“Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team” gave us the makeover episode and Melissa Rycroft was back for a mentoring session, which also requires that she sit next to Judy and Kelli, watching practices. Does she catch sight of Judy and Kelli chatting, judging, eye-rolling and pronouncing people “lost”? RECAP of season finale: Do you agree with final cuts?
The makeover scenes were too short, in this viewer’s opinion, since it never fails to delight when a young woman has Kelli and a colorist talking about her as if she weren’t there. Once they have a direction, they inevitably show it to the person in the chair and ask, if she agrees with the decision to cut, or lighten, or darken. Those clinging to their blonde color grit their teeth and agree, because what else are they going to say? Ultimately, Kelli gets it right nine times out of ten, but the agony before the reveal is great TV.
There were two office sessions in the episode, and if you noticed, Judy isn’t doing much talking these days, although it’s difficult to tell if that’s true because we see an edited version of the hours they record to produce one episode. It would come back in spades in the second office scene when three girls faced being cut. Judy and Kelli actually got into it.
After the eye-rolling over Amy A. being unable to catch up to the choreography it was a surprise she didn’t have to face the music in the first office meeting. Emily, she of the bad smiling technique, and Lindsey were given that honor. Emily’s dance moves are “clunky” according to Kelli, but there was no further talk of her facial expression. Lindsey learned that without more punch and power in her dancing she’d be a goner. She needs more stamina to get through it, and many others are in the same boat. That was fixed quickly by attending the boot camp where they were challenged to do as many sit ups and push ups as they could in two minutes, then go run a mile. Yeah, it’s serious stuff, but for the kickline it’s a must. .
Melissa Rycroft did her best to get those on the bubble a real look, for probably the first time, of what their major sins are. It’s one thing to be told about how your body or face are underperforming, it’s another to see it on a video recording and realize it. How else can someone see the lack of excitement, or a facial expression that is just plain wrong? When those ladies look in a mirror while they dance, they don’t see that. Perhaps it’s only there when facing Kelli and Judy, or they might think what they are doing should be enough.
Everyone knew that at week’s end someone or more than one of them would be cut. At the final office session of the night, Kelli did not call in Emily or Lindsey, presumably because they showed progress or there were more egregious errors to deal with. The folks who faced elimination were Whitney, Bethany and Jackie. Kelli admitted that she was ready to cut all three, but somehow she was dissuaded by what Bethany and Jackie said and how they said it. They didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, just promising to work harder, get more feedback from others and pull out all the stops to change.
Jackie was first up and was told that they are looking for showmanship, which she has yet to master. She’s a serious girl and doesn’t have the technique down yet to look happy all the time. In a solo on-camera moment after she left the office she swore she could look more excited while performing. As she spoke she looked as serious as usual. Look, we hate the fake, pasted-on smiles as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s not in someone’s nature to be bubbly. Kelli declared that for the first time in history she was talked out of sending someone home. She got no support from Judy to put the hammer down, so Jackie escaped.
Bethany had messed up choreography and lacked confidence and power in her performance. As Kelli said, she looked “lost” and it shocked her because Bethany was chosen as one of the better rookies during auditions. Bethany’s speech to avoid being cut was good enough, telling Judy and Kelli that now that she has veterans to watch as they perform the routines, she can see her errors, which she didn’t notice when she just looked at the rookies. Hey, whatever works and it did. Once again, Kelli did all the talking, despite the critique being about the choreography.
Whitney had survived last week’s office meeting, after she was informed, she looked “disinterested”, which as we know is a cardinal sin. While that was gone, Kelli said she lacks showmanship and the skills to smile all the time. Here’s where it gets a bit odd. Whitney, like the others fought to stay on the squad, but for some reason her delivery made Kelli and Judy “uncomfortable”. Jackie had pushed back, actually telling the ladies that in her opinion, her performance wasn’t that bad. Whitney said it this way, “I tell you, it wouldn’t be a mistake if you kept me, and you wouldn’t regret it. I know for a fact that I could be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.”
She said it with conviction, without tears streaming down her face, with no hint of anger and added, “I’d be the best Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.” For some reason Kelli was put on the defensive, and pointed to the judges’ critiques during auditions. Whitney gave it one more try, “You want someone like me on your team,” she said while her voice cracked and sadness filled her eyes. Kelli looked lost, kept shuffling her papers, finally looking at Judy, almost pleading with her to buttress the case to cut Whitney. Judy gave her nothing. The boom was lowered and Whitney was gone.
Then Judy and Kelli got into it a bit. Judy complained that Kelli put her on the spot with Whitney, and Kelli snapped back about needing help, before she asked the oddest question of the night. “Did she make you uncomfortable?” Judy replied, “Yeah”, and Kelli screwed up her face and said, “Me too”. Okay, what the heck was that about? What was so different about Whitney’s responses to try to stave off elimination from what Jackie or Bethany had said? Granted, Whitney has been around the block four times to try to make the squad, and perhaps she had to pay a price for Kelli being unable to pull the trigger on Jackie, but does anyone else think that Whitney was shown the door without enough to justify it?
“Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team” airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT Image credit: CMT, used with permission