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!

Dance News

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.

Dance News

Poor Nick always gets the worst costumes... Poor Nick always gets the worst costumes...

My thoughts on this week’s episode are best summed up by a tweet from the one-and-only Abby Lee Miller: “Snore snore bring on #ALDC!” With another hour filled with Candy Apples and "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" drama, we didn’t even catch a glimpse inside the walls of the Abby Lee Dance Company. Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments from this week.

AWKWARD: Instead of seeing Abby’s infamous pyramid, we’re introduced to Cathy’s “apple tree.” Different from her previous ranking system, each dancer’s face was represented by an apple on the tree—the higher the branch, the higher the ranking. Curiously enough, Nick was the tree-topper because of his noted stellar performance the week prior. Thanks to my Twitter research, I learned that Nick had a solo that we didn’t get to see—and that solo received the highest score of the whole competition!

AWESOME: Anthony standing his ground. From the start, I’ve thought Anthony and Cathy were a bit of an odd duo, in terms of both dance background and personality. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the two clash, but this time, Anthony wasn’t playing any games. He proudly rattled off his accomplishments—working with Beyoncé, Rihanna and more—and topped it of by calling Cathy’s comebacks corny. She responded to the situation by carefully weighing her options; after shelling out for a choreographer as coveted as Anthony, she wondered if she could have better spent the money on some new designer handbags. “Great choreographer, or new Louis?”

AWKWARD: Bunny cataloguing. I didn’t even know that was a thing, but apparently, it’s one of Cathy’s two favorite pastimes (the second being spending time with Vivi). Lucky for her, she was able to combine her two passions when she and Vivi took inventory of each statue and figurine of a bunny in their home as “one hoppy family.” Then, Cathy brought a real live bunny to the competition for luck. Whatever works!

AWESOME: Hadley and Nick’s duet. Although the clip of Abby calling Hadley road kill has somehow made its way into every recent episode of “Dance Moms,” Hadley certainly has improved since her "AUDC" days. The two did a contemporary tribal-themed duet, which was impressively technical and entertaining. With a difficult headpiece that caused a pre-performance mini-meltdown, Hadley wiped her tears and measured up to front-runner Nick. First place!

AWKWARD: This week’s Candy Apples group dance seemed eerily familiar to me—a sassy character jazz routine set to music by a theatrical cross-dresser, elaborately costumed and ending with a death drop. No, this isn’t ALDC's "My Pumps" (which, might I add, is my favorite group dance in the show’s history), but rather, “So Chic.” Similar in style from the start, I noticed parallels between the two numbers from the second it began…but was floored (no pun intended) by the ending pose. I can’t help but wonder how Shangela feels about all of this.

Check out this video of "My Pumps" and compare for yourself:

Now click here for "So Chic." 

See what I mean?

AWESOME: Maddie’s solo. Although we barely got to see any ALDC this week, this glimmer of familiarity was much appreciated. A guest performance on a taping of "AUDC," Maddie’s routine was flawless as always. Faced with the challenges of dancing with a live musician and adjusting to camera angles, Maddie rose to the occasion and nailed every step. From the looks of it, the "AUDC" judges agreed! And who is that sitting at the judge’s table next to Season 1’s Richy Jackson? None other than Rachelle Rak, the Broadway superstar who guest choreographed for Abby earlier this season. Lucky for us, we’ll get to see more of her (and an encore of Maddie’s performance) within the next few months! (P.S. Is anyone else as curious as I am to see who the "AUDC" contestants will be this year?!?)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“I’m not gonna have no girls lookin' like He-Man.” –Anthony, defending his belief that girls shouldn’t have to do push ups 

Dance News

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"…)

Dance News

This week’s theme was “monsters of the night,” and it definitely brought out the monster in everyone. I get the urge to fast forward when the moms start fighting, and that happened way too much in this episode. (Let’s see more of the kids instead please!) Hadley and her mom are definitely the bullies of the crew. And Abby Lee Miller was just plain mean (poor little Jordyn!). In a completely unsurprising elimination, Kyleigh Jai went home for messing up a bunch of choreography. Read on for my top five moments:

1. The challenge this week was physical strength. And the choreography was actually super cool. Jordyn was the clear standout—this tiny hip hopper with crimped hair is one of my favorites. She won a solo and got to choose another dancer to also have a solo. She picked Zack because he’s a boy, and that means she'll stand out. Not the brightest decision in the world, Jordyn. Have you seen Zack dance?

2. Zack’s solo! This routine about a car crash, while a little morbid, was awesome. He played the ghost of a goofy prom king coming back to haunt his high school… or something. He needed this solo to stand out from the pack of girls, and he killed it (no pun intended). I also love that he announced that he’d rather do girls' hair than watch sports. What a cutie.

3. Elizabeth’s many meltdowns. I understand that going through your parents’ divorce is tough, so breaking down over that is fine. But did she actually just cry to the camera about how hard it is to be pretty? She lost me on that one.

4. Bobby Newberry’s hip-hop routine. Madison, Lexine and Tua rocked that graveyard, and I loved it when they jumped off the stage to get in the judges’ faces. Best thing about this show: how versatile these kids are!

5. Elizabeth, Hadley and Asia doing jazz funk. Asia’s existence made this piece too precious for words. She’s so small! The girls played dead Michael Jackson werewolves. Wait, what? Anyway, Hadley kicked butt (don’t you hate when the bully is actually really talented?), Elizabeth was good, and the judges told Asia she didn’t come to life (Can someone please remind them that she’s 6?). Got to say, every piece of choreography this week was better than last week. Here’s hoping it keeps improving!

Your turn! Let me know what you think in the comments and check back next week for another recap.

 

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