|Travis from Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition|
Previously on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition (AUDC), Ally was cut due to her lack of technical skills, which Abby Lee Miller and her fellow judges attributed to her lack of formal ballet training. This week on AUDC season 2, episode 8 titled "Wild Wild West", the remaining six contestants compete under the theme "Country Western", the skill the judges are looking for is "jumping", and the winner of the Group Dance Challenge gets to save one contestant from the bottom three. Despite receiving mostly positive feedback after his competition dance, Travis was eliminated.
Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition S2, E8, opens with the dancers preparing for the next Group Dance Challenge (GDC). Cindy (Gianna's mom) says, "We're down to six dancers; almost all the weak ones have been weeded out. I said almost. I can't believe JoJo is still here. She just gets a free ride because she's little and cute."
Abby arrives with a bandana in her hair and a mission for the contestants: this week's theme is "County Western", the skill the judges will be looking for in the GDC is jumping, "And when I say' jump,' you say 'how high?'" She tells the dancers she's going to be looking for elevation, "the hang" (how long they stay in the air), and their take-offs and landings – all things that are essential to hopping, jumping, and leaping.
Abby reminds the dancers that with six contestants left, they have a one-in-six chance of winning the competition, and the prizes of $100,000 cash and a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School of New York. Then she tells them the reward for the GDC: the winner's mother will get to save one contestant from the bottom three.
Shari (McKaylee's mom) says she has a barn in her backyard, so "Nebraskans are gonna bring it this week for the country"; Gianna says she's an "okay" jumper, but she's nervous because she's stronger at other things; Trinity says at her studio she was jumper, so she feels like she's going to do well in this challenge.
For this week's GDC, Abby is the choreographer; she gives the group 15 minutes to learn a hoe-down number that incorporates hats as a prop and begins with an 8-count hold. It's seems like all of the dancers struggle to pick up the count and the fast tempo, but when it's time to run the combination, they look pretty good. JoJo is the first cut, then McKaylee. When Gianna is cut because her feet were in the wrong position before the dance even starts, mom Cindy agrees with Abby: "Gianna should have been paying attention."
Next, Abby has Travis, Kalani and Trinity do a jump-off in which they repeatedly execute Italian and Russian jumps. After a few minutes, Trinity wins the GDC – it's her fourth challenge win, and the second time her mother has been put in a tough position. First there was the "Anything Can Happen" episode (S2, E5) in which Trinity won the reward of Tina getting to pick the bottom three; now this time around, Tina has to pick who to save from elimination.
Trinity and JoJo work on their "American Spirit" routine with choreographer Tarua Hall; the number incorporates ribbon wands. Abby warns the girls that if their ribbons get caught and tangled, she'll send them both to the stable.
Kalani works on her "Rhinestone Cowgirl" routine with choreographer Matt Cady. It's her first solo, and she's excited to do her front aerial. Abby compliments Kalani saying, "Excellent, I love it," but also expresses concern about Kalani using a lasso, and worries it will ruin the number.
Gianna works on her "Nashville Sweetheart" routine with choreographer Tarua Hall; it's a lyrical solo that incorporates a guitar as a prop. Gianna feels like she needs to do well this week because of "the big scene" her mom made at last week's elimination. In case you missed it, Cindy told the judges, "I think if you send Gianna home, it’s a shame. I don’t think she's given 100%. I feel like McKaylee and JoJo got solos, my daughter's a star and she hasn't shown it yet." Abby tells Gianna this solo is her chance to make the judges realize everything Cindy said last week was right.
McKaylee and Travis work on their "Wild West Showdown" routine with choreographer Victor Rojas, who coaches them, "Don't dance like kids. I know that's hard because you guys are kids, little kid time is over. It's dance time, for real-for real, 'cause this can go bad so fast."
While the contestants rehearse, the moms work in the costume room, and Jessalynn has a question: "Cindy, why do you feel the need to talk s--t about JoJo all the time?" Cindy welcomes the opportunity to tell Jessalynn that she thinks the fact that the little girl lives in "JoJo-land" is "really sick." There's a lot of bleeping, but I believe Cindy tells Jessalynn that JoJo is an "effing nightmare spoiled brat." (If I got the "effing" part wrong, I am of course willing to make a correction.) Kira (Kalani's mom) thinks Cindy is "unconfident about her child's talent." Jessalynn makes disparaging remarks about Cindy's weight during the argument, and again later when she's talking to JoJo in the dressing room before the competition . I think JoJo is adorable and talented, but UGH, Jessalynn – involving your child in body snarking is not okay. Sign me up for a "Team Cindy" shirt.
Finally, it time for the competition. Host Kevin Manno takes the stage in a vest, shirt sleeves and bolo tie, and introduces the judges: Broadway star Rachelle Rak; Lady Gaga's choreographer Richy Jackson; and "Sheriff" Abby Lee Miller.
Trinity and JoJo dance first with their "American Spirit" jazz duet. They wear red, white and blue sequin flag costumes, and dance to a disco version of "The Star Spangled Banner." During the ending pose of their number, their ribbons tangle. Abby commends Trinity for giving her all. Richy wanted more from JoJo, and says he could have watched Trinity by herself. Rachelle has a list of corrections for JoJo. Abby chides JoJo for her ribbon malfunction, and tells her, "I think cute is over. I think you need to start worrying." Backstage Cindy says, "Thank you Abby, it's about time." Later, JoJo is backstage in tears.
Kalani performs second with her "Rhinestone Cowgirl" street-jazz solo. She wears a rhinestone-trimmed red and white gingham shirt and denim shorts for her fast and snappy routine. All three judges applaud, and Richy stands and gives her his special finger wave. Rachelle enthuses that the performance was "Unbelieveable!" Richy is inspired to do a quick table dance, and then he tells Kalani "this was amazing… you were feeling it, and that is what it's about… great job!" Abby compliments Kalani for doing a dance everyone could relate to, and for her front aerial walkover.
McKaylee and Travis are up next with their "Wild West Showdown" hip hop duet. McKaylee is older and taller, and Travis says their height difference makes the dance difficult. McKaylee wears a red fringe cowboy costume; Travis is in black and white cowhide. Rachelle says they both did a great job telling a story. Abby praises McKaylee for "an outstanding job." Richy thinks McKaylee was "hitting things hard," but that Travis was hitting them even harder, and that he danced with more confidence. Abby has the opposite opinion, and says McKaylee showed up Travis, and that despite their height difference he should have been able to jump higher than her.
Gianna is the last to compete with her "Nashville Sweetheart" lyrical solo; she wears an orange halter top and asymmetrical white chiffon skirt. Gianna carries a guitar for the first part of her dance; it's a hard prop to work with, because you have to propel yourself without benefit of your arms to help with momentum. Thankfully, Gianna dances beautifully, and the judges applaud. Richy thinks the performance was "solid," but that she needed more star power. Rachelle disagrees, and says the performance made her feel something. Abby points out that Gianna "did a beautiful switch split," but disapproves of her choice of shoes because they're white instead of skin-toned.
The judges deliberate, and once again, Rachelle – the only judge who still has her "Callback Card" – says she won't be using it this week.
The dancers line up on stage. Trinity, Kalani and McKaylee are named as safe, so the bottom three are Gianna, JoJo and Travis. This means it's time for Tina to decide which contestant get saved. Trinity reveals her integrity as a competitor when she tells her mother, "If I'm gonna be in this competition, I'm gonna try to get there by being the best. I'm not gonna make it easier for me. I'm not gonna learn anything if we just sweep the best people out of the way." These wise words guide Tina, who then announces her decision: "I would like to save… Gianna." Wooo!
Abby focuses on the remaining contestants and says, "One of the two of you is going home tonight. Travis, I've been on you about the technical things… you're the guy, you should jump higher than any girl there…. JoJo you definitely have stage presence, but in the challenges you're always one of the first to go, you can’t be a beat behind anymore. You either hear the music or you don't."
Them Abby delivers the verdict: "Travis, today is not your day." Travis' mom Sheryl offers her gratitude with, "I would just like to say I do truly appreciate this experience. Thank you so much." Travis is a gentleman and he says, "I've grown a lot, so thank you." Abby tells him she's sure he'll be seeing a few of the girls again in his future, and concludes with, "Now go, ride off into the sunset." Sheryl and her twin boys Travis and Tyler conducted themselves with dignity throughout the competition; I do hope we'll see them again soon.
After the results are announced, Cindy expresses her disappointment that it's not JoJo who was sent packing, but remains hopeful: "Maybe next week."
As for next week, season 2, episode 9 of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition is titled "Your Worst Nightmare," the theme is "Nightmares" and the challenge skill is "technique." Also, it looks like Shari (McKaylee's mom) and Jessalyn (JoJo's mom) have a serious argument.
Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition is casting for season 3.
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Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo by Danny Feld, courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2013