Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition recap: Use Your Agony To Claim Sweet Victory

That little gem is actually not an Yvette-ism. That’s an Abby-ism. And I may well have it tattooed on my forearm, I like it so much (no, Mom, not really).But first, let’s get to this week’s Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition recap, shall we?

Speaking of Yvette, she doesn’t know why Kristie honestly thinks Asia can win. Probably because Asia thinks Asia can win and it’s pretty contagious. Meanwhile, Shayna knows Tua is on the bubble and needs to step up her confidence or else. This is not the kind of environment that is conducive to stepping up one’s confidence, so I’m pretty worried for Tua.

Whoa, here’s Abby already, wearing her tried-and-true, black and green ALDC workout suit and accompanied by Kevin, who is sporting a fetching pair of beet-colored skinnies for this episode.

Kevin says the competition dances this week will be duets and the winner of the 45-Minute Combo challenge gets to pick their partner — which causes just about everybody under the age of 14 to clasp their hands to their mouths and then look at their mothers for what to do next. Abby tells the little dancelings to be careful who they pick, applying her favorite “make you or break you” maxim to the choice. You need someone you can trust, but not someone who can outshine you, she explains. I can make it easier, Abby. Kids, your mother will likely be deciding this for you, anyway, so don’t worry if you don’t get that directive in the least. Take it from Auntie Lori.

Miss the episode? See it here for free.

The theme for this week’s dances is American Extremes. In other words, American Excess. Don’t leave home without it. Erin says excessive makeup is not an extreme to her. It’s normal. Ha ha ha. Watch yourself, there, Ms. Familial Hair Extensions. You know where this sort of thing got us last time.

This week’s skill du jour is character. No, not whether or not they have any — how well they portray the character assigned them in their dances. Finally we get to see a little something more of Amanda who gets an aside to tell us she really wants to win, especially since she already knows who she wants as a duet partner.

This week’s 45-Minute Combo will be choreographed by Kitty McNamee (about whom I’m going to out on a limb and guess is represented by MSA, which I’ve figured out is the backbone of all things Dance Moms/Abby’s Ultimate. Yes, she is. Good. The universe shall not unright itself today.) Kitty wants the kiddies to think about a time when they felt like they just didn’t fit in — like they just were not going to get something that they really, really wanted. Which, for a good half of them, probably includes right this very minute.

Briana says that people are rude to her at school, so this dance particularly speaks to her. No one else fesses up to any sort of peer issues.

Yvette, who is a serious one-finger-wavin’ talker, reminds us that she has no respect for Kristie, in case we forgot that from last week or several minutes ago. Tua says Abby freaks her out. Maria says Lexine is totally nailing this challenge.

When it’s all over, Abby calls out Hadley, Lexine and Asia for good and poor Tua for bad. Then it’s Briana’s turn to cry, with catharsis and relief, and Noble Zack rides to the rescue again. Zaaack! Kris says that Briana is bullied in school for being a Type A, and when she tried to appeal to the worst offender’s mother, it only made things worse. Well, worst offender, Briana landed a TV show. What do you have to show for yourself, missy?

Abby tells Briana to use that agony to claim sweet victory. Ooooh! Sorry, Yvette! That just might be the name of this blog, unless you come up with a doozer (She didn’t).

RELATED: Channel Guide’s exclusive interview with Abby Lee Miller

I’m smelling a Hadley win, but Lexine takes it, instead. And bless my hopeful soul, Tiger Mother tells her girl that it’s entirely up to her whom she chooses. Maria! Right on! I’ll stop calling you Tiger Mother immediately, until you do something to earn it back. So don’t. Lexine returns to the line beaming like Justin Bieber himself is available for selection. He’s not. But Hadley is. And that’s who Lexine chooses.

Hmmm. Interesting choice, my sparrow. There’s little chance your dance is going to completely suck if Hadley is half of it, so that’s good. On the other hand, that also leaves the only possibility of it sucking on your dainty shoulders. And the winners of the past two challenges got bit squarely, albeit figuratively, in the butt in the main competition. So I’m intrigued. And Hadley is tickled.

Kevin asks Lexine to explain her choice and the girl says Hadley is at the top of her game, so it will push Lexine to improve her own dancing. Yvette and Maria are positively glowing. Abby says it’s a great answer. Lexine may actually turn the tide on this whole challenge curse dealie, after all. But we have a lot of show to go.

Yvette says there were better dancers in the challenge in the first place, but whatever. She thinks it’s definitely time for Asia to go, which is not-terribly subtle code for it’s time for Kristie to go. Even though Shayna said in her earlier aside that Abby was misinterpreting Tua’s looking at the other dancers as a lack of confidence, she promptly starts in on Tua for looking around at the other dancers and lacking confidence. Which should do wonders for Tua’s confidence. Especially when her mother informs her that now she is The Kid Who Doesn’t Learn Choreography. “Mommy!” wails Tua before stalking away.

Time to rehearse the duets.

Asia and The Kid Who Doesn’t Learn Choreography get a jazz funk routine put together by Victor Rojas. It’s about Extreme Activism. According to Kristie, Tua will be a snobby rich girl dressed in fur and Asia is really upset because she’s activist against her. Um, what? I think that’s prejudice, not activism. Er, right? Shayna says she’s a little sick of Asia getting by on pageant faces — but from what I’ve seen thus far, Asia and Tua are pretty evenly matched dance-wise. Throw in some pageant faces versus looking around at the other dancers, and I think we have a winner here. And it ain’t Tua.

Shayna decides to engage Kristie in a little convo about last week’s “YOU ARE A CRAZY DANCE MOM” throwdown — which affords us another look-see at the tussle. Kristie says she thinks Yvette mistakenly believes that this is a competition between the mothers, not the kids. Then she threatens to make Asia dance in boots instead of shoes if she doesn’t pick up her feet. Asia says she is not wearing boots and that’s the end of it. Game, set, discussion — six-year-old. The apple does not fall too far from the tree, does it, Kristie?

Kitty McNamee will be choreographing Lexine’s and Hadley’s duet. Oh dear. Hadley thinks 99-percent of America is homeless and hungry. Thankfully, she will be dancing like the one percent that can do and buy whatever they want. Backseat Choreographer gets right in there and tries to steer Lexine while the kids are on break, but Maria intervenes, only gently this time. Maria!!!! Yay!!!! Yvette says she is glad that she and Maria have similar personalities, but she really does not need her input at all. Even if that is her kid dancing half the duet. This oughta go swimmingly.

Anthony Burrell is choreographing Jordyn and Amanda’s hip-hop routine, about … I don’t know what it’s about. No one says. In any case, #DancerAmandaK says she’s happy to be dancing with Jordyn because hip-hop is Jordyn’s strength and it will push her to excel. On the sidelines, Imitation of Christi  Kelly grooves along. She says that Jordyn gets 90-percent of the jobs that she books  based on her hip-hop ability, because she’s got that swag, yo. Anthony tells Amanda K to watch Jordyn and imitate her moves, but Mayelin frets because Amanda is a trained ballerina. She tells her little Coppélia to just get out there and think, “I am the sh*t.” Word.

Elisabeth and Madison are wearing big ol’ crinolines to practice their jazz contemporary duet, also choreographed by Anthony Burrell. It’s about the excess of beauty pageants. Oh oh. Erin is a little concerned because Madison is stellar. I instantly fear for the health and well-being of the Tracy family pet if there is one, because the whole divorce thing may be running out of steam and “My doooooog/hamster/parakeet … just diiiiiiiied … and I’m really upseeeet” seems like a pretty handy replacement. So far, it appears Erin will let the chips fall where they may.

Briana and Zack are doing a lyrical routine about political campaigning, choreographed by my most beloved Ricky Marcelino Palamino. The dance includes a lift, so Bri’s mom, Kris, is a little nervous. In fact, the overall confidence level in the room is somewhere down there in the molten inner core of Earth. And sure enough. Zack lifts Briana and they both topple over, Briana landing smack on Zack’s noggin. Both dancers smile and shake it off and Ricky Palomino makes them, uh, climb right back on the horse.

Though I believe there has actually been a group number every week, even if we never get to see it, we get to see one in this episode. Kitty McNamee is at the helm again, and she’s revisiting the whole idea of feeling like outsider. Because of that, she would like Briana to be the featured dancer. More specifically, the dance will be about body image and how hard we can be on ourselves and others where that is concerned.

Time to make the costumes! Wait. That’s not a costume. Because Briana has expressed the most emotional turmoil, someone appears to think it would be a great idea to help her get into character by putting the kid in a fat suit. Kris is mortified, both from an image and a dance standpoint.

Meantime, Yvette decides to place a little social call to Shayna’s hotel room because she feels really bad that Shayna and Tua are paired up with Kristie and Asia, and she has some words of wisdom. Please let them make a good blog title. Please let them make a good blog title. No deal. Yvette just says she thinks that Asia’s personality is overbearing because HER MOM IS.

Cut to the Overbearing Family, oblivious that they are being clandestinely discussed.

Cut back to Yvette and Shayna, where Yvette is now offering her Backseat Choreographer services for the purpose of making Tua that much stronger than her little scene-stealing dancemate. Yvette really wants Tua to stay in this competition, she tells Shayna. Well of course you do, muffin! Because Asia is a little firecracker and Tua is a little other-dancer-watcher. One of those is easier to beat than the other and it ain’t the firecracker. Shayna, sporting a big white Hanging Windmill Plumeria blossom over her left ear, says she really wants to believe that Yvette is helping her. Oh Shayna. Oh my dear woman.

Competition day! Yvette tracks Shayna down and learns that Kristie and Asia never showed for a final run-through of the duet, in protest of Yvette having a rumored private rehearsal with Tua. Shayna thinks Imitation of Christi started the rumor. Maria asks Tua if she’s ready to dance the duet as a solo if the pair don’t show up for the competition, either. Tua looks mortified and terrorized — mortorized, if you will — and Yvette gets in her face to tell her that that will never do. You win, little missy. You make dance faces, and you win. Kelly is perturbed by the intervention.

Not to worry — here comes Asia toting a lidded coffee cup and looking for all the world like she’s about to take a meeting with her agent. The little kids gather around to hug her and Shayna asks Kristie if they can talk. Denied. It does Shayna right in. She wants everyone to quit messing with her kid! Yvette keeps messing with her kid. Then she returns to her own kid who tells her that she really needs to mind her own business, which shuts Yvette right up. At least temporarily.

In an aside, Kristie reminds me why I am sure that she will be the first mom to throw a punch — she doesn’t actually say that outright, but the words she does say all assemble into the same conclusion. Kristie would make an excellent WWE girl wrestler. Beautiful AND scary.

Let’s meet our judges, who we already know. Abby has a shiny blue jacket on. Richie has a bandana made of other bandanas around his neck. Robin has on more butter yellow. Robin loves her butter yellow. It’s her turn to flirt with Kevin this week, so she blows him a kiss.

Group number comes first. The kids are all wearing school uniforms, Briana’s pulled tight over her fat suit. The other kids mock her — then lift her up and support her, literally rocker-in-a-mosh-pit style, and also figuratively. It’s really very nice.

Abby says Briana did outstanding work, then gives a little lecture on how it only takes one bitter, nasty kid to get everyone else to jump on the bullying bandwagon. Cut to shots of a smug Yvette and Kristie and a troubled Shayna in the green room. Love it.

The dancers are dismissed to get ready for their duets, and in the meantime, Shayna tries again to get Nasty Kristie to believe her that she did nothing to intentionally thwart Asia’s supremacy. Kristie dismisses her and her evil overlord “This One,” also known as Yvette. Yvette just grins away like a spectator with money on both participants in a prizefight. Stationed between the two of them, Maria is eating something with a utensil, so she’s conveniently armed should this thing get out of hand.

It does. Sort of. Kristie challenges This One to take it outside. “Who says that?!” This One exclaims, never losing her Cheshire Cat smile. Yeah, Kristie. And besides, Yvette wore sleeves this time and you didn’t. Although you don’t exactly strike me as someone who would let a little potential frontal nudity get in the way of a good ass-whuppin’ where you think one is warranted. I hope we don’t get to find out.

They don’t take it outside, but Kristi does have a couple fun facts about Yvette. She is a witch. And she has two faces. Now you know.

Elisabeth and Madison’s beauty pageant dance is first. They are both dressed like beauty queens in sashes and crowns, so I’m not sure where the opposites thing is going to figure in. No opposites, as it turns out, but Madison does get to yank the wiglet off Elisabeth’s head at the end. Abby loves herself a good catfight and looks pleased with the performance. Still she calls Elisabeth’s French twist walk a hot mess. Richy wanted to see more emotion from her. Frankly, I think we’ve seen enough emotion from her lately, but I get where he was going there. Abby says Madison didn’t hold her pose, but Robin says she was most connected to the diva in the dance. She felt Madison’s inner Pussycat Doll. God, I wish she’d stop telling that to children. Despite the mostly positive remarks, neither mom looks very happy.

Lexine and Hadley’s jazzy Riches to Rags dance is about the financial crisis and the starving 99 percent. Cool customer Hadley says her mother’s inability to get along with the mothers doesn’t bother her a whit — she has a competition to win here. Given that Hadley is dressed like a miniature Marilyn Monroe and Lexine’s poor-folks outfit makes her blend into the background yet again, I may have to reverse myself on that Challenge Curse thing. Or maybe not. Those two are both fierce little dancers and they work well together. Richy gives them the Two-Ringie-Dingies of Happiness. Maria clasps Yvette to her on the sidelines.

Abby didn’t like the way Lexine walked out onto the stage. Richy loved her though. Abby says Hadley is clenching her feet, but Robin says she was perfect. Abby and Robin are totally going to get into it one of these days, I promise you.

Turns out Amanda K’s and Jordyn’s hip-hop number is about addiction to technology. I will tell you how it goes right after I check my cell and then update my Facebook status on my iPad to tell my friends that I just checked my cell and am now about to tell you this dance goes.

For a teensy, snub-nosed kid, Jordyn has some badass moves and I don’t need the judges to tell me she outshined Amanda K practically off the stage. Robin can hardly contain her Pussycat Doll-a-rific glee. Richy is waving that finger like he wants to hail all the taxis in the 90210. Even Abby is impressed, especially with Heavy J. And yet she wasn’t bothered by Amanda’s more aloof and technically understated performance, which surprises me a little. Robin, however, says that out in the real world, you have to sit in it. Ain’t it the truth, man. Ain’t it the truth. Sometimes you have to step in it, too, and then walk around the rest of the day with it stuck to your shoe.

Next comes Zack and Briana’s political throwdown, which will hopefully not include another falldown. Zack’s the Dem. Bri’s the GOP. The two are nicely matched, and the lift goes swimmingly. Abby has a thing about feet today. Now it’s Zack who has to watch his. Richy says he also needs to quit rushing, all the time rushing. Robin didn’t like Briana’s pirouettes. Abby wraps it up with props for the lift and the choreography, and the dancers leave arm in arm.

And then it’s time for the Rumble in the Mama Jungle, also known as Tua and Asia’s duet. Or Kristie’s and Shayna’s, if we’re being precise. Asia stomps out like the little anti-beauty activist she is. Ohhhhhhhh. I get it. She’s anti-fur. Her shirt says so. Aw geez. Does that mean there’s going to be the throwing of blood? I mean on the stage, not backstage with the mothers.

Tua looks like she is in extreme pain. Asia looks like she rules the kindergarten coatroom with an iron fist. A couple of them. Yep. Here’s the blood, which is actually a couple of buckets full of attached red streamers. Asia is so into her character that she keeps right on scowling even after the music ends. But it’s not quite enough. Abby tells her that because she was half of a duet, all the tough, nasty looks that she was giving to the judges should really have been going to Tua. Richy liked it fine. Robin says Tua is beautiful on her heels. I have no idea what Robin is talking about today at all. Abby says Tua lucked out because having a 6-year-old as a partner means the level of difficulty was not as tough as it was for the other dancers.

Hmm. So who’s day is it not? I’m going to go with Elisabeth and Tua, but I honestly have no idea. Zack, Hadley, Briana and Jordyn are all declared immediately safe. Then the rest of the mothers are asked to join their dancers onstage for the sake of commiseration.

I’m right on Tua, wrong on Elisabeth. It’s Tua and Asia in the bottom two. I’ve been offered an interview with Kristie, so I don’t think Asia will be ousted just yet …

… and she’s not. I still don’t think she’s long for this competition, though. Just long enough, perhaps, for a bigger beef than her mother’s and Yvette’s to take root. But mostly, I’m just happy for Tua. This was too much competition, both on stage and off, for one nice little kid from Daytona Beach. And her nice little mother, too.

Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition airs Tuesdays at 9/8CT on Lifetime.


  1. I am a dedicated fan of Lori’s reviews & recaps. Her clever, detailed, and acutely perceptive summaries are always the dessert I eagerly look forward to after digesting another “hefty” main course of Ms Abby’s weekly adventures in dance and self-promotion.

    AUDC is a compelling program and I am sorry that the ratings do not reflect the work that all of the contestants and instructors have contributed.

    I’m curious to know if the lack of viewers has been a cruel wake-up call for Ms Abby in terms of believing that it is her name and reputation that were the foundation of the success of “Dance Moms.” Or perhaps she is still unable to see the real world beyond the finely-layered, cotton-candy puffs of her massively styled hair that shade and define her vision of the entertainment industry.

  2. Personally, I LOVED the recap and think you did a great job!! I think that the remaining Amanda is actually Amanda C (not K), but I could be wrong.. Just thought I’ mention it if it comes up or if you want to check.

    Yvette is a witch, and I hope she leaves quickly, though I have to say her daughter does seem quite talented, so I think she will be around for awhile, unfortunatey. I don’t want Yvette to get the satisfaction of Kristie (Asia’s mom) having to leave before they do- even though, in reality, Hadley is a better dancer (Duh! She is over TWICE as old as Asia is, so not really a fair comparison). Not liking Asia’s diva attitude, but I just keep reminding myself that she is just a little 6 year old girl..

    Loved Lexine! She’s a doll and I liked that her mom was there for her too. She is really quite good- I got to see more of her this time and was thoroughtly impressed with her ability. I hope she stays for awhile.

  3. The worst recap ever, I couldn’t even get through it. Too many words to say nothing. Terrible, terrible writing.

    • Boo, Lisa! Boo!

      I think the writing is hilarious. I read two other boring recaps in my search for this author.

      I love snarky.

  4. Loved the recap. I agree Tua was just to nice for this competition. And despite Shayna’s passive alliance with Yvette, she was far to sane and nice of a mother for the alpha dog pound that is the AUDC.

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About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.