“Dance Moms” recap: Warts, Miami And All

Or Dance Moms recap: The Pony, The Swim and A Jerk. Again with the decisions!

Whatever you want to call it, this week’s episode begins with Abby blaming last week’s loss at Fire & Ice Elite on the girls, rather than the fact that they did her choreography flawlessly despite having to do it in their judge-mortifying, fan-dancin’ underpants.

Which is everyone’s fault but the girls’ and that’s a fact.

The pyramid is a complex affair with lots of qualifiers. Bottom of the bottom is Big Mac, who, says Abby, should act “bigger and longer.” A perfectly zen Mac looks like she gets it, so who am I to quibble? Next is Paige, who didn’t “utilize her spare time.” Paige doesn’t look like she gets that at all, and — since I have yet to see any of these people have a moment of spare time — neither do I. So we’re 1-1.

Next comes Nia, from whom Abby needs to “see more” even though she’s never given more to do. There’s no getting that unless you’re nuts and/or Abby, so let’s just move to the second row, which begins with Chloe who is 10 and need to dance like she’s 12. Even though she kicked the keisters of every 12-year-old-and-then-some-but-one at last week’s competition. On the heels of wearing a meat suit. Which, if you ask me, qualifies her to be the whole entire pyramid this week just on account of bravery.

Thirteen-year-old Brooke — who did indeed win a trophy and her whole 13-15 division last week, even though we didn’t see a lick of it — comes next. And because she won everybody’s division, Maddie is No.1 for the second week in a row. But can she make it three?

And that’s your math lesson for the day.

At long last, the travel ban has been lifted and we’re headed to tropical, fast-paced Miami. As in Dance Moms: Miami Miami? Hmmm. Does the cross-pollination begin already?

Everyone will dance the group number, which will be called “Reputation” and  be all about The Swim, The Pony and Annette Funicello (a puzzled Paige calls her Annette Funicelli, which would make an excellent name for a pasta dish). Also sun, pool boys, Beach Blanket Bingo  and big, high pony tails. Also, because Abby wants to take the girls back to a time of innocence, it’s about “little itsy bitsy ’60s bikinis.”

I give up on the costumes. I just do.

Anyhow, Maddie, Chloe and Nia (!!!) will do solos, and Maddie, Chloe and Paige will dance their trio — except Paige has to get the warts cut out of her feet tomorrow, so now what? Kelly (who has become the queen of the ginormous chunky necklace this season) cannot change the appointment because she’s done it 17 times already. Like it or not, those bad boys are coming off, and they’re coming off tomorrow.

Speaking of warts, welcome to Ohio, home to John R. Kasich Governor; those cows who should probably consider getting an agent of their own for how often we see them; and Cathy, who is giving an oddly blonde-looking Kendall — whom I did not immediately recognize — her privates. (See? I got this lingo.) Jill still doesn’t seem very happy. Also, Kendall’s hair and eyebrow color just changed right before my eyes. Whatever that leap was that she just did, it turned her hair back to brown. It made Jill happier, too. Whooop …blonde hair, again. Brown hair. What the hell is going on in Ohio?

Back in Pittsburgh, Mac and the gang are doing a mighty Pony and the mothers are upstairs talking plantar warts. Also, now that Nia has landed another solo, Holly has suddenly become obsessed with her joining the trio, too — which could not be more out of Holly’s character if she was suddenly obsessed with Nia joining the circus. Christi — apparently a little bored with all the wart talk — urges her to go downstairs immediately and bring that up to Abby.

Even though she is the most educated in the group and has had multiple semesters of Abby Lee Dance Studio schooling in things you just don’t do, Holly nonetheless pulls a Jill and interrupts practice. (Script: “Holly pulls a Jill and interrupts practice.” Holly: “I hate this script.”) In an aside, Abby reveals she was planning to use Nia as Paige’s back-up anyway; in the studio, she goes plumb off the deep end. Even worse than usual. This is utterly inexplicable, given how nicely Holly asked and how many pissy fits Jill and Leslie threw before their respective departures, garnering only mild amusement from Abby. Somebody felt the need for some quality camera time.

At the end of it, Holly the Principal gets expelled from dance school. Vice principal Nia goes in tow.

The best part is, the next day Abby can’t believe that Holly and Nia are not back in their places with smiles on their faces. Melissa Gisoni isn’t there either, but no one seems to be worried about that one bit.

And we’re off to the doctor with Paige, her piggies and her plantar warts. Sure enough, there they are in full-color close-up! The doc says he can tell her that she can dance, but her body might tell her something else. The doctor clearly doesn’t understand that it doesn’t matter what he or Paige’s body say at all. It matters what Abby says. The end. In any case, ten seconds later, the warts are history with barely a flinch from Paige.

Maddies’ solo is called “All of My Life” and even though it’s classified “contemporary,” it looks like all of the lyrical solos that she’s been doing all of her life. Chloe will do contemporary lyrical to “Send Down Your Love.” Hopefully like a 10-year-old 12-year-old, if she knows what’s good for her.

Meanwhile back in Ohio, Cathy is, like, totally beaming because she has gotten Kendall a “performance opportunity.” Or as they say in Hollywood, she got her a “gig.” No more double-entendre-laden faux ads with the Sausage King of Canton Wrangler-Jeans Mike up Cathy’s sleeve; Kendall (who is officially back to brunette) will be part of the halftime entertainment for the Harlem Globetrotters. Jill is pleased. What on God’s green must the mothers of Cathy’s-Chloe and Justice be thinking of these usurpers? Justice for Justice, say I.

Hey! It’s an ad for Dance Moms: Miami. It looks classy. I can’t decide if I’m dejected or thrilled.

Back in Pittsburgh, Paige is trying to soldier through on her hacked-up tootsies, worrying Abby that the trio is doomed to a duo with no one to step in. Not to worry, Ab, because Holly’s back, along with a ticked-off-looking Nia slumped on the Jill Vertes Memorial Bench and looking askance. Because none of this is really happening. Or because Holly has decided to teach Nia “how to take the high road and not run away from her problems.” Which I actually think is plausible, even if none of this is happening, really.

Abby opines that Nia has to make her own opportunities, then follows it with a bracing chaser of, “She better go out and nail this because of all the trouble her mother has caused me.” My head kind of hurts now.

Down in Miami, the mothers head to the pool with drinkies and Abby marches the girls to the beach to yell at them for not watching Beach Blanket Bingo and then make them do push-ups, The Pony, The Swim and The Jerk in The Sand. Then she lets them swim for real. Then she screams like a banshee when the soggy little blossoms pile upon her in her chaise. All except Big Mac, who stays in the surf and then — in the episode’s most adorable aside — nods her adorable little noggin vigorously and howls, “I coulda gotten lost at sea!”

Fun fact: You get your fingers just a smidgen too far to the left on the keyboard and that “soggy blossom” sentence becomes “puke upon her in her chaise” in a big fat hurry. I’d have been fine either way.

Meanwhile, back up north, Cathy, Kendall and Jill are courtside with the ‘trotters at the Canton Memorial something or other, and again I can’t help but wonder what the mothers who’ve put in years with the Apples are thinking. Especially if this turns out to be anything less than mortifying.

Jill is convinced that a stellar performance at the Canton Memorial Something or Other will open many doors for Kendall. Given that it hasn’t opened many doors for countless high-school pom squads across the nation, I’m not quite as hopeful. But Kendall dances wonderfully and is cute as a button goofing with the Globetrotters after, which is nice. Cathy did a nice.

Oh oh. The Miami competition is on the Florida International University gym floor. Gym floors are Maddie’s achilles heel, remember?Nonetheless, the trio is dressed like Easter-egg colored birdies and — despite Paige’s poor ouchie feet —  the dance goes off without a hitch. Excised warts and all.

For the group number — which is now known as “Beach Bum” even though the completely-in-the-weeds announcer just calls it “Abby Lee dance routine” — the girls are in reasonably tasteful orange and white booty-short bikinis with bright blue headbands, and they go out and pony and jerk and tumble their hearts out around a big blue umbrella. It’s completely delightful, especially when they roll Big Mac across their bodies like a little, grinning people surfer.

Oddly enough, the group dance only gets third place. The trio gets second. A group of Miami high-schoolers — who, suspiciously, seem to comprise the entirety of this competition other that the Pitt crew — get first.

Back in the dressing room, Abby is perfectly fine with the third-place finish and Maddie is standing on Chloe’s butt. You pick which one is weirdest.

Time for Maddie’s solo. Remember, Maddie — this is a gym floor. No changing up the acro moves in mid-air. She doesn’t. I’m pretty sure she won’t tumble from the top of next week’s pyramid either. Chloe, in forest green, brings down the house with her creepy-pretty dance, but Abby says she saw a few things. Abby always sees a few things where Chloe is concerned. And then it’s Nia’s turn.

The poor little orange-clad soul freezes just moments into her  jazz routine. (Script: “Nia freezes just moments into her jazz routine.” Holly: “I hate this script.”) Sobbing, Nia runs off the floor and into the waiting arms of Maddie and Chloe. In the stands, Big Mac cries, too. Holly — ever mindful of the “learn from your mistakes” lesson — requests a second chance for Nia and miraculously gets it. Abby is unimpressed.

This time around, Nia remembers every move and does well enough to land herself the third-place solo prize, followed by Chloe From Abby Lee in second and Maddie From Abby Lee in first.

Man, after all of that drama at the start, this turned into some kind of feel-good episode. So next week involves lawyers and an ambulance! Wheee!

New epsiodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9pm/8 CT on Lifetime.

Images and video: © 2012 Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC.

About Lori Acken

Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.
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