Considering how well the gang did against the Candy Apples on the Apples’ home turf last week, you’d think everybody would be in a better mood ’round the ol’ Abby Lee Dance Studio.
Not so. After Abby Lee demands the girls and Moms give themselves a big round of applause for indeed making the Apples into applesauce, the mood turns somber again. We’re going back to Starbound in New Jersey, but this time we’re going as National Champs. So let’s start on a high note and begin the journey with the Pyramid of Doom.
First up in the bottom row – Nia. Wrong turn in group dance choreography.
Next, Kendall. Came in four counts early; needs to learn to read music. Also, count.
Paige. Nice job dancing, but … whatever.
Mac. No group dance for her this week; it’s solo time.
Middle row begins with Maddie. Abby has decided she is resting on her laurels.
Chloe. Did great in the group, but didn’t do a solo, so … whatever.
And at the top — Brooke! Finally! For vanquishing the girl who was too old for their age division in the first place! And sending off “I want out of here” vibes so loud that dolphins at Sea World can hear them. But she did dance well.
Despite Brooke’s utterly blank expression, Kelly says she thinks Brooke is proud to be at the top of the pyramid. But Brooke’s mind is clearly elsewhere. When Abby tells her that she, not Maddie, will be the centerpiece of the group dance and a role model for the other girls, Brooke stares near-catatonically into the camera and says she does not want to be a role model. Soon enough we find out what Brooke would really like to be.
But first we must establish a little backup drama between Maddie and Chloe, since we haven’t had too much of that this season, and learn that the girls will being going head-to-head in their solo division. Not only that, Chloe is invading Maddie’s trophy-bagging wheelhouse — the lyrical dance — while Maddie will be trying her hand at Jazz. Ever the trooper, Maddie says she’s glad Chloe got lyrical and grins a Cheshire Cat, you-stole-my-shtick grin.
Adding to a long line of seriously goofy group dance ideas, Abby has now come up with a little number called “Born to Dance,” which will be about a child being born. To dance. Brooke’s leading this deal, so I guess she will play the teenage mother. She’s yawning like one, anyway. Whoops, nope, looks like everyone is in the fetal position and about to be born to dance. Brooke’s just the one who gets yelled at the most. Oh, the perils of replacing Maddie at the top.
And then we get a look at what’s tempting Brooke away from her time in the spotlight. Turns out Brooke doesn’t feel she is born to dance at all; Brooke feels like she’s born to lead cheers. At least while she’s a teen and trying to eke out some semblance of a normal teenage life. Like football games and parties and French-braiding your hair.
Meanwhile, the group dance rehearsal is simmering. Brooke, of course, is missing. Kendall’s dancing too close to Chloe. I’m not sure what Maddie did exactly but Abby bawls her out anyway, complete with a roaring “What’s wrong with you!” that leaves her once-shining star with her face buried in her knees. Witnessing this from the mother’s loft, the ladies urge Kelly to go tell Abby that Brooke is opting for cheer practice over dance competition before she figures it out herself and goes completely nuclear in a explosive blast of gray cheetah print. Taking one for the team, Kelly does.
Abby freaks out and says it should have been Brooke herself who came to Abby with the news that she would be screwing everyone over. “But I don’t think she is screwing everyone over,” peeps Kelly, reasoning that there are still plenty of girls to be born to dance. “She’s screwin’ me!” bellows Abby. “I can feel it!”
Then perhaps (and hopefully) to distract humanity from what she just said, Abby looks to all the girls without solos and announces, “You’re staying home, staying home, staying home.” Only Maddie, Chloe and MacKenzie will go to Jersey to dance their solos. “Born to Dance” is summarily, er, aborted. Sorry. It begged to be said.
Kelly wanders off, but the other mothers are not taking this sitting down … in a soundproof room … 10 feet above the rehearsal room. They rise up en masse and approach Abby to plead the group dance’s case. “Melissa and I are not going [to Jersey] for a solo,” says Christi, speaking for a pensive-looking Melissa who looks like she most certainly would consider going for a solo. Two solos, since both her girls have one.
Undeterred, Christi says the group is trying to stand behind Brooke and the decisions the young woman is making for her own life, and to teach their own children to support their friends. Awww! Yay!
Abby calls her an assh*le.
Apropos of pretty much nothing, Abby says Kelly’s kids are going to end up at community college just like Kelly did, while everyone else’s kids will end up at Harvard. (But they don’t want to be at Harvard, Abby, or at any school. They only want to dance. Except Brooke, who wants to be at school so she can cheerlead for the football team.) In any case, Abby has had it and is taking her toys and going home, leaving her minion Gianna to follow through with the group dance, which will no longer bear the Abby Lee name.
On competition day, the girls and their moms float onto the bus near giddy at the idea of a trip without Abby Lee. The girls gleefully holler, “Move that bus! Move that bus!” Extreme Makeover Home Edition style — and had Bus Driver Jim been just a teensy dab faster in doing so, they might have made it. But no. Here’s Abby Lee, pulling her little suitcase and mumbling about being “unwilling to throw Gianna to the wolves.” And/or spend that much time off camera and/or out of the dance competition spotlight. Plus, without her on the trip, who is going to perpetually break down and psych out her dancers? Who?
Cathy Nesbitt-Stein! That’s who!
And she gives Melissa a little ringie-dingie on the cellie-wellie to let that fact be known. Abby can’t figure out for the life of her why Cathy has Melissa’s number (you’re the farmer who let the wolf in the henhouse, lady) and can’t figure out why Cathy is calling at all when that is so unethical. But Melissa chats on and, hence, the ladies find out they’re about to compete against the Apples once again.
Abby is unfazed. OK, no she’s not. She’s totally not. She tells the girls they better win or she’s going to skin Brooke and hang her hide from the wall of the studio. <Gulp.>
Speaking of hides, over in enemy camp, Cathy — who has apparently forgotten how hard she fought for rights to the red and black color scheme — is wearing a furry, slate-blue vest and informing the Apples that they cannot be beaten once again by a “hokey-pokey” number. Ya put the right-aged girls in, ya take the wrong-aged girls out, you do not take the rules and a’shake them all about …
In their own dressing room, Christi says she especially can’t forgive all the low-blows Cathy directed at little Mac. Cathy is a low-blower, that’s what. Abby tells Little Mac that if she forgets her number, she’s going to cut her head off.
Brooke’s hide. Mac’s head. Someone needs to take Abby out west to shoot something large so she can get all this skinnin’ and beheadin’ out of her system.
But not to worry. Mac nails her number — not that anyone would have noticed otherwise for the brand-new pissing match about seats in the audience that’s currently going on between Cathy and Abby. Now I realize that everyone has to fit into the same camera frame, but, man, if you’re in the mood to kill, wouldn’t you avoid someone in your “nemesis repertoire” like the plague instead of practically crawling into their laps? Besides, Abby, Cathy is acknowledging that the row for which she has savesies is one row behind the one that Abby’s group supposed to occupy. That’s kind of submissive … isn’t it?
Anyway, back in PA, Kelly and Brooke are at cheer tryouts. Brooke is an excellent jumper, but she’s not very loud. Call the chant, Brooke. Call the chant again. Pretend you’re Abby — the other team will run for their lives. In any case, Brooke manages an audible on the words to the cheer and sure enough, she makes the squad! She’s headed out of dancetown on a pompon cloud of joy.
Back at Starbound, we’re off to a good start on results day. Little Mac not only gets to keep her adorable, toothless noggin, but she goes ahead and wins her entire age division. In the whatever-Maddie-and-Chloe-are-in division, Jazzy Maddie gets a stunning third and Lyrical Chloe wins. Melissa looks likes she’s landed in some sort of evil parallel universe until she reveals that Abby told her that’s because Maddie looked like a professional and not an amateur competitor. So, I guess, she got docked points for too-goodness.
If Maddie doesn’t do lyrical next week, I will eat my slate-blue furry vest. If I had one.
Group dance time!
The Candy Apples go first and do a routine called “Mermaids.” Little Viv flails and races around in the midst of girls twice her height and age in what Abby calls nothing more than a bid to bring the group’s age-level down. No way the rest of these girls are 9 or 10, so I can’t argue with her too much. What I can do — and with abandon — is wonder how the hell these teenagers are allowing their parents and Cathy Stein to squander a year of their dance training and competition time enrolling them in inappropriate divisions. This TV show will end sometime.
Even Brookeless, Born to Dance is one of the most breathtaking things I’ve seen since Dance Moms debuted and deservedly earned first place. Viv and the Mermaids take eighth. Apparently Cathy learned her lesson last time about approaching the judges for a peek at the scores, because she remains slumped in a chair in the depths of the auditorium, scowling. The group-dance victory inspires a burst of good will in Abby Lee, who decides her crew will collectively go to Cathy’s dressing room to tell the Apples good job coming in seven places behind them. Also Abby wants her bee costume back … the ugly one … the one, it turns out, Cathy gave to the Good Will.
“That was $300!” gasps Melissa. Not only that, adds Christi, “it was a memory. It was irreplaceable!” You want a memory, Christi? Here comes a dooze.
Cathy snaps, calling Christi — whose one-shoulder blouse is adorned with sequins — “Disco Ball” and adding that Whoville called and they want her nose back. And it … is … on. Shoving ensues. Accusations of patronizing Payless Shoe Source. I Google Whoville and discover the Whos all have adorable little snub noses, right on down to the Grinch, and wish I could tell Cathy through the screen that she just kicked her own @$$ with the insult. But Holly is ushering a gesturing, sparkling Christi from the room and the competition, the cat fight and the episode is over.
But the drama ain’t over for long — looky what we got here in the Episode 4 preview! A new dancer with confidence … and a new dance mom who’s no stranger to Jill. Or smack talk.
Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime
Photos: © 2011 Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Credit: Scott Gries