Welcome back, Dance Moms Nation. Did everyone get over any lingering “Stuffed Baby is coming to get me!” dreams? Good. Because it’s a brand new day at the ALDC … except the A-L portion seems to have gone missing. Like incommunicado. Gone-zo. So gone-zo she’s not even taking Gia’s calls.
Melissa says she heard Maryen Lorrain is deathly ill, which could explain Abby’s absence. Even so, it’s not like her to just go completely MIA. Well, yes, it kind of is, what with that whole Abby’s Ultimate thing, but … anyway. Holly says it’s just plain unprofessional not to show up.
Relegated to first in command, Gia decides that since she has the group dance music and a guy named James who she brought in special to help her teach one, she may as well get a group dance rolling. Up in the Mom Loft, Kristie wants to know if we even know what the theme of the thing is. Christi says it should be “Abandoned.” Nnneh! Kristie gets it. Christi, you big silly!
Now that we’re not having a pyramid, the mothers are lamenting the loss of the pyramid — or at least the informational portion in which we all find out where we’re going and who’s dancing what. Since Gia doesn’t have that information or the authority to make those calls in Abby’s absence, the mothers take a stab at guessing who would have gotten solos. They decide on Payton and Maddie. Mostly, I’m guessing, because no one up there besides Leslie and Melissa really wants Payton or Maddie to have a solo, so let’s decide they should have one on a week where no one is there to make it so.
Kristie says she doesn’t really care what happens; she just wants Asia to dance. <One, Mississippi. Two, Mississippi.> And never mind! Asia should most definitely have a solo. Asia has been brilliant since the beginning of time. She deserves a solo. Even though Leslie started the flap, Kristie and Jill get into it to the point of Kristie doing her signature crazy-eyes anger point and Jill dropping a couple F bombs and one bonus “screwed in the head.”
Downstairs, Gia is trying to keep it peaceful with a James-choreographed, serene little number called Just Be. This is James, for those of you who skip the show and read the recap. He doesn’t seem to want much in the way camera time, so here’s your best look. Hmmm. Down came the rain and washed the spider out …
Anyway, Gia hopes Abby doesn’t fire her for giving James the go-ahead to create the dance without her.
Up in the Mom Loft, Leslie thinks Christi should secure her permission to call Kelly right there in front of her. Christi thinks otherwise. She tells Kel that Abby’s not here so if she had the slightest inclination to get her girls back into the studio, now would be a fine time to do it. After she hangs up, Leslie wants to know what gives Christi the authority to invite Kelly back to Abby’s studio, and Christi says she didn’t invite her. She just let her know that there were no dragons at the palace door. And besides, if Abby didn’t intend for Brooke and Paige to ever be on the team again, she wouldn’t have kept them on last week’s pyramid.
We’re a mixed bag of opinions on Christi’s actions and Kelly’s return. Leslie and Kristie are ticked. Jill says she gets why Christi called, but she thinks there’s going to be hell to pay when Abby finds out. Melissa, too, says she understands why Christi did what she did, but still. Kelly really should have Abby’s permission before she returns. Holly just hopes the whole mess turns out to be much ado about nothing. You’re adorable, Holly.
Kelly must live about 32 seconds from the studio, because look who’s here already.
Gia and James look less than thrilled to have this bubbling disaster on their hands, but they let the girls join in, anyway. Gia says if she doesn’t, she has the more immediate problem of half the Pitt Crew flipping out, so this option is the lesser of evils.
So … yay!
Kelly wants her old spot on the mom bench back. Leslie says she ain’t moving. Then she moves anyway. There’s further discussion about the Hylands’ rightful place at the studio and how Abby is going to react to their presence, and Kelly says she told Abby last week that they were coming back, so what’s the big dealie?
Next day, Gia is by herself at the front desk again when Holly, Nia, Leslie and Payton arrive. Then her phone rings.
“Gianna?” says Abby.
“Abby?” says Gianna.
“Goodbye,” says Abby.
What?! You’re not going to even ask her if she has Prince Albert in a can?
Worst prank phone call ever.
Nobody else besides me seems to find that 3-word conversation strange. The rest of them just shrug and say oh well. Guess she’s not coming in today either. Holly says one day of hooky makes for a nice break for everyone. Two? That’s just unprofessional.
Uh, you guys? Abby did sound a little weird, am I right? What if she’s locked in someone’s trunk? What if Stuffed Baby came back to life, like the name of the taxidermy place suggested, and is terrorizing her and Maryen Lorrain? For those of you who said either one of those scenarios would make for a much more interesting show, shame on you.
Gia asks everyone to gather round because after Abby hung up on her, she sent a follow-up text. Gia supposes Abby just doesn’t want to talk. Here’s what Gia does know: They’re going to Believe talent competition in Sandusky, OH. All nine girls are going to be in the group dance. Asia gets a jazz solo called Lightening. Maddie gets a solo, too. Brooke says, since there are only three routines and they usually enter four, could she maybe have a solo, too? Gia says they can try to work something out, but Gia’ll need Abby’s permission first.
Kelly says she’s A-OK with Abby pulling the dance if that’s what it comes down to, but she at least wanted Brooke to take a stab at getting the most bang for her buck while Abby is away.
Upstairs, the mothers try to figure out the severity of whatever is going on with Abby, given that she’s even being mean to her beloved Gia. Jill says they at least deserve a dab of intelligence about what her deal is. Holly says if they don’t, at the very least, Gia does. Christi tells Melissa to call Abby and tell her what for. Melissa doesn’t want to. Kelly does.
Kristie thinks Abby’s really back in LA, scouting out her new West Coast life. Yeah, says Jill. Probably with that creepy werewolf guy. But if anything is going to break Abby’s silence, this should do it: Kelly leaves her message saying, well, it’s just too gosh darn bad you’re not here, because Brooke is going to do a solo and we’d really love to have your thumbs-up.
One, Mississippi. Two, Mississippi …
…. aaand wherever Gia’s phone is, I’m guessing it just blew up like a tiny nuclear missile with a 28-megapixel camera and the Angry Birds app. Luckily, Gia’s too busy choreographing Maddie’s extra-emotional lyrical solo to know that may have happened.
Up in the Mom Loft, Melissa reminds everyone that her kids are involved in the Starlight Children’s Foundation and that they’ve been working with a little girl, Hannah, who says Maddie and Big Mac inspire her. Melissa decides to call Hannah’s mom right then and there and invite her to the studio the next day and then to the competition in Sandusky. Melissa says she hopes that dancing for Hannah will help Maddie rediscover her emotional connection to the rest of the audience, too.
While she’s arranging that, Christi decides to check out Instagram. Where she discovers this.
Doesn’t look like a woman in too much sick-mama distress, now does it? But at least she isn’t in someone’s trunk. She’s in Kendraannn’s selfie. The mothers figure that she’s actually someplace judging a competition for the cash.
Meanwhile, Gia confirms my explode-a-phone suspicion, looking like she sees her demise every time she looks at the screen. Turns out Abby has threatened to fire her if she lets Brooke do a solo. She cries on Melissa’s shoulder, and Melissa sniffles, too. For we’d all be lost without Gia.
Next day, Gia tells Brooke she has actually talked with Abby and Abby didn’t specifically say she couldn’t do a solo, so they’ll still run the dance and if Abby pulls it, so be it. Upstairs, Leslie is apoplectic. Because that’s what Leslie does. Jill says that everyone but Leslie is happy that Brooke has a solo, so who’s the real bad guy, missy? Keeping her back firmly to her nemesis, Leslie says she’s just all about the rules and Kelly keeps breaking them and Leslie and Payton aren’t leaving the team til Abby kicks them off.
Brooke will be doing a contemporary dance to her own song, which is actually about the pain she suffers from the perpetual battles at the ALDC. Speaking of pain, Leslie decides to be one and call Abby to tattle that she’s watching Brooke practice her solo. More yelling in the Mom Loft. Abby ignores Leslie’s call.
While Asia runs her solo, Melissa gets a text that Hannah and her mom, Lori, have arrived at the studio. She takes them into the studio to meet Maddie. Lori explains that Hannah has Chiari malformation, a brain disorder that caused her to sometimes quit breathing when she was younger and still leaves her physically frail. Gia and Maddie teach Hannah a few steps and Maddie says meeting Hannah gives her a new appreciation for her own good fortune.
Enough with the niceties. Leslie just got a text from Abby. She’s supposed to READ IT OUT LOUD. It says that Brooke should not be doing a solo or the group dance. And BTW, Payton can have a solo if she wants one. Yelling. Yelling. Can we bring Hannah and Lori back? They made everybody nice.
In Sandusky, the crowd is chanting for the Abby they can’t have. The mothers start right back in on who should and shouldn’t be on the team, until Hannah and Lori show up and everyone pipes down. I vote Hannah and Lori become series regulars. Melissa gets choked up because Hannah can’t do the trampoline. Maddie tells Hannah that she’s going to dedicate her dance to her and they hug.
Asia’s solo goes first. Gia said she packed the routine with all of Asia’s best tricks, Since Abby isn’t there, Asia indulges in a little lip-syncing, too, just for swag. At the end, she runs off the stage into the other girls’ arms.
Maddie’s solo is next.
The dance is lovely as Maddie’s dances always are. But as far as switching up her dance faces, well, she pretty much just swaps in a smile for her usual angst face. Not very nice to tell the kid do something other than angst face during a dance that 97% angst. Cheese!
Back in the get-ready, the mothers say it’s too bad Abby isn’t here to see how well the first two soloists did. Melissa decides to call her, just for sport. And Abby actually picks up.
In her best Mom-I’m-too-sick-to-go-to-school voice, she says:
In bed where, the moms want to know.
Ah. You never left Orlando. When ARE you going to leave Orlando?
While everyone is still reeling from that special proclamation, Leslie decides to pour a couple shakers of salt in the wound and ask Abby sweetly if she was serious about Payton doing a solo.
Isn’t she doing one, Abby wants to know? No, says Leslie. Brooke is.
Brooke bursts into tears and Kelly and Melissa try to talk her into doing the solo anyway, just to prove Abby wrong. Wouldn’t it be a wonder if she won and she and Gia could have the last laugh?
Brooke does the solo. The song is about dancing just because everyone tells her to, even though it makes her hurt from head to toe. If she hadn’t written the song before this little dust-up, she certainly would have after.
The group dance is spare and simple and lovely and uses everyone to equal advantage. Christi says it’s been a long time since she’s felt so emotionally invested in one of these things. Everyone hopes the group — the whole group — can be a winner without Abby.
Asia’s solo gets first.
Brooke’s solo gets fourth. Kelly blames the boring costume and slap-dash choreography.
Maddie’s solo gets first, too. She dedicates the win and her ginormous trophy to Hannah, who comes onstage to get the trophy and another hug from her new friend.
The group dance is a winner too. Let us do the hoedown of victory!
Ohhhh … ditch your shoes and grab your pal!
Abby M can go to hell!
Gia led us to a win!
How we’ll suffer for that sin!
Bow to your partner. Now to your corner.
Leslie’s talking again.
Mrs. Ackerman says she’s sure Abby will be back next week, so they should get the celebrating out of their systems right now. Jill says Melissa should call Abby right now and tell her how the group dance won without her. Holly scowls, but doesn’t call anyone unprofessional.
“Are you serious?” says Melissa. She makes the call, anyway. And someone named Mandy picks up. All Mandy knows is that she has been assigned to answer Abby’s phone. Everything else is a mystery.
While everyone ponders what Abby’s up to now, someone gets caught thanking her lucky stars, and also Jesus, that she’s gone.
Next week on Dance Moms, Abby wears a turban and tells Christi to get on her knees, Cathy’s back and looking to be beat Chloe, and Yvette has had it.
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.