Here’s the good news, Dance Moms faithful. We had two hours to fill tonight and, once again, a decent portion of it was a pretty good time. Flirty, happy Abby. Booze-a-riffic moms.Â Another âInvitational featuring the Abby Lee Dance Studioâ competition â this time in Minneapolis â so I can attribute all the losing to the part where you can’t really invite a bunch of people to your party and then win all the door prizes. I think Iâm sensing a theme/business deal here in Season 3 â but whatever.
Even if it was our party last week in Jersey, too, Abby is still put out by so many second place finishes. But she’s not going to yell <wink, wink>. SheÂ says the girls looked exquisite in the group dance, but she didnât see a love story. Even so, she still has love for her dancers.Â Then she tells everyone about going to Minneapolis, which I’m guessing they knew anyway, and we get to the pyramid.
Bottom of the bottom is Big Mac. She missed out on first place in the mini solo division by 11 whopping points.
Next is Nia. At first I worried that Abby was going to yell at her for wanting to dance when she was sick â which should thrill Abby to bits. And it does. She gives the girl a pass for performing under less than ideal circumstances.
Then Paige â she still has noodles for arms.
Row two begins with Maddie. She bobbled easy moves, but she knows how to perform
Next is Kendall. Abby says sometimes her mother harms her, sometimes she helps. This time she helped. Abby says Jill wants Kendall to overtake Maddie and Abby is all about it. Holly says that seems a little cutthroat. Exactly, says Abby. Welcome to competitive dance.
Top of the pyramid is Brooke. And somewhere a little corner of hell has frozen over.
Chloe raises her hand to ask why she still is not back in the stack. Publically, Abby says itâs because sheâs still on probation. Privately, she says its because the lengthy punishment is starting to make Chloe realize that if she wants back in there, sheâs going to have to work hard and ignore her mother.
Group routine is called Donât Ask, Just Tell â Abbyâs salute to the demise of Donât Ask, Donât Tell, and also her entreating the kids to always be themselves and be truthful. Because that’s what this show is all about. Being truthful.
First solo goes to Brooke. Kendall gets one, too. Final solo goes to Maddie. Itâs called Uphill Battle because thatâs what Maddie has ahead of her to get back to the top of the pyramid.
Then Abby dismisses the kids to go warm up in the den and tells their mothers to take their place on the firing line. Then she launches into a diatribe about nice moms finishing last. Or daughters of nice moms, anyway. She wants mothers and daughters to stop focusing on all the other things â Iâm guessing weâre talking about the trappings of fame, right here â and get back to eating, sleeping and breathing dance. Then she excuses them to go tell their daughters to march right back in here and be brilliant.
And they do.
Abby starts running them through a conditioning routine, saying that, from here on out, if theyâre not sweating, bleeding and crying, they donât want it bad enough.Â Upstairs in the mom loft, the ladies are quiet for a spell. Then Melissa breaks the silence by saying that she spent the entire day before scouting locales for her and Greg Gisoni to go on a little honeymoon. The other mothers are all like, âWait, whaâ?! Because if youâre married, why didnât we get an invite?!!â
Melissa says they arenât married yet, but soon. Itâs going to be teeny tiny. Abby might be invited. But probably not the moms. Undeterred, the ladies volunteer to take her wedding dress shopping.
While the mothers are debating what Abby really means by Donât Ask, Just Tell, Big Mac is struggling mightily with the hip-hop choreography. Speaking of struggling, Holly still canât quite wrap her around the idea that Jill is praiseworthy for her sneaky methods of making Kendall outshine Nia in last weekâs duet. Kelly doesnât get it, either. Christy tries to explain that it shows the drive to get your kid ahead, even if itâs a warped way of doings. Things escalate between Holly and Jill until Jill gets up and leaves.
Next day, Melissa and Abby are discussing the details of the upcoming spring concert (remember, Abby doesnât call âem recitals) when the phone rings. Gia answers. Itâs a man. Calling for Abby.
Ooooooohhhhhhhhhh! A boy is calling Abby! Ooooooh!
Abby giggles Â and prowls around, talking, talking, talking and miffing the mothers as practice time ticks away. Finally she puts herself in the naughty corner for her bad behavior, but she doesnât hang up on her man friend. Finally the mothers give up their crabbing and mock.
When Abby finally gets off the phone, Holly, Melissa and Jill head down to pry her for the details. Was their speed-dating outing successful? No. But Abbyâs trip to the gas station afterward was. (Booooooo! I want me some more Darryl!)Â In any case, Mystery Mr. Wonderful pumped Abbyâs gas for her and scored himself some digits for his effort. The moms want to be her glam squad for their big first date, but Abby is doubtful.
Kendallâs solo is called Secrets and Lies. Abby says sheâs dead in the face, which should be good for keeping secrets. Jill says thatâs just her style.
At group rehearsal, Big Mac says her foot hurts, but she doesnât want to let Abby down. Abby is suspicious that she just doesnât want to do the dance. Melissa tells her to put on her hip-hop boots and go out there and give it a whirl.
Upstairs, Jill wants to plan a little bridal shower for Melissa to go with the dress shopping trip. Christi, still smarting from last year’s wholeÂ cease-and-desist thing, isnât so sure thatâs a great idea. Jill protests that things are different now.
After dance (or maybe it’s the weekend, Abby goes to get her nails did for her date. Jill, Holly and Melissa show up, too. Jill starts draping a scarf around Abbyâs neck just for funsies and Abby delivers the line of the episode â âJill, I got one thing going for me and that’s cleavage. Iâm not going to cover it up.â I donât care that we still have 60 minutes left in this thing. Thatâs still the line of the episode.
Abby tells us that the mothers are trying to live vicariously through her, because she’s still on the market and they’re not. She tells them that on the inside, sheâs a size 6 Prada and sheâs all about the L.A. guys. And the dumb jock guys, too. The gym rats if you will. Apropos of I’m not sure what, Jill starts doing the Single Ladies dance.
Back at the studio, Abby says that Maddieâs solo will be darker and edgier than what sheâs used to doing. Melissa says thatâs great because she looks at those kinds of dances on the YouTube and covets them. Since we’ve watched Maddie do variations on the same Suffering Child dance for three seasons now, I covet the prospect of finally seeing something a little more grown up from her, too.
Then itâs time for Abbyâs date, who turns out to be Louie/Louis. He says “Loo-ee” so I’m going with the “ie” version until I find out otherwise. Louie is a scruffy stud muffin in a bowtie. Abby mainlines a few Tic-Tacs. Holly, Jill and Melissa go out to scope him out, say hello and give the man a few pointers. Louie says heâs a gentleman and all around helpful guy.
Then we find out that Abby never actually got out of her car when she first met Louie â and now sheâs discovering heâs a little more petite than she thought. Given the circumstance, one wonders what Louie thinks, too, but I guess weâll find out.
Turns out, not only is Louie taking Abby to Flowers In The Attic, he rented the entire joint just for their date. (Remember Flowers in the Attic from last year‘s Brooke and Abby tea date, Dance Moms diehards?) Louie jumps right to the heart of the matter and asks Abby what sheâs looking for a man. They both âfess up to having long-distance crushes. Then Louie says heâs writing a book about relationships because heâs very good at figuring women out. How hard does that make Abby laugh? This hard.
Dessert is called Chocolate Eruption and Louie says that “eruption” is one of his twelve favorite words. Abby asks him to name the other eleven. He canât quite come up with them off the top of his head. Then he spoons some eruption into Abbyâs mouth.
Louie apparently told Abby that he has a dance background and now Abby wants to know the deets. Oh. That kind of dance background. Seems They made him do it. No word on who They are, but Abby wants to see what They taught him â right now, atop the table. Louie declines. Abby calls him a wuss. Louie begs to differ. Heâs 180 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal, and the table canât handle that much man-ness, thank you very much. I get the distinct impression that “sex” is one of Louie’s favorite words, too.
Next day, Abby gets to contend with this.
She calls them the wicked stepsisters and bids them be gone. They donât go. Abby says Flowers in the Attic was too kitschy for her, but Louie was funny. She was mostly laughing at him instead of with him, but she doubts he noticed. At any rate, she needs more laughter in her life and heâs good for that. So she might just keep him around.
Time for Brookeâs solo instruction. The dance is called Arm Yourself and is about having a secret weapon to get out of any situation. Abby says Brooke was born to dance and she knows it, but she doesnât embrace it. Phhhft!Â More Louie! More Louie!
Nope. Jill and Kendall. On a field trip to get new headshots. As Mr. Photo snaps away, Jill reveals that she aspires to more than just dance for her daughter. She would love her to be in commercials and print ads and the like, as well. Then the flash of the camera proves too much to resist, and she sneaks into a shot with her girl. Then she shoves Kendall out of the way and smiles pretty.
Time for the dress-shopping trip to The Exquisite Bride, complete with surprise mini shower. Melissa says sheâs fine with letting the moms into her life now. This outing might change her mind.WhenÂ the parade of dresses begins. Christi pronounces them all very lovely, but much too virginal for a third-time bride. Then she tests out the mirror. âThis is the skinniest mirror in all of America!â she proclaims.
All the better to sell your pampered pal an overpriced frock, my dear.
Melissa reveals that she wears Spanx. Christi reminds us that Kelly doesn’t wear underwear. Holly spills her drink. Finally, Melissa comes out teary-eyed in a sparkly frock and veil. She says yes to the dress. Whoops. Wrong show. Man, that would have been an awesome net/show crossover, though.
Next day, Big Macâs foot is bugging her, so Melissa tells Abby sheâs taking the kid to the doc. Abby says she canât have a wounded soldier and gives them her blessing. Upstairs, the moms doubt the validity of the wound. Just then, Melissa calls Kelly to see if she can keep Maddie for the night, while Melissa tends to Mackieâs wound. Kelly says sure, then hangs up and leads a discussion of the enduring mystery of Melissaâs wedded state. Just like old times, huh, Dance Moms nation?
The group dance looks like fun, but Abby isnât sure that the girls get the crux of the message. She calls the moms down to ask them to discuss it with their daughters in an open-minded and respectful manner. Holly says Nia loved learning her death drop from Shangela and that it opened up an opportunity to discuss alternative lifestyles in a non-threatening way. Christi says she, too, discussed it with her children âŠ and then explained it to Kelly.
Kelly decides to take up the matter with Paige and Brooke in the studio store. She does a lovely job of it. Brooke and Paige say what’s the big deal because the gay people they know are more fun than the straight ones and that takes care of that.
Kelly delivers Maddie back home and goes in to scout Macâs injury. Melissa says itâs a bad sprain. No dance for 72 hours. Elevation â which is not one of Louieâs favorite words. Icing. Mac says sheâs sad and upset, but Kelly is still suspicious.
Itâs a snowy day in the Minne-apple when the ladies arrive to the cheers of their competitors. In the get-ready room, Abby notices that Big Mac is trooping around just fine. Melissa hands her the required doctorâs excuse. Abby tells Mac sheâs going to sit with her foot elevated for the entire time they’re there.
While Christi gives Chloe a pep talk about showing Abby that sheâs dead serious about being back on the pyramid, Abby leaves and comes back with a wheelchair for her wounded soldier. Mac is devastated.
OK, Mac is totally amused. Abby says no having fun; itâs just a seat for someone who shouldnât be standing.Â Then she turns her attention to Kendall, whom she says is still not being expressive enough. Maddieâs turns are not sharp enough. And Abby will not accept second place again.
Kendall is up first.
She dances beautifully, but keeps her same old hopeful Kendall smile on her face throughout. In her defense, the song does say, âWhen we kiss, I feel nothing.â So she should have the right to look like it, no?Â No.
Abby says she did ok, but it wasnât a first place performance. That should be coming up now.
Itâs nice to see Maddie in something other than a pastel little-girl dance, doing something more expressive and intense than a tormented-little-girl dance. For those of us who feared she was a one-very-good-trick pony, this should go at least a little way in making us feel better.
Also, high-five, producers for giving us a such a good long look at the entirety of everyoneâs dances. Now cut the drama in half and I think we might be on to something.
Abby tells both girls that they did a good job and asks them what they thought of their performances. Kendall says she thinks she did good and Abby asks her why she didnât do excellent. Then she asks Maddie if she made it up the hill. An unsmiling Maddie looks like she has no idea what the correct answer is and nods her head uncertainly. Itâs answer enough for Abby.
Then Abby turns her attention to Brooke. For about 4 seconds. Then she tells the kid to keep doing what sheâs doing and goes to wheel Mac back to the audience. Kelly is not amused. She says if Abby wants Brooke to act like a leader, she should support the mission.
Jill excuses herself to use the restroom, but sheâs actually off to show Abby Kendallâs new headshots.Â The mothers briefly wonder what she’s up to, but theyâre mostly interested in confronting Melissa about Mackieâs magical disappearing injury. Seems sheâs been turning cartwheels and goofing with her wheelchair. Melissa tries to protest that sheâs been yelling at her to sit down and elevate to no avail. Kids will be kids. She says Mack loves this dance and really wanted to do it, but the mothers say the evidence shows otherwise. Melissa starts doing the Million Expressions of Hooey, which pretty much says it all.
How good is it to see Brooke doing solos again?! Her dances are so much more physically complex and mature and elegant than the other dancers.
In the audience, Abby just looks haughty.
Backstage, Kelly says she doesnât want to hear anything out of Abby if the dance didn’t go well enough to suit her. Fat chance of that, sister. Brooke looks typically zen. Abby says the performance was good, but it could have been great. It should have been great. Kelly pushes back a little, but everyone mostly looks over it.
Then Abby asks Mac how the foot is feeling and Melissa chirps that she thinks itâs doing better. Says Mackenzie is resting it, like a good girl. Abby says resting it from what â all the cartwheels she was doing? Busted. And hereâs the cheater-cam evidence.
To be fair, I saw her only land on one foot. Melissa says she was hopping while tumbling. Abby tells her not to lie for her kids. Melissa says she wasnât lying. Mac says so, too.Â Abby decides the only way to get to the bottom of this conspiracy is some good old-fashioned interrogation of the rank and file. She tells General Brooke to line up the troops. Isn’t this the cutest thing?!
Maddie says yes sir, sir, Mac did in fact go to the hospital. Nia says no sir, sir, she did not witness a cartwheel. Only walking.
Melissa says Mac has a sprained ankle, not a broken foot, so she can walk like that. Hold up now. What? Werenât we looking at and discussing Macâs sprained foot with Mrs. Hyland just a little ways back in the Gisoni livingroom? Werenât nothing said about no ankle then.
Finally, Abby gives up the individual queries and addresses the entire line. Raised hands, who saw Mackie doing tricks?
Next weekâs pyramid should be a fest.
Speaking of which, Abby pulls Chloe aside and tells her that she will be watching her especially during the group number and she better see a dancer who wants back in the stack. And also she better see a kid willing to stand up to her mother when Christi is doing something that goes against Chloeâs contract.
Then Abbyâs ready for some hip-hop redemption.Â The dance is awesome â probably one of my favorite ever.
It has nothing to do with Donât Ask, Donât Tell and more to do with thank you for noticing that I’m single and ready to mingle, but anyway. We had our lesson back at the shop. Holly says it wasnât perfect, but it was fun to watch.
Backstage, Abby lines up the army and asks them one by one what they did wrong.
Private Nia says she twisted the wrong way and gets 20 push-ups. She drops and does real ones, not girly, bent-knee ones. I salute ya, Miss Dangerous!
Private Kendall says her face and her spacing need work. Twenty push-ups for her, too.
Private Maddie says she accidently scooped her arms. Same punishment.
Private Chloe used her hand wrong. We donât even find out what Private Paige did; its just straight to push-ups. Abby says Brooke was MIA through the whole routine. Uh uh. I saw her. Then Abby commands them to march out that door and says she doesnât want to see them again. “Yes maâam!” they holler happily, running out the door.
Awards time. I predict a lot of second-place finishes.
Brooke gets second in the teen solo division.
Kendall gets fourth in the elite junior solos.
Maddie gets second again. Melissa blames her only having three days to learn the dance. I blame the Invitational.
Hoooboy. The group dance gets seventh. The moms are happy, given that hip-hop is not their daughtersâ collective forte. Christi says that if Abby wants the girls to win, she should give them choreo that theyâre actually, you know, good at. And put them in a competition that doesn’t have their name in its title.
Backstage, Abby waves the white flag of surrender. The moms laugh, but Abby says itâs not funny. It’s time for the girls to reenlist in their passion for dance or hit the bricks and that’s final.
Next week, another two-hour episode, the group dance is about Rosa Parks and Cathy and her Lad Apples are back.
A new two-hour episode of Dance Moms airs next Tuesday at 8/7CT on Lifetime.