So did everyone recover from the excitement of last week’s inferno? And speaking of excitement, I’d like to give a big ol’ Dance Moms Obsessive shout out to readers Kris and Becky who pointed out peeks at the Pitt Crew that I completely missed, despite having my eyelids dang near taped open in hopes of getting a glimpse. Shore ’nuff — there the little Ab-beleagured critters were, like pigtailed manna from Dance Moms heaven.
But we’re here to talk about the epic adventures of the A V Club, so let’s get to it.
Despite the fact that everyone did respectably last week in Michigan. Victor’s got Nationals on his mind — so we have to get to winning-winning, not just respectable placing. So where there’s winners and placers, there’s The List.
Top spot goes to Jessi. All trophy-yanking rancor has been atoned for. And Susan’s a very proud mama.
In second is Little Kim. Her technique saves her — but she needs to let go and be an artist. Pssshaw, right. Look up “perfectionist” in the Funk & Wagnalls, Angel, and there’s your girl. If the move is artistic, but not quite perfect, Kimmy ain’t having it and that’s a fact.
Third is Lucas. He did what he did in the group number and that’s enough. Besides, we need him far enough up the ladder to earn an individual performance, so there’s that.
Fourth is Hannah. Hannah is in fourth. Hannah is not in fifth. Oh. Well. Short-lived victory, that one. Victor thinks she should still be at the bottom because he’s still sore about that whole trust-fall shortfall from last week. This from the guy’s whose own trust fall partner dropped him on his ass.
But on a completely happy note, Hannah scores the first Dance Moms: Miami Fashion Moment of the episode with this utterly adorable jacket.
Fifth is Sammy because Abby didn’t trust their crahgraphy and that is unacceptable. There ya go! Now this thing’s starting to feel like Dance Moms! Punish the kid for the sins of the mom, in addition to making them dance about it.
This week, we’re talking a page from the Season Two Abby Lee Playbook and keeping it local-ish, competition-wise — namely, Access Broadway in Orlando. Angel isn’t sure that the Broadway babies are going to like his Miami babies’ contemporary style, so they need to be impressive, but not provocative, and above all things, fierce.
To accomplish this mission, Jessi and Hannah get solos. Kimmy and Lucas get a duet. Sammy gets benched.
The group theme this week is survival, because there are a bunch of studios out there that want to kick the A V Club’s collective booty shorts, so this week we’re going to learn survival of the fittest. Abby thinks That’s. Just. Perfect. Because she is barely hanging on in this building full of disrespectful teachers and madcap moms.
Down in the dance room, Victor wants to know what kind of animal his kids would like to be. Jessi wants to be a lion, because it’s the king of the jungle or whatever super lame-o exercise hooey. Hannah wants to be a snake ’cause they’re fast. Kimmy wants to be a spider ’cause they’re little just like her. Lucas wants to bird … ’cause he wants to flyyyy. Sammy wants to be a giraffe because they have long legs just like her.
Anybody out there want to help me out with what the message on Lucas’ shirt is — besides SD (H2T) superscript heart. SD. Stars Dance? South Dakota? (H2T) Too hot … in these parentheses? Hot water? Hot tea? Heart … uh, love? I love to be in hot water at Stars Dance? If the mothers were wearing these shirts, that would make a boatload of sense. But it’s Lucas with the shirt on and dude is never in trouble — at least here. I’m pretty sure the answer is spelled out on the back of the shirt, but I can’t quite catch a long enough glimpse to read it. Hold on a sec … quick field trip to the Star Dance Studio web site to see if such a thing is for sale. Nope. There’s a store link, but it looks under construction. So my understanding of this shirt is under construction, too. Someone … a little help?
In the Mom room, Abby is peeved that Angel and Victor call out the mothers out in front of the children and says they have no right to take that tone with her, no matter where they are. Debi is ticked because the trust fall has nothing to do with Hannah’s dancing. Abby says the main issue is that Angel and Victor didn’t have time to work on the dance that neither of Abby or Debi wanted their children to do in the first place. Though they’re denying that to the rafters right at the moment. Perfectly on cue, Brigette/Little Miss Trouble pipes up and says what I’m thinking — that the dynamic duet-o should quit bitching because the kids did their dance and earned a platinum, so shut the fluff up already.
Oh oh. Abby has proof right here in her phone that Victor texted her to bring Sammy’s solo outfit in case the duet didn’t happen and don’t breathe a word about it. He should really have specified a timeframe for that last past, because boy is she breathing a word about it right now — complete with visual aids. Oh oh, even worse. Angel was texting Debi at the self same time, to see where her head was at with the duet. But Debi isn’t going to rat Angel out. Yet. Let Abby get herself in trouble for being a blabber-phone.
In case you’re wondering — like I’ve been for the two or three years that it’s been on — the song in the J’adore ad with Charlize Theron that we just saw is Heavy Cross by The Gossip. I certainly feel better. And that’s your extraneous Dance Moms blog video of the day.
Back at the studio, Kimmy and Lucas learn that they will be dueting about love. They love this about as much as nine-year-olds should be expected to love a duet about love. That is, they don’t. Victor accurately assesses the situation like this: “They’re like, ew, cooties!” To get the love-ball rolling, Angel and Victor decide the tots would benefit from writing each other a love letter that contains at least one nice thing about the other. At least one paragraph long. So that’s tonight’s homework.
Kimmy loves homework. Kimmy does not love Lucas.
Next, Angel and Hannah get to work on Hannah’s solo, which will be called “Be Happy For Me.” I was really hoping that we wouldn’t discuss Hannah’s weight anymore, but we are, with her mother taking the lead. I’m not happy for Hannah. Especially when she says she’s been trying multiple things for the last few years to lose weight even though she’s prepubescent. But she’s happy to be smiling in a dance, so for that, I’ll be happy for her.
After Hannah leaves the dance room, Debi teeters out to tattle on Abby. Angel says that all mothers at their studio know to bring extra costumes, just in case — which Deb’s aware of — and since Abby is new, they were just sayin’. Oh. Well, still. Deb’s rapidly dismissed.
Undeterred, the mothers merely retool their plan of attack and go after Abby for the very act of showing off the text — never mind the actual purpose of its content. Abby is yelling. Susan is yelling. Brigette would like to yell, but she can’t get a word in edgewise. Debi fidgets since Brigette is next in line to yell and she’s plainly getting nowhere. Ani does what Ani does best in these situations. Nada. Finally Abby heads for the door and Brigette sees her chance to add something to the argument. “You’re really good at that leaving thing!” she snarks like a spurned lover. But Abby scores the final word and she’s outtie.
Jessi’s solo is called Fallen Angel and it’s about an angel that has fallen from heaven and is asking forgiveness — maybe the trophy yanking incident isn’t as put to bed as I thought. In any case, audiences are going to love it or hate it, says Victor. Susan hates it enough for everyone. No turns. No extensions. Her Jessi can’t win if she can’t show off her strengths, which are technical not artistic. Time to powwow with the kid.
Susan wants Jessi to understand that artistry does not win competitions. Jessi wants Susan to understand that Angel and Victor aren’t idiots, they’re professionals, and that Susan needs to show them some respect. Undeterred, Susan suggests that Jessi might not be happy under their tutledge. Jessi suggests that Susan might need to go to a mental hospital or something.
Speaking of that, or something, here’s the Dance Moms preview about Kelly yanking her kids from Abby Lee’s studio and her cash from her coffers over that mysteriously underperforming chair. New narration, though: We know we can’t wait. It’s our life. It’s our time. Actually, our time isn’t until June. My husband isn’t home tonight to flip his lid about the wait and I deeply wish he was. Actually I just dribbled artichoke butter on the keyboard and he would totally freak, so no I don’t. Don’t worry, sweetie, I cleaned it up. Love you. Mean it.
Speaking of THAT, we’re back to the love duet. The song is called “Is This Real” and Victor does not want the judges to go, “Is this real?” But Lucas — whose shirt now bears a much easier to understand smiley face — can’t for the life of him figure out how he’s supposed to know what love feels like because he’s nine. In any case, it’s time to fecth the love letters. Ani doesn’t think Kimmy should know what love feels like, so she wrote the letter for her. Put a “LOVE” stamp on it and everything. Technique AND artistry — especially since it puts romance novels to shame, in a reasonably chaste sort of way. The mothers LOVE it. Angel and Victor LOVE it. Lucas, on the other hand, is not focused on the message — he’s focused on the length. Namely that his own assignment will not live up to this overly windy missive. I’m pretty sure that Brigette wrote Lukey’s letter too, because she’s dying to see what Kimmy thinks of the stationary. Kimmy’s ripping into that sucker like it’s her acceptance letter to the perfectionist version of Mensa, so apparently she cannot wait either. Also, it says that their pairing is destiny and that even if Kimmer falls, Lucas will always catch her. To prove it, the boys have Kimmer jump into his arms. Kimmy does — and sure enough, Lucas catches her. With an expression that says Lucas will not be a convert to the glories of love any time soon.
To wit: Angel just told Lucas that he’s looking at the floor too much whilst dancing, rather than at his make-pretend lady. “You don’t do that until at least three years into the relationship,” Angel explains. GAHD I wish my husband was here, artichoke dribble or otherwise. He’d laugh worse hard than I am right now. Especially when Angel augments his advice with an order for the children to remember to give each other a kiss goodnight. Oh Angel, were you ever nine? Two words, straight from the mouth of Victor: 1) Ew. And 2) Cooties.
Here’s our Fallen Angel! She tells Victor and the not-fallen Angel about her convo with her mom and the three cast evil eyes at Susan. Victor loves how people know nothing about dance are so quick to criticize his dances. Susan begs to differ. Her mother is a professional dancer. Her sister is a professional dancer. Knowledge by osmosis, people. But we’ve got weightier — and far more uncomfortable — fish to fry…
… because the group dance is copacetic, but before they go, the dancers suddenly have to step on Mayra’s scale. So they get used to what might happen in a real, live, professional dance troupe, says Angel. Apparently this is a long-standing rule at Stars, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. Also Mayra’s hair is a chin-length bob that merits no further mention, and for that I am also sad.
Despite this being a longstanding rule at Stars, the mothers are displeased with the activity. Well, except for Susan, because Jessi has dropped 35 pounds. Even though that’s also about how much Sammy weighs total, Abby objects the most. I’m all about it. These kids are all in an age group where their bodies are changing in ways that are beyond their control and no one should be punished or rewarded for better genetics, faster metabolisms or the peculiarities of puberty. She orders Sammy out of the weigh-in line and into the car, and Sammy breaks down from frustration.
Huh. Not sure what I think of this whole development — especially in the wake of the Insecurities dance episode, just a few weeks back. I get that you’re training dancers for a potential professional career. But I also get that some of my most favorite dancers on, say, Dancing With the Stars and Victor’s own reality-show alma mater, So You Think You Can Dance, have a ton of talent and beautifully curvy bodies that don’t stand in the way of that in the slightest. Any dancers out there care to help me land on a conclusion about this?
And we’re in Orlando. Victor wants these Broadway people to see stars. Er, Stars. Angel and Victor have made Susan cry, what with their lack of respect and all in telling Jessi to ignore her mom. Jessi’s on the boys’ side — she loves her lovely artistic solo. “Be the artist!” cries Victor when she steps onstage in a truly stunning, flowing white costume. And she be’s one alright. Her solo makes me hold my breath. Even Susan seems converted. Jessi says it’s the best she thinks she’s ever danced. Backstage everyone celebrates and Susan looks chastened. Yep, she’s chastened. She tells Jessi she’s perfect.
Time for the Lerve duet. Lucas is confident because they’re both cute. You wanna argue?
They’re glorious dancers, too — perfectly matched and wonderfully in sync. Tough noogies if they don’t love each other — I love them both enough to cover the spread.
Backstage, things have taken a turn back toward ugly. So ugly that Susan speaks to Jessi in Spanish because she’s furious for the way her child is talking back. I’m reasonably certain that at least several of these other folks speak Spanish, as well, so I’m guessing that English = happy, Spanish = pissed, and that’s about all there is to that. From the look of it, Jessica podría importar menos.
Out in the hallway, Hannah is getting rattled and teary because she’s blanking on some steps to her solo. Angel thinks he should be the one crying, not her. Victor just gets in her grill and tells her to improv. Oy, I’m so Not Happy For Hannah, right now.
But Hannah’s music tells me that I should don’t be sad, be happy, so I’ll try. Victor wants Hannah to be the artist, too. And just like Jessi, Hannah nails it. In the audience, Debi shrieks like the wild animal the children will need to be for the group dance, so way to stick to the survivalist theme! But Victor and Angel are still stuck on the crying in the hallway. In other words, Hannah’s going to be at the bottom of the list next week, too. Unless Susan keeps lipping off.
Sure enough. Susan is teary-eyed and angry because the boys continue to joke around about the moms in front of the kids and decides to take her complaint to its sources. Angel can’t believe the moms think its his job to raise their kids and says that Jessi is entitled to whatever mood she is having (unless it entails crying, because he’s the one who should be crying). Susan tells Jessi that she has sacrificed her whole family for her — did she disown the girl during the commercial? Brigette finally takes the collective bullsh*t by the horns and reminds the little ingrate dancers that they don’t drive and they don’t have money and the only reason they are there is because of their moms. Jessi and Susan hug it out.
The A V Club’s group dance costumes and body paint are AWE-to-the-SOME! Victor leads everyone in a little pre-performance, alpha-gorilla chest-beating, and then they scramble out on all fours just like the wild beings they are.
Oh oh. Halfway through the really honestly amazing routine — Abby Lee, you so have your work cut out for you come June — Lucas’ feathered head piece falls in front of his face, but he doesn’t miss a beat. Brig takes the credit. Victor splits it with Lucas.
Time for awards:
• Hannah takes first place in her 9-12 category for her solo.
• Jessi gets first place in the senior category — her first win of the season. She thanks Angel and Victor AND her mom. I think her place at the top o’ the list might be salvaged after all.
• Kimmer and Lucas get first place for the duet — Lucas thinks there might be something to those love letter dealies.
And the group dance makes it a perfect run for Stars. Angel says the kids really did learn the survival lesson and, hence, this is last time he wants to hear about sabotage and tricks and all that nonsense. Victor augments the core message by slapping some duct tape over Susan’s mouth. Despite their active participation in the hen-peckery, Abby and Brigette hoot and holler, high-five and raise the roof. Even Susan smiles …er, after she’s peeled the tape off of her face. But I’m guessing this group unity is going to be short-lived because next week …
… Jessi, Hannah and Sammy get a trio and Susan threatens to end Angel’s life and his time.
New episodes of Dance Moms: Miami air Tuesday nights at 10pm on Lifetime.
Video and images: Lifetime