Ok, now I can barely feel my leg for how hard this show is pulling it. (And yet, I watch. And. Yet. I. Watch.)
For one, in the first five minutes of this episode, tastefully titled “Dying To Dance,” Abby Lee referred to her oddly-assembled little group of dancers as “the entire cast.” For two, she’s bumping 8-year-old Maddie into the age 9-11 solo competition category and no one says a thing. Except Christi. Who, if she was really that tweaked, would have tipped off the judges and put a fine, fast end to Chloe’s competition. Unless I’m not understanding this dance competition thing. Which I’m probably not.
For three, Abby says of the new group number — purportedly to the children, though the mothers are in the room, as well — “You have to be great actresses to pull this off … and they’ll be dressed like angels.” They? Wait. So who’s acting, again?
And for most of all, she has now choreographed a cheery little routine called “Where Have All The Children Gone?,” about “the kids on the milk carton,” plus also kids who are bullied to the point of suicide.
“To be honest, I don’t really know the meaning of ‘Where Have All The Children Gone?’” says 9-year-old Chloe.
“You’re not interpreting the story correctly. … You’re just doing the steps,” says Abby to her and the other girls as they flail about, trying to master the creep-a-doodle choreography and ignore the music (wha’, we have music more than 34 seconds before they go on stage?) that would not be out of place in a slasher flick. And is likely making Vivi-Anne and MacKenzie have night terrors, even though the sum total of their roles is for Mac to push Viv in a swing.
All of the mothers duly react like they’ve smelled something bad, then troop upstairs to The Loft of Observation to briefly discuss the horror of the routine and then take up some real issues — Kelly’s looming 40th birthday and wrinkles. More specifically, Cathy’s opinion that everyone (except herself) needs Botox. Because Cathy clearly proved her good judgement and concern last week with the Mom Dance, so allowing her to talk you into having needles jabbed into your face is a fine idea.
Oh, of course they do. Except for Melissa and the not-surprisingly-absent Holly. ”A couple little pricks and off we go,” crows the victor after her two main frenemies are injected with toxins. <choke>
Then we see a festive little birthday celebration at Kelly’s massive house, during which Melissa presents the birthday girl with animal-print handcuffs and a candy-necklace-candy bikini. Wheeeeeeee!
Throughout all of this — and, I am fairly certain, in semi-explanation of the title of the ep — Christi is dealing with the critical illness of her grandmother, whom, she says, all but raised her. This affords the hour a couple of tear-stained moments of seriousness, a reasonably charming Christi-Chloe road trip to the military base on which Christi grew up, and Kelly advising her weeping pal that she has to tend to her own priorities.
Christi goes on the dance trip. Duh.
And thus, we are at “Star Power” in Providence, R.I., ready to find out where all the children have gone. While Cathy and Kelly battle over costumes, Holly and Christi are still talking about how inappropriate the routine is, even as their daughters don their “angel” outfits and get ready to go right out there and pretend they’re being choked, beaten and stabbed, then disappear one by one from the stage.
This time around, Abby Lee’s risk pays off and the routine is the highest scoring of the competition. So apparently dance judges do not like little girls dressed and dancing like call girls, but murdered children is winner! Got it.
Also, the newly-nined Maddie beat Chloe by — gasp — ONE HALF A POINT in the solo competition! But you knew that was going to happen, so snzzzzzz.
And best of all, Grandma lives!!!
Coming up next week: Holly wants to know the long-suffering Nia will be dancing in an animal-print disco costume and afro wig. (Hint: because you let her, Hol. Because you let her.) And Minister Dawn returns.
Watch full episodes of Dance Moms online at lifetimetv.com.