So how can anyone compare to Abby Lee Miller when it comes to whipping young girls into fighting dancing shape? Well, you can start by being not one diva, but two. Enter Victor Smalley and Angel Armas, who don’t have much in common with Abby, except for their pleasure in watching the mothers of tiny dancers act more like children than their children. Plus, they dance.
As Will Smith would say, Bienvenidos a Miami!
Miami’s version of the Pyramid of Doom is The List. At the top is, what’s this? A boy? And he’s adorable too. Lucas looks just like a young Tony Dovolani, if Tony could stretch his entire leg up to the sky from behind his head and then gently tap his nose with his toes. Brigette the blonde is Lucas’ mom.
Next is Kimmy, whom Smiley Angel (our first attempt at Brangelina’ing Victor and Angel) loved “since your mother’s so quiet and peaceful.” Third is Sammy, who looks a little surprised, probably because someone else’s mom starts weeping. Why? We’ll find out soon, of course.
Fourth is Jessi, whose mother Susan is the one crying. “Reputation takes years to build, and just a second to ruin,” says Victor. Apparently Jessi was a brat two weeks ago, so she’s being punished for it now, for the cameras. Her mom sure loves a showy cry, though, right?
Fifth and final is Hannah, whose mother is Debi. “You still need to work on your technique,” says Smiley Angel. Debi is upset because Hannah had her best score ever at the last competition.
This week, the team will be competing at Starbound. Lucas and Kimmy will have solos. Sammy gets a solo, even though Angel doesn’t think she deserves it. Jessi doesn’t get a solo, and Victor says it “hurts me.” He really doesn’t look like he’s in pain.
On to the theme of this week’s group dance. Since we’re in sunny, carefree Miami and not in snowy Pittsburgh, we’re expecting some upbeat themes. Instead of Abby Lee’s dour themes like homelessness, prostitution, and bullying, maybe we can do a La Cage Aux Folles number, or something with happy retirees swinging their wheelchairs around?
Alas, the theme this week will be “insecurities,” which Victor teaches the girls (and boyeee) about. “We all have them, but we don’t like to talk about them. We are going to find out every little detail about you.”
The moms hang out in a blue room with white chairs and green plastic plants. Angel tells us that the moms are being kind of nice to each other lately. “There must have been a special on alcohol or a drug special, because they are not being themselves.” Ah, gotcha. Dance moms drink no matter what zip code they’re in. Good (-ish) to know?
Jessi’s insecurity is being embarrassed because, “I’m ugly.” She cries. Our heart breaks. Hannah is scared that when people see her on stage, they are judging how she looks, and not how she dances. She cries. Our heart breaks more. Tons of mascara sloshed around the 9-year-old’s face as tears mix with broken dreams. Is this Glee, Jr.? Or was that just a Green Day lyric?
Lucas (the boyeee) says he’s insecure because he’s a boy and likes to dance. Sammy starts singing a different tune. She doesn’t like that everyone who sees her thinks she’s “so tall and so pretty,” before they even get to know her. Honey, you really don’t get to say things like that until you’ve battled puberty and made it out alive. Also, after you have your braces taken off.
So, the moms. There are so many insecurities bouncing around the moms’ room that we don’t know where to start. Basically, Susan is the mom with the short brown bob and blue-ish eyes. She likes to call tiny children “cocky.” Abby is the new mom in the group, and all the other moms hate her because her daughter Sammy won last week, and also because Abby doesn’t want to be friends with the rest of the moms. So far, we don’t have any favorites.
All the children are “given a chance to dance through their insecurities. It will be inspirational, as all art should be.” Victor is not kidding around here, and we like that. We wonder what would happen if we poked his pompadour, though. Would he giggle, or would the whole thing just crack off?
Abby changed her cell phone ring to the Rocky theme (“Eye of the Tiger,” presumably), because she feels as though she’s going into battle just by showing up at the Stars studio. Brigette, who is Lucas’ mom, decides to take Abby under her wing, and apologizes on behalf of the group. The receptionist, who is also Victor’s mom, is all, “I don’t tolerate this behavior, unless you tell me all about it, girl.”
In rehearsal, the kids are in a feelings circle, chattin’ ‘bout their insecurities. Kimmy’s insecurity is being a perfectionist. She has amazing technique, and can do ridiculously impressive standing splits. Her mom Ani is the “quiet, peaceful” mom mentioned earlier. Lucas (the boyeee!) loves doing splits behind his head. Now, Sammy, who tells us, “I like being the center of attention!” is more of an Abby Lee Miller girl. She likes to shake her bum bum. All the moms come in to learn how to dance a “young person’s dance” from Sammy at one point, and they start grinding their mom-jean-covered hips into the air.
There’s a very cute moment where the kids are all imitating the moms, and they do bang-up jobs. It reminds us a bit of that Real Housewives of New Jersey bit done by itty bitty children. Everyone is having so much fun! Where is the drama?
Cue: drinking some lunch. Brigette, Susan, and Abby all go out for red wine. They start bitching about Debi, whose daughter Hannah is the one worried about being chubby. Debi has apparently been telling Smiley Angel to give Sammy bad choreography to sabotage her. In other words, Debi is a Bad Mom, who is not to be trusted.
Time for the big competition. At Stars, Ani is really nervous about her perfectionist daughter Kimmy, and fusses over her, trying to tell her to be perfect. Poor Kimmy. PS: Lucas has already started working the shirtless look. Awkward? Or exactly what a young Tony Dovolani would do?
Kimmy’s solo is pretty great. The theme is not being perfect, so every time she strikes one of her perfect standing splits, her entire body starts crumbling down. We love this totally spicy choreography, which is wildly different from Abby Lee’s. Dare we say, it’s more “artistic.”
“I’m not trying to be cocky or anything, but I know in my heart that I can dance. And I have no fear of losing.” That’s Lucas talking, so we have high expectations. What’s interesting about young Luke is that he could already head to Broadway if he wanted. Bags packed, flatiron in his back pocket, he could head straight to the Lion King chorus or the role of Billy Elliot’s understudy once it’s revived. The kid’s a stah!
Debi is a major Debbie Downer, saying she’s just not so impressed with Sammy, even though Smiley Angel loved Sammy’s number. On to the solo awards. Kimmy gets second place, which is awesome. But neither Lucas nor Sammy places, which prompts Abby to confront Smiley Angel and ask if Debi really tried to sabotage her daughter’s dance. Victor says yes without saying much at all, and his pompadour doesn’t move, which is a clear sign he is being honest.
Ripping a page from Glee’s playbook, the costumes for the group number are black tanks with each of the kids’ insecurities emblazoned on the chest. Lucas rocks some guyliner and channels Perry Farrell, and all the kids become little ragers, battling their flaws through The Dance. We love it. Our favorite is now Kimmy, because the girl can act. Plus, she tells us, “I think we sent a powerful message with our number.”
The group wins fifth place overall. Victor comes backstage and he’s like, “It was okay.” Angel says, “These kids have no idea what’s coming to them.” They cross their arms in unison, and exit stage left.
Some wine starts flowing backstage, and the moms start shouting “sabotage” as passive aggressively as possible. Debi denies the sabotage, the other moms tell her to “own it,” and Abby runs out of the room saying, “You’re all a bunch of lying animals, all of you.”
Somebody get that Will Smith song playing, stat!
Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @MollyFriedman.
Catch an all-new episode of Dance Moms: Miami on Tuesday, April 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.