So, Dance Moms Nation, did everyone go out and buy themselves a bike-a-tard to futz with since we hung out last? No? Me either. I wanted to, but apparently bike-a-tards are not appropriate office attire, even when all you do is write about TV. Even if you dress it up with a jacket and some pumps.
Um, if any of you try that, could you please take a picture and Tweet it to me? @ChannelGuideLLA
On with the episode. Abby is clearly not over the general disaster that was last week’s trip to Cali because she gets on the girls the second they walk into the studio … about the way they walk into the studio. Not lively enough for Abby’s liking. Zero energy. Slugs, if you will. Boooooooring.
So let’s liven things up with The Pyramid.
Whoa, Abby is mad! Maddie is the bottom of the bottom. Have we even seen that before? She had an opportunity to dance, says Abby. They called her! And there she sat, bawling in the audience! She’s a wizened nine-year-old now, and thus should know that when opportunity knocks, you answer that door, little sister. Ready to dance or not.
Mackie’s next. Oy. Bad day for Melissa, right here. Mack’s number was a winner, says Abby, and yet she got tenth. Abby don’t do tenth. Abby do costumes that put lacy fabric in the palms of a seven-year-old who needs to land on them securely mid-handspring. I’m just saying …
Next is Paige. She looked great, but forgot the fateful kick of Armageddon in the group dance. This week, kick, Paige. Even if your dance doesn’t call for it. Life probably will.
Row two begins with Brooke. Same old, same old, huh, Brooke fans? Not enough personality. Only does what is asked of her.
Does it reliably week after week after week after week … but what do I know? Abby says she’s too focused on not screwing up the dance and is not having any fun out there. Maybe because the photos of the people who did screw up their dances are down there below her in row three.
Next is Nia. She got responsible and stopped screwing around (aka having fun) and running her mouth. Nia’s newly-responsible mouth does not smile at this assessment.
Top of the pyramid for another week is Chloe. She was good, but Abby wants more. Always more.
To achieve this, Nia and Mack will be doing a duet — and they look utterly, adorably delighted about it. I love me all of these dancers, but these two totally steal my heart for embracing the sheer joie de vivre of dance, wrath de Abby or otherwise. Beam on, little ladies! Beam on!
Paige gets a solo. Paige wha‘?! Oh. It’s not a reward. It’s to prevent her from screwing up choreography for anyone but herself. Kick, Paige!
Brooke also gets a solo. Chloe, too. It will be called Unchained. Or it would’ve been. Seems Chloe missed class last night — three “faculty members” said so — and if you miss class, you get no solo.
“She was at the doctor,” protests Christi. She has a note and everything. Solo is saved.
But not Abby’s mood. She doesn’t even want to do a group dance with such a bunch’a slugs. But she’s going to. And even though we’re headed off to a competition with Energy for its first name, the group dance is going to be about possibly the least energetic thing in the universe. Namely, zombies. Because that’s what she has to work with.
On second thought, given the vast amount of knowledge I have about zombies from being hopelessly addicted to The Walking Dead — to the point of pissing off the household’s original Walking Dead fan, Hubby Rik — zombies can be pretty lively. But mostly when they’re trying to eat people.
I sincerely hope this personality quirk does not figure into the dance.
Looks like last season’s rumors are true and Dr. Holly has gone on sabbatical to study at the Institute of Abby Lee. Thus, because she’s newly awash in free time, Abby puts her in charge of dressing the little zombies. Holly looks like she sees one right now.
Holly’s not all Becky-Home-Ecky like that.
Time for group dance practice, where Abby explains that the kids are actually busts on a pedestal. Wait. Are we zombies … or statues? They’re not the same, Abby. Statues were never alive in the first place … and also they rarely want to eat people. In my experience, anyway.
If anyone’s been nibbled on by a statue, could you Tweet me a picture, please? Bonus points if you’re wearing a bike-a-tard when it happens.
Up in the Mom Loft, Melissa is fussing her children’s bottom-row places on the pyramid and Kelly wonders if Abby put them down there to punish Melissa for ratting Abby out about the real reason she left Jersey. Melissa offers up a brave and quavering smile and says that everything is fine between them, but things will never be the same because Abby doesn’t need her anymore. Kelly looks at Melissa like she’s lost her damn mind. This isn’t a high-school breakup, tootsie. It’s you and your kid’s dance teacher. Need shouldn’t factor into it. But, oh, it does.
Turns out that Melissa is no longer manning the front desk at ALDS because she really doesn’t have the time. But she misses it terribly, which, I am pretty sure is code for she misses the favor that it curried for her children. She says she gets emails every day from fans clamoring for her return. But there’s no time. There’s just no time.
Kelly calls that bullpucky: Maddie and Mack are at the bottom because Melissa didn’t pucker up and worship appropriately. Christi agrees: Just because you married money and no longer need to work does not mean you are excused from Abby’s employ until Abby says you are.
Paige’s solo of punishment will be acro and called Tongue Twister. Turns out it’s actually a number that she and Abby began work on a year ago and never finished, so we’re wiping off the ol’ dust bunnies and trying it again.
Brooke’s solo is acro lyrical and called Paint the Picture because she’ll be making pictures with her body. Enh! Good one, Abby!
I like Kelly’s dress. Springy. Also, ‘member back in the first part of the season when she was opining that she deserved new-and-improved boobs from her husband for having his children? If said dress is to be believed, I’m pretty sure she and Mr. Hyland are even-stevens. Well, sorry, but those things are RIGHT THERE and they’re as big as her kid’s head.
Out in the lobby — Ohhhhh, there’s a “No Autographs” sign behind Abby’s head now. Someone got too famous! — Abby tells Kelly that Paige needs rubber stoppers for her chair prop so it doesn’t move around. She wants that chair home tonight and fully stoppered-up by tomorrow.
And one other thing: Brooke apparently wants to take voice lessons. And viola! Abby just happens to have an instructor right here at the studio. It’s now the ALD — and S — Studio. S for singing. Or should it be V for Voice? I’m going with the Abby Lee School of Song and Dance, which I like for any number of reasons.
Also, Abby Lee doesn’t care what the Hylands might have heard about her instructor. They’re using her. Case closed. Or as Abby puts it: “Get a clue, Momager. I manage her. You signed a piece of paper — and I manage her.”
Hubby Rik thinks Abby should manage some sand right up her, well, you know … and so does Kelly. You manage her with dance, says the Momager. Not singing. And that resolve lasts about 4 seconds before the Momager caves. “When I say sing, sing,” Abby commands Brooke. And that is that.
Commercial for Panera. Hubby Rik misses when Son Kendrick worked there. Apparently Panera sammies are better when made by your kin.
When we return, Melissa approaches Abby about Maddie having some private instruction/rebonding time, but Abby’s cool to the idea. Seems she has solo music at the ready and costumes drawn, but she thinks Mad’s lost her fire, so what’s the use? Then she realizes that it’s her chance to get into the kid’s head without her mother guarding it, so she books the lesson after all.
Mack and Nia’s duet will be about the circus. Lots of acro for our rambunctious little tots. Mack is the lion; Nia’s the lion tamer. And I am ready to step right up.
Oh Lordie. It’s voice lesson time. And Abby’s voice teacher looks a lot like Abby — had Abby been born to Ethel Merman. I shall call her Abby Merman.
Her real name is Cathy. Or maybe Kathy. But we already have one of those, so Abby Merman she is. So say us all. Or, at least, me.
Abby Merman thinks Brooke can sing as well as she wants to. At Abby’s behest, Brooke sings a song the girl wrote herself about spinning records round and round for the purpose of making summer sounds — and she sounds adorable. Abby Lee and Abby Merman take the credit.
And it’s time to make the costumes. Holly refuses to give Abby the satisfaction of failing this assignment, and her cohorts have her back. They band together to make these babies fabulous. Which involves stomping on them in the dirt outside the studio. But they do it with a great deal of energy, so Abby should approve. Then it’s back to the Mom Loft.
“A hot pink effin’ rhinestone chair,” marvels Christi, even though Melissa is coloring the prop solid black with a giant marker. Where’s Sondra Celli when you need her to bling that thing, ain’t that right, Gypsy Wedding fans? Also where are its stoppers when you need them, because that’s about to become a problem.
Seems Kel left the prop at the studio rather than take it home last night and has spent today making costumes instead of shopping for stoppers. No excuse! Abby flips out. Kelly flips her off and backs it up with an F-bomb. Abby tells Paige her mother’s truck-driver language should embarrass her, and the girl grabs her chair and flees in tears.
No doormat, that Kelly! She dispatches Christi to comfort Paige and makes a beeline for Abby. She’s done. Her kids will no longer be at Abby’s disposal as dancers or as whipping posts. Her cash will no longer be in Abby’s coffers. “I’ve been here all day making costumes for you while you were down the road, eating! STOP EATING!” she screams at an incredulous Abby by way of explanation and an unsolicited diet tip. Credit her remaining monthly fees, tear up her card number, never speak her name again. And then she’s gone.
“You were a mean girl when you were twelve; you’re still a mean girl” says Abby Not Merman in an aside. Awwwww. Cheerleader Kelly is picking on Wallflower Abby.
But the next day, the mean girl decides to bring her nice girls back to the studio to teach them that you don’t let your team down — even if your teacher goes postal. She says the girls want to be there, so she will stay outside and work on Energetic Zombie costumes to avoid confrontation.
Paige is wearing big ol’ work boots with her two-piece red dance costume and somehow makes it look fabulous. She can spring around like a caffeinated jack rabbit in those bad boys, too!
And another Dance Moms Fashion Moment goes to Kelly for the cutest ruffly brown dress ev-uh! Actually everybody’s super-cute today — Melissa all mod in black and white, Christi in palest periwinkle (and more boobs) and Holly keeping the cold-shoulder folks in business. I’d go out and buy myself one, but that would ensure the immediate death of the trend and we still have a lot of season to go. I don’t want THAT on my fully-clothed shoulders.
Abby’s fine with Kelly’s kids’ return. Of course she is. The competition will go to crumbs without them.
Chloe’s solo, according to Abby, is very Avant-garde and jazzy. Chloe does well with the dark stuff, so I’m encouraged, even though she’s been top of the pyramid for two weeks in a row and that usually signals trouble. But so far so good.
Outside, the moms continue to do costume arts and crafts in the grass, while Abby moves on to Maddie’s “technique private.” And Kelly called it: Abby knows Melissa can’t stand it that Maddie’s not the center of her attention and she shall play that sitch like a fiddle.
The Fashion Moments are coming in droves. Abby has this wristband on, which transcends falconry and Renaissance Fairs and goes all the way to … what? Haphazard morse code? City lights at night? Anybody got a better suggestion?
Observing Maddie’s time with Abby from on high, Melissa cries. She wants her baby to continue to have that teacher’s-pet bond that she never had as a child. And she’s about to throw her fellow moms under the school bus to make sure it happens. Here she comes a’sobbin’ and a’whimperin’ that she loves Miss Abby and when those women — with whom she was just happily barefoot in the grass makin’ costumes — say bad things about the sainted teacher, it hurts Melissa’s heart and Maddie’s heart, too. I’m pretty sure it makes angels lose their wings, as well, although this cannot be proven.
It does make Maddie embarrassed, though, and that’s for sure — because she just said so. She flees the scene and lets her mother babble on. And now mom’s going straight for the top of the pyramid. Does Abby KNOW that Chloe rolls her eyes in class all the time? Abby does. Does Abby KNOW how much it upsets Melissa when Chloe leaves class early all the time? Especially when that traitor in a super-cute frock named Kelly called Melissa to tattle that Christi was taking Chloe to the doctor the other day, but they were done in time to come to class and went to the movies instead! The travesty!
C’mon Abby! Say something about not telling tales out of school — or in it. Make Lori love you, too, if only for a moment in My Life, My Time.
ABBY! Right Ethel-Mermin’ on!
She actually does it! She actually tells Melissa that the other ladies’ shenanigans have nothing to do with Maddie, Maddie is Melissa’s only business and right now her business has issues. So focus, lady. And the kid better be somewhere working on her feet. Oh, Melissa. Not the teacher’s pet again. I feel ya. I wasn’t either. Too mousy just like you.
And we’re on our way to Chi-town — except that the Hylands seem to have missed the bus. So much the better, says Abby. Kelly can blow her own gas money and her own milage. Besides, Abby has bigger things to worry about which is that Bus Driver is back and he still doesn’t know Abby’s special ways to everywhere.
Nonetheless, they make it to Chicago. The Hylands are still nowhere in sight and Paige has just 20 minutes to her solo, which is a problem. But Christi has chosen Pebbles Flintstone chic for the event, which makes for a nice distraction. Another fashion milestone I will never, ever achieve.
Meanwhile, Melissa is in the bathroom — which seems to be the go-to place for a lot of Dance Moms business of late — coaching Maddie in the fine art of ass-kissing. Maddie gives it a go … well, no she really doesn’t.
She dutifully takes Abby out into the hall, then forgets her mother’s script and looks like a little girl who is now petrified that she’s about to let her mother and her dance instructor down. It’s pretty tough to see. Still, Abby calls her out on it and Melissa magically reappears and says Maddie’s not afraid to dance, she’s afraid of Abby. Ohhhhh! Melissa! Saying hateful things about Abby is a hurtful thing that hurts people’s hearts. Not that Abby really gives a crap. She and Maddie tell the crimson-shirted interjector to take a hike.
Then Abby heads off to tell the competition folks to enforce their own rules, hunt down the Hylands and — if they can’t be found — pull the girls’ dances. Mostly so she can add Maddie’s solo last-minute and make it look like she’s only doing so to fill in the blanks.
The mother’s are not fooled.
And it’s Hyland for the hi-lo! I knew it! I knew one’a them babies was coming down the Dance Moms Fashion pike and here it is! In a tasteful navy!
Abby immediately sets on her — ostensibly for being late, but we know otherwise, don’t we, Dance Mom Nation! Now there’s too many solos! Now there’s tons of competition for Maddie! Now what!?
Now Holly says that Abby’s and Kelly’s long and checkered history is writing itself a new chapter. And that chapter says, “Paige is running her solo and Abby is ignoring her in favor of her laptop.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in my estimation. Paige is easily rattled. Better her tormentor hush than harm. Am I right?
Nonetheless, out in the hallway, Kelly confronts Abby about the late–addition solo, making sure that Maddie knows her displeasure is not about the child. Even Maddie says she agrees with Kelly. Kelly says she’s pulling her girls — and she does. The family clings to each other backstage and braces for Hurricane Abby to blow through as the announcer calls for Paige and Brooke to no avail.
Their point is made. Abby says she’s been made to look like a fool for another week in a row.
Can Chloe save the day? Her solo is quirky and intense and cool and she does it flawlessly. Girl walks it off the stage for a second week in a row. Maddie, looking suddenly so much younger in her pink tutu, watches from backstage.
No question about it. The In My Heart solo is cursed. This time out, Maddie’s music CD begins to skip obnoxiously — but this time Maddie dances on, with the crowd’s cheering as her music. Right on, Maddie! It’s one of the most exhilarating moments I’ve seen on this show, and Mads and Chloe hug it out, returning to the practice room hand-in-hand.
Chloe’s solo gets third.
Maddie’s gets second.
And backstage, Kelly looks utterly exhausted. She says she pulled her own daughters’ solos to make a point with Abby, but she will let the girls dance the group dance so that they don’t let their team down.
Nia and Mac’s duet could not be cuter. Even the announcer says so. Nia has a flair for comedy that Abby should use to the hilt. Also, the circus theme makes Hubby Rik require ice cream immediately.
And then it’s time for the zombies. Even Abby is openly dazzled by the costumes and make-up. The dance is called Glam — I suppose The Energetic Undead was already taken — and it’s creepy and cool. The ladies nail it to the pedestals.
The duet gets first. Mackie roars her approval then dissolves in a fit of giggles.
The group gets first, too.
All’s well that ends well, right? Well, no.
Backstage, Abby tells Kelly that she did her no favors by letting her children dance the group dance after embarrassing her and the entire studio by scratching the solos. She reminds Kelly that she was the first to comfort her kid at the hospital after Kelly’s husband ran over the girl’s foot. Dude did what? When did this happen? And to whom? And how is she still dancing?
Finally she tells Kelly that she only wants to teach kids who want to dance and Kelly’s aren’t it. They should both cut their losses and move on. And next week, it looks like we’re talking contracts so … oh oh. Cheatin’, too.
What say you, Dance Moms Nation? Was it fair that Maddie danced a solo this week? Was it OK for Kelly to pull Paige’s and Brooke’s? What will Abby Merman do with herself if Brooke does not return. And who else thinks that Holly oughta be in charge of costumes every week?
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8 CT on Lifetime.
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