Lisia says: “My take on this is, no honey, you do not have to win. You don’t have to be the best. You just need to not be the worst.” That philosophy is so awesome that it makes me genuinely sad that it didn’t end up, you know, working.
We begin where we left off: mourning the loss of Rocky.
Indeed, Cheyenne. Rocky was America’s cool auntie. It sounds like I’m kidding, but that’s actually the best description I’ve ever seen of our fallen star.
Meanwhile, Mary Jo sulks…
…and Gigi sulks harder.
She says that people think that Alai should have aced last week’s challenge, since she’s a dance instructor. Get it together, Alai! You’re tarnishing Gigi’s chances to teach the various royalty of Brunei!
Danny corrals the parents and shows them a silent version of Oliver Twist from the ’20s.
Despite what it seems, he is not showing parents how Utopian a parent-less world would be by comparison. He’s showing this film to them because this week’s challenge is all about looking the part. The parents will have a limited amount of time to choose costumes for their children at a thrift store that they’ll wear to an audition of a stage version of Oliver Twist.
Gigi decides that because Alai will be playing a boy, she needs a wig, which…uh, what?
To be fair, the one she digs up is about as masculine a wig as you can get: like, what woman would wear that? Not that Gigi sees things this way. She harasses this thrift-store worker up and down the store.
She asks several times in virtually the same manner whether the employee is aware of more wigs that might be around. She tells Gigi about 500 times that she isn’t because there aren’t. Repetition, we will come to find, runs in the family. Gigi even peers back in some caged off area…
…but, you know, any wigs that are back there are probably being quarantined for radiation or something.
Meanwhile, Danny meets with the kids and gives them monologues they’ll read at today’s Oliver Twist audition.
You want to see parent-less utopia? Look no further. While some kids practice alone…
…others take it upon themselves to make this a group effort and unsurprisingly, there are no tears, pouts or frustrated pauses.
The kids have fun. They’re really supportive of one another…
It’s just generally sweet.
And then the parents get home. Get ready for some contrast. But first, do understand that no one — no kid or adult — has a better rehearsing faces than Gigi.
That’s her expression as she goes over the iconic, “Please sir, can I have some more?” scene with Alai. Please, Gigi, can we have some more of that?
Gian goes over the scene with Sandy.
Sandy’s verdict? “Not impressive.” Heh. She is totally The Critic. Later, she tells Gian to, “lower the tone,” to which Gian responds, “I’m a 12-year-old boy!” He says it so you don’t have to yell it at the screen.
Gigi-Alai drama continues, and even though this scene cuts back and forth between teams, I’ll just lay it all out all together.
Alai just can’t get the lines right, and Gigi suggests that they pack it up and go home. In lieu of that, they practice some more in the hallway.
Here‘s how it goes:
Alai: (rehearsing) I’m very sorry, Mr. Bumble. I’m so very sorry indeed!
Gigi: No! Stop putting all those extra words in it! (reading) “I’m very sorry, Mr. Bumble. So very sorry indeed.”
So, basically, “all those extra words” amount to an “I’m.” This seems like a ridiculously minor point until you see Alai make the mistake again and again and again. It’s so frustrating, you can barely fault Gigi for collapsing.
Perhaps you might even want to cheer her on.
McKenzie’s overstating tendencies are alive, well and pointed out by Shannon.
This causes McKenzie to note that when she was practicing by herself it was better. How’s that for toning things down: live, direct and not even hyperbolic enough to enlist the word “utopia.” Anyway, it’s sweet how it all ends up, with Shannon comforting her daughter.
Finally, there is Lisia, who’s maybe a little too encouraging to Hayley:
“You don’t have to be the best. You just have to be better than some!” Lesson to learn, people! Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching…out ahead…ah, whatever. Do whatever you want. Just don’t suck.
The audition approaches and the parents ready their children.
Is anyone else uncomfortable with those scissors’ proximity to Alai’s face?
McKenzie seems down about the real mud her mom puts on her face, but I think it only makes her sassier.
Alai gets in some last-minute practice, which consists mostly of more fumbled lines.
“They’re gonna crucify you!” Gigi tells her. Not if you’ve already used up all the wood! Gigi confesses that she is toughening up Alai in preparation for the brutal world of Hollywood, though I wonder if Hollywood will ultimately toughen Alai up to be adequately prepared for Gigi.
Auditions start. The guest adviser today is none other than…
She’s worse than the other one was. Err…is. Err…OK. What I’m really trying to say is that she’s meaner than Marki.
First up is Mary Jo.
She messes up her lines and, like last week, drops everything to note this. D’oh! After she goes, the general consensus is that Pam’s coaching is not to be trusted. How to unlearn all this?
Catherine sees “nothing genuine” in Gian’s performance.
Hayley lost 30 percent of the dialogue. That’s not the best, nor is it even better than most. Or any for that matter. Double d’oh.
Alai gets similarly lost and the judges take the time to note how disengaged she seems. Perhaps she is too pressured? Much to her credit, when Alai comes off stage, Gigi is completely reassuring.
It’s almost shocking to hear her tell her daughter that her poor performance is “not the end of the world.” She had me convinced that some sort of apocalypse, possibly of the cannibal variety, would occur if Alai didn’t nail this. Believe me, this news is quite the relief.
McKenzie is, of course, more animated than Woody Woodpecker, but all things considered, she does a comparatively good job. Oh, she also calls Marki “sir,” which may be the best thing anyone’s said to Marki in this show’s entire run.
And then there is Cheyenne. The brilliance of performance can be summed up thusly:
Real tears! And concentrated inside those tears is the answer to the trade deficit, a blueprint for world peace and the Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie recipe. They’re potent is what I’m saying.
Obviously, she wins this and immunity.
Leading up to elimination, Gigi and Alai have a heart-to-heart.
Again, Gigi’s form is surprisingly tender. She examines whether she’s too hard on Alai and pleads with her daughter to, “Tell me what you need.” It’s really sweet. And then she’s all, “If we get eliminated, you better not cry!” Way to relieve the pressure, Geeg.
Marki and Danny meet for their weekly reading for filth. Lisia is too nice. Gigi is too pressuring. Shannon needs to rope McKenzie in even more. To this, Shannon replies…
“If I have to have her more subdued than that, I’m gonna have to put Benadryl in her coffee or something.” Ha! McKenzie just is who she is, you know? At the same time, switching her to decaf couldn’t hurt. You know?
Anyway, elimination comes and goes. Danny assesses that Lisia is not ready for Hollywood and she’s nearly manic in her response so at first it seems like she’s going to get all lippy with Danny.
Instead, she merely says that he’s accurate and makes a classy exit.
Weirder and weirder: she actually cheers that she and Hayley have been eliminated.
Power to the underachievers!