I miss the Apples, Dance Moms nation. I do. I can’t help it. And I’m not sorry, either. Because the comedy quotient goes up about four zillion percent when they’re at least lurking about the episode, and I like a few laughs with my Dance Moms. Sigh.
Thank you for listening. I feel better. Now let’s get on with the recap of tonight’s Apple-free episode, Do-Si-Do And Do-Si-Don’t.
Since the group dance and Asia’s solo got first place — so who cares about anyone else — Abby still believes she hit the jackpot last week in Vegas. The pyramid goes like so:
Big Mac is bottom of the bottom, since she didn’t even make the trip to Sin City. This means Paige gets to bump up one spot, even though she blanked on her solo. Abby says she redeemed herself nicely in the group dance. Paige says thank you and looks worried.
Next is Brooke, because a) Brooke and Paige are always one after the other in the bottom row and b) Ricky Marcelino Palomino’s choreography didn’t make the most of the talents she (and no one else, according to Abby) has.
Rounding out the bottom row is Nia. Abby says she was a movie star in group dance practice and a oblivion-seeking mess in competition. Nia blames her hat for the distraction, but Abby says — I am not making this up — that she was once at a performance where part of the set came down and cut a guy’s hand clean off and no one missed a beat. I’m guessing that is until the guy expired from blood loss and people started falling over him by accident. I’m also guessing that this is just a wee exaggeration of the truth, but in any case, Holly says should Nia should ever suffer a similar fate, she WILL ruin the group dance and leave the stage immediately and that, people, is a fact.
Last in the second row is Kendall. Abby demands to know what happened with her solo. Kendall says she watched a few of the dances that came before hers and psyched herself out a little. This news makes Abby unhappy for several reasons. For one, she says, you never watch the dance that comes before yours, for just that very reason. And for two, even if you go out and do the worst dance of your life, you still walk off that stage like you just qualified for the Dance Olympics.
Here. Let her demonstrate, using Holly as her pretend competition.
La-dee-da-dee-da … not a care in the world right here, even though I just biffed my dance!
Bazinga! “I just freaked you out,” she crows.
Yes, Abby. Yes, you did. You also nearly made Jill pee her torn-up pants.
Abby says these are tricks of the trade she’s been using for decades, so listen and learn.
Row 2 begins with Chloe. Abby says she’s flying under the radar. Christi wants to know how one flies over the radar when one doesn’t have a solo and is relegated to the back row in the group dance. Abby says Chloe should have fought for a spot in the front. Now we know.
Rounding out Row 2 is Maddie. Abby says she pulled the focus in the group dance. Of course she did. She came out first, had the featured part and was front and center.
Top of the top is Asia the Invincible. And that’s that.
With one week to go before Nationals, Abby says we will be shuffling off to Buffalo to attend — everybody say it with me now — in10sity Dance. The group routine will be a hoedown called Country Cuties. The girls are just thrilled.
Big Mac gets the first solo. It’s called Reach For The Stars. “Oh cute!” warbles Melissa. Then Abby says Mackie doesn’t have to reach too far to find a star because one is standing right next to her. That would Asia. Oh cute! Asia and Mack both look annoyed,
Maddie and Kendall will be doing a duet called Bodies Electric. Abby hopes working with Maddie will ramp up Kendall’s game. I’m guessing it will turn Jill into a spaz, too, but you win some, you lose some.
Chloe will also be performing in a duet. With Paige? Noooo! With Nia? Noooo! With Asia — who does the job for the rest of us and looks utterly gobsmacked at the prospect. Abby just hopes Asia doesn’t leave Chloe in the dust. This should be interesting. Or alarming. Or both.
Then we get more big news. Dance Spirit magazine is coming to do a feature on the ALDC! Well, not really the ALDC. Just one D-er from the ALDC. That would be Maddie. Abby says that she tried to sell them on spotlighting the whole competition dance squad, but they wanted to do a day in the life of Maddie, instead. So it goes. No one looks tremendously surprised.
Up in the Mom Loft, Melissa points out that they have never done a country-inspired dance before, ever, and Kristie opines that the moms should all wear cowboy hats to the competition in honor of the occasion. But not cowboy boots. She’s not wearing those things until someone invents a pair with stiletto heels. Here you go, pumpkin. You can thank me later.
ALSO, JILL HAS THE BEST COWBOY BOOTS, YOU GUYS! Just ask her.
Come time for group dance practice, Abby says that, at first blush, the routine might look like your basic gym-class square dance, but it’s actually much more complex than that — loaded with tricks and partner work, and requiring tons of stamina. One of the tricks is every other girl doing those little hold-hands-with-mom-and-dad front walkovers that adventuresome little kids try when “swing me!” loses its thrill.
Oh, dear. Long, lanky Paige has to rely on wee little Asia to hoist her arm high enough off the ground to complete the walkover gracefully.
Yikes. Even Kristie says yikes. Up, Asia. Lift up! You’re flipping Paige, not bowling with her.
Kelly says the problem is that there’s entirely too much acro in the dance to begin with. Watching the action — which involves an alarming amount of dancers’ crotches in other dancers’ faces — the mothers yell “Ohhhhh!!!!” and flinch a lot. Mackenzie will also be expected to walk on her hands over the top of all seven of the other dancers, like she did a couple weeks back in her solo with Asia. That’s 48 counts of walking on her hands. With one hand on each side of seven bodies. Seven bodies that are bigger than hers. Does this seem like a recipe for disaster to anyone else besides me?
Next morning, it’s time for a field trip to Melissa’s house, where Dance Spirit has arrived to begin recording their Day in the Life of Maddie. And look who just happened to drop by! You know, to pick up that one thing she accidentally forgot that one time!
And she just so happens to have copies of the Dance Track magazine with Kendall on the cover right here in her bag, even though, she just happened to drop by … to get the thing.
In an aside, Jill admits that none of this was an accident, which is a darn good thing, because I’m pretty sure we all were fooled otherwise. Not even Melissa is fooled. Jill says oh so what. Melissa isn’t threatened.
Then it’s off to the studio, where Orange Tic-Tac orange is the fashion order of the day for Holly and Jill, and Kelly wore some sort of half-toga thing over a silver sequined thing that somehow adds up to one shirt. The other mothers quiz Rachel from Dance Spirit about what the focus of the article is (“the dance life is craziness, but these are just normal kids” Er, kid.) and how they chose Maddie (“mutual decision between us and Abby”) and if they will also be featuring other girls, too (uh, no). Then they head up to the Mom Loft to grumble and watch practice.
Christi opines that if the magazine really wanted an accurate story about a day in the life of a kid dancer, they should have picked one who isn’t the teacher’s pet and has to scramble week to week to be noticed. Kelly says the decision is really about control. Nobody toes the company line like Maddie, Melissa and Mackenzie, so if they’re featured, Abby knows exactly what will be said. Fine points, both. Then the discussion comes to an abrupt halt when the Dance Spirit photographer starts snapping photos in the studio and someone makes sure she’s in them. Oh snap!
Kelly and Christi say that if this were a true representation of the ALDC, Abby would be sitting off to the sides screaming at them. Allow me to quote Mrs. Lukasiak’s impression of the teacher.
“Look at me! Mlllllleeeeeeaaahhhh!”
Kristie thinks they should look on the bright side and enjoy the fact that Abby has been really good with the girls since the magazine got here, and Kelly agrees that they should convince Dance Spirit to come do a different feature every week. No such luck. They leave before Kendall’s and Maddie’s duet practice. Sorry ’bout that, Jill.
Abby says she has a built-in insurance policy for the duet. If Kendall doesn’t hold up her half of the bargain, Maddie can do it as a solo. Then she calls Jill down from on high. This dance can go one of two ways for Kendall, Abby tells her. Either she can rise to Maddie’s caliber. Or she can tarnish Maddie’s reputation. And Abby will only allow one of those outcomes to happen.
Then Jill commits a mega-boo-boo. She asks Abby if the dance is actually choreographed to be a winning number. I get what she is really asking, which is, are both parts of the duet strong enough to equate with a winning dance or is this just Kendall being a backup dancer for Maddie? Abby, on the other hand, hears this: “Your choreography sometimes blows.”
Guess who gets herself kicked out of the room?
Next day, Christi wants to know what there is to do in Buffalo besides eat chicken wings, but Holly has more pressing matters on her mind. She says that usually by this time in the preparations, the group dance has stopped looking like a hot mess. And the hoedown is still a big pile of steaming cow poop, if you ask her. Then she says Jill is living her dream, having Kendall dance with Maddie, and we all get into a fight about whether or not it is every other mother’s fondest wish that her kid dance with Maddie, too.
Abby wants all the moms down in the studio. Jill is allowed back in, too. In what is apparently Abby’s new thing, we’re going to run the group dance one pair of dancers at a time. Abby isn’t really happy with anyone’s performance, but she especially calls out Mackenzie and tells her that she’s going to ruin the group dance if she doesn’t nail that quarter-mile walk on her hands.
Two words, Abby: Try. It.
No, five words: Try. A. Quarter. Of. It.
Once they’re safely back upstairs, the mothers agree that the lowdown on the hoedown is that there is still much work to do.
In the studio for Asia and Chloe’s duet practice, Abby tells Chloe — who got the Orange Tic-Tac clothing memo — and Asia that even though the former is a National champion and the latter is undefeated, there could be someone out there just waiting to knock the wind out of their sails. Chloe looks pensive. Asia says, no one shall be knocking anything …
Looks like someone watched Child’s Play or maybe Bride of Chucky on the late-night TV during her time off from the ALDC, because Chloe and Asia’s duet will be about a kid whose doll comes to life and, you know, stabs her. Charming.
Kristie says her main problem with the routine is that if she weren’t already aware of what the story was about, she’d have no idea what’s going on. A lot of hand waving and false-eyelash flapping goes into the earnest explanation. Christi isn’t feeling it, either. She doesn’t want Chloe’s shot at Nationals to be based on her being stabbed in the back by a doll that looks like Asia.
Mackenzie’s turn to run her solo. Abby tells her no first place, no nationals. No duh. Abby tells her to “push wind.” I’m guessing that’s different from breaking it. This camera angle, which I call Mount Rushmore Abby and the United States of Mack, happens a lot.
For her comforting parting words of encouragement, Abby tells the little muffin that she grew up in the ALDC, so it should be her representing at Nationals, instead of someone who’s from 3,000 miles away. But if she isn’t a winner, the outsider is in.
Come competition day in ….
… Abby has added a half-order of delicious mall bangs to her ’do and warns the girls that they’d better hope she doesn’t spot children she would rather take to Nationals than them.
Kenzie goes first.
Just once I wish the kid would get a solo that didn’t involve some sort of cutesy-pants mugging, but I guess this is as good a start as any. Abby whispers to Melissa that Asia is the best thing that ever happened to Mackenzie. Yes, Abby. Just like you are the best thing that ever happened to Paige.
I clearly do not understand “best things,” Pittsburgh style.
Backstage, Mac happily announces, “Crushed it!” and dissolves in a fit of giggles. Melissa nearly dislocates the kid’s arm yanking her into a hug.
Kristie is still fretting about the judges not getting the theme of Asia’s and Chloe’s duet, even though the dance is called “My Doll.”
I suppose we could have called it “My Doll Is Trying To Kill Me” to make things a little easier for her, but that would have ruined the suspense for the rest of us.
I tell you what — the tinkly, broken-music-box-and-giggling-children music gives me the heebies right from the get-go. And things don’t get much better as the dance goes on. This thing gives Where Have All The Children Gone? a run for its creeptastic money.
Abby says that the duet was a little rough around the edges, but Asia out-danced Chloe either way. Christi says that it was good … for what it was.
In the get-ready room, Abby is freaking out on Kendall’s posture as Kendall and Maddie run their duet. Abby and Jill get into a yelling match that rattles tender Kendall something fierce. Abby says a halter is the worst costume possible for the girl because it highlights her stooped shoulders. “Oh yeah, well who did the costumes?” Jill retorts. Abby says she’s deflecting from the real problems. Jill tells her to leave Kendall alone and stop tearing her down. Abby says she’s not tearing Kendall down. She’s pointing out that Maddie’s reputation is on the line if Kendall screws up. Not the same.
Not different, either, but maybe I’m just being fussy.
The duet — which is actually half Maddie solo/half duet if you ask me — goes beautifully. When Kendall finally does take the stage, she is perfectly in sync with her partner. Which I suspect Abby knew she would be all along.
Also is there some sort of bylaw that says every dance has to end like this?
Also, does any other Fame fan have this stuck in their head now?
Or the Walt Whitman poem? Or both, if you’re exceptionally artsy fartsy?
After the dance, Maddie and Kendall hug it out like Super Bowl champions.
There is much celebrating backstage until Abby shows up, tells Mack she did great — then makes her thank Asia for that outcome. Because she’s a total pumpkin, Kenzie turns to Asia without a hint of upset and does in the sweetest of voices.
Then it’s time to get farm-i-fied in denim vests, lace-trimmed cutoffs, bra tops with a daisy smack in the middle and beribboned ponytails. Yeeeehawwww!
Then Melissa passes around the “thing” she got on her phone from Maddie’s Dance Spirit article and Christi points out that Jill is wearing high-fashion chaps. And not just chaps, mind you.
Let’s get bowlegged like a cowboy and dance!
Jill says she actually learned that move from Kenzie.
Speaking of whom, while the mothers are arsing around, the girls are out in the hallway lying in a row while Kenzie attempts her long walk over the top of them again and again. Gia warns the dancers that everyone’s hair must be secured beneath the girl behind her’s legs or Mack is going to slip on it. She tells Mack that if she does fall on someone’s hair, that’s their fault, not hers. She also tells her not to hold her breath or she’s going to pass out before she gets to the end of the line. I’m guessing Mack will either fall on someone’s hair or hold her breath.
Also, here’s a good look at the underside of Nia’s feet.
Country Cuties is, indeed, cute, and done to song about a fool on a bar stool and his honey from whom he is likely to be soon parted. Then comes time for Mack’s long walk.
Sure enough, halfway through. her elbows give and she goes down. Backstage, the poor kid cries and says that she slipped on someone’s hair, but Abby thinks it’s really because Mack practiced it so many times that her arms got too tired to pull off the actual dance. Only awards time can save you now, child.
Phew! Mack’s solo gets first — by six points, adds Melissa. Mack can’t enjoy the victory, though, because she’s too worried about still getting killed by a doll that look likes Asia … oops, nope …. if the group dance doesn’t win.
Asia and Chloe’s duet gets second. Maddie and Kendall get first. The queen of putting her foot in her mouth leans over to Christi and Kristie and offers this, by way of congratulations.
You don’t need me to tell you how well that went over.
Time to determine Kenzie’s fate/find out how the group dance did. And she’s safe! Country Cuties gets first place by 3-plus points. Abby says Mack better thank everyone else in the dance. I think she should thank the judges for realizing that not a one of them likely could’ve walked that far, in those circumstances, on their hands, either.
Backstage, Christi jests with Jill about her rude remark, but Jill’s feeling punchy. She says Christi is just pissed that her daughter’s dance got second — and, besides, she was only reiterating what Christi said all week about the weird routine being a poor choice to determine whether or not Chloe goes to Nationals. Nonetheless, I predict a lot of murderous doll/square dance routines overtaking future dance competitions across the land.
In the get-ready room, Abby calls out the winners (and losers) and then tells everyone to eat, breathe and live Nationals until they find out if they’re performing or not. Because she has no intention of losing — and even less of losing to Cathy, who will also be there with the Apples. Hurray!
Next week on Dance Moms, we head to the Big Easy for the big competition, and Pay-Pay and Lesley are along to stir the pot. Mostly Christi’s from the looks of it. Plus, Cathy brings in guest choreographer Blake McGrath — who despite his resemblance to Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath is not related to him. So shut the door, baby, and don’t say another word about it.
Also, everyone uses the word bitch a lot.
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Was Abby unnecessarily mean to Kendall? Did you love or loathe My Doll? Was that too far for Mack-a-do to walk on her hands? Would you welcome a Season 4 of Dance Moms? Sound off in the comments section below.
The Dance Moms Season 3 finale airs next Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 9/8CT, followed by an all-new episode of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition.