Thursday, September 15, 2011
Dance Moms: An Exercise In Name Dropping
Laquifa. What? Laquifa. What?!
Yes, it was another week of fabulicious drama on Lifetime's Dance Moms. Lifetime used to be television for women. Now, it is the network for gays and the women who love them. Golden Girls, Will and Grace, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Project Runway and now...Dance Moms! Could a network get any better?!
Note: I am really enjoying the comments from gymnastics and skating fans about the abusive exploitative nature of the series. This is comparatively tame to what life is like in Little Girls In Pretty Boxes.
It has become blatantly obvious that Cathy is the Danielle Staub-level find for Lifetime's smash hit reality series' producers. One can imagine that Cathy was found making snippy bitter comments at a hotel bar when the producers were out scouting the Abby Lee Dance Company and attempting to woo them to do a series. Once they wooed her into being a saboteur (it couldn't have taken much), they exploited the train wreck for every cent she's worth. The amazing thing about Cathy is that we can tell it isn't a big act for her. The woman is clearly crazy and buys into the producers' ideas. It appears that the producers didn't let Abby or her company in on their planned drama. This made for one delicious episode.
The episode began with Abby bragging about renting the same studio that Britney Spears and Lady Gaga rehearse in. Since Lifetime is likely footing that bill, I'm not that impressed. Commence name dropping! The moms began the episode by saying 'we really want to do well here.' Sometimes it seems as though they aren't actually referring to their daughters... Christi and Kelly have quickly become my favorite mothers. There is something about them wearing cocktail dresses from Target and looking D.T.F. at all times that warms my icy heart. Kudos to their Pennsylvania style too. It is like the almost 'get it,' yet there is always a slight level of trash involved. Holly is supposed to be a school principal, yet she seems to have plenty of time to spend at the dance studio. Methinks one could make a big point about the inherent problems with public schools... Melissa was gone this week. No one missed her. It was actually more enjoyable to watch everyone talk about her and subtly imply that she whores herself out to her 'boyfriend' so he pays for her children's dance lessons. Since the ink is apparently not even dry on her divorce (which was caused by her dance obsession,) we need to image that her boyfriend is old and wrinkly. There is a story there and we can only pray we learn more next season.
Kelly was very upset that Paige wouldn't be allowed to compete a solo this week. She spent time fretting over 'hiring a choreographer' that the producers clearly found for her. Kelly is proving to be quite the fag hag and absolutely loved every moment she spent with the hot homo choreographer. Watching Paige dance (when she remembers her moves,) it is clear that she is a talented dancer who just isn't ready for her turn in the spotlight. Paige is a solid member of the group dances, yet she lacks the killer instinct of Maddie, Chloe and Brooke. The choreographer name dropped that he's danced with Ke$ha and Adam Lambert. Methinks he was the one Adam groped on stage at the AMAs.
Abby Lee Miller let everyone know that the entire competition was out to beat Maddie. In literature, this would be known as foreshadowing. It is a bit difficult to believe that everyone in L.A. would be obsessed with an eight-year-old from Pittsburgh with one style.
Shangela visited the girls and performed 'Laquifa.' Holly got over the racial overtones of Abby proclaiming her daughter to be a black diva and was just happy for a little special attention. That really is what it's all about. Kelly claimed to never have even seen a drag queen before. Do you believe her? I think she's spent a little time at the club. Christi and Kelly did tweet a photo of themselves at the Abbey is West Hollywood...
Meanwhile, Cathy prepped her make-shift company for a showdown at iHollywood. Tired of Abby's tired, recycled choreography, Cathy's young Candy Apples practiced strumming their air guitars. Vivi was coached to put down Mackenzie and Nia, though she likely didn't even know they were performing together.
Kelly bitched to Abby that she only hired a choreographer because she wanted her daughters to receive special attention. Abby asked her what she bought Gianna for Christmas. Things got good when we learned that Kelly is cheap and naive about playing the game. Abby feigned shock from foul language for the millionth time-- always a beautiful thing to watch.
Cathy really worked the Snow White Queen Grimhilde illusion by handing a basket of apples backstage. Would you eat those apples? Then, Cathy brought up Abby Lee's tired choreography. She might've had a point, but then she tried to compete over who had more successful students. ALDC does have successful alumni and she pointedly referred to Cathy's unemployed NYC dancer as a FAILURE!
In a wonderful moment straight out of Sweet Valley High, Cathy 'found' Chloe's music and gave it her student, Taylor, and had her face off against Abby's #2 girl. It is a bit confusing how Taylor even competed against Chloe, as she appeared to be at least five years older, developed and bereft of the 'it factor.' The reactions on Chloe, Christi and Abby's faces were priceless, as it appeared the producers didn't clue them in at all. To her credit, Chloe centered herself and danced the best solo we've seen her do all season. Chloe's extension and movement quality exceeded anything we've seen from her in the past. She felt the number far more than her generic French solo last week. Aside from a few soft knees on her side aerial and turns at the end of her solo, it was a homo run and likely the performance of the week.
Maddie performed a solo about an abused child who commits suicide. Abby Lee is REALLY into these Primetime Live dance routines and it is a bit all too autobiographical for me. Perhaps that memory is why Abby Lee downed a gallon of ice cream last week? Maddie's solo was beautiful, but aside from it having an emotion...it looked like the same 'ol shit to me. Granted, it was gorgeous, but it wasn't exactly an up-tempo jazz number with personality. Maddie is NOT Abby Lee's black diva. Abby Lee felt very maternal toward Maddie this week and tried to push her to want to be in films. Aside from The Bride of Chuckie, I don't really know what I'd see Maddie in. I could see her in a dancing role in Mary Poppins or Billy Elliot. I must say, I don't live for Abby Lee allowing Maddie to down shirley temples or ice cream in her presence. Valeri Liukin would NEVER allow Nastia or Katelyn to get away with that.
Mackenzie and Nia performed an impressive duet. Nia may not have great technique or a body that is built for lyrical dance, but she has really improved and grown. Abby Lee may know what she is doing with her, even if her over-reliance on acrobatic tricks is beyond tired. Mackenzie could grow into a formidable dancer, but she just seems to lack the drive that her sister had at that age. There's a Karen Kwan in every bunch... Viva and Justin were embarrassing. It was worse than something you'd expect at at a lame elementary school talent show that you were forced to attend for your best friend's awkward offspring.
Finally, it was time for the dragalicious group dance to 'My Pumps.' There were moments of the dance that were positively brilliant. Maddie, Brooke and Chloe really excelled and Nia nailed the death drop at the end. The group had parts where they changed levels and worked down on the ground; however, the dance really suffered from a lack of training time. Three or four days is not enough time to nail a dance at this level. Moments of the dance looked a bit ragged, especially when the girls hunched over and lined up as though they were in an insipid tap dance in a middle school musical. If Abby gave Brooke lyrical or jazz choreography like she does in the group numbers, she'd have another champion on her hands. Abby needs to get out from under the spell of Chuckie's Bride and push her a bit.
The group dance finished third. Chloe won, yet Maddie finished second! Maddie rehearsed her Michelle Kwan 'Gracious Second Place' reaction for the on-camera interview, but the look of shock on her face at the award ceremony told the true story. Taylor didn't place. Justin and Vivi didn't either. Cathy backtracked and escaped on her C-Class, but not before telling the ALDC that her kids can fix their mistakes, but the ALDC can't fix sh*t. Once again, Abby pretended to have never heard that word before. She was aghast that Cathy teaches children...as though she's never said or done worse when Paige forgets her choreography.
Next week, it looks to be high drama as Maddie's father shows up in Lake Tahoe. The girls all cry and Abby looks like she is losing her shit. Kelly is sewing at the last minute yet again.
The Nationals episode will be curious, as one online poster claims that Maddie was DQ'd from the solo event due to missing a required rehearsal in order to film for the series.
Abby's mother is in the hospital and not eating. Be concerned: she doesn't have her daughter's reserve. My good friend told me that he learned that Abby never had a body for dance. I tried not to roll my eyes too much when I explained that talented dancers don't retire to become choreographers at 14.
Moment I'm Living For: Christi and Kelly telling the girls to 'do what the drag queen told you! Work it!' What would Cathy say?