“Dance Moms” episode 25 recap: National Measure

Lori Acken

Dance Moms Episode 25: Last ep till the season finale, kids. Are we all prepped for the long, cold months ahead with no Dance Moms? I mean, we’ll have Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition to tide us over — and I’ve  talked to her about it, so watch for that coming soon — but if the moms and their girls are the draw for you, that’s probably only some consolation. I’ve heard reliable rumblings of reunion shows to shorten the gap, but nothing official just yet. I’ll keep you posted. And I wonder if they can borrow Andy Cohen to host if they do.

In the meantime, let’s make the most of what we have. Which is the Pitt Crew’s continued adventures in La La Land.

This time L.A.’s Millennium dance complex — where pretty much an entire who’s who of pop culture’s most famous hoofers have gotten their groove on — is standing in for the Abby Lee Dance Studio. Abby is pretty disappointed at how the girls fared at iHollywood, but she’s proud of how sociable they were to last week’s momentary interloper, Nicaya. The mothers, on the other hand? Well, they went right out there and ran off another potential student — or, more accurately, her entertainingly unfiltered mother Black Patsy Kaya who wasn’t afraid to call a bitch a bitch even if she was the one who started most of the bitchery. But anyhow, the ranks are closed again, so let’s move on to the Pyramid.

Dance Moms episode 25 recap cast

Bottom of the bottom is Kendall — With Nicaya no longer threatening her next-in-line-ness, she’s officially back on the team, but you don’t get to come back in at the top, so there. Kendall says it’s not fair. I’m pretty sure that’s the Jill talkin’.

Next is Paige — Abby thought she did very well in the group routine after languishing a month with her foot owie. Now she needs to make up for lost time.

Brooke — Finished the group routine a beat behind everyone else.

Then Maddie — She just kind of blended in in the group dance. Which is probably why they call it a group dance. But whatever. I wish I could do eye makeup as well as this nine year old child.

Row two begins with Nia. Her Josephine Baker scat dance  wasn’t quite as well received as Abby had hoped, but Nia did the best she could with the difficult circumstances.

Then Chloe — she made the Top 5, but Abby wants No. 1. Always No. 1.

Big Mac is top of the Pyramid because she got third overall. Who doesn’t love it when Big Mac is top of the Pyramid?

This week, we’re going to In10sity Dance Competition and instead of a group dance, everyone will do a solo so Abby can evaluate them and choose who gets to go to Nationals and who gets left behind in shame. Well, everyone will do a solo except Maddie, who — despite winning the scholarship a few weeks back — is theoretically still on Abby’s crapola list for not defying her mother and doing a Justice-vanquishing … why am I explaining this again? You know. You also know that there is no way in hell that Abby will take a team to the forty millionth Nationals this season that doesn’t have Maddie front and center, so, despite the fact that Maddie is crying with frustration right now, let’s just move along. It will all work out in the end, and that, my Dance Moms faithful, is a fact.

Interesting side note from an über-tan-and-then-not Kelly, though. We learn that Brooke used to be the “Maddie” back when she was a little nipper and after she had won everything there was to win and burned out, she was cast aside in favor of, I guess, Maddie. So, say, in Season 7,  Maddie will be a stoic teenager tasked with the token chin-stand routines while Clara Lukasiak steals the show?! Nuh-unhhhhhh!

Hey. Paige still has her boot on in the background while Mackie’s practicing her solo, A Perfect Day In The Sun (or as I prefer to call it, Shanay Tinsica Sit Boom!). What gives?

Also what gives with this dress that has Melissa’s ginormous bra strap hanging right out there for the world to see?


Kelly?! Christi?! Holly?! Jiiiiilllllll!! I know we’re not always the best of pals, but give a sister a hand and tell her to so not turn her back to the camera in this sartorial condition. Someday it could be you….

Also, where is Melissa goin’ with her kids before practice is officially over? She’s just leavin’. Just goin’. But where? Where is she goin’?! She’s just goin’ somewhere is all.

She’s goin’ for a general meeting with a dance-centric talent agency called MSA, with whom she’s been speaking since last summer. She and her gals meet with Jen, a cheery blond rep dressed in Abby colors, and Melissa only talks about getting Mackenzie into commercials, leading me to wonder if our miss Maddie already has herself a rep, maybe even at MSA. The other mothers are all aflutter at Melissa’s secrecy. And Paige is doing some serious suffering trying to return to full-out dance.

The next day, after Chloe has practiced her solo, called Ghost, under the suddenly wildly approving eye of Abby Lee, Kelly announces that she has tapped the dude Melissa snuck off to meet with at the end of last season — a music producer called Seven — to help Brooke record “Summer Love Song”! And guess who they want to be her backup singers?! Yay! Everybody! Now that I’m looking at it, looks like MSA figured into that long-ago Luxx vid episode, too, which would explain the “since last summer” thing. And that back then Dance Moms actually had a running, dance-related story arc that I could tap into instead of “here’s what everyone’s fighting about this week.” Which made for much more entertaining recaps. Man, I miss that. Do you miss that?

Also color me covetous of Jill’s badass guitar shirt. Would I wear it with an electric blue and turquoise skirt and electric blue platforms? No. No, I would not. But that’s what makes Jill Jill and Lori Lori. And only one of us is on TV. Special Dance Moms Blog Finale Edition Holla to whomever can figure out where she got that thing. Mama wants. Hubby Rik, if you’re reading this right now? Mama wants.

In the meantime, Nia has started to practice her solo, which appears to be a hokey ’60s routine with all the typical Pony/Jerk/Swim (or, as we call them, “entertainment value”) moves that Abby would never, not ever, foist on Maddie or Chloe. Unless there are some serious technical dance elements shoehorned in there somewhere, there is no way in hell this solo is going to stack up against Nia’s teammates, much less an entire competition’s worth of dancers. Aaaaaaand Abby pretty much says so. “Some people may love it, some people may hate it,” she tells the clearly perplexed child. “You have to make them love you — regardless of the choreography or the costume ot the music. Get it?” In other words, I am once more dooming you, child. Get it?

Nia looks at Abby like she’s lost her mind. So yes. Nia gets it.


Back outside, in the wake of Kelly’s big recording announcement, Melissa decides to let slip that where she and the girls was goin’ yesterday was to MSA. The other mothers aren’t so much upset that they was wentin’ there as much as they are that Melissa kept it a secret. Kelly says it’s crap like that that keeps Melissa and her daughters excluded from the group. Jill wants to know if Abby knows.

She does now. After getting Maddie and Mackie to fess up that that’s what they ditched practice for, Abby tells them they should not worry about what the other dancers think of their success, because she’s the only one who really cares about them. And since they should not care what anyone else thinks about it, they should also not breathe a word about it. There’s some logic, right there. Also, Abby thinks that if Melissa really wants to focus on her girls’ success, she should not try to hook them up with an agent who can get them into commercials. She should focus on their dance lessons in Pittsburgh. And with that, the logic train just goes ahead and plunges right off a cliff.

Brooke’s solo is called Fly and of course it’s acro. Abby thinks it will be a success from the neck down and a disaster from the neck up. But Brooke’s got other business to get to and that’s the trip with her buds to Seven’s studio. They sounds like an adorable bunch of little girls singing along with the radio and Kelly hopes they had a good time.

Kendall’s solo is called Kiss Kiss and Abby admits that it’s not very deep. Maybe when she’s been an officially behaving member of the team for a long, long time, she can have a very deep solo, says the teacher. Then she wants to know why Kendall’s not emoting the part about the tears in her not-very-deep solo. Because it’s not very deep, Abby. It’s about kissing. Not tears. The warm Cali air is getting to you, isn’t it?

And since we’re on the subject of mixed messages, here comes Maddie to take another stab at being part of this week’s competition. She tells Abby she feels “more happier” when she has a solo and, besides, everyone else has one … so what the hell? Abby tells her she has to want the solo. Then Abby tells her she can’t have the solo because she should have done the Justice-vanquishing one because Abby wanted it. OK. Got that, Maddie?

Mmmhmmm. About as much you should.

Here’s what else Abby wants: in on Brooke’s little record dealie. Being the manager that she is, she decides that the song merits a video and she knows just the gal to make it happen. Herself.  Because the song is about falling in love to a thumping beat on the beach and at parties during the summer, Abby decides the perfect place to shoot the corresponding video is at the beach and a party on top of a sightseeing bus tooling around Hollywood. Clutching a camcorder, she morphs into the Oliver Stone of amateur video, including telling Kendall that this, in addition to high arms and a big butt, is how one looks when some random guy is snapping one’s picture.

There are not words for how much Hubby Rik enjoys this moment. Or how much wine he just shot out of his nose without any apparent lasting damage.

Here’s the finished product, which is Disney Channel Lite adorbs … and wisely leaves out the section I saw in the screener where Maddie almost gets plowed down in the street for the sake of Brooke’s art.

With fun time over and only 45 minutes of studio time left, Maddie takes one more shot at scoring herself a solo. They are in L.A. after all, and she just loves doing solos. She looks like she means it about as much as last time, but after a lecture about how she must never, ever, ever say no to a solo ever again, regardless of what Mommy says, Abby relents and gives her the dance — with a song about throwing love away, Maddie. I think it’s because she almost killed her in the middle of an L.A. street, but in any case, all is right with the world once more.

Unless you ask the moms. Kelly says in light of this new development, she doesn’t even want her kids to go to Nationals. Christi and Holly say that Abby telling Maddie she’s rusty — even she! — proves their point that if the other girls don’t get regular solos, too, they are never going to master them. Melissa just looks like she’s sitting on a rusty nail.

The competition is at the El Portal, “a professional working theater” according to Abby Lee and also where you can see Smokey Robinson if you’re in the nabe and have 75 disposable bucks on Sept. 20 or 21. Abby’s looking swanky in big hair and Good & Plenty colors with a mega-Chiclet necklace and loves their swanky dressing room.

But the good mood ends there. She wants to make Good & Sure that the kids know that this performance will determine whether or not they go to Nationals — and ain’t everybody going — so they can be as cross-eyed nervous as humanly possible before taking the stage. But, mind you, the idea that she puts too much pressure on her girls is a bunch of bunk. Hubby Rik is clutching his head and whimpering. His wine glass is empty.

First up is Big Mac. Her solo is now called Shanay Tinsica Sit Boom! A Perfect Day For Fun, and she is beyond precious in posie-trimmed overalls, big-bowed pigtails and eyeliner-pencil-embellished freckles. Unfortunately, the Music of Doom that always seems to follow the Pitt Crew out West has chosen Mac unto whom it will make its presence known, and for the merest moment she goes deer-in-the-headlights. Melissa mimes the next move from the audience and Mackie back in business, but only time will tell if the judges notice that Perfect Day was not quite Perfect.

Kendall has a shiny fuchsia top shaped like lips in which to perform Kiss Kiss, which is saucy and fun. She performs it with spunky panache, capped off with a last little head-tossing kiss to the audience. I like her odds for Nationals.

Still, Abby’s assessment of the first two entries is eh. Do they not realize they are trying to impress her before Nationals? I am pretty sure they do, lady. They  wouldn’t look like they are being shuttled off to the stockade right now if they didn’t.

Nia is dressed like a periwinkle mini-Supreme and does her goofy moves with enormous style. In the audience, Holly grooves and Abby smiles. Abby says Nia gave great face. Yes, Abby, but this is a dance competition. To determine who goes to another dance competition. And the Swim is not cutting edge choreo; even i know that. <Sigh>

Then Maddie gets back to business in the usual heartstrings-tugging fashion and Melissa is so overcome by the sight that, well, this happens.

Because Abby makes Maddie the way she do.

Abby says the solo is close to perfection.

Paigey looks fabu in her City of Angels costume, but she is clearly in pain and plainly scared for her chance move on. And Chloe — running her solo under Christi’s watchful eye — is downright ethereal in her white, one-sleeved gown. She’s up next and the dance is lovely. As heartrending as Maddie’s? Probably not. Is that a shame? Probably so. Are we used to that? Yes. Will she go to Nationals? I’m sure of it.

Then it’s poor Paige’s turn. She’ll be dancing with a settee kind of daybed thingie and expected to cartwheel over it, which seems awfully iffy on a supposedly-mended foot that was still in a foot a few days ago. But she gives it a tremendous go, all long legs, brave smile and truly stupid song about “yoga buddies” and  a “homeless dude sleepin’ in a box” and nobody using their wings. The minute she gets off stage, she dissolves into tear, but Abby says she’s proud of her for giving it a go.

Brooke is last. Brooke is not an overly expressive girl — not even during her music video — and them’s the facts. But she’s a lovely acrobatic dancer and that last chin stand she pulls off will give me a sympathy crick in my neck for days.

Brooke is pleased with her performance and so is Abby Lee. Still, Brooke says, she’d take the music video over the dance performance any day of the week. Does this portend things to come — especially since I saw someplace that “Summer Love Song” debuted at No. 26 or somesuch on iTunes? I guess we’ll see.

Despite her bobble, Sunshiny Mac gets first place. Welcome to Nationals, muffin.
Chloe gets sixth. Christi looks pained. Chloe says she’ll try harder next time.
Kendall gets fifth. Jill is blissed that her luddoh gruhl beat one of Abby’s bigtime students.

We get plenty of looks at a somber Nia and Paige on our way to finding out that Maddie is the top-scoring junior soloist of the competition. Even if they were just bored on stage and the editors decided to reinterpret the footage, I feel awful for them. Neither had a shot and I’m a little worried that both knew it. Hopefully, in the way that so frequently what we are led to believe is up is suddenly down in the next week’s episode, this whole “this week’s performance is 100% of your grade” story line is not carved in stone.

Brooke gets fourth. She still thinks Abby will be pleased, but Kelly’s not so sure.

And the Diva of Dance is throwing another curveball — it’s not so much what the judges had to say that will determine their ticket to Nationals. It’s how Abby feels about the dancers and how they performed and how much they’ve grown and learned. Maybe they’ll all go. Maybe they won’t. And we’ll find out …

…next week on the season finale  that we can’t miss,  in which Cathy acts up, Kelly breaks down … and there. Is Going. To Be Hell. To Pay!

The Season 2 finale of Dance Moms airs Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 9/8CT on Lifetime.

Dance Moms Episode 25 Images/video: Lifetime


  1. p.s. the only thing I’m not with you on is Kaya. I didn’t find her funny. At all. When she said she wanted her daughter to “take out peg-legged Paige” I was sooooooo over her and ready for her to go.

    • Yeah, she was a little much. By the end of the episode, she just brought out the worst in everyone, including herself.

  2. I LOVE reading your blog every week. You say exactly what the viewer is thinking and you are soooooo stinkin’ funny!!!!!

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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.