Quick prayer to launch this week’s recap, Dance Moms nation, because I feel it is required. At least for me.
Dear sweet Jesus and the gods of dance, please let this Asia thing I know is coming be a one-or-two-episode Asia thing I know is coming, because I cannot handle any more than that of Kristie Ray. I just cannot. Otherwise, grant unto me some Asia/Kristie fans who can nicely explain why I should become one. And the part where the kid is 7 doesn’t count. The part where Yvette Walts is not here to turn Kristie into Pokey McChestbump might.
OK, so, since we know it’s coming, let’s get it over with, shall we?
Abby is predictably happy with the results of last week, since everything but Kendall’s solo took first. She decides to start with the top of the pyramid. Which is Maddie. She gives a little “s’up” chin toss to Abby’s praise. First in the second row is Paige. Abby says she was darling. Then Kendall, who came in third with her solo. Why is Kendall before Chloe, who is next even though her solo won? I am guessing Abby’s irritation with her giving people “the fingers” lingers.
Row three begins with Nia, begins with Nia because she didn’t draw Abby’s eye negatively. Then Mack. Because she did. Then the benched Brooke. And then … yeah.
Clearly Maddie watched Abby’s Ultimate Dance Championship, too.
The news makes her slap her hands over her mouth and drop to the ground. Me, too, when Abby says Kristie signed the same contract the other mothers did, so the Rays are here to stay. Oh, goodie.
This week, we’re going to Energy Dance in Highland, MI. So are Cathy and the Lad Apples. Or as Abby calls them, the Crap Apples.
The group routine will be called Return to Grace, which is about reincarnation. We’ll discover why that is on Abby’s mind in just a minute. Neither Mack nor Asia will participate. Surprise of all surprises, Brooke gets a solo. Maddie, Chloe and Kendall will do a trio, which seems to make all of them happy. It’s called We Believe. The final solo goes to Asia to test her mettle as an ALDC dancer.
While the girls practice the group number, the mothers discuss the impending new arrivals and how, if they are ever reincarnated, they hope it’s not as part of the Abby Lee Dance Company. Meanwhile, over in Canton, Zack is back and Cathy is still feeling fussy about their loss to Abby Lee a couple of episodes back. The super-fancy digital pyramid goes like this. Bottom row is Brandon, Zack and Gino. Top is Nick. What happened to Jalen? We ran him off with all the drama from last time, didn’t we? Good for you for getting away, little head-twirler. You deserved way better than you got.
Cathy will once again be using a guest choreographer, in the form of the very smiley John Culbertson. According to Cathy, he is besties with Abby Lee — but friendship be damned, John is here to win. And smile. A lot.
Back in PA, Abby bounces the idea of having Broadway Baby, uh, taxidermicated for posterity off of Melissa. Do you think that’s a little cray-cray, Melissa?
Your mouth may say no, but your face says otherwise, dear.
Up in the Mom Loft, while the girls practice their trio, Melissa shares the conversation with Abby with the incredulous moms. Then they watch some Asia videos on somebody’s pink phone.
The next day in the den, the Pitt Crew is trying to psych itself up for the arrival of Asia and Kristie. It’s a happy reunion with Abby when the duo shows up, but Abby still wonders if Asia can handle her tough love. Her ma signed the contract, Abby. Asia has to handle it. Abby tells Asia that the moms are evil, but the girls are sweet as pie. Then she tells Kristie she better be there to follow Abby’s directions and not to run roughshod over her, because that’s what makes the other mothers evil. You hear and you obey, right, Kristie?
When the Rays make their way into the den, Kelly wonders if the world can handle two Kr/Christis. Jill looks like she smells something bad. And when Abby says she’s eager to see how Asia stacks up against Mackenzie, Melissa looks like she ate whatever Jill smelled. Mack, however, goes happily back-to-back with her new pal to see who’s taller, just for fun.
Holly is suspicious of the whole affair. She says Asia must be here for a reason, but since Abby would never abandon Mackenzie, she can’t quite figure out what that is.
Over in Canton, Cathy’s got a new dancer, too — a girl named Sam who will be doing a spicy Latin duet with Gino. The group will be a contemporary number called Machine Lines, about the Depression era.
Back in PA, Jill says the other mothers damned well better initiate Kristie into the fold the same way they did her — which is by giving her endless amounts of crap. As Kristie comes up to the Mom Loft to take her place, Jill informs the newbie that they’ve nicknamed her Skinny Kristie. Kelly says that means Christi will be Fat Christi. Pretty funny, right, Fat Christi?
Not so funny.
Kristie reveals that since Abby’s Ultimate made Asia a star, they have been in Korea, where Asia has been working her little head off and appearing on TV. Holly wants to know why there weren’t any teachers of Abby’s caliber in California and Kristie says, well, Asia really wanted to see Miss Abby again and what Asia wants goes. Because I’m a miserable cynic, I’m guessing it’s something more along the lines of the Korean TV show ended and where else could we maybe find some cameras to point our way? Welcome to Pittsburgh, Kristie.
The other mothers gleefully start ticking off all the things that Kristie has locked herself into. A year of her life. Crappy winter weather. No outside bookings, no ballet schools, no nothing but Abby Lee. Break the rules and she will owe Abby $100,000.
“Good thing I have $100,000,” coos Kristie.
Asia’s solo is called Rock That. She starts right in with the muggy faces that made her such an object of debate on Abby’s Ultimate, but if she thinks that Abby has forgotten about her less-than-stellar technique, she can think again. Teacher’s yelling from the moment Asia makes a move. Abby says she wants to dial the kid back a little bit. She wants to see cute. She wants to see a cute, fluffy, puppy dog, not the baby burlesque dancer that sent Robin Antin into fits of joy.
Kristie says her girl is a fierce dancer, not a cutesy dancer. Then she goes down to collect her kid. Christi says she’s annoyed that someone else has her rare, rare name. Then everyone notes the size of the interloper’s “cantaloupe” boobs.
Come competition day, Kristie commits the cardinal sin of sitting in, well, pretty much everybody else’s seat. Back of the ride, there, newbie. Middle school ain’t over quite yet and Jill especially is not about to give up her “status” on the bus. When everybody is appropriately seated, Abby is still MIA. The bus rolls away without her.
Turns out, she is visiting the “preservationist,” where she presents photos of Broadway Baby and cries. I feel your pain, Abby. I do. But having her rock solid, glass-eyed corpse standing on the coffee table is not going to make you feel better, I’m almost certain. Frame the photos and cuddle your good memories.
Speaking of bad feelings, seems Mackenzie’s foot is giving her some trubs again — or so says Melissa by way of explanation of why Big Mac isn’t along for the ride. The other moms hint around that Abby may be trying to replace Mac with Asia, who actually is dressed as a puppy. Then they head for the stage for the puppy’s solo. Abby spots her bestie and clutches him in a lingering bear hug, crowing that she’s so glad he’s here. Do you know why he’s here, Abby?
She does. She says Cathy can hire whomever she wants to choreograph her dances. If the dancers aren’t up to snuff, it won’t matter a lick. Cathy says Abby may look unconcerned, but she knows that she got into her head.
Out in the audience, John smiles and smiles through Asia’s dance, which is mostly mugging, posing and tumbling, just as it was in Abby’s Ultimate.
She scampers off the stage on all fours. Backstage, Kristie says she noticed a sickled foot, and — cross her heart — she hopes Abby brings it up.
The other mothers say that she better count on Abby noticing everything and doling out the toughest of tough love, and the two Kr/Christies go at it a little bit. Abby noticed the feet, all right. She comes back roaring that cutesy is over, DO YOU HEAR ME?, and makes Asia drop and give her twenty.
Wait, wasn’t Brooke supposed to be doing a solo, too? I was kind of looking forward to that, because her dances are always different. Oh well. I guess we ran out of time. On to the trio.
The three dancers are in fringy bright orange costumes. They will be going up against Cathy’s Gino/Sam duet, which Cathy says features moves that Michigan has never seen. John isn’t the least bit happy with the way they are performing them. He begins to swivel his hips in a way that makes me — and possibly Cathy from the looks of it — worried, and wonders how many times he was to say the same thing over and over and over again. A lot, John. A lot.
Sam and Gino go first. John smiles and smiles and hollers loudly in the audience. Almost immediately, Gino lowers Sam into a spin and trips over her, which is too bad because the rest of the dance is classy and fun to watch. Abby says it belongs in a ballroom competition, not here.
John smiles and smiles through the trio, too. It’s cute. Abby says they were fabulous, especially their spacing.
Time for the group dances. Machine Line goes first. The boys will dance for food. The routine reminds me of something you’d see in a musical, like Newsies or Billy Elliot. John smiles and smiles. Cathy says get out the broom because a clean sweep is coming their way. Even Christi says the dance was exquisite. Abby, too, says her pal’s choreography was brilliant. She hopes her girls just go out there and give it the old college try.
The girls’ costumes are stunning and I think the dance is beautiful and every bit as affecting and atmospheric as the boys’ dance. Abby is happy with the performance, too.
Awards time. Asia takes first. Abby calls her her little Best In Show. The other girls look genuinely tickled for Asia.
The trio gets second. Latin Fire gets first. Three points away from perfect, says the announcer. Apparently I was the only one who saw Gino tumble over Sam? Abby says the Duet Dad in front of her behaved like an ass.
Group dance awards time. The announcer says that the top group dance is the only dance of the day that received a perfect score thus far. Do you think it’s yours — er, John’s — Cathy?
Abby’s back there applauding because she thinks it could be hers.
It’s Machine Line. And everyone knows what that means — Cathy is going to be in their grilles like so many doomed butterflies on a highway. And, sure enough, here she is, rapping loudly at the door. I’d feel bad for the Pitt Crew mothers about this except they did the same thing to Cathy’s crew at their last joint competition, so we’re just going to have to accept this as a tedious fact of life whenever these two groups get together.
But Abby is in no mood to play along. The combination of all imported dancers, her best friend as the guest choreographer, and the memory of Cathy smacking Abby with her purse lifts her up out of her chair to confront the bad Apple about the smallness of her character and the falseness of her wins. Cathy storms out of the room and Abby informs the others that she is, from here on out, a non-entity in Abby’s world. Perhaps dirt beneath her feet, but nothing more. The rest of the Canton crowd files out silently. And that’s where the episode ends. EEEE-yikes!
Next week on Dance Moms, it’s Maddie vs. Chloe, Mackie vs. Asia, and Abby vs. my eardrums.
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Are you happy that Asia’s in Pittsburgh? Was it a low blow for Cathy to commandeer Abby’s best friend? Was it a worse low blow for him to allow that to happen? Did Abby’s dances deserve to win? And what about Broadway Baby? Sound off in the comments section below.
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.