'Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition' S1, Ep4 Recap: In a New York Minute

Zack and Madison on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition

On Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, dancers age 6 through 13 perform for judges Abby Lee Miller, Richy Jackson and Robin Antin to compete for $100,000 cash and a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet. On season 1, episode 4, the nine remaining dancers work with the theme "New York, New York".

For this week’s Group Challenge, the dancers are put through their paces in a Broadway-style open call audition with a combination they learn from choreographer Joyce Chittick. They wear numbers and dance accompanied by a live pianist while Abby watches. This week she judges the kids on their projection skills and makes cuts, one-by-one, until she is down to two dancers, Zack and Amanda. After one last go-round, Amanda is named the winner, and as her prize she gets to perform a lyrical solo on competition show night.

Next we see the Moms in the wardrobe room working on costumes for the competition. Hadley’s Mom Yvette starts riling people, as she does every week. She says that Kristie’s daughter Asia is a good dancer, but in the industry Moms and kids are a package, and that Kristie will hurt Asia’s career (for those of you just tuning in, Yvette pick a fight with Kristie every week). If that were really true, Yvette would be ruining her own daughter’s career with her constant instigating, but the fact is she’ll probably get her own show as a result of all the airtime her fights earn for her.

Anyway, because Yvette said nice things about Asia, Erin thinks there’s a possibility of Yvette and Kristie making up. Kristie doesn’t care what nice things Yvette said in this room, because earlier she called Asia an “out of control six-year-old”. There will be no peace - as Erin put it, “the olive branch broke.” Kristie calls Yvette out for making fun of Elisabeth’s hair extensions and making her cry (in episode 2), but Yvette remains unapologetic. After Kristie leaves the room, Yvette calls her a “bitch” and “trash”.

The action moves to the rehearsals. Asia falls and her prop chair hits her in the nose, causing her to cry, but the good news is she isn't seriously injured. Zack, who excels in lyrical and ballet, struggles with the hip hop choreography.

Meanwhile, Mom’s Erin, Kelly and Kristie go out for drinks. Erin tells Kelly that because she associates with her (Erin) and Kristie, she is probably next on Yvette’s hit list. We also find out that Yvette told Erin that once she and her daughter Elisabeth are sent packing, she wants their room because it’s bigger. Thankfully, at least for this episode, there is more focus on the young dancers than the Mama drama, and that’s all we hear about that. On to the competition!

The show begins with host Kevin Manno in a nice grey/black/teal combo. There is a West Side Story-ish group dance choreographed by Joyce Chittick - little Asia looks pretty great in this number - and then the competition begins.

Madison, 13,  Asia, 6,  and Lexine, 11, do a jazz routine based on New York cabarets choreographed by Anthony Burrell. Abby commends Asia on the level of difficulty in the number, and says Madison was the glue for the trio. Robin feels like Madison held back. Abby tells Lexine she looks like a kid, but dances like she’s 25.

Hadley and Jordan, both age 12,  perform a musical theater style number about Vaudeville choreographed by Joyce Chittick. They are dressed in shiny pants and black Bowlers, and they dance on a trunk. The judges smile through the dance. Abby noticed “a few dumb mistakes” (Hadley slipped during her side aerial), but she also said the choreography was right on the money. Richy noted the dancers had fantastic freedom and no-one held back; Robin said it was perfection.

Brianna, Zack and Elisabeth, all age 13, dance a hip hop style number called “Subway Experience” choreographed by Anthony Burrell. Abby enjoyed the number, but said Zack was on a different subway. Richy tells Zack he’s too good to not be able to figure out hip hop and be great at that too. Robin says they danced like technical, beautiful dancers but didn’t bring the swag.

Amanda, 12,  performs a lyrical solo about NYC runaways choreographed by Ricky Palomino, and she is wonderful. Abby calls the routine a “hot, sassy number” and says Amanda was outstanding. Richy gives it double "squirrel waves" (a finger wagging motion thing he does) and tells Amanda “you just raised your own bar”. Robin said the performance was so beautiful she couldn’t take her eyes off of a single part. Amanda’s Mom Mayelin cries and tells Amanda she was proud of her.

Amanda is named as the top scoring dancer for the evening, and then Abby announces, “Your judging panel could not come to a unanimous decision, three of you are on the chopping block tonight so we’re going to have a dance-off.”

The bottom three are revealed to be Elisabeth, Madison and Zack.

For the dance-off they are instructed to do a series of turns, then improv for an eight count. Elisabeth and Zack both do combinations that end in front of the judges table. When Madison’s leg is low on the pirouettes, it seems she may be the one to go home.

The six dancers who were not in the dance-off are told they are safe. Then Abby tells Elisabeth to step forward and says that looking at her you think “dancer”, but the way she does her turns is going to cost her the job. But then she tells her, “you squeaked by one more week” – Elisabeth is safe.

It comes down to Madison and Zack. Zack is told he was the most improved throughout the competition, but he was “exposed” as someone who couldn’t dance hip hop. Madison hears she is consistent, but that they are looking for more than that.

There was more talk from the judges, but re-telling it is like pulling a Band-Aid off slowly – it’s just too painful. Zack was cut. Awesome kid, amazing dancer, always willing to help out, one of my favorite contestants (and creator of the best braided up-do, ever), Zack. Nothing in this world - in or out of show biz - is fair, but seeing him leave hurt my heart. Zack was pleasant and pragmatic though, saying, “The dance world is small... it’s not our final goodbye.” From his lips to Broadway’s ears.

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 Thursday, November 1, 2012 11:25 PM