These could be your new BFFs!

Calling all comp kids! Are you dreaming of making your small-screen debut? If you think your leaps are as strong as Maddie Ziegler's, your shimmies are as fierce as Asia Monet Ray's and your pirouettes are as sharp as Chloe Lukasiak's, now may be your time to shine! Here's the catch: Your mom (or dad!) has to be on board as well.

Why? The infamous Abby Lee Miller is looking for new kids and their parents to add to the cast of "Dance Moms"—and possibly "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition."

Auditions for dancers 13 and under will be held in Orlando, FL (Oct. 25), Atlanta, GA (Nov. 8), and NYC (Nov. 23). Find out more and register at dancemomscasting.com.

See you on TV!

You had muscles like that at seven years old, right?

It's week two of Asia with the ALDC, and the drama surrounding this little firecracker has just begun. Here are my three most AWKWARD and AWESOME moments from last night's episode:

AWKWARD: Asia vs. Mackenzie. New girl Asia gets on top of the pyramid in her first week. Uh oh, looks like she’s just earned a big fat target on her back. But no, the moms are still ganging up on Mackenzie, claiming that she’s faking her injury. She loves to dance, people. She would not fake this injury! Plus, now she really wants to kick little Asia’s butt. I’m going to assume that, healed or not, Mac will be back next week. Team Mackenzie!

AWESOME: Asia’s solo. This is just so much better than her puppy dance from last week. She’s playing Rosie the Riveter, a tough cookie just like she is. Holy muscles, Batman! This girl is fierce. Everything about the choreography is super cute—and her costume is appropriate! Can I be Team Mackenzie and Team Asia?

AWKWARD: Flaggate (a.k.a. the group number). Asia isn’t doing most of the choreography, but she does get to run across the stage with an American flag. Essentially, Abby’s tacking a young kid on at the end to bring the overall age of the routine down. Isn’t this the same kind of thing we used to make fun of Vivi for in Cathy’s choreography? But the real drama comes when apparently the flag is held up the wrong way onstage. Someone must be blamed! Was it Paige’s fault or Asia’s fault??? We never find out, but I’m going to go with: Who cares? They looked great.

So pretty. And so not deserving of what Abby put her through this week.

AWESOME: Maddie’s solo and Chloe’s solo. My goodness, I love these two. This rivalry isn’t anything new. We spent most of Season 1 wondering if Chloe would ever be triumphant over Maddie (spoiler alert: she was!). After months of no head to head competition, they’re both onstage this week. Yippee! Chloe is elegant and clean and gets second place; Maddie is emotional and striking and gets first. Just goes to show, a little healthy competition goes a long way…

AWKWARD: I spoke too soon. Abby takes this Maddie vs. Chloe thing way too far. She kicks things up a notch by asking everyone (moms and kids) to vote for either Maddie or Chloe after watching them perform. Sigh. This does not seem like a productive activity. Maddie wins the vote by a landslide, leaving Chloe feeling terrible. Best moment: Mom Kelly votes for Paige. Hahaha. In your face, Abby.

AWESOME: Holly’s defense of getting an education. Mom Melissa has decided that Maddie and Mackenzie should be home schooled, and the other moms are not pleased. Yes, sometimes home schooling is the best option, but this is clearly not one of those times, especially with little Mackenzie, who’s too young to have decided whether she even wants a career in dance. Plus, she’d miss her friends! Holly does a remarkable job of explaining the seriousness of pulling kids out of school: “School’s not just about busy work. It’s about: Can you think? Can you be a citizen of the world and think for yourselves?” Yes, Holly! In the end, smart dancers are successful dancers.

And now (drum roll please) the QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“Asia might be a big deal on the Internet, but so is a dog who can bark his ABCs.” —Mom Christi

A dog who can bark his ABCs!? Where is this dog? Will someone send me a link, please?

Don't know about you, but we're lovin' the choreographic partnership between WilldaBEAST Adams and Janelle Ginestra lately. We've been all about it ever since we saw their spot-on remake of Michael and Janet Jackson's "Scream" music video.

This week, the dream team released a video to Katy Tiz's "Whistle (While You Work It)"—and it features none other than former "Dance Moms" mini-diva Asia Monet Ray.

Oh, hey there. (Photo via iamasiamonet.com)
Set to Katy Tiz's "Whistle (While You Work It)," the video is a true display of #girlpower, with the five leading ladies owning the tennis court. (Who knew whistles and tennis nets could be such good props?) The choreo is ultra-feminine, but in a sassy, strong, girls-rule-boys-drool kinda way—and the bright colors and beaming sunshine are sure to leave you pumped for sweet, sweet summertime. Enjoy!

Side note: Adams and Ginestra's team name, #BEAUTYanDABEAST, is sheer brilliance.

Before a performance at the Reality Wanted Awards, which we'll see on "Raising Asia"
(photo by Adam Taylor)

Watch out, Beyoncé. There's an 8-year-old (soon to be 9!) triple threat blazing trails in the entertainment industry, and nothing can stop her.

You may remember Asia Monet Ray as a member of the Abby Lee Dance Company on "Dance Moms," or from her butt-kicking appearance on "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition." But starting this week, she's being reintroduced on Lifetime without the wrath of Abby and those Pittsburgh mommies. Asia's new show, "Raising Asia," premieres Tuesday at 10 pm EST, and if the trailer (see below) is any indication, we have 14 episodes—in seven weeks—of amazingness coming our way. Not only is she the cutest ever, but Asia's also got the wit, sass and determination it takes to be a superstar. I caught up with this pint-sized pirouetter to get the scoop on her new show.

What do you love most about "Raising Asia"?

It's awesome because I get to be with my family. I think it's the most time I've spent at my house in years! Everyone will see the work that goes into being a dancer, a singer and an actress—a triple threat, a mega star, a pop star! I'm really excited to see myself on TV again, even though we'll have to TiVo it, because the show's on past my bedtime. And everyone is going to love my little sister. She's really funny.

What was the craziest thing that happened on camera?

My dad and I were hanging out at a place that had mini golf and a go-kart raceway. We were racing, and I told him I was going to beat him. He ended up winning, but when the attendants yelled "Stop!" I accidentally pressed both the brakes and the go pedals, and I bumped right into a parked car. I was OK—I had my seat belt on. But I'm glad no one was in the parked car! That would have been bad, because I think I broke it.

Asia being Asia!
(photo via iamasiamonet.com)

Do you train at a studio?

My schedule is so hectic that I need to study privately. And I'm not competing. I work with choreographers who travel with me and can get me into a studio if we need it.

What's your favorite dance style?

Jazz and hip hop—I was born to be sassy and I can express myself in those styles. But I'm getting a little more used to lyrical.

What's your favorite food?

I love hamburger patties. I also love chicken, brown rice, edamame, miso soup and shaved ice from Icy-licious.

What's one accessory you can't live without?

Lip gloss—and a mirror.

Cats or Dogs?

Dogs, dogs, dogs! My mom will not let me have a dog, even though I've been asking for one basically since I was born. She says it will be too much work; we're already boarding a bird and a fish every time we travel, and we'd have to board the dog, too. I don't think a dog would want to watch me dance and sing all day—she'd want me to play with her, and she'd probably feel really left out and sad when I couldn't. If I ever get one, though, I'd like a teacup Morkie. And she'd have to be a girl dog, because I get too angry with boys—they make messes. I can dress up a girl dog and put nail polish on her little claws. I also like pugs and miniature bull dogs. I love their little front teeth that make them look so angry—but they're so cute!

Want more? Visit her new website iamasiamonet.com to see photos, read Asia's blog, purchase her upcoming debut album and find out where she'll be next.

Some familiar faces in this crowd...just not the ones I wanted to see for an entire episode.

How do I love "Dance Moms"? Let me count the ways... Chloe, Maddie, Paige, Brooke, Nia, Kendall, Mackenzie. Oh, you know, just the 7 characters that weren’t even in this week’s episode of the show. Yep! That’s right. No pyramid. No solos. No groups. Nothing. Are you KIDDING me?!?

Week after week, I’m frustrated with the focus on Mama Drama versus actual dancing, but considering the show is called "Dance Moms," I really can’t complain. But after seeing tonight’s episode, I’d gladly sit through endless footage of screaming in the ALDC observation mezzanine.

Set and focused entirely on the Apple Cores,  “An Apple a Day Keeps Abby Away” followed the plotline of yet another hand-picked team, lead by none other than Cathy and her new sidekick, esteemed choreographer Anthony Burrell. If Lifetime is trying to teach us the age-old lesson of “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone,” they’re seriously nailing it. With no more than a taunting glimpse inside the ALDC, I felt a major void during this week’s episode, so unconventional that it can’t even be categorized into awkward and awesome. Here’s a rundown of the hour’s top shocking and questionable moments.

Is this "Dance Moms" or "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition"?  With Abby hunting for studio space in L.A. (is that really going to happen? I’m not sure my heart could take it), we got to see some behind-the-scenes footage of the upcoming season of "AUDC." Undeniably a fan of any and all things Abby Lee, I’m eagerly anticipating the show’s second season…but not at the expense of my beloved "Dance Moms." Between these sneak peeks and Cathy’s utilization of both Zack and Hadley from "AUDC"’s first season, I honestly don’t know what I’m watching anymore. On the positive side, it was great to see the two performing Burrell’s choreography, both in the group number and individual solos. They’re stronger every time we see them!

The (second) return of Kaya and Nicaya. Yeah, the mother who calls herself “Black Patsy,” inspired by Patsy Ramsey, who is famous for being an overbearing, psychotic stage mother. If that’s not enough to deter you, Kaya’s uninhibited yelling, name calling and overall aggression earlier this season probably put you off. Don’t worry, Cathy personally recruits the pair and invites them to represent her own studio. Great! Can’t wait to see ya!

The moms unite. Aside from the brief, nondescript clips of the ALDC girls rehearsing a piece we never saw, the only taste of familiarity in this episode were scenes with the moms we know and love. And…they were getting along! And bonding! What a relief. While toasting to Abby’s absence over a festive lunch and gossiping about the possible studio move, the moms seemed to be enjoying each other’s company (even Kristie!). After discovering Jill’s sneaky spy skills in last week’s episode, Abby gives her the task of rounding up the troops and heading to the competition to see what Cathy and her new team have to show for themselves. Jill quickly complies, and follows through until the very end (but not without throwing a few insults in the green room.)

To sum it up, this week’s episode was a different program entirely. On the bright side, it’s great to see how the "AUDC" dancers, Apple Cores and new recruits have improved, giving the dancers and studios exposure on a primetime national platform.

Next week, it’s more Candy Apples with a side of "AUDC"—but this time, we at least see a solo from Maddie, who's awarded a special guest performance. I can’t say I expect this to go over well among the moms, but I’ll welcome the drama if it means seeing the familiar faces we know and love.

Quote of the Week:

“Cathy will enter herself in the open solo category and dance her own dance if it means competing against us.” —Mom Christi (Next week on "Dance Moms"…)

Cuties fighting cancer

Finally, an episode of "Dance Moms" that features only the ALDC! Triumphant over Cathy and the Apple Cores at last, Abby’s dream team was back and better than ever. From the start, Abby’s spirits were high as she greeted each girl (and mom!) with a smile as they entered the studio. I knew things had to be too good to be true—and I was right. Although lacking the CADC drama that has dictated most recent episodes, this week’s “Two Girls, One Solo” took tension between the mothers (AND the girls!) to a new level. Here are my top 3 AWESOME and AWKWARD moments.

AWESOME: Brooke is at the top of the pyramid! I can’t say I remember the last time this happened, but she certainly deserved it. With a breathtaking and technically astounding performance among ALDC’s senior company last week (and compliance with Abby’s insistence on a date with partner Kevin), Brooke truly outdid herself. (Surprise! She was not rewarded with a solo. Maybe next week?)

AWKWARD: This week, Abby had a few tricks up her sleeve…in the form of teammate showdowns. With Asia’s return after a job in L.A., she’s set to compete a solo against Mackenzie. And Chloe and Maddie will go head-to-head as well, which is nothing new. But, of course, Abby couldn’t leave it at that. The two will be competing the same solo with identical choreography, costumes, and music—an unprecedented tactic at the ALDC (and as far as I know, everywhere.) Everything about this made me nervous and suspicious—as Mom Christi pointed out, the choreography would likely be catered to only one of the girls’ strengths. After an impeccable duet performance last week, it really was a toss up...

AWESOME: The group dance. A concept piece based on fighting cancer, “Living With the Ribbon” was tasteful, unique and beautifully performed. The choreography showcased all of the girls’ strengths (they’re looking better every week!) and tapped into their personal experiences with the disease and loss. With such an important subject, Abby devoted as much time and energy into conveying the message to her dancers as she did teaching the choreography. A well-deserved win for the ALDC!

AWKWARD: I’m definitely a fan of Asia, but what I am not a fan of is lip-syncing during a routine. From the moment she started her solo, it was all I could focus on—and Abby agreed. Upon returning to the green room, Asia was instantly scolded for the mistake. As Mackenzie awaited her own critique, Abby asked her what she had learned from watching Asia in the wings, to which she responded, “not to lip sync.” Good girl!

AWESOME: Although certainly challenging her dancers this week, Abby seems to have softened up a bit after last week’s win. Yes, pitting her dancers against each other wasn't the most kind-hearted mechanism, but in rehearsal scenes, her critique is constructive, encouraging, and at a moderate volume. With a group dance based on a heavy topic, Abby opens up to her girls about her own experiences and encourages them to share their own. I’m confident this is a side of Abby that is constant, but maybe not shown in every episode, and it was a welcome change. It’s clear that the relationship between Abby and her girls is one based on admiration, respect and trust—something we may forget amongst all the surrounding drama.

AWKWARD: Awards. Finally, the Maddie/Chloe showdown came to a dramatic finish. Maddie was announced second, and Chloe first (!), leaving Maddie’s eyes filled to the brim with tears and Chloe grinning ear-to-ear. A proud Christi cheered from the audience while Abby whispered to Melissa, “There is no doubt Maddie should have won.” Though her shining moment was already tainted, Chloe was a great sport and congratulated the other girls without flaunting her victory. Back in the green room, a competition director came in to apologize for a score discrepancy—as it turns out, Maddie actually had the higher score, making her the overall winner. Abby was beside herself with glee, and Chloe was fighting back tears as she traded in her plaque (while my heart seriously broke into a thousand pieces for her.) The moms, suspicious about the sudden alteration, asked Abby how the mistake was possible. Moments later, the director thanked Abby for bringing the situation to their attention.

Between Jill and Christi’s discovery of the Ziegler girls’ extra rehearsal time and a possible instance of foul play in scoring, we are certainly headed down a dramatic and probably tear-filled road this season! Though things seem to be on the mend with Christi and Kelly for the moment, we can undoubtedly expect blowouts galore in the coming weeks. Hopefully, the drama will stay among the adults, not the girls.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  “I thought they both did a fabulous job, so I don’t think it matters who the winner is.” –Paige (TRUE THAT, PAIGE!)

 

Mom Kristie decides to suck up to Abby. Because that's definitely the best way to make everyone else hate you.

I must admit that this week’s episode had way too much Cathy, way too much mom drama and not nearly enough dancing. But there’s nothing like rooting for little Mackenzie to keep me riveted. Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments.

AWESOME: Pyramid time! Chloe’s on top of the pyramid even though she didn’t win first place last week. I love that Abby’s finally showing her that ounce of encouragement. Chloe, Asia, Maddie and Kendall will all get solos! Unfortunately, we won’t actually get to see them until next week.

AWKWARD: The battle over “The View” continues. Abby announces that Asia’s filling in for Mackenzie on the show, which makes Mom Melissa very upset. Then Abby tells Mackenzie to make her mom fight for her (because 8 year olds should definitely tell their moms what to do). Of course, the kids are fine with whatever happens, but the far-less-mature moms will not stop fighting over it. Somehow, Mom Kelly makes it all about her and her kids, but I’m not really sure how that happened. I sense that Abby knows the whole time who she wants to use, but has found the perfect tactic to rile these moms up and stretch the NYC trip over two episodes. Yes Abby, please draw this fight out for as long as possible. You know how that thrills me.

AWESOME: The results are in…and Little Mac gets to perform! Even though I knew this was coming, I was still excited to see her little face light up. And Asia handles rejection like a pro. The kids’ performance is great, and Abby doesn’t yell at anyone afterwards. Great success!

“As soon as I did my cartwheel over the seat, I was like, ‘I’m back.' ” —Mackenzie

AWKWARD: Cathy. The Candy Apples director announces that she’s holding auditions for a new dancer—because no one at her actual studio full of dancers is apparently good enough. Good job being a teacher, Cathy. Watching the judging process is cringe-worthy. First she tells a girl she won’t get the job just because her name is Maddie, then she calls a child Had instead of Hannah, then she asks a chubby (but awesome!) little boy “Are you sure you’re a dancer?” about a dozen times. So inspirational. To make it worse, Vivi is a judge. Shockingly, she doesn’t have much to add.

AWESOME: As awful as Cathy is, I do like this new dancer she’s chosen, Victoria. Victoria is a student from Larkin Dance Studio, and she is stunning. Anthony Burrell’s choreography starring the newcomer looks like it’s going to be pretty cool. I’m excited to see what’s to come for this little one.

AWKWARD: Cathy and Vivi eat cheesecake. First, Vivi admits to eating five pieces of pizza in one day. Then, Cathy grills Vivi about new kid Victoria (who she’s never spoken to) and tries to force Vivi to admit that she wants Jalen to be her boyfriend. Again, Vivi doesn’t have much to add.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Mom Cathy: “This is hard work auditioning people.”

Vivi: “I’m hungry.”

To be continued!!! Stay tuned for next week when the girls will finally perform the solos we’ve heard almost nothing about. Until then, let me know what you thought of this week’s episode in the comments.

 

Pure awesome.

This week on “Dance Moms," the moms get angry and the girls sweep the competition. Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments:

AWESOME: Abby says the ALDC is going to Ohio, so I fear that the worst is about to happen: Cathy and her annoying Candy Apples will come out to play. But then…Cathy’s not there! Best episode ever!

AWESOME: Asia and Nia’s duet. I love this! If these two can do anything it’s put on a good show, and this drag queen-inspired routine—complete with lots of shiny spandex—is absolutely perfect. The moms freak out when they don’t get a chance to rehearse backstage. And while I would never condone dancers going onstage without warming up, Asia and Nia rise to the challenge. What a fantastic duo. First place, baby!

AWESOME: Maddie as assistant choreographer. For the group number, “Hear No Evil,” Abby pulls superstar Maddie out of the dance to test the other kids’ musicality without her. Instead, Maddie gets to help Abby out with the choreography. I have to say, Maddie impressed me! She does an excellent (and very mature) job giving directions and drilling the other girls backstage. She definitely deserves some of the credit for their first place win.

How come Chloe doesn't get the opportunity to show this kind of emotion?

AWKWARD: The whole Chloe vs. Maddie debacle. Normally, I don’t buy the moms’ conspiracy theories about Abby setting Chloe up to lose. But this week, Chloe’s solo is just so darn boring. And what's up with that song? Depressing. Chloe’s great technique makes scoring second place a cinch, but I’m convinced that her lack of exciting choreography (especially compared to Maddie’s) is what’s holding her back from first.

AWKWARD: Asia vs. Mackenzie…still. Ugh, this “Is Mackenzie faking her injury?” battle has gone on way too long. Props to Abby, though, for asking Mackenzie to wait to dance until her doctor-prescribed two weeks of rest is up. To add insult to injury (literally), apparently Asia is now bullying Little Mac! Given that the cameramen that are constantly following these kiddos around haven’t captured any bullying footage, I’m going to assume Asia’s innocent until proven guilty. But all this madness has made Mom Kristie’s true colors come out, and she’s done playing nice.

AWKWARD: Abby gets invited to co-host "The View"—and the girls get to dance as well. Asia replaces injured Mackenzie in rehearsal, so the moms are super concerned about which tiny dancer will get to perform in NYC. Since we already know the outcome because we watched that episode of “The View” two months ago, it kind of takes all the fun out of seeing the drama unfold. (Spoiler alert: Mackenzie gets it.) And it won’t even be resolved until next week’s episode. What a nail biter!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Chloe is second only by one point. Maddie, Melissa, you better wake up. Chloe has learned her lesson and she is hot on your trail.” —Abby

Sounds like we may be in for a change next week…

Until then, let me know what you thought of this week’s episode in the comments!

 

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