Dance Moms Season 3 episode 9 recap: The Tears And A Clown

Lori Acken

Well, Dance Moms fans, we already know from last week’s preview that this episode’s going to be a tough one for any number of reasons, so I’m glad we get to the toughest right out of the gate. As we get underway, everyone files into the studio but Abby. Christi is hoping that Teacher skipped class so they get extra recess — but Abby appears and tearfully reveals that Broadway Baby succumbed to kidney failure the night before.

Now I am the world’s biggest sucker for animals and the world’s biggest believer in the power of pets to comfort and heal and make us all nicer people. So, Abby Lee, even though I know that a) you probably don’t read these after our little tiff a ways back and b) this happened a few months ago, I’m sure you are still mourning her and my heart and my sympathy go out to you. For real. Your Baby was a beauty.


Nonetheless, Abby says the show must go on and even though her heart isn’t in it we must get ready for Dance Xpressions in St. Louis. Which I’m pretty sure was actually Intensity Dance in St. Louis, but whatever. I’m in no mood to quibble, so let’s get to it. It’s pyramid time.

Bottom of the bottom is Paige. Her duet performance does not inspire confidence in the group. Next is Brooke. Abby says her making the top five was good. Not winning was bad. Kelly thinks it’s just personal. Next is Big Mac, even though Abby says she did a good job of some tough choreography in the group dance.

Row two begins with Kendall. Abby says she excels at evil. Then comes Nia. Abby said her facial expressions told the duet’s story especially well.

Maddie’s at the top again, and Melissa is relieved. I kinda am, too. Any bit of normal, I’m all about it. No sign of Chloe in the stack because she’s still on suspension. On the upside, Abby called her by name.

This week’s group routine will be called My Dream Will Be Your Dream. It will not be Mackenzie’s dream, however, because she’s not taking part. It’s an epic love story. Lots of technique. Tons of ballet. Fancy shmancy costumes.

On that note, I’d like to salute some bold fashion choices that were made today — Christi’s fuzzy coat, Melissa’s shiny/patterny pants, Jilly mixing her plaids and her dots. Looks like Kelly got a trim. Lots to think about right here.

Nia scores a solo called Breaking My Heart. Holly hopes Nia’s performance will take away Abby’s grief, not add to it. Maddie also gets a solo, also heart related. Hers is called Showing You My Heart.

Then Abby reminds everyone that St. Louis is the home of Kaya/Black Patsy and her dancing daughter Nicaya. If you need a refresher about who she is and why we call her that, click here. Or here. Or here. We can wait.

Abby tries to tough it out through  group-dance rehearsal, but her grief gets the better of her and she excuses herself. Kelly opines that she is being way too emotional over the death of a mere dog. Oh no, Kelly, says the blogger who drinks her coffee out of a ridiculously overpriced mug covered in photos of her cat who passed away two years ago. Noooo. If she’s still crying about it during Season 8, maybe. But right now, no. You be nice.

Upstairs, a winking Melissa and Jill think maybe the girls could make Abby a big sympathy card or dedicate the group dance to Baby or something.

Whoa. Some people call her the space cowgirl. Some call her the gangster of scarf.

Then another idea begins to take shape.

Instead of all this dying-peasant-girl nonsense, Jill thinks they should rejigger the routine into something peppier to lighten Abby’s mood — say a dance that goes with a song on her iPod called Beautiful Day by American Idol Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze.

Yay, happy-sunshiny things, ain’t that right, Melissa?

That’s right!

That ain’t right, say Holly, Kelly and Christi. Changing Abby’s dance is a recipe for disaster. But they go along with it anyway, and everyone heads down to dress this sucker up … in bridal attire? Am I missing something here? Also, Christi and Kelly still aren’t talking? Well, I suppose. We were flinging f-bombs at the end of last week.

OH GAHD, this is just awful! Every time Abby cries, I cry. I want to snuggle Abby! What is happening to me? And right now Abby is talking with her adorable mother about how helpless she feels and how she wishes she could have done something more for her Baby.

Abby’s adorable mother gives her good advice about it just being Baby’s time to go, but Abby is bereft over not being there when her pup needed her most. This is awful. RAINBOW BRIDGE, ABBY! RAINBOW BRIDGE!

I am not going to live through this episode.

Next day, Abby is MIA and the mothers are not the most sympathetic creatures about that, what with Black Patsy looming and all. They’re all, “We’re doing a damn tribute to your dog, lady. Get your grieving heinie in here to see it.” Big Mac wants to know if dogs go to heaven. Kelly’s answer makes me want to pull her freshly-cut hair.

Back at Abby’s house, Abby’s mom is making me regret every bad thing I’ve ever said about Abby just because she is so flapping adorable. And Baby’s death is making Abby realize that her time with her mother is limited, too. There is not enough wine in the world to get me through this thing, I swear. I am warning  you right now, rest of this episode. You be nice. And you end nice. Or else.

This is nice. Learn from the children, people.


No such luck. Their mothers are still tweaked at Abby’s grief and her absence and decide to head down as a group and give guest choreographer Niayla some grief about that.

Niayla gives them one of these and instantly becomes my favorite person in the world.

Surprise Missouri field trip to the Charmette Academy  of Dance & Acrobatics, where Nicaya is getting prepped for this weekend’s competition. Oh heeyyy, Kaya!

Kaya wants to see angst and struggle in Nicaya’s solo. She does not want to see some rich kid from Pittsburgh. Too bad, toots. There’s a bunch of them headed your way. Also, owie, earlobe. OW!

Kaya admits she feels like she has something to prove to the ALDC and says she’s looking forward to meeting up with Abby and the Dance Moms again because she plans to serve them a piece of her mind. An even bigger one than at last season’s reunion, apparently.

Holly is happy with Nia’s solo, but not so happy that she’s dancing with a hat. Because we all know what happens when you drop your hat. Your mother has a fit, has to apologize to the competition, comes back with her tail between her legs and refuses to talk to her best friend whose call she didn’t take. Except now she says it’s because said friend told her to go ferk herself. Verbal slap fight. Yip yip yip yip yip. Poke me when it’s over.

Next day Kelly reveals that she has brought a doughnut for herself to eat! Jill reveals that she wants a doughnut, too! Abby reveals that she has decided to return because Broadway Baby would have wanted it that way. And also because nothing makes her happier than working with Maddie.

Aaaand nothing says “Welcome back, Abby!” than the revelation that we’ve completely screwed with your dance while you were away. It’s up to assistant choreographer Janeane to break the bad news. Abby knows instantly whose wise idea this was and says so. Naughty, moms. Look like you’re sorry.


Abby’s still going to take it out on your kids. And sure enough — the dance will now be improvised. Take that.

Come competition day, Black Patsy makes herself known right away, monogrammed t-shirt and all. She seems to particularly have it in for Dr. Holly for being black but not hood. “Sometimes competition days are filled with excitement and joy,” sighs Dr. Holly diplomatically. “This is not one of those competition days.”

I guess not. Abby takes Holly to task for Nia’s costume. Melissa tried to mediate. Holly just hopes the negativity doesn’t rub off on her dancer and it doesn’t seem to. She is full of sass and spunk.

So is Nicaya, who does her best to live up to her mother’s demand for “divatude.” Abby says she thinks Nicaya has regressed. Kaya has, at any rate.

The announcer calls Maddie “Madison.” I’m not sure I love her costume, which kind of looks like bloody bandages from a distance, but the dance is exceptionally lovely. And I am exceptionally susceptible to an exceptionally lovely dance tonight. Especially when the announcer says that Maddie would like everyone to know that her performance is dedicated to Broadway Baby. Even Kaya reaches for Melissa’s hand.

The other mothers, however, are a little put out at Melissa for hogging the sentiment. OK, a lot put out. Melissa says it’s really because they are mad that she is back on Abby’s good side, and anyway, she babysat the pooch way more than they did, so there.

Time for the improved group dance. Holy Hannah, Paige! You need to dance like that more often. Or have the opportunity to.  I don’t think this is Lee’s song anymore, but the dance is cute is a button.

Kaya doesn’t think so. Kaya thinks that Nia was a whole beat off from everyone else. Didn’t Abby notice that, too? Abby didn’t. Or if she did, she’s not giving Kaya the satisfaction of saying so.

Someone else would like Kaya to take her Black Patsy t-shirt and choke on it.

Abby takes her leave without engaging Kaya, who keeps running her mouth anyway. She decides Kendall’s an even worse dancer than Nia and the battle moves out into the hallway, where a bunch of little kids can film it with their cell phones.

Three thumbs up for Christi’s hilarious take on this ridiculous event. I miss this you, Christi. I miss you getting to be this you. I am dedicating this deeply interpretive swig of wine to how much I miss this Christi. <swig> And I’m going to ignore the rest of this fight.

But I’m not completely mad at it. OK, I’m pretty mad at it, but here’s the happy ending.

Now we can stop pretending you guys hate each other! Hurray!

Come awards time, the announcer apologizes on behalf of the competition for what happened in the hallway and says that Kaya and Nicaya were kicked to the curb. Kaya goes out in a blaze of expletives. Stay classy, Black Patsy.

Nia wins a judges award for best costume for rocking her outfit. She gives props to her mom. Nia’s solo also gets third place in the junior division. Maddie takes home first. Group dance gets first, too. And somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge, Broadway Baby is smiling.

For this most of all.


So what say you, Dance Moms faithful? Am I the only big baby who bawled for Miss Baby? How cute is Abby’s mother? Should Nicaya have been punished for her mother’s big mouth? And are you relieved that the Dance Moms Wonder Twins have been restored to full power? Sound off in the comments section below.

New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9pm ET/PT on Lifetime.



  1. Abby, I danced as a young girl and loved it I think you are a wonderful teacher and friend! I am so touched by a song you choose and can’t find it anywhere!!! “Look mamma we made it” Loved the whole performance, and the song! Along with all the other numbers you are behind you are very talented! could you possibly message me the artist of that songs name?

  2. I felt bad for Abby and everything, but at the same time, as I know when this episode was filmed (I saw the girls here in St. Louis at a show), I also know that St. Louis and Charmette went through their own loss that weekend. An amazing local dancer (one of Nicaya’s friends), Clare Blase, lost her battle to cancer the day before competition. Kaya was wearing a pin in the very beginning – when the moms all walked in and she still had her jacket on. I guess I just wish Clare would have gotten a bit more of a recognition. Here’s a link to Charmette’s page about her

  3. All I have to say is that I am sick to death with Maddie Maddie Maddie. There ARE other talented girls there, but we will never see them get a chance. I am sorry about BB but the woman doesn’t get any sympathy from me because she cannot give little children any respect. Unless of course it is Maddie Maddie Maddie. Oh, somebody please tell Jill she looks like a pimp, and make Melissa go shack up with her boyfriend again so we can have one show without her smugness.

  4. I felt very bad for Abby for losing her baby. It is especially hard for someone who doesn’t have any real friends to lose their beloved pet. I could totally relate, but still felt that she could not put together that these mothers are fighting for their own babies and for her to have some understanding. I sure she would have never penalized her dog and not called her by her name because she doo doo’d on the rug.

    I still feel terrible for Chloe and her continued punishment for nothing. Chloe did nothing. Yet she is being abused. It still makes me sick to my stomach that Abby seems to be trying to destroy her confidence and ability. Maybe she hates that Chloe is a natural dancer. I would rather watch Cloe than any of the other kids, yet another week goes by where she barely gets any camera time at all. I am wondering if she and her Mom are being punished by the producers of the show as well.

    I thought it was cold of Melissa to hog the spotlight by having Maddie dedicate her number, when it was Jill’s idea, and they could have dedicated the group number. Gah! Well…it was typical Melissa. Anything to forward Maddie’s career, although I think that more than anything, Maddie’s return to the top deals with Sophia’s exit. Sophia’s mom obviously had enough sense to realize, after witnessing the terrible way Chloe and the other girls were being treated, that she and her daughter needed no part of that.

    I want to mention that Brooke would probably win if she was given something different to do. I am sort of tired of seeing her do the same ol’ contortionist moves. She is a much better dancer than that, and could do a Maddie or Chloe solo very well, and should be allowed. Page is much improved, as is Nia. You can tell they have all been working hard.

    I will end with saying poor Abby, for losing her baby…but also poor Chloe for her continually being punished for nothing. Hang in there Chloe! PLEASE don’t lose your love of dance and don’t let Abby crush your spirit!

  5. Ya know, Miss Paula, that whole thread entered my mind as I was watching the episode, too, but I was so sad about the poor little pooch and sorry for Abby’s grief that I couldn’t bring myself to yank it. But absolutely, there was very much an undercurrent of Abby’s limited emotional range and depth of understanding where the human parent-child relationship is concerned — one even her mother seemed to point out. I’d like to see more of Abby and her mom in the future. It does a lot to make her something resembling three-dimensional.

  6. My only disagreement with the whole Broadway Baby thing is this: do you really think Abby would’ve tolerated a girl being absent and only half-present because her dog died? Me thinks she would tell that girl to save her tears for the pillow. I absolutely feel for Abby, I just resent her double standards. I also felt like the comparison between Maddie and her dog was ridiculous. Otherwise, I think your blog is right on about this episode. 🙂

    • I think that Abby just might let a grieving child take the time to mourn a pet. This is something she would know more about, having a pet she loved so much. She cannot relate to other childhood moments because she doesn’t have children. She’s all about the dance!

  7. I really feel bad about Abby losing her dog because she feels so bad. A dog is family member, so my heart goes out to her. Just as when a loved one passes from our life, hold on to the memories and be grateful for the time you had together.


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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.