Dance Moms Season 3 Episode 16 recap: Queens For A Day

Abby’s got her cranky pants on again as we launch this week’s Dance Moms — in large part because the Dance About Democracy finished No. this in last week’s competition:

And that don’t mean peace, boys and girls.

Plus, not only are we getting beat by Cathy’s scab-a-rific imported Apples, we’re getting beat by, like, nobodies now. And this has got to change.

Pyramid time. Mackie is bottom of the bottom because she didn’t dance. Then Paige. Abby — with a completely straight face — says Paige did a disservice to her country by holding the flag upside down in the group dance. Never mind that Asia did a disservice to Paige by draping it over her the wrong way, pretty much assuring that outcome. You’re on your own, little blonde soldier. But you knew that.

Next is Kendall. Her facial expressions are improving. Her stamina is better. Now we have to work on her focus. No more watching Maddie all the time. Jill rolls her eyes. Then comes Brooke. She accidentally got ahead of Asia during Capture The Flag.

Chloe is last in Row 2. Her solo was good but she still came in second to Maddie. Abby says she has to take corrections if she wants to best her rival. Then Nia. Abby says she was a standout in the group dance and waited for Asia to arrive before attempting to lift her. I’m trying to think what the alternative to that might be …

Then comes Asia, a.k.a. Rosie the Riveting Firecracker. Kristie says she can live with Asia being in second place, but nothing lower than that.

Top of the top is Maddie. Not only is she top of the pyramid, she’s the very personification of America the Beautiful, according to Abby. It makes sense to Abby Lee, people. Doesn’t matter what the rest of us think.

Then we have a little discourse about whether or not Mackie’s foot is sufficiently healed enough for her to dance this week. Mackie says yes, no, wait … yes, she saw the doctor again and he said it was OK. Melissa corrects that she didn’t actually see the doctor, but he still said it was OK. Abby wants to know how he could say it was OK if he didn’t actually see the foot in question. Melissa says that’s because Dr. Intuition knows that Mack knows her own body well enough to tell if she can dance or not.

Abby says no deal — the doctor said two weeks of downtime to protect the fragile little bones in Mack’s feet, so two weeks it is. Abby is not about to lose her heir-apparent to Maddie because of some dude who lets an 8-year-old declare herself cured and that is final.

This week, we are headed to Energy Dance Competition in Youngstown, Ohio. Oh oh. Ohio. Home of the Lad Apples! In keeping with her proclamation at their last encounter, Abby refuses to acknowledge Cathy as anything, much less a threat, and says she’s focused instead on the talents of the other studios in Cinci.

The group number will be called Hear No Evil and everyone will be in it except Mac. Well, and also Maddie.

Maddie’s expression says, “Hold up there, lady, I didn’t let anybody diagnose me over the phone,” but turns out Abby has alternate plans for her little star. Because she is so far beyond everyone else talent-wise, Maddie will serve as Abby’s choreography assistant. Maddie doesn’t look too convinced of the merits of her promotion, but Abby says it is necessary to force the other dancers to stop fluttering in her wake.

How much confidence does Abby have in that happening? This much: Maddie’s solo is called They’ll Never Change.

Nia and Asia will be doing a duet called Move You, Too. Abby says dancing with Asia will push Nia to move faster and kick higher to keep up with Asia’s energy. I think it’s really because Nia always gets the campy dances, so why stop now.

Chloe gets a solo called About Mother. I’m surprised it took this long.

Time to practice Maddie’s solo. Abby is blowing some smoke at her about how badly the others hold her back and how she’d always be in first place if they didn’t drag her down. Maddie just looks troubled. Abby says we can take that whole “They’ll Never Change” deal any way we like it. Is it the girls who will never change? Is it the mothers? Is it Abby?

I added that last one on my own.

Upstairs, the mothers are pretty tweaked about Abby’s assessment that Maddie is too good for the group dance and say that if that’s the case, she should just move the kid into the senior troupe and call it good. Downstairs, Abby tells the others that the reason Maddie has been elevated to administrative status is because she’s a winner and a champion who is an artist and is driven to dance 24/7, while Maddie looks like she’s having some creepy déjà vu about the time Abby made her bring all of her crowns to class and rub them in the other kids’ faces.

Also, I think Maddie would just really, really like to be in the dance. Because she wants to dance 24/7, not pretend to be a dance teacher for some crazy lady trying to make a point.

Back up in the Mom Loft, the mothers are now arguing about the semantics of “choreography assistant” versus “assistant choreographer.” Melissa thinks it’s apples and oranges. Christi thinks it’s apples and bull$#!+!.

Then we move on to worrying about how much trouble Asia is having picking up the group dance choreography. Kristie says oh yeah, well how fast does Mac pick up the choreography — and since Kristie brought up Mac and Christi is feeling extra-punchy today, Christi decides to call shenanigans on Melissa. She’s not sure about which — whether Mackie was ever injured in the first place, or whether she still is injured but back anyway because Melissa’s afraid Asia’s taking her place — but one or the other amounts to a fib. And she wants Melissa to own it.

The next day, Abby is sitting at the front desk when she gets a call from one of the most patient and tolerant people on this earth — Dance Moms’ truly delightful publicist Theresa. And Theresa is calling with some happy news: seems not only does The View want Abby to appear on the show, but they want her to be a guest co-host, as well. For the whole entire hour!

How happy does this make Abby?

Very, very happy. She hopes she gets to sit next to Whoopi. The show also wants the girls to come and do a dance, as well.

Up in the Mom Loft, the ladies hear Abby whoopin’ and hollerin’ and wonder what gives. Christi guesses a call to a 900 line. They don’t have to wonder long, though, because Abby summons everyone into the studio to tell them her big news. Which she does, making it sound like having the girls come along and dance was all her idea. Kelly thinks this a wonderful opportunity for the girls. And if Abby doesn’t want the moms to take part — bonus! More shopping time for Kelly!

Abby says the gang will be packing off to the Big Apple next week, but they need to let the producers know what routine they will be doing by tonight. She wants something that will move people and really make them think (about something other than “Is this that lady who belittles little children on that one reality show?”). The girls suggest Your Dream is My Dream.

Back upstairs, the moms hope that Abby’s joy over this new development will last for a while. Then they decide to gang back up on Melissa about whether or not Maddie is happy about what’s happening with the group dance and how Mackenzie feels about being benched even though her foot is supposedly cured. Melissa is not amused.

Abby overrules the girls and decides they will do The Last Text for The View. She instructs Asia how to do Mackenzie’s part in the dance — round-off back handspring, fall down — in the number, which makes Melissa shake her head. Kristie demands to know what number this would be that the girls are doing. It’s the one that’s going to get your kid on The View next week, lady, so check your tone. Oh. It may get your kid on The View next week. Right now, Abby hasn’t decided who will round off and die, but until Mac’s two-week sabbatical is up, it’s looking like Asia.

Melissa doesn’t think this is fair, but the other mothers say two weeks is two weeks, so tough break. Melissa just really, really wants them to shut the f-bomb up.

Next day, we take a trip to Kelly’s house, where Brooke is meeting with a vocal teacher named Hilary about polishing up her music skills so the “Summer Love Song” chanteuse can maybe record her follow-up while they’re in NYC. Kelly and Hilary think singing and dancing go together like peas and carrots. Brooke mostly looks sleepy.

Next day, Abby tells Mack that she has to come along to the competition this week so Abby can keep an eye on her. If she keeps farting around on that maybe-injured-maybe-not foot, she is going to deal herself an even worse injury and not be able to dance on The View.

Meanwhile, we discover that Mac may have even worse problems than that. Such as this:

Christi and Kelly whisper about it, while Jill and Kristie discuss how it may actually be the Ziegler girls who are doing the smack talk. Kristie says that Mac told Maddie to tell Asia that there’s no way she’s doing the group dance on The View because Mac is perfectly fine. The other moms chime in that Maddie should stay out of it and it’s Abby’s decision to make.

Melissa misses out on this conversation because she is in the den trying to make poor Mackie feel better about having to go to the competition and not dance. Then it’s time to rehearse Chloe’s solo.

We start by asking the girl what she learned from losing the peer vote last week. Chloe says something about making her corrections. No, silly! Not what you learned that is relevant to dance. What you learned that is relevant to bad feelings. Abby says Chloe needs to toughen up and stop trying to be an autograph-signing celebrity. Because that’s what did Romney in, I’m pretty sure.

In the Mom Loft, the ladies quiz Christi about how well she’s taking the implied message of the About Mother dance, which Christi optimistically describes as being about her’s and Chloe’s life journey. Kelly describes it as thus: “Let me tell you about my Momma. She’s a bitch! And my dance teacher hates her!”

, HA!

Christi chooses to look on the bright side and stick with her interpretation.

Time to rehearse Nia’s and Asia’s duet — which will be about the only kind of performers Abby can think of when she thinks of Asia’s brand of over-the-top personality. Say it with me now, Dance Moms Nation: “Draaaag Queeeeeeens!” I wonder if Shangela is collecting royalties from all this inspiration. If she isn’t, she should.

Abby decides the girls should give themselves drag queen stage names to make it official. Asia chooses “Poodle-icious.” Someone’s been watching her some Honey Boo Boo. Paying homage to her biggest moment of non-drag-queen-related glory, Nia goes with Rosa Sparks.

Wrists limp, chin up ….everybody do the drag queen!

Holly is used to the whole drag queen thing, so she chooses to worry about Nia having to lift the compact little freight train that is Asia, instead.

Upstairs, the mothers continue to discuss which littlest kid should dance in the group dance on The View. Kristie decides it’s as good an opportunity as any to let Melissa know she’s heard the bullying rumors going ’round about Asia. Melissa drops her head and says she just wants the kids to resolve it on their own.

Apparently the deal is that Asia dropped a block on Mackie’s bum foot on purpose. Kristie says Asia did drop a block and it did graze Mackenzie’s foot — but it wasn’t on purpose. The other mothers think Melissa may just be trying to make Asia look bad. I’m stuck on another matter entirely, which is where exactly did we get blocks at a dance studio? Is there a ALDC playroom I don’t know about? Next thing you know, we’re going to be hearing about an errant Barbie foot poking someone in the eye.

Kristie says she is not going to bother to argue with stupid. (Also, Kristie is very good at widening her eyes in a way that you can see the whites at the top of her iris, which creeps me a little. Maybe it’s just my advancing age, but I cannot make my eyelids go up that high no matter how hard I try.)

Then Kristie confronts Melissa about what her girls told Asia about The View. Melissa says Abby already told Mackenzie she will be dancing on the show, so what difference does it make who told Asia. Kristie says if that’s the case, she wishes there wasn’t this whole charade about who would be doing it then. Welcome to Dance Moms (again), Kristie.

I’m a little confused. If Asia appeared on The View in February before she made her first appearance on Dance Moms in March, wouldn’t that have royally shot that surprise all to heck? So no duh, Mackenzie is dancing on The View? Oh. Well. That’s what I get for being at work when The View is on. There’s Kristie right there in the audience. So I guess I was the only one surprised in March.

Come competition day, Abby cannot believe they actually invaded Ohio and didn’t meet with resistance from Cathy’s child army. Then we go back to pretending that we don’t know who is dancing on The View.

This is Holly’s “excited” face about how cute Nia and Asia look parading around in their drag-queen-wear.

Then she gets alarmed about Abby ushering everyone out to watch Maddie’s and Chloe’s solos without having run the duet. Abby says there will be time after.

Chloe looks lovely in a deep teal dress, and the dance is beautiful. I do find myself wishing she would throw some of Maddie’s patented angst faces in there to see if that’s what is needed to make people see the two dancers with such similar dances on a level playing field.

Maddie’s dance is about not getting very much love at all, which is pretty ironic since she’s the one getting the most ALDC love of all. The most Abby love anyway. I’m sorry to keep saying this, but the dance looks like every one of her other dances. It just does. That’s not the kid’s fault at all, but oh to see her try something else — anything else — just once.

Trouble is a’brewing. Despite the part where there were supposed to be 14 dances in between the solos and the duet, the announcer has just called Move You, Too to the stage. Holly is mortified. Not only have the girls not rehearsed, but also they haven’t even stretched.

I blame the cameraman wanting to get this day over with so he can go back to the hotel and watch free HBO.

In any case, one … two … one two let’s get funky. Nia does an admirable job of measuring her movements to the much smaller Asia so they appear as in sync as possible. Their chin stands are perfects. And then comes time for the unrehearsed lift.

No sweat. You go, Rosa Sparks!

Holly says she’s surprised at how well the dance went, but she’s still not happy with Abby for being reckless with her time and having the girls parade around instead of getting them warmed up and rehearsed. Christi fans the flames, and when Abby comes back to the get-ready room oozing joy and triumph, she gets a big ol’ dose of the silent treatment. Kristie snipes first. Holly joins in. Abby says the girls received a fine lesson in being able to adapt to whatever the dance world throws at you. I’m not sure it would have been that great a lesson if it was Maddie who didn’t have time to prepare, but whatever.

Time to run the group dance. Jill says she hopes Abby’s grand Maddie-free experiment doesn’t blow up in everyone’s faces. If it does, Abby tells Maddie it will be her fault. Maddie looks like she would dearly love to know what kind of weird-ass, I’m-the-grownup parallel universe she has landed in and how quickly she can get back out.

Backstage, she does a game job of putting her dancers through their paces, while the mothers sit out in the audience looking like root canals await. Maddie instructs the girls to toe the first line — not any other lines — and then work it like Asia. Looks like Maddie doesn’t want a block dropped on her foot, too, accidental or otherwise.

I’m tepid about this one. I like the girls’ simple hair and costumes, but this is one of those dances where everyone is doing something different most of the time and I’m not sure where to look. Abby says she has accomplished her mission of making the girls aware that they can survive without Maddie, which I am pretty sure they were aware of in the first place.

One point separates first and second place in the junior solo division. You know how this goes. Abby says she hopes Maddie and Melissa realize that Chloe has learned her lesson and is back to being hot on Maddie’s trail to the top.

Even though the announcer says that the Move You, Too division is Energy Petite, the caption says Junior Duet Trio — mostly I’m sure so I don’t lose a lot of time wondering how double-digits Nia could perform in a petite routine. Whatever division they were actually in, they win it, and Holly says that Abby realizes that Nia can adapt to anything because of it.

The Maddie-less group routine takes first, too, and Abby declares all of the dancers officially detoxed of their Maddie dependency. Now if she could only get them detoxed from their mothers, she’d be set. Then what would you call the show, Abby? Then what?

Backstage, Abby reverses herself on that whole independence thing and tells the girls they merely got lucky taking first place without Maddie, taking the wind right out of their sails.

Then she tells them to not change clothes or collect their things for home — we must run The Last Text immediately, because The View awaits. And only Abby knows who will dance it.

So what say you, Dance Moms Nation? Should Asia or Mackenzie score the Last Text spot? Was Maddie given a bum deal with the group dance — or a good one? Should Abby have spent more time warming up her drag queens and less time making them sashay away? And what would your ALDC drag queen name be? Sound off in the comments section below.

Next week on Dance Moms, the battle for the Mac/Asia spot on The View heats up and Cathy goes hunting girl dancers.

Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.



  1. The reason Nia and Asia’s duet would be in Petite division is because their ages were averaged so it would fall in the younger division. That happens a lot when you have two dancers of different ages.

  2. Well, huh. Maybe I could get a job writing for the show. Oh the things I would make people do. And wear. Also, everyone would get a solo and the group dances would always be about ice cream.

  3. I don’t even watch the show anymore I just read your recaps. 🙂 I saw that episode of the view and the one the next day where Sherri said she could hear one of the moms telling.

  4. Wait, what? Mitchell A. Finke is back? How did I miss that? Oh well. At least the ALDC beats him, so there’s that.

  5. Lori, you crack me up!!! Of course Mack will dance on the View. No way Asia will do it and I agree with her mother, just tell the poor kid and stop all the drama. Of course the group can dance absolutely beautifully without Maddie! Too bad Abby won’t even bother to acknowledge it. She wanted to see those girls fall on their faces so she could rub their mother’s noses in the defeat. I was so glad to see them win, but not so glad to see Mitch Finke return to the show. At least he’s not with the rotten apples this time and just an announcer.

  6. Lori, I absolutely LOVE your reviews! I’ve made it a weekly tradition of mine to always read your reviews as soon as you post them! They make me see things in Dance Moms that I wouldn’t catch just by simply watching- e.g. fashion do’s and don’ts and comparisons in some episodes to previous episodes. I’ve been reading your reviews since the start, keep em coming because they truly make my Dance Moms weekly experience complete! 🙂

  7. When Abby calls the dancers and all the moms in to tell the big “The View” news, Mack is in there wearing a dance costume and there are several girls in the back row wearing the same costume. Guess Mack has been cheating on her group with another small group, of which none I recognized. Looks like some bad editing,Dance Moms. Should have at least put Mack in some street clothes.

    • I’ve read somewhere (On Youtube I think?) That Mackenzie actually dances often with the junior competition group (or petite or whatever… she dances with other tiny dancers)

      I guess we have to keep in mind this is “reality” tv, meaning not all of it actually happened in real life…

      • I realize that it may not all be actually happening in real life. If the show is trying to portray that Mac was injured and so Asia might take her place then editing shouldn’t get Mac learning about the View when she is obviously dancing. The show is really getting dumb, with contrived angst between ALDC and Candy Crapples. That drama repetitive and boring.

  8. Well sadly, Mack is off her foot for 2 weeks… Good,bad or ugly,Abby needs to stand by this one.Let Asia dance,she’s put in the work.

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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.