And noooow … the end is heeeeere… and so we faaaaace …the final curtain. And at least one reunion show. But right now, it’s Season 3 finale time, Dance Moms nation!
We’re in the Big Easy for Nationals and Abby — sporting what looks like a fresh, and super-cocoalious, spray tan — wastes no time getting to the pyramid.
Paige is bottom of the bottom because she is Paige and also for not tucking her knees tighter in the group dance. Next is Nia, again for the usual offense — sloppy feet. Then Brooke for a wayward headpiece. Then Kendall. Jill is mortified by this, since Kendall was part of the winning duet. Abby says if Jill would keep her mouth shut, maybe Kendall wouldn’t be there. Oh, little pyramid. You senseless thing, you. I won’t miss you while you’re gone.
Rounding out the bottom row is Payton, who has joined us to help facilitate a Big Win in the Big Easy, according to Abby in what I swear is a shamelessly recycled aside from the last time Payton invaded the team.
Row two begins with Chloe. Abby says Chloe knows she was a better dancer two years ago. Ah yes, but was Abby a better a coach two years ago is the real question. Then comes Asia. Brilliant as the demonic doll, hot mess as a Country Cutie, says Abby. Then Mack. Her solo was a winner, but her falling on the 48-count hand walk of doom ruined the group dance that, you know, took first place, anyway. Like Chloe, Mackenzie wisely says nothing.
Top of the top is Maddie for her part in the winning duet. Abby says she really could have danced it as a solo. Jill just rolls her eyes.
The group dance will feature everyone and honor the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I’m deeply relieved that Abby doesn’t make a “blow away the competition” joke.
Abby says because she is all about the fairness — well, actually she kind of acknowledges that she’s actually really not about being fair by wrapping “fair” in air quotes — everyone will learn a solo. Brooke and Payton will learn the same choreography. Leslie, who packed her Bumpit, says next to Brooke, Payton’s a star, so easy-peasy for her kid to win.
Chloe and Kendall will be learning the same choreography, too. Christi’s not so sure why Jill looks so smug, since Chloe is the reigning national champion and even beat Maddie last year. My guess is because Abby openly hates you, Christi, and by virtue of that, your kid and that’s probably going to play out in what happens here. Plus, it’s better than going up against Maddie for a solo no matter what.
Abby says Asia should be a shoo-in for the mini solo, but since she fumbled some stuff last week and Mack was a winner, the two will be having a shootout. Melissa sadly says that Asia will probably outperform her youngest, even though Mack has superior technique.
Nia and Paige will also learn the same choreography. Oh, and by the way … Maddie’s in that group, too.
For real, Abby? No one is going to die of shock if you just give Maddie the damned dance and spare us the notion that this is any sort of genuine competition. You do realize that we have no problem with the idea that Maddie is an exceptional dancer — it’s the perpetual putdown of her dance mates that always has to accompany it that makes us want to poke you in the eye. You do realize that, yes? Say yes.
The group dance is called Home Again. The music was written specifically for the ALDC and Abby says the choreo is beautiful. It’s not that choreography that the mothers are worried about however; it’s whom Cathy will import to do the job for the Apples that’s bugging them. Leslie being Leslie, she says that the choreography doesn’t matter if you have good dancers. The other mothers take that predictably well.
Then we’re off to the Candy Apples’ New Orleans workspace, where we get a look at Yvette’s edgy new hair, Bridgette’s buttery yellow pants and also the guest choreographer du jour, Blake McGrath, whose voice could arguably be bottled as an aphrodisiac.
Again, I wonder why a guy who has danced with Madonna, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears thinks that this is such a great opportunity, but I’m happy to look at and listen to him either way. Cathy says they must behave like a proud and cohesive team and also sleep with their Candy Apples jackets like they’re their blankies.
The Apple group number will be called Voodoo, and Blake says it’s hard enough to stymy a senior company, let alone a bunch a juniors, so they’ve got work to do. Nicaya frowns hard. Zack chews his thumb nervously. Cathy asks a lot of questions, but not enough to piss Blake off like she frequently did Anthony.
Back with the Pitt Crew, Melissa decides to stir up a little trouble and ask Leslie if she’s happy she and Payton were able to make the trip. It works. Christi says she doesn’t get why, when there are only a few solos to go around, one of them might go to a team outsider. Leslie says they are not outsiders, and even if they are, she doesn’t give a crap. Her words about the crap, not mine.
Kristie is over it this much.
For their solo, Asia and Mackenzie will be playing doctor and making it all better on the dance floor, because Abby is often a nut goodie. Before she teaches them any choreography, though, she wants to see them both improvise, which is clearly Asia’s forte and not Mackenzie’s at all. Abby says she wants to see what they hear.
The music starts and Asia is immediately wiggling and twirling for all she is worth. Kenzie stands stock still and stares straight ahead.
“C’mon, Kenz, dance!” pleads Melissa. Kenz whimpers that she’s not good at improving. Melissa gets ticked. She tells Kenzie to sit if she doesn’t want to dance. Kenzie wants to dance. But she wants someone to tell her what dance to dance. Abby puts her face in her hands and shakes her head. Melissa stands up and yanks Mackenzie into a chair, her voice and her temper rising. Mack stands back up.
“IMPROV,” Melissa commands. “YOU DO IT ALL THE TIME AT HOME AND YOU’RE ADORABLE!” So be adorable before mommy knocks your block off, dammit.
Abby jumps on the bandwagon and starts hollering about how she will look like a fool if she sends Mack to an audition where improv is required and she does that. “You failed,” she tells the crestfallen kid.
Next, Chloe and Kendall work on a jazz routine. Even though Jill says Kendall has done more jazz solos, she thinks the choreography is geared more toward Chloe. Brooke and Payton will be squaring off on a jazz routine. Both mothers think the possibility of Brooke doing the solo is ridiculous, but probably for different reasons.
Paige, Nia and Maddie are dancing something lyrical to “Amazing Grace.” Kelly says she can tell immediately for whom the dance is designed — and it ain’t Paige. Dr. Holly agrees that it doesn’t take a Ph.D. to figure out how this is going to go. Melissa says she knows Maddie is a lock, but what a nice opportunity for the other girls getting to dance with her. Chuckle. Oh, Melissa.
In the Mom, uh, Chairs, Christi and Leslie get into it about how much time Abby is spending on the Solo That Shall Be Maddie’s Even Though Paige And Nia Are Learning It, Too. Christi says Abby is still bitter about Chloe beating Maddie for the national title last year and she’s making extra certain that doesn’t happen again. When Melissa rejoins the group, Leslie asks her if she’s sure Maddie will get the solo and Melissa makes the Many Expressions of Avoidance. Leslie tells her that Christi just said Abby is setting Chloe up to fail. Christi begs to differ. She just said that Maddie’s solo is the one that Abby cares most about.
Anybody else besides me think Leslie basically serves as Abby’s minion mouthpiece about Maddie and Chloe being afforded the same opportunities, no matter what the rest of us think?
Chloe’s not always the victim, Leslie tells Christi.
“Don’t go there, you,” warns Christi.
“I’m going there,” snaps Leslie. Leslie always goes there. Leslie is an champion There Goer.
But the acrimony apparently doesn’t last for too long, because look. We’ve loosed a Mom Gang on the streets of New Orleans.
Specifically at Muriel’s Jackson Square Bistro, where they’re going to drink away their stress for a bit.
And what the hell has landed in Kelly’s drink?
Oh, it’s not in her drink. Also, it’s a voodoo doll, which Christi says can be used for good or evil. They choose evil. They also have a bunch of the things. Christi says one is Yvette. One is Cathy “the fat-bottomed girl.”
Oh wait. THIS one is Abby the fat-bottomed girl. We have two fat-bottomed-girl dolls. Christi punches the Abby doll right out of Kelly’s hand.
Holly looks mortified by all of it. And it’s about to get worse. Melissa climbs up on her chair and asks the folks below if they have any beads. Kelly reminds her that you have to show your boobs to get beads. Melissa is undeterred. Especially after Christi double dog dares her. And possibly rubs a voodoo doll.
Ladies and gentlemen, some (blessedly doll-obscured) Melissa side-boob. Which represents the first and last time I will ever write “side-boob.” And hopefully the first and last time Melissa flashes New Orleans.
Then we throw Voodoo Doll Abby over the ledge.
When everybody settles down, Kristie relays some news. After Nationals, Asia is done being a competitive dancer on a team. She’s evasive about what the kid will be doing, but says that she’s been offered amazing opportunities back in L.A. Melissa doesn’t seem to know how she feels about that. Leslie knows exactly: “Move over! I’m movin’ in.”
With her big announcement made, Kristie grabs her feathery Yvette and heads off to refresh her drink.
Out on the street, Christi is loud-talking about being a real dance mom, which I think is directed at Kristie but upsets Leslie worse. Leslie tells her she’s had too much to drink and needs to hush. Christi reaches out and launches Leslie’s drink cup skyward. Leslie throws a girlie overhand punch and calls Christi a bitch (if you are waiting for me to say, “OK, no they didn’t — I’m just making this up for fun,” that’s not going to happen. We have us a real, really embarrassing, catfight here). Christi shoves Leslie’s arm away, which launches her own drink and Leslie advances on her, swinging her purple feathery voodoo doll like an ax.
Finally this dude steps in and breaks it up. Well, he tries. Leslie goes full-bore wingding and starts clobbering him instead.
Good. God. Leslie.
Next day in the Mom Chairs, Cage Match Ackerman is noticeably missing, Christi looks a little puffy and we decide to reiterate what exactly went down, because Lord knows, being there in person wasn’t enough. Jill offers her version: Leslie has a way of getting in people’s faces and started screaming that Christi is a drunk and Christi didn’t take it. So then Leslie snapped and wanted to beat the bejesus out of Christi.
Christi enjoys this version. The other Kristie, not so much.
Since she only has to deal with these people for dwindling moments, Mrs. Ray decides to tell it like it is. Which is not Jill’s version at all. Kristie says Christi got in Leslie’s face first and — according to the Ray Bylaws of Streetfighting, apparently — when you do that, you better be able to back it up.
“She called me a drunk!” protests Christi. “Control yourself!” commands Kristie. Holly looks like she can’t believe she’s associated with any of this.
It also looks like Kristie might be a little ticked that Leslie is trying to steal her thunder as the street-smart badass because next she launches into a profanity-laced tirade about everyone in the Pitt Crew being an effin’ liar or the accomplice of an effin’ liar, which is just as bad — and Christi’s the biggest one of all. Kristie says Christi is lucky it was Leslie who got into it with her instead of her. Then she leaves.
Out in the hallway, Kristie is tapping away on her phone when Abby comes through the door.
She can’t take the lies anymore.
Abby says she is heartbroken but happy that Asia is leaving undefeated. The whole thing is so bland and civil that you know this is about as much news to Abby as the sky being blue. Ten bucks says we see Abby and Asia together again relatively soon. Especially since Asia is hardly heartbroken as she hugs everyone goodbye.
After the Rays take their leave, the Pitt Crew appears in the studio. Leslie looks like she had a rough night — and her day is about to get even worse. Thanks to their little street fight, Christi, Leslie and their daughters will be flying home. Which leaves the ALDC down three dancers with one day to go before Nationals. That should be fun.
Over at the Apple space, Cathy says she likes dark mysterious things (like bunnies and having ice cream with Vivi?) and since they are in New Orleans, what better theme for a dance than mystical, magical voodoo.
And look — the Vivster even made the trip! Complete with large turquoise bird!
Cathy offers a little input here and there, I’m imagining since she made such a to-do about being in charge an episode or two back, but she says she is ultimately happy with the dance as Blake assembled it.
Back with ALDC, Abby gives the girls a little talking to about the behavior of the adults, then gets to work re-blocking the group dance to account for the smaller ranks.
Afterward, Abby tells Maddie she, indeed, has the solo and confirms that Abby believes she should have won last year. Nothing like sending Chloe home for the sins of her mother to ensure that she won’t beat Maddie ever again, eh, Ab?
Then Abby tells Kendall not to blow the solo opportunity created by Chloe’s absence and the girl nods. Abby says Brooke will not be doing the solo she and Payton practiced, so as not to jeopardize her title. I’m not sure if this means she will be doing a different dance or no dance at all, but I guess we’ll find out. Brooke nods as best she can with this thing stuck to the side of her head.
Mackenzie also defaults into a solo, thanks to Asia’s departure. Melissa says she is relieved and that Kenzie really deserved the dance, anyway.
Come competition day (Masters of Dance, by the way), the crowd goes berserkers for both the ALDC and the Apples. There’s no drama between the two as they enter.
In their get-ready, the Apples notice the absences in the ALDC ranks. There’s a little dustup in the hallway, during which Abby mysteriously calls Mackenzie her daughter, but nothing like we’re used to. Best behavior for Nationals, people! Kaya must have laryngitis.
Kenzie goes first. Why on earth is this the costume for a dance called Dance Doctor?
The choreography suggests that Abby did indeed plan for Asia to do the dance — lots of hip swivels, mugging, and pulling her leg straight up in the air and less of Mackenzie’s usual acrobatics. But the kid shows she has some swag after all and the crowd yells their approval loudly. Abby gives her an up-high clap in the audience.
Jill says Kendall is having a good day, so she believes that the girl’s Musical Theater solo, Voodoo Doll, will be a winner. It, indeed, goes beautifully. Another two-hands-up clap from Abby. Jill calls it a personal best for her girl.
Maddie is up next, dressed like the White Swan. Oh oh. Abby has a headache — and the skull necklace! The skull necklace is back in honor of voodoo town!
For some reason, this dance doesn’t quite sync up with the music. Maddie’s movements are just a shade too fast. I’m not sure what I think about it. In any case, Abby says she was an angel out there.
Lots of happy, victorious screaming and cuddles backstage, and curiously no mention of Christi and Chloe. Abby crows that the Apples were silent behind her.
In the Apples room, Blake wants to know who is ready to kill the Voodoo number. Apparently all of them, because it is creepy and dramatic and sophisticated and exciting to watch.
Abby looks appropriately worried. A super Zen Cathy — who may have discovered the joys of anti-anxiety meds — blandly says the kids looked good.
Home Again’s turn. The girls are wearing ethereal, rosy pink dresses.
This, too, is the kind of goose-bumpy dance that I wish would make up more of Dance Moms. It’s certainly more worthy of camera time than watching the mothers throw drinks and punches on a public street. Or Melissa’s boob.
Abby says they did the best they could possibly have done, with the dance, so it’s up to the judges.
Come awards time, even Abby sings along and rocks out to “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Again, there’s no mention from anyone about missing Chloe and Christi.
Kenzie’ solo gets second. Melissa says oh well, the girl that beat her was fabulous.
Kendall takes second, too. Maddie wins. Melissa stands on her chair, which appears to have become a habit for her down here in New Orleans.
Abby says she’s so nervous come small group awards time that she’s actually trembling.
Voodoo gets second. Home Again wins. The Pitt Crew happily freaks out. Cathy lifelessly says it’s back to the drawing table. You know what she means.
Clutching a giant check for $1,000 backstage, Abby congratulates everyone for earning that for her, and then the mood turns somber. Abby says Mrs. Miller — that’s Maryen Lorrain — is not doing well and Abby doesn’t know how much longer she will be able to serve as their coach. Then she takes her dramatic leave. Which I would worry about except you guys keep telling me that everyone is contracted for six seasons of this excitement, which takes way some of the suspense. So I’ll curtail my worry to the health of Mrs. Miller alone.
Coming up on the reunion show — oh, you know. Abby yells. The moms yell. Abby walks out. Kelly walks out. And there’s a great big reveal that could change the team forever.
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Are you Team Christi, Team Leslie or Team No More Letting The Mothers Out Unsupervised Ever? Are you sad Asia and Kristie are gone, or glad things can maybe go back to normal? Did Voodoo get robbed or was Home Again the rightful winner? What are your hopes for Season 4? Sound off in the comments section below.
The Dance Moms Season 3 reunion show “Dance Moms Reunion: Hurricane Abby” airs Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 8/7CT followed by an all-new episode of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition.