So we’ve reached the midterm of Dance Moms Season 3, Dance Moms nation. Everybody ready for a couple of reunion shows and a dab of a spring break before we have back at it come summer?
But first we have two hours of midseason finale to get our tanks on “full” and get us through, so let’s get to it.
While Abby’s taking stock of what numbers we have to get crackin’ on now that The View is behind us, Kelly actually asks her permission to take the solo-less Brooke to see a music manager. Abby says she’ll think about it. She thinks about it for about three seconds, then tells the kid she can go. Then she tells us that she thinks the field trip is a total joke, but if that’s where Kel wants to put the kid’s focus, well then more power to her. Just don’t embarrass the ALDC.
(Anybody else weirded out by the lack of a pyramid?)
Chloe’s solo practice is first. She’ll be doing a lyrical contemporary dance called My Obsession. Abby says the deal is this: Is Chloe obsessed with winning or dancing or what? Chloe says her obsession is dance and doing her best, but Abby looks skeptical. This is Chloe, Abby. Not Christi. Chloe. Believe her.
In the Mom Space, Christi checks in on Kristie’s post-View state of mind. Kristie laughs it off and says she is fine about Asia not dancing. No big whoop. Christi says she expected a more fiery reaction. Kristie said Mac doing the dance was a foregone conclusion and she knew it. Plus, Asia has had enough audition experience to deal with disappointment. They just both could have done nicely without the charade.
You and me both, sister. You and me both.
Meanwhile, Kelly and Brooke arrive at the workspace of music producer Wally Brandt, wherever that might be. Looks like Wally was actually in a band with Seven from many, many episodes ago when Melissa was trying to get her kids some outside industry work in L.A.
Wally tells Brooke he’s impressed with how many downloads “Summer Love Song” scored on iTunes. Then he brings in a surprise guest — former Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton. As in employee-of-Abby’s-Ultimate-Dance-Competition-judge-Robin-Antin Melody Thornton. We’re just all one big happy family in the world of Dance Moms, aren’t we? It’s a world of laughter and a world of tears. It’s a small, small world.
Melody tells her new acolyte that the recording studio can mess you up if you take it too seriously, so always make sure to have some fun. Then she gets to work helping Brooke turn Summer Love Song into a ballad. To breathe properly when you sing, she instructs, imagine that you have to pee. Without moving your shoulders.
This is what happens when you say something like that to a teenage girl.
While a fed-up Kristie sits in on Asia’s solo practice, Christi, Holly and Melissa discuss how there was no chance in hell that Abby would have kept Mackenzie from dancing on The View.
For her part, Melissa says Asia and Mackenzie are just wildly different dancers, and Kristie knows that her daughter has something special, especially since even Beyoncé wants to meet her. The other mothers aren’t buying that last part a bit.
Not one bit.
Then they collectively opine that the only reason the Rays are even here is so that Abby can make Asia a star. And not as one of the Pitt Crew.
Time to rehearse the group dance. Abby tells the dancers that they have to believe the dance if they’re going to make the judges and audience feel something. Wait a sec. I thought this thing was about runaways. It was last week. Why are we talking “accidentally killed” now? Who’s getting accidentally killed? And what for?
In the Mom Space, Kelly and Kristie are back with the group and the conversation has turned to whether or not Cathy is still a threat. Or more aptly whether Cathy’s imported boys and choreographers are a threat. We decide that they certainly are.
Oh. It’s Chloe who’s killing Maddie. The dance itself looks kind of cool, but we don’t get much of a look at it because we head back to the Mom Space to take part in a discussion about whether or not Asia cries. And why she cries. And if it’s OK for Asia to cry.
Yelling. Yelling. Yelling. Mostly Jill and Kristie. When Kristie starts dropping f-bombs, the racket is finally enough to catch Abby’s attention. Where’s the problem child, Jill and Melissa?
Down the road at the Apples’ rehearsal, the group is running through their Day of the Dead Dance with Anthony Burrell. In the middle of it, Gina gets a text that she has to show Zach right this minute. It’s an invite from Brooke to meet up for skating at Bryant Park.
Anthony and Cathy decide the whole gang should go crash, even though they think it’s silly for dancers to risk hurting themselves right before a competition. Cathy says if Abby has ice skates on, it’s going to be Fantasia all over again. That movie was way too freaky to hold my attention, so I’m not sure of the reference. But Cathy sure is proud of it.
Skating time! Maddie does not want to skate. To the point of welling up about it. Melissa tells her that this outing is about having fun so put the damned skates on and have fun or else. Christi says Maddie doesn’t want to skate because she isn’t good at it — kind of like way back when, when we were trying to grab slippery watermelons in Abby’s pool. I swear I’m not making that up.
Looks like someone else isn’t going skating, either. But not because she doesn’t want to. Why aren’t you going, Asia?
Asia wants to know if she can just go out there and slide around on her shoes. She most certainly may not. She may sit, where no injury shall befall her.
Speaking of injuries befalling us, Cathy shows up and she’s got Victoria with her. Cathy lets everyone know that Victoria is a Studio Larkin dancer and everyone looks duly worried. Then it’s time to skate. Even though everyone, save for the Rays, are from northern climes, only Brooke and Zach look like they have ever even seen an ice skate before. Maddie looks downright petrified.
I’m guessing that as much as she does not want to get to hurt, she even more does not want to be captured on a zillion cellphones bobbling around on the rink for all of YouTube posterity. The poor girl looks horrified.
But not all is lost. Kelly uses the outing as an opportunity to clean out her lungs by screaming merrily through 90 percent of it. And everyone survives the trip intact. No harm done.
Group dance practice looks good, but the mothers are still worrying. Especially now that we know that a Larkin dancer has joined up with Cathy’s team. And now Abby wants to talk to them, to boot.
She says that in the case of Where Have All The Children Gone and The Last Text, she and Gia knew they had winners on their hands. This one, not so much. This is basically a roundabout way of letting everyone know that she knows that the girls went skating. Like the whole group could just sneaky-sneaky out past Abby without her knowing it. But I’ll play along. And so much for that “no harm done” thing. Abby says they could have used the time, say, to take an acting class — because, you know, this is New York, so you can just pick those suckers up, like, at the mall. And incidentally, ice skating is distinctly against their ALDC contracts. The things you learn on a Tuesday. Maddie makes a passel of “I told you so” faces.
Crabbiness must be in the New York water, because over at the Apples, the boys’ hands are driving Cathy insane. Victoria’s inattention to detail is making Anthony insane. And Abby makes her reckless skaters do 100 pushups each. Except for Asia, who uses the time to get her robot on.
In the Mom Space, the mothers discuss how the kids should not have to do pushups just for taking a little time to act like kids. Well, the mothers all except for Kristie, who opines that the women should have known better than to let their kids do something so dangerous two days before competing. The other mothers don’t take a shine to that opinion and that pretty much does it. Cray-cray Kristie is in the house.
Her primary point is that if you are going to address her, you will look her in the face to do it. The other mothers tell her to settle herself down. She will not. And if Christie wants to make something of it, then, honey, it’s on. Christi looks at her like she’s lost her mind. Which she pretty much has.
Now, I’m not sure if Christi was a fan of Abby’s Ultimate — or at least a curious observer — but what happens next is a virtual redux of the infamous Yvette Walts/Kristie Ray “hit me, hit me” dance, but without the chest bumping. Mostly because Christi refuses to get up out of her chair to meet her rival at her own elevation. Kristie seems to have learned her lesson from the first outing, because she backs off and just tells Christi to watch her tongue.
Well, that was unpleasant.
Aaaaand it’s not over. In the studio, we catch the end of a conversation between someone and Abby, in which Abby is saying, “ … no, I love her. I hope she slaps her in the face.”
Back in the Mom Space, Kristie ends the discussion with a “talk to the hand” and that’s about that. Kelly and Christi head outside to cool off and talk about another field trip, this one to see Cesar Rocha, who came to visit the dance concert a few years back.
After practice, Kelly, Christi, Chloe and Paige head off to Tesley + Company, where Cesar says he’s working on a project that has a 12-year-old female in it and he would like the girls to read for the part. Kelly fears that the serious subject matter — mom is dead, so no birthday party for you — is out of Paige’s wheelhouse. Then the mothers apparently leave the girls in a taxi or on the street or with Cesar or something, because they are suddenly on their own and heading out for drinkies, Brooklyn style. The bartender looks like Perez Hilton.
After a while, Holly, Jill and Melissa arrive to join the party and Kelly and Christi regale them with their adventures in mass transit. Kelly says she was worried that they would get lost and she would have to eat a bug or a rat to survive. Jill wants to know which one is the city that never sleeps, this one or L.A?
For you, Jill. Because every day is better with a little Sinatra.
Back at the Apples, Nick and Jalen are working on a jazz duet called Illusions of Dance. They will each play a magician, one formally trained, one strictly street. Oh hey, incredible Burt Wonderstone dance. Cathy keeps interrupting Anthony’s instruction, though, until Anthony has finally had enough. Cathy says she needs to be able to give input, since she’s the studio owner and Anthony says that would be fine if she knew what she was talking about.
Yelling. Yelling. Yelling. We can’t let the Chr/Kristies have all the fun. Or even Cathy and Anthony. When Anthony resumes teaching the duet and gives Jalen a correction, Rick leaps up and loses his mind, too. Snapped back to reality, Cathy tells Dance Dad not to turn into something we wouldn’t want to turn into. Anthony finally lowers his voice and pleads that what he would dearly love to turn into is someone left alone to let his artistry flow and teach these kids some winning dances.
Even though he keeps his voice calm and makes a bunch of sense, Cathy starts to cry, anyway. Then she tells him that because she is old enough to be his mom, she’s going to give him a little advice: “Honey gets bees.” She nods sagely.
Out in the stairwell, a caught-in-the-middle Jalen is teary, too, and Rick tells him he can bail on the dance if he wants to. Jalen says nothing. Then Rick says he will keep his trap shut, as long as Jalen stands up for himself. Jalen just wants to spin on his head, people. Can’t we let him do that?
Anthony’s all about it. He’s a bee with a honey. A skeptical one.
Back at Stepping Out Studios, Abby lashes out at Kendall for being cautious about a slippery floor and cuts her practice short. In the Mom Space, Jill wonders for the 40 bazillionth time why Abby has to be so mean to her sensitive girl. Melissa and Holly try to reassure her that Abby really believes that Kendall has talent and wants the best for her and this is just her tough-love way of showing it, but Jill isn’t buying that at all.
In the studio, Jill tells Abby that even though all of the girls have been making mistakes and marking their dances, only Kendall gets her harshest criticism. Abby lowers her voice to her patented passive-aggressive sniff and says she will never utter the girl’s name again. Not to a director. Not to a casting agent. Take that.
Back with the Apples, Vivi is giving Jalen a little tot-to-tot therapy on how to survive the madness. They talk about their favorite colors and video games and then discuss how mean that Anthony can be. Jalen was all like, “Oh hecks no!” when Anthony was mean to his dad. But Vivi found a quarter on the floor, so that’s nice.
To relieve some of the pressure, Cathy takes her dancers to meet the stars of Mama Mia on Broadway, and to get a peek backstage to get the lowdown on how everything works in a Broadway production. It’s lovely to see the boys testing their skills on a real Broadway stage.
And then it’s competition time. Abby and the Pitt Crew make their way through the cheering throng, but not fast enough to escape Cathy’s crew. Except Cathy is nowhere to be seen. Seems Vivi is under the weather. The luck, I tell you. Christi says it’s the norm and not the exception.
Since Kristie knows Anthony from Abby’s Ultimate, she engages Abby in a little chit chat about the traitor. Abby says that she thinks Anthony is a swell guy, but he’s one of those choreographers who creates dances that he would want to do and then expects the dancers to be like him, rather than choreographing to what each kid does well.
There’s a difference between being a great dancer and a great choreographer, she concludes. That’s why she wins. Holla!
Then both camps fuss about whether or not Cathy will eventually appear.
Then we run solos.
Then Abby gives the soloists a pep talk.
Then we run into Rick in the hall.
Perhaps, if Abby would have just kept her mouth shut and walked on by, nothing would have happened. But she can’t help but note that in Cathy’s absence, Rick is the ass she’s most worried about. He decides to give her reason to worry, following her and the other mothers down the hall, hollering smack. Melissa tells him he has anger issues. Then she threatens to kick him in the balls.
Rick says he can guarantee she won’t do that.
Melissa says it’s probably because he doesn’t have any.
Melissa for the win.
Asia’s solo goes first. The song is about a fate worse than death: no dancing. No music. No emotion. Asia works it out, for sure. That kid is a machine. A machine with an ultra expressive face. The dance is completely entertaining.
Maddie’s up next. The dance is emotionless and goes completely to hell. Oh it does not! It’s Maddie! It’s perfect and heartrending and lovely and she looks like an angel in sparkly white. Melissa correctly assesses that Maddie’s emotion makes it impossible to look away when she dances.
So far so good.
Chloe next. Not my favorite Chloe solo ever, mostly because I like to see her in more balletic stuff that shows off her grace and sweetness. But she does a good job with what she was given.
And then we’re back to the get ready room. Wait. What? Wasn’t Kendall supposed to have a solo, too? What happened to that?
I guess, never mind. Abby would rather talk about what happened in the Mom Space and why she heard so much hollering. Kristie owns her liberal use of the f-bomb. Really? We want to do this now? Of course we do. So we can rattle poor Kendall to her core. Abby says the girl has to toughen up and learn to take criticism. And stop holding Jill’s hand.
Oh goodie. Cathy made it to the competition after all and so did little germ farm Viv. Cathy promises Vivi won’t breathe on anyone.
Out in the hall, Jill tells Kendall to only hear Abby’s useful criticism and throw away the insults. Kendall looks blank and exhausted. Please dance well, child. Give yourself that much.
She does. Her solo, Hands Up, is spicy and expressive and energetic and she does a good job of it. Abby says she just proved what Abby knew all along — that she could be a contender just like Maddie and Chloe.
Maybe there’s something to Melissa’s and Holly’s whole tough love theory. Or maybe that just makes me feel better to think so.
Zach’s turn to dance.
He really is the male equivalent of Maddie, graceful and emotional and mesmerizing to watch. Abby says it was fine, but she really didn’t get what the dying doctor routine was about. I think Zach will give Maddie a run for her money for first place.
Duet time. Jalen gets plenty of opportunity to break dance and spin on his head, and Nick gets to wave a cape and twirl. Abby calls the dance two solos more so than a duet and says “the little head spinner” is not on the same level as Nick. Nick would have been better served by doing a solo. The little head spinner is pretty incredible, Abby. You just don’t like his dad.
Backstage, Cathy and Abby get into it a little — the usual “did you ride in on your broom” stuff — but they’re quickly overshadowed by Anthony and Christi getting into a snit about him touching a lady and her touching his prop. Do with that what you will.
Cathy says it makes Anthony an official part of the Apples.
If the costumes and makeup are any indication, Abby and her simply-dressed girls have their work cut out for them. The Apples’ airbrushed makeup is impressive.
The Apples go first. Maybe it’s just because I’m a sucker for something new after three seasons, but this dance is pretty awesome. The visuals are splendid. Victoria is graceful. The boys are precise. I’m worried, Pitt Crew. I’m worried.
Also, I predict a lot of Day of the Dead dances cropping up at dance competitions across the land. Maybe not professionally choreographed ones. But … ones.
I can’t quite catch what the Pitt Crew’s group dance is called now, but I like it. Cathy and Anthony don’t. Not one bit And they’re perfectly happy to discuss it at top volume during the dance. Especially Paige’s performance.
Abby looks worried. Or maybe annoyed. That would be the latter. Abby summons Paige off the stage to confront her detractors, expecting it to shame the grownups into an apology and appropriate behavior. It doesn’t. They happily inform the girl of what they didn’t like, until Kelly pulls the plug on the exercise and tells Paige to join the rest of the group on stage for awards.
Confronted by Kelly, Anthony says he’s only doing what Abby does all the time. Kelly says she pays Abby to do it, not him. Anthony says she should ask for a refund. Good luck landing a spot on Season 2 of Abby’s Ultimate, should that happen, friend.
Paige takes the whole deal in stride. She says she didn’t mind the corrections. She just wishes they didn’t take place in such a public forum.
Anthony tried to explain himself to Abby and she cuts him short by saying we should call Katy Perry and see what she has to say about him. Anthony says he was not fired. He quit. And that is why he continues to work. For Cathy. On Dance Moms.
Kelly is livid at Abby for even setting up the situation, but she goes after Cathy for critiquing the ALDC children when her own child doesn’t even dance. Or her own studio’s children, for that matter. While the adults make a spectacle of themselves, Melissa coaches the kids on how to react.
You’re nothing to smile about, grown-ups.
Finally, Abby tells Cathy and Anthony that they are making a spectacle of themselves and her livelihood and either they conduct themselves like a lady and a gentleman or they leave the premises. The crowd erupts in cheers.
Awards time. Except the pressure has finally gotten the best of Paige and she leaves the stage. Kelly convinces her to come back and not let the bullies win.
Asia’s solo wins the mini solo division and gets the Judges’ Choice award, too. Kristie says nerny-nerny, Pitt Crew moms. They’re leaving New York winners.
Kendall’s solo gets fourth.
Chloe gets third by virtue of losing a tie with Zach that Zach won with a higher technical score. Abby blames Chloe.
Maddie takes the division.
Nick and Jalen’s duet is a winner, too.
V is for Violent, which is what the group dance is actually called, gets second place. Day of the Dead gets first. Cathy says that goodness prevails. Yes, Cathy. The children. All of them.
Abby says that Cathy didn’t beat her. A little girl she stole from another studio, four boys brought in from all around the country and a guest choreographer beat her. That, she says, she can handle.
Backstage the Apples celebrate their victory with a cheer of “Apple Core! Apple Core! Apple Core!” even though none of them are technically Apples. But the kids danced wonderfully and it is not their fault that the adults are a collective pile of immature ninnies. So I’ll ignore the rest.
In the Pitt Crew’s room, a few more details about the Paige incident emerge. Kelly says that Abby texted her about what Anthony and Cathy were saying, since she wasn’t actually there when it was happening, but Kelly just ignored it to spare Paige’s feelings. She wished Abby would have, too. Then Abby appears to explain herself. She says Paige was game to confront her attackers and did an admirable job. Kelly says that doesn’t excuse Abby putting her in the position to take such harsh criticism in such a public forum. Abby says Kelly needs to give her kid more credit.
Then she says Asia was hot mess in the group dance and effectively ruined it, but she’s not sure if that’s what lost it for them or not. Then there’s a knock on the door and we get the obligatory smack-talk visit from Cathy. But this time, the criticism seems to roll right off of Abby’s back. And we’re about to find out why.
Lest they’ve heard the rumors, Abby is house- and studio-hunting in L.A. So long, Steeltown suckahs!
Next week, it’s reunion show time — and it looks like Abby’s not taking Cathy’s crap sitting down. She’s taking it walking out.
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Did Day of the Dead deserve the win? Are you tired of Cathy’s all-import team? Were Anthony and Cathy way out of line, or just loud and honest? And is Abby really going to leave us for L.A.? Sound off in the comments section below.