorous and televised competition if the girl is really in so much emotional peril.
Ever the dance pro, Yvette opines that no matter what is going on, this is a no-excuse zone — which I believe is Abby’s philosophy, too. At least it was on Dance Moms. But maybe that just pertains to school. And acting roles. Oh, I don’t know. Anyway, Yvette says it’s time for Elisabeth to put her big-girl panties on and giddy on up. There’s no room for big panties under booty shorts, but I get where she is headed with this. So do the other mothers. I doubt Erin is the only divorcée in the building.
Abby and Kevin are back, because it’s time to do the 45-Minute Combo. Abby does her patented head swivel and I wonder if I should look around to see who is wearing the most standout color, since Liz took last week’s challenge for wearing doing that. Although we are supposed to be looking for the skill of muscles, which have no color at all.
Overall, Abby is impressed with the performance, but she says Elisabeth isn’t scary enough. Even though she’s teensy, Hadley somehow nailed the physical strength part. Jordyn made incredible eye contact, so give her a hand. Asia was neither scary nor a monster, but she was sassy, so that helped.
Hadley nailed the physical strength part … so it’s Jordyn for the win. Kelly — who is wearing combat boots and a spiked leather arm band to go with her new tough-girl ‘tude — buries her face in her hands and weeps like her baby just won the Miss America! And it gets even better! Abby has a special surprise. Not only does Jordyn get to dance a solo, but she also wins the prize of getting to pick someone else to have a solo, too! And likely ostracize herself from every kid she doesn’t choose! So, er, yay?
In light of this, Jordyn — who is at the primo age for wanting everyone to like her — looks about 12% pleased and 88% panicked. Host Kevin comes to the sort-of rescue and tells her she can talk it over with her mom, and it just became a whole different situation entirely.
Sure enough. Kelly tells Jordyn that her choice will not be her favorite person. “It’s not?” says a genuinely flummoxed Jordyn. It’s not, says Kelly. It’s going to be someone that Jordyn can out-dance. Jordyn gets the message. She returns to the line, beaming.
Abby wonders if Jordyn’s going to learn to play the game or not. Oh yes she is — she chooses Zack. Now sporting a mega-crimped do, J says she picked him so that none of the other girls will stand out more than she. Makes sense to me. Gina doesn’t know whether to be happy for her kid or not, but Zack is pleased as punch. Zack may not have muscles, but he makes up for it in confidence. The other dancers will be doing trios and Kevin says it’s up to the moms to make sure they look their best.
Then dancers get a break, and there’s a little mother-daughter coffee klatch about how to make the ladies and gent look like monsters. Yvette takes a giddy shot at Elisabeth’s hair extensions. Elisabeth still smiles — until Erin tells her nemesis to back off. Then the kid runs off in tears. I can’t decide which woman actually caused the kid to cry.
In an aside, #DancerElisabeth explains weepily that hair extensions are not a bad thing; they’re just to make her hair look longer. I don’t know if hair extensions are a bad thing or not. What I do know is that coupled with the copious makeup and false eyelashes, they make the girl look like she is in her mid-twenties. So the whiny-little-girl demeanor she exhibits when she is upset, coupled with her grown-woman appearance, is doubly off-putting — regardless of how you feel about divorce, hair extensions and bona fide adults taking verbal shots at children.
Back in the studio, Shayna makes crazy-eyes and a similar observation about how the oldest dancer in the competition is also the one who can’t stop bawling. Yvette tries to staple the issue shut by opining that Erin is a great actress and the little girls giggle along. Oof. Just … oof.
Aw geez. Now Elisabeth is simpering about how she knows she is pretty and people want to be her, but she’s humble about it and we don’t even know how hard it is to be her. She says today is the worst day of her life. Apparently even worse than when she found out about the split. Apparently even worse than last week’s competition. But noble Zack — whom Erin calls Elisabeth’s best friend — arrives to comfort her and tell her they can be partners. He reemerges into the studio with Elisabeth on his arm.
Time to rehearse for the main competition. Zack’s solo will be Musical Theater, choreographed by Ricky Palomino, which is a superexcellent name — especially since his middle name is Marcelino. Ohhhhh, and Ricky Marcelino Palomino is going straight for Abby’s heart: #DancerZack’s solo is about a boy who dies in a car crash and is now a very confused ghost! Abby loves her a dead-kid dance! Such good thinking!
Bobby Newberry is choreographing a routine about goblin queens for Madison, Tua and Lexine. Madison’s mom, Coreen, is confident that her girl is one of the strongest dancers and is going to have to push Tua if the trio is going to be a success. (Oh, Coreen, no. This is much too altruistic an outlook if you’re ever going to score yourself more camera time.) Shayna explains that Tua’s lack of confidence comes from not having to push herself very hard to succeed at their tiny studio.
Kyleigh Jai, Brianna and Amanda get a jazz funk trio choreographed by Anthony Burrell. #DancerKyleigh’s mom says she told KJ this trio will make her or break her because she is younger than her dancemates, so they’re going to have to work extra hard. She appears to be doing just fine.
Looks like Ricky Marcelino Palomino will be choreographing Jordyn’s lyrical solo, too. Kelly says Jordyn’s strength is hip-hop, so she’s a little worried about this lyrical deal. Ricky isn’t worried. He high-fives his charge, says she did beautiful work and he’ll see her onstage. Given that, Kelly decides the best thing to do is snarl at her kid until she is not doing beautiful work and gets right at it.
Well, isn’t this interesting. Elisabeth, Asia and Hadley will be doing a jazz trio, again choreographed by Anthony Burrell. I see trampolines and headstones. Aaaaand guess who’s crying again? Except she’s not crying about the divorce or the anniversary or even hair extensions. She’s crying because Hadley is blowing her off and she is really upset that she got put in a trio with a kid who is blowing her off. Er, how about Asia, who is going to have to do the same choreography as two kids who were probably in dance lessons for 5 -10 years before she was even born? Anthony isn’t having it, either. He’s here to teach Elisabeth to dance, not be her guidance counselor — and right now she has to squeeze her knees. Hadley thinks Elisabeth is a wimp. A nice wimp. But a wimp all the same.
I’m just going to say it. I hope Elisabeth of Erin goes home today. I realize we are supposed to think all of this divorce business — genuine or otherwise — makes for good TV. But it doesn’t. It makes for an exasperated, crabby TV blogger who does not love having to speculate on the motivations of a crying kid.
In any case, Erin appears to be trying to make nice with Yvette as the mothers work on costumes backstage. The good will does not last for long. Yvette says she is a teacher and as a teacher, she knows she has to support the entire trio so Hadley looks good. She makes a little comment about whistling smiling while she works. For whatever reason, that sets Kristie off something fierce. She wants to know why Yvette is smiling now, when she was crying just the other day, but then she smiled while she was yelling at Erin and Elisabeth. Which makes Erin — who was trying to cry before — smile. Kristie hollers that she just does not know how to read Yvette. And that is somehow Yvette’s fault. Even Erin says she doesn’t know why Kristie suddenly went after Yvette, but that doesn’t really matter, because, my babies, it’s on. Fingers up, outside voices on blast … and go!
Both women went strapless today, so I am fairly certain this isn’t going to get real physical — despite Kristie’s attempts to take it there. Still, the mothers who are tasked with keeping them apart have kind of a delicate deal where it comes to placing their hands. I think we’re supposed to get the idea that Kristie is the dance mom equivalent of the girl who smokes in the bathroom and is plotting the after-school smackdown of the haughty cheer squad captain. Swell.
Competition day. Jordyn says she’s nervous. Zack — son of hairdresser Gina and detractor of sports — volunteers to do his bestie Elisabeth’s hair and she lets him. No one really looks like monsters thus far.
Kevin introduces the judges, which allows Richy to do his ring-a-ding-ding finger wave, and Robin to do her cat paws. Abby doesn’t have a signature move just yet, so she just smiles coquettishly at Kevin when he calls her gorgeous.
Madison, Lexine and Tua go first with their spooky hip-hop number. They’re zombies in a graveyard I think — grey bodysuits, gold headbands and minimal face makeup. Despite her mother’s trepidation about hip-hop last week, Lexine doles out some pretty fierce face and attitude. She’s all about this dance.
Let’s judge. Abby says Madison was over-the-top and excellent. Richy and Robin pile on the props train.
Tua, on the other hand, gets admonished for looking to the other girls as she danced. Abby says she has to be more confident. You guys, did you know Tua has to be more confident? Because she does. Her eye makeup is totally skeevy though, so props to Shayna on that.
Richy says Lexine “broke herself of herself,” which apparently has something to do with technique. Lexine looks happy about it, so I guess I’ll be happy, too. Robin especially liked her facial expressions and the way she “sat in it.” Yep. Lexine’s comments shall remain an abject mystery to me.
#DancerKyleighJai, #DancerAmanda and #DancerBriana are next with the jazz funk Vampire Mystique. Abby totally digs the coffin props. Man, can these kids dance. Whoops. Kyleigh just stopped dancing for a sec. And the judges noticed. Abby says the trio was very good, except for the one dancer who sucked. Enh — get it? They’re vampires and one of them sucked. Good one, Abby. Briana and Amanda get props; Kyleigh comes off the stage crying. She says the judges didn’t notice her. Well, yes, they did, and that’s the problem.
#DancerJordyn and her mother have an entertaining little smoochie, nose-grabby pre-dance dealie. Her solo is called Bad Dreams, and she’s dressed like Maddie instead of a monster. The audience looks confused. The judges look perturbed. The cameras capture Kelly in a couple of hilariously menacing, Alfred Hitchcock-mimicking moments. Abby says Bad Dream will give her nightmares and the audience does their Amateur Night at the Apollo thing. Abby couldn’t care less. She says Jordyn didn’t sell the tale because she didn’t look afraid of a durn thing. Richy and Robin agree. It just wasn’t scary.
Jordyn comes off the stage with a hopeful smile at her mother. Nice try, kid. Kelly says she toooold her. She tooooold her everything that the Hallowed Abby said, and Jordyn just didn’t listen.
Zack’s Prom Night Car Crash music is weirdly ’50s-esque and about nerds and mixing fluids in chemistry class. I’m not making that up. Abby says he’s blowing away the girls, technique-wise. Oh oh, Jordyn. That’s not good. Robin and Ricky like it, too. Abby is pleased that Zack was flirting with her for a moment. Yvette is pleased that Jordyn choosing Zack to have the other solo backfired on her.
Elisabeth, Hadley and Asia’s werewolf trio is apparently Michael Jackson inspired. Without all the glop on her eyes, Elisabeth is the spitting image of Glee star Heather Morris — er, dressed up like a ’50s teen werewolf. Again with the ‘50s doowop music. Instead of Michael Jackson, I see a ton of Grease moves. Yvette grooves along. Asia sings along. Abby pronounces “wolf” “woof” and says one dancer was a puppy, instead. The judges all love Hadley and proclaim her the leader of the group. Abby says Elisabeth was great, too, and for the sake of actually incorporating physical strength in at least once, makes note of her midriff. In a rare moment of dissent, Robin says her turns were off. Amazingly she doesn’t cry. #DancerAsia does, though, when the judges start in on her. Save the tears for your pillow, kid, says Abby. Wha’?! Just tell them your parents are getting a divorce, Asia. That excuses everything. Kristie blames Yvette. Yvette smiles and hopes the little kid’s struggle means Kristie is headed home.
Elimination time. The judges have a bit of discussion and then Elisabeth, Amanda, Lexine, Zack, Briana, Hadley and Madison are all declared safe right off the bat. They hug it out.
Asia starts sniffling as soon as Abby asks her to step forward, but she’s safe. Poor, perturbed Yvette. Especially since Kristie says there’s no way in hell that Asia is going home before Hadley.
Tua — surprisingly, at least to my thinking — is safe, as well. Jordyn and Kyleigh Jai are in the bottom two. They hug and wish each other luck. (Mothers, learn from your daughters, please.) Jordyn still looks confident, but KJ starts to cry. And so it goes that today is, indeed, not Kyleigh Jai’s day. Which, given how much we’ve seen Kelly versus Kristen in this episode, is hardly a surprise. The other kids give KJ a snuggle and Tua says she’s not going to let her buddy go. Like Renee before her, Kristen is gracious about the dismissal, but Kyleigh doesn’t think it was fair.
Yvette would say she needs to put her big-girl panties on. I say welcome to real life, little kid. Too bad you had to get here so soon.
Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition airs Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.