‘Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition’ Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: Happily Never After

(L to R) Robin Antin, Richy Jackson and Abby Lee Miller

On Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, contestants between the ages of 6 and 13 compete for $100,000 and a full scholarship to the Young Dancers Program at The Joffrey Ballet in New York City. The judges are Abby Lee Miller (Dance Moms), Richy Jackson (Lady Gaga) and Robin Antin (The Pussycat Dolls). When the show began seven weeks ago there were twelve competitors, but now in season 1, episode 7, six dancers remain: Asia (age 6),  Amanda (12), Hadley (12), Jordyn (age 12), Brianna (13), and Madison (13).

Host Kevin Manno arrives with Abby - she is wearing a tiara and carrying a magic wand because this week’s competition theme is “Fairy Tales”.  First though, is the Group Dance Challenge, and this week Abby will be looking for individuality. Abby reminds the dancers that at auditions everyone is given the same steps, it’s what they do with them that makes them different. Then she sends the girls off with choreographer Anthony Burrell for a 45 minute session to learn the Group Dance.

When the practice is over Abby puts the contestants through their paces while she looks for the dancer who displays the most individuality. The dancers perform in different configurations – all together, then in twos and threes – and Abby eliminates them one-by-one until Madison is named the winner. Madison’s prize is the lead in the group dance, and she is assigned a duet with Amanda.

Next Anthony Burrell conducts the rehearsals for the group dance for competition night, in which the girls perform on a floor strewn with flower petals. When he has to correct Jordyn for her posture several times, she gets an earful from her Mother Kelly who fears Jordyn’s inability to correct her mistakes will get her sent home.

Then solo and duet practice begins. If the rehearsals had a theme, this week it would be “Worry”.

Madison and Amanda practice their duet with Kitty McNamee, and Amanda worries about paying an evil character because it’s not who she is. Kristie worries about her daughter’s gigantic plastic costume - as she puts it, “Asia is dancing in a trash bag.” Asia doesn’t seem concerned about it, but Kristie worries about the movement and restriction, and the fact that the plastic is sticking to Asia. Madison’s Mom Coreen worries about Hadley’s Mom Yvette because she seems withdrawn. Yvette and her daughter Hadley both worry about getting cut, and poor Hadley is so stressed out she barely catch her breath between sobs. Jordyn worries that the judges only see her as a hip hop dancer. Brianna falls during rehearsal, and worries because her knee has already been hurting for two months, and landing on it didn’t help.

Then it is competition night. Backstage the nerves are high, but the Moms pull it together enough to give their daughters pep talks. First we see the group dance, and then the show moves on to the individual performances.

The first solo of the night is from Jordyn, who does a contemporary routine by guest choreographer Molly Long. She dances as Cinderella and wears a pretty, feminine costume. Abby says she was outstanding, and that the only thing she needs to do is keep working on her knees. Richy agrees and says Jordyn did a fantastic job. Robin is concerned that Jordyn’s facial expressions were too much, but Abby interjects and disagrees.

Next Hadley does a jazz number choreographed by Anthony Burrell in which she plays the fairy Tinkerbell.  She wears a costume with wings and finishes her routine by sprinkling glitter at the judges table. Abby tells her the fairy dust worked, and that her performance was sweet and fun. Ricky says it was more of a performance than he expected, and Robin concedes it was a beautiful, clean performance, but adds that she didn’t absolutely love it.

Then we see Asia as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz in a modern routine choreographed by Ricky Palomino. She maneuvers a giant plastic cape and wears green lipstick.  At the end of her dance she perfectly executes a move that looks like she’s melting into the floor.  Abby’s critique is that the top half of Asia (her facial expression) is in the top half of the competition, and that the bottom half of Asia (her feet) is in the bottom of the competition. Richy says she was perfect and he couldn’t take his eye off of her, Robin says Asia dances like a diva and believes she may have learned it watching the Pussycat Dolls.

The fourth routine is from Brianna, who does a jazz funk solo choreographed by Gina Starbuck in which she plays both Little Red Riding Hood AND the wolf.  She starts and finishes the number in a red cape; in between she is in a red two-piece costume decorated with what looks like tufts of fur.  Thankfully there are no issues with her knee during the performance.  Abby loves the routine and the fact that Brianna got to show her individuality. Richy reminds her to work on her isolations and “itty bitty things”, and Robin says Brianna owned it and she was ageless. Abby likes it so much she does a big howl for Brianna.

For the final number we see a contemporary ballet duet choreographed by Kitty McNamee with Madison as Snow White and Amanda as The Evil Queen. Madison is dressed in white and Amanda is in purple and carries a mirror (as in “Mirror, mirror on the wall”). Abby says Amanda’s characterization was wonderful and commended her for her vicious expression when she looked through the mirror. Richy thought both dancers lost their individuality and that their faces stayed the same throughout the number, Robin wants 100 percent more from them.

Yvette and Hadley
The judges deliberate, then Abby gets right to the point and puts Asia and Hadley on notice that one of them will be going home tonight.  She says both of them had flaws, but it is Hadley who going home.

Abby compliments Hadley for being tough in the face of criticism, and we agree with her: no matter how hard (and sometimes harsh) the judges were with her, Hadley didn't give up. In her exit interview Hadley says, “I grew as a dancer from being here… I’m going to take all of the corrections and put them into my dance career.” Hadley didn't make it to the end of the competition, but she definitely has a winning attitude.

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, November 21, 2012 7:00 PM