Alright Miami, you saw how we do in Pittsburgh. So whaddya have?
Well for starters, you have Victor Smalley and Angel Armas, who by their very dancer nature, are almost instantly more fun to watch than Abby Lee. Although they promptly get to work blowing my first impressions all to hell by demonstrating that — while both are certifiable boy divas — Victor is like one of the kids and says so and Angel is an angel with a mouth like a bullwhip.
Also, Victor puts ’er out on the table right away: “If it wasn’t for our amazing kids, there’s no way in hell we’d put up with these crazy moms.”
So let the crazy begin.
The first mother/daughter duo we meet are interlopers Sammy Small and her mother Abby, a Real Dance Mom of Miami for all her “I rule this town and this studio and the world” bravado. Turns out, while they are new to the studio, they are most certainly NOT new to Hannah Epstein and her mother Debi. Seems Sammy and Hannah used to dance together at another studio and Sammy was a beasty to Hannah. Why am I not surprised?
“I told Victor, if they walk in the front door, I’ll walk out the back,” says Debi. But she doesn’t.
“Sammy is the best,” says Abby. “We’re pretty, we have money and people are just jealous of us.” But from the quick look we get into life at Casa Small, Papa Small has had about enough of shelling out “his wealth” on dancing, which should not cost as much as it does. Tough buns, Larry. Your wife and daughter are pretty and people are jealous of them, so keep cuttin’ the checks. Oy. Clearly Angel and Victor are going to need some help managing this mom alone — and we still have three more to meet.
Mercifully, they have it in Mayra, who totally reminds me of Camille from Say Yes to the Dress. Here. Look. Twinsies!
Angel says that Mayra — who is Victor’s mama — is the best choice to run the studio and wrangle the moms because she’s a Dance Mom, too. But the mother of all dance moms? We shall see.
Oh goodie. There’s a list. It’s like the pyramid, but with more layers. Victor says they have it because the producers told them they had to have one like they told Abby Lee she had to have the pyramid. Nah. He doesn’t. He says of himself and Angel: ”We’ve proven ourselves. If you’re not winning, it’s something you did wrong.”
Yeah, no. We’ve already been through this with Abby. If the teachers weren’t responsible for the outcome, the kids could teach themselves. Stay up all night watching Jersey Shore and blow your dance in morning, then maybe. But do your best and fail still — there’s an adult hand in that somewhere, so there.
But whatever. The List goes a little something like this.
Hannah, who is clearly going to be our underdog — the Paige, if you will — of the show, is at the bottom. Then comes the fox in the henhouse, Lucas Triana, a dashing little dude who works out and claims he dances up to 30 hours a week. His mother Brigette proudly proclaims that the other mothers think she’s a bitch and she’s totally cool with that because it’s lonely at the top. Abby, meet Brigette. Let the games begin.
Apparently teeny little adorable Kimmy — I shall call you Little Kim — has a problem recalling the steps. She also has the most ridiculously adorable accent on earth and I will probably tune in each week just to hear it. Even though she hasn’t danced a step for this studio, Sammy scores second from the top, and the top is Jessi who looks like she’s 35 years old. And with a mother like Susan, who can blame her. Sorry Brigette and Abby, but Susan is the mother of all mothers. Jessi calls her Pyscho Mom. Angel says she needs professional help.
The gang is off to Hollywood Vibe in South Florida. Hey hay hey! The Pitt crew does Hollywood Vibes, too! In, like, Missouri! But the Miami Dance Machine will be competing in their own back yard. And the group number will be jazz funk. Miami fusion, if you will. Victor throws the mothers out — they don’t get a swanky Mom Loft; they get a Mom room — and gets to work teaching the dance. Victor doesn’t believe these guys. They’re not committing to the characters. Which they found out they were playing four seconds ago. I don’t believe these editors. But I’ve had practice.
Back in the mom room, Abby asks for the lowdown on Angel and Victor which quickly becomes a kids-accomplishment shoot out. Also, we learn that Debi is way more competitive than Hannah is — how nice for Hannah — and that she trusts Angel more than Victor. Then we get a fer-instance. Hannah’s bun has come loose whilst blasting through Vic’s intense jazz funk choreography. ”You have to come to dance clean,” whines Victor. Uh, dude, her hair’s a mess because you’re making her whip her head around. It has nothing to do with clean. Ay yi.
At home with the Kennedy’s we learn that Jessi’s stomp-happy grandma is smokin’ hot for her age and that she used to dance for the national ballet of Cuba. Susan, on the other hand, sorta flamed out as a dancer. But not to worry. Susan says Jessi dances because she knows it means everything … to Susan. I think maybe we’re going to need a Dr. Drew aftershow for this group.
We learn that adorablay Little Kim is doing a duet with Lucas and that her hip joints do not have a stopping point. Kimmy gets up at four in the morning to manage school and homework and dance and to make her bed perfectly. Arranging things is a mother/daughter activity for Ani and Kim. Also, Ani works at night, so she can be all about the dance during Kimmy’s waking hours.
And what is this? This is an ad for the all-new Dance Moms episodes that will debut in June. I will never know freedom on a Tuesday night again.
Back in the studio, Angel laments the fact that Kimmy and Lucas have no chemistry. Lucas and Kimmy are nine. They do not have the chemicals needed to have chemistry. Victor hopes to hide the fact that they don’t have chemistry by having Lucas twirl Kimmy by the head. Lucas tries. Down goes Kimmy.
“I’m not mad at Lucas for dropping me,” she says, killing me dead in the process. “He didn’t do it on purpose. I hope.” Love.
Realizing that she is hopelessly tired, Angel gives Jessi some downtime to rest — which sends Susan off the deep end. She marches the girl to the lobby and runs her own practice there. Victor tattles and Angel ain’t having it. When Susan is dance instructor, Susan can instruct the dance. And that is not now.
It’s competition day and Victor is clearly not well. As in copious-vomiting not well. He crumples into a pile in the corner of the dressing room, leading Susan to have a meltdown about the loss of Jessi’s bestest warmup buddy. Out of all the mothers present — including his own — only Brigette seems to think that Victor could use a doctor, so as not to expire from dehydration and then what. This results in an all-out brawl, in the midst of which are dancers trying to prepare to dance. And if Jessi bombs her solo for all this drama of which Susan is squarely in the middle, it is everyone’s fault but Susan’s. Just ask Susan. Actually you don’t have to. She’ll tell you anyway.
Oh, I know, Abby. I know. There is always Candy Apples, if you don’t mind the cows and the cold. Cathy has an in with the Globetrotters.
Jessi goes out and does gangbusters on her solo. Angel calls it phenomenal, but Jessi goes to her dark place anyway and hides from Susan. In the meantime, a hale-looking Victor returns with a sweep of his purple cape for flourish. He says it was a virus, which sends the mothers off in a comical bit of “icky-cooties” tizzy. But he’s in time to see Lucas and Kimmy knock their tango out of the park. Way out of it. Little Kim is perfectly pleased, but Lucas is sure he could have done perfect better. What is in the water down here? Or is it what’s in the audience. I guess we’ll find out.
If Abby Lee wants a peek at what an edgy group number is all about, Miami Fusion Jazz Funk — was it actually assigned a name? — is it. The choreography is wildly entertaining and sophisticated and somehow manages to hide the fact that this group, too, contains dancers of varying ages.
Awards time. Jessi gets second place. Susan clearly adheres to Abby Lee’s philosophy that a second place winner is a first place loser, but at least she blames it on the other mothers instead of her seething kid. Kimmy and Lucas get first place for their duet which momentarily eases Lucas’ mind. The group dance gets first, too, and Hannah is dispatched to collect the plaque thingie. Smiling, she returns to the group only to have Jessi yank the prize from her hands, her face in a snarl. Whoa. Uh, whoa. Perhaps we need Dr. Drew right now.
In any case, Victor notices and calls Jessi a bad sport. Bottom of The List for you, young lady. Assuming this thing actually makes some sort of sense. In the dressing rooms, the mothers take sides with Debi and Susan storms out in a snit. Really, lady? Your kid is a teenager who just grabbed the best toy like a preschooler. Angel calls the whole lot “animals.” And welcome to Dance Moms: Miami.
Next week, sure enough, Jessi feels the effects of her behavior, Angel and Victor tussle and the mothers battle on.
New episodes of Dance Moms: Miami air Tuesday nights at 9pm ET/ 8 CT.
Video: ©2012 A&E Television Networks, LLC
Photo Credit: Scott Gries