Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition recap Season 2 episode 2: Going Gaga

This week on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, it’s all about Richy’s bestie, Lady Gaga, who even recorded a message of encouragement for the remaining contestants. The Gaga love is especially appropriate because the skill of the week is individuality and the theme is “Dare to Be You.”

Gianna says she’s worried because everyone has something special about them except her — other than being the girl who fell on her butt last week.

To get the discussion started, Abby asks the group to pick three things about her that are different from anyone else they know. I have about 50 Dance Moms recaps’ worth, but I’ll start the game, anyway.

1)     Her taste in fashion
2)     Stuffed Broadway Baby
3)     Her sense of what is and isn’t fair. Which is not the same as “her sense of fairness.”

The AUDC crew picks these:

1)     Shari (McKaylee’s mom) says Abby’s confidence
2)     Angela (Chloe’s mom) says her boldness
3)     Cindy (Gianna’s mom) — who apparently has a death wish — says “your mouth”

All three are correct and you know it and I know it and Abby has to know it, but she says Gianna better figure out how to rein her mother in or they’re both out.

Despite the evil eye from Abby, Cindy looks pretty pleased with herself. I think this may be a short-lived situation.

None other than Richy Jackson himself will choreograph the skills challenge this week, given that it’s about Gaga and all. Richy apparently got a promotion to “Visual Director & Choreographer” and also what looks like some fur–trimmed sunglasses for the occasion. JoJo with the enormous pink bow-bow is beside herself with joy at the prospect of getting to work directly with Mr. Jackson because, according to her, they are both big and fun and sunglasses divalicious.

We get our message from Gaga, which JoJo feels is especially for her. Then it’s time to learn the combo.

But first, another weepy pity party from Tiffany about how hard it is to raise a tall, big-haired, biracial child.

Dear, Tiffany.
If I saw your daughter, say onstage or at the mall, I would definitely notice her. Because she is a beautiful girl. Not because she is biracial. It would not even occur to me that she is biracial. But it would occur to me that she is strikingly lovely. Go with that. Tell her that. OK?
Love, Lori.

Where were we?

Lyrically-inclined Chloe is having trouble getting the hang of the abrupt hip-hop movements. So is Haley. The combination ends with everyone dropped low to the ground with their heads down, where they remain until Abby starts hauling them away — often by their shirts — one by one.

JoJo is ousted first, much to Tiffany’s delight. Abby says she did sloppy, sloppy work. Tiffany says she’s out of her league.

Next goes Chloe. “Learn to count to 16 — it will come in handy some day,” Abby tells her. “Oopsie,” sighs Chloe.

Richy tells Abby Haley spends too much time watching other people, so she goes next. Then Ally.

Abby divides the remaining dancers into two girl-boy-girl groups — Trinity, Travis, McKaylee first. Trinity gets the boot for not changing up her expression. Next up is Gianna, Tyler and Kalani. Abby gives Kalani the boot. Then McKaylee. Technique issues for both.

Gianna, Travis and Tyler run part of the combo again. Tyler says he is better at krump and hip-hop than his brother, but they both lose out to Gianna, anyway. Abby said her jump made her the most individual individual. Then she calls Cindy down to join Gianna. “Oh no,” says Cindy.

It’s not bad news. At first. Gianna gets to pick what performance dance she will be doing based on the costume sketches alone. The girl assesses them and picks the one she thinks is most likely to be jazzy or contemporary. Anything but hip hop.

Now, Cindy. About these. On Abby’s “sacred” stage.

Jesus wore sandals, Abby. Get over it. Besides of which, Cindy says she’s not afraid of you. She’s from Philly, so she’s not afraid of anything. And besides, Abby wears the same black pants every frickin’ day. So there.

The first group is made up of JoJo and the boys. It’s called Fashion Addicts and will be choreographed by a chill guy named Erik Saradpon, which I cannot pronounce. He tells the kids to imagine that they are addicted to shopping and are in prison because they shoplift. JoJo says she doesn’t have to imagine being addicted to shopping, but she would never, ever shoplift. So that’s good.

Abby shows up to give some advice. She asks Sheryl how she tells her boys apart and before mom can answer JoJo goes for Travis’ chin to point out his distinguishing freckle.

“Do you speak for everyone?” Abby wants to know. “Do you answer for everyone? It’s rude.” She tells a beaming Jessalynn that if JoJo was her kid, she would take her outside and … well, she has no idea what, because she has no kids. Because Sheryl is some sort of saint, she says JoJo is just a ball of sunshine who could use a little reining in and she’s worried she’s going to outshine her boys.

Undeterred by Abby’s remarks, JoJo, in her kindergartner-on-a-shot-of-whiskey-and-a-pack-a-day rasp, tells the boys, “I only had trouble — now I have double trouble.” Werk, baby Gaga.

Ally and Kalani get something called a “Piano Performance Duet” choreographed by Anthony Burrell. Both girls are wary of Anthony’s penchant for tough love, that can frequently be lacking in the “love” department, but Kira says that because Kalani is such a technical dancer, she’ll do just fine.

Abby comes in and gives Ally a lesson in tightening her midsection, straightening her arms and listening to corrections. Tiffany decides swearing at her kid will be her contribution in helping Ally improve her technique. Or, you know, make her cry.

In the Kristie Ray/Yvette Walts Memorial Rhinestoning Room of Contention, Jessalynn and Sheryl are … getting along just fine. It’s Abby who has the issue. She tells the smirking Jessalynn that she has a kid who doesn’t shut her mouth and her fifteen minute grace period in which it was cute and funny has long gone by. In an aside, Abby tells us she thinks JoJo being homeschooled is a big part of the problem, then lays that theory on Jessalynn, too. She thinks if JoJo got thrown in her locker a few times, she might learn her place.

Someone must have pointed out that Lady Gaga kinda leads the pop-culture charge on anti-bullying, because we get a clarifying aside that Abby was bullied, too, but it made her stronger — damn near invincible — because of it. Trust me, Abby. JoJo is strong enough.

To Jessalynn, Abby softens her stance to maybe the kid just needs to hear “no” once in a while. Jessalynn says Abby is going to have to get used to the mouthy wonder that is JoJo. Since the kid makes for some teeth-grindingly interesting TV, I suspect she is right. See also, Asia.

Skills challenge winner Gianna and her partner Trinity will be doing a duet called Two Sides of a Star, choreographed by last week’s skills combo leader Tessandra Chavez. Gianna will play the star version of Lady Gaga while Trinity will be Gaga in everyday life. Gianna is having some confidence issues, which Cindy blames on the one-two punch of Cindy’s issues with Abby and the pressure of Gianna being the skills challenge winner.

Tesandra wants to know what is causing Gianna to forget the steps and Gianna says she doesn’t know. Tessandra says that reason won’t cut it. Then she flat out asks if “G” can handle the pressure of the competition and Gianna admits she doesn’t know that either. Cindy says she’s used to Gianna flaking under pressure. No big whoop.

Haley, Chloe and McKaylee will be doing a trio called Bleeding Heart choreographed by Tarua Hall. Angela says that she and her sheltered girl stayed up till four in the morning watching Gaga videos to get the hang of what’s expected of Chloe, but that doesn’t seem to help her understand this dance that was inspired by “Gaga coming out of some type of egg.” Or in this case, a heart. To which the girls appeared to be tethered.

Shari, a dance teacher herself, expresses worry about all three of the girls maintaining the intricate timing of the trio, especially since they could get wound up in those straps. Melanie, who has apparently decided to crib Cindy’s Philly accent for the occasion even though she’s from Connecticut, er, advises Shari to tend her own kid’s farm.

Come competition day, Sheryl is worried about how her boys are supposed to show individuality when they’re wearing almost identical costumes and doing almost identical moves — with “the Honey Boo Boo of dance” in the middle. And, even though she just hollered at Shari for pointing it out when there was time to fix it, Melanie is now informing Haley that she’s behind the other two dancers in the trio.

Shari, who should win an award for diplomacy, tells McKaylee that she needs to be the leader in the trio because Melanie is a nervous wreck, which is making Haley a nervous wreck. Angela says if she takes her focus off of Chloe for even a minute, that will give Satan an opportunity to bring fear to the situation. Or at least a couple of wack-a-doodle dance moms.

Speaking of which, Cindy keeps manhandling a frazzled Gianna who clearly wishes she would just go away. This leads our reigning Little Miss Mouth (dressed in Abby Lee brand dancewear) to hope Gianna goes home next so she doesn’t have to keep hearing Cindy bellowing “Gianna! Gianna!” — a perfect imitation of which, it turns out, JoJo can do. Observe.

Shari intervenes on Gianna’s behalf, which causes Cindy to note that she don’t need some mother from Nebraska telling her what the hell to do wit’ her own kid.

Onstage, Kevin Manno — who just missed PeeWee Herman perfection by a red bowtie — reminds us what is at stake and that each judge has a callback card to save an ousted dancer. Then he introduces our judges.

Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition judges

Abby has decided to pay homage to Gaga by wearing Coke cans in her hair. Kevin wants to know if they’re full

Uhhhyahhhhhh …

One never knows when one will get thirsty. Or one’s hair will.

Since he is the resident Gaga expert, Kevin asks what they should be looking for tonight and Richy says someone who looks like they’re on the Edge of Glory … and a $100,000 haul. Cool, says Kevin.

Ally and Kalani go first. The dance gives Kalani plently of opportunities to show off her long leg extensions.

Abby notes that, but says something about her ignoring her right leg, which is immature and dumb. Kalani takes the correction with grace. Abby tells Ally that she showed neither technique nor individuality. Richy wants Ally to stop holding back. Rachelle says Kalani was present and made good choices. She wonders if Ally blanked a little in the middle of the dance.

Ally walks right past her mother backstage, then explains to Kira that the dance didn’t come out the way she intended. Tiffany tells her to pray. Kalani gives her hug. Kira secretly rejoices in Ally’s stumble.

Trinity and Gianna are next. Because I’m a sucker for lyrical, I like this dance much better than the first and Gianna and Trinity both seem to perform it beautifully.

Abby says they are both beautiful girls. Then she asks them how she looks. They look confused. That, says Abby, is because THEY NEVER LOOKED AT HER. They’re challenge winners. They should be smarter. And also stop sickling their feet. Richy isn’t so bothered by the lack of eye contact — he’s happy that Gianna’s spirit seemed to be guiding her, a la Gaga, and that she trusts herself. He says Trinity, like Ally, needs to let go. Rachelle says they both conveyed their characters beautifully and she loved it.

JoJo, Travis and Tyler are next. JoJo’s role seems to be to walk around a lot, and in sneakers, so how Abby can do any of her obsessive leg and feet assessment is beyond me. But she says the dance was fun and enjoyable. JoJo rocked it out. It was the boys who weren’t that individual, especially with the little blond between them.

Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition Fashion Addicts

Uh, Abby. They’re twins. Charged with lifting her, pointing at her and carrying her around. What do you want? For Travis, that would be not to smile cheesy-big in the number. She did like Tyler’s all-boy-ness, though.

Rachelle says JoJo sold it. The boys got tired on their muscle moves a little, but they were all entertaining.

Richy says Travis was at the same superfun jail as JoJo, but Tyler was just too serious. Then he tells JoJo she looked fantastic and before he can finish the thought, she’s off to the races, complementing Richy on his outfit and Abby on her pop cans and completely ignoring Abby’s admonishment to speak only when spoken to.

Oh, child. Zip it!

Zip!

It.

Jessalynn says her little junior Joan Rivers on Fashion Police can’t help it that she’s a star.

Backstage, before their Bleeding Heart number, Shari reminds Haley, McKaylee and Chloe that the number is not about cutesy, smily faces. It’s about this.

Fierce. Melanie looks pleased with the advice.

The dance is fun to watch and the girls emote their headphones off, but Abby doesn’t like it. She points out Chloe’s lackluster jump. Richy says she needs to let her inner star out. Chloe says she needs to vanquish her fear, but Abby tells her not to play the “pity, poor me” card. She didn’t Abby. She admitted she is nervous. She played the “honest kid” card. Abby says this is why she is so tough at her studio — so her kids can handle the pressure when they get out into the real dance world.

Rachelle, who likes to keep her comments relevant to dance, says she missed the girls’ connection to the story and each other, and then seeing them really go for it.

Then Abby points out that Haley hit her grand jeté two full counts before Chloe and McKaylee. She says one of McKaylee’s turns wasn’t exactly superb. Then she goes after the girls’ expressions. Too much this.

Richy asks who told them to make the faces, and McKaylee gamely covers for her mother, even though Shari says, “nooo” in the wings. Melanie, however, is perfectly willing to throw Shari under the bus, and when Richy asks for whomever is yammering away back there to step out and show themselves, she does so happily. “Oh for the love of Pete,” sighs Sheryl, watching the action unfold. I heart Sheryl.

Backstage, Shari tells Melanie she wants her daughter to learn to speak for herself, good advice, bad advice or otherwise. Melanie says, well guess what, she didn’t. And the faces were all Shari’s fault. And Melanie is right. And when she’s right, she’s going to tell a very long story about it. Plus, it’s her daughter’s career and she’s not letting anyone ruin it. Except, possibly, herself. And if her kid winds up going home today, she swears to gawwwd!

Ugh. Is it any wonder that Ally and Haley are the most nerved up girls in the bunch? In Melanie’s own words: Nope! Nope! Nope!

Time for the judges deliberations, a process which has gotten a lot tidier this season, with the tablets taking the place of the flash cards. Richy likes Ally more than Abby and Rachelle do. Abby thinks Trinity stomps, stomps, stomps around too much on sickled feet, but Rachelle likes her a lot. Richy says Haley can go, as far as he is concerned … and also he loves Travis, but can’t handle Tyler. Richy also likes Chloe, much to Abby’s and Rachelle’s consternation. There’s no time to be so afraid, say the women.

When the group returns, Abby tells them that she saw no confident, individual little Lady Gaga’s among them. Therefore, everyone failed.

The judges take turns calling JoJo, Kalani, Tyler, Gianna and Travis forward and Abby tells them they are safe. Trinity, McKaylee, Ally, Haley and Chloe are in jeopardy. Trinity gets the first reprieve. Ally gets told that even though last week the girl who forgot the steps went home, she gets one more chance. That leaves the Bleeding Heart trio to face the music with their moms.

Abby tells McKaylee she is a great technical dancer and that has earned her another week on the show. I think McKaylee will be around for a long, long time. Today is not Chloe’s day. The girl tries to keep it together as she thanks the judges for the opportunity. The other mothers look mortified that Melanie survives to torment them another week.

Stop. Richy time.

He uses his call-back card just two weeks into the game, because he says every artist he has ever worked with has come in like a broken bird and they just needed someone to believe in them. He sees a broken bird who will change into a phoenix in Miss Chloe.

As Chloe goes to give Richy — who is also wearing some awesome yellow pants — a grateful hug, Angela says her child is anointed, and that there was a direct path between God, Chloe and Richy.

One that did not make it one seat over.

Abby;s Ultimate Dance Competition Abby

Next week on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, the theme is The Gods and The Mortals, someone is granted a whole lot of power over their fellow dancers and Melanie takes on Jessalynn.

Oh, and these two show up.

Video: Lifetime

About Lori Acken

Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.
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