August 24, 2007
Do you think your child is destined to be a star? Are you spending your life savings trying to get him or her in the spotlight? Has your life become a non-stop roller coaster of auditions, rejections, lessons, rehearsals, costumes, headshots and agents? The business is cutthroat and competitive, yet thousands of families set out for Hollywood every year, believing their child is the next Dakota Fanning. Dr. Phil helps some wannabe child stars get noticed and at the same time, takes a behind-the-scenes look at stage moms in the throes of battle.
Part 1 summary:
Seven kids with stars in their eyes join their mothers in The Dr. Phil House for big-time opportunities auditioning in front of Hollywood’s most esteemed child talent agents. Meet Susan and her daughter, Meagan, 10; Larissa and her three sons, Sasha, 14, Dmitri, 12 and Kyrian, 8; Kim and her daughter, Alaina, 13; Kiki and her daughter, Gracie, 11; and Veronica and her daughter, Maria, 13. As the kids audition, they compete against each other for amazing prizes, such as free rent during pilot season, a Hollywood agent and a $25,000 Sallie Mae scholarship. Will the mother/child teams work well together, or flounder under the pressure? In the first challenge, the moms have 30 minutes to style their children like a star and then take their photograph. While the photos are being printed, they move on to the dance audition. A top dance instructor teaches the kids some hip-hop moves. With only a small amount of time to make up their own routines and rehearse, the kids and moms get to work ” but the pressure gets to be too much for some. Gracie wins the dance audition and a 42-inch plasma television. Then, with their favorite photos in hand, the moms each pitch their child to a talent agent, who chooses the best photograph. Gracie wins again with a trip to Chicago for a national print ad with Sears. The rest of the mothers react to the child’s winning streak, and Veronica wonders if favoritism is at play.
Part 2 summary:
Three more auditions take place in The Dr. Phil House, and the talent judges pull no punches in their feedback to the children and their mothers. As everyone watches on a monitor in the living room, the kids audition for a cereal commercial. Gracie and Kyrian are chosen for a call-back audition later in the day. Then, the kids pair off to read for a scene. Because only one of the roles involves singing, Veronica insists that her daughter be allowed to switch roles so she can sing for the judges. In the third audition, the children have a chance to read with child actor Trevor Gagnon. Alaina breaks down after hearing what the judges have to say and has the opportunity to re-audition without her mother watching, which elicits a much stronger performance. When a judge comments on Maria’s look, another judge points out her racy headshot hanging on the wall. Then, Dr. Phil meets with the mothers, concerned that they may be a liability for their child’s career, rather than an asset. When Veronica asks Dr. Phil to look over Maria’s portfolio, he doesn’t mince words to say that she presents her daughter in a provocative way. He then plays a clip of Veronica fighting with Maria during the dance rehearsal. The conversation heats up, and Dr. Phil tells Veronica she has to take a step back from the way she coaches her daughter. When he shows the moms a clip of the dance instructor’s feedback about the mothers, he notes that two of them don’t pay attention. Dr. Phil informs all the mothers that their behavior may negatively affect their children’s chances for a career. Finally, Gracie and Kyrian read for their call-back and Kyrian is announced the winner.
Part 3 summary:
Dr. Phil continues his conversation with the five stage moms and turns his attention to Kim and Susan. After playing a video clip of Kim’s daughter, Alaina, in an interview, Dr. Phil points out the pressure and stress that Alaina feels, and how it may be affecting her performance in school. As evidence, Dr. Phil pulls out Alaina’s report card, which shows grades that are not as exemplary as Kim described. Then, Dr. Phil shows a video of Susan assisting her daughter, Meagan, during the dance rehearsals. In the video, Meagan struggles under Susan’s demands. Ashamed of her own behavior, Susan breaks down and cries. Will these mothers learn to take on a healthy, supportive role in their child’s career? Then, the time has come for the final talent show! Each child performs on the Dr. Phil stage, in front of his studio audience and a panel of Hollywood’s top talent agents, managers and casting directors, who decide the winner. For all their hard work, every child receives an iPod nano, a Samsung U740 cell phone and an Xbox 360. The grand-prize winner is announced: Gracie! She receives a four-month stay during pilot season at Oakwood apartments, right in the heart of the entertainment industry. She and Kiki will live in a two-bedroom, two-bath, furnished apartment. She will be part of Oakwood’s Child Actor Program, and she will also take classes at the Marnie Cooper School of Acting. Plus, she’ll receive headshots and a reel from photographer John McClurg; a meet and greet with Sharon Lieblein, vice president of talent and casting for Nickelodeon; and she’ll receive a $25,000 scholarship from Sallie Mae! Gracie and Kiki shout for joy, but Veronica conveys disappointment, saying, “I didn’t come across the country for an Xbox 360.”
Several weeks have passed since these ambitious youngsters took a stab at stardom in The Dr. Phil House. Since then, Gracie has gone on nine auditions, five call-backs and has made one booking. Alaina has begun vocal lessons and has an audition coming up. Kyrian signed with a major talent agent, got call-backs from Cirque du Soleil, two Broadway shows and will appear on Sesame Street in the fall. Meagan made cheerleader at school and will be performing in a musical at a local children’s theater. Veronica refused to give an update on Maria. The Dr. Phil show wishes all the families the best in their endeavors!