Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dance Moms - July 24, 2012

Abby opened this week's episode of Dance Moms with something that looked incredibly scripted. She congratulated the girls on winning, and just as she was about to announce the order of girls on the pyramid, Kendall's mom Jill walked in asking if Kendall could be back in Abby's group.

If you recall, Kendall was part of Abby Lee's team until she went over to join Cathy and Candy Apple's Dance Studio. Jill, her mom, was thrilled with Cathy until the opportunities for Kendall dried up. Jill begged Abby for a chance, but Abby said she wouldn't be letting Kendall back in at that time.

The girls would be going to Starpower in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This would be a local but big competition.

Abby announced the pyramid next, and as usual, Mackenzie, Nia and Paige took the bottom row. This was unfair because Abby admitted Paige did nothing wrong, but she was part of the trio. Chloe and Brooke took the second row, and Maddie took her usual spot at the top of the pyramid.

Maddie was given a solo called I Can't Find the Words. Chloe got one called Creme De La Creme. Nia got a solo too, and hers was called Working Girl, and it was a Loquifa song like the last one that gave Nia a lot of success. The girls would be doing a group number called Vampire, and Abby was bringing in a boy for the group routine.

During rehearsal, Abby brought in a boy named Nick. The girls ran to hug him, showing that they know and trust him, which Abby said was important.

In the Mom Room, Jill spent time with the dance moms while Kendall appeared to be practicing with the girls (I thought she was rejected? Maybe I missed something). Jill defended her actions of walking into Abby's studio unexpectedly, but the moms weren't having it. Well, except for Melissa. Melissa was buddy-buddy with Jill right off the bat.

During Paige's rehearsal, Jill busted in again. Jill said she's doing what's best for her kid, and Abby told Jill that she had acted inappopriately.

Nia practiced her routine, and Abby made a snide comment about the number in her confessional. She said that the routine is about Nia's mom Holly, who, in Abby's opinion, thinks she's the first woman to ever work full time and raise a kid.

During the group rehearsal, one of Abby's staff members handed Abby a phone, and on the phone was a casting director for Drop Dead Diva, the Lifetime television show that the girls auditioned for during last week's episode. (During the commercial break, a commercial aired for Drop Dead Diva. Coincidence? I think not.) The girl who got the part was Maddie. Kelly made an interesting point - the casting director wanted a blonde, and Maddie was the only non-blonde to audition. She thought that Maddie was chosen before this even began. Christi was also not thrilled with the outcome. Holly agreed as well.

Abby seemed extra stressed as she rehearsed the group number, which featured the girls fawning over a vampire. She complained about things, including Nia having too much hair. Again, Jill showed up. Abby sent her right out the door.

Abby called the mothers together to discuss how upset she is that they didn't celebrate Maddie's success, and instead seemed resentful. Christi made a good point - Abby hardly seems happy when Chloe wins anything, yet she can't stand it when anyone goes against Maddie. Holly and Abby began to argue. Abby switched to the fact that Nia needs to change her hair, and Holly told Abby to change her face. Ouch, low blow!

Abby was concerned about how the negativity could affect Maddie, so she instructed Maddie to get her crowns, which Abby had asked Melissa to bring to practice. It seemed that Abby's point was to show that Maddie's a star and that the girls should be happy for her. Melissa walked downstairs after getting trouble from the moms about Maddie showing her successes and told the girls that it wasn't Maddie's idea to show the crowns, so the girls shouldn't be mad at her. Abby thought this was ridiculous because Maddie should own, not hide, her success.

The Competition

Right away, Abby noted in the confessional that she knew who'd be in the group number and who wouldn't be, but she wouldn't share that yet. Before the competition began, Kendall began to cry and said her stomach hurt. It was noted that maybe she's nervous about not being in the number since Abby hadn't decided the final members of the group.

Next up to break down was Nia. Abby criticized her as she practiced her song, and she froze and looked like she was about to cry. Nia said that she really wants to be in the group dance, but if she messes up her solo, there's no chance. As it turns out, Nia forgot part of the dance (per Holly 's comment from the audience) but from my perspective she looked great. She kept going and made it work. Abby even said that Nia did great. Go, Nia!

Maddie performed next. She was great as usual, but I didn't love her choreography. However, the dramatic effect of looking up and ripping up a piece of paper onstage was very powerful.

Paige followed Maddie. Paige was absolutely in her element. Her stunts were awesome and her stage presence was fantastic. This was the Paige we know and love - not the girl who's always on the bottom of the pyramid and beaten down by Abby's negativity. Abby admitted that Paige did great and said that if she wants a private lesson going forward, she'll get it.

In the very competitive Power Division, in which all of the girls were competing:
- Nia got ninth place and a special attitude award.
- Paige got sixth place.
- Maddie took first place, and she won it by 3/10ths of a point.

Back in the rehearsal room, Abby entered to find the girls getting ready, but only Kendall with a white bow in her hair. Why was this a problem? Because that was a piece of the costume for the group number, and Abby hadn't yet announced who'd be performing in the group number. When asked, Kendall said her mom gave it to her. In turn, Jill said Melissa gave it to her. In response to that, Abby said that Melissa doesn't own the studio and implying that she stole the bow.

Next, Abby asked one of the girls to do a standing back lunge, which she executed perfectly. Paige said she wanted to do one as well, and Abby and the mom told her not to. Finally the moms gave in and let her do it, and she landed badly - she hurt her foot. That knocked her out of the group dance. Nia and Kendall were also told that they wouldn't be in the group dance. Jill, of course, started a problem yet again, but that's not unusual.

I don't believe for a second that the girls didn't know who'd be in the dance, by the way - there's no way it could be that perfectly choreographed if the dancers didn't know exactly how to work and dance together.

When the remaining girls went on for the group dance, it was amazing. Truly well done nad beautiful. Also very age appropriate. This was a winner, in my opinion. And fortunately, the judges agreed - the team won first place.

Jill and Abby started bickering again, and Jill said that Abby should call her when she's ready to let Kendall in. After some more argument, Jill said Abby doesn't care about anyone but herself. Jill went on to criticize all of the moms and accusing them of bullying. Finally, Jill walked out and ended the episode.

In two weeks, we'll get the next episode of Dance Moms, and it looks like a good one. Paige was hurt and wouldn't be dancing for several weeks, and Jill's far from gone. I'm certainly looking forward to the next episode!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Great Food Truck Race Returns for the Third Season

They all have a dream, most of them have the skills, they all are willing to work towards a common goal - to win the high-stakes battle of the year, to win their own food truck and $50,000 cash prize for starting their business.

Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race returns for the third season on Sunday, August 19th at 10pm ET/PT. They return with a brand new twist. If in prior seasons current good truck operators were competing each other, this third season is different. No more current operators, this year the competition takes place between eight three-person teams, all teams fighting for the same goal - to earn the right to keep their food truck given by the show and a $50 000 cash price to start their own food truck business.
The participants are all with insane culinary skills and the will to have their own food truck company.
"Their culinary skills, business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit will be road-tested, and viewers will love seeing if the aspiring chefs’ dreams hold up when the rubber meets the road," said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network.
The cross-country televised road trip, full of challenges, hosted by Tyler Florence, begins at a Long Beach, Calif. lighthouse and the finish line is located at the easternmost point of the United States, at the West Quoddy Lighthouse in Maine.
Don't forget to tune in for the premiere of the culinary road trip on Sunday, August 19th at 10pm ET/PT, after the finale of Chopped: Grill Masters. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

American Gypsies: A Review

American Gypsies, a show about the Johns family, a Romani family in New York City, premiered on the National Geographic Channel last night.

The Ralph Macchio produced show is, to put it lightly, less than reality. Is it a reality show? Yes, absolutely. It's focused on a real family and real issues, like the family's matriarch insisting that all Gypsy women have the gift of reading tarot cards and the patriarch insisting on sticking to strict Romani culture. But are some scenes staged? Definitely. For example, sisters Amanda and Vivian decided they wanted to take acting lessons. The fact that this situation occurred in front of a camera and their father relented, against Gypsy rules, absolutely set up.

The show centers around a close knit family that is strongly territorial and subscribes to traditional Gypsy customs, including the rule that there must be a 3 block radius between Gypsy owned shops and that Gypsy women should only be in certain professions (for example, acting is banned). The children are home schooled and encouraged to stay away from non-Gypsy children. And dating a Gaje (non-Gypsy)? Strictly banned. This became an issue for Val, who couldn't introduce his family to his girlfriend because she's not Romani. Sure, he could keep a secret in real life, but this was caught on camera. If the family didn't know about his dating situation before, they certainly do now.

Some notable things about the premiere episode are that:
- Two of the central characters, Bobby and Nicky, are brothers but are polar opposites. Bobby wants his daughters to have more than the traditional Gypsy lifestyle, while Nicky very openly thinks tradition is the only option. Nicky also likes to make a scene, whereas Bobby's more calm and collected.
- The Romani men seem to speak in a dialect similar to New York City's, but the women seemed to have an accent that reminded me of Irish speech, in a way.
- A young girl, Vivian, admitted that she can't read to her father. Her father had always trusted that his wife handled home schooling, so he was shocked to learn that Vivian wasn't getting the education that she needed.
- There's a whole, organized culture for Gypsies in New York City. There are rules, standards and even a private Gypsy court system.
- There is a struggle within the Johns family about sticking to tradition and moving forward with modern culture while maintaining a Romani heritage. This is sure to play out throughout the season.

My thoughts on the episode and the American Gypsy series:
- I think this is a good show to watch, although it moves slowly and doesn't have the flashy, popping factor posessed by many of today's reality shows.
- Some of the scenes come off a bit too staged, like the patriarch of the family disapproving of Amanda and Vivian acting, yet showing up and standing in the back of the auditorium for their performance.
- There's a real, human element to this show that we don't get to see on many shows. The family on American Gypsies is relatable. We can understand their struggles between modern life and tradition, and the need to put family first.
- The show lacks the glamor of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, so if you're looking for over-the-top bling and drama, this isn't the show for you.
- While I do not condone all of the actions taken in the premier epside of American Gypsies, I think this show will be more positive for the Gypsy culture than My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding was. It shows that Romani people can be normal and are just like other people - they're not all searching for giant wedding dresses or causing trouble. Like anyone else, they can be strong, upstanding citizens or they can have downfalls. This show debunks the myth that Gypsies are nothing like typical Americans, because let's face it - Gypsy culture is just part of the American melting pot like everybody else.

Dance Moms: 7/17/12

Abby opened this episode of Dance Moms with pride. She congratulated her girls on beating Cathy and the Candy Apple's team.

Paige found herself on the bottom of the pyramid because she did the choreography her mom did for her. Mackenzie joined her for not pulling her weight. Brooke was also on the bottom row, but was taken off probation. Nia and Maddie took the middle row. Chloe took the top row for her Angry Bird performance because she won the costume award and made the top ten.

This week, the girls would be attending a Starbound competition in Atlanta, Georgia. Abby was happy about the weather there and told the moms she might sit out and have a drink with them. Abby reminded her team that they'd narrowly lost to the Candy Apple's Dance Company last time they did this competition, and that would not happen again.

Chloe was given a solo called "Trouble" in which she needs to utilize the entire stage. Maddie was given a lyrical solo as well called "Mom, It'll Never Be The Same." Paige, Nia and Mackenzie were given a trio called "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us." The group number was called "All Kids Go", which was about kids growing up. Everyone was in it except Mackenzie because she's too young. In place of Mackenize, Abby brought Peyton into be an obviously older girl.

Additionally, Abby told the girls that they'd be auditioning for a role on Drop Dead Diva, a television show. The girls would be filmed and the tapes would be sent to LA.
The moms complained about how every time Peyton gets put in a dance, she takes the featured role. Her mom, Leslie, added insult to injury by talking to the moms how Payton shouldn't be a filler; she should be a full-time group member.

After a commercial break, the show returned, and we were brought to Cathy's studio, Candy Apple's. Cathy announced to the group that Jill, Kendall's mom, decided to pull Kendall out of Cathy's studio for not giving her enough opportunities. In a not-at-all shocking turn of events, Cathy announced that her girls, like Abby's, would be auditioning for Drop Dead Diva. (Which, keep in mind, is a show that shares the Lifetime network with Dance Moms.)

At this point, the cameras flipped between Cathy's girls recording auditions and Abby's girls doing their recordings. After the girls read, Abby noted that she thought Paige or Maddie may get the role.

The Abby Lee Dance Studio moms met for lunch to discuss Kelly's birthday celebration. Kelly announced that she'd be inviting Leslie because she had to do so. The other moms weren't happy, but I'm sure Lifetime instructed Kelly to invite her for the sake of the show. Additionally, Christi told the moms that she was sending Chloe on a field trip the following day. Needless to say, when Christi went to the rehearsal the next day without Chloe, Abby freaked out. Leslie, the opportunistic creature that she is, jumped in after the argument and asked for a solo for Peyton. Abby agreed. Christi was obviously less than thrilled.

The trio began to rehearse and Abby immediately had an attitude. She said the girls had no energy and didn't work well together. The group number was next, and Abby put Peyton in Chloe's former spot in the group number. Chloe would still participate, but she lost a good spot in the group number.

Kelly approached Abby on her own to ask why Peyton can come in and was given a solo when girls like Nia and Paige weren't always given solos. Abby's explanation? Peyton's willing to work. Sure, she is - but so would Nia and Paige, if they were given the opportunity.

Chloe returned to tehe studio and Christi told her to be strong when talking to Abby. Instead of immediately pulling her solo, Abby gave Chloe a chance to try it, and if she remembered it, she'd be in good shape. Fortunately, she did remember it, and Abby admitted that she thought it could be a winner.

The moms joined together to hang out for Kelly's birthday. Before Leslie arrived, some of the moms said they hope that she doesn't come. She did show up, and the drama began. The moms began to argue about who's bullying who. Holly, the voice of reason, calmly explained that Leslie's tone could be offensive. Unfortunately, not all of the interactions were that smooth. Christi went off on Leslie and told her to leave. Leslie did leave, but not until throwing something across the room.

The Competition

In the dressing room, Christi told Abby that Chloe's calm, probably due in part to having gone on her camping trip. Then, Christi and Kelly went into the hallway and ran into Leslie. Christi and Leslie had a confrontation, but it ended quickly and they went their separate ways.

Chloe performed her solo first, and it was great. Her costume was appropriate and her dance was lovely. Abby attributed it to her years of practice, rather than Chloe being calm from actually having a break from dance.

Maddie performed second. She performed well as usual, and her yellow dress was understated and nice. I have to say, though, that I prefered Chloe's choreography to Maddie's.

Abby hugged Chloe after her performance because of how well she did. Christi said she should send Chloe to camp every week since it helps her performance. Abby did not like that and said she should never to go to camp again.

The trio didn't have as much luck as the solos. Their moves weren't nearly as clean or in sync as they should have been. When the girls left the stage, they knew their performance wasn't perfect - Mackenzie commented that she'd be in a lot of trouble with Abby.

Payton danced her jazz solo next. I was not feeling this dance. It was supposed to be so intense, and I felt nothing from Peyton's movements or facial expressions. Leslie defended her saying that she got no practice time. Kelly told Leslie that the reason the moms don't want her there is that she bullies them. Leslie began to cry and Abby did not like that.

Abby let us know that she was nervous about the group number and wasn't sure if the audience would understand it. Fortunately, the performance went well and the audience responded positively.

Judging followed the group number. In the junior soloist competition, Chloe took fourth place. Maddie, to my surprise, took first place.

In the teen novice soloist competition, Peyton won what the screen said was second place, but it sounded to me like the announcer sounded like he said seventh place, and Leslie talked about how Peyton wanted a higher medal. I think it was supposed to be seventh - the screen wording was probably a typo. Thoughts?

The trio took fifth place.

The group number took first place.

Abby went into the dressing room and congratulated the girls, but told the moms that they'd better not complain about who she wants to bring into the group and they need to not terrorize the moms. Sounds like a threat to me!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beverly Hills Nannies: Totally Worth Watching

I'll admit it - I was skeptical when I heard about Beverly Hills Nannies, a new show on ABC Family. As it turns out, I had no reason to be skeptical because the show was awesome.

First of all, the concept is relatively fresh in the reality TV world, yet it has elements of shows that we already know and like, such as The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The main characters are interesting. All of the parents (especially Ari and Marika) have strong personalities and are great to watch, and the nannies are strongly opinionated.

It's evident to me that Kristin, one of the most wanted and highest paid nannies, is going to be the ringleader of this show. She's pretty and smart, and she started a nanny agency in episode 1, showing that she'll be a central character as the season progresses.

Like other reality shows, Beverly Hills Nannies seems to be part staged and part real. Clearly, all of the parents and nannies on the show were interviewed and wanted to be on television. Also, since the nannies were all joining new families, nannies and parents appeared to be matched up for the sake of the show.

Some characters were more likeable than others, and it seems like those who were cast to play villains (like Marika) are playing up their negative attributes for the camera. Kristin's going to be mostly likeable, I think, but cause a lot of controversy. Maggie's going to generate controversy and cause problems. And I think Ari is going to switch nannies sometime during the season.

Overall, I think this show is worth watching. The first episode kept my attention relly well, and I'm looking forward to episode two. Plus, with the confessional sessions where the moms bash the nannies and the nannies bash the moms, I'd be interested to hear the fallout if any of the nannies are still employed with the families.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Toddlers and Tiaras: California Tropic Pageant

The California Tropic Pageant served as a rematch for contestants Kayla and Kailia, who went head to head in a previous pageant, with Kailia beating Kayla out for the Ultimate Grand Supreme.

The theme of this pageant was 'come party on our island.' Right off the bat, pageant director Carol Fleming made it clear that California Tropic pageants are known for having pretty girls and the competition would be fierce.

The first contestant we met was four year old Kayla. Her mom, April, said that Kayla's known for her Shirley Temple outfit because she wins every time she wears it. April made it clear that Kailia didn't deserve to beat Kayla in the last pageant they shared and Kayla would be beating Kailia this time.

Kayla was absolutely adorable when she practiced with her pageant coach. She was kind of bratty and refused to practice, but she's cute so she can kind of get away with it. Even better was seeing April discipline Kayla for her inappropriate actions - it was nice to see a mom who doesn't give into her daughter's every wish.

Five year old Kailia was next. Mom Marcy said that Kailia's the one to beat. Kailia was absolutely full of energy. I iagine that she's quite a handful! Kailia's pageant coach said that Kailia's the total package, so it seems that she genuinely has faith that Kailia can take home the crown in the California Tropic pageant.

Danielle, 10, cried when she lost the last pageant the last time she was on Toddlers & Tiaras. She claims that she's grown and matured since that experience. Her mom, Tedi, always told her that she's beautiful, and Danielle agrees that it's the truth. In typical Toddlers & Tiaras fashion, Danielle's custom made dress had yet to arrive a few days before the pageant, adding the dramatic element that T&T thrives on.

The Pageant

The pageant preparation started with tears when Kayla told Kailia she was going to kick her butt. Kailia's mom Marcy was less than thrilled and did not condone Kayla's behavior. She said that competitiors shouldn't go into a pageant with the goal to bea just one person.

The beauty competition was the first event. The pageant director made it clear that the judges would be very picky, and a too long or too short dress could negatively impact a child's chance to win. This was bad news for Danielle, whose father had to drive to pick up her dress, because it was too long in the front and too short in the back.

Kayla was up first. She had a lot of style and presence onstage. The only flaw I could see was that her smile looked very fake. Kailia was next, and she was 100% professional. Danielle, who went third of the group, got stressed out about her pageant dress before she went onstage. Because of this, her mom went to get her water, and she missed her cue to go onstage. She did come out soon after, and despite her concerns, she looked fantastic. Her dress was beautiful and age appropriate. Unfortunately, it was evident that her dress was a bit too long, and Danielle noted that the judges saw that. Still, one of the judges gave her credit for not picking up her dress as she walked.

Outfit of Choice was next. Kayla appeared first in her Shirley Temple costume. She did the routine where she rocks out as a mdern Shirley Temple, and the judges and audience seemed to enjoy it. Kailia, dressed as a nurse, had a great routine. As part of her act, Kailia was supposed to make her assistant (which was her brother) disappear. When he didn't do it fast enough, she told him to go - loudly - onstage. Fortunately, her assistant left when he could, and Kailia was able to show her magic trick. However, the judges took notice of the fact that she yelled at her brother.

Before she went onstage, Danielle panicked. As it turns out, she didn't need to because she did great. Dressed as a girl selling cherry lemonade, Danielle gave a good performance. A judge said her outfit didn't stand out enough, and while I agree, I think her performance more than made up for that.


In the four year old division:
Alyssa was Queen.
Jewel was the Division Supreme.

That means that Kayla pulled for a higher title.

In the five year old division:
Bria was Queen.
Megan was the Division Supreme.

That means that Kailia pulled for a higher title.

For the Young Miss division:
Gracie was Queen.
Elizabeth was the Division Supreme.

That means that Danielle pulled for a higher title as well.

Danielle ended up winning a Grand Supreme title.
Kayla won the same.
That means that Kailia, again, took the Grand Supreme Title.

Dance Moms 7/10/12

Abby opened the episode by telling her girls that they're tenth-of-a-point losers. She followed that up with more bad news - the girls would be competing in Ohio, which means they were in Candy Apples territory.

The group dance was called Land Unforgiven, and it's about being in someone else's territory. Abby said she'd include everyone in the group number, but she'd also bring in some extra dancers. She'd play using Cathy's game by adding older dancers to her group number.

Next was the pyramid. Brooke was on the bottom (and still on probation) for skipping the last competition for a school dance. Mackenzie and Nia joined her. Paige (also on probation) and Chloe took the second row. Maddie, again, took the top level....but this time, her picture was up their twice. Why? Because she won two titles on the same day.

Abby told Paige she'd be doing a solo that she does well already, and her job was to beat firner teammate Kendall. After telling Paige about this, Abby took her off probation. Chloe got a solo as well, and it was called Angry Bird. Christi sarcastically noted that Chloe's been a bird many times in her dances.

Abby introduced the girls she'd be bringing in for the group number. Their names were Catherine, Arielle and Nina. The moms weren't thrilled by Abby's decision. Holly said it seems as if Abby's telling the girlst hat they can't beat Cathy's studio on their own.

After that, we flipped over to Cathy and the Candy Apple's Dance Studio. They'd be doing an Asian dance where Vivi's an Asian princess. At this point, we saw Kendall's mom Jill, who was no longer as pleased with Cathy as she used to be. She said Kendall went from being special to just one of the group. She was also not thrilled with Cathy's decision to bring in professional choroegraphers to choreograph the group dance.

Back in Abby Lee's viewing room, the moms complained about Abby putting pressure on Paige but not offering her practice time. Also, Kelly didn't like Paige's choreography. Kelly and Christi went downstairs to talk to Abby, and at this time, Kelly yelled at Abby, stating that Kendall will beat Paige because of Paige's weak choreography.

Kelly and Christi went to lunch and discussed the bad choreography their daughters have been given. Kelly decided that she'd change the parts of Paige's choreo that she didn't like on her own - without Abby's permission. Christi noted that this would open up a can of worms, but Kelly was set on making the changes.

It became evident that Kendall's time at Candy Apple's was no longer as peachy as it once was. Cathy noted that Kendall's not on the same level as her dances, and Jill noted that Kendall's not getting the attention she deserves. At the competition, Jill noted that Kendall hadn't had enough time to practice and she'd hire a coach for her.

Back in the room with Abby Lee's team, Chloe prepared to dance because she was going first. Fortunately, Chloe performed well, and even though her earring flew out as she danced, Chloe kept going and no accidents occurred.

Paige went on for her solo, and it looked fantastic. What wasn't as fantastic was Abby's face as she realized that Kelly had re-choreographed Paige's solo. Abby said that Paige's dance looked like it belonged in an elementary school talent show. I respectfully disagree. (Also, I'm sure this was staged and a professional choreographer - maybe even Abby herself - secretly did the choreo.) Anyway, Abby took a low blow and said that Kelly should stick to what she does best, which was spend time at a real bar, not a ballet bar.

Next up was Kendall. Almost immediately, Kendall's music began to skip. Instead of being supportive that Kendall kept dancing, Cathy said that Kendall didn't take any of her constructive criticism and did terribly. Abby even noted that Kendall was better than she performed in this number, and Kendall was nothing like the talented girl that Abby had trained.

As Jill cried in one area, Cathy noted that she doesn't really see Kendall and Jill as part of her Apples team, and they're on the outside.

Before Abby went back into the practice room, Kelly coached Paige on what to say when Abby cornered her about her dance. While Kelly began the arguement with Abby, Paige continued by saying that she didn't feel challenged. Abby's argument was that she wouldn't give Paige choreography that she wasn't ready for. After Abby yelled, Kelly comforted Paige and said that it was her own fault, not Paige's.

Cathy's girls performed their group number next. Before they began, Christi noted that Cathy wasn't being herself that day - she hadn't bugged the Abby Lee team or anything. Opinions were mixed on the performance - Holly thought the dance was good, but not a slam dunk. Abby said it would be competitive. Christi said it looked like 'a Chinese buffet.'

Abby's girls were next. Their dance, costumes and music included, were beautiful. Everything was clean. It was the complete opposite of Cathy's loud dance with a lot of variety - this dance was simple and quiet. It was fantastic.

The solo awards were next.

In the 9 - 11 solo competition, Paige took 7th place. Chloe took 6th place. Both of their moms were thrilled. Kendall didn't even place.

In the 9 - 11 small group, Abby's group took 5th place. Cathy's team, again, didn't even place.

Fortunately, Abby couldn't be upset that her girls didn't place higher because they met their goal - beating Candy Apple's. Abby congratulated Paige, and Kelly stuck up for Paige and told Abby to give her more credit. Abby said Paige would have to trust her, and that Kelly better not re-choreograph again.

Jill approached Cathy about how she's not giving Kendall enough practice time to succeed. Cathy's face stayed blank - she didn't even react. Jill said she regretted leaving Abby Lee's company and her time with Candy Apple's may be over.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dance Moms - 7/3/12

This week's episode of Dance Moms showcased Abby Lee's favorite dances - and some disasters as well. She counted down from the worst dances to the best.

Number 10 - The worst dance on Abby's list was Pinup Girls, a dance she claimed was sabotaged by Christi. This is because she made Chloe's hairpiece, which fell over Chloe's face as she danced. Still, the dance won first place in the Junior Trio competition.

Number 9 - Next on the list of bad dances was Vivianne Stein's bumblebee dance. Abby choreographed a routine for Vivi, but her mom, rival dance teacher Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, changed the choreography and ruined it. I'm not a huge fan of Vivianne's dancing, so I'm not even sure if Abby's original dance moves could have saved this routine.

Number 8 - Jailbirds took the number 8 spot. I think the best thing about this number was Holly's face as she watched from the audience - she looked angry and horrified. This dance, which featured the girls in jail uniforms pretending to be in prison, took 10th place in the competition. Abby blamed this failure on the girls for being sloppy and making mistakes, but I think the inappropriate subject matter, like the fact that the dance was about being in jail for killing your husband, played a major role. (The dance was a tribute to the musical Chicago - the song was a thinly veiled cover of a song from the musical.

Number 7 - Brooke's solo called Garden of Eden took this spot. She performed it at the Rising Star competition. It took first place in the Lyrical Acrobatic competition. I think this is where we flipped over to great dances because Abby complimented Brooke's skills, even though she did say her mother gets in her way.

Number 6 - Abby noted that she chose this song to shock the judges by having the girls do the death drop. The song was called My Pumps. In my opinion, between the song and the costumes, the girls looked like miniature cross dressers. It took third place in the junior group competition, and that matched Abby's sentiments on the song - she said it was good, but not great.

At this point, we flashed over to the dance that Abby made the moms do during the first season of Dance Moms. It would have been okay (although uninspired), except for the fact that Cathy absolutely hijacked it and started making up her own moves midway through the song. Abby was mortified.

Number 5 - Abby said that this song would start the good songs on her list, although the last two seemed pretty positive to me. In any case, the featured dance was Chloe's solo Dream On a Star from the Hollywood Dance competition. Not to pass up the opportunity for a dig, Abby praised Chloe but then make it clear that her mom Christi is a problem. It took first place in the Junior Solo competition.

Number 4 - Maddie's performance called Angel, a tribute to her grandmother, took this spot on the countdown. This was performed at the Starpower competition. This song was very appropriate - it had both age appropriate dancing and costuming. Maddie executed the dance beautifully, and it was particularly notable that her facial expressions stayed strong throughout the whole song. She took first place in the Junior Solo competition.

We cut away to see a cute dance of Mackenzie's that won a first place title. Abby complimented Mackenzie, noting that she's talented and does cartwheels from morning until night, but still compared Mackenzie to Maddie...and obviously, Abby said Maddie was better at Mackenzie's age than Mackenzie is. Abby just can't give a compliment without an insult attached!

Number 3 - Black Swan, Chloe and Maddie's duo, earned the number three position. I strongly agree that this dance was one of the best - it was absolutely beautiful and showed how well Maddie and Chloe dance together. Their styles are complementary and they stayed absolutely in sync. The dance, performed at Starbound, took first place in the Junior Duet competition.

Number 2 - Abby called this number too beautiful for words. It was a group number called called My Beauty. The girls wore frilly pink costumes and held mirrors. This dance took the Junior Group National Title.

We skipped to the dance where Nia wore a leopard print outfit and wore an Afro wig. It was a really funky dance that made Nia look great. Abby took this opportunity to say that Nia's mom, Holly, should back off, and if she does, Nia will do better. If you recall, Holly was less than thrilled with this dance because she thought Nia was typecast for the role. She wanted Nia to be noticed for her talent, not thrown into a particular role because of her ethnicity.

Then, we went to the number called Secret Agents, where the girls carried guns. The moms were incredibly dissatisfied with Abby's decision to have the girls carry these props. To be fair, it's not really sending the best message. However, after the dance was performed, the moms changed their tunes and admitted that the number was good.

Number 1 - The moms fought Abby about this song, but the judges loved it. This number was Where Have All The Children Gone? It was a spooky sounding song that addressed the deaths of children. Nia pretended to choke herself on stage. The song, while well executed, was inappropriate in my opinion, but what do I know?

During the episode, there were some questions and answers. They are listed below.

At what age did Abby start her career as a choreographer?
Answer: 13

Which dance mom was a former student of Abby's?
Answer: Kelly

Who gave up dance for cheerleading?
Answer: Brooke and Kelly

How many Broadway shows have featured members of the Abby Lee Dance Company?
Answer: 12