'Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition' S1, Ep2 Recap: Unleash the Monsters aka Momsters

The contestants and moms from Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition

On Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition season 1, episode 2, the remaining eleven dancers move one step closer to the big prize: $100,000 and a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet.  This week the young dancers, ages 6 through 13, work with the theme “Monsters of the Night”, but it could have just as easily been “MOMsters of the Night” given the way the some of the parents behaved.  At the end of this episode, judges Abby Lee Miller, Robin Antin and Richy Jackson will eliminate one dancer.

Abby tells the contestants the skill she’s looking for in this week’s group challenge dance is physical strength – she wants to see muscles. The routine is turned over to guest choreographer Victor Rojas – who has worked with Lady Gaga and Janet Jackson - and the dancers get 45 minutes to learn the combination.  This week’s winner will get a solo.

The focus switches to the mothers. Hadley’s Mom Yvette says, “It’s tough for some of the dancers because they step on Asia and her timing is off just slightly so she’s in the way.”  Elisabeth’s Mom Erin is talking about her divorce again and says it’s her 14th wedding anniversary. The other moms don’t appreciate that Elisabeth cried and pulled the divorce card last week. Yvette says, “This is the dance world, it’s a no excuse zone.” Meanwhile in rehearsal, when the dancers get a  break to get a sip of water, Elisabeth and her Mother talk, and she starts to cry again. As she heads back to the dance floor in tears, it appears that Erin barely conceals a smile. Either she’s truly manipulative, or the editors are.

Abby judges the combination. She says Jordyn made great eye contact - a well-known physical skill - and names her the winner (I wonder if Abby is partial to Jordyn because she resembles her favorite student, Maddie from Dance Moms). As part of the prize Jordyn gets to choose another dancer who will also get a solo.  She consults with her Mom, who wisely tells her to pick someone she can out-dance. She chooses Zack. His Mom wonders, “Why would she pick Zack?” since Jordyn is much friendlier with some of the girls.  Cut to Jordyn who says she picked Zack “because he’s a boy and none of the other girls will get to stand out more than me.”   Good move – maybe.

The talk then turns to the costumes for the competition dance, and Yvette makes a crack about Elisabeth’s fake hair.  Elisabeth cries again and sobs, “ I have hair extensions, it’s not like it's a bad thing it’s just to make my hair longer and that just made me really upset because she’s being really mean to me and my Mom… I really didn’t need anything else to go wrong today.”

Tua’s Mom points out that “for a 13-year-old to cry every five minutes is just a bit much”. I know some kids are just sensitive, but if Elisabeth aspires to be in the spotlight, she needs to buck up.  Back when I was a young performer if I had cried during rehearsals or a competition my Mother would have yanked me out but quick.

Then we get an unpunctuated speech from Elizabeth: “I know I’m pretty but like I’m not cocky about it I’m just humble and people are jealous of that and they just sometimes wish they could be me and honestly they don’t even know sometimes it’s really hard to be me, like right now.”  I don’t get this either,  because all of the girls on this show are really pretty, and the fact is, even her Mom admits Elisabeth "may not have the best feet". Elisabeth is a beautiful young woman, but she needs to stop crying and worrying about her looks and start practicing more. 

Zack comes in to where Elisabeth is crying, takes her by the arm and says, “come on let's be partners”.  Zack is awesome. 

Then we see the rehearsals: the trios study with Anthony Burrell, and Zack and Jordyn work on their solos with Ricky Palomino.  In Jordyn’s number she has to look under her bed and see spiders and show fear. Before she has a chance to digest Palomino’s direction, her Mom badgers her to the point that she can’t think straight.

We see the jazz trio of Asia, Hadley and Elisabeth, who starts crying again because people are being mean to her and her mom.  Hadley says, “Elisabeth is a nice girl but she can be a wimp sometimes. She’s not strong. We didn’t come here to talk about our life problems, we came here to dance.”

While the Moms are working on the kids' costumes, trouble is brewing because Asia’s Mom Kristie is upset that Hadley’s Mom Yvette made Erin’s daughter Elisabeth cry. Got that?  They get in a fight with lots of finger wagging and Kristie taunting Yvette with “you wanna go?” and challenging her to take it outside.  Kristie also says, “Obviously, Yvette has a death wish.”  It’s a Jerry Springer-style fight, minus the paternity test. Hopefully no-one will try to snatch the weave off Elisabeth’s head.  

We do a 180 degree turn and see a nice moment with Zack offering to do Elisabeth’s hair. He executes a stunning braided up-do that rivals anything I’ve seen at a wedding or on the red carpet, or on Pinterest even. 

We head over to The Los Angeles Theater, and the competition begins.  First up is a hip-hop number with Madison, Lexine and Tua, who are portraying goblin queens dancing around tombstones.  It’s a cool dance.  Abby’s opinion of Madison is that she was “over the top” and “excellent”. Richy enthuses that Madison did a “great job”, and Robin says “you were the glue.” Abby chides Tua for watching the other girls to see what they were doing, and Robin compliments Lexine for her facial expressions.

Then we see a jazz-funk routine called “Vampire Mystique” with Kyleigh Jai, Amanda and Brianna, who begin their dance by coming out of coffins. The girls look good dancing together. Abby’s critique is that, “overall this trio was very good but one of you sucked”. She tells Amanda C, “your left foot is turned in all the time”.  Robin thinks Brianna is “phenomenal”. Abby calls Kyleigh Jai out on her feet too, and both Robin and Abby point out that she missed her big kick layout. The criticism leaves Kyleigh Jai in tears.

Jordyn’s solo is a lyrical dance to a song called “Bad Dreams”. Abby remarks, “Tonight I’ll definitely have a nightmare after watching your solo” and  “I didn’t see you killing any spiders.”  Robin says she “didn’t show she was scared and didn’t connect."  Abby finishes with, “this solo could either make you or break you, and it certainly didn’t help you.”  Jordyn says that “they didn’t get the story but onstage it felt right”, but her mother reads her the riot act backstage.  I think her dancing was lovely, maybe she just needs an acting coach to round out her performances.

Zack nails his solo - he plays a ghost in a number that draws on the 1950's car crash genre of music. I think he has great extension in his kicks and splits. Abby praises him with, “I thought your dancing technically is incredible, you’re blowing away the girls”. Robin says, “even though this piece was definitely fluid and contemporary, you still attacked with control, and it was masculine”. Richy says, “it took me somewhere, like you were in the music.”  Abby also gives Zack kudos for flirting with her as part of his performance. Unfortunately for Jordyn, her strategy of picking Zack backfired.

Then we see the jazz trio of Elisabeth, Hadley and Asia, who are dressed as wolves. Asia gives great face, but in this routine she's not as good as the other girls – she is talented, she just doesn’t pick up the choreography as fast as the others. Abby quips, “One of you was a puppy, not a werewolf”, then tells Hadley “you hit every isolation…I was impressed with you”, Richy says she “executed well”, and Robin tells her she seemed like the “leader of the group.”  Abby thinks Elisabeth was “great”, but Robin notices her “turns were off”.  All three judges agree Asia wasn’t up to par in this dance, and Abby didn’t like her straddle. Asia’s mother feels, “Yvette’s issues hurt Asia”.  Yvette says, “I hate to see Asia cry, but does this mean Kristie gets to go home?”  MOMsters in the house!

The judges deliberate, then the dancers assemble onstage and host Kevin Manno tells them, “for one of you this is the end of the road”. The seven performers who are safe are announced, then we learn which four are in jeopardy: Asia, Tua, Kyleigh Jai and Jordyn.  Asia and Tua are given performance notes, and then they are told they are safe.

Kyleigh Jai and Kristen
In a nice moment, the two still on the chopping block – Kyleigh Jai and Jordyn – hug and Jordyn says, “good luck”.  Robin tells Kyleigh Jai “you hurt the performance in the trio”, and Abby tells Jordyn, “you had the opportunity to become a star tonight, and you blew it.”  In the end it is Kyleigh Jai who is sent home. I’m sad to see her go – she is a fine dancer. I liked her Mom Kristen too - she seemed sensible. It's a quality this show could use.

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

To see all of our AUDC coverage click here.

Photos ©Lifetime

Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 3:00 PM