“Dance Moms” recap: Drop Dead, Diva!

Lori Acken

So what’s the bets for tonight, Dance Moms Nation? Will Paige be at the bottom of the pyramid for performing her mother’s choreography over Abby Lee’s? Will Jill and Kendall reappear at ALDC? Perhaps with another piece of furniture for Abby’s lobby as an olive branch? Will Abby Lee be wearing a necklace with even more crap on it than last time?

We should really find out.

* UPDATE: Find out more about Abby Lee’s new series Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition and see a first pic from her Aug. 12 Drop Dead Diva appearance!

Abby’s in awfully good spirits for pyramid time, courtesy of the gang’s multiple victories over Cathy and her Apples in Akron. I think she even has false eyelashes on for the occasion. And an alarming amount of color, what with those grass-green jacket sleeves and all. Also, sensible wedges seem to be the footwear du jour for the moms today, so that’s nice, too. I’m happy for their generally-stiletto’d tootsies.

Bottom of the pyramid is, indeed, Paige. Abby is thrilled that she beat Kendall and made the top ten, but she needs to do the choreography that was given to her … got that, Kelly? Uh, Abby, that’s Paige you’re talking to right now. Maybe we should just do a pyramid with the moms’ pictures and get it over with. It’d be a lot more amusing.

Next is Big Mac. She’s greatly improved but still not dancing to the level of the other girls … who are 2-7 years older than she is. Big Mac just looks sad and I’m sad for her.

Next is Brooke who is sprung from probation and collects the requisite cuddles from her dance mates.

See Brooke’s MIA “Paint the Pictures” solo here!

Row two begins with Nia. She has greatly matured and, thus, Abby Lee doesn’t want to see a bawling little kid ever again. Dr. Holly says the other dancers should watch out, because when it begins to click for Nia, it’s game on. And it’s begun to click. I certainly hope so. I’d love to see the blossoming of Nia.

Then comes Maddie. Big victory last week in the form of being part of the group dance — that was solely Maddie’s victory? — but she is not at the top, because that honor belongs to …

Abby’s Angry Bird, Chloe. She won the costume award for the entire competition and she made the top ten. And she was in the victorious group dance, but we don’t mention that part.

In any case, this week we are heading off to avenge our humiliating loss to the Apples at Starbound, only this time it’s in Atlanta instead of Jersey. And Abby’s in such a fine mood about decamping to sunny skies and hot weather that she might even “sit on the veranda” and have a mint julep with the moms. The mothers look predictably thrilled.

Because we have to earn our julep time, all the routines we’re going to do this week are going to be off the charts, beginning with Chloe’s solo which is called “Trouble.” Not Troubled Bird? No. Just trouble. And if she doesn’t learn to use the entire stage and jump higher than she’s ever jumped before, that’s exactly what she’s in for. Chloe gives a satisfied smile. And when she says she’s going to show Abby that she does, indeed, have confidence, I believe her.

Maddie will be doing a — say it with me now — lyrical solo called Mom, It Will Never Be The Same. She looks mildly petrified, like she would very much prefer for It to stay the same. Whatever It is. It has worked pretty well for her so far. Well, except the last time we were at Starbound. Then It patently sucked.

Paige, Nia and Big Mac will be doing a trio called “Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us” — hopefully including the part where Abby just predicted that it’s going to be a nightmare. Speaking of which …

The group number is going to be called All Kids Go. Ah gahd, for real? Another death thing? Abby! Not another death thing! Well not exactly. We’re actually talking about All Kids’ Childhoods Go. The kids themselves get to stay, if they grow the hell up. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Big Mac won’t be part of the dance, because it’s too mature for her. Mac is really bummed because she likes dancing with the big girls, but it looks like Mom picked her up a nice Bumpit at the local Walgreens as a consolation prize, so that’s fun.

And that’s not the worst of the bad news. Because she is bumpit-ing Mac from the dance, Abby Lee needs someone to step in and take her place. Kendall? Nope. Pay-pay. As was the case with The Huntress, Abby needs someone who looks bigger and older than the rest of the gang. So look out Ladies of the Mom Loft, ’cause Leslie’s back, too.

And we’re back to good news. We all know that Abby Lee scored herself a guest-starring role on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva — and it seems the casting agents are looking for a little dancer to tag along. So we will be filming auditions to send to L.A.! Because you guys are a horrible influence, with your sleuthing and all, I promptly took to Google and entered every kid’s name plus Drop Dead Diva and didn’t come up with much of substance to indicate who wins the part. So if you know anything I don’t know, please share. In an unintentionally comical aside, Kelly opines that if one of the girls actually winds up on a TV show, it will open up so many doors for them. Er, like being on this TV show opened the door to Drop Dead Diva, perhaps.

But I nitpick. And besides, we’ve moved on to being collectively non-plussed about Payton once again getting to sweep in and claim a prime spot in the group dance, even though the other girls have been part of this troupe for ever since the casting agents put them together forever and Chloe was at the top of the pyramid. Also, I’m going to award a Dance Moms Fashion Moment to Dr. Holly for this intriguing art project of a turquoise shirt, even though I can only see a little bit of it. It had me at “ties-in-place-at-one-shoulder.”

As the Ladies of the Loft commiserate about how much Leslie scares them, they magically conjure her up. Below them, the girls begin working on All Kids Go and Abby tells them they must each be a special kind of performer to get the audience to shut … up. The mothers would be terribly grateful if the girls could also be special enough to get Leslie to shut … up, too, but that train has left the station at warp speed and is headed for PaytonShouldHaveASoloVille. Population: Leslie.

For enduring that drama, we get a nice long look at my Ohio sign, plus the return of the cows! Win and win! I’m not sure if we’re in a brand-new studio at Candy Apples or if Cathy just had the old one spiffed up, but either way, it’s totally dedicated to the Troupe of Many Sizes. And that’s not the only big news Cathy has. That worm in the Apples, Jill, has indeed opted to pull Kendall from the studio and Cathy thinks that’s a GREAT decision. And even though they don’t have any competitions coming up — well there goes all hope of a theatrical Starbound rematch — seems Cat got a call from a casting agent who wants her girls (sorry, there, Justice) to read for … oh. Oh oh. Drop Dead Diva. Abby Lee said she knew that they were approaching other studios, but I’m not sure if she knew that Asian Princess Vivi might wind up her costar.

Back in Pittsburgh, it’s audition day, too. And the girls seem to have mastered the art of the quick change because in the first shot, they are in street clothes, and in the next they’re magically in dance clothes. One skill down! A winning audition to go! Abby’s got her cash on Maddie or Paige taking the part. In Ohio, Viv’s undone by the unpronounceable-when-you’re-six “choreography.” And Taylor can’t figure out where to go.

And then it’s a new day in Pittsburgh. The newly-christened “Circle of Impenetrable Bitches” — uh, I think the “Impenetrable” part should go before the “Circle” part since they all have children. But I’m just being gross. — is out for eats and drinks and birthday party planning at Atria’s Restaurant & Tavern. Kelly don’t want no boring party. Kelly do want a signature drink. Turns out, Christi already has one of those, and it’s called Mommy Juice. Note to self: ask Christi what’s in that. I, too, am a mommy with no juice of my own.

Ohhh! Mommy wants Mommy Juice. Mommy want Mommy Juice bad!

Also, Christi wants to know why the hell Kelly invited Leslie to her shindig and I am instantly transported back to fifth grade when birthday party invite lists were some serious s–t that could make or break you socially. Kelly feels like, even though Leslie’s the unpopular, big-mouthed bully, it’s all the kids in the class or none. Invite or no, Christi says that Leslie will knock people down and steal their teeth to get Payton a solo. Kelly looks a tad concerned, like she didn’t realize her teeth were up for negotiation.

But an ever greater danger looms. Seems Chloe’s class is going on an overnight field trip and Christi told her that she could go. So the next day Christi shows up at the studio to deliver the news and take enough licks for both of ’em. Abby says the Lukasiak women made a commitment to this group. Christi says the Lukasiak women also made a commitment to Chloe’s education. Abby says if she would have known about it yesterday, she would have been OK with it, but today, Christi is a sneak and a liar raising a junior sneak and a liar.

I think Abby’s hairband is on too tight. I think it even worse when she collects a real head of steam and calls Chloe dumb. Caught in the middle, poor Dr. Holly looks like the kid who got sent to the principal’s office merely for being caught in the same room as the delinquents.

Ever the opportunist, Leslie realizes that this is the perfect time to wonder aloud if Abby would like to replace the wayward Chloe with her oh-so-present Payton in the solo department. Abby’s all for it. Christi wonders if maybe Leslie could have let the body grow cold before swooping in for the overkill. Leslie clarifies that she really is about “the more warm bodies, the merrier” and she never meant for Payton to replace Chloe. Sure ya didn’t, there, teeth stealer.

The next day, Chloe — or as Abby calls her “our little forest ranger” — returns from the woods filled with terror that her teacher will pull her solo. Abby decides to let her run it just to see how much she’s forgotten. She hasn’t forgotten a thing. Still, Abby tells her, her teachers have her all day; her nights belong to Abby. Chloe looks miserable at the prospect.

And then it’s time for Kelly’s — whose favorite things are apparently mineral water and nuts or knobs or nubs — birthday throwdown, and “alls” she wants to do is have a good time. Given the copious amount of booze that’s flowing, I think nones of us have to worry about that one. Especially since Leslie seems to have wisely opted to stay away. Yep. Kelly’s snockered — she just said she really doesn’t have a problem with Leslie. We’ll just see about that, because Leslie’s at the door. Yep, Kelly’s really snockered. She begins giving her newest guest the highly-expressive business and a, well, relaxed-looking Christi joins in. Dr. Holly tries to steer the discussion in a more productive direction by talking about the serious nature of bullying, but Leslie says she refuses to take anything that comes from the mouths of drunks seriously.

“Call me a drunk again,” says Christi. Leslie doesn’t. Behind her, a decorative sign on Kelly’s kitchen counter reads “You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.” Good advice for a Tuesday. Christi finishes her adversary off with some rather disturbing local gossip and Leslie whips somebody’s keys across the room and then retreats to her car, leaving Christi in flustered tears. “What a fabulous birthday that was,” jokes her hostess.

And we’re in Hotlanta. After another verbal tussle between her mom and Leslie, Chloe’s first up at the competition. Again her costume in stunning and she looks rarin’ to go. The dance is filled with turns that Chloe executes beautifully and expertly, and — even though Abby choreographed it — her finishing movement seems uniquely designed for the teacher and all her fussing about the detrimental effects of field trips.

Maddie’s solo is lovely too, though I’m not getting the Mom part. Sounds like your basic angsty break-up song to me. Also, I’d truly love to see Maddie have a good pre-teen growth spurt, a la Chloe, to see what her grown-up grace and technique look like coming from a not so little-girl body. I hope the show’s still on when that happens.

Hugs and kisses all around backstage. Christi jokes that she’s sending Chloe to camp every week if this is how it turns out.

The trio … weeeeeellllllllllll. Mac starts late. The spacing goes haywire. Nia lands on her keister after her front aerial. And all three go and hide by the fire extinguisher to talk it out and prep for the wrath of Abby. It’s pretty minor, considering, and they can probably thank Payton for that, since it’s time for her to go do her jazz solo before Abby can really get her undies in a bunch.

Payton’s dance is rather unexceptional — though she performs it with sass — and Leslie blames that on Abby not preparing her well. Now hold on there, Miss Thing. You were the one who demanded a solo, even though the roster was filled. And Abby says so, too. You wanted the dance, Abby gave you the dance, and it was up to you to find the time and gumption to make it a winner. Kelly chimes in on the dissing and Leslie begins to cry. Abby tells her to — you know this one — save her tears for the pillow. And besides, why in the hell would she let the opinions of this band of impeccably-dressed nogoodniks matter to her in the first place?

Leslie just clutches her head and continues the waterworks.

Time for awards.

Chloe gets fourth. Wha’? Fourth? That dance got fourth? Huh. Maddie gets first by four whopping points, so, Mom, Everything’s The Same As Always. Payton gets second in the teen division. Despite its myriad troubles, the trio gets fifth. All Children Go goes out there and gets first place out of 80 numbers. And the emcee enjoys the living bejesus out of his camera time.

Backstage, Payton opines that, because of her role in the group dance’s blowout success, she should be made a permanent part of the troupe, and, shockingly, no one eviscerates her for it. That girl has a beautiful smile. So does Abby when she walks in the room and snags a hug from the world’s most forgiving forest ranger. But her glee is short-lived. She has tasted the blood of her competitors and she likes it, so if the Ladies of the Loft plan to run out another interloping mother the way they did Cathy Jean (snort!) and Jill (snort times two!), then she will see to it that their children suffer the fallout. All Children Go, you know.

At least they’ll have the evidence in a nicely boxed DVD package for just $24.95. And speaking of Jill, next week we get to lose our minds with the craziest episode yet.

New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.
Images and video: © 2012 A&E Television Networks. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Abby has admitted to telling the other girls No for extra privates. She gives a lot of extra privates to Maddie. Maybe Maddie nneds them to win. When I check results on line, they usually do not agree with what the show wants us to believe. In an interview Abby said many times Chloe has been first in her age division when Maddie has been first in hers. But only Naddie’s were shown on the air. And on one recent show, the results showed Maddie first when she actually was fourth. Sounds like Abby is not the only one with a favorite.

  2. Not only did Peyton get seventh place, she won in the NOVICE devision!

    And since Abbe is already in cahoots with Drop Dead Divas, did anyone actually believe it was a fair honest audition? Maddie was already chosen, by Abbe. Something has to be going on because Maddie winning, every single time??? Chloe is much better.

    As for a growth spurt, it will come, and Abbe will have to stop dressing her in hair bows and fluffy dresses. Chloe is somehow being robbed at these competitions!

    • I so agree. DDD has never auditioned that way. They hire locally in Atlanta. They do not accept audition tapes, especially one directed by the dance teachers. Abby was asked to be on the show. She did not win an audition. They wanted a blond with brown eyes, like Paige, then they ended up taking Maddie. Brooke, Nia & Kendal could not audition because they have dark hair, like Maddie. Yet Maddie auditioned. Obviously on a Lifetime cross over show, Abby took her favorite. As usualy with Abby, nothing to do with talent.
      I will not watch now or ever. Lying is bad enough. Thinking the public is stupid is worse

  3. Has anyone else noticed that Maddie wins everything
    I think Abby plans these things so Maddie will always win
    I like Maddie and stuff but I like Chole better and I think Chole wants Abby’s attention to
    But she never gets beacause of her mom and Beacause she’s not Maddie
    Anyone agree?

    Moms: I agree – Maddie is an excellent dancer, Abby gives her special attention because of that, however there are others who are as good but need better choregraphyand more attention from abby. Give Nia,Chole,Paige,Brooke achance.

  4. Dance moms always messes stuff up one time they siad but, [Mckenzie, melissas daughter] but, it was maddie.

  5. “Shut the front door, Dani!” she said between sips of Mommy Juice. Oh Dance Moms and your sins of omission, how you vex me so. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Actually, Brooke came in 2nd in the teen division and Payton came in 7th. For some reason they didn’t show Brooke’s dance (or that she was even competing again Payton..). They need to get their editing straightened out because on the show they SAID 7th place, but WROTE 2nd..

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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.