Welcome back, Dance Moms Nation. How’d you fare in the past two weeks with nothing to fuel your DM obsession but repeats?
The second half of Season 3 kicks off with a quick recap of the first — Cathy’s crew is breathing down the Pitt Crew’s necks; Abby’s threatening to go Hollywood for good; mothers are fighting with other mothers — and then we watch as everyone pulls up to the ALDC after a month-long break. Well not quite everyone. Raise your hand if you know the missing mommy …
That’s right. It’s Kristie. Turns out, Asia had the opportunity to do a “professional job” in L.A. and Abby gave her her blessing to do it. Also, Jill is sporting a much darker do. Other than that, it’s business as usual. Abby’s mad about what happened in New York. Their message was better. She expects much more from her dancers. Yada yada. Time for the pyramid.
Bottom of the bottom is Kendall. Her solo got fourth. Abby says if she didn’t cry so much she might have placed higher. Jill looks like she’d like to make Abby cry, but she says nothing.
Next is Mac. Because Abby pretty much let Asia take her place. OK, that’s not the way Abby sees it or says it, but we all know that that’s pretty much the deal. Melissa looks stressed but nods in agreement anyway.
Next is Nia. She didn’t make the correction when Gia told her 11 times to straighten her back leg. Eleven times! Holly disputes the tally.
Then comes Brooke. Abby calls her an asset to the group.
Last in Row 2 is Chloe. Not because Zack beat her, because Abby thinks he shouldn’t have, but because she should’ve beaten Maddie.
Middle is Asia. She was the winning mini. Christi wants to know what she’s doing on the pyramid if she’s not even in the building. Special Abby dispensation, Christi. It happens.
One spot from victory is Paige. Abby says she worked hard in the group and stood up for herself and Anthony and Cathy don’t know what they’re talking about. Besides of which Abby wants to be the only one who yells at Paige, so there.
The Afterschool Special Happy Ending music is back as Maddie is declared top of the pyramid for beating kids who were three and four years older than she. And speaking of Maddie, only she, Chloe, Nia and Kendall will be in the group dance, which is a jazz routine called Bad Girls.
Chloe and Maddie will also be doing a lyrical duet called We’re Alright. They jump up and down at the prospect of competing together and not against each other for change. Last dance goes to Paige, who will be doing a solo called Get Up, Get Loud, Get Tough. Abby’s graduating Brooke to the senior company so she becomes a more mature dancer.
This week, we’re staying in Pittsburgh for the Masters of Dance Arts competition. Cathy and Co. will be there, too, just to get things off to a rip-roaring start. No time like the present to visit an old friend.
Nice to see you again, Welcome to Ohio, John R. Kasich Governor, sign — with accompanying barn and livestock. Lest we were worried that Canton went suddenly urbane during our month-long break.
Cathy says now that she has vanquished the ALDC, the whole entire dance world is next. But first we have a little business matter to attend to. Seems Jill told Cathy that the Lad Apples are always texting the ALDC girls about how they wish they could dance with them instead. One Lad Apple in particular. Turns out Gino might have a crush on Maddie and longs to be closer to his Juliet. Anyone care to admit to this betrayal? Anyone?
We move on to the pointless digital pyramid.
Bottom row is Nick, Jalen and the recently-recovered-from-bronchitis Gino. Top is Zack. Cathy declares him the leader of the Lads. Zack smiles wanly, like he’d really just prefer to dance and skip the rest of the hoo-ha. You and me both, kid.
The Apples group dance will be called Be Strong. Nick will be giving the ALDC The Bird. Zack and Gino will do a duet called My Father’s Song. That last one is personal for Anthony, whose voice quavers when he tells them that it honors his own recently deceased dad. Because of this, they cannot let him down.
Back in PA, Brooke is meeting her new dancemates, including handsome, dark-eyed Kevin, who will be the stud muffin of the senior group dance. In the Mom Loft, Melissa asks Kelly if she’s excited about Brooke’s promotion and Kelly says she’d be more excited if Brooke didn’t have one day to learn a dance the rest of the group has performed all year, which sets the girl up to be the weak link right out of the gate. Apparently overhearing this, Abby gets Kevin to say he has only done the dance twice before, so no excuse.
The other mothers tell Kelly that Brooke and Kevin have natural chemistry — look at that! Look! — but Mama Hyland’s not convinced. Holly says take Abby’s apparent affirmation of Brooke’s growth as a positive thing. Kelly says she’s been burned too many times.
Christi and Melissa are happy that their daughters are dueting, but Abby is ticked at how practice is going. And she suspects she may know why. Time to call in her most reliable spy.
Yep. Gino kissed Maddie on the cheek. Gave her a valentine, too. Christi says Melissa should just admit that they were “going out,” however 10-year-olds might go about that. Melissa says it doesn’t matter, because they live in different states, and besides, they’re not even texting anymore, so there.
Abby wants to know if Paige understands why she is doing a solo — and more specifically why she is doing a solo to music called Get Up, Get Loud, Get Tough. Paige looks like she just hopes Abby doesn’t hurt her in the process. Abby tells her that if she is going to be in this business, she has to be open to criticism and impervious to haters. Then she keeps it classy and reminds Paige that she’s skinny, blond and pretty, so if she thinks there aren’t plenty of people at school who hate her, she’s delusional. So much for “pretty inside and out,” huh, Ab?
In an aside, Kelly says she’ll consider Paige’s solo an apology of sorts from Abby for involving her in the throw-down with Anthony and Cathy in New York. But she’s still wary of her ultimate intentions.
Time for Bad Girls practice. First, though, Abby warns Maddie that boy are off limits at the ALDC. No boys. Just dance. Meanwhile, the mothers get their middle school on and argue about who among them is the most boy crazy! Squeeeee! Then we move on to wondering why Paige isn’t in the group dance, too. Jill decides that, you know, since neither Paige’s nor Brooke’s current situation has anything to do with her, she should probably go talk to Abby about it. Glad to see her coming, Ab?
Trapping her behind the front desk, Jill tells Abby that Kelly is having a fit and is being ungrateful … and then she gets busted telling tales out of school, er, loft when Kelly wanders through to use the restroom. Kelly tells Benedict Arnold of the Newly Auburn Hair to mind her own business and work on Kendall’s crying if she needs a project so badly. Then Jill tells us she is indignant because she was only trying to help and besides, Kelly dragged her and Kendall into it. What now? I think the brown dye has gone to your gray matter, poopsie. You started it.
With Kelly occupied in the loo, Jill races back up to the loft to tell the other mothers her version of the story, but — neeeerrrrgh! — she’s busted again! Jill paddles around a little in the soup that is her logic, but Kelly just calmly reiterates that she never said she was ungrateful for the opportunities her daughters are being given. She’s just wary. They argue a little and finally she tells Jill to just zip it. Jill tells Kelly that she’s yelling at Jill when she’s really mad at Abby. This makes Kelly look like this:
Finally the poor woman is pushed to the point of saying that she hopes the seniors lose. Oof. Mercifully Abby seems to have missed that one.
When we come back from commercial, a Meeting of the Moms is in progress at a local eatery. Actually, everyone is present except Kelly. Christi says that’s on purpose, because they want to talk about what’s going on with their stressed-out pal. At a place that decorates its windowsills with beer growlers. Christi! Big things for the purpose of holding a lot of beer!
Handy in case the discussion requires more than a pint glass. Which could be right now, since Jill seems to think she deserves an apology from Kelly. Maybe the growlers are empty because Jill has already had at them.
Everyone else decides that, yes, Kelly is clearly misguided in her thinking about Paige’s solo and Brooke’s promotion, but they could still do something special for the girls, in case she’s right. Plus, everyone gets to have fun in the offing, so bonus.
Back in Ohio, Anthony has gathered his little men at the “swat gym” to do some man workouts because they are weak. That’s because they are children, Anthony. It works like that. Poor little Gino is fresh out of the hospital for his respiratory woes and understandably looks as though pushing a blocking dummy is not high on his to-do list. On the sidelines, his dad, Mickey, is pleading with Cathy for some intervention. Mickey doesn’t believe this sort of rigorous workout is good for any of the boys, for that matter. They’ll be too sore and tired to dance. Cathy says she would never let them do something that would compromise them in any way.
Anthony is another matter.
Apple parent Donna says Mickey is a helicopter parent. Then the ever elegant Rick jumps in and says outright that Mickey is babying his boy. The men get into a shouting match that turns Gino more pale than he was in the first place. He starts to well up and Anthony tells him to ignore their bad behavior. Rick says he’s a grown-ass man and doesn’t have to shut up if he doesn’t want to. You got the second half of the adjective right, anyway.
There’s some talk of taking it outside until Anthony diffuses the situation by feeling Mickey up.
It doesn’t work. Mickey and Gino leave anyway.
Back in PA, in the Mom Loft, the other mothers proudly tell Kelly of their happy plan for a benevolent sleepover. Kelly tells them she knows all about their little gossip session slash lunch date. I don’t think we’re going to have a sleepover.
Back to Ohio. Cathy gathers the parents for a little discussion of what went down at the gym the day before and how they might possibly move on from it. Rick says he will not apologize to Mickey under any circumstances. He won’t consider himself a part of any team with the guy, either. Oh oh. He made Cathy cry. She asks him to apologize anyway to smooth things over and they’ll work out the details later. Oh oh. That made Rick cry. He says everyone sells his little head-spinner short and Gino just waltzed back in and gets special dances even though Jalen has always busted his butt. Er, skull. Or something. Cathy acknowledges that the other parents are suspect of Mickey’s and Gino’s loyalties, too; she will get to the bottom of it. Then she gives her big ol’ bullyman a snuggle.
True to her word, Cathy meets up with Mickey, who admits that he finds Rick tough to take. He also says that, yes, Gino likes Maddie and he wishes he could dance a duet with her, but they’ve revealed nothing to the ALDC that would cause the Apples to lose a competition. Cathy still isn’t sure of his loyalties, but she asks him to get through this go-round and then they’ll see where it goes from there.
Back in PA, Abby has gathered the senior troupe to critique Paige’s solo. She says Paige is wasting her dancer’s body and natural talent because she has no work ethic, just like her mother. Paige dances. The senior troupe sits silently. Abby prods them to disparage Paige’s back tuck, then does it herself when they don’t come through.
Jill finds this little lesson deadly dull and, since she hasn’t caused any trouble for a good 24 hours, decides to go snoop around the costume shop. Christi, in a periwinkle, sequined, batwing sweater, decides to tag along. Man, I hope batwings are this season’s cold-shoulder shirt. That thing is awesome. I desperately want to watch Christi try to eat a burger while wearing it.
With the other two gone, Holly asks Kelly if she’s over being mad at Jill. Kelly says she never was mad at Jill … or at Abby for that matter. Jill just needs to mind her own business. Down in the costume shop, Jill is not minding her own business at all. Or looking for costumes. She tells Christi that she deserves an apology for Kelly taking her to task. Then she and Christi decide that Kelly plays dirty.
Oh fer God’s sake, Dance Moms editing crew! We’re trying hard to play along with your nonsense, but not to the point of head injury. For one, Kelly and her kids have essentially been crapped on since Day 1 of this show. Thus, for two, she has earned every bit of her wariness. And, for three, Jill went down to tattle to Abby, not have a heart-to-heart about Abby’s intentions. So, for four, how is this Kelly playing dirty? And for five, why is Christi saying Kelly took out her frustrations on Jill when we’ve all heard Kelly raise her voice louder about approximately 4 million other things than this? And for finally, I know … none of this is real. But still. Scripted or otherwise, how does this make a lick of sense?
Back in the loft, Jill wants to know if Kelly feels badly about hollering at her. She says she was just sticking up for Kelly and her children. Then she says they were given such swell opportunities and Kelly is ungrateful. Let me help you, Jill. If the children were given opportunities, why did they need sticking up for in the first place? Opportunities are good. And either way, says Kelly, it’s not Jill’s job to do the sticking. Jill says that everyone agreed at lunch that Kelly was mean to Jill and also a bully. Whoa, there, say the other mothers. That’s not what we said. We was just tryin’ to plan a sleepover, not a war. Jill gets to her feet and says the other mothers are traitors. Then everyone starts talking at once, in their outside voices.
This causes Abby and the senior troupe — who are suddenly practicing nonstop in the juniors’ studio — to freeze comically in place and look upward. Kelly keeps calm and costumes on. The other mothers call shenanigans. Kelly says maybe this just is the new her — Calm Kelly. Christi says she’s full of f-ing sh*t. Calm Kelly ups the volume just a tad to tell her to get f-ed. Downstairs, the children report to Abby that Christi and Kelly each said the F-word.
Jill leaves. Christi affords Kelly a few more choice words and leaves, too. Melissa puts her face in her hands. This is all terribly ridiculous. Until Paige arrives in tears. She says that Christi told her that Kelly is jealous of her and Chloe. Maddie comes up to back up her pal’s story and add that Christi got right in Paige’s face.
Kelly got right into Jill’s hair dye somewhere in between filming the show and doing her asides.
I’m over this. Let’s leave town.
In Canton, the Lad Apples are practicing their routine about performance enhancing drugs in sports. No, I am not kidding. That’s really what it’s about. They’ve even got faux bicycle wheels for props, a la Lance.
Hey, says Gina to Rick. No answer. Hey! Dude, hey! He finally turns. Do you think Mickey is committed to this team, she asks conspiratorially. You are adorable, Gina, but you are no actress. You’re also no troublemaker, which makes this exchange even worse. Rick says Mick is a traitor and he’ll be gone soon.
Back in the Mom Loft, we continue to trod the Ungrateful Kelly thing until Christi pulls a Melissa and threatens to sue her. Well, OK! Abby hollers up that if this crap continues, she will throw them all out. Holly offers Kelly some words of support and Kelly tears up and asks if we can please, please just drop what she never started in the first place. Then she begins to simultaneously correct her eye makeup and hyperventilate.
Back in Ohio, Gino and Zack are practicing the dance about Anthony’s dad’s passing. Anthony says the choreography might be too tough for them. Then he snaps at Zack, who starts to cry. Anthony is unmoved. He says that if Z wants to be the best, he has to take the yelling. Gina, however, says Anthony is crossing the line. Anthony says this is his livelihood and Zack isn’t respecting it. Then Gina starts to cry. Cathy tells her she’s overreacting. Gina says she will not have Zack be fearful of a choreographer. If that happens, they will leave.
The plot thickens.
Back at the ALDC, Kevin and Brooke are rehearsing their partner work in the group dance. Abby doesn’t see any of the emotion she wants from any of the dancers. No passion. No anger. No jealousy. No nothing. Just movement. She decides she must do something about this and brokers a date between 17-year-old Kevin and 15-year-old Brooke. Kevin does not look so convinced of the wisdom in this idea, but he says if that’s what Abby wants, that’s what Abby gets. I know I am supposed to find this budding teen romance adorable, but the part where Kevin looks about 10 years older than he is gives me the willies. And the part where Abby just told Maddie not a half-hour back that boys were off limits at the ALDC is a head scratcher. I guess they’re just off limits to Maddie. In any case, Abby send Brooke with Kevin to introduce him to her mother.
I can’t remember what I wanted to illustrate with this screen shot, but it’s funny and this episode is very long and painfully low on funny, so here it is.
That evening, Kevin and Brooke head off to some sort of bakery for dessert. Kevin quizzes Brooke about the difference between dancing with the littler kids and dancing with the seniors, and how she feels about being set up on a date. Brooke reveals that Kevin is not her first Abby-sanctioned date — everybody remember the amusement park date with Brandon from many moons ago? Kevin gets possessive right out of the gate and wants to know if he needs to go find him, ’cause she ain’t sharing her cannolis with anyone but him. Food fight! Cause that’s the way to a girl’s heart, Kevin — replace her makeup with frosting.
Dishing on it with the rest of the troupe behind her back is a winner, too. Mercifully Kevin’s pretty clued in that a second date isn’t too likely, even though he likes Brooke and thinks she’s a pretty girl.
Up in the Mom Loft, the inexplicable war between Kelly and Christi has necessitated a rearranging of the seating chart. Christi is now in Holly’s spot and Holly is next to Kelly. Kelly doesn’t think her friendship with Kelly will ever be the same again. Then Christi and Jill take off to talk about it. Mrs. Lukasiak — apparently forgetting that not so many episodes ago she was having a month-long conniption about the number of times Kelly did or did not call her — says that, unlike her own saintly self, Kelly holds a grudge and wallows in her anger. It’s always Christi having to say she’s sorry and let’s be friends.
Sure. Did someone call Dance Moms Opposite Day and I just missed that? Or did Christi bonk her head real hard? Or did we film this before we saw what the editors did with the rest of Season 3? In any case, Christi says she feels like she’s going through a divorce. Kelly says her screaming in Paige’s face was the final straw.
In Ohio, Zack’s and Gino’s duet practice moves all of the adults to tears.
In Pittsburgh, Abby says the Mama Drama is affecting the kids’ ability to concentrate.
In Milwaukee, Lori sighs.
Competition day. The crowd screams a bit for Cathy and a lot for the ALDC. The mothers think Cathy is getting to Abby anyway. She snaps out of it when Maddie and Chloe appear, dressed in pink and salmon for their duet.
Despite their increasing height difference, the girls still dance beautifully together and the dance is lovely. Seeing them perform together for two minutes almost makes up for the hour of adult ridiculata we’ve had to endure to get here. Melissa declared triumphantly that the girls are back. They were never gone, Melissa. We just stopped focusing on them.
Zack and Gino go next.
Abby enjoys it tremendously.
“What was that we just saw?” she snipes. She says the two dancers were capable of much more than they were given. Cathy says respect the message, loser. Is Abby actually aware that Anthony’s dad died? It would help to know that.
Backstage, Cathy gathers her minions to go tell Abby off for her insensitivity. Anthony says she has disrespected his choreography, his team and his legacy and she shall not get away with that. Even though he dished her and Paige the same crap in New York, though admittedly in somewhat less emotional circumstances. Abby says nothing at all and keeps on walking. Here’s a thought: If we would have skipped the forced confrontation in the hallway in the first place and just focused on Anthony thanking the boys for helping him create and deliver a genuinely touching tribute to his dad, there’s a pretty solid chance that said tribute would be the only thing on the audience’s and viewers’ minds. And we’d all feel good.
In the ALDC get-ready room, Abby is jubilant about Maddie and Chloe’s duet and says she’ll be livid if they’re beaten by the boys. Also, how did I not notice until now that Abby is wearing her sheriff’s badge on a chain in her asides?
In Cathy’s get-ready room, Nick is in the throes of some sort of rapid-blinking episode that Cathy says is the result of his terrible nerves. I think a few additional possibilities are the amount of makeup swabbed across his eyelashes or perhaps the notion that someone told a little boy to act extremely nervous and this is what he came up with.
Oh. No wonder Nick is nervous. This is the costume they’ve decided he should wear. That’s tough to pull off for anyone.
The dance is damned-near miraculous though — easily the best thing I’ve seen on Dance Moms in recent memory and all credit to Nick for making it mesmerizing.
More kids. More dancing. Less adults and their mouths. Can we start a petition?
Paige goes next. Her solo is feisty and spunky and cute, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the sophistication of Nick’s dance. I fear Cathy is right when she says there is no way Get Up, Get Loud, Get Tough is going to beat The Bird. But that’s Abby’s problem. Paige delivered the dance she was given with sass, and the message after her takedown in New York was a good one. So I declare a win either way.
Abby’s happy, too. She tells Paige she silenced the doubters but good. Kelly’s grateful for the kind words, but her happiness and Paige’s time to enjoy her success are short-lived because Jill decides that now is as good a time as any to return the focus to her, apropos of nothing. She demands an apology from Kelly. Right now.
Kelly says she already said she was sorry and she would never say anything outright to Kendall and she only said anything at all because Jill wouldn’t let up. And Christi got in Paige’s face when the argument had nothing to do with the child at all. Feeling the volcano start to rumble again, Melissa says we should all just really move on from it.
I’m in! I’m for that! Nobody else is.
Christi says she felt very bad about what happened. Jill says that’s fine, but Kelly should feel bad, too. Kelly says she does feel bad; however, nothing she said was untrue. Christi tries to explain herself, but Kelly says she’s over it. All of it. Including their friendship.
Time to do the group dances. Abby says there’s a quote about bad girls making history. Actually it’s about well-behaved women rarely making history, which could be the subtitle of this show. In any case, Abby wants her bad girls to take Cathy’s good boys down. Out in the hallway, she spots the little fellers in their biking gear and wonders aloud which choreographer it was who did the bike thing first. Cathy calls her a name-dropper.
And the insults fly — mostly between Jill and Cathy. After the Pitt Crew walks away, Cathy takes the Apple parents to task for not defending her in the face of her adversaries, and Gina says she won’t raise her voice in front of the kids. Cathy says, well in that case, it’s time to look for a new team who will love her unconditionally. She stalks away, sniffling, and Anthony and Rick follow, telling her to dry her little tearsies and come support the team. They’ll deal with the dissing after.
The seniors group dance is up. Abby says it’s the first time the senior team has come to one of their competitions. Wait, what? Then what have they been doing all this time? In any case, I hope they keep competing on camera because the dance is a stunner and Kevin and Brooke are lovely together. Abby says she hopes the Apple parents realize that Cathy can’t offer their children that kind of future training.
The biker boys are next. Abby’s paying such close attention that her tongue is out. The music is loud and the spinning wheel props are slick. But the dance looks like a lot of running around to me. Well except for this human-bicycle maneuver, which is totally cool and even makes Abby smile.
The Bad Girls go next. Anybody else notice how Miss Nia went move for move with her fellow dancers? Everybody who danced together today — I want to see them dance together all the time. More kids. More dancing. Less adults and their mouths. Abby says her girls outmuscled the muscle men.
Time for results.
Paige gets second in the junior solo division. Nick gets his much-deserved first place. Abby doesn’t protest.
Nick and Zack’s duet gets second. Maddie and Chloe get first. And we’re all tied up at one apiece, sports fans.
Senior group takes their division, but Cathy didn’t enter a senior team, so we’ll keep the score at 1-1. And the Bad Girls take the junior group division. The ALDC comes out on top.
Even though they were just victorious in New York and she was ready to conquer the world, Cathy decides her group is just no good. Something must be done.
Meanwhile Holly tries to feel Kelly out about what is behind her sudden detachment. Kelly says she can’t believe Christi — someone Paige thought of as another mother — would traumatize her so badly. Holly wonders if it’s even worth it to try to salvage the friendship or if Christi has changed too much to make that worthwhile.
What’s this now? This is Mickey, stealthing through the hallways, peeking around corners and tapping at the door of the ALDC room. Oh, but he is not alone! Rick watches from afar! Never have I wished so much for some Willing Suspension of Disbelief Serum so I could sit back and enjoy the espionage without having spittaking my Mommy Juice at the sight of them. OK, I’m going to try. Ahem. Not working.
Mickey gains admittance to the enemy camp and asks Abby if he would take Gino in. He smooches Abby on the cheek and she declares him a lover, not a fighter. He congratulates the team on their very nice numbers and takes his leave.
Apple confab in the hallway, apparently because we will not argue in front of the children and that’s final.
Cathy says she has found life since the Mick-Rick dust up at the gym unbearably grueling and that someone here is a mole. Mickey busies himself inspecting the grooves in the cement wall. Cathy calls him out anyway.
Someone here is also a rat. And he’s pumped about it! Super pumped!
With his rival vanquished, he hugs Cathy’s head — oops — and she declares that Mickey has, indeed, been voted off Apple Island. Mickey doesn’t seem terribly upset about that at all. Rick offers to shake on his defeat, but Mickey just turns and leaves.
Par-day with the Pitt Crew. A depressingly brief one. It’s back to the mama drama and for the bazillionth time, Kelly wanders away, wondering if the ALDC is really the place for her. It’s not, Kelly. It isn’t. But we’d miss you on this show.
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Was this episode about one hour and 37 fights longer than it needed to be? Would you be happier if we flip-flopped the amount of time the children spend dancing and the amount of time the mothers spend fighting? How great was it to see Chloe and Maddie dance together again? Is Cathy still an asset to the show or just a pain in the asset? Keep Brooke with the seniors — and Jill in a muzzle? Sound off in the comments section below.
Next week, Kristi and Asia are back, Abby gives Chloe and Maddie the same choreography and makes them stand in the corner, and the mothers continue their meltdown.
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.