The stars of “Toddlers & Tiaras” spend a lot of time putting on spray tans, fake nails and hair extensions and generally not acting their ages. And then there’s Olivia. The bossy three-year-old couldn’t stop shrieking at her mother – like, say, an ill-tempered toddler – in Wednesday’s latest episode featuring the Rock Star Divas and Dolls full glitz pageant in Darien, Georgia. (The style may be glitz but the venue wasn’t; it was held in a middle school gym.)
On the other end of the maturity spectrum was poised and confident eight-year-old Haley, from Richmond Hill, Georgia. She had the support of her mother Caliese and her dad Daniel, who was super into the proceedings. He proclaimed himself “her diva dad,” tagged along for pedicures and used walkie-talkies at the pageant to report back on the other contestants.
In the younger division, two-year-old Peyton from Ducktown, Tenn., was trying to help her mother, Cindi, achieve her dream of her daughter winning a title in each of the 50 states. She had 46 to go.
In her introductory scene, Peyton careened out of control in a red wagon. Later in the episode, she fell down at least three times, including once when the spotlight was on her and another after tanning in an auto body shop. (Cindi had a guy who usually paints cars bronze her baby.)
Before getting to the competition, at home in Willacoochee, Georgia, we saw Olivia help her mom Karey dye their miniature horse Bubbles. To be clear, this is a real horse and they dyed it. Bubbles stood like a bored ottoman in their living room as they painted him purple with food coloring and gave his mane a dash of turquoise, then blew it dry and straightened it. Again: live horse.
“He’s treated like a family member,” Karey said proudly. Judging by the way she helped her daughter slather on eye make-up, this statement appeared to be true.
Karey explained that they stopped doing local pageants after they became unfair. “There always seemed to be this child or that child that had a history of cancer or a history of some kind illness. I feel sorry for them, but that shouldn’t sway a judge’s mind,” Karey said.
Karey also shared that she thought Olivia would have an advantage in life because she’s pretty. “Popular kids aren’t ugly,” she said.
Once at the competition, Haley appeared polished and poised and Peyton was disinterested. Olivia was just loud.
Waiting to go on stage each time, Olivia could be heard screaming at her mother. “Oh shush! I hear you talking! Stop!” she shrieked.
Karey tried to quiet her, to no avail.
“The screaming and the hitting, I don’t really get embarrassed when Olivia does it, only because she’s still little and it’s still kind of cutesy at this point,” Karey said, theorizing that the tantrums came from Olivia wanting to show her competitors her “dominance.”
And, once on stage, Olivia flipped a switch and became all smiles and composed.
Cindi had heard going into the competition that Peyton’s wasn’t the only Pebbles routine. Peyton didn’t help her case by choosing not to play her drums, instead sucking on her drumsticks.
Despite that non-performance and her fall during her swimsuit portion, Peyton still came away with her division’s “Queen” title. The “other” Pebbles routine by a girl named Paisley won the Ultimate Grand Supreme for Peyton’s age group.
Olivia also won her division’s “Queen” title, to the delight of her mom, who seemed to forget all the hissy fits. “Today, I think, is by far one of the best days she’s ever had,” Karey said.
Haley waited with fingers crossed until the final title and came away with the big one, winning Ultimate Grand Supreme.
“I cried, she cried, I think daddy cried. It was awesome,” said her mom Caliese.