Dance Moms recap: You’re (Immi)grating On My Nerves

Lori Acken

This week’s Dance Moms is all about home. Wanting to get there. Being left there. Has Sophia gone back there? We even get a look at Abby’s. Or at least the garage.

To start, the gang — minus Sophia — has gathered just in time for the resurrection of the pyramid. Oh pyramid. I have (not) missed you so.

Bottom of the bottom is Chloe. Seems that extended back stretch in the middle of her solo last week was not part of the choreography. It was Chloe forgetting the choreography. Despite her meltdown at the end of the ep, a suddenly benign Christy agrees with Abby: Chloe is old enough to accept her mistakes. Abby wants Chloe to write the steps down.

Next is Nia. Doesn’t apply her corrections. Abby wants Nia to write her corrections down.

Next is Mackenzie. Whoa. This is my first good look at Big Mac’s new headshot. She looks like she wants to bust heads instead of bust moves. She may want to start with Abby’s, because Teacher’s going off like a bomb about Mac’s struggle with the special red carpet from last week’s group dance. Had the judges been timing their number, fumes she, they would have been disqualified. And that does not happen to Abby Lee dancers.

Despite the fact that they were not DQ’d, that it was hardly Mac’s fault that the prop didn’t work and that the dance won first place anyway, Abby says she will never forgive Mackenzie for what she did. Good heavens, woman. The kid is 8. She tried to pry the dumb carpet loose and the thing wouldn’t budge. Did you test it beforehand? I want you to write this down: test the prop beforehand.

Also, I will never forgive whomever chose that cantankerous headshot for my sunny Mac. Who has been expunged from group dances until further notice for the sins of the carpet. Clouds cross her face, but she does not cry. Good girl.

Wrapping up the bottom row is Paige. She got the featured part in the group dance and didn’t make it fabulous. She made it mediocre. I don’t know what the leap was supposed to look like in the first place, so I can’t judge one way or the other. Kelly reminds us that Abby takes her anger at the moms out on the kids, just in case any of us could possibly forget.

Row two begins with Maddie. Abby says she was good, then chides her for cribbing Sophia’s signature ’do. Maddie does this:

So Abby does this:

Abby tells her former star pupil to bag the hairdo and aim for Sophia’s energy and talent, instead. You used to think she had that, Abby. Remember? In any case, Curly Melissa says now she knows how the other moms feel when their kids are compared to Maddie. All puckered of face.

Row two is rounded out by Kendall, who looks somewhat hopeful about the spot. Abby says she was given a correction a hundred times and didn’t keep up with Sophia …

…who is the top of the pyramid, even though she’s not here to enjoy her triumph. Kelly, who is wearing a dandy tiger-print blouse, makes a stink face that I thought might have to do with Sophia not being present, but is actually shock over seeing someone other than Mads at the top. Abby reveals that the reason Soph isn’t around is because she’s in L.A. shooting a film — another accomplishment she claims for herself. Does anyone happen to have the phone number for whomever has taught Sophia to dance up to this point? I’d really like his or her or their take on all of this fame-and-talent squatting right about now.

This weekend we are heading back to Greensboro, N.C., to Dance Troupe Challenge. Kelly wants to know if Brooke will be going, too. Abby wants to know how Brooke spent her downtime while the others were off dancing in Ohio.

Like this.

And then this happened.

And then on Saturday…

On the seventh day …

Brooke ain’t going anywhere this weekend, except maybe to a friend’s house and then go home.

The Greensboro group dance will be called Voyage Home. And the girls will be immigrants. Wait, now, wha’? They’re immigrants, but they’re voyaging … home? Can you immigrate to your own home? Abby may possibly need a dictionary. Or a social studies lesson. Where is Dr. Holly when you need her?

While I’m debating this with myself, Brooke gets told to work harder for her spot on the team. Mackenzie gets a solo. Paige gets a solo, too. Are we never giving Maddie a solo ever again? I mean, I get that Abby is ticked, but Abby is always ticked. And Maddie always wins. Only one results in more feathers in Abby’s cap — even if those feathers are perpetually ruffled. Instead, Maddie and Kendall get a duet. Only Maddie looks happy about this. Chloe looks downright stricken.

The moms head up to the Mom Loft as the girls begin work on the Voyage (To Or From Their) Home. Abby says the dance is really about the struggle to cross a border rather than any actual, you know, immigration. And anyway, it’s all about the artistry.

What the hell is on Jill’s foot? Are those modified Gaga boots? An optical illusion?  What is going on at the end of her leg?!

While I worry about Jill’s footwear — for I am easily distracted today — the mothers fret about Brooke only running the music while Mackie dances swing for Sophia. Brooke admits she’s kind of glad she’s not dancing this weekend, but she wants her compatriots to know she’s there for them all the same. Still, Kelly the Tiger is tweaked that Brooke has been here for pyramid for two weeks in a row and is not represented, while Little Miss Movie Star is off getting famous and still managed to grab the top spot. Hit Abby with Jill’s shoe, Kel. She doesn’t stand a chance.

The girls are having trouble grasping that they are immigrants coming through the desert or on a boat for days and days and days. Kelly wants to know if they’re actually supposed to be immigrants at the ALDC, which makes about as much sense as anything right about now. Christi opines that Abby should be grateful that her little strangers in a familiar land are very good dancers.

Melissa says she’s bummed that she didn’t notice about Maddie’s hair plagiarism earlier and, since we’re on the subject of bummed, Jill wants to know if Maddie is that about the duet. I’m guessing Jill knows full well the real answer, but she forges ahead anyway just for the sheer sport of watching Melissa do the Many Expressions of Bull Crap.

I rest my case.

And what is this, now? A mom field trip! A mom field trip to …

Looks like Ab is sticking with her threat of Mom Tasks, because the Pitt Crew has been given the (completely preposterous) job of weeding out old dance stuff from Abby’s garage. Kelly says she doesn’t know why they can’t say no to the woman, but I say how often do you get a chance to rummage through someone else’s crap. Especially someone like Abby. Who knows what one might find. Christi just hopes it’s not a good case of scabies. That’s the proper term for cootie bites, if you’re wondering.

Abby gives them clues as to what they’re searching for on this little scavenger hunt: old programs, props they could recycle rather than pay for new. Christi doesn’t find those, but she does find mouse droppings and a report from 1979 that says Kelly was on probation for cursing in the studio. Melissa, who is getting crap for her enthusiasm about the project, finds this.

“Too pure to be pink!” crows Rizzo Hyland. Looook at meeeee, I’m Abbbbbby Leeeeee.

Anyway, back to the task at hand, where Holly finds the decaying remains of the little furry feller responsible for the droppings Christi found earlier, begins hollering and flapping like a well-educated Lucille Ball and makes a break for her pristine car. Though they’ve yet to unearth anything of value to Abby from the project, the other mothers decide they’re done, too. Kelly snags a couple of souvenirs: a photo of Abby with a shiner and another photo that shall remain a mystery.

Back at the studio it’s time to practice Mac-a-doodle’s solo. It’s called Lemonade, but Abby doesn’t want to see a lemon out there on the stage. She wants a big glass of adorable. With a few extra tricks. Paige is next. Abby says she’s 12 now and she needs to dance older. Which means no noodle arms. Kelly agrees. No noodle arms. But, Kelly adds, if Abby gave Paige more experience doing solos and being onstage, she would develop better habits. I can’t argue with the logic.

Meanwhile, Melissa — who’s sporting a saucy high pony today — says she’s heading downstairs to do a … thing. The other mothers are not fooled by her vaguery. They use her absence to gossip about how freaked she and Maddie are by the invasion of Sophia and how Abby’s using that to get a whole lotta cleanin’ going on. Downstairs, Abby wants their children to call upon their experiences of being held captive in a car by men with machine guns to add drama to the group dance. Er, Ab, I think the only thing that has held these children captive in a vehicle is you. And, perhaps, traffic. She tells the girls they are being weak.

They are being children. Who have no idea what you’re talking about.  Look.

Maddie — whose hair is back in approved Maddie territory — and Kendall will be doing a modern jazz duet called Sugar and Spice. And they’re currently being too much sugar and not enough spice for Abby. To knock the mood down a few notches — because that’s great for an enthusiastic practice — she reminds Maddie that she was once the top of the pyramid and now she’s just … Kendall’s partner. The mothers are appalled. In private, Maddie says she thinks the duet is cute, but it’s hardly challenging. And she misses being challenged.

Finding Melissa tidying up the store — which I never knew the ALDC had until now — Abby decides to chide her about Maddie’s downgrade to dueter. Ever the open book, Melissa admits that she’s not happy about it. Abby rubs a little salt in the wound and then leaves her to her sorting and her disappointed thoughts. Meantime, Jill decides to come down from on high to accuse Abby of telling Mads and Mel that dancing with Kendall is beneath them. Abby throws Melissa under the bus. The next shot says it all.

Next morning, while they wait for the girls to arrive, Gia asks Abby if she really believes they’ll see Sophia again. Abby admits she’s worried. Meanwhile, the moms out are gossiping on the playground, er, in the parking lot. Jill tells Kelly and Christi what Abby said about what Melissa said about the duet. Christi tells Kelly and Jill what Melissa said Abby said about the duet and what Melissa said about what Abby said. They agree that justice for Jill must prevail. Then they play on the jungle gym.

Up in the Mom Loft, Jill wastes no time calling Melissa out for her comments. This happens.

Melissa, I want you to write this down: Whenever you look like this, we all know you’re fibbing. Poker face, darling. Get one.

Instead, she tells the air and her lap that she never said any such thing, besides of which, Abby lies all the time. She pokes the air to make her point. Write this down, too: If you want someone to believe your bull, ya gotta look ’em in the eye when you fling it. Jill never takes her own eyes off of her adversary.

Time for costume lessons. Abby drapes a deep gray scarf over her head and says she wants the girls to look like they’ve been through a whole lot on their way to crossing that border. Holly wants to know which border. (Yay, Holly! Me, too!) Abby reiterates that the exact border doesn’t matter. It’s the voyage home that matters. Holly wants to know how you can immigrate home. (Oh hurray, Holly! Me, too! I knew I could count on you!)

I’m guessing next week’s group dance won’t be so issue-specific.

Come competition time, we’re taking the bus to Greensboro, which gives everyone over the age of 12 plenty of time to argue. Abby gets a text from Sophia and Jackie saying they’re on set for the final day of filming and they miss everyone terribly. Kelly says Abby should have put Brooke in the group dance after all. Abby says doing a film and doing a school project are not the same thing. Then we all gang up on Melissa.

Meet today’s special guest star: Welcome to North Carolina Sign. It’s cute and all, but I still love my Ohio sign best.

In Greensboro, the girls get a screaming mimi of a welcome, even if they aren’t movie stars. Abby says it’s because they’re National Champions, but we all know it’s really because they’re on TV.

Abby goes to work running Paige’s solo — which is largely overshadowed by the revelation that Kelly may have left Brooke at home, but she brought the twins along. And gave ’em plenty of room to breathe.

Then Abby tells Little Miss Lemonade that she better not let her 40-bedazzled-lemons-and-a-straw headpiece go sailing like she did her bow the last time she had a solo. That thing looks so weighty I’m a tad concerned abut Mac losing her entire head, accouterment and all.

Mac’s up first. Abby wasn’t kidding when she said she was upping the trick quotient. Mackie nails it. Paige goes next. She, too, has a lot of tricks. Legs aren’t terrifically straight, but her arms look good, the dance is fun and Paige is a lanky slice of purple winsome. Backstage while we wait for the girls to return, the moms share some happy memories of the last time they were here. Hey, Kelly, ’member that one time when you called Abby a whore?! Wasn’t that a hoot?

When Paige appears, Kelly tells her to ignore anything mean that Abby might say. Abby says nothing mean. She tells Paige she was wonderful and fabulous. The feel-good moment lasts for about 10 seconds, because Jill is like a dog with a bone on this whole duet deal.

Even though the girls are about to dance, she wants Abby to say right here in front of Melissa what she heard Melissa say. Abby does. Melissa tweaks the facts a little and says she said she wasn’t happy about not having a solo — not that she wasn’t happy about having a duet. Well, no, Melissa. Selective memory, says Abby.

Melissa persists with her fibbing,  so Abby decides to reveal that Melissa’s ex double-agented her, too. Melissa professes her love for Abby and the studio, but Abby says she’s a classic example of “love the one you’re with.” Right on! There’s a giiiiiirl. Sittin’ next to you. And she’s just thinkin’. That you’re full of pooooooo. Love the one you’re with! Love the one you’re with!

Then Kendall and Maddie run their duet and Abby issues corrections to Kendall only. Jill hops up and runs over to Abby to backseat drive. She points out a bent knee on Maddie. Abby says the move requires a bent knee. Jill meant the other knee. Abby tells Maddie she’ll be taking a private with Jill next week, an argument ensues and Kendall understandably starts to fray. Kendall yells at Jill. Jill yells at Kendall. Jill yells at Abby. Abby and the girls leave the room. Abby yells at the girls.

Backstage, Maddie bucks up her dance partner and gives her a squeeze and some good advice.

Yay, Maddie! More girls! Less moms! Or keep the moms in a bar or Abby’s garage, because that stuff’s entertaining.

Despite what Melissa and Jill might think, these two should dance together more often. They’re cute as buttons, beautifully in sync and they make me supremely happy. (Also, Dance Moms Fashion Moment for Sparkly-Cap Judge.) Maddie calls the duet a success. Backstage, Abby agrees that they did nice job and says nothing more.

<crickets>
<please let there only be crickets>
<and no>

Jill’s mouth opens. “It’s OK, Abby; you can give corrections,” comes out. Oh, Jill.

Abby thanks her for the permission to address her own dancers. Jills says corrections are fine — just not before they go on stage. You be nice, Abby. You build up. Abby says that if Jill thought her dancer was ready to go as is, she needs an eye-doctor. Jill says Abby needs to manually correct the problem — actions, not mean words. I’m pretty sure the manual correction Abby would like to make right about now involves a muzzle and Jill’s mouth. Instead she tells Mrs. Vertes that all she has heard is how Kendall just needs an opportunity — and, lo and behold, she gave her one. From now on, anytime Abby utters Kendall’s name, for good or evil, Jill should say thank you. Jill doesn’t look thankful at all.

Awards time.

Mac wins her division. Paige gets third and Abby says that’s good for Paige. Someone apparently cribbed Abby’s Alouette dance from last season, because that’s the title of the second-place duet. Maddie and Kendall get first. Abby says that’s because they were looking at Maddie alone. Don’t say that to Jill, Abby, or mama will totally plumerai your le tête.

Backstage we’re getting ready for the Dance of Immigrating Home. Sounds like Kendall will be filling in the gap left by Sophia. The ladies are sort of dressed like Little Match Girls in head scarves, with smudges on their faces. Much of the dance is synchronized movement and the girls handle it admirably until a few moments into the dance when it looks like Kendall has gotten a bit off-count. Do I blame Kendall for this? I do not. Do I blame the lady who built her dance around a kid who jetted off to Hollywood, then chucked Kendall into her spot last minute when said kid did not return? Indeed.

Abby says that most of the girls did a good job on the group dance. Most. In the get-ready room, Kelly says Abby was muttering about a mess-up and wants to know if the girls know who it was. The other mothers urge the girls not to throw anyone under the bus. And here comes the bus. The only thing she does is briefly engage Christi about whether or not the dance was amazing. Because she doesn’t think it was.

It was amazing enough. The dance wins the division and the dancers look like this.

Which is all we need know. Roll credits. Roll ’em. Roll those things. Bed time!

No deal. Even though she privately calls the victory another one for the Abby Lee history books, backstage Abby goes right for Kendall, saying she messed up the whole dance. Bless her put-upon heart, Kendall stands up for herself and says she only messed up one part, not the entire dance. Perhaps realizing that Sophia may possibly have immigrated back home for good, Abby resumes giving all the credit to Maddie, and Jill resumes being mad.

Next week, the Pitt Crew comes face-to-face with the other scabs and Abby makes Maddie cry.

So what say you, Dance Moms fans? Is it high time Maddie got a solo? Is Sophia gone for good? Is Melissa the worst liar ever? Would you clean out your dance teacher’s garage? Do we need to send Kelly a turtleneck? Sound off in the comments section below.

New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.

10 Comments

  1. Ohhhh no, Debra. If I have to watch it, you have to watch it. We’ll hold hands across cyberspace and take our medicine like big girls. Big, completely mortified girls. XOXO

  2. Lori, I quit watching this train wreck of a show. I don’t need to watch because you do such a wonderful job describing it! Love you!

  3. I think that Abby is so mentally abusive to these children. But, I blame the mothers for having their children continue to work with Abby—there is no fame, fortune or other variable that justifies allowing your children to be subjected to such horrendous dysfunction and abuse and these mothers are simply exploiting these children. I can’t believe that CPS hasn’t stepped in and done something here.

  4. Well Betty, it’s what people like to watch, that’s the only reason it continues. I’m sure she is hard on the kids, but I am willing to bet that most of the show is scripted & acted out. They take a small rift & turn it into a big rift to get higher ratings. I honestly do not think that the Moms would allow their students to be treated this way….. Specially on National television. It’s all part of the “show”.

  5. Who is the hot looking (from a distance it seams he is atleast) judge with the sparkle bejeweled hat?? I did a search and this website came up. I saw the small comment about it, but wondered if this was the “mac daddy” dad from one of the episodes of Toddlers & Tiaras? He loves being a Dance Dad, specially when there is hot single moms involved.

  6. Where are the child protective agents. If I as a teacher treated my students as Abby does, I would be
    brought up on child abuse charges. I can’t watch a
    whold program, I feel so sorry for those poor children. Why isn’t someone doing to curtail abby’s
    abuse. With so many people watching you’d think some-
    one would could get through to that loud mouth abusive
    teacher.

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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.