So we’re finally back to business in Pittsburgh, Dance Moms nation. Well, all except for Asia and Kristie. But Abby’s home from L.A. and wanting to know if the gang missed her. Yeeeeessssss, say the girls. Nooooooothing, say the moms. Abby says the feelings are mutual.
As if they didn’t know it, Abby tells the girls that she was away doing Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, which will make her an even better teacher and dance instructor. She wants to know why Maddie was the only one who took advantage of the opportunity to come out and see her do that.
That would be because the Pitt Crew made a pact that none of them would take part in AUDC in protest for Abby’s behavior … and only one mother broke that pact. Oh oh. Muh-lissssaaaaaa!
Abby says she also knows who’s been in class over break and who hasn’t. So with that in mind, let’s get to the pyramid. Bottom of the bottom is Brooke, who was the worst truant of all. Brooke says that’s actually because she was recording her first CD. Kelly thinks Abby should be happy about that. Next is Paige, who thinks her turns have gotten better. Next is Kendall. Man that poor child never looks anything but traumatized lately. Kendall reveals that she has a private with James every week to work on her turns. Rounding out the bottom row is Nia, who is nothing if not an overachiever, taking not one but four extra classes every single week. Her eyes widen when Abby actually compliments her for that. Holly wonders why, with all that hard work, Nia is still in the bottom row of the pyramid.
Getting us started in row 2 is Mackenzie, who is actually starting to look a little older to me now. Abby says Asia beats her because Mac lacks confidence and only ever projects cute, and she’s getting too old for cute. Next comes Chloe. Abby says she looked and danced great — bummer about the way the score thing worked out, huh?
Rounding out Row 2 is Asia, even if she won’t be back till next week. Also, something is bothering Melissa’s nose. The cameras linger lovingly to see how it all turns out.
Top of the pyramid is Maddie. Abby says she gave a flawless performance. Problem with that is, the cameras captured her bobbled turn. And the snit she threw about it afterward. Abby says when they announced Chloe as the winner, anyway, Maddie was thuh-rilled for her classmate. See? Thrilled.
This week’s in10sity Dance thing will be in Syracuse, N.Y. Maddie will be doing a tap solo. A what?! Well, apparently, she’s fine with that. Maddie gets a solo, too. Hmmm. Maybe it’s not that she looks older … she just has all her teeth now. Or a flipper, which is a word I learned from Toddlers & Tiaras because I have the worst taste in television ever. Mac’s solo will be a straight-up acro routine. Abby calls it her last shot before Asia gets back. Mackenzie looks like she would be happy to never hear Asia’s name again.
Last solo goes to Chloe as a consolation prize for the trickery of a few weeks back.
Good God, what has happened here? Can it be we have an actual Dance Moms Fashion Moment on our hands after such a long, long drought?! Abby’s wearing her Groovy ’70s Mod Chick Halloween costume! With the most normal hairstyle I have ever seen on her. Abby’s a Vertical Fashion Mullet! Business up top and party down below!
Turns out Chloe’s solo is more punishment than prize. While tap is apparently squarely in the middle of Maddie’s wheelhouse, Chloe — elegant, graceful, balletic Chloe — will do doing hip-hop. Christi points out that they don’t even teach hip-hop at the ALDC, so how does Abby propose her lifelong student excel in hip-hop? I think we all know that answer to that.
The group dance will be another little death number, this one called Gone Too Soon. It will pay homage to celebrities who died before their time. Nia will portray Whitney Houston. Nia’s expression clearly says that that’s, like, her parents’ lame-o kind of music. Kendall gets to portray the sass and spunk of Selena. Kendall lights up at the prospect of playing Justin Bieber’s then-girlfriend. No, Kendall. The other Selena. The doomed Tejano singer who was murdered by her manager seven years before you were even born. J.Lo played her in the movie. That one.
Brooke will play Amy Winehouse. They tried to make me go to dance class, I said no, no no!
Paige looks a little concerned at the direction this is taking. For good reason. She will play Anna Nicole Smith. At least there is a flicker of recognition on Paige’s face, anyway. Then Paige finds out Chloe gets to play Marilyn Monroe, which is NOT FAIR. Tiny brunette Maddie will portray Princess Diana. Ohhhhh! Melissa loves her some Princess Diana! To the point of choking herself about it.
Abby says the success of the dance depends on the girls embodying their characters to the point that they are identifiable even without their costumes — never mind that most of these women were at the height of their fame 20-plus years ago. That’s what Google’s for, people.
Upstairs the moms ponder what Gone Too Soon character Abby should be. They settle on Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Because I’m a good girl, I just Googled Ursula, landed on the Disney Wiki and had my mind blown. All I want to know is if she actually does steal children’s talent, people. I don’t need a 42-page psychological analysis of a cartoon character. Ah yes. I remember now. She steals Ariel’s lovely voice and that’s all the harder I care to think about that.
“Ursula!” marvels Jill in her Jill voice.
“She’s not real,” protest Holly in the background.
Christi does an Ursula dance.
Look who’s back. And landed herself a promotion, even.
Even so, Abby says Chloe’s routine, called Beautiful, is more of a jazz thing, with a hip-hop costume and hip-hop elements because she really wants Chloe to succeed at it. Sure you do. The mothers aren’t buying it, either. Christi is Zen about the whole deal and says she fully understands what is going on here. Ever the optimist, Holly says sometimes the best dances are the ones where there is no pressure to win. “Are you saying Chloe’s not going to win?” Christi demands, promptly forgetting how Zen she was about things just a couple seconds prior.
Downstairs, Abby explains to Chloe — a trained and beautiful dancer — that the reason trained and beautiful dancers can’t do hip-hop is because of the abrupt movements. She says if Chloe would have come to LA, she might have learned the art of hip-hop from Richie Squirrel, too. Yes, but Abby, the main Abby’s Ultimate prize is a scholarship to Joffrey, and Chloe already has one she never got to…. Oh never mind.
Up in the Mom Loft, the ladies decide it’s time to confront Melissa about her breaking the no-AUDC pact. Melissa launches into her patented Rapid Blink of Bustedness and says it was her choice to make as a mother. Yes. Make good and sure that the other mothers weren’t taking advantage of the opportunity presented to everyone and then send your own kid out there, pronto. Her choice.
Melissa protests that Christi sneaks all the time by talking to everybody. Christi says that if Melissa could sleep with Abby to get Maddie ahead, she would. Well, there’s a visual. Then we get to rehash the whole “how Melissa became Mrs. Gisoni” thing, which causes her to walk out.
Here’s the Cliffs Notes, boys and girls: Don’t sleep with your boss when you and/or he is married to somebody else. You may end up on a reality show someday and then it’s the whole world’s bidness.
Next day, 1960s Hair Abby wants to get to the bottom of what went down up there.
Melissa says Christi is mean and she is too nice to be mean back and also Christi is white trash. Abby says she may work at the front desk or work in the store or sit quietly in the corner if she wants to avoid the mean girls.
Up in the Mom Loft, the other mothers discuss how Melissa needs to just own up to breaking their deal and then they’ll stop picking on her.
Mac’s solo is called California Adventure. And according to Abby it’s boring. BORING! Also Mackenzie is sweaty and out of breath. Here’s the Cliffs Notes on that.
And now Abby is accusing Mackenzie of going out to play at recess. The nerve, 7-year-old! NO! MORE! RECESS!
Yes, Abby Dearest.
Poor Melissa. Can’t win in either camp. Upstairs, the other mothers want to know what business it is of Abby’s what Mac does on school time. Kelly — with a completely straight and earnest face — says the only reason she sends her kids to school is to have social interaction with other children. I’m sure their teachers will be happy to hear that, dear.
Per Abby’s instruction, Melissa sits quietly in the corner of the studio and watches the other mothers jabbering away in the Mom Loft even though she says she isn’t looking. After Mac’s practice is over, she decides to bite the bullet and head up to confront her tormenters while Maddie runs her solo.
Ever the professional, Abby tells Maddie that there is no way that they’re going to let Chloe doing a hip-hop solo beat her. I’ll wait till you guys throw a shoe at the screen. Throw the other one for me.
Maddie is a snappy little tapper and says she’s been doing it since she was 4. Her solo is called Me & You Against The World — snort! — and it’s about a frazzled housewife having a bad day. Kelly says she thought Abby wasn’t running Maddie’s solo today and Melissa confirms that. Then we couldn’t catch her on camera telling Maddie she’s guaranteeing her win, you sillies! Duh! And whatever is about to transpire here. Which is Christi chuckling that she’s pretty sure Abby will keep her promise not to run Chloe’s solo. Har har. It’s Abby’s world. We just live in it.
Returning to the Mom Loft, Melissa decides to deflect by claiming everyone hates her kids so what she was doing down there confabbing with Abby shouldn’t matter anyway. Nice try, Melissa. Kelly says it was really Melissa hurting everyone’s kids by breaking the pact and taking her kids to L.A. Melissa gives them permission to kill her. Or wish that she would die in a car accident. Oh now, Melissa! They don’t want you to be dead. They want you to be honest. Or they will keep bringing up the way you got married to Greg Gisoni and none of us wants that.
Drinksies with the moms at The Wooden Nickel — well, everyone but Melissa. Even levelheaded Holly says that if Melissa honestly thinks they are wishing death on her and her children, then Holly doesn’t want to be her friend. I’m pretty sure it goes both ways, Holly. Christie, who drinks something called a million-dollar martini, says all they want Melissa to do is own up to the fact that getting her kids ahead is her top priority and stop telling the rest of them that she’s one of the team.
Back at the studio, Abby momentarily worries me by saying she can’t have her group showing up at the competition looking like sluts, but the helpful caption points out that she actually said “slugs.” Whew. Upstairs, we pass the buck on Jill as to why Melissa was not invited to drinksies. Melissa does not care. She would rather be home with her husband and her children, so there.
And we have visitors. Leslie Ackerman and her stripey-shirt buddy.
They’re here to inform Christi that Payton is going to stay late to help Chloe hip-hop. We have an icky little Leslie flashback, then Leslie says that whatever help Payton can be to the team, she’s all about it. Christi says they’re all stocked up on crazy. Then we go back to arguing about whether we hate Melissa’s kids or her priorities.
Can someone help me figure out what’s weird about Melissa in these asides? I can’t put my finger on it. Too much tan? Pale lipstick? Both? Help.
We take the bus to Syracuse. Probably so Bus Driver Jim can take Abby to a movie if she gets bored.
The soloists will go first. Abby fusses around with Maddie’s shirt, which raises the other mothers’ ire.
What on Earth is poor Mac being forced to wear? What is that thing? Mac looks like she’d like to know, too. My vote is some sort of sun-shaped, wearable, midsection coffee table.
As if that’s not enough trouble, Abby proceeds to psych her out about Asia’s face and her superiority. Then Abby tells Maddie and Chloe that if they want to switch dance styles next week, that’s A-OK. No favoritism here, no sir. Neither looks too thrilled at the prospect.
Mac’s up. And her music is something along the lines of The Chipmunks on speed singing about needing sunshine. I thought we decided Mac was too old for cute. Apparently not.
Chloe is more than aware of the weirdness of her doing a hip-hop solo. From the looks of her, I think Abby is trying to turn her into Jordyn from Season 1 of Abby’s Ultimate. It’s actually pretty fun to see Chloe get to do something so energetic and even though it’s clearly not her strong suit, she gives it her all.
Abby says she was good, but probably not good enough for first place. No kidding.
Maddie is one adorable little tapper in her ruffly heart apron — and those of us who suspected Maddie could only do the floaty, emote-y lyrical routines, well, I guess we stand corrected.
Halfway through the dance Maddie suffers a wardrobe malfunction, when the neck tie of her ruffly heart apron gives way. Maddie dances on unfazed, because that’s what Maddie does. Backstage, Kelly notes the part where Abby laughed at Maddie’s apron malfunction but flipped her shizznit about when Chloe’s Esther Williams headband came down over her eyes, even though Chloe danced perfectly through that disaster, too. Christi says no way on Earth is Abby going to yell at Melissa for what happened, and that’s just the way it is.
Well she’s mostly right. Abby tells Melissa she’s on her last nerve, but that’s the extent of the admonishment. She fusses over Maddie. Then she tells Chloe that she was good, too, except the part where she forgot the dance. Christi and Chloe look puzzled. Abby demonstrates the part she thinks Chloe botched and Chloe defends herself. “You’re really going to argue with me?” says Abby. Christi says if Chloe did forget the dance, it’s because Abby only ran it with her twice.
The girls come out dressed in their dead-superstar regalia. Brooke and Chloe are terrific little Amy Winehouse and Marilyns. Kendall is perfectly adorbs as Selena. Chloe’s a pretty solid Anna Nicole from her Guess years, too. Nia bears zero resemblance to Whitney Houston through no fault of her own. And Maddie looks like a little girl playing princess. Abby just cannot understand why the girls are having such a hard time relating to their characters … who were part of the pop culture landscape exactly never in their lifetimes.
Abby’s happy with the dance, but she admits the only person she was watching was Maddie, because she was sad and she was angry and she was haunting. Uh, maybe the other girls were, too, Ab. But you’d have to watch them to know that. Just sayin’.
Pre-Awards Dance Mama Happy Dance!
Mac’s solo is a winner by 8.5 points. Take that, Absentee Asia. Chloe gets fourth. Maddie gets second. How do you feel about that, Abby?
The group dance is a winner. Look how excited Abby is about that!
I’m excited about her cocktail ring at any rate. Thing looks like an oyster reef.
Backstage, we celebrate the group dance victory for .005 seconds and then everyone goes off on Melissa again for Maddie’s second-place finish stealing the thunder from Gone Too Soon. Christi says she thinks that finally all of the mothers have had it with Melissa’s tactics. Then the girls burst in, happy as can be. Chloe is psyched that her hip-hop solo wasn’t a complete bust. Christi tells her Melissa thought she would be so upset. Melissa goes Vesuvius In A Dress. It was Christi who said Maddie would be so upset and so there, she hollers. Chloe points out that Maddie actually was crying. That does it. Melissa is done. She is so over it.
When Abby arrives, Melissa instructs her to tell That Trashy Girl to stop it. Then she grabs her suitcase and her girls and leaves. Abby theatrically tells the other mothers to pack up their stuff, because it’s over. Out in the hallway, Maddie stars to cry and makes a run back for the get-ready room. Abby tells her to learn from evil Christi and Chloe, and when she gets knocked down, get back up again and be Maddie the Survivor. Now get over here and give Miss Abby a hug, you little princess-headed varmint.
And they lived happily ever after.
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Was Melissa right to break the pact and go to L.A. — or a scheming little opportunistic cootie? Did the mothers drag that point out a little too long? Was Chloe dealt a raw deal with the hip-hop solo? Sound off in the comments section below.
Next week, Abby says ass, the girls have a photo shoot and we finally get an official look at that Annual Concert YouTube video in which Kelly calls shenanigans on Abby and the show.
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime