As we begin episode 3 of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, we get a look at two very different moms — Angela, who says that Richy saving Chloe from elimination last week was really God tapping her girl on the shoulder, and Melanie, who, with a gleam in her eye, says that there are a lot of moms there who don’t want her daughter Haley to succeed. I think they mostly don’t want Melanie the Mouth to succeed, but I guess they’re a package deal.
Then Abby shows up to inform the rank and file that the theme this week is mythology — the gods and the mortals.
The skill the Goddess will be looking for in the mere mortals is power. So the challenge will be the Ultimate Dance Battle, which I recall from last year as being kind of a bunch of hoobage fairness-wise, but a lot of fun to watch. Tina says Trinity rocks at those, so no problem.
Then these two show up to demonstrate what a proper dance battle looks like.
Except their dance battle couldn’t look less like a dance battle if they were each in different rooms. Also, anyone care to guess who Abby declared the winner? Go on. Guess which one.
Now that we’re properly schooled, let the Ultimate Battle begin.
First up is Travis vs. Tyler.
Winner: Travis by a lot of face. And these bad boys.
Travis vs. Gianna
Winner: Travis because Gianna repeated a move.
Travis vs. Haley
Winner: Travis before he even makes a move because Haley blows a side aeriel.
Melanie helpfully tells Haley that she is ridiculous and doesn’t belong here.
Travis vs. Trinity
Winner: Trinity, who says she was born to battle and proves it.
Trinity vs. Chloe
Winner: Trinity, whom Abby basically declared the winner before Chloe even entered the battleground.
Trinity vs. Kalani
Winner: Kalani. Abby doesn’t even let Trinity dance before declaring K the winner
Kalani vs. McKaylee
Winner: McKaylee. Kalani’s time on top is shortened by Abby declaring all her moves repeats.
McKaylee vs. JoJo
Winner: McKaylee. Special guest judge Maddie says she’s the more powerful dancer.
McKaylee vs. Ally
Winner: Ally. Abby says McKaylee just up and took her finger wave to the face.
Shari is mystified by this, but everyone heartily cheers Ally’s victory. Until they find out that she and Tiffany get to “cast” the rest of the dancers and dances. Tiffany says she doesn’t want friends. She wants money … oh, and, you know, that scholarship deal.
Travis and Trinity will be performing Medusa’s Tragic Romance, a lyrical routine which makes Trinity just look tragic.
Kalani and Haley will be doing a jazz routine called Birth of a Goddess. Yay! Right Haley and Melanie?
JoJo, Gianna and Chloe will be doing an unnamed modern funk routine, which means JoJo will likely get another pass to just go out there and act sassy without penalty — and Chloe, who prefers lyrical dances, is screwed yet again. But I guess we’ll see.
McKaylee, Ally and Tyler get a contemporary routine that also has no name.
Tiffany says she tried to keep her friends close and her enemies closer.
Then Maddie and Mack go back to meet and greet the girls. A wide-eyed Haley asks for advice on handling Abby when she’s mean. Maddie says ignore the mean and make the correction. Mackenzie just grins like the adorable goof that she is and tells them good luck with rehearsals. Her adoring audience laughs and laughs.
Matt Cady will be choreographing JoJo, Chloe and Gianna’s dance, which we find out is called Hades & The Lost Souls. Matt says it’s about Hades — that would be JoJo — controlling two lost souls. Take it away, Baby Hades.
And now you, Matt.
At which point Abby also walks through the door.
Quick break while I let my giggle fit subside. Which may actually take till tomorrow. Or possibly next week.
Even though JoJo is just marching and flailing around out there without any attention to her arms or feet, Abby goes for Chloe and bellows that she wants the dancer that automatically goes to perfect technique. So we can essentially admit right now that JoJo is stunt casting and not anyone we’re supposed to believe Abby takes seriously? Yes? Someone? Yes?
And while we’re at it, can we also acknowledge that Melanie is really auditioning herself to the be the next Kristie Ray on Dance Moms, even though we already have a shrinking-violet whipping post in Chloe Lukasiak and her kid makes Chloe look bold?
In any case, Abby tells Angela she failed because she didn’t immediately start working on Chloe’s feet the minute she was born. Abby? Parents are generally just pleased their children have feet when they are born. The work part comes later when, you know, they actually use them for something other than an always-handy chew toy.
First mom field trip of the season! With the unlikely combo of Sheryl, Melanie and Tiffany.
Who else hopes all scissors, files and other sharp objects are kept out the reach of the latter two? Especially now that there is booze. We saw how well that worked out for the Dance Moms a couple weeks back.
So much for your happy trip to the salon, dear, optimistic Sheryl. Tiffany warns both her companions that she means war. Melanie tells her she’s a bitch.
Tessandra Chavez is doing Travis’ and Trinity’s tragic romance and she’s frustrated that the children can’t express how they would feel if they lost their lover. Uh, well … . Also, Trinity is jumping on poor Travis’ back like a load of bricks, which sends him staggering and worries Sheryl.
Oh boy. Haley and Kalani are paired with Anthony, whom we all know can eat even the stoutest-souled dancers alive. Which is exactly what Kira says, too. Abby shows up and asks the poor, tortured kid if she thinks Ally’s mom was trying to bring her down and Haley nods miserably. I’m miserable for her.
Tyler, Ally and McKaylee’s dance is called Sirens and will be choreographed by Tarua Hall. The girls will be luring Tyler to his death. But Tiffany may lure Ally there first if she doesn’t rise to McKaylee’s technique and confidence levels. Which she bolsters by whining that Ally’s dancing scared.
In the mom room, Shari, Tina, Angela and Cindy are discussing who might be on the chopping block, which they decide is Haley just as Melanie walks in the room. Melanie obviously had more than one champagne at the beauty parlor because she proceeds to tell the ladies that Haley is better than all of their daughters. Maybe she is, Melth that Roared, but she certainly has yet to show it. And that’s not any of these women’s fault.
Then we get another tender parenting moment from Tiffany in which she faux cries and demands to know how Ally dare tell her not to be nervous. Ok. Be nervous, Tiffany. Just hold your kid up in the process.
Ally says she knows her mom is her biggest fan. She just has a weird way of showing it. Um, yes. Yes, she does.
Come competition day, Kira finds it funny that Tiffany’s basically admitting her own sabotage might have backfired on Ally.
Time to meet the judges. Rachelle has curls and a headband like a Greek goddess. Richy has prisms for lapels. Also he doesn’t believe Abby will ever use her callback card. Abby has a necklace with a snake on it.
Kalani and Haley go first. Kalani’s costume gets caught over her face, but she keeps on dancing like champ. Er, a goddess.
Abby calls out Kalani’s feet and says the same thing happens over and over again. Richy gives her props for dancing through the wardrobe malfunction, but Abby snarls that it could have been a big injury — which I find irritating because she calls out her own ALDC dancers for reacting to wardrobe issues. Rachelle says Kalani didn’t really demonstrate the power that was called for in the dance and the challenge. Then she says that Haley’s faces aren’t born of real emotion, but she had some really good moments. Haley smiles. And she keeps smiling when Abby tells her that she stepped it up and kept up with Kalani. And her feet are beautiful. Girl’s not down for the count yet. And here’s an expression that’s all about real emotion.
The Sirens and their victim are next.
I think the dance is fabulous and perfectly suited to all three dancers, but I’m sure I’m about to find out how wrong I am. It’s got Tiffany hugging on Shari and Sheryl, though, so there’s a win right out the gate.
Abby says Ally lived up to the confidence of the dance battle, but her feet still need work. Rachelle says that Ally disengages somewhere in the middle of each dance. Richy and Abby say Tyler did well enough. Abby tells McKaylee that she already looks like a working, employable dancer, which makes Shari look like she’s going to pass out.
Privately, Tiffany says Ally still has more star quality than McKaylee, so there.
Trinity and Travis are next. It’s pretty much awesomeness from start to finish and Sheryl literally jumps up and down when Travis holds up under the impact of Trinity bounding onto his back.
How much did we like it? We liked it this much!
How much does Tiffany hate that her evil plot keeps failing her? She hates it this much!
Rachelle gets up off her seat and turns in circles, while Richy congratulates the kids for the first finger wave of the season.
Abby tells “our young male dancer” that he was Herculean. That’s Travis, Abby. I know he and Tyler are hard to tell apart, what with that twin thing and all. She says Trinity at least tried to pay attention to her feet. Rachelle says the pair functioned perfectly as a team, and they hug it out.
Before Chloe, Gianna and JoJo dance, Kevin asks Richy about using his save card on Chloe. Richy says that if she goes home, he wants to make sure she does so having gotten a real fighting chance.
And I am going to see this in my sleep tonight. And tomorrow night. And the next.
And Angela is going to see this.
Pulled by the little devil herself, Chloe runs into Gianna’s feet and takes a spill.
This could go two ways. In a perfect world, Chloe would be props for getting up and finishing the dance with panache. In a more likely scenario, she’s going to prefer the land of Hades to what Abby has to say about her getting a second chance and using it to fall on her arse.
Abby says the giggling Hades rocked it out, but Richy says she didn’t seem as confident as usual and she needs to adapt to playing all kinds of characters. Lori would like to know why Abby doesn’t discuss JoJo’s feet. JoJo has feet, too. And legs. And also arms. And she is certainly old enough to be held accountable for her form and her technique.
Abby calls out Gianna’s early jump and Rachelle jumps on the technical-boo-boo bandwagon. Then Abby goes to Chloe’s fall, but admirably uses it more as a teaching lesson about maintaining her center and her form. Until she uses the word “horrendous.” Rachelle says that Chloe’s great moments are overshadowed by her bad ones.
Kevin wants to know if Richy still thinks using his save on Chloe was worth it and Richy says totally. Yes, she fell, but what she did do was great. Way to be a gentleman, Richy. I am such a fan of you and your quirky class.
While the judges deliberate, the moms and kids hang out backstage. Kalani tells Kira that she better be ready to leave, because she’s sure she’s in the bottom. Kira laughs and says no sweat, because she’s “the only mom here who doesn’t give a crap.” Cindy says she’s sick of hearing Kira prattle on and on about not needing the money or the scholarship. If that’s the case, she says, then leave the competition to people who do need the money and would use the scholarship.
I could support that, except I love watching Kalani dance.
The judges pretty much don’t agree on anything — Chloe especially and McKaylee the exception. But we eventually get a decision. They call Kalani, Gianna and Chloe forward as the bottom three. With Haley safe, Melanie says she picked off her nails for nothing. Stay classy, Mel.
Gianna is saved first. And Chloe is going home.
So what say you? Is JoJo getting an unfair pass or does her entertainment value more than make up for it? Do the mothers color how you feel about their children in general? Who’s your early call for a Dance Moms crossover? Tell us in the comments section below.
New episodes of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.
Images/ video: Lifetime