“Dance Moms: Miami” episode 4 recap: Just Duet!

So, did anybody else get the heeby-shakes from having to wait two weeks for an all-new episode? I mean, last week’s Twitter dealie was slick and all that, but when we’ve been promised a Sammy/Hannah duet and all the maternal hellfire associated, seven more days to ponder it left me just a little queasy.

Speaking of a little queasy, that’s pretty much how everyone looks when Victor and Angel remind them of last week’s — you know, in TV time — fifth place finish at Starbound and reiterate that if things don’t shape up and shape up quickly, the weak links will be shown the door. So let’s find out whom that might be, shall we? It’s time for the list!

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• Kimmy takes the top spot for only missing victory in her age group by a single point. Kim-may!
• Sammy’s in second, courtesy of her best performance so far at Stars. Man, that kid is all legs. She should be a ballerina. A little trina. A bunhead, if you will.
• Look at that Jessi, on her way to redemption! She gets third for embracing her insecurity and nailing the group routine. Victor and Angel give her special props for working on her behavior and supporting her younger peeps and Jessi looks thrilled.
• Lucas takes 4th place. Aw. Lucas looks like he’s never been in fourth place in his life and it’s something like Stars Syberia and he may never see daylight again. You had a bum day, Lucas. Everybody gets fourth sometimes. Sometimes fifth, because …
• Hannah’s at the bottom again. The boys say she improved a lot, but so did everyone else. I wonder if she has Paige Hyland’s phone number. These two have a lot to discuss where pyramids and lists are concerned.

Such as that Hannah thinks the list is kind of rude. But she’ll use it to get her strive on. Attagirl!

This week, the A V Club is headed to Energy Dance in Michigan. It’s a new competition for Stars, but not for you and me, Dance Moms fans! That was the place where all the Joffrey drama began for the Pitt crew. Well, huh! So were the A V Club in the running for Joffrey love, too, I wonder? Somehow it doesn’t strike me as their kind of gig. But maybe. And maybe I should just keep watching and find out. That would probably work, too.

Kimmy gets a solo! Jessi gets a solo! Because Lucas is in the four-spot, no solo for him — causing Brigette to question the wisdom of traveling out of paradise and up to the hinterland just so he can be part of the group that he’s, you know, part of. What’s good for the geese is good for your little gander, Brig. The ladies need their gent.

And then there is the Duet of Dueling Dance Moms. Victor says that, despite Hannah’s spot on the bottom of the list, she’s a quality dancer and thus has earned the partnership with Sammy. Hannah smiles. Sammy does not. The mothers are apoplectic. Let the games begin!

Read Channel Guide’s exclusive interview with Victor Smalley!

This week’s theme is discipline because Angel feels that the kids were out of control last week and this is not a democracy and it’s time reclaim his authori-tay! I don’t actually recall a single kid acting any kind of up at all. The mothers? Up and away. Over and out. But this is not a democracy, so I’ll just hush.

Again with the prison theme!  Oh Angel, if only you would seen how well idea that worked out for Abby Lee, you would so just not. But maybe you’ll do it better, so again … just hush, Lori. Eyes … not mouth.

Angel asks if anyone has ever been to prison (Miami’s children are apparently tougher than I thought) and Lucas offers up that he has, in fact, done time … in time out. Angel says that’s even worse than prison and the kids crack up. Then he lets us viewers in on a little secret: the kids’ crimes are going to be based on the sins of their mothers. And BAM! I’m an enormous fan of the prison theme, just like that.

Lucas will be dance-carcerated for tax evasion. Instead of looking puzzled, he looks perfectly well-versed in this issue, jerks his thumb toward the Mom Room knowingly and says, “That’s my mom’s crime!” Well, sure enough! Brigette just paid four years’ worth of her governmental due, and how Victor knows that is beyond me. Along with why Brigette would cop to it on national TV. Whatever the case, Debi looooooves it. Like all I may be annoying, lady, but you did an actual crime. A crime for which your son shall pay IN ZEE DANCE! Quick minute while I ponder how one portrays tax evasion in a two-minute group dance. … … … I give up.

Moving on, Jessi shall play a thief. Good Jebus, these naughty moms! Unlike Brigette, however, Ms. Susan cops to nothing except to opine that Jessi’s policeman poppa would have something to say about this particular theme. Hopefully not, “I met my wife on the job when I cuffed her for theft.”

Sammy says that she hopes none of her comrades are ever in the slammer, but Victor tells her that if they don’t commit the crime of perfection in Michigan, they’ll praying for protective custody in the very least. Discipline, children. Discipline. It’s the best cure for imprisonment.

No one else has apparently committed a crime worth mentioning and practice commences. Well, dang! I was a little hoping that Abby maybe secretly imported wild animals and Ani … yeah, there’s no way Ani committed a crime. Let’s just move along.

In the mom room, Brigie decides to stir up a little entertainment by bringing up the duet. Abby and Deb remain on the same page with this one — the girls are a poor pairing — Debi, because she thinks their styles are too different, Abby ’cause she thinks Hannah ain’t fit to carry Sammy’s toe shoes. Except no one here wears toe shoes. Or any dance shoes at all.

Debi says Hannah is ten times the performer that Sammy is.
Debi is the ony one who thinks so, and that’s putting it nicely. Still, no one seems inspired enough to yell. I’m sad. These are some awfully good yellers.

Meanwhile, the children dance on … until Jessi and Sammy audibly bonk noggins in the midst of a group move that looks like the girls are going to collectively plow a field with Lucas. OW. WEE. Sammy’s laid out flat.

Head-banging hurts, Brigette explains helpfully. May I add that metal health will drive you mad?

While Jessi and Sammy try to fend off an aneurysm, Victor tells them that this happened because they are not disciplined and everyone was doing their own thing. I think this happened because Lucas presents an awfully small amount of real estate for four also-small people to grab onto and attempt to toss. But that’s just me.

When we return from commercial, we find out that Sammy survived her head injury and also that Abby and Sammy live an hour away from Miami. They make the trip to Stars because it’s the best. Papa Larry — who sounds straight outta Brooklyn — ain’t buying it. He says there are three dance schools in their neighborhood alone that would require less time and cash to patronize. You’re driving daddy to drink!

Also, Sammy has a buff big brother who seems to prefer being seen and not heard.

Jessi’s solo is lyrical and called, “Cry, Baby, Cry.” I’m pretty sure I got the right punctuation there, because “Crybaby, Cry” is not terrifically lyrical. In any case, the dance  looks lovely and I have to admit that I am pretty excited to see what Jess can do.

And on to  duet practice. Victor! You savvy guy! For he has made this pairing in order to give Sammy some humility and Hannah some confidence. In other words, to even the playing field. In other words, to let each dancer and her mother know exactly where they stand in this studio — not their old one. If this works out, it’s a masterstroke.

This isn’t going to work out.

Hannah isn’t feeling it at all. The mothers are feeling it even less. Time for that time-honored bastion of corporate team-building funsies — the trust fall! Apparently we didn’t learn anything from two girls nearly braining themselves a couple minutes ago. I’m pretty sure Angel just called Hannah “Deb,” but anyway, Sammy duly turns her back on Hannah and topples backward. Hannah duly catches her. Then it’s Hannah’s turn to tumble.

Hannah clearly does not trust Sammy to make the grab. She half falls, half steps and wholly ticks Victor and Angel off. She tries again. Steps. Tries again. Steps. Again. Hannah does not trust the trust fall. And Angel has had enough. He dismisses both dancers.

Mayra to the rescue. (This may be a poor time to announce that Mayra’s ‘Do de Episode is the high ponytail from her publicity shots, but I’m going to do it anyway. Because I care that much about Mayra’s hair and you can’t stop me.) Hannah whimpers that she is perfectly fine with the duet. Falling backward, not so much. I hear you, girl. I’ve worked with most of my office mates for over a decade and I wouldn’t trust a one of ’em to come between me and the floor for the sake of mutual understanding. Well maybe one. Three, tops. You know who you are.

In any case, Victor says dancers must be fearless — hence Hannah must fall. With Mayra looking on, Hannah falls. Sammy catches. In honor of her bravery, Angel says he will now do the exercise with Victor. Victor falls. Angel splits. Angel is a scamp. Or as Victor puts it, stupid.

Holy crap. Fire! Big, giant, scary fire!  Just down the road from Stars! Dancers pour from the studio and the little ones are seriously freaked and demanding their mothers. Victor and Jessi cuddle them tight. But it looks like the studio is safe, even if half of Miami burned down.

Kimmy’s jazz solo is called “It Feels Good To Be Bad” — but there’s an problem. Kimmy has never done anything bad. And I believe it. “So I’m a nerd,” the little muffin twinkles in an aside. “I like it!” Couple minute break while I die the 37,000 Deaths of Cuteness.

In the mom room, the other moms feel compelled to check her facts. No lie, says Ani. Kim’s officially as good as the day is long. Maybe even longer. Because even when her mom helps her make her bed, if her doll isn’t exactly in the right place — even by a centimeter — Kimmy will make the change.

But all that is about to come to an end, because Angel has some homework for her — she must do something truly bad. Like worse than leaving the doll where it is. Problem is, they can’t seem to come up with something workable. She doesn’t cheat on her exams. She doesn’t talk back to Ani. She does not stay up past bedtime. Wait, yes she does. To do homework.

That’s not bad, says Angel. That’s nerdy. And she like it!

Time to call in a couple of bad eggs to help out with Kimmer’s research. That would be Lucas and Jessi, who are dying of laughter over Kimmy’s good-girl ways. Here’s a bad thing that Lucas has done: put all of Brigette’s bras in the garbage. Here is a bad thing Lori has done: die of laughter at his confession.

Speaking of doing something bad, duet practice is not going the least bit better. Debi feels like Hannah is being set up to fail and says so repeatedly. Brigette thinks the gents deserve to know such heresy is taking place, especially if the pairing falls through and Lucas gets a solo by default. Little Miss Trouble, that one! No wonder Lucas is chucking those bras. It’s in his genes.

Well, Victor has had just about enough of this sabotage crap, two weeks in a row, although I suspect in real life it’s been 40 million weeks in a row for him. He’s clearly been practicing yelling, because when he hollers that he has faith in Hannah even if Debi does not, and if she’s going to keep up the disrespect, she can move along, I believe it! Debi looks bored. As he storms out of the studio, Victor tells us that he is 23 , in the prime of his dance years and giving that up to make these women’s children stars because he loves them. So the least they can do is shut the hot-as-Miami-on-fire hell up and let a brother teach. Ears, ladies. Not mouths. And the guy’s got a point.

Also, I want his scarf.

Then it’s goodbye, sweet sands of South Beach and hello Michigan snow.

It’s their first time up thisaway, says Victor, and who knows what kind of dancers they’re going to find there. Oh please. Oh pleeeeeeeeease. Please, please, please. Let me see some sweet pink jackets and a crazy lady in black. Nope.

But as consolation, I get three more Dance Moms: Miami Fashion Moments in a row!

Lucas for the shades:

Victor, the ensemble:


And Angel for this fur-collared coat:

Who knew a Miami boy could up and own the cold weather fashion!? Serious props from this Wisconsin girl, sir.

Ads. Ok, I totally want to see Madagascar 3 just for Chris Rock’s zebra singing “Afro circus, afro circus, polka dot, polka dot, afro circus.” I’m not sure what just happened there, but I want to do it again. Repeatedly.

Back at the competition, Jessi’s up first. Again with the goofy crowd shots. I suppose I should just let it go. J’s solo is lovely and passionate and turns Susan into a crybaby who cries, baby. Jessi says that for the first time, she is happy with her dancing. You fly, baby! Fly!

Angel just stretched Kimmy’s leg in a way that made my husband squeal like a little girl. Kimmy just confessed to throwing pistachios at someone as her bad deed. Trouble is, someone (I missed the details, because I was still laughing at my spouse) threw them at her first. Even though two wrongs do not make a right, so a D would not be unheard of, Angel give her an F on her homework.

Still  her solo is badass — and Jessi is waiting backstage to give her a cuddle.

Kimmy gets fourth place in the junior solo.
Jessi gets second in the teen solo division.
Contrary to the rumors, the Pitt Crew is nowhere to be seen.

While Sammy and Hannah warm up their duet, Brigette  is polishing her bad girl rep by slouching against the wall and look all rebellious and put out and stuff.

Speaking of — time for our exclusive peek at the new season which isn’t really a new season but a continuation of the old season that I think was the second season of Dance Moms. Abby’s back. Which I totally called. And whoa, Kelly! Looks like she’s done being the perpetually jolly class clown of the Pitt moms! And Paige can’t catch a break. And Abby has a thing for grammar and the bottoms of chair legs.

My husband has now flung himself off the sofa and is standing two feet from the television and yelling at it. “That’s all we get!? That’s all we get!?” he cries when the 60-second sneak peek is over. “FLAAAAUGGGHHH! This is the best show ever!”

My husband is the best husband ever.

This is but a mere hint of the actual sneak peek, but if you missed it last night, it is better than nothing. And now it is nothing. The video has vanished from the Lifetime web site. You’ll have to take my word for what happened and for that I am sorry.

Back in Michigan, it’s time for the group dance. Lucas looks a little like he’s on a leash in these costumes. And man, Victor ain’t just a kiddin’ when he says his group dances are nothing like Abby Lee’s. They scare me a little. In a good way. Mostly.

The kids do brilliantly, but backstage we’re still riding the sabotage issue like a pack of well-dressed jockeys. Brigette, you are an instigator. Ani, you are a peacemaker. Hannah and Sammy try to ignore them and give their duet a final once over.

Back in the auditorium, we discover that Sammy’s dad has made the trip. Fifty miles to Miami, no go. Fifteen hundred to Michigan, thumbs up. But still. It’s nice to see a dad in the audience. I wish we would see more.

And the duet goes beautifully. Beautifully enough to a platinum award. I’m sure I would be even more excited if I knew what that entails. In any case, it’s good enough to get Victor to toot — er, beep — his own horn, just this once.

Next week: the mothers turn on Mayra, and Jessi stands up to Susan.

New episodes of Dance Moms: Miami premiere Tuesday nights at 10/9CT on Lifetime.

Images, video and photos: ©2012 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All rights reserved. Credit: Scott Gries


  1. You can also see Maddie when (if you slo mo the video) they pan across to show Kimmie on stage with the other placers in her event. Maddie is being crowned. Chloe got 5th in that comp, but they don’t pan across far enough to see her.

  2. Sign me up for the mash up! And I personally would like to see a Pitt Crew Abby/AV Club Abby throwdown, myself.

  3. I know! I LOVE hearing Victor’s words of encouragement before (and after!) each dance. I would love to see a mash up of the two shows. I think Chloe and Paige would thrive under the wings of the AV Club, and I think some of the snottier Miami kids *cough Sammy cough* would do well to get a dose of Abby.

  4. Amen, sister! Although the kindness and nurturing that Victor and Angel show their dancers and the completely different style on DMM are refreshing to watch. Thanks for the heads-up on the Pitt Crew. I’ll go check it out right now.

  5. We do get a short shot of the original Dance Moms group at about the 38 minute mark (while they’re waiting to hear how the duet did). You can see Mackenzie’s little pigtails. It’s embarrassing how excited I was to see them…that show needs to come back quickly! =)

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About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.