|Kira and daughter Kalani from season 2 of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition|
Previously on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition (AUDC), a young performer named Chloe was eliminated, only a week after she got a reprieve when judge Richy Jackson used his "Callback Card" to save her. Now, there are nine remaining hopefuls vying for $100,000 cash and a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School of New York. This week on season 2, episode 4 of AUDC, the competition theme is "Vegas", the skill the judges are looking for is flexibility, and the Group Dance Challenge prize is immunity. The show's host is Kevin Manno, and the judges are Abby Lee Miller, Rachelle Rak, and the aforementioned Richy Jackson.
"We’re down to nine dancers - the stakes are gettin’ higher, mothers are gettin’ crazier," says Gianna's mom Cindy. "It’s going to be interesting to see what happens this week."
Interesting, indeed. This episode of AUDC begins as they always do, with the Group Dance Challenge (GDC). The skill Abby is looking for this week is flexibility, and the prize is immunity. Kalani feels confident about this challenge because, as she puts it, she is "really super-duper flexible." But, Abby is not only looking for physical flexibility, she is seeking mental flexibility.
Abby introduces choreographer Shannon Beach, who has worked with big stars like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Britney Spears. Shannon was a guest choreographer on the first season of AUDC – she did the "Cirque du Solos" (S1, E9) show – and she's back this year to teach the dancers how to use silks.
Kalani takes to the silks right away because of her superior flexibility; McKaylee knows she has to work on it; Gianna is afraid she’s going to fall on her head; Trinity struggles because she has back problems. Tina, Trinity’s mom, walks across the rehearsal floor to ask her daughter if she's okay, but Trinity shoos her away. Cindy wants Gianna to come to her so she can check on her back too, but Gianna waves her off. Cindy says Gianna "will take all the pain in the world to look good."
For the GDC, Abby has the contestants perform on the silks in groups, and she eliminates them one-by-one. In the end, the last two dancers in the running are McKaylee and Trinity. Trinity had a better ending pose, but Abby was annoyed that her mother interrupted the class when she tried to check on her daughter’s back. Ultimately though, Abby is more impressed with Trinity’s ability to smile and perform the routine, and she wins immunity. Tiffany (Ally’s mom) doesn’t think Abby "checked" Tina hard enough for interrupting the lesson; she thinks McKaylee should have won.
This week’s competition routines are "inspired by the glitz and glamour of Vegas." Abby says it's starting to get interesting because at this point of the season, the contestants have to dance in heels and do costume changes on stage.
Travis, Tyler and Kalani work with choreographer Erik Saradpon on their "Rat Pack" routine. The twin boys have a lot of hip-hop dancing in their background; Kalani, not so much. Abby gives Travis corrections on working with a hat, she asks Tyler if this is his cup of tea (it is), and she tells Kalani that she’s liked her from day one, but that she’s only one judge. Abby tells Kalani she is going to have to meet this huge test, but Kalani doesn’t think she’ll be in the bottom three because of Abby’s support. She does, however, want to impress Richy Jackson with her hip hop skills so she’ll get his famous finger waves of approval.
Ally and JoJo work with choreographer Tarua Hall on their "Magic Act" routine. Ally plays the magician, and JoJo plays the assistant who turns into a bird. Realizing that Ally plays the man, and JoJo plays the beautiful girl, Ally’s mom is like, "GAH!" Abby watches their practice, and calls JoJo out for having bent legs in her chaînés (it's pronounced shenay) turns. This surprises me, because chaînés are a basic turn that should be mastered by the time a contestant is at competition level. Then Abby tells Ally she’s "kinda boring," and reminds her to watch her facial expressions.
Gianna and Haley work with supervising choreographer Tessandra Chavez on their "Show Stoppers" routine. Neither girl has danced in heels before, and Cindy says "Haley is not confident with this dance at all. She looks like a little kid in her mommy’s high heels." Melanie (Haley’s mom) says the heels are too high for her 11-year-old daughter, but when Abby enters the rehearsal room, she says the heels aren’t high enough. Next, Abby notices Cindy is wearing flip flops, a style choice she was warned about during AUDC's Lady Gaga episode (S2, E2). Then, Abby starts in on Cindy for almost doing what Tina did – interrupting rehearsal to ask about her daughter’s back. In the middle of the confrontation, Cindy says, "I had to get up and face her, I was not going to sit on the chair and take that from anybody." Uh oh. "You’re not a mother, you don’t have kids," Cindy tells Abby. "I’ve raised thousands of children" responds Abby, who later says, "Cindy was extremely offensive to me, I don’t know how Gianna deals with her. Both of them could be going home."
Trinity and McKaylee work with choreographer Shannon Beach on their "Flying High" routine, a number that incorporates silks. McKaylee is feeling the pressure, and that escalates when Abby arrives because she’s "so scared" of her. It doesn’t help that Abby reminds her that if Trinity is a hot mess on stage, it doesn’t matter because she has immunity, but McKaylee will be going home.
Competition day arrives, and tensions are high. Backstage, Cindy and Kira (Kalani’s mom) get into an argument because according to Cindy, Kira said she doesn’t need the prize money, and that Kalani won't use the Joffrey scholarship if she wins. Kira refutes this and calls Cindy a "fat ass"; Cindy says Kira dresses like a hooker. Sheryl, mom to Travis and Tyler, just shakes her head and says she prefers serenity.
Host Kevin Manno introduces the judges: visual director and choreographer Richy Jackson; Broadway star Rachelle Rak; and the infamous Abby Lee Miller. Abby says "It’s Vegas week and I’m looking for 7-7-7."
Ally and JoJo are the first to perform with their "Magic Act" duet. Ally wears a short sequin tuxedo jacket and red top hat; JoJo is dressed in a typical magician’s assistant costume, but with a gorgeous feathered headpiece. They dance in and around a large birdcage. Richy wants to see more sass from JoJo; Abby’s critique is that for someone playing a bird, her grand jeté barely got off the ground. Rachelle tells Ally it’s time to step it up; Richy says there was no fantasy about the character she played. Abby chides Ally’s mom for sending her out in a hat that covered her face, and tells her she should have used foam rubber to make it sit higher on her head. Abby says she thought Ally would be a big contender for the 100k, but now she’s not betting on her. Backstage Tiffany cries because she’s not a dance teacher or a dance mom like the others.
Gianna and Haley are next with their "Show Stoppers" number. Gianna wears orange, Haley is in pink, and they both have large feather boas. They also both have blisters from their shoes. Abby says, "I am thrilled to see the girls dancing in heels." Rachelle leaves her seat on the panel to coach the girls on walking in heels, then tells Gianna that she’s making leaps and bounds every week, and this week she secured her place in the competition. Abby gives Haley a correction on her facial expressions, and Richy praises her saying she was flirty, sassy and in the moment. Abby says she can’t find anything negative to critique about Gianna’s performance – Cindy is shocked! I was happy to see Haley and Gianna do well, and this was my favorite routine on this episode.
Travis, Tyler and Kalani are third with their "Rat Pack" hip hop dance. They wear suits and hats, and do part of their number in front of old-school microphones. The choreography is cool, and they all do a great job with it. Richy says Tyler needs to dance freer, and he is unhappy with Travis’ knees. Abby says Kalani was "all-girl", but as far as being a hip-hop dancer, Richy says "no way." Rachelle wants Kalani to work on being great, because "good is not good enough."
Trinity and McKaylee are last up with their “Flying High” dance using silks; they both wear unitards with open fronts and bikini tops underneath. Rachelle says McKaylee did a great job, and that she shined and came to life. Richy thinks McKaylee was beautiful and flexible and that she was performing, not thinking. Abby says McKaylee made it look effortless. Abby was less enthusiastic about Trinity, calling her out for several mistakes including sickled feet, and says if it was an audition, McKaylee would get the job over Trinity. Richy agrees. Backstage, Trinity is upset that she won the GDC, but then was out-shined by McKaylee in the competition dance, and she tells her mom "just stop talking to me please." It reminds me to call my mom and apologize (again) for dumb things I said to her when I was a teenager. I love you Mom!
The judges deliberate, and then announce their decision...
Trinity, who has immunity, is excused from lineup, then Gianna, Haley, Travis, McKaylee are told they are safe. The bottom four are Tyler, JoJo, Kalani and Ally.
Abby tells Tyler they expected more from him, but tonight, he’s safe. Tyler gets a big hug from his mom Sheryl, and Travis expresses relief that Tyler gets to stay with him in the competition. I love how supportive these two are of each other.
Abby reiterates that JoJo’s grand jeté "was horrible," and that she was supposed to be a bird, BUT, the judges would like to see her earn her wings, so she’s told to "fly on over to the safe group and perch."
This means that either Kalani or Ally will be cut. Tiffany says that because Kalani looks like the kids in the Abby Lee Dance Company (Dance Moms), she knows it’ll be her daughter, Ally, who is going home.
Next, Abby announces that she's not going to use her Callback Card, and then she says, "I was really tough on this person because I thought they would be here until the end." It sounds like Abby is talking about Ally, but then she continues, "Kalani, today is not your day." Kalani says her "thank yous" and tells Abby she loves her while Abby wipes away tears. As Kalani hugs Abby goodbye, the influential teacher tells her, "I'll see you dance someday, okay?"
Last week on the Dance Moms Season 3 Reunion show, Abby announced she was holding auditions for the Abby Lee Dance Company Elite Competition Team, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Kalani show up on season 4 of Dance Moms.
Next week on season 2, episode 5 of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, the theme is "Unconventional", and boy is it ever; the contestants will battle Abby in a martial arts challenge, and the winner's Mom gets to decide who will be in the bottom three!
To see all of our AUDC recaps click here.
To see all of our Dance Moms recaps click here
Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo by Danny Feld, courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2013