Hey Dance Moms nation! Did you know that everyone is replaceable on this team?! And also that no one is safe?! Have you heard? About a million freakin’ times??
I gotta hand it to whomever titles these bad boys, though. This one was actually officially called “Nothing’s Fair in Abbyville.” So at least we’re no longer pretending it is. Maybe next week’s can be called “Nothing Makes Sense in Abbyville” and the one after that “Nothing is Fun in Abbyville.”
Admitting you have a problem is the first step, people.
Anyway, we start out in LA where Abby and the Zeigler/Gisoni ladies are at “Recording Studio” “recording” Mackenzie’s first single. Abby — who is wearing a shirt mysteriously bedazzled with ama@inc on the front — says she must make sure that the child has the appropriate amount of energy when she sings. She demonstrates. I wish I could show you, but Lifetime’s moratorium on providing Dance Moms screeners is still firmly in place, so I’m going to have to improvise again. It actually did look a little something like this, only just from the waist up.
Also, I know a bunch of you are big fans of Mackie’s singing but here is the truth: the kid can sing like your basic, not-tone-deaf kid and that is about it. I would dearly love to pretend otherwise. But that’s the truth. Energy, ama@inc, “recording studio” or otherwise.
Then Mack, Melissa and Abby fly back to Pittsburgh, while Maddie stays behind in LA “doing a job” and “tending to her own deal.” So sayeth Abby. This means she must find a replacement Maddie back in PA.
Let’s start with the pyramid.
NIa is bottom of the bottom. Her solo was bad. Plus, she cried. No and no.
Then Kendall. When Kalani dueted with Maddie, they won. When she dueted with Kendall, they lost.
But maybe it was Kalani’s fault, too. Because she’s next on the bottom.
Row 2 starts with Chloe. Her duet won, but her facial expressions were losers.
Then Mack. She was outstanding with that candy box.
Yes, says Christi, but Chloe was part of the winning duet and the winning group. Yes, says Abby, but she wasn’t outstanding with the candy box. One candy box trumps two winning dances in Abbyville.
This is the first image that comes up when you Google “outstanding with the candy box” — with the safe search on, mind you. I am not responsible for what happens to you if you search that with it off.
Congratulations to this guy for being outstanding the with the candy box, too. Or getting a candy box for being outstanding. I didn’t stick around long enough to find out.
Maddie is top of the pyramid. Jill says that’ so predictable. Isn’t that sad, agrees Abby. I give Abby the last word on this one.
This week, we will be going to Masters of Dance Arts in Ft. Wayne. Abby says she has 7 consecutive group-dance wins in a row and she’s gunning for 8 with a routine called The Bite. Anyone who thinks that’s random after the Battle in the Bronx? Anyone?
Mack gets a jazz/gymnastic solo that at first I think is called Wreck, but is actually called Red.
Kalani gets a lyrical dance called Swan Solstice. The longest day of the swan? Whatever. It makes sense to Abby. This is what you get when you Google “Swan Solstice.” Also a nebula and a close-up of plums.
That’s very pretty, Amanda Clark. I award you a candy box in art.
Chloe gets a lyrical solo that I think Abby calls Heat, but I’m not sure.
Then Abby announces that we will be doing an improv competition to determine who takes Maddie’s place in the … I’m not sure what .. but anyway, the Moms will judge and they can’t pick their own kid.
After the first go-round, Jill picks Kendall anyway, then Kalani.
Kira picks Chloe.
Holly picks Chloe.
Melissa picks Kalani.
Christi picks Kendall.
Nia and Kenzie are ousted.
Kalani is eliminated in Round 2, because Nia and Kenzie get to vote, too.
It’s down to Chloe and Kendall.
Kendall takes it. Whatever the hell it is. The lead in the group, I guess. Time to practice the solos.
Upstairs in the Mom Loft, we half-heartedly discuss whether Abby will ever put Maddie up against Kendall. Then Christi’s phone rings.
Kelly calling!!! She invites Christi to catch up over lunch. Kira wants to come, too. Kelly says whatever, buttinsky, but allows it. Christi extends the invite to everyone.
Holly and Melissa flat-out call Kira weird for wanting to go, but Kira persists. Secretly (not so secretly) she just wants to come along make sure Kelly and the girls are not coming back. Oh, Kira. This really isn’t you.
Lunch will take place at D’Imperio’s, where hospitality has been an art since 1977 and they have a special menu for Homecoming and prom. Here is D’Imperio’s in the ’70s. I think you should still have to dress like this to go there.
Kelly and Christi arrive first. An eerily somber Kelly says she doesn’t miss anything about the ALDC. Christi says she has never felt so alone. Kelly says with friends like Melissa, who needs enemies. Then the rest of the gang shows up. Kelly formally introduces herself to Kira, to make the point that the Kelly she met at the studio and in the Bronx is not the Kelly she’s getting here.
Then she tells the women that her girls haven’t said boo about coming back, and Holly tells us that it’s very clear that there’s no going back for Kelly, either.
Jill gets nosey about the charges and Kelly flat-out tells her that the only people who called to inquire about her and the girls’ well-being after they were pretty much sold up the river by the Dance Moms producers were Holly and Christi. Jill takes a sip of her drink and tries again. Kelly stares at her hard and tells her there is more going on than what went down in NYC.
Back in the studio, Maddie’s back but Abby says Kendall gets to keep her starring role and Maddie needs to be graceful about it. But then she walks it back. Christi notices that Kalani actually appears to be leading the dance.
Jill is indignant. “Abby you’re not even pretending to stand by your word and I think it is ridiculous,” she huffs.
Jill used to wear stuff like this. It was ridiculous, too. I miss those days.
Abby says the Chloe vs. Kalani solo battle is intended to see who will lead the team when Maddie is not around. According to this, that should happen long about episode 16, when we get a whole raft of new dancers.
Then we talk about the possibility of a Maddie versus Kalani showdown. Melissa says she doesn’t believe anybody can beat Maddie with a solo. Sorry. But them’s the facts. Then we go back to fretting about who gets to bite the apple the most in the group dance.
All this talk about biting the apple makes me miss Rachelle Rak. It’s her signature move. Actually, she seemed to have a lot of them.
But, anyway, we didn’t know there even was an apple to bite until Maddie was holding it. Not. Fair.
Rehearsing her solo, Abby tells Mackenzie she has to start moving like a teenager if she wants to be a pop star. Melissa is more practical. She likes that the dance is more grown up because Kenzie’s going up an age group next year.
Plus, now Abby can chew Mackie a new one for every other move like she does the rest of the almost-teenagers, except her sister. So bonus!
Up in the Mom Loft, Kira rags on Abby a little, but only a little, to try to win the trust of the Pitt Crew. And speaking of Abby, here she is. She starts out by telling Melissa that she’s not sure Mack belongs in the group dance, but that’s just an excuse to gain admittance into the treehouse. She’s really here to chastise the group for going for a “lovey-dovey” lunch with her sworn enemy. Jill protests that it wasn’t all that lovey-dovey. But Abby says they’re stupid anyway. Traitors. People who are no longer members of the ALDC should not know what’s going on inside the ALDC. The first rule of Bite Club is you don’t talk about Bite Club.
So the moral of the story is they can stab her in the back all they want, but she’ll retaliate by taking their kid off the team. Nothing’s fair in Abbyville.
On the bus to Fort Wayne, Abby says she isn’t sure this group dance is a winner. And speaking of losers, she heard that Christi gave another dance parent a door-ding in the parking lot and instead of apologizing, she told them not to even think about suing her, because she doesn’t make any money. And that’s just ignorant. And if Christi doesn’t like her saying so, she can just get off the bus.
There is not a drinking game called Get Off the Bus, but there IS one called Ride the Bus. You can learn to play it here. Also, good God, Lifetime, please give me my screeners back. This having to Kerouac it is just plain weird.
After tormenting the various soloist before they perform, Abby climbs back on her soapbox with her whole “Whoever is not with me is against me” spiel — only less biblical — and reminds the mothers that Kelly is a cancer and a poison and you can either be Kelly’s friend or Abby’s client, but not both. And that’s a promise.
Chloe’s solo goes first. It’s pretty and expressive, but nothing terribly memorable. Still, Christi says it reminded her of the old Chloe.
Maddie coaches Kalani backstage before her solo, which highlights her ballet background, and, for those of us who watched Abby’s Ultimate, how much more mature she looks than when she was on AUDC. I’ll get past it, but she was such a leggy, dainty little filly not so long ago that this teenager-looking version is tripping me up a little. Abby emotes her head off in the crowd.
And must every friggin’ solo end with the dancers lying on the stage? Abby, for my sake, get a new capper.
Melissa makes sassy face in the audience during Mackenzie’s sassy solo. Then Mack’s hairpiece falls out, which we all know is the Kiss of Death in Abbyville. But at least she can’t blame this one on Christi.
Backstage, the mothers decide that everyone did really well, until Abby gets there to set them straight. Kalani was great. Chloe was good. Mackenzie was EMBARRASSING! Abby will not let her fail at music for the sake dance or fail at dance for the sake of music. Or fail at hair piece for the sake of drama.
Jill decides to fail at hush the hell up . She goes after Abby about what Kendall’s special part might be for winning the dance off. Abby fumbles around about showing up for class on time and being devoted to dance and then basically just flips her @#$% and says Kendall should open her damn mouth if she wants a special part.
The camera angles for the group dance are deeply hideous, catching a lot of empty stage space between dancers and giving no real sense of what the thing looked like as a whole. Hopefully they will post the full dance tomorrow, so we can see what it was really all about. And whether apple-biting responsibilities were shared equitably.
Come Awards time, Mackenzie, Kalani and the group dance win their divisions and Chloe gets second. The awards lady says Kalani’s and Chloe’s scores were very, very close.
Kira says Kalani’s skill level is far above Chloe’s and backstage, she tells Abby that it’s only fair that Maddie and Kalani go head to head. Abby looks like she’s speaking a foreign language and says it will never happen. Maddie’s been beaten and she knows it. But that’s not the point. The point is that Kalani is able to win every time Abby enters her in something.
That’s the same thing, Abby. Unless you mean every time you enter her something Maddie’s not a part of, too. Then it’s just weird.
Then she turns to Chloe and tells her she has earned the right to private lessons again and Christi protests that she has been taking them. Abby calls her Satan and flounces out.
Next week, Kira gets a special trip to NYC with Mommy!
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Is it about time we get to see Maddie and Replacement Maddie go head to head? Are you surprised that the dancers weren’t dressed like Kelly for a dance called Bite Me? Would it have been a better dance if they had been? Should we just get on with introducing the new team already? Sounds off in the comments section below.
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.