As we open this week’s episode, Dance Moms nation, the Pitt Crew is setting up shop at Stepping Out Studios in New York City. Because not only are we all going to appear on The View, but we’re also attending a competition while we’re out here. The Masters of Dance competition. Our first time ever. It’s basically another in10sity Dance thing — in Bernardsville, New Jersey, not the Big Apple proper — so we’re hardly new to the setup, but whatever. We’re going. And so are Cathy and the Lad Apples.
This is hardly a surprise. The pyramid has a couple.
Mackenzie is bottom of the bottom for not dancing, followed by Nia and Asia, whose drag queen duet apparently didn’t go as well as we were led to believe — and despite their first-place win. Brooke rounds out the bottom row for not making eye contact with the judges. In the second row are Paige and Kendall basically for not screwing anything up in the group dance. Then Maddie, even though her solo won, too. The week before, she beat her competition by double digits. This week, she only bested Chloe by a single point. For that, Chloe earns the top of the pyramid for the first time this season.
The whole kit and caboodle will take part in the Masters of Dance group dance, plus Abby has four solos to hand out. The first goes to Asia, because Abby says she’s definitely better on stage by herself than in a group. Chloe gets one, too, and so does Maddie. One left. It goes to Kendall. Abby tells Jill she can proceed to directly to Henri Bendel to buy her the gift o’ gratitude that usually accompanies Kendall getting a solo.
“OK,” says Jill, not looking like she’s hip to Abby’s funny at all.
Before we can even think about the competition in Jersey, we have to perfect The Last Text for the big performance on The View. Thus far, Asia still has the gig. Melissa protests, but Abby tells her that Mackenzie is rusty from her foot injury, so just hush and let the maestro work. Privately, she tells us that she knows Melissa is a big fibber and an opportunist and someone has to hold her accountable, so it may as well be her.
Hard to choose where there is the most tension at the moment — in the studio, where Abby is not the least bit happy with how The Last Text is shaping up, or in the Mom Space where the mothers are taking sides on the Asia/Mackenzie issue. Jill is completely Team Melissa, for poor little Mackenzie has been dragged hither and thither for three weeks without dancing a step (on camera) and she was part of the winning ensemble in the first place, so the part is rightfully hers. Kristie wants to know why Abby can’t just add Asia to the dance and make everyone happy. Because she certainly isn’t about to tell Asia to bow out, gracefully or otherwise.
In the studio, Abby grills Mackenzie about why her mother is letting Asia take over Mackenzie’s spot and letting everyone forget about her. Mackenzie looks like this is the first time she has ever considered the prospect that everyone could forget about her. We’re not, Mac. You’re pretty unforgettable.
In the Mom Space, the mothers contemplate the glorious, if unlikely, possibility that Cathy could magically appear to co-co-host Abby’s episode of The View. Two mothers in particular would enjoy the bejesus outta that:
One blogger, too.
In another New York studio, Cathy and The Apples are setting up their camp. Looks like we have Nick, Brandon, Jalen and Zach. Cathy thanks them for the clean sweep of the ALDC back in … wherever we were when that happened. Michigan. We were in Michigan. They were ahhh-saaaahhhhhm! Ah-sahm!
What wasn’t ah-sahm was how badly Abby treated their fearless leader and the naughty things she said about her being a hack with a sketchy studio. Gina — who’s wearing a super-cute casual dress and boots — looks likes she’s thinking this over a little harder than Cathy might like.
Then Cathy does her own little dippy pyramid, which doesn’t have anything to do with anything, so let’s just skip it.
Except for this highly entertaining bit of business Jalen does to celebrate his spot in the middle of the bottom row.
Zach gets the sole Candy Apples solo this week to go with the group dance. And fresh off his victory over Abby Lee, Anthony Burrell is back for another shot at it. The dance he has in mind calls for a girl, so we will be holding an open audition here in NYC to get us one.
Meanwhile, Melissa is quizzing Mackenzie about her powwow with the Abinator. Mackenzie tells her mother that Abby wants her to stand up for her daughter, not for her daughter to stand up for her daughter. Ain’t that right, Mack?
Melissa says she’ll talk to Abby about it, and she tries. Abby says Mackenzie draws eyes in a negative way because she’s so short, and even though Asia is short, too, she totally wants it. Her mother totally wants it, too. So want it more than you currently want it, Melissa, I guess.
Melissa reveals that Abby has always told her she wants Maddie and Mackenzie to dance cute for as long as they possibly can, which explains a lot. No sassy-pants, Asia- or Nia-style routines for them. In the Mom Space, she continues to vent about week after week going by without Mackenzie having the opportunity to dance. Kristie smells an opportunity to land herself a key ally in Kelly, whose own daughters wait month after month for the chance at a solo. How do you think that makes Kelly, Paige and Brooke feel, Melissa?
The badgering makes Melissa feel like this:
Kristie says Abby should just have Asia and Mackenzie go head to head for the spot in the dance and call it good. Then what would we do with the last half hour of this episode, Kristie? What? Maybe this! It’s time for the Candy Apples auditions!
Let’s meet the judges!
First up, we have Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, artistic director of Candy Apples Dance Center, wife of The Jerky King of Canton, scab-picker extraordinaire and the only person who can piss off Abby as much as Abby can piss off everyone else. Next up, we have Vivi-Anne Stein. She likes Frosted Flakes, ice cream and t-ball, and apparently has quite the eye for stage presence. Or else Cathy couldn’t find a New York City babysitter. One or the other. And finally we have Anthony Burrell. He’s a veteran of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Challenge, can quote Alvin Ailey movingly and has danced with Beyoncé and Rihanna, so why the hell is he doing this?
Also, seriously, how has Coca Cola not noticed the script cribbery?
Cathy wants to make sure these New York dancers know how lucky they are to be auditioning for a spot in a dance studio in Canton, Ohio. The girls say they do. No one really impresses the troops, least of all a girl named Maddie, whom Cathy says may be disqualified for her name alone. Things are not going well. The chocolate Cathy requested has not arrived and now Vivi’s eyes are burning.
Speaking of sore eyes, no time like the present for a sight for them. That would be little Charles. Even though we are ostensibly auditioning for a girl, Charles showed up anyway. He’s ten and dances whenever he feels testy because it helps him express the blues away. I love Charles intensely and immediately.
Charles emotes his head off in the middle of a pack of girls for a couple minutes. Anthony tells him he’s inspiring and to never quit dancing. Still, I don’t think Charles is going to wrest the girl part away from a girl.
I’ve enjoyed my visit to the Candy Apple corner of the Big Apple so much that I’ve almost forgotten about the Pitt Crew — until we return to find Kristie handing Asia a ginormous card with a pink elephant on the front and telling her to go give it to Abby as a token of appreciation for letting her come to The View. Abby said Henri Bendel for the bribery gifts, Kristie. Not the Hallmark store. Nevertheless, Asia does as she’s told.
Abby says she appreciates the gesture, but it won’t sway her decision about who dances on The View.
Asia’s solo will be called The Robot. Abby says it’s going to be tough keeping wiggly Asia stiff like a robot, but you know. Here’s hoping. In the Mom Space, Christi wonders why Abby didn’t give Brooke a solo instead of Asia, to better spread the potential points around. Kelly says she couldn’t care less and neither could her girls. More time to head out into New York in search of other opportunities for Paige and Brooke. Kelly’s taking off her Dance Mom hat and slappin’ on her Momager one.
Back with the Apples, the judges are talking about the dearth of talent at the audition. There are maybe one or two girls who might fit the bill, but no one has knocked their socks off thus far. But look who made the finalist cut! Charles!
Only momentarily, so Cathy and Anthony can reiterate how great and inspirational it is to see him dancing before dismissing him. But he made it, anyway.
A lanky girl named Victoria from Studio Larkin or Lurkin or something I can’t immediately find online wins the gig. Cathy says she’s pretty sure that Abby Lee is familiar with the studio and possibly the dancer, so it should be fun to see her reaction. Really, lady? After all the derision she has thrown your way about blatantly importing your talent, you’re going to go right out there and sign on someone she can immediately recognize as another studio’s dancer, a la Zach? Well, o-kay! And you’re right. That should be fun.
Back at the NYC ALDC, the girls are practicing the group dance, which will be called Runaways. It’s a subject Abby feels needs attention. I think we’ve done something along these lines before, but I can’t recall exactly what. Maybe I’m thinking the homeless dance. Christi is worried about it, either way. Holly says it is a relevant subject, so there’s that. Kelly suddenly gets a big ol’ light bulb over her head and says she’s pretty sure it’s a message dance like The Last Text. Atta girl, Kel! She doesn’t see it as being negative, either. Holly just hopes the dance is done tastefully so it has the opportunity to educate. Snoooooore. You folks should head up the street to Cathy’s New York workspace. She’s having some fun over there.
In an aside that features a rare burst of color and pattern on Abby’s behalf, Abby says the girls are not performing up to snuff and don’t seem to realize that they have to beat Cathy and Co. or else. “Do something for yourself!” she howls at them. And, you know, win this thing for me.
Because Cathy gets to have all the fun in this episode, she and Vivi head for Junior’s for some world-famous cheesecake. Vivi wants wazberry; Cathy wants plain. Then we learn that Vivi is not a fan of New York taxis or walking till your feet hurt; however, she does enjoy the shopping and the pizza. She also thinks Victoria will work out just fine.
Then Cathy notices her girl is making “rabbit noses” at her. Turns out Vivi has a cold. Cathy wants her to blow it out. Properly. Straight down. Like this.
Vivi knows, mom. Yeesh.
When the cheesecake arrives, Cathy decides to change the subject and see if Jalen has any shot at becoming her son-in-law.
Time for the Pitt Crew to head for the ABC studios to shoot The View. Abby says that putting choreography on live TV is difficult. Asia is making it even more difficult. Abby says she really wants Mack to do the dance, but Melissa has to learn her lesson that she doesn’t always get her way. So Abby’s going to leave her spinning in the wind for as long as possible.
Maybe no one is going to do the dance. Abby calls the rehearsal humiliating.
Backstage, things reach the boiling point. Kristie decides to confront Melissa one last time about bringing up the Mack-or-Asia thing ad nauseum. Why can’t she let Abby make a damned decision? Kristie says Asia will be fine either way — let’s just get it over with. Christi needles Melissa, too, about how much she actually does and doesn’t know about who will be dancing. Melissa says she and the girls are just happy to be on The View, too, so just … nerrgggghhnnnnnhh! Christi says she always does stuff behind everyone else’s backs, so why would she stop now? Especially when The View is at stake? Melissa’s eyelids start blinking manically. Kristi chimes back in about Mack’s foot and Melissa howls over the top of her lungs that she’s just fighting for her daughter. Holly says that Melissa dug herself into this hole she’s currently in. Christi keeps throwing dirt in the hole. Melissa says she just wants Mackenzie to dance. Then everyone starts yammering at once until Melissa has had enough.
Melissa: “I’M TALKING!”
Kristie: “Please talk so I can understand you.”
Melissa: “I’m not talking …”
That is too, too bad because look what just walked in the door.
And if that’s not something to talk about, I do not know what is.
Abby effusively praises Kristie’s boob-a-icious, uber glam look, which does absolutely nothing for Kristie. She rolls her eyes and demands to know, once and for all, who is doing the dance. Abby can’t be bothered to make a decision. She has to go to hair and make-up, because that, ladies, is show business. Not the actual show.
Anybody else get the feeling that the only reason Abby really wants to be on The View is to be nearer unto the Whoopster? The Whoopster seems highly bemused at the circumstance.
Abby does a little “raise the roof” and a little Namaste and accepts her applause. Backstage, the mothers are amused by the hosts’ gentle treatment of their leader. Then we get some super-inspirational music a-goin’ and it’s time for the girls to break a leg and make it count and grab their moment. Because you never know when they might be on national television again …
Backstage, Abby reveals that Mackenzie will be doing the dance with her comrades. Asia just couldn’t figure out her place onstage. Asia is cool as Kool-Aid about not doing the dance as long as she gets to come out on stage with Abby after. Camera time is camera time, am I right?
Christi says all is well in Melissaland.
All is well in Melissaland.
Kristie says she knew that this was going to happen all along, and that Abby opted for loyalty over talent, so what can you do?
Kelly says she, too, is pretty sure that Abby knew all week long that Mack would be doing the dance.
Mackie just knows this:
With Abby’s dream come true dreamt, it’s time to move onto her nightmare — competing against Cathy. Whose crew is currently welcoming their newest member. Jalen’s dad wants to know if Victoria is tough. She better be tough, he says, because “we don’t takes no mess!”
Or no English classes, neither.
Anthony gets to work running the dance, and Cathy helps out by chiming in “six, seven and … uh … eight.” The dance will be an homage to Day of the Dead, she says, with lots of garish face paint and over-the-top costumes. She teaches some more. See, Abby? Cathy teaches. Anthony says the kids are not absorbing the teaching, however, so she tweaks him for his seriousness, grabs his cap, calls him, “Lid” and tells him to take it easy.
They’re girlfriends now. She can do that.
After a little more scolding of Melissa back at The View, the diddly-twinkle music starts up, the girls burst in and Abby revels in the national TV success of her dancers. I’m virtually certain this where the original midseason break was supposed to occur, but turns out we have one more 2-hour episode to go next week before a pair of reunion specials May 7 and May 14. Thus, we talk a dab more about the competition on behalf of both studios to set up the appropriate amount of drama and find out that this battle is, indeed:
Next week, the Chr/Kristie’s throw down, Anthony and Cathy throw down, Anthony and Abby throw down, and something bad makes Kelly cry.
The 2-hour mid-season finale of Dance Moms premieres Tuesday, April 30, at 8/7CT on Lifetime.