Looks like we’re divided kinda 50-50 on whether we’re OK with Abby’s new dancers or not, Dance Moms fans. Which is bad news for the half who aren’t so charmed, because even after last week’s so-so success, the scabs are back and Abby’s still hoping the Pitt Crew will soon be but a memory.
No such luck, Abs — they’re back as well, with Mrs. Hyland in tow. Kel says that she realizes that the way Abby treats her girls is never going to change and since they miss the studio and they miss Miss Abby, may as well go back to loving your captor. Plus, she feels responsible for the other mothers ditching out on school last week and we can’t have that.
Oh oh. Not all the scabs are back. Ally and Shelley caught a plane back to New Orleans. Apparently the other Scab Mothers blamed Ally’s second-place solo finish on the group’s second-place finish and Ally cried all the way home. Abby says Ally was not to blame and asks Shelley to give the girl her best. Then she heads off to admonish her brand-new mean-girl mothers and nip this second generation of jealous sniping in the bud. Holy Hannah, I’ll say she is. One strike and you’re out, Marcia and Gloria.
Sadly, Bella and Kaeli are collateral damage in the battle. Both girls sob and beg their mothers to tell Abby they’re sorry. I don’t think they’re sorry. And even if they are — too late. With no one else left to coach, Abby tells little Sophia that she needs to win her division and the entire competition because she’s it for the ALDC. Welcome to Maddie’s world, Soph. But somehow I think you can handle it.
Returning to her desk, Abby looks out the window and discovers that the same group of trespassers she’d afforded a police escort last week has reconvened in the parking lot. “Oh my God!” she crows. On the other hand, she does have some openings on the competition team, so …
Sticking her head out the door, she says, “Ladies, you come in and dance, or you leave. You don’t loiter in the parking lot.” Well, there, nervous Nellies! Abby’s opened the door — all you have to do is walk through it!
Holly wants an official invitation. “This isn’t a church, Holly,” Abby says. “It’s a dance studio.” “I’ve got God on my side, always on my side,” Holly retorts. “You’ve got God on your thighs, too,” says Abby under her breath. I don’t think I’ll think about that one any further.
Looks like the heart of all this “you better be nice to us or else” business might also be that the girls’ contracts at the studio are up — because before Abby will let the mothers pass the studio threshold, they’ve got some signin’ to do. Which makes them look like this:
Where’s Kelly’s contract, Christi wants to know. Kelly is a no-good, name-calling, boo-hooing quitter with lazy slug daughters, says Abby. Well even so, says Jill, they should still be part of the team. “Did you come here for Kelly?” wonders Abby, because she doesn’t think Jill did. Jill just wants to get this over with and get poor Kendall back in Abby’s good graces. She’s the first to cross the picket line. Melissa goes next.
Holly says she’s disappointed in the other two, but it takes her and Christi about 12 additional seconds to reach for their contracts. We’ve done as much as we can do, reasons Christi. Kelly’s going to have to fight her own battles from here.
Meanwhile poor Kel is languishing in the parking lot like the high-school wallflower whose more popular friends swear they can get her into the cool-kid party if she just waits outside for a couple minutes. Couple minutes more.
But wait! As she reaches for her paperwork, Christi asks Abby if she would listen to Kelly if she came back in and asked forgiveness. Abby says she would. Holly and Christi give each other a look of profound surprise and relief that they won’t have to reveal themselves as sellouts. They go outside, fib a little that Abby “made” them sign the contracts, then break the good news that Abby will hear Kelly’s plea.
“Why do you want to come back?” Abby says to her when she ventures inside. “I don’t,” ‘splains Kelly. Her kids do. And the other mothers want her there, too. The two trade “well, YOU said …” accusations until Kelly has had enough, says she wants to stop reliving offenses that happened 30 years ago and either Abby wants her kids to dance or she doesn’t. She does. As long as they’re not mediocre.
Meanwhile, the other mothers have discovered Sophia and her skinny, gorgeous, L.A.-based mom Jackie in the studio. “It is obvious she does not fit in with our team of dance moms,” sniffs Jill. Oh fer the … you haven’t even exchanged 3 words with her, lady! Maybe she loves one-shouldered outfits, fur vests and moonlighting at malls, too. You don’t know!
She kind of blends to me.
And there are even more surprises to be had! Here comes Kelly, slightly underdressed for the occasion in what appears to be a leather T-shirt that fascinates me to no end. I think I will resurrect the Dance Moms Fashion Moment just for the leather shirt.
Also, I’m happy to have Kelly back.
Also, I’m happy to see that the girls got new head shots taken. I’m not happy to hear that they are all on probation, despite the fact that — as per the usual — they are suffering the sins of the mothers. Maddie casts a few nauseated glances at her equally adorable new rival. Her equally adorable new rival looks petrified to be in this roomful of people who really wish that she weren’t. Abby lets the Pitt Crew know that Jackie has been nothing but kind and helpful. Kelly isn’t buying it.
C’mon, girls! Show your mothers the way. Let’s bond up, pony up and win us a competition that makes us all one big happy family!
This week’s competition is in the land of the Candy Apples — in10sity Dance in Youngstown, Ohio. The group number will be called Red Compartment Special, or something like that. Sophia will also be doing a solo called Superstar. Because she’s a superstar who can do 54 turns in a row.
Abby would prefer not to take any other solos, but she’ll give one to her National title winner Chloe, anyway, because someone has to go up against Sophia or otherwise it’s not fun. After crabbing that Chloe deserves a solo, Christi is now pissed that Chloe has a solo because it feels like punishment instead of reward. No makin’ you happy, is there, lady.
Then Abby turns to the moms and says she needs to see evidence of their loyalty in the form of completed assignments. Because idle hands and minds are the work of the devil, ain’t that right, Miss Abby? Especially in the Mom Loft. The mothers take the news well.
“Did she forget that we’re the ones who pay her to teach our kids dance?” Christi wonders of us. “We have other children and other responsibilities — and you are not in charge of us!” she says to Abby. Abby just gives her a look that says you just signed yourself away, Mrs. Thing. Should’ve asked more questions first.
Oh. The group dance is called Red Carpet Special. Because the dancers think they’re just that special. Abby wants the girls to be grateful that their bona fide super star Sophia has joined the team. Ever the graceful young lady, Chloe says that that makes her want to prove to Miss Abby that she can be as good as Sophia.
I have an idea! Let’s just leave the cameras on the girls at all times and watch talented little dancers just get better and better together! ’Kay?! Who’s with me?!
No one here. We’re up in the Mom Loft, where Jill says she’d like to see proof that Sophia can do 54 pirouettes [it's right here]. “In tap shoes,” notes Jackie, who really does genuinely seem like a sweet woman. “That’s a reflection on the teacher!” protests Kelly. If the kids can’t turn in tap shoes, it’s because they haven’t been taught to do so. I can live with that argument — but it’s not Sophia’s fault that she has.
Melissa just calls it like she sees it. “I think she’s fabulous,” she says. “And she’s going to beat our kids every time.”
Kelly says they will only be welcoming to mothers whose kids are worse than theirs. Jill is still stuck on the 54 pirouettes thing. Why does anyone even need to do such a thing, she wants to know. Because there’s a world record to be claimed, says Jackie. Then she adds that she thinks their girls are really good, too.
Christi decides it’s time to blow Jackie’s cover. She tells her that she read some of the things that Jackie said online about Miami’s Mia Diaz — remember her, Dance Moms Miami fans? — and she’s relieved she’s being kind to their children. Jackie says that whatever she read, Jackie didn’t write it. Welcome to Pittsburgh, Jackie. Maybe Marcia and Glo weren’t all that bad.
Because we all know Abby is all about the message dance, Chloe’s solo is called Another Girl. Honestly, does Abby have a composer at her disposal to whip something up each time some drama happens? Next week’s group number: “Other Children and Other Responsibilities.”
Abby says she knows Chloe can relate to this concept, because first she was in Maddie’s shadow and now she’s in Sophia’s. Couple more years, Chloey girl. Then you’re 13, out of their solo division and out from behind their shadows. Maybe you can even make use of that Joffrey scholarship. Maybe you can even room with Bri, who’s still waiting for her trip to NYC, too.
Abby cuts Chloe’s rehearsal short to go have an acro private with Sophia, and Christi and Kelly are justifiably irked. I have to say, though, I’m starting to climb just a little bit more on the Abby train — especially after last week’s walkout. Abby wants to train working, professional dancers. Abby wants her name connected to working, professional dancers. If the other mothers are going to pull their kids and think Abby will sit with her nose pressed to the glass, waiting for their return — especially now that they’re reality-TV famous — maybe this IS a lesson they need. I mean, the moms. I still bleed a thousand ways for the girls, who have had their dance training interrupted by a TV show that will not likely continue to make them famous once it’s over, especially when their mothers are on television each week displaying their stage-mom ways.
Case in point: Melissa and Jill have gone missing from the loft and Kelly discovers them down in the — what is that room, anyway? — tidying up. “What are you doing — being Abby’s slaves?” she demands. Grab a feather duster, Kel. You got your kids back into this — you may as well do what you can to make it as easy as possible for them.
Melissa, who grabbed the curling iron to snazz up her asides, says Maddie and Mac were always Abby’s favorites and if she has to teeter the trash out in her stilettos to get them back on top, so be it. You go, Melissa. Even though it once drove me mental, I’ve missed this version of you.
I’m going to ignore the part where Christi and Kelly are now plotting to mess with Sophia’s eyelash glue and Jackie’s drink, even if it is in jest. Christi did just admit she’s been roofied before, though, so there’s that.
The next day, Christi once again leads the snark parade about Abby’s looks and marital status. Holly keeps her yap shut, and Kelly actually says she thinks Abby is pretty. Noticing the commotion, Abby dispatches Gia up to the Mom Loft to ask that Jackie pay attention to the practice and not the bad influences beside her.
Again, setting a fine example, Maddie cheerfully admits in her aside that it is hard not to be jealous of Sophia because she does have skills that Maddie doesn’t have. More girls! Less moms; more girls!
Upstairs we find out that Sophia’s advanced skills set could be because Sophia is home-schooled, only two days a week. “You’re killin’ me over here!” exclaims Dr. Holly, who left her doctorate in education and her career as a school principal behind to sit up here and do this sort of thing.
Oh oh. Crisis of conscious for the moms. So their children might not have Sophia’s skills, but they are likely better educated. So which is best? Melissa is pleased to have this ammo, either way. Aren’t you, muffin?
Yes you are.
Downstairs, Abby tells Sophia she’d like to have her take a master turns class, and Sophia — her Minnie Mouse voice extra Minnie-Mousey — tells Abby that sometimes she teaches the little kids at her own studio and she’s really mean to them. Abby high-fives her little helium-voiced taskmaster.
Then she goes to check on the progress of her worker-moms and discovers that Christi has not counted some pictures. Can’t you count that high, she wants to know. No, says Christi, she cannot because she is a product of the public school system. Still, she bets she can count higher than home-schoolers. Jackie makes a face, but says nothing. Neither do the other mothers who quickly bury their faces in their phones and try to let the moment pass.
Tapping into all the upheaval on her team and in her studio — have we seen any girl other than Sophia smile even once in this episode? — Abby decides to test the mothers’ seriousness about having a winning team. Because she has too many dancers in the group dance, she brings the mothers down and informs them that they will be the casting directors for the final number. Anybody else remember how this went last time?
If you’re casting a 5-year-old, maybe you’d cast Mac, Abby tells them for the sake of example. If you’re casting “The Lion King,” maybe you’d cast Nia. Well, we managed to go two and a half episodes into Season 3 before we whipped out some squirmy stereotyping, anyway.
The mothers just look exhausted.
Abby calls out Christi for refusing to even look at Sophia. Christi says that Abby can’t tell where her eyes are going, and Abby says she would be a fool not to try to learn from someone who is a better dancer. Brooke nods in agreement, but it doesn’t win her points with her teacher who tells her she’s a day late and dollar short.
Abby says Maddie and Mac did fine. Then she tells her dancers that if she allowed the mothers to choose the final cast for the dance, they could not be objective. Can you, mothers? No, agrees Jill.
Abby makes the decision: Brooke is out. You should have done the dusting, Kel.
Kel says this makes no sense because Mac is not at the same technical level as the rest of the dancers. I agree.
At a front-desk powwow, Abby tells the mothers that everyone but Sophia should be worried, because everyone at the competition is out to beat them and they are highly beatable. Holly — whose green necklace, which I covet, merits Dance Moms Fashion Moment #2 — tries to mediate and say it has been a tense few days, but Abby isn’t having it.
“Your fault!” she exclaims, pointing at each of the moms but Jackie. Holly soldiers on, suggesting that pointing fingers is not getting us anywhere and neither is belittling children. Abby says she doesn’t need to do that because the children are belittling themselves. “Shut your mouth!” Christi explodes.
“Let’s just stop fighting and try to be a team,” begs Jackie. Good luck with that one, lady.
Nonetheless, come competition day, Abby seems to realize that a lot more flashbulbs go off when people recognize the little dancers who are trailing behind her into the venue.
Abby uses that to remind the girls that Sophia is not the only reason that they need to bring their A game. Then she proceeds to ignore everyone but Sophia.
Sophia is a superstar turner.
Also, she seems to have no hip joints. Hence, her solo is mostly turns and lifting her leg in ways that make Hubby Rik wail, “Owwwwwwwww! Ow! Ow!”
Christi says if Abby was so interested in team building she shouldn’t have Chloe dance immediately after Sophia. I didn’t know Abby was in charge of such things. She says she hopes the judges see the emotion in Chloe’s dancing, and I agree with her. I am impressed with Sophia’s technique, but I don’t hold my breath when she dances the way I do with Chloe.
Abby says if Chloe didn’t sit on her butt all week, she might have been good, but she did OK. Backstage, Chloe tells her mother she let her down. Christi hugs her and tells her she didn’t. You win some, you lose some. Are we already calling her a loser?
Abby heads straight for Sophia and tells her that the competition folks are freaking out about her. Still she does issue her one correction, which seems to befuddle the child just a bit.
The girls seem to have a great time getting ready for the group dance and posing for pictures, but Kelly feels bad that Brooke is not there, too. She gets choked up, but vows that she’s going to let her emotions drive her to get Brooke back on the team this time, rather than pull her daughters away. Give us a smile, Kel.
The Red Carpet Special gets off to a terrible start when the special red carpet refuses to cooperate. And of course it’s poor teeny tiny Mac who must wrangle the thing. Really? We couldn’t have a bigger kid grab the prop? The announcer tells her not to feel bad because the same thing happened at his wedding. Finally Mac pries the thing loose and the dancers start to come out, but it’s still bunchy in places. No one gets tripped up.
The camerawork doesn’t do much for allowing us to see how well the girls dance together, which may be for the best because Jill says the routine feels thrown together. She wonders if they’ll even place.
Awards time. Elite junior solo. Chloe gets third. Sophia wins.
What’s this? Looks like we’re getting some special judges award. Special Lady Judge comes out and says that there is something so humble and heartwarming about one dancer and they just had to recognize it. Chloe earns the Expressive Heart Award. Christi says it’s her job to raise someone that she not only loves, but likes and that is Chloe. I completely agree. The girl is the epitome of grace.
Elite junior small group — Red Carpet Special wins. Kelly says she hopes that after last week’s second-place finish, this week’s first-place finish will prove to Abby that this is her competition team.
Backstage, Chloe tells her mother that she’s glad she got third instead of second so that Abby can’t tell her that second is the first to lose and my expressive heart breaks a little.
Abby says she’s glad that the judges didn’t notice all the mistakes in the group dance. She calls Chloe a hot mess. Tells Christi the girl needs extra flexibility work at home. Christi points out that Chloe is a product of Abby’s instruction. Sophia is a product of someone else’s instruction. Good point, Christi. What DOES that someone else think of this defection? Gathering a head full of steam, Christi tells Abby she’s a dance plagiarist — she took another teacher’s hard work and instruction and just slapped her name on it. Even though Abby hollers back that Chloe was terrible, I’m pretty sure Christi’s observation hit its mark. Abby grabs her defective red carpet and leaves.
Next week: Where’d Sophia go? And Abby starts pitting the Pitt Crew against one another.
So many questions, Dance Moms faithful! Do you agree with Christi that Abby’s claiming good grades for someone else’s work? Do you think that someone else has called Sofia home? Is it time for Abby to be more supportive of her own dancers? Do you feel the judges award Abby’s dancers higher scores because they’re on TV? If you’re a dancer, would you like to compete against the Pitt Crew, even if they did? Sound off in the comments section below.