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The Telefile
Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition: Also Known As So You Think You Can Dance Moms

Well, this show's a nightmare. And not even a fun way. Lifetime is trying to extend Abby Lee Miller's 15 minutes of fame, first by putting her on Drop Dead Diva and now by giving her another show where she can torture small children. The problem here is not really that it's like So You Think You Can Dance for babies, but that it's actually mostly appalling.

This week's premiere was more of a casting special, taking 14 potential contestants down to 12. Because 14 was apparently just too unwieldy? Why not start with 20? Were there not enough pre-teen dancers willing to subject themselves to this sort of scrutiny? But maybe 12 moms and kids is enough, because what a competition show really needed was more parental annoyances. It's like Lifetime thinks that the moms are the reason that people tune into Dance Moms. The moms screaming can be fun, but seeing other mothers do poor imitations of those infamous women just to get more screen time doesn't work. Look at how poorly Dance Moms: Miami turned out.

The other problem is that the judges, aside from Abby, are Robin Antin (of Pussycat Dolls fame) and some random guy named Richy Jackson, who says things like "Let's battle for cattle." In this special, all three choreographers performed their dances (well, Abby Lee waddled around like a chunky penguin flapping her tiny wings) and then sent the 14 off to dance with a rehearsal choreographer, before they returned to be judged (during eliminations, the moms are brought on stage to support these underage dancers).

It's a mish-mosh of talent, in that there is not a lot of it, and how do you really judge a six-year-old with personality but poor footwork against a 13-year-old with double the experience? And Robin's telling the girls to bring sass (at least she was wise enough not to say sex while demonstrating her brand of hip thrusting) to the performance, and letting them know that some of them have the potential to be Pussycat Dolls when they grow up. Just what every little girl dreams of. There's also one boy, which, as we've learned from Justice on Dance Moms, is always an awkward situation as no one wants to discourage him. They don't even say whether he's got any flavor or talent; he's mostly just ignored and put through to the next round.

The show also looks like they spent about seven dollars making it. They filmed the mother/daughter talking head segments in a closet with a sewing machine and some ugly drapes, the girls' little spotlight dances in the middle of some cheesy hotel conference room that has the most obtrusive design on the floor and the actual dancing in some high school auditorium. Very budget.

Finally, they couldn't even get a decent host, as this Kevin Manno guy is obnoxious and unnecessary. Why couldn't Abby just host it? After all, the show has her name on it. And for the first episode, there's decidedly little of her, and that's sad, because seeing her in her plus-sized track suit never fails to amuse us -- she's like an overweight Sue Sylvester. Perhaps the show will get better if the moms are able to interact with (read: scream like banshees at) Abby, or if the contestants actually get to dance in a way that doesn't look like a messy hodgepodge, but right now, we're not too hopeful. We'll just wait for Cathy, Christie and Abby to return in their original show instead.

What did you think of the new Abby Lee Miller show? Sound off in the comments.

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