With nine dancers remaining to battle for the Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition crown, Abby announces that this week’s theme is Las Vegas and the skill is flexibility. Kalani says she’s super-duper flexible, so this should be a cakewalk. Er, dangle. Whatever.
Abby reminds everyone that when she says flexibility, she means flexibility not only of the body, but of the mind. Then Shannon Beach, who has toured with Katy Perry and Justin Bieber and says that every one of the dancers is capable of having a career like hers, appears to school the dancers in the silks. Speaking of rock stars, look who’s having a moment.
The winner of the skills challenge gets the most coveted prize in the whole wide reality competition world — immunity from elimination, no matter how tough a time with the performance challenge they have. Let’s hear from JoJo: “When Abby said immunity, I was like, ‘OK seriously, WHAT is that?’”
It means you can’t get the dance cooties, JoJo. Or, you know, get sent home.
Let’s hit the silks. Kalani takes to it right away. Tina says she won’t have Trinity ruining her back for some dumb immunity challenge. Trinity is mortified. Since that went so well, Cindy decides to try it, too. Gianna motions her away before she even leaves her seat.
Tyler, McKaylee and Trinity go first. Abby tells Tyler to take a seat. McKaylee and Trinity survive to break another vertebrae. Tyler says his hips and hamstrings just don’t function like girls’ do.
Next up are Gianna, Haley and Travis. All three are quickly dismissed.
JoJo, Ally and Kalani go next. Ally doesn’t even make it into the sling before she’s eliminated. JoJo fiddles around like a little kid on the playground equipment and gets cast away next. Abby says Kalani is so flexible that Abby thought she’d be a shoo-in for a win in this challenge, but she wasn’t. Even so, Tiffany crabs that she’s clearly Abby’s fave.
McKaylee and Trinity duke it out for the win. Trinity did a better job in the sling, while McKaylee’s final pose goes all “wonkity wonk.” But did Tina interrupt class.
Oh oh …
But it didn’t cost Trinity kid the win. Abby loves a kid who can work through the pain. Tiffany Bieber says Abby didn’t check Tina hard enough, yo.
In the Kristie Ray/Yvette Walts Memorial Rhinestoning Room of Contentiousness, Jessalynn, Tiffany, Melanie and Cindy are hanging out and makin’ stuff when Tina — all puffed up with her kid’s immunity — comes in like some demented chick version of Charlie Chaplin, only loud, and asks whose costume she is holding. When no one claims it, she tosses it on the table. This causes Tiffany great pain because, even though it isn’t Ally’s outfit, what if there had been, like, glue on the table or something?! She says that after Tina’s immunity is over, “her ass is in the frying pan.”
Jessalynn sidles up behind Tina, reaches for a, well, whatever, and knocks Trinity’s costume to the floor with all the subtlety of a … well, a Tiffany. “That was a bitch move,” says Tina. (Seriously, someone either had a midnight epiphany that she wasn’t scoring much airtime as the mouthy mothers and decided to go outer limits about it or this is Tina’s evil twin, Evil Tina.) “Oopsies!” snarks Jess.
Erik Saradpon is back to choreograph Tyler, Travis and Kalani’s hip-hop dance about the Rat Pack. Good one, Erik. Abby loves her some Rat Pack. Tyler and Travis say that hip-hop is what they do, but it is not Kalani’s thing and she says so. Abby says it’s obvious that she’s liked Kalani from the first day of school, but she also has to impress Richy the Fingers, so keep that in mind if she thinks she can slide through on Abby’s favor
Ally and JoJo — er, what? — yes, Ally and JoJo will be doing what appears to be a contemporary dance called Magic Act, choreographed by Tarua Hall. Ally will be the magician and, according to JoJo, she will be the assistant and then she turns into a buuuuhd. That’s “bird” if you don’t speak JoJo.
Here’s how we feel about that in three easy expressions. One … two …
… and three.
Abby arrives to observe. “Cute, little, adorable, blond, perfect dancer assistant,” she begins, causing JoJo to beam and nod vigorously, “needs to straighten her leg on her shanay turns.” Oh. Then she tells Ally she’s boring. No pizazz. And that’s about that.
Tessandra Chavez will be choreographing Haley and Gianna’s “Show Stoppers” number, which is all girlie with boas and heels and stuff. The girls look happy about this, but their mothers fuss that their daughters have never danced in heels. Cindy says that Haley especially looks like a little kid dancing in her mommy’s shoes. And it’s only about to get worse, because Abby comes in and says that if the girls are playing Rockettes, these rinky-dink, chunky-heeled Mary Janes will never do.
Speaking of shoes, Cindy is once again wearing Abby’s abhorred flip-flops, which affords Abby license to take her to task for almost interrupting class this morning, even after Tina got in trubs for doing it first. Abby says their overprotective behavior reminds her of parents in the grocery store who have to ask their children if they have to go potty. Do they have to go potty? Kids should know if they have to pee, and also if they’re too hurt to dance.
Cindy says that’s what Abby thinks because she’s not a mother and has no kids. Agggghhh!
Cindy has a death wish.
Abby retorts that she has raised thousand of kids. For example, she can’t even count the number of times she has held out her hands like so, so a kid could puke in them backstage. Cindy says that’s not the same as having one’s hands available as puke receptacles 24/7. Amen to that, sister. Signed, Mother of Four. Now stop wearing flip-flops. You draw attention. And not the good kind.
Because they were the top performers in the skills challenge, McKaylee and Trinity are doing an acrobatic number called Flying High that incorporates the dreaded silks. McKaylee wisely points out that they’re really only a problem for her, because Trinity could knit a pair of socks with hers, refuse to dance a step and still have immunity. Abby arrives to add to the pressure she is feeling.
Come competition day, Cindy launches into Kira for the whole “big whoop if I win” thing, and Kira says she misinterpreted her words. Kira said she would never take her daughter’s winning for her own is all.
So this is what your mouth is doing.
And this is what Kira wants it to do.
Capisce? Now move along. Which is not exactly how Kira says it. Instead, she sort of incorporates some creative language about, uh, what size pants Cindy might wear and asks her to move the evidence of that along.
Cindy starts to go. Then she returns with her own creative language about whether God or industry is the creator of Kira’s these …
…and also the appropriateness of her neon green hi-lo dress and black and white heels.
Sheryl would like serenity. Now.
Ally and JoJo go first. Because you know Abby is going to be all over Ally’s technique and JoJo’s showmanship, I’m watching JoJo’s legs and Ally’s face, just for the sake of fairness. And for the second week in a row, JoJo’s dance is going to give me nightmares.
Kevin calls the performance magical, but the judges’ expressions suggest it was anything but.
Richy tells JoJo that he loves that sometimes she has too much personality, but this time she didn’t live up to the drama of her evil birdie costume. Abby chimes in and says that because she is a bird, she’s supposed to fly, so how come that grand jeté barely got off the ground? Fer God sake, hasn’t she ever been to Vegas?
Uh, Abby? Even if she had, where do you propose they would let her in, besides, like, McDonalds? I don’t know, because I have never been there, either, except for layovers at the airport, so I suppose she could go there. Speaking of which, JoJo says if she wins AUDC, she will use some of her windfall to take a trip to Vegas and educate herself. Nice save, little flightless sparrow. Nice save.
Rachelle says Ally has to make her specific moves more specific and throw the focus when it’s time to throw the focus. But don’t rest, either way. I hope that makes sense to Ally, because it’s a total mystery to me. Richy says that there was no fantasy to Ally’s character because she was too focused on her, I guess, non-specific and unfocused steps.
Then Abby takes Tiffany to task for sending Ally out in a hat that covers her face. Tiffany says she’s not a dance mom, so how the hell would she know how to tweak the hat with foam so it sits higher on Ally’s head? If your kid competes in dance, pickle, you automatically default to dance mom. What kind of dance mom is another matter altogether. But you are a dance mom. Sorry.
Then Abby tells poor Ally that she no longer believes she’s a contender for the $100K. Then a miracle happens. Tiffany actually says she feels like she let her daughter down with some genuine emotion. “I got out-mommed,” she laments.
Jessalynn says no one can outshine JoJo — especially Ally and her currently-weeping mom. Ally says she’s just glad her mother is here — it doesn’t matter if she’s a card-carrying dance mom or not.
Next up is Gianna and Haley — if their mothers can quit squalling like harpies at each other and get the children on the stage. Blistered feet and all. Melanie swears to GAWD yet again and says she’ll send Haley out to do a dance solo if that’s what it comes down to.
Midway through their fun, flirty dance, the girls do a little selling of the story to the judges, smooching Richy on the cheeks and admiring Abby and Rachelle.
Afterward, Abby says she is thrilled to see the girls dancing in genuine heels and that they were flexible enough in the mind to give it a go. But Rachelle — the sole expert in dancing in heels on the judging panel — says the girls now have to remember to not walk from their ankles (you’re losing me bad today, Rachelle) and to own those heels.
Then she gets up to give the girls a lesson in “walking through our feet.”
Gianna and Haley looked tickled. I’m going to grab some heels and practice walking through my feet the minute this episode ends, I swear.
Back at the judging table, Rachelle tells Gianna she is evolving by leaps and bounds. Abby says Haley only had one facial expression, but Richy said she more than delivered on the dance.
Then another miracle happens: Abby tells Gianna she has nothing negative to say about her performance. The goodwill spills over into the green room, where Cindy and Melanie hug and compliment both dancers and be nice to each other, too.
Time for Kalani and the boys and their Rat Pack routine. For whatever reason, Tiffany is dancing along in the green room, and for me, that’s the most remarkable thing about the dance, possibly because the camera work seems to catch the dancers in pretty unremarkable moments or close-ups of their faces.
A clearly agitated Richy says he loves the hip-hop category because it always exposes everybody — and nobody here is a hip-hop dancer. He says they need to do some time in a dance circle to free themselves up. Abby says Kalani was all girl in her suit and she more than matched the two boys. Richy says no way. Tina, Cindy and Gianna celebrate in the green room. Careful, ladies. Karma.
Rachelle tells Kalani diplomatically that she needs to be more flexible and work harder on new styles of dance.
Trinity and McKaylee go last. This is really only McKaylee’s dance to screw up. Which I don’t believe is actually a possibility for McKaylee.
Back up, cameraman! Back up!
Rachelle can’t believe the girls learned the complicated routine in just two days. Richy says McKaylee owned her performance. Abby compliments McKaylee’s effortless form.
Everyone agrees that it is a good thing that Trinity has a free pass to next week. Tina seems chastened. Or maybe Normal Tina is back.
Come judges’ deliberation, everyone ponders why JoJo isn’t herself. Richy can’t let the hip-hop failure go — which bothers Tyler way more than it does Travis — and says Kalani couldn’t do hip-hop if the entire planet depended on it. Abby says she was adorable in her suit and her lines were good. That won’t save the planet, Abby. Only hip-hop.
Abby says Haley should have been gone on day one, but Rachelle says she’s improving. Everyone takes to looking extra cranky.
When the crew comes back out for results, Abby admonishes them for not living up to the glitz and glam of Vegas. You Dance Moms recap readers know my endless irritation with her expecting children to understand cultural references and artists and so forth that are well beyond their ages and maturity level, so I’ll just let it go at that.
Trinity, by virtue of her immunity, gets sent back to the mom line first. She looks relieved that this go-round is over. Gianna, Haley, Travis and McKaylee are all quickly declared safe as well.
That leaves Tyler, Kalani, JoJo and Ally in jeopardy. Tyler gets saved first. Abby says that’s because he kept it masculine. I’m confused. Travis is relieved. JoJo is saved next. Like she ever had any doubt. That leaves Ally and Kalani in danger of going home. Tiffany decides to pull the mixed-race card again and says that Kalani looks like every other dancer in the Abby Lee Dance Company — except for all them save maybe Kendall — so she and Ally are definitely going home.
Shockingly, she is wrong. Abby says even though she is upset with her two fellow judges and she thought Kalani would be there until the end, today is not Kalani’s day — and Abby will not use her call-back card to save her. She will, however, call Kalani down to the judges table for a cuddle and an encouraging word. And I’ll admit it — I’m disappointed I won’t have the chance to see Kalani do at least one dance that highlighted her balletic style. Especially since I don’t think for a minute that Ally’s heart is in the competition. But her mother sure does make for good TV.
So what say you, AUDC viewers? Did the judges make the right call? Should Abby have saved her favorite? Do the mothers ultimately determine their children’s fate? Do you prefer peaceful moms like Shari and Sheryl, or firebrands like Tiffany, Melanie and Cindy? Sound off in the comments section below.
New episodes of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.