With one week to go to the finale, we’ve reached the point of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition where the show should theoretically be about dance alone. Am I right? The also-rans have gone home. The remaining dancers are all deserving. The mothers are well-behaved … well, except for Cindy. But her big problem was JoJo and Jessalynn, and they’re back in Nebraska. So nothing but earnest, honest competition and great dancing, yes?
No. Cindy just said she would do whatever needs to be done to win this thing. There will still be hysteria.
This week’s theme is “Down the Rabbit Hole” — AKA Alice in Wonderland — and the skill is characterization. Gianna is especially happy about that because that’s her strong suit. The challenge winner gets to assign the other dancers’ dance style/character.
Tessandra Chavez is on hand to teach the combo. Once they’ve got the movements down, Abby will give the group a character and they will perform the combination as that character. First up is The White Rabbit. Lots of miming bunny ears and paws. Demonstrate, Gianna.
Abby says Trinity’s characterization was excellent, but her feet were bad. She’s first out.
Next the girls will dance as a dormouse, which is actually a thing in addition to a character. Dormice also come in edible varieties, but I don’t think we will worry about that right now. Again the girls do an excellent job of characterization, but McKaylee does her ball changes on the wrong foot, which Abby thinks should make Shari embarrassed. I realize I remember pretty much nothing about Alice in Wonderland other than Alice and possibly a stopwatch, which I think should make me embarrassed.
Kalani and Gianna will do battle for the win dancing as The Queen of Hearts. In the end, Abby says Kalani was the superior dancer, but Gianna brought off-with-your-head fierceness as The Queen of Hearts. Characters related to Off With Your Head is Gianna’s thing. She, er, killed it as Marie Antoinette last week, remember? Abby says she’s been well trained in evil thanks to her mom. No arguments here. From Cindy, either. She finds it hilarious.
On that subject, Cindy and Gianna disagree about who should have what dance, because Gianna wants people to still like her and Cindy just wants to win. Gianna lets Cindy have her way, unable to speak her mother’s decisions until Abby demands it.
So Gianna does it. The dances shake out like this.
Gianna keeps the jazz funk solo featuring the Mad Hatter for herself. Fine call.
Lyrical routine about Alice goes to Trinity, the hip-hop expert. Good competitive move.
Hip-hop routine featuring the White Rabbit goes to Kalani. Of course. Hip-hop sent her home last time.
Modern funk about the Cheshire Cat is McKaylee’s.
Only McKaylee looks fine with her fate. Trinity and Tina feel sabotaged by a duo they saved from elimination twice, but they know who the real culprit is. Backstage, the hens start pecking and Gianna starts to cry.
As much as Cindy drives me nuts, she did what any of the other mothers would have done in her position — assigned dancers with an obvious Achilles-heel dance style that genre. And since she seems to relish a good verbal throwdown, their fussin’ is only serving to fuel her fire. On the other hand, it’s reducing poor Gianna to rubble, so I guess there is method to everyone’s madness.
Trinity’s Alice dance will be choreographed by Tarua Hall. They both realize they’ve got their work cut out for them, since Trinity admits she’s everything but lyrical and feminine. Abby — who is wearing more color than I have ever seen on her and should really do that more often — comes in and pretty much says the same thing. Not much she can do about what’s about to transpire except tell Trinity to, for God’s sake, mind the feet.
Gianna’s solo will be choreographed by Matt Cady. Gianna likes the dance but says she’s preoccupied because the other moms and dancers are so angry. Abby says she’s angry, too — I’m guessing because the only person who is more screwed than her beloved Kalani is Trinity. She quizzes Cindy about her decision-making, but Cindy’s not the least bit remorseful. Ain’t her job to make sure Kalani looks good.
Abby takes out her frustrations on Gianna’s technique. Who else is glad that GiGi seems to dance her best when she suffers mightily beforehand?
Victor Rojas is crafting Kalani’s White Rabbit dance. He tells the girl to forget her nerves about the style of dance and focus on making the most of the character.
In the Kristie Ray/Yvette Walts Memorial Rhinestoning Room of Contentiousness, Cindy is celebrating being hated on by all the other mothers by not giving a righteous crap. And that’s about all there is to say about that.
Matt Cady is also choreographing McKaylee’s dance. He wants her to be a sad kitty. Man, I wish I could remember what the hell Alice in Wonderland was about, because I thought Cheshire Cat was a jerk, not a depressive. In any case, Abby points out that McKaylee lip-syncs and the girl admits that that has turned into a bad habit. The pressure gets to poor, perfectionist McKaylee and she starts to cry.
Abby lets Kalani and Ka-mommy know that she, too, is worried for their girl this week, since the last time Kalani did hip-hop, she was sent packing. Afterward, Kira tells Kalani she has begun to look like she’s giving up. Kalani doesn’t want to be badgered. Kira tells her to ditch the brat face and step up.
Come competition day, everyone is a veritable time bomb of nerves, which makes the get-ready room a real picnic. Out front, Manno (in subtle shades of gray, if you’re keeping track) reminds everyone in the audience that this is the last performance show before the finale showdown. I’d tell you how the judges’ wardrobe/accessory choices pertain to the theme this week, but you know … unless, they’re wearing a top hat or a blue frock with a while apron, I’m in the weeds. Either way, I was hoping for something more quirky out of Richy.
McKaylee goes first. Before she even takes the stage, Abby signals to her not to lip sync. It’s not my favorite McKaylee dance, mostly thanks to the gigantic ramp prop, but it’s still very good and she emotes for all she is worth, ending up on the judges’ table just for fun.
Shows you what I know — Rachelle says McKaylee WAS her best. Richy says she made his heart pound. Then he rats her out for lip-syncing a little, which Abby didn’t even see. Abby says McKaylee didn’t play a believable cat. Because, you know, this totally is one.
Backstage, Gianna is freaking about the heft of her cockeyed hat, fearing it will take her entire wig — and possibly her head — with it as she moves. Cindy orders her to test that theory by jumping off the couch, not using her inside voice at all and making me sad for how badly I want her to go home now, even if it costs me Gianna, whom I love. At the very least, I hope she watches these back and feels at least a twinge of embarrassment. Hopefully a boatload of it. Hopefully she bought Gianna a pony for what she put her through. Or some noise-cancelling headphones.
Gianna’s dance is lively and chaotic and makes Richy stand and squirrel wave and Rachelle stand and bite the apple, which I’m going to miss. Abby says she played a character well, which thrilled Abby’s cohorts, but her technique is not befitting Abby’s Ultimate Dancer. Richy gives her another finger wave. Rachelle gives her another bite the apple and a bonus head roll. Rachelle says Gianna is a born actress.
Kalani dances her hip-hop solo like the ballerina she is, but she’s so coltish and adorable that it’s hard not to enjoy it.
Even though there were only rare moments of honest hip-hop, Richy stands and gives her a finger wave, anyway. He says she just let go and he appreciates that. Rachelle liked her isolations and says she’s much improved from her last hip-hop outing. Abby says her expressions were good; her technique not so much. Kira takes the lukewarm praise as a win and thanks Cindy for the opportunity.
Tarua wisely made Trinity’s dance an up-tempo lyrical routine, but it’s still so-so at best, and — even with my Wonderland amnesia — nothing about it says Alice. Richy says she did well enough, given she was totally out of her wheelhouse. Abby says the dance was a letdown, including the acrobatics, which should have been Trinity’s salvation. Rachelle disagrees. She calls Abby “Ms. Miller” and says Abby failed to recognize Trinity’s game effort.
Backstage, a sullen Trinity tells her mother to accept that she is going home. Mnnneehhhh!
Judges deliberations are tense from the get-go. Abby says none of the girls struck her as her ultimate dancer tonight. Rachelle says Gianna totally had it going on and is a performer. Richy agrees, saying the week is supposed to be about playing a character. Abby didn’t like Kalani’s shoes or her feet. Rachelle calls McKaylee a through-line of talent — solid every week — so to send her home over lip-syncing would just be silly. Richy — again — says Trinity did the best she could with what she was given.
Tonight it just seems like everyone is ready for their AUDC Season 2 experience to come to its fabulous $100,000 conclusion, whatever the hell that entails. I don’t think Abby and Rachelle will be getting together to do each other’s hair and talk about boys for a while.
Backstage, Cindy tells Trinity she looked pretty. Trinity tells her not to talk to her, because it’s all her fault she’s so sad. Kira says all of the dancers — especially Kalani — had a hard time, too, and Trinity’s attitude is horrible. Trinity says the difference is Abby loves Kalani. Kira says it’s time for Trinity to go home.
Come results time, the judges still look owly and Abby tells Manno their decision is only a “kinda-sorta” consensus. On a side note, the stuff that winds up behind Manno’s head (& What Abby Found There) is always a bright spot in my night.
Abby tells Gianna that everyone felt that she had the best characterization. She’ll be going to the finals. Gianna looked stunned, and I start to worry for Trinity.
Shari says everyone wants to kill Cindy. Pretty much since Day 1, Shari. Pretty much since then.
Then Abby says the remaining dancers are the best she’s seen all year. I think she means all season, but whatever. She goes after McKaylee one last time for lip synching, Kalani for being an iffy hip-hopper and Trinity for lacking softness.
Then — surprise! — she says no way in hell is she going to let some mother determine who goes into the finals, even though she gave Cindy that power. So everyone is going into the finals. Surprise!
So what say you, AUDC-o-philes? Did Cindy make the right calls, even though they amounted to nothing? Would they have amounted to nothing had Kalani scored a better dance? Did you miss the wisdom of JoJo with the BowBow on our first JoJo-free ShowShow? Who’s going to take the win? Sound off in the comments section below.
Coming up on next week’s Season 2 finale of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition — the return of Robert Goulet Joffrey!
The season finale of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition airs Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 9/8CT.