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"Critics & Confidence" is the tenth episode of Season 3 of Austin & Ally and the 55th episode overall. This was the eighth episode filmed in Season 3. It premiered on March 16, 2014 to 2.011 million viewers. It is the second lowest viewed episode of Season 3 to date.
The episode starts with Ally, Trish, and Dez reading a review on Austin's recent show by Kenneth Kreen in the Miami Weekly magazine at Sonic Boom. The review reads, "Austin Moon's performance was tired and uninspired. It lacked the spectacle of a superstar performance. Frankly, I've had more fun plucking my nose hairs."
Since they know Austin will be torn apart when he sees the review, they scramble to hide all the magazines Trish bought - hiding the magazines under chair cushions, in the piano, and in Dez's pants. However, they forget to hide one magazine lying on the counter, and Austin reads the review.
Austin is disappointed by the review; no one has ever hated his shows before. In response, Austin decides to perform for the Kenneth Kreen again, just to impress him, with Dez's help. They decide to base the performance off their favorite comic book, "The Galactic Adventures of the Electric Avenger", stretching out the 'r' in "avenger." His performance is space themed, and during the performance, he'll battle evil people and dodge asteroids. Ally, however questions Austin's ability to sing while trying to do all the things in the performance. For the show, Austin will pre-record the song and sing a long to it during the performance - in other words, to lip sync.
The performance seems to go well at first. However, Austin's lip syncing is discovered when Dez accidentally ruined the pre-recorded song. On stage, Austin freezes in shock, but is knocked into the audience by a swinging boulder. He lands on top of the negative reviewer, Kenneth Kreen. The next day, Kenneth posted his review, which was again negative. This time, he wrote, "Austin Moon lip synced through a catastrophic performance. He's just another pretty boy fraud who can't sing." Austin panics, thinking that he's lost his swag, especially after a failed performance in front of some girls at Shredder's Beach Club. Dejected, Austin goes off to play volleyball and comes back tangled up in the net instead. Ally, Trish, and Dez think that since Austin's doubting his music, the thing in his life that he's most successful in, he's starting to doubt other areas in his life.
The first attempt to get Austin's confidence back is Trish, who guides Austin in a relaxing journey to find his inner peace at the practice room. She instructs him to repeat the words she says. Things seem to be going well, until Austin repeated Trish's words to her cell phone company, which he wasn't supposed to. Austin ends up running from the practice room.
The next attempt is done by Dez, who asks a cheerleader, Tiffany, to say that Austin is great, even though his confidence is fading fast. She agrees. Dez suggests to Austin to talk to Tiffany when Dez sees him. Austin agrees, but he's not feeling it. He ends up nodding "'sup" to her, and accidentally slamming her locker shut with her hair stuck in the door crack. He walks away, and Dez frees her by cutting a section of her hair, leaving her humiliated.
Finally, Ally tries to help Austin gain his swag and confidence back. She dresses in a "swag" style, and tries to speak like it, but she only succeeds in freaking Austin out. Eventually, she tries to empathize with him, telling him how she knows how it feels to have stage fright. Again, she scares Austin with her description of stage fright, which leads to a disaster at the do-over concert Trish booked for Austin.
At the concert, Austin hears the negative voices of his friends and Tiffany, but some of them were taken out of context. He runs of the stage, and at this point, he has full blown stage fright.
Ally comforts Austin at the practice room afterwards. She told him that he'll get over his stage fright, and she did it when he was by her side. Then she tells him that Kenneth Kreen is dining at the beach club, with a fake coupon for a free meal. After Ally's encouragement, Austin goes to the beach club to perform and show Kenneth Kreen that he can sing. He sings Stuck on You.
After Austin sings, Kenneth is still disappointed over his performance. But this time, Austin isn't affected by what the negative reviewer says. Austin declares that he knows he rocks, and he's shouldn't care about what Kenneth thinks, or anyone else. After Kenneth realizes his coupon was fake, and that he had to pay for his meal, he walks away, leaving Team Austin alone and satisfied. Most importantly, Austin has his confidence back.
The episode ends with Austin saying goodbye to Ally, Trish, and Dez - the same voices who caused him to run off stage during the do over concert. The end credits are shown, with Ally, Trish, and Dez wondering what to do, now that they can't harm Austin anymore.
Austin: The Electric Avenger!
Austin: When you had stage fright, how'd you come yourself down?
Ally: I chewed my hair. (Austin grabs a lock of Ally's hair) Don't even think about it.
Austin: Okay, Kenneth Kreen, I'm gonna show you I don't need to lip sync. I'm not just a pretty boy who can't sing; I'm a pretty boy who can sing.
Kenneth: Bravo. Your arrogance is only matched by your incompetence.
Austin: You know what, this whole time, I've been trying to please you. But why should I care what you think? Why should I care what anyone thinks? I know I rock.
- Can't Do It Without You (theme song)
- Stuck on You (Premiere)
- Better Than This (repise)
- Chasin' the Beat of My Heart (repise)
- Ross Lynch as Austin Moon
- Laura Marano as Ally Dawson
- Raini Rodriguez as Trish De la Rosa
- Calum Worthy as Dez Wade
- Laura Marano was being filmed in the Liv and Maddie episode "Howl-a-Rooney" at the same time as this episode was being shot.
- This plot is similar to the episode Review It Up, on another one of Disney's shows Shake It Up. Similarities include:
- The protagonists are worried about a bad review.
- They trick the critic into thinking their meal will be free at the protagonists' hangout (Crusty's/Shedders Beach Club) where one of their friends (Trish/Deuce) work, where in reality it is a scam so the protagonist(s) (Rocky and Cece/Austin) can perform to change the critic's mind.
To view the Critics & Confidence transcript, click here.