I know I know… I am WAY late in producing this and still have to get to the season premiere episode in which Mackenzie (aka the infamous “WHERE’S NI-NIIIIIIIIII?” contestant) makes yet another appearance. Blame my delinquency on the crazy holiday season. That’s right: Damn you, Santa, and the reindeer you rode in on for getting in the way of my breaking Toddlers & Tiaras recaps!
In episode #2 of this season’s Toddlers & Tiaras following the Universal Royalty Pageant in Austin, Texas…
:02 — We meet Mia, an adorable two-year-old who enjoys dancing to her mom’s ’80s music. Oh, how sweet!
:03 – Introducing Aishlynn, 4, who is a little, um, headstrong. “She doesn’t listen too much to anybody, period,” her mom shrugs. “I have my attitude and she has hers.” This sounds like a promising pair.
:04 – Meet David, 3-year-old Ava’s dad, who confidently declares: “I’m STILL the SuperDad of pageants!” Only a matter of time till he’s wearing a cape and tights to match his self-appointed title. David has been analyzing Ava’s losing performance at the last Universal pageant and notes, “We just hadn’t found the combination to create that ultimate Grand Supreme package. But I think we’ve found it now.”
Hopefully, that package doesn’t include his dance moves, both Ava and her teacher think.
:07 – David goes to Ava’s dance lesson with her. “I like to know first-hand what’s going into that dance routine,” David says, adding: “Her big talent is going to be a Lady Gaga impersonation. Kind of like Gaga-tronics. I love Lady Gaga. She’s awesome,” David gushes as any other totally heterosexual father would do.
He had me at “Gaga-tronics.”
:14 – Aishlynn’s father hates giving money for pageants, which he believes are a “waste of money” (fathom that!), so Aishlynn’s mom teaches her daughter how to manipulate him: “Daddy, do you love me…?” little Aishlynn coos, then gives him a hug with hand outstretched. Heartwarming to see a mother prepare her daughter for an esteemed life as a trophy wife. And/or con artist. Either way, WIN!
Aishlynn has been competing in pageants for eight months and they’ve spent more than $50,000 on them, Aishlynn’s father reveals. But the feeling of beating a dozen other spray-tanned four-year-olds sashaying on stage in evening gowns…? Priceless.
:15 – MAJOR DRAMA. Mia’s glitz dress arrived and her mom is NOT HAPPY. Doesn’t like the trim, despite paying $600 for the dress. “It needs to be fixed,” says her mom who has no choice but to do it herself. While she breaks out the sewing machine, Project Runway-style, we CUT TO:
:17 – The nail salon, where Aishlynn’s mom won’t let her daughter get the sparkly nails she wants. I want you to get bling on your nails, not sparkles! Aishlynn’s mom growls. Knowing that “bling” is SO 2008, Aishlynn is devastated. Her mom tells the manicurist to forge ahead and ignore her daughter’s cries. She “ain’t gonna die,” Aishlynn’s mom says, rolling her eyes.
NO SPARKLES FOR YOU! — The Nail Nazi
Awwww. Poor Aishlynn. Naturally, her mom wants to console her upset daughter, so she says: “You look ugly crying.”
:18 – We learn that David makes all of Ava’s costumes.
“She HAS to win Grand Supreme this time,” he exclaims with a very healthy attitude. David also says he’s willing to make sacrifices for his daughter, all in the name of winning the almighty Grand Supreme title: “If I’m going to have to sacrifice, I’m going to make that sacrifice. If I can’t have that Louis Vuitton bag, then I ain’t gonna have that Louis Vuitton bag.” Spoken like the SuperDad of pageants.
“There is no question: Ava HAS to win this,” David continues passionately. “If I don’t hear her name at this pageant, and she wins NOTHING, I wouldn’t even understand it. I would think, oh my God, these judges just gone crazy. ‘Cause I’m so sorry, when you see Ava, she’s a winner.” David’s faith in his daughter is sweet, all right, but I fear these judges might want to sleep with one eye open if they make the mistake of not giving Miss Ava a Supreme title.
:28 – Uh-oh. Mia has a tantrum right before going on-stage. Everybody is staring and thanking their lucky stars that’s not their kid. “Oh, my God,” her mom cries.
I’m no pageant expert, but this doesn’t look like an auspicious beginning.
After hearing the applause, however, Mia recovers. The two-year-old courageously pulls it together and brings it on-stage. Phew! Disaster averted.
:32 – David is very “anxious,” and is having a hard time breathing because of his nervousness. Breathe, David, breathe! “[There are] just so many contestants,” he says, voice quivering. But his confidence is unwavering. “I think she’s gonna own it,” he says of Ava.
:33 – Aishlynn is tired, so her mom does what any caring parent would do: Gives her SIX sugar-laden Pixie Stix — the toddler pageant equivalent of crack cocaine — to give her a, um, energy boost.
:34 – After Aishlynn’s performance, she bounds off the stage to high-five her mom, who’s supportive as always. “She could have done a lot better,” Aishlynn’s mom sighs into the camera. “You did not look up at all!” she reprimands her daughter as soon as she steps off the stage. Disappointed, Aishlynn’s mother decides to take action in the wake of this dismal performance and gives her four-year-old even MORE Pixie Stix — 9 in total. Inevitable diabetic coma be damned…!
:35 – Swimsuit competition time! Because if there is one category that is totally appropriate in a children’s pageant, it’s a swimsuit competition.
:37 – Oh, dear. Swimsuit doesn’t go well for Mia, who seems dazed and confused. Pretty much how I feel while watching this show.
:38 – Aishlynn’s mom, on the other hand, is proud of her daughter’s Pixie Stix-fueled swimsuit performance. “She shook her butt, she’s good,” Aishlynn’s mom wisely notes. “The Pixie Sticks worked. That’s the number one thing to a pageant.”
:39 – Just what Mia needs: MORE DRAMA! Turns out, Mia is running late for Talent. This is bad news, indeed, as the director of the pageant instructs judges to take off two points for all constants who are not on time.
“This is absolutely insane,” Mia’s mom cries. (You said it, sister.) Meanwhile, Mia falls as they run to the stage in a hurry. But no time to cry when a diminishing score and the Supreme title are on the line. Run, Mia, run…!
As they wait for the tardy Mia, Ava goes on stage…
:44 – “I think Ava is going to go up on that stage as Lady Gaga,” David shares. “And the judges [will] say there’s no question about it. This girl means some real business here. This is the ultimate Grand Supreme Package right here.”
And Ava’s not the only one in Lady Gaga mode, as David performs the moves along with her. “Pump it!” he yells.
:45 – Finally! Mia arrives, performing late. And she doesn’t disappoint.
WHOOMP! There it is: the baby cone bra reveal. You can hear the collective gasp throughout the audience.
:46 – “The cones! The cones!” a mother exclaims from her seat, laughing incredulously.
:47 – “I think it was something that would make Madonna proud,” Mia’s mother says of her daughter’s performance. Pretty much all ANY of us hopes for our two-year-old daughters.
:47 – A male judge chimes in on the Cone Bra Incident: “The Madonna impression, it was shocking for me, the way she came out dressed. I did not expect that.” Well, I should hope not.
:54 – It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: The crowning, the crowning!
“Once we start the crowning, I just get extremely nervous,” David whispers, sweating bullets. “I get sick to my stomach.” In Ava’s age category, she wins Most Photogenic — yay! — but not Best Dressed. Boo! David is crestfallen. “As the creator of her wardrobe, I know Ava has the most beautiful gowns. And the most original costumes. It’s just the judges are failing to see that,” David humbly notes. Ava goes on to score Most Talented as well.
“This time she is going to win Miss Grand Supreme,” David boldly predicts. Then they call her as second runner-up, disqualifying her for any Supreme titles. We can feel David’s utter devastation. “When they called out Ava as second runner-up, I felt like, Oh, my God – everything is going to cave in on me,” he cries. “The message they’re sending [to me is]: “Your product is still not good.”
That’s right: His PRODUCT. Parenthood is the new brand management.
:57 – In the end, Aishlynn and Mia win coveted Supreme titles.
“Mia came to Texas and really rocked it out,” says her mom, visions of her two-year-old’s next Madonna-inspired performance — “Like a Virgin,” perhaps? — floating in her head. In the meantime, we tried to reach Aishlynn for comment on her big win, but she was too busy crashing from her Pixie Stix overdose to respond.
Congrats, young ladies!