The name ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ didn’t quite apply to Wednesday’s episode, which featured the all-ages Universal Royalty Grand Nationals pageant in Austin. It turns out if the prize is $10,000 cash, teens have no compunction about competing against toddlers.
But of course we watch for the mothers. Questionable parenting techniques were back in full force as one mother couldn’t seem to find a positive word to say about her daughter and another, with the help of an enabling aunt, bribed her tot with sugar cubes. You know, like you give a horse.
Dianely, a seven-year-old from Indianapolis, showed a clear talent and enthusiasm for gymnastics, but couldn’t come up with anything when asked to name her favorite thing about pageants. Her mom Fransoly seemed to have the same problem when it came to her daughter. In one episode, she managed to call her daughter’s routine “sucky,” her arms “weak” and her attitude “lazy.”
Fransoly found it ludicrous when her daughter couldn’t pick a favorite color. “You can’t like every color in the rainbow, you gotta like one color!” she said. (Fransoly’s favorite color, by the way, is black.)
Three-year-old Lola, from Edna, Texas, didn’t have much of a mommy issue, mostly because she seemed to prefer her aunt, whom she calls “MaLee.”
There was some bribery involved.
“We keep her motivated with her Cheetos and her sugar cubes. She loves her ‘dance candy’,” MaLee explained.
Hailey, a seven-year-old from San Antonio, had not just mom Joey but also her big sister Samantha helping her prepare. Dad Glenn even pitched in to put jewels on dresses, but wanted us to know that doesn’t make him less of a man.
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At the pageant, Lola refused to do her routine until MaLee, not mom, joined her on stage. After the pageant, Lola squirmed out of her mom’s arms in favor of her aunt, and for once it was hard not to feel sorry for the parent instead of the child.
Fransoly provoked no such sympathy with her response to her daughter’s performance. Despite cartwheeling and back-flipping her way into the room with ease, Dianely completely froze on stage. Fransoly’s response was to scold her about how much they’d practiced.
The notion of the young girls competing against 18-and-up provoked some cattiness among the mothers, but the lone male judge was impressed with them. Maybe a little too impressed.
“I mean, there were some beautiful women in that grouping. Maybe one of them will walk away with the $10,000. That was a stiff group,” he said.
Ray was nervous for his daughter going into crowning, but Lola wasn’t, because she had a sugar cube. She won her division, which included her and another girl.
In the 6 and 7 year old division, Hailey won 2nd runner-up, causing her mom Joey to declare she wouldn’t put her daughter through a pageant again.
Dianely came away with 1st runner-up, disappointing her mother.
The Universal Royalty cash winner was a woman named Hannah, a busty, grown-up blonde.
Said Dianely: “I think of Hannah that she was very good, but I was kind of confused about a 20 year old beating a seven year old.”