Well, I was kinda hoping we might start this week’s outing by addressing why Abby went outer limits at duet-winner Chloe at the end of last week’s episode, but I guess not. And given that we’re chugging ever closer the end of Season 2, I should really stop grasping for a plotline to cling to like the Maddie-Chloe rivalry of simpler days gone by. And yet I cannot.
Abby’s still speaking remedial French, though. And she seems downright tickled at how Starbound Philly went. So whatever the “Sneaky Sneaky” meltdown that sent Chloe fleeing in tears was about, I guess c’est fini. Happily, the girl looks no worse for wear.
But our imaginary travels are far from over, because today’s pyramid takes us further down the path to whack-a-doodle land than ever before. Brooke is the bottom of the bottom for not speaking up about the back pain she spoke up about on multiple occasions. Broken-tootsied Paige comes in one slot higher than her sister without even taking the stage. Big Mac gets bottom row for crying about getting second place. Abby says she should be grateful — despite the fact that it is an ALDC bylaw that the second-place finisher is the first-place loser. And Maddie barely squeaks into Row 2 because she should have placed 20 points above every other dancer in the competition instead of just 6. Given the number of victories that we’ve seen won or lost by One. Tenth. Of. A. Point I’d say 6 whole ones is pretty good, but we’ve long since established that I have no idea what I am talking about, so I’ll hush.
But the piece de resistance de pyramid is that Nia is finally on top — for the solo she did two weeks ago. Last week she was deemed not even good enough to duet with Chloe. This week she is top of the pyramid AND dance captain of the group. Anybody else think something sincerely awful is about to happen to Nia? I hope not. But history does not bode well for anyone but Maddie at the top of the pile.
Sure enough — Abby tells Nia this promotion is nothing to smile about because it’s ten times more work than all the other dancers have. Since I had no clue that there even was a dance captain, much less an overworked one, this is all a big batch of news to me. But Nia, in a charmingly mature aside, says she is up to the challenge of correcting her teammates nicely and doing whatever must be done to help everyone be a winner. Love! More Nia!
This week we’re doing yet another Starbound competition — this time in Myrtle Beach, SC. Even though it’s vacation Mecca for people approximately 6 decades older than all of ’em, this thrills the little dancers to pieces. Maybe it’s the word “beach.”
Even though she’s still a “guest” on the competition team, Kendall is going to duet with Big Mac. Chloe gets a solo. And that’s it. No solo for Maddie, which is going to make that whole “20 points more” deal a good bit trickier. Also, Brooke, if you’re going to keep standing there all swaybacked like a two-year-old, your back is always going to hurt. Abby said. And yet here you are again, all like this, you little human backward S, you:
This week’s group number is called Taken and it has to do with four miserable little girls who are all dressed the same and watching one happy-go-lucky, brightly-clothed muffin doing her own cheery thing. Of course they all want to be like her. (Of course she will probably be played by Maddie.) And then what do the miserable girls do? Why, they take all her crowns, shove them up Abby’s @$$ and take up gymnastics like Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas.
No. They don’t. They force the happy kid to be miserable and unexceptional like them. A fairy tale, Abby Lee Miller style.
Up in the Mom Loft, there’s all manner of fish to fry. Christi is worried that, without no Maddie doing a solo, too, Chloe is too pressured to win. And everyone wants to know why Jill was at pyramid, since she wasn’t invited last time and she’s still not an official member of the team. Jill smugly says she wouldn’t be at pyramid if she wasn’t invited. But she may want to reconsider the privilege, because downstairs, Abby is harshly reminding her doe-eyed daughter that she is lucky to be able to practice with these here winners (that she likes to make think they’re losers) week after week after week. Especially since Kendall was rife with bad habits when she came to ALDC in the first place and languishing at Candy Apples for five or ten minutes has only made them worse. Now Abby has to clean up the mess.
No you really don’t, Abby. Just don’t let her dance. Tell Jill to take her 1-900 voice, Linda Evans hairdo and penchant for snakeskin prints and tie-dye and go elsewhere. Easy peasy. Well except for the part where Kendall is a winning little dancer and she never actually left in the first place and …
…Abby’s kink-a-rific hair is back, along with a necklace that looks like it’s half lopsided gold rings and half cantaloupe Life Savers on steroids. Dance Moms Fashion Moment!
OK, what were we talking about? Oh. Kendall. Not an official member of the team yet, no matter how many dances she’s been doing. So there. Yada yada.
Now, about that group number. It’s going to be hard to get the point across to the judges in a mere two minutes, so with that in mind, Maddie — The One Who Shall Be Taken — shall indeed be trusted to do her own thing until she’s Took while the rest of the girls shall know none of the pleasures that she knows. In other words, your basic day at ALDC. And I’m pretty sure that’s the point.
To that end, and in an highly amusing aside, Christi informs us that Abby plans to use this dance to explain to the world that the rest of the girls are not a dance team but a cult. A mediocre one. And to feed their mediocrity, when they see someone who is not mediocre, they promptly drag them down to their level. Upstairs she opines that the dance is obviously yet another barb about Maddie’s Drop Dead Diva superiority and it’s offensive. Which it is … and is. Holly wonders why, since Nia has since the beginning of Dance Moms time been held up as the wild-haired, death-drop-doing poster girl of One of These Kids Is Not Like The Other, she isn’t the logical one to play the odd woman out.
Melissa just looks terrible sad.
She nods along for a while, then decides that the other mothers are reading way too much into the dance and everyone should jolly up and get on with it. But Christi is off to the races. Whoa. Christi is really off to the races. She just dropped an F-bomb and a b*tch-bomb squarely in Melissa’s lap and stapled them there with a pointy-finger.
And down below, the girls look up at the commotion. Which goes on anyway.
Christi is using her Outside Voice something fierce, in keeping with my theory that something else was going on last week with that end-of-episode blow up in the green room — the shrapnel of which all embedded itself in Chloe. Whoa. And now it just got uncomfortably, unnecessarily personal. So personal that Hubby Rik has been rendered slack-jawed and mute. He looks at me with saucer eyes. Looks at the screen. Looks at me. Goes in for a large gulp of Daddy Juice (half iced tea, half lemonade, Daddy-sized shot of sweet tea vodka).
See, according to Mrs. Lukasiak, Mrs. Gisoni had an affair with her married boss. Who is apparently still married. I don’t think I heard that right, because aren’t Melissa and Greg Gisoni married now? She’s Melissa Gisoni. So of course he is still married. Right? Or is this another matter of infidelity entirely? And most importantly, why, oh why, am I having to witness this conversation which has nothing in the world to do with dancing children and everything in the world to do with making me want to die of embarrassment for all parties involved. I would dig further into who is and isn’t married, except I would rather cut out my tongue with a nail clipper and stomp it into a nice pâté. So you’re on your own with this one, gentle readers. If you find out what really gives, I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW. Repeat: Do. Not.
In a Dance Moms first — which are becoming increasingly hard to come by — Melissa hurls a bleeped out C-U Next Tuesday word at C-hristi and storms out.
Here’s another new one: Jill puts on her Dr. Holly hat and is now speaking to the rest of the group in soothing tones, explaining that Melissa really does just want to be a team player. Nuh uh, says the real Dr. Holly — Melissa is incredibly smart and knows exactly what she’s doing. I would like to refute that “incredibly smart” part, for she just dispatched Big Mac upstairs to retrieve her bag, where the little girl gets a front row seat to the continued sniping and comes back down in tears. That is not smart. That is awful.
Next day, no sign of Melissa or the girls. Jill can hardly buh-lieve her luck. First Paige breaks her foot. Then Brooke’s back goes ouchie. If Melissa pulls the Ziegler kiddies, oh the places Kendall can go!
And then a sight for sore eyes! Something without a mouth!
John R. Kasich and sign, I’ve missed you so! I’m even happy to see Cathy, since her brand of evil is still camped squarely in camp instead of cruelty, with no filleting of dancers.
Cathy has some top-secret news: the Apples are going to Starbound in Myrtle Beach! Samesies! And to avenge the disaster that was their last meet-up with the ALDC, Cathy has decided to bring in the self-same choreographers that worked up the losing dance last time! Good plan! So welcome back, Mitchell A. Finke and Michael Place! Or “the M&Ms” as Cathy chummily calls you!
And they’re not the only secret weapons! Because Jill and Kendall must specifically be punished for going back where Cathy pretty much told them they should go, she has imported a little man dancer named Drazen so Justice can “have a male friend.” I’m pretty sure she means have a male dance partner, but friends are nice, too.
Hubby Rik wants to know if this means Jill and Kendall are going to have a dance-off with Drazen and Justice, Bring It On style. I would prefer that to anything else that might happen at the competition — or, say, anything else, period — but I’m guessing Mac and Kendall are going up against Drazen and Justice, Starbound duet-style, and that’s about it. Jill is just collateral damage. Because he’s terrifically resilient, Hubby Rik contents himself with practicing Michael and Cathy’s “No smirking!” direction on the cats.
Back in Pittsburgh, the show goes on without the Ziegler-Gisoni women. Abby is surprisingly blasé about the whole thing. If they don’t show up, they don’t show up, she shrugs. She has to keep working. And besides, all the mediocre members of the cult are present so there’s plenty to work with. Still, even Jill is surprised that Abby would hold class without Big Mac and Maddie. Frankly, I am too.
Back in Ohio, Donner and Blitzen Justice and Drazen are trying to act like two alpha males vying for a promotion and pounding the snot out of Jill’s face on a tabletop. It isn’t going so well. Mostly, I am sure, because they have never held a job, much less vied for a promotion, and, more importantly, they know that pounding the snot out of a grownup’s face — even just pretend and even when more grownups tell you to — is wrong. Sure enough. Cathy admits that Justice does not want to be thought of as a mean kid.
Well, his name IS Justice, lady.
The Apples’ group number is called My Hair Like This. A hot, hot dance, says Cathy. Lots of movement. Except for Vivi, whose role thus far seems to be sitting in a chair with a piece of paper over her face. She’s very good at it.
And here’s where things get interesting for Nia back in Pittsburgh. As Dance Captain, it is her job to call Maddie and tell her to get her butt to the studio and dance. Not Abby’s. Not Gia’s. Nia’s.
Nia wisely points out that the two little girls can decide all they want that Maddie will return to class, but in absence of someone driving her there, their power to make it happen is pretty limited. But she gives it a whirl anyway, in responsible, daughter-of-Holly fashion. Maddie tells Nia that her mom won’t let her come to class because she is mad at the other moms. And, I am pretty sure, doesn’t believe for a moment that life at the ALDC can go on without her dancing diva.
But Melissa’s apparently not willing to risk it. She drops the little dollies off at the door and pulls away. Abby tells Maddie she must never, not ever, let the Ladies of the Loft dictate her future — but, in her aside, Abby really blames Melissa for her absence and unwillingness to do a solo. Oh! Oh oh! The Mediocre Cult of Mothers is dragging down the Exceptional Mother and not even the dictator-ess of dance can see it. You’ve been Taken, Miller.
Anybody else getting into earnest arguments about the value of The Week the Women Went with their husbands during the commercial breaks, or is mine the only husband who stays in the room for Dance Moms? Mine is currently reminding me that I just spent ten days in Los Angeles and not even the houseplants suffered …
Oooooh! Abby has a hot tip from one of her Friends In This Business Whom She Appreciates. Which is that the Candy Apples are Myrtle Beach-bound, too. And they’ve entered dances in every category that the Pitt Crew will dance in. So, Cathy’s Friends In This Business got her the intel first? Ooooooooooooh! What’s happenin’ here, Abby? Cathy got the intel first!
In any case, armed with this new information, Abby decided she has some rearranging to do. With Justice and his little ringer pal Blitzen in the mix, Maddie must now dance a solo … for the purpose of beating Justice who is dancing a duet. Is this supposed to make sense, or do we just not care anymore?
And here comes Maddie right now, followed by a super-perky Melissa who is hoping to waft by Abby with a breezy, “Hi, Ab!” Mmmm, no. Ab wants to know where the hell you been, missy, er, Missy! Missy says she doesn’t have to be here if she doesn’t want to be here, so nerny-nerny, crabby dance lady. Her prepubescent children can take care of themselves.
Whatever, says Abby, but your 9-year-old will also be taking care of a last-minute solo at tomorrow’s competition for the purpose of defeating Justice. Melissa shakes her head at Abby, and tells us it’s too much pressure for her girl.
Melissa just turned down a solo for Maddie. What channel am I watching? What show is this?
Oh, OK, still Dance Moms, for Melissa has just waded back into the fray that is the “den,” ignored the other mothers except for Jill and told Maddie that if Abby tells her she is doing a solo, well, she’s not. Christi would like to know why when Chloe missed practice (or, say, a broken-footed Paige does) she gets punished, but Maddie gets a solo that is somehow supposed to vanquish a duet.
Chloe’s sole solo has a lantern for a prop and is called “Leave the Light On.” It’s about her wanting out of the darkness and into the lightness. I can only imagine, kid. Abby says no boy is going to beat her soloists, so Chloe better dance the darkness right out of this thing. Um, she always does, Abby. Also, I want to know how we know Justice is doing a solo. I suppose we could just go to the results, but eh. I’ll just wait to see how it all turns out. Right now I want to focus on HOLY CRAP is our little Chloe-bird growing up! Look.
It is easy to see that she will be a stunner of a teen in no time flat.
Up in the Mom Loft, tense times and pretty summer dresses abound. Jill and Melissa make awkward small talk until Kelly jumps in to wonder why Melissa wouldn’t want Maddie to do the damn solo. Because it’s not her turn, says Melissa unconvincingly, though I kinda think she means it. Jill is privately incredulous about the whole thing. She thinks it would have made much more sense for Abby to have Kendall, who is not an official part of this team, do a solo, in addition to the group dance and her duet with Mac … and Chloe’s solo … and drive the bus and sew the costumes, too. I made that last part up, but I’m pretty sure Jill would find all of it pretty reasonable, were it offered. Christi is just depressed that Abby doesn’t think Chloe is good enough to beat Justice on her own.
So get her outta here, Christi. Take her to the Joffrey and forget this ever happened. I am pretty sure that Robert Goulet Jr. Joffrey guy is way more reasonable than what ya got going on right now.
Downstairs, Mac and Kendall practice their duet, which makes Abby miserable. Then a completely rung-out looking Maddie wanders in, yawning for all she is worth, and Abby jumps on her for the truth about this no-solo business. Seriously, lady. Look at this face.
Your star pupil has clearly been through the emotional ringer. Say something nice.
“I’m giving you this opportunity and you’re crapping all over me.”
Not exactly what I had mind.
Still, Maddie says no matter how much crap Miss Abby flings at her and her mother, she will listen to her mom. Good girl, Maddie! You listen to Mom! Who is currently finding out that if Maddie doesn’t do a solo and it costs ALDC the win, Abby will never, not ever, forgive her. At least until next week when Abby needs you to win something else.
Melissa wants to know why can’t another kid help Chloe in the fight against Justice and give her and her kid a break from all the favoritism drama. Yes, Abby agrees, any one of the other kids could do a solo. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about putting ridiculous pressure on one 9-year-old to intimidate another 9-year-old into failure. Life lessons, Melissa! Useful tools for adulthood! Still, Melissa shall not be bowed. It’s bedtime, and that’s final.
And then we’re in Charlotte. And the Candy Apples are in Charlotte. And the M&Ms are in Charlotte, too.
While the girls warm up and make up, Abby calls Jill over to quiz her about the mysterious Drazen here on the program. Jill does not know the mysterious Drazen, cross her heart and pledge allegiance, but she is wearing a giant flower ring, if that helps any. Over in the other room, Cathy plans to keep the mysterious Drazen — who really is an adorable little dude — under wraps until it’s time for them to hit the stage, I’m sure that’s basically so Abby doesn’t have the chance to scare the adorable right out of the child and send him screaming back to Ohio.
Time for the Chloe/Justice showdown, because Justice is indeed doing a solo. Chloe’s dress is like stars in a night sky. She performs her dance wonderfully. Hubby Rik is otherwise occupied with the sight of Christi and Melissa sitting calmly side by side in the audience. “Let me get this straight,” he howls. “They were just calling each other C-words back home and now they’re sitting there together, all la de dah?” Yes. They are. See also: Candy Apples directly behind ALDC. Camera Angles > Reality.
Justice is dressed like a shirtless pirate. His solo is packed with tricks that he does impressively. Abby says he did not do choreography; he did stretching. Nine times. Nine. Looked like dancing to me. Hopefully it didn’t look like dancing to the judges, for Chloe’s sake, anyway. They should know dancing versus stretching, yes?
Looks like both to me.
Abby says Chloe did great. She might even have a shot at victory. But, oh, had Maddie only danced. If only she had simply appeared backstage, Justice would surely have collapsed in shirtless-pirate-garbed fear and been rendered danceless. If only.
Holy, Little House on the Prairie! The group dancers are wearing the exact same thing I wore for Halloween in 1974 when I thought dressing up as Laura Ingalls would terrorize my neighbors into giving me candy. Because it was northern Wisconsin, I accessorized with snow pants and a parka, but still …
Apparently the trickiest part of this number is getting a coal-colored sunbonnet secured on Maddie’s noggin — a task entrusted to Brooke because she’s the oldest and has been tying the longest. It’s some pretty scary moments for Abby, though. See?
When the dance is over, Hubby Rik is beside himself with joy. “That dance was a cross between Little House on the Prairie and the Stepford Wives!” he says happily. “Little Stepford Wives on the Prairie!” In any case, it’s a super-creepy dance and those always go over great with the judges — a situation that should be helped along nicely by Cathy hollering “Stop! Stop! Where’s the chair?” from the audience after her “My Hair Like This” group dancers take the stage without one.
Their hair like that totally makes me nostalgic for Annabella Lwin and Bow Wow Wow.
“I Want Candy” break while they scare up a chair and Abby questions the employability of the dancers.
When they finally get to dancing, little ringer man Drazen’s hair has been combed into a fuchsia faux-hawk for the occasion. And Vivi gets to get up off her chair and put down her magazine long enough to pretend to be electrocuted and fall on the floor, so that’s nice, too.
One. Tenth. Of. A. Point separates Chloe’s and Justice’s solos. Justice takes the win. Rather than blame Chloe’s dancing, Abby chalks it up to the judges wanting to keep boys dancing and giving the boy the token win.
My Hair Like That gets third. Little Stepford Wives on the Prairie gets first. We’re tied at one victory apiece.
Backstage, Abby wonders what we’re going to do about Chloe, even though she just told us there was probably not anything that the girl could have done to change the fact that Justice is a boy. Then she tells Melissa that she, too, shares in the loss, because Maddie apparently could change the fact that Justice is a boy. Or continued to hold up my theory that competition judges are just tickled crimson to have their turn to make Maddie a winner.
Apparently there was also a cash prize involved in this victory, because Abby just told Melissa that she is messing with Abby’s livelihood by not allowing Maddie to dance. She doesn’t have a man at home paying all her bills, you know. She has but a little dance school.
And now Abby just told Kendall and Mackenzie that Justice and Drazen are going to beat them, even though none of the children have danced a single step. Ever the diplomat, Dr. Holly chalks this rampage up to Abby’s innate fear of Things That Go Bump In Ohio and says she just needs to calm down.
Justice and Drazen are dressed like suspendered mini businessmen. Kendall and Mackie are dressed like Minnie-Mouse if she had a job as a diner waitress. The boys are adorable, but their dance is kind of an unsynchronized mess. There may be hope for the ladies yet. Abby does love that hand-on-hip-one-bent-knee pose, when it comes to Mac’s dances, doesn’t she? The routine is way below Kendall’s pay grade, but she dances gamely … and the ladies take the win!
And that’s all it takes to make Abby get over Chloe’s second-place finish. She heads off to talk a little smack to her rival, backed by her newly reunited Mom Posse. Cathy is unfazed and says that Abby’s choreography isn’t fresh and new. 1-0, Cathy. Abby touchés that proper form trumps fresh and new any day of the week. 1-1. Plus, Abby says, her 8-year-old can dance circles around Cathy’s 8-year-old, so there. Abby for the lead. Cathy says that’s because HER 8-year-old goes to school and can even read third-grade books. Given that most 8-year-olds are in third grade so this is hardly an accomplishment, I’ll call that one a draw, but it gets Melissa’s attention. Mackie does TOO go to school, she retorts, and also she can read. Cathy tells Melissa she has a Technicolor ass.
I’ll call the whole thing for whichever 8-year-old can spell “Technicolor ass.”
Next week: dueling recitals, Lesley’s back and Kelly’s outie …
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 8/7CT on Lifetime.