After the second episode of Dance Moms: Miami, I must stick to my brazen statement that I like this one more than the original. Don’t get me wrong, I love Abby Lee and the crew, but that was just a crazy dance instructor and some pseudo-normal moms (for the most part…for the most part). I LOVE Victor and Angel. I love that they are passionate about what they do, but they are not hateful and crazy—unless they are dealing with these basketcase mothers. They blatantly call the women insane, and it is fabulous.
Last night we started with my man Lucas at the top of the list, mainly for not dropping Kimmy during the pair’s duet. Kimmy’s mom is thrilled see her place second, although Kimmy thinks a tie would have been more appropriate. Sammy isn’t keen on being third, and Susan is in tears that Jessi’s name must be in the bottom two. Jessi placed second in her solo for Pete’s sake! Hannah takes the fourth spot, even though Angel and Victor cite her improvement. Jessi fell from the number one spot last week to last on the list.
Victor blames Jessi’s poor sportsmanship for the drastic turn of events. She is in tears but has nothing to say for herself. Susan is livid. The only reason Jessi snatched the trophy out of Hannah’s hands was because Hannah wouldn’t give it to her when she asked for it. Because that makes it all right? The girl is fourteen-years-old having a spat with a ten-year-old? Susan tells Debi that both of their daughters are to blame, and Debi won’t hear any of it. The women are screaming at each other, and Angel tries to remind them that they are behaving this way in front of their children. He refers to them as psychotic b*tches, and he is definitely on to something. Susan takes Jessi outside, stating that her past behavior has been an embarrassment. Hmm…I wonder if Jessi isn’t thinking the exact same thing! Susan instructs her to go back into the studio and apologize to Victor, Hannah, and her other fellow dancers.
The competition this week is in Long Beach, California. The group dance is revisiting jazz-funk, and Lucas scores a solo. Sammy and Hannah are also going to be dancing solo numbers. Debi is so excited that Hannah will be competing against her other arch nemesis, Sammy. The group dance centers around “party boy” Lucas, new in the city. Jessi returns and Angel makes her apologize to the group. Victor comforts her because hey, she didn’t choose her cuckoo mother. Angel thinks Victor is reinforcing bad behavior. Susan tries to apologize to Angel, and he rakes her over the coals. It was pretty awesome. He makes no secret of thinking she’s five-star crazy.
After a mediocre group dance practice, Angel promises to pull out of the competition if they don’t show vast improvement. Hannah is doing a contemporary solo. I know nothing about dance, so while she is probably amazing, the choreography reminds me of something Chuck Norris would do. Sammy will be dancing a jazz solo, and little Lolita is sporting some bright red lipstick. Angel dislikes Victor’s choreography and their arguing is placing more stress on Sammy. Lucas’ solo is entitled “I Believe in Something” and it’s lyrical. Basically it is just a lot of sad dancing by my little Biebs. The mothers just look on from their sofas providing meaningless commentary. Victor declares Lucas to be “amazing.”
The jazz-funk group dance is one hot mess. Susan thinks Victor has PMS. Ani has no problem with Victor yelling at Kimmy. After all, football coaches yell at their players. This is no different. Angel has had enough of the group being off-beat, and he dismisses them…basically stating that he can’t stand the sight of them. Victor is peeved, as clearly they need this time to practice. Angel wins, per the usual.
Debi’s older daughter is home from college, and Debi reveals that Abby has joined the studio. The scandal! Basically Hannah’s mother and sister are talking about how she wasn’t nearly as good a dancer at her old studio while talking smack about another tween. I could maybe understand tween dissing tween, but this woman is just as ridiculous as Susan. These ladies are clearly living vicariously through their poor daughters!
Angel tries to a team building exercise the following day where the kids basically tell each other how each feels about their fellow classmates. The mothers look curiously from their perch on the sofas…they have never seen anything like this before. Angel then instructs Jessi to tell her mother what Susan needs to improve upon as far as behavior. Oh snap!
The mothers watch Hannah rehearse, and both Debi and Abby’s horns are showing. These two dislike the others’ daughters more than the girls dislike each other…which, for the record, they seem to be fine but slightly competitive. Sammy’s practice time is cut short due to drama between Victor and Angel. Angel has stepped in to tweak Victor’s choreography. It’s a good thing that Kimmy’s mom can read lips through the glass partition so that the women can follow the disagreement.
Last night was the premiere of the first Dance Moms‘ spin-off, Dance Moms: Miami. We are introduced to Victor Smalley and Angel Armas, owners of Star Dance Studios in Miami, Florida. I am curious to see if they will be as horrible as Abby Lee from the original Dance Moms, but from an overview of the upcoming season, they seem to be reserving the insanity for the moms. Good call.
Victor and Angel are quick to point out that they would never put up with these crazy-a$$ mothers if it weren’t for their sweet and talented children. Victor is the good cop to Angels’ stricter bravado. Sammy Small and her mother Abby are new to the studio, but they aren’t new to Debi Epstein and her daughter Hannah. Sammy and Hannah danced together when they were younger, and Sammy, who has grand plans to be the next Hannah Montana, apparently wasn’t the nicest to Hannah. Abby thinks people are just jealous of her family’s wealth and talented children. Perhaps, although Abby’s husband doesn’t seem to keen on spending on his “wealth” on his daughters’ dancing.
Victor’s mother, Mayra Smalley, runs the studio and is challenged with corralling the moms. Victor and Angel have a “list” where they rate the dancers’ performances, based on their own opinions, not how well they did in competition according to judges’ scores. Debi is floored to see Hannah at the bottom. An adorable Lucas Triana, is on the verge of tears when he’s told his cuteness will only get him so far, and ends up next to last on the list. His mother Brigette, thinks her nine-year-old is winning multiple competitions should grant him a better place on the list. Oh, and she also touts herself as the resident dance mom b!tch. Good to know!
Kimmy Kopke is third on the list for her inability to memorize choreography, and new girl Sammy scores the second spot much to Debi’s eye-rolling and chagrin. The coveted top spot belongs to Jessi Kennedy. Her mother Susan is going to be a spitfire, mark my words. The troupe prepares for an upcoming competition, and Victor gives them a pep talk. Jessi scores a solo, and Lucas and Kimmy will have a duet where the young pair will be competing against twelve-year-old dancers. Hannah is saddened to learn that she will not have a solo this week.
The routine for the competition is “jazz funk.” Bring it! The moms are kicked out of the studio while Victor teaches dark “Miami-fusion” style choreography to the students. In the moms’ holding room, newbie mom Abby asks for the lowdown on Victor and Angel. Both Brigette and Kimmy’s mother Anicia Guttierrez can’t hide their smugness. Debi jumps in to talk about how strict this studio is compared to the one Sammy used to attend. Abby agrees that it must be, as Hannah seems to be dancing a bit better than the last time Abby saw her. Mee and yow. Brigette finds it hilarious as Abby and Debi rattle off their daughters’ impressive dance resumes.
Debi admits that she is far more competitive than her daughter. She cannot wait until Hannah is a superstar and shows up Sammy. Does Debi realize she’s jealous of a tween? Debi blames Victor for not giving Hannah a solo or a duet. Victor divas up to Debi after she accuses him of casting Sammy when she hasn’t paid her dues at the studio. He sashays away leaving Debi fuming. I already like this show so much better than the original! When Susan questions Debi about the altercation, she curtly replies she doesn’t want to talk about it.
We learn that Jessi is uber-competitive and wants to win at all costs. We also learn that Jessi’s grandmother was a ballerina in Colombia. A bit more history? Her mother Susan didn’t quite make it as far in the dance world as she would have liked. Shocking…her mother’s a famous dancer, and now her daughter lives to dance, admittedly to please Susan. Lifetime, you also may have a movie of the week with this one.
Last night’s season finale for Project Runway All Stars went about how I expected. A winner was crowned, the losers flew first class to Paris and everyone else flocked to Neiman Marcus online to start procuring some goods!
The designers arrived at the Gotham Center for the finale show where they each had their own special dressing area, complete with their customized Neiman Marcus accessory walls. Austin still isn’t finished with his evening gown and is rushing around doing last-minute construction. Michael realizes that although he thought he had everything finished, he’s having a ton of last-minute fit issues. Mondo doesn’t seem to be experiencing any trauma–for once–and is confident going into the final show. There’s some last-minute preparations and drama, but nobody really cares about that! Let’s get to the final show.
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Last night’s episode of Project Runway All Stars was a prequel to the finale, which is a two-parter. There was no runway show and therefore no looks to critique. Since there’s no dresses to discuss, I can recap Mondo‘ s incessant whining and pouting instead! Which, is pretty much all that happened last night.
Things start out with Angela meeting the final three on the runway. The final three consisted of the ever-hopeful and slightly delusional Michael (who for some unbeknownst reason I have a soft spot for), the ebullient and fantastical Austin Scarlett, and the now surly, sullen, and depleted (once quirky and thoughtful) Mondo. Angela explains that for the final challenge they will need to create a five-look mini collection for an esteemed audience of Muppets and B-List celebrities. They have four days and $3000 to spend on materials. The runway show will be held at a secret location.
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Last night on Project Runway All Stars the three finalist were revealed after the designers had to create a ready-to-wear look for designer, Nanette Lepore.
The designers meet Nanette in her garment district store and we learn commercialization combined with rising rents are forcing many factories and designers out of the infamous district. Nanette is very involved in a charity to revitalize the area (as is Isaac Mizrahi). The designers are to sketch one ready-to-wear piece and then go over the analytics with Nanette and her “coster.” The coster basically tells them how much the garment would sell for vs. how much it would cost to produce and make a profit. The difference is how much they can spend on fabrics to construct the piece.
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On last night’s Project Runway All Stars challenge, the designers experienced a PR first! The designers had to make an avant-garde look using LED lights for the first ever blacklight runway show!
Immediately, when Angela explained the challenge Austin lit up (haha) but everyone else dimmed considerably. The nervous energy in the room was palpable. The designers received $300 to buying LED lighting and accessories, and then went to Mood to procure some blacklight worthy fabrics.
Almost everyone was over-whelmed by the idea of incorporating the lights into their garment on top of being forced to make an avant-garde look – which I guarantee most of these designers didn’t even know what that meant conceptually. Throwing every detail and weird idea at a dress and stapling some odd wings on doesn’t make it avant-garde – it makes it weird. Nevertheless, that’s the standard way to approach a PR avant-garde challenge and it happens every time the have one. Basically, a designer that isn’t avant-garde and doesn’t embrace that as their medium, isn’t going to excel in that style, so we always end up with a hot mess of weird, crazy, and ugly.
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On last night’s episode of Project Runway All Stars the designers headed to the UN where flags of the world were their inspiration!
The designers, still mourning the farewell of Kara, meet Angela at the UN. She briefs them on what, exactly, the UN does, in case you are confused. Does the UN need some good PR or something? Anyways, she informs the designers their challenge will be to choose a flag from one of six countries representing various regions of the globe, and design a garment inspired by the culture of the chosen country. One more twist – they have to use the colors in the flag!
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On last night’s episode of Project Runway All Stars, the designers competed to make their debut on the Great White Way in a challenge to design a costume, befitting of a Broadway stage. Since many of these designers are naturally theatrical–here’s looking at you Austin STARlet–it was a pretty good challenge with room to really push the crazy ideas.
*Full Disclaimer: I’ve never seen Godspell, and I don’t know the plot save for the fact that it takes place in the seventies and is about Catholicism.
The designers meet Angela on stage at the Rising Circle Theater. Did Kenley go out with her curlers on? I was so distracted trying to figure it out, I wasn’t even paying attention to the challenge and had to rewind twice. Clearly that is an important detail!
Angela introduces the designers to Stephen Schwartz, award winning composer and writer. The designers learn they will be designing a stage costume for the 40th anniversary revival of Stephen’s award winning hit, Godspell. They will design a rich bitch outfit for one of the lead actresses. It’s a separates challenge, because the other actors have to dress her on stage during the performance. Eeks. per-ressure! They are instructed to think thrift store, vintage, hand me downs, but luxury as this is a character who steals from the poor to furnish her riches and wears them with pride.
The winning design will be featured in Godspell, and the designer will have their bio in the program. Austin is so excited because he’s never met a costume opportunity he didn’t love. Kenley Curlers Collins is also a huge Broadway fan.
The designers are given 30 minutes to sketch at the Rising Circle Theater, then it’s off to Mood where everyone grabs anything that sparkles. Kara starts off by having some sort of panic attack and Austin steps in to administer the Xanax in the form of a reassuring pat from a delicate porcelain doll hand. Oh, Austin – you really are a Madame Alexander Doll come to life. Candy Spelling would have swooped you right up!
Returning to the workroom everyone conceptualizes their version of an uber rich wicked queen. Austin immediately gravitates towards Marie Antoinette and Kenley somehow thinks giant feathers = millionairess. Mila is annoyed by the buddy buddy-friendsy friendsy relationship between Kenley and Kara, who she believes, overly rely on each other for advice, confidence boosters, and juvenile entertainment. She muses that if one of them goes home the other is in trouble… #foreshadowing
The real Kenley started rearing her curlered head when she started talking about how amazing she is in the interview outtakes. Oh, Kenley – we have not missed you!
Joanna Coles arrives to school the designers on how they’re messing up. She is intrigued by Austin‘s concept of Baroque opulence, which makes total sense to me given the character. Austin’s look was sort of appropriately stereotypically rich, and he sought to modernize the Victorian era. Is he designing for Madame Alexander yet?
I think Joanna gave a lot of insightful critique and I really enjoy her portion of the show. I think she reserves judgement and asks really interesting questions about the process, and the line of reasoning behind certain choices.
She is concerned about Kara not pushing herself, and acting as an all star; which has been her problem all season. She’s been coasting on bland and dated looks that aren’t with the times or the innovation level the challenges require. Joanna also has some concerns about Mila who decided (sort of) to step out of her box and into NEON! Not just neon, but a printed neon – is this a rich woman in the throes of an acid trip? That fabric is garish, frightening, and liable to cause seizures. Even worse she has envisioned a dirndl skirt. Joanna wisely steers her towards a pencil skirt.
Mondo is having a lot of difficulty. Although his idea is good and gets the vote of approval from Joanna, he starts second guessing himself and wondering what the eff he is thinking mixing all those discordant hippie gypsy prints. It actually looked more like a Jerell ensemble. Eventually Mondo makes himself push through and finds a way to incorporate all his ideas.
Austin has issues with time, per the usual, because he lives in a My Little Pony dream land. The best scene of this entire episode was Austin storming around in the midst of a hissy fit demanding a screw driver. What he wanted to do with it is a mystery I’m desperate to solve!
The guest judge, Sutton Foster – Broadway Leading Lady and Tony Award Winner. I thought she was a pretty decent judge who seemed to be having fun instead of taking herself too seriously.
Ok, let’s trash discuss some looks!
Jerell: I was surprised this didn’t get more of a reaction from the judges. For some reason I thought they would love it. It was Jerell without it being Jerell – meaning that for once he didn’t over-design and he edited. I really liked the jacket and I thought the skirt, while standard, was theatrically expected but not ridiculous. I think the muted color scheme and the rather sedate approach is what stopped him from going to the top. I know – Jerell and sedate don’t usually go together!
Congratulations Mondo! When I initially saw this it wouldn’t have been my pick for the win – it seemed a little silly. And truthfully it didn’t seem like a Mondo look at all, which may have been why it got so much attention from the judges. Still, the jacket was beautiful, artistic, and cray-cray without being dumb or tacky, and he actually incorporated the boho prints pretty well. That being said, she looks pretty bat-sh$t crazy, but maybe she is, since this is supposed to be the early seventies! The judges were gaga over how he hit all the notes and listened to all the instructions – it should be refined yet bohemain, etc. I think they also liked the story he gave behind why he did the jacket. One issue I have is that he made a dress, when it was supposed to be a separates challenge. Or maybe it wasn’t a dress?
Austin – is it Starlet or Scarlett?: This would have been, hands-down, my pick for the win. I loved every nuance and I loved that he really thought about what the character exemplified. I thought the material and the cloche hat were spot on and I really appreciated the Marie Antoinette reference – “Let her them wear Austin Scarlett!” Ok, my second favorite part of this episode was the exchange between Isaac and Austin over his name – and that Isaac actually seemed to believe it was Austin Starlet! PERFECT! Ahhh… The Starlet letter. The judges thought this was a bit too young for the character – and I could see that – but I think with some tweaking it would be pitch perfect. It’s big, it’s vibrant, it tells a story, and it truly looks like stage wear.
Michael: It’s interesting that Michael used the exact same skirt shape as Austin, particularly coming off last week’s issue with shape sniping, and considering that none of his sketches incorporated the flouncy skirt. Austin either didn’t notice becuase he’s in Scarlet dreamland, or didn’t care because he’s Austin. Regardless, this is a good, if not uninspired look. I loved the color combo of the super pop purple shoes with the chartreuse, and I think chartreuse was a great color choice. The judges were right to comment that the accessories carried the look more than the clothes, and without them, this could easily pass for regular clothing instead of stage wear. I think that was likely the problem – this didn’t go far enough into the wackadoo category and was a little too safe. Just like Jerell’s.
Good-bye Kara! Kara’s been a wreck all season and the judges have been itching to send her home the last couple weeks. If Austin hadn’t made straight up ‘granny goes the library’ wear last week, she would have surely been in the bottom and sent off on her merry way. Kara’s head hasn’t been in the game, and she’s needed constant redirection and reassurance. Much like Michael, she made ordinary clothes and thought a few zhu-zhu tricks would save them. A big faux fur vest with a Christmas bow was not going to get this on Broadway. She was probably hoping it would skate by, but the judges have been unimpressed with her all season, and so she got the axe. Furthermore, tons of fit issues. What was that skirt? Any designer should be able to get a pencil skirt together and Kara usually has great craftsmanship – the execution of that skirt just shows how scatterbrained she was.
Mila: Unlike Kara, Mila has been impressing all season, but this was horrible. I have no idea what she was thinking! This does not fit the challenge at all. This is not wacky (which is clearly the character they were designing for) – this is Paris Hilton stumbling out of 10ak at 3 am. The skirt was a mess. I don’t understand, especially after Joanna tried to steer her away from such a weird skirt shape (the judges even commented that she should have done a pencil skirt). The top was pretty interesting, but for the skirt she should have definitely gone with a fabric that was better incorporated to the theme above the waist. Also, the skirt fabric looked cheap and flashy. Ahhh… mullet dressing at its finest!
Kenley: Once again Kenley ignored the challenge and designed for herself. The judges are clearly on to her, as evidenced by Angela’s comment that Kenley gloamed onto the “vintage” aspect of this challenge and ignored all the other directives. The jacket was cut beautifully, but the addition of the feathers was foolish, silly, and one detail too many, on an already incredibly busy outfit. Same thing with the polka dot top which had no relationship to the other two incredibly loud pieces. She said she was going for west village circa the fifties, and great she achieved it, but this was just a straight up stereotype or cheesy costume instead of stagewear. Kenley better watch her back, the judges have their eyes on her!
In the end Mondo wins by a hair, and Austin visibly deflated on the runway. I really wish we could have seen the look on the stage.
Next week: Kenley continues to annoy her co-stars and I have absolutely no clue what the challenge is about!
THOUGHTS ON THE RESULTS? MONDO OR AUSTIN? WAS KARA THE RIGHT CHOICE TO GO HOME?