Tag Archives: Abby Lee Miller

Introducing Dancing Firecracker JoJo Siwa

JoJo Siwa

I’ve really found my forte has become celebrity interviews. They are something I really enjoy doing and just having the honor to conduct them is a special privilege I have. When I was in L.A. at the Glendale Studios seeing a live taping of Lifetime TV smash hit Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition this past spring, I took notice of a little blonde spitfire named JoJo, 10, who truly danced her dance. I was there interviewing Lady Gaga creative director Richy Jackson, one of the judges for AUDC, as JoJo really stood out to the choreographer in me. She will be hell in heels when she grows up.

Since the second season of AUDC hits Lifetime TV on 9/3 I reached out to JoJo and her wonderful mother Jessalynn about allowing me to introduce her talented wonderwall of extension and strut of sass to our big gay world. I was thrilled they replied so quickly.  So glad she supplied the amazing photos, as well. Sadly, few do. I sent the girls an email  saying, “Here’s a round of Q/A for you both. They are geared towards JoJo but I will note where Mamma can answer, too.” Here’s what they shared about dancing for Abby Lee Miller, fun out-of-studio time for JoJo and what it felt like shooting reality television. Just love what they both said…

jojo siwa_3

Steven Michael – JoJo, Did you ever get scared or intimidated by the lights or camera?

JoJo Siwa – “No, I loved them!”

I love them to. That will never change. How about Abby Lee Miller? Did you ever feel that she was ever too mean to you? She’s stern and strong with her ways.

“No, Abby was always good to me.”

Mamma, did you ever feel as if Abby was too hard or critical on JoJo?

Jessalynn Siwa - “No, I knew going into the show Abbys teaching techniques.”

Yes, I suppose you know what you’re getting into by working with Abby. Mamma, what attracted you to having JoJo on the show? Was there an audition to go through?

“JoJo dances all day long and watches Dance Moms over and over. I think it’s nearly every dancer’s dream to dance with or for Abby. Yes, there was an audition.”

JoJo Siwa

Growing up and dancing in my day, there were very few studios that train like her girls do on the show. They, of course, were the studios that everyone achieved to be like. It really is what you put into it. How was it working with the other competition moms? Any ones we should watch out for?

“Well, whenever you have dance you have dance moms. (smiling) Crazy moments and super fun moments. Yes! Watch for the ‘TRIANGLE.'”

jojo siwa_2

Oh, that sounds juicy. I can’t wait. JoJo, how much time do you spend dancing a week in class or otherwise? Is being a dancer what you want to so when you grow up?

“I dance around 20 hours a week. I would love to be FAMOUS!!!!”

Darling, you will be famous. Have fun with it and keep grounded. Stay close to Mamma and point those toes. JoJo, who are your idols in the dance world?

“Abby Lee, Rachelle Rak and Richy Jackson.”

Oh, I never would have guessed. (lauhging) Three great choices, nonetheless. Mamma, can you give me a brief bit about where JoJo is from and do you have dance background?

“JoJo and I are from Nebraska. I have been dancing my whole life. I have had a dance studio for 20 years.”

JoJo Siwa

Oh, wow! That’s fierce. I really miss being in a studio. JoJo, that scorpion extension is mind-blowing. When I saw you do it live during the taping I was blown away. How did you learn it and can you teach me?

(smiling) “I would love to teach you but you have to be flexible and have tons of control. That was one of those tricks my mom made me do over and over and now I can do it on a dime.”

Well, it’s phenomenal. What do you enjoy doing when you’re outside the studio? And do you have a lot of friends outside the dance world?

“I love to play the piano and play with my two dogs LuLu and CoCo. I am super social and have tons of friends. We like to swim, have slumber parties, go to the movies and just hang out!”

JoJo Siwa head shot

Sounds very fun! Mamma, how do you feel about Dance Moms and the outrageousness of it?

“Outrageous… nahhhh.” (smiling)

jojo siwa_1

JoJo, I was able to visit with judge Richy Jackson the day I saw the taping live. Did you appreciate what he told you during critiques?

“I absolutely love Richy and took everything he (and the other judges ) said seriously. I loved getting compliments from them!!!”

I was there the Gaga-inspired day and yes they did give you great critique. You’ll have so many people tell you so many different things. Even people will tell you what they think you want to hear. Keep an open mind but also realize it is all so subjective. Especially in performing while being judged. I wish you the best of luck with your career. Mamma, did you ever shy away from the cameras? What was that like being under the lens?

“No, I was never shy. You will see! (smiling) It was fun. An experience of a lifetime!”

jojo siwa

And finally, JoJo, can you tell me who wins the competition, please?! I have to know. (laughing)

“Nooooooooooooooo!!!! Ha Ha, I am laughing too!” (both laughing) “Thank you sooooooo much!” Jessalynn and JoJo.

And to my gays… WATCH OUT for this one. JOJO IS DYNAMITE! The new season of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition starts next week on Lifetime TV. Watch for me in episode 2 giving you on-camera audience realness for your nerves. X

Interviewing Richy Jackson – AUDIO

richard-jackson

I love having occasional access to the hottest movers and shakers in Hollywood today. I was able to sit backstage with Lady Gaga’s main man Richy Jackson as he was preparing for a taping of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition one day last spring. We kiki’d the ki, for realsies. I hit record and what was said became organic and real between us two. We had a lot in common and here’s what we discussed that crazy day inside Glendale Studios. Of my many celebrity interviews, speaking with Ricky Jackson one-on-one was a complete thrill! We bonded immediately.

Richy Jackson - Steven Michael - AUDC

Richy is good people. This I know is true! So talented but incredibly humble and real. Follow him on Twitter and catch his latest work. The new season of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition starts 09/03. Look for me on the second episode (I believe) which was the Lady Gaga-inspired installment showing out for the camera. They ask a lot of their audiences. And watch out for firecracker JoJo. ♥

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE

Richy Jackson Returns to Season 2 of AUDC

Richy Jackson - Steven Michael - AUDC

I spoke with Lady Gaga’s main man Richy Jackson during season one of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition and gained a very good report. When I got wind that there would be a second season of the show I knew I wanted to get the story from the main stage. After a few Tweets and emails with Richy’s fabulous publicist Kelly, it was scheduled and set! I was to drive into L.A. for the day and see the taping live while speaking with Richy beforehand in his dressing room.

The show hadn’t been announced just yet but was filming in Glendale so I gladly made the trip into town. I love a good drive into Hollywood. Give me a reason, I’m there. I pulled right up and parked before heading up the studios. I was quite early since I was meeting Kelly so she could take me upstairs to meet Mr. Jackson. After texting her that I was there, I saw her soon coming down to meet me and escort me up.

Backstage we passed by the craft services table which looked appetizing and casual crew members milling about. Upstairs I got into Richy’s dressing room and began to Kiki like we had known each other for years. I hit record on my iPhone and began to record our conversation which was simply priceless. It just flowed and became quite organic. Here’s what he shared about the new season of AUDC, his dance convention “Dance Down” and working with Mother Monster, our Lady Gaga.

Here’s what Richy had to say about the new studio…

“Last time it was theatre and we were far away. It was like “Where are we!? (laughs) There were seats and it was amazing. This time it’s a studio and it’s just different. So were very up close and personal with the dancers.”

When I asked him about male dancers this season since there was just one during the premiere season, he offered…

“There’s two boys. Twins.”

The conversation turned towards Lady Gaga and Richy’s amazing work relationship with her. Kelly was perched in the corner dragging up a pair of sunglasses for Jackson since the theme of this particular show was inspired by the individuality of Gaga.  His thoughts…

“I’m excited about today. It’s episode 2 of the season. I’m ecstatic about the new season. It’s a little scary ’cause you just don’t know what to expect, will Lifetime like us on camera, and the whole thing? I thought it was a great hybrid of Dance Moms and dance competition. Abby, Robin Antin and I (the judges of last season) were from such different backgrounds it was really fun when we were letting people go home because we saw things differently.”

Experienced Broadway Baby, Rochelle Rack, has joined the judge’s panel with Jackson and Miller replacing Antin. Richy’s feeling about the change…

“Rochelle is from Pittsburg but lives in NYC. I like her. She’s in Flashdance: The Musical. She’s reminds me of Robin, but the Broadway version of her. Bubbly, snatched, hair done, nails done, everything done. It’s taken some adjusting for her since Abby and I have already had one season together.”

I change gears and get Richy quickly together when I ask “What makes a well-rounded dancer?” After a brief pondering, he shares…

“I would just say that a well-rounded dancer is a “Jack of all Trades” not a “King or Queen.” Someone that still has to learn, not someone that’s not a master. I prefer “Jacks” because there’s a rawness and vulnerability. Most people are not dancers and they only go off what they feel and they see. There’s a different approach to the dance when they are trying to adapt to all different styles. I always tell Abby in her world everyone already knows a pirouette. The vulnerability of the dancers I work with connects with the camera and reads somehow, someway. Someone that can adapt to all styles is a well-rounded dancer in my opinion, applying themselves to each dance genre. You must be free of yourself! Confidence can sell anything.”

I asked Richy if he ever gets nervous when the camera pans to him and he needs to respond immediately. This is what he allowed…

“I don’t get nervous. I try to listen to what Abby said so I’m not touching on the same point. I try and give the dancers ideas and angles that haven’t been discussed. I always try to be inspirational to the dancers and audience. I’m not scared, I’m like ‘Let’s get it!’ I love competition day! Absolutely love it!” (both laugh)

As far as the new cast of kiddies goes, I inquired if he had gotten to know any of them and how that works. Jackson says…

“This is still fresh for me. Abby gets to see them during the week more than we do. I came in last week for a special challenge day so I got to see them outside regular competition day because I was working with the kids. I got to see them outside my regular judging day. Then you get to know the mothers as well as their kids and there’s 11 of them. Thank God they give us sheets with their names and information on it! I love this part because you see the fight as the season goes on and people go home.”

Does Richy have any free time outside the studio or tour? And what’s going on with Lady Gaga? The inside skinny…

“The Born This Way Ball tour was cancelled abruptly in Chicago due to Lady Gaga being injured. We were devastated. From that moment on I started doing my dance workshop called ‘Dance Down’ and went on a 6-city tour where I basically go and work with dancers who are both fans of dance and/or Lady Gaga. I never realized how much thought goes into becoming a professional dancer or choreographer, it’s not just the steps. I’m seeing the youngest kids doing it all. What are they on?! It’s bananas! At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to work with kids and I saw them really dancing and really performing, really technical, I thought this was going to be a great job.”

Richy discusses his newest endeavor discussing working with Bollywood’s highest-paid and most-popular actresses Priyanka Chopra who is now breaking into music…

“She is the Angelina Jolie of India, been in many Bollywood films and very popular. A former Miss World. We were just in Miami shooting the video with Pitbull with 8 dancers which was amazing. Zumba had played a big part of producing it since they put a Zumba breakdown and beats in the rhythm of the music and will make an instructional video to go with the Priyanka Chopra production.”

And where is home for Richy Jackson? Where does he prefer to rest his weary head and dancer feet? Jackson says…

“Home is North Hollywood, full-time. I like to travel but I love to stay home. I’ve been so many places because of Gaga but I haven’t really been able to enjoy those places because it’s venue, rehearsal, stage, travel. But when I’m home it’s the best! I’m grateful!”

One more thing about Mother Monster… What about the tour? New Music? Here’s the Tea…

“The tour has been postponed indefinitely. She has a new album coming out soon called Artpop and she’s working on it. It’s been a year since Born This Way. The first show was last year April 27, with rehearsals starting February 4. She and I started conceptualizing the show the prior December… it takes so much time! The show changes constantly. So many details change when songs come and interchange out with others. She gets bored quickly. Changes with her… I’ve been dealing with it for years. The dancers called it the “Gaga Challenge” by the end of it all.”

After the interview we took a couple of pictures and I headed back down to the street to wait my turn before filing inside after thanking Richy Jackson greatly upstairs. The line started forming and I ran my iPhone to the car since you normally can’t take them inside studios. By the time I got back I got in line and waited, and waited some more. Then they filed us in to do some “on camera audience” b-roll with excitement and awe for the show while the camera panned down the line of the anxious audience. Finally after the tenth take I  gave them a Limp Biscuit “YEAHHH!” dead in the camera and that was that. Once inside there was more waiting and audience pans and reactions. I should be all over this episode of AUDC.

When the filming finallystarted it was quite an extensive day. The dancers were amazing especially a blonde firecracker named Jojo who gives you sass, extension and layouts for your nerves. Each routine was done twice for the camera and then the judges’ approval or not. I sadly had to scoot out early since I was driving back to Palm Springs that evening but had a great time meeting Richy and being backstage with him. Ah, Hollywood… The magic. I love being a part of it.

INTERVIEWING RICHY SQUIRREL JACKSON

I was able to grab a quick interview with the man himself, Richy Squirrel Jackson, whose new reality television show Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition hitting Lifetime TV October 9 promises to be full of high-kicks and even higher drama. Richy is the man behind the brilliant choreography of Lady Gaga and has worked dancing alongside many a star including the amazing Laurianne Gibson. Richy perches on the judge’s pew with Pussycat Dolls creator Robin Antin and Dance Moms maven Abby Lee Miller for television’s latest dance competition show. We can’t wait to watch the magic unfold.

Anything that has the words reality or Abby Lee Miller in the description can be assumed to be chock full of tears, cheers and jeers. Not everyone agrees with the way that dance floor ringmaster Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms (on the same network) handles her students and performers. It’s very tough love. Take it or leave it. With the stage comes crazy “stage moms” and in AUDC. I feel certain they will be in brute force wanting their little Mischa or Giselle to leap to the top as quickly as possible. Cross Abby’s tell-it-like-it-is-her-way-or-the-highway temperament and fame hungry young performers driven by their mom and sparks will create fireworks of pure guilty pleasure television. Setting the DVR now!

Here’s what cute and cuddly Richy Squirrel had to say about a taste of recent fame, his new show on Lifetime TV and what we viewers can expect from the surefire reality hit he’s poured his heart and soul into making happen! Because of strict confidentiality clauses and contracts, he’s quite limited in what he can say regarding certain aspects of his professional career. I respect that. I admit that I don’t like it, but I can respect it. We want to know it all! Here’s the talented one telling it like it is in his words…

Steven Michael – Care to share an early career moment that made you the performer you are today?

Richy Squirrel Jackson – “When I first touched down in L.A., I can remember immediately taking dance classes because that was the thing to do. Soon after, I noticed that my personal dance style and approach to choreography began to change and I began to perform like everyone else. So I stopped taking classes and continued to work on myself as a dancer/performer and this led me to feel more confident in what “I” bring to the world of dance as a performer.”

When the spotlight is off, where is Richie and what is he doing? What’s your off-time like and who is around you?

“When the spotlight is off… Richy is definitely checking out a movie, relaxing at home, spending time with friends or doing absolutely nothing. This business is 24/7, so off time is precious and in that sense doing less is so much more for me. Weekends aren’t really weekends and holidays become just another name for a day.”

Do people recognize you on the street and what’s that like for you?

“Yes people recognize me on the streets and for me it’s great! I take pictures, get asked questions about jobs, people dance in front of me or they just shout out “5-6-7-8,” Ha- Ha! It’s always a good time for a minute or two out of my day!”

We were heavily involved with the dance workshop circuit when I was a teen. Did you do the dance competitions when you were younger like Tremaine and Showstopper? Is Abby’s new show like that? What can we expect this first season?

“When I was younger I was in a dance group and I choreographed the local cheerleading team. Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition is more like her own version of competitions that actually take place in the world of competitive dance. It takes a brand new direction from where Dance Moms began with the kids competing individually for the chance at $100,000 as well as a prized scholarship to the Joffrey School of Ballet in NYC. This really creates a competition unlike any other. You’ll see the struggles and triumphs throughout the season as well as what it takes to be the last one standing on the stage… more than you realized!”

After working with Abby on AUDC… How do you feel about her teaching methods that are portrayed on Dance Moms? Do you feel the cameras portray her genuinely and do you agree with her way of handling her girls on TV?

“After working on AUDC I realize that Abby’s teaching methods are good-old-fashion tough love. Dance Moms portrays her just as she is, only it’s hard to understand when you see these young children. Abby’s methods are much like that of a coach of a sports team and though it isn’t the way I may handle situations, the outcome is still great! I respect and have much love for Abby!”

I agree with you on the aspect that Abby wants the most out of her girls. Though it’s not anything that I’m familiar with in my dance training. Are you able to take or teach dance classes with you busy schedule? I live in Palm Springs and unfortunatley there’s limited resources unless you drive to L.A. or take Zumba. I miss it but am choreographing a new artist for Gay Pride and competing for a male entertainer title in March so I do what I can do. What’s you favorite style of dance?

“My schedule has become very busy. I have little time even for myself. I’ve always felt that booking a job, to work for me as a dancer on any of my projects is the best class you can get. You get to learn, you get to dance, and… you get paid!”

Do you find downfalls of doing reality television? Any invasion of privacy issues you deal with? Just curious.

I don’t find any downfalls in doing reality television. I actually really enjoy doing reality TV simply because all you have to be is “you.” There are no scripts or characters to play. It just empowers you to be your true self and to be confident in you who are and what you have to say. Make wise choices.”

What makes you happiest ever?

“I am truly happiest when I’ve completed choreography for a live performance, video, etc. and see that my vision for the piece was well received by not just the artist but those who are attached to the project as well and more importantly, the artists’ fans.”

What can you tell me what I didn’t ask you?

“I love choreographing and being a visionary. I’m so happy and grateful that I have been able to turn my passion into a career. Never ever give up on your dreams!”

I want to send a big hug out to Richy for being part of my domain and taking a few minutes to share his life with us! Loved his answers and amazing wicked talents. Catch Ricky Squirrel Jackson on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition on Lifetime TV October 9 or catch him on his Twitter or Facebook pages!

And KEEP DANCING!

BACKSTAGE AT SYTYCD SEASON 9 PREMIERE

If you’re a fan of the Fox TV smash So You Think You Can Dance then I bet you’ve always been curious on what happens backstage and in-between commercial breaks. The good stuff that we viewers are rarely privy to, until now…

Here’s the real Tea about the show broken down in chronological order. While I worship some details I’m malnourished on others because perhaps the live performance left me feeling as such. Being a choreographer and dance teacher I don’t always agree with what the judges say but they’ve yet to ask me to sit along with them, so that’s that. The crowd has their favorites, America too! Of course when it’s all said and done the final decision really is down to us, the voting public. Yeah, right. Political correctness, you know!

After receiving my show vouchers from the lottery off the On Camera Audiences Facebook page, I made plans to drive in and catch the show, see BFF Brian and walk on Malibu Beach a bit before heading back to the swelter of Palm Springs. I made an impromptu decision to drive in Tuesday evening after work and wake up with the sound of Pacific Ocean waves crashing through my open windows at Brian’s place in Malibu. Sounded delicious.

Wednesday involved some running around 3rd Street Promenade for a spot of light shopping and lunch on the beach. I rinsed off the saltwater and got dressed for SYTYCD which started at 3:30 p.m. according to the email I had printed out. I had been previously to see the show taped live during the season Benji Schwimmer won when he was dancing with the fabulous Donyella. If you haven’t seen his interview on YouTube about the being gay, the actual reality of the show and being Mormon then you simply must. I knew even though the letter said 3:30 it mean closer to 2:45. The people seriously line up! Plus with this being the premiere episode of the Top 20 it was the must-see show at CBS Studios yesterday.

2:05 p.m. – Leaving Malibu and the R&R I needed more than I realized. Traffic was fierce for my jaunt up Sunset Blvd. as I headed back into L.A. Gave I-10 the ig due to its unpredictability.

2:55 p.m. – I find myself turning left on Beverly in front of the Genesse gate where my fellow fans wait in the sunshine that was beating down like the spotlight on their favorites inside. The line looked about 250+ deep.

3:05 p.m. – After whipping my car into a parking spot inside The Grove I boot-scoot-boogied my way up Fairfax and then down Beverly to the growing line of audience. The first thoughts of the improbability of me actually getting inside reared their head. I strutted past the long line and found my place at the end trying to figure the best method for a branch of tree shade. I already knew my shaved skull was being braised by the rays of sun. And I was schvitzing considerably from the brisk stroll from the car and scorching summer heat.

3:12 p.m. – Sydney, a rep from FOX, has 2 tickets to go inside VIP for anyone with the knowledge and a voice to answer the question, ‘Who was last week’s guest judge?”

3:13 p.m. – I shout out the first female name that comes to mind Debbie Allen since she was on during the auditions she was my immediate thought. Plus, the heat was making me desperate for an actual ticket. Sydney told me know and asked again focusing on the group of quiet girls in front of me.

3:13 1/2 p.m. – “Zooey DeChannel” I shouted out after thinking it quickly through in my head. Since I was alone she gave the other ticket to one of the girls and I headed inside the grocery store to cool off and grab water. I now had a few minutes before meeting Sydney at Gate C.

3:15 p.m. – Found myself untucking my shirt, wiping out sweat from areas and perching in the freezer section to chill out around the corner at the market. Wasted time roaming the store realizing my husband would have loved that.

4:00 p.m. – Headed through the security gates backstage. Left phone in the car since they collect them upon entrance. We were ushered in soon after past a huge group of people sitting and watching us.

4:15 p.m. – Settled in seat and meeting the couple next to me. Tom and some lady. I sort of felt he was hitting on me but I tend to be narcissistic like that. Please excuse. The next moments consisted of various production people running about, groups of girls squished into small spaces on the sides of the stage and I was thankful again that I had a seat ticket. Plus the woman that got my other ticket told me once she sat and we started dishing that they cut the line right before the place we were standing. I was lucky to be inside.

4:50 p.m. – Judges to the table . Screams and shouts ensue. A comic relief keeps the crowd going with Boyfriend and One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful music causing squeals and eye-rolls from yours truly. An obvious group of production assistants were positioned around us. The one beside us was reading Entertainment Weekly and writing every single thing down that happened on stage from what was said to routines and music. I assumed he was a blogger for the show. They were all on their iPhones and Blackberry devices.

4:55 p.m. – I made the final decision that the dress code listed in the email must have been a typo since everything I saw that was banned was sitting next to me. High-heels, blue jeans and shorts. I looked good that’s all I knew.

5:00 p.m. – A wonderful pre-taped group performance opens the show. Cat Deely gets positioned in death-defying stilettos and a creme minidress. She is stunning and quirky and approachable. That’s why she works as host. During the show between commercial breaks she will nibble on Red Vines and continually worry about her teeth.

5:05 p.m. – The first pan of the audience I see me standing arms in the air clapping. I continue to look for myself.

5:06 p.m. – Dancers enter solo and the crowd is so loud you couldn’t hear Cat say their names. Legs are to there and performers spin like tops.

5:08 p.m. – Nigel begs for America to vote for favorites and shocks with the announcement of four eliminations next week. 2 boys and 2 girls.

5:09 p.m. – Love “firecracker” Whitney who starts off the night of erratic 9 second bios. Chehon needs some hip-shaking help while Louis Van Amstel encourages masculinity. Whitney’s fringe piece is fabulous as she luckily dances her style. She is on the Hot Tamale Train right out of the gate. Love the number overall. My husband comments why the west coast can’t vote.

5:15 p.m. – Chelon’s number comes up and it says GO-HIM which I found slightly religious. Well, it is Fox TV.

5:21 p.m. – Sonya Tayeh choreographs.  Amazing twist up to his side. Mary is breathless and worships about the dancers’ surrendering. George has an amazing ass and danced phenomenally with Tiffany. Great routine. Kenny Ortega continues the worship of Sonya and relives memories.

5:33 p.m. – NappyTabs choreograph. Tabitha was glowing. She looked amazing dressed in red. Routine theme: alcoholism. Didn’t like this one. Sorry to say. I’m weird about these story hip-hop performances. He is sexy but she was too soft. Yawn. Moving on.

5:37 p.m. – The girl next to me asks if Nigel and Mary dated because he is always making comments about his liking of her. I replied, “I really don’ t think so.”

5:38 p.m. – Group standing on the right side is instructed to move out of the way while scaffolding is moved onstage by a forklift while the commercials are happening.

5:44 p.m. – Alexa and cutie Aussie Daniel begin a boring jazz routine dressed in red. The scaffolding fills up time. I like her blown out. I feel she’ll be going home first. Sadly, they have no chemistry.

5:54 p.m. – Amber is fierce in blonde hair and turns out a Viennese Waltz with Nick who picks his genre ballroom. Love the version of Nights In White Satin by Tina Arena they do. I loved this number! Pan to Dance Moms leader Abby Lee Miller.

6:05 p.m. – Frontrunner Amelia  dances with goofy Will in a NappyTabs “Character-Pop.” LOVED THIS! The Lovecats by The Cure provided the perfect soundtrack. They were really entertaining.

6:15 p.m. – We are seeing Janelle being stretched beyond belief by Dareian who is a little hottie during an African Jazz piece. This was really HOT! Their energy was incredible!

6:26 p.m. – Announcement about Dizzy Feet National Dance Day. Looks fun!

6:28 p.m. – Eliana dances with Cyrus who I just knew would be getting something like this Tyce Diorio Broadway number from Hairspray something as nontraditionally easy to keep him around a few weeks because let’s face it, he will be eaten up in harder choreography. He did a commendable job and she was good, too. I’m weird about Broadway numbers. The crowd loves Cyrus.

6:32 p.m. – I see me behind Tyce acting really crazy. (I’m to his upper left.) I rise up out of my seat and make sure I’m seen. I loved it. Shameless.

6:39 p.m. – Travis Wall shines with Ryan Gossling-looking Matthew and Audrey in this Titanic inspired production. This was wonderful! Travis Wall never disappoints. Am looking forward to his new reality show on Oxygen at the finale of the month called All The Right Moves. Standing ovation by judges. Rightfully so. The pairing was fierce. The leap was awesome of the chaise lounge although she almost lost her footing going up.

6:49 p.m. – Lindsay turns the paso doble with Cole. His body is rocking! Best routine of the night, perhaps?! IT WAS FIERCE! Powerful and strong. Could enjoy watching it over and over. Standing ovation! Deservedly.

And what actually happened backstage? I’m guessing dance belts were cutting off the circulation of the males and the females were primping in the mirror and over- stretching past points of comprehension. Nerves got to some while others looked at it as a breeze. Each person backstage would have a different version of the reality. And like them, this has been mine.

WHY “DANCE MOMS: MIAMI” DOESN’T WORK (FOR ME!)

It really is a shame that the one episode I sat through of Dance Moms: Miami turned me off so much we immediately snapped it off the DVR recording schedule and didn’t look back. The premiere that aired on Lifetime TV “Television for Women and the Men who don’t date them” didn’t impress me much. Sure, the dancers are amazing but I found them slightly arrogant. I can’t believe I’ll say this but the second in the series of the franchise doesn’t have the charm of the girls in Abby Lee Miller’s Dance Moms. The Miami moms seem incredibly ruthless and I hope their actions don’t push their children away from them with resentment. I really disliked the moms on Dance Moms: Miami. Truly.

I’d rather wait and see if Abby Lee Miller returns after her emotional breakdown over Maddie’s forgetful breakdown on stage in her spring finale departure in Dance Moms. Wasn’t that something?! She was a hot mess, Miss Abby was. Good for the mothers for standing up (finally!) to her. We get it. Maddie is an amazing performer, I agree, but alright Miss Chloe for the Joffrey Ballet offer! That stirred the drama pot, a bit. Chloe is delightful! Her solo “Black Sun” (I believe it was called) was really sick (in a good way.) I’m so tired of that Cathy from Candy Apples pulling her shade. I’m with Christie, “Go away.”

At the cost of the dance, souls are offered for fame. Times have definitely changed since my modest days of competitive dance and our teachers weren’t as tough as the one’s we see portrayed on screen. They produce winners, yes. Abby, Victor and Angel are all three super choreographers. But I know as a pubescent dancing Steven Michael, I wouldn’t have handled dancing with them very well. I would have been truly put in my place quickly or found my way outside somewhere else. I know studios trained like the ones we see on television it’s just that we wen’t one of them. Sure we went into long hours of rehearsal but we also stuck with the same routines and perfected them. Not change every single competition. That is insane. My hats off to them for the stamina and discipline. And not having a choice.

I wasn’t sure of Victor and Angel’s background so I ball-changed and pirouetted over to their website and checked their Stars Dance Studio. From what I can see on the show Dance Moms: Miami, Angel is the badass tough guy and Victor plays the good cop until pushed. Their dancer’s extensions and technique is ridiculously unreal. Watching their reel off YouTube and their website blew me away. Literally. I kept looking for the wires that held their legs in places that seem impossible. This phenomenal piece of dance in video is crazy sick! Please watch, and believe in true talent. This is it.

IS DANCE MOMS TOO EXTREME?

Do I think that Dance Moms is too extreme? In a word, Very. (fade out)

ABBY LEE MILLER CREATES STARS WHLE CRUSHING SPIRITS

No, seriously. How could anyone see the show and not think the way Abby Lee Miller treats her students is extreme and bizarre? Tears are shed. Muscles are shred. Yes, she coaches working dancers. Yes, her talented girls on the show Dance Moms are really good. But… the show is so staged and created to choreograph story lines that just seem far fetched and ridiculous at the cost of their children, the pawns in the game of reality chess among the moms, Abby and the producers/editors/writers. A writer in reality television? But it’s unscripted! Yeah, right. Surely you’ve heard slips from the directors from behind the cameras while feeding the girls lines and topics. And I can’t fathom having to deal with someone like Cathy from Candy Apples and her disrespectful unprofessionalism. Obviously she is there for the dramatic effect because she is a snake with a horrid hairdo. She is so wrong it’s still not right.

I danced, choreographed and taught classes. We competed in workshops and competitions just like the girls we watch on the show. It’s just that the dance world I lived in had not evolved into what we watch on Lifetime TV. This chaotic, disrespectful, hurtful, mind-blowing, brainwashing hour of television. The mothers love the warmth of the spotlight often at the cost of their daughters sanity and their  self-respect. Abby is not the only teacher in the area so why go to her if she treats and degrades their girls like Miller does? Because each one of them are ready for their close-up, Mr. DeMille – mothers and daughters alike.

The Outrageous Abby Lee Miller

Lifetime TVs “Dance Moms”

One of the girls I used to dance with told me on Facebook that her daughter took from Abby briefly and she is exactly what you see. Brass and brazen. Then she said and I quote, “Miller is a blemish in the dance scene.” Ouch!

DANCE MOMS ON LIFETIME – REALITY TV GUILTY PLEASURE

Every once in awhile I’ll become privy to inside scoop about Hollywood this or Showbiz that. Now being purely hearsay, I recently met someone who’s BFF is one of Brooke’s teachers and told me how much they get paid which is not much considering how well the show is doing. No totals here but I’m told the moms and the daughters get the same each. All of the girls seem to come from different school districts to take at Abby’s and be on the show, and that allegedly the cheerleading tryout for Brooke was completely fabricated. If you can’t trust reality television, who can you trust? (cue laugh track)

TELEVISION TREASURES

Was watching Modern Family last evening and had to rewind when I heard Ed O’Neil’s characters say (and I quote) “Sometimes on the race to the Top you have to grease the pole behind you.” Gay men HAVE to be writing this stuff! The dialogue is too damn priceless. We got a great guffaw and kept watching the smart show. There’s a few sitcoms that catch our attention for repeated viewing like Tina Fey’s brilliant 30 Rock and Courteney Cox’s missing-from-the-lineup-for-too-long Cougar Town. Other than that, not many. 2 Broke Girls with Kat Dennings is really quick witted and I’ve loved her ever since she was the 13-year-old “bat mitzvah beast” going on thirty in the fabulous episode called Hot Child in the City. Great show. It’s one of those I keep on my iPhone so when I travel I can pull it up because Kat’s performance is sick. Loves it…

Then on Lifetime’s smash hit Dance Moms the evening prior I squealed when dance-inatrix (would that be dance teacher + dominatrix?! you get my point)  Miss Abby Lee Miller told her new 10-year-innocent protégé to “Save the tears for your pillow in your room, alone” after she came off stage from her solo that didn’t go as well as expected. Priceless. Oh, the joys of delicious writing. What?! Reality TV  isn’t scripted? Think again, friend. Yes, Abby is extreme but she produces stars and talent like few do so if the mothers allow the training and the kids don’t go running, applause applause, I say. It just started it’s second season of snapping, sassing and we watch intently.

Heading into to work now so I’m instructing you to set your DVR to record some smart and funny writing delivered by the characters that make them famous. And you can quote me on that! Happy Weekend. xoSM