|Haley channels Lady Gaga on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition|
Previously on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, (AUDC) eleven dancers between the ages of 10 and 13 arrived in Los Angeles to compete for $100,000 cash and a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School of New York. One dancer was cut, so this week on season 2, episode 2 of AUDC, there are ten aspiring dancers competing under the theme “Dare to be You”. All of the routines are inspired by Lady Gaga, who makes an appearance via video, and the dances are choreographed by judge Richy Jackson, who works with Gaga.
The nine remaining contestants gather to stretch and prepare for this week’s competition. Jessalynn and her daughter once again find a good spot front and center; Shari (McKaylee’s mom) says, “Last week’s competition was crazy hard, you have no clue who’s going to be on the chopping block,” and Melanie cautions her daughter Haley, “This is it – if you don’t make it happen this time, we’re going home.” Jessalynn thinks Melanie is “crushing her daughter’s self-esteem,” and that “Gianna is a hot mess.”
Abby Lee Miller arrives and gets the competition in gear. Every week the Group Dance Challenge (GDC) focuses on a specific skill or attribute: this week it’s “Individuality”, and the dancers are expected to show what makes them special. Gianni says everyone in the competition has something different about them: Ally has her hair, Kalani is flexible, and while she’s not sure what her defining character is, right now, she says she’s the girl who fell. Abby asks the group what three qualities stand out about her, and they answer “confidence”, “bold” and “mouth”. That last one comes from Cindy, Gianna’s mother.
Abby introduces judge Richy Jackson, the choreographer for this week’s challenge. Before he starts rehearsal, he has a video message from his friend… Lady Gaga! Gaga is in angelic mode with long, flowing locks and a fluttery chiffon top. Her message for the young dancers is “Stay focused, stay true to yourself, this is your time to shine.”
Abby tells the group that this week’s competition theme is “Dare to be You”, and all of the routines will be inspired by Lady Gaga. Tiffany feels this theme is especially meaningful to her and her daughter Ally, who is biracial.
Chloe struggles because she’s used to lyrical, not hip hop, and Melanie admits that hip hop is not her daughter’s strong point. Like last week, Abby runs the routine and eliminates dancers one by one. When she is down to six, she has them dance in trios, each with one of the twin boys in the center. Finally, Gianna, Travis and Tyler are the last three standing. The boys are eliminated, and Gianna wins! Yay! I’m happy for Gianna because she gets to redeem herself from falling last week, plus, her family is from Philly, the home base for Glamorosi Magazine.
Abby calls Gianna’s Mom down to the dance floor – together they are going to choose what dance Gianna will do in the competition. Their decision will be based solely on the costume; they will not know the style of dance. Gianna is hoping to pick something jazzy or contemporary, but not hip hop. She winds up with a contemporary lyrical duet. Fantastic! Abby dismisses the rest of the contestants, and says to Gianna, “You, I wanna work with.” Cindy says, “I’m not afraid, I’m from Philly. Who the hell does she think she is?” That’s how we roll in Philly.
Abby looks down at Cindy’s feet, and calls her out for wearing flip flops on the stage, which is “sacred, holy territory.” Abby says, “If I see those flip flops on my stage one more time, that woman is gone.” Abby wants Cindy to “clean up this act.” Cindy responds, “Abby makes fun of my flip flops, but I hate to tell her that she’s wearing the same black pants every time I see her, day after day, so at least I’m changing my outfit up a little bit.”
Travis, Jojo and Tyler work with choreographer Erik Saradpon; their routine is called “Fashion Addicts” and it’s about being addicted to shopping. They wind up in prison for shoplifting. Abby is there observing, and when JoJo inserts herself in a conversation between Sheryl and Abby (who has asked Sheryl how she tells her twin boys apart), Abby tells her mom if that was her kid, she’d take her outside. Sheryl says, “JoJo is a ball of sunshine, who could probably use a little reigning in,” and she expresses concern that JoJo will take the focus off of her boys.
Ally and Kalani work with choreographer Anthony Burrell on their “Piano Performance” duet. Kalani says Anthony is “kinda hard on us”. Kira (Kalani’s mom) says that Tiffany (Ally’s mom) is freaking out because Ally isn’t a technical dancer. Abby enters the room and gives the girls corrections. Afterward, Ally cries, and Tiffany yells at her, “Where is Ally? Point your toes, close your rib cage, stop crying! Whattya want me to say to you when we’re in the damn bungalow packing to go home?”
Gianna and Trinity work with choreographer Tessandra Chavez on a routine called “Two Sides of a Star”. Gianna plays the star, and Trinity is Lady Gaga in everyday life. Tina (Trinity’s mom) says her daughter is getting the choreography right away, but that Gianna is not getting it at all. Cindy says that because she got off to a bad start with Abby, there’s a lot of pressure on her daughter Gianna. Tessandra grills Gianna on why she keeps forgetting the moves, and tells her that she has to earn her trust. Cindy dries Gianna’s tears and says her daughter gets flustered, so she’s used to the drama.
Haley, Chloe and McKaylee work with choreographer Tarua Hall on a number called “Bleeding Heart.” The routine features a set piece inspired by Lady Gaga’s egg (during her grand entrance at the 2011 Grammy Awards, Gaga was carried in inside of an egg). Shari and Melanie get in a brief spat, but it's not completely evident what it's about. Later Shari tells her daughter, “I need you to be the leader today because Haley's mom is a nervous wreck, and it's making Haley is a nervous wreck.” Angela doesn't have time for drama - she's not going to take her focus off of her daughter Chloe for a moment because “that just gives Satan enough time to come in and bring fear to the situation.”
Abby goes to the costume room where Jessalynn and Sheryl are working, and tells Jessalynn she needs to talk to her about JoJo’s mouth. Abby thinks JoJo's behavior is due to the fact that she’s home schooled, and that if she went to public school and got teased and thrown in her locker a few times, she might work on it. Abby also thinks no-one ever tells JoJo no, which is probably true. Abby says she knows Lady Gaga is really big on anti-bullying and being different, BUT, being teased and thrown into a locker IS exactly the bullying Gaga is trying to stop. Meanwhile, Jessalynn says "JoJo is very opinionated, and Abby is going to have to get used to it."
It’s time for the competition, and host Kevin Manno introduces judges Abby Lee Miller, Rachelle Rak, and Richy Jackson, who references Lady Gaga’s song, “Edge of Glory”, saying it’s about giving all that you have, and he wants the dancers to “show everything they are amazing at.” Meanwhile, Abby shows her individuality by wearing soda cans as rollers in her hair.
Ally and Kalani go first with their “Piano Passion” duet; their choreography is cool. Abby praises Kalani for her beautiful leg extension and nice ending pose, and tells her to worry about her right leg, then chides Ally for her “lazy releve.” Richy tells Ally, “I need you to go harder, because I know you can.” Rachel says Kalani’s performance was “very present,” but that Ally danced “safe.” Abby points out to Ally that last week the girl who went home was the girl who forgot choreography, and “you missed a step.” Ally is frustrated with herself. Kira (Kalani's mom) says the judges were extremely hard on Ally, but “Oh well, not my problem.”
Gianna and Trinity are next with their “Two Sides of a Star” number. Gianna is in a silver hooded outfit; Trinty wears a flowing chiffon skirt. Abby compliments both girls on how great they look in their costumes, but then asks, “How do I look? I’m asking you that because you never looked at me.” She also busts them for less-than perfect foot positions. Richy says Gianna let her spirit guide her, and says Trinity needs to let go. Rachelle is impressed, and says they both created a character. Abby says she is disappointed.
Travis, Tyler and JoJo take the stage for their “Fashion Addicts” jazz trio. They are dressed in black and white costumes, and they are energetic and entertaining. Abby applauds, and says JoJo “rocked it out,” but isn’t sure the boys stood out next to JoJo. Richy says JoJo was “on fire” and selling it, that Travis looked like he was having a good time, but Tyler was “almost too serious.” Rachelle thinks JoJo looked “Fantastic.” Then, instead of simply taking the compliment, JoJo starts talking and complimenting Richy's outfit and Abby's hair. I think JoJo is adorable, but she shouldn’t talk at judges panel.
Haley, McKaylee and Chloe go last with their “Bleeding Heart” number. They look good, but their performance lacks energy. The judges clap, but Abby says they aren’t exactly Lady Gaga material, and she gives Chloe corrections on her legs. Richy tells Chloe she has a bright star in there dying to come out, and he asks her what’s stopping her from being all she can be. She starts to answer that she just needs to get comfortable, but Abby stops her and tells her not to “play the pity, poor me card.” Rachelle thinks there was a missed connection between the dancers and the story. Richy wants to know who told the girls to make “monster faces” through the whole number, and the girls say that no-one did. From the wings, the judges can see there is some disagreement on that point, and then, Melanie comes out on stage and says that McKaylee’s mom told them to do it. Abby listens for a minute, then tells her to get off the stage. Afterward, while they’re backstage, Angela says she doesn’t have time for dance moms and their issues. Apparently though, Melanie does, and she warns Shari, “If my kid ends up going home today, I swear to God…”
The judges deliberate, and they do not agree on who should go home. Before they announce the results, Abby tells the dancers that she “didn’t see any little Lady Gagas... No-one came out and blew the judges away, everybody failed.”
Then, names are called: JoJo, Kalani, Tyler, Gianna and Travis; these are the contestants who are safe, the rest are the bottom five. Tiffany complains, “What kills me is JoJo's getting another free pass, whereas Ally is standing down there, staring into he judges eyes.”
Abby calls on Trinity to step forward, and says, “You never looked me in the eye and your feet were sickled. You barely squeaked by. Go ahead and join your mother.”
Next, Abby says, “Ally you disappointed me. Last week the girl who forgot the steps went home. Tonight the girl who forgot the steps gets to stay.” Ally is safe.
Kevin requests the moms of the bottom three to stand with their girls. Abby reiterates that she didn’t like their faces during their number, then says, “McKaylee, you are a great technical dancer, that's why you are staying.”
Abby addresses the bottom two, Haley and Chloe, and tells them “You certainly didn’t pay tribute to Lady Gaga. Chloe, today is not your day. You need to push that envelope a little bit further.” Through tears, Chloe, who is a darling, polite young lady, says, “Thank you so much for this opportunity and giving me my corrections. Sorry.” Before she can finish, Richy interrupts and uses his call-back card to save her. He praises Chloe saying, “Every artist that I’ve ever worked with has always come in like a broken bird... there’s so much good inside there... Chloe, I believe in you, so please don't let me down.” Chloe’s mom, whose name is Angela, says the save was “a direct path between Chloe, God and Richy.” Amen.
Coincidentally, or maybe not, next week’s theme on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition is “God and Mortals.”
To see all of our AUDC recaps click here.
To see all of our Dance Moms recaps click here
To see all of our Lady Gaga coverage click here.
Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo courtesy of Lifetime