Dance Moms Season 3 Tell All recap: Children and Violence

Lori Acken

Did everyone enjoy “The Mother of All Specials” that preceded tonight’s Dance Moms: Tell-All Reunion Part One, Dance Moms fans? Did it give you a better understanding of why Abby Lee is the way Abby Lee is — or make you more confused, since Mother Miller is calm and kind and often appears as puzzled by her daughter as we are? Did it make you nostalgic for when Dance Moms was more funny and fun, and less cutthroat and stressful —and we got to have Dance Moms fashion moments? Did it make you want to pop Abby’s dad in the nose for naming her after Abigail, the most beautiful woman he ever dated, when Abby’s mom is named Maryen Lorrain? Did it make you want to get ombre highlights just like Abby’s?

Did anyone else find it interesting that we had to go back years for most of our genuine feel-good moments?

Well whatever feel-good feelings you might be having, Dance Moms nation, check them at the door, because it’s time for the first half of the tell-all reunion special for the first half of Season 3. With your host, Dance Moms executive producer Jeff Collins — or, as he shall be affectionately known from here on out, JC. Executive-Producer Superstar.

Abby takes the stage first and informs us that this season hasn’t been that bad because she’s had some amazing opportunities come her way, including the cohosting gig on The View. JC asked if she was nervous and she sniffs that she sells people dreams every single day. If she can make dozens of people believe their kid is going to be a star in the dance world, something as trifling as cohosting The View is a piece of cake.

Then we start to recap the season. Which goes a little something like this:

JC: “You had a dance dad yell at you.”
Abby: “No, I was verbally assaulted. Let’s get it straight.”
JC: “OK.”


JC: “You had difficulties both with Christi and with Cathy.”
Abby: “No, I did not have difficulties with Cathy. I was physically assaulted by Cathy.”
JC: “Oh my gosh.”

Then JC gives up on trying to summarize Abby’s season and decides to try his luck with something even shorter, if not entirely sweeter. Let’s play the name game. Abby, you know what that is, yes?

Like “bobanna” (bop bop), Abby wants to know? No, says JC. Like word association. Ready? And go.

Kelly. “Foolish.”
Christi. “Evil.”
Melissa: “Sly like a fox.”

That’s more than one word, Abby, but I don’t think we set any firm rules about this, so we’ll go with it.

Chloe’s hat. Huh? Oh. The one that fell off during the Pink Lemonade dance: “Death.”

And you were the one who was verbally assaulted, huh, Ab?
“Ooooohhhhhhh,” scolds the audience.

Let’s move on.

Apple Corps. “Plagiarism.”
Cathy’s purse. “Heavy. Sharp. Hurtful. Bludgeoning.”

Meanwhile, back in the Moms’ Greenroom, the moms decide to play along, too, since they’re watching this unfold on a handy-dandy monitor. Christi asks everyone for one word to describe Abby.

Holly: “Mean”
Jill: “Ya stole mine.”
Christi: “I have one: vindictive.”

Then we all practice saying “vindictive.”

Back on the stage, Jeff wants to talk more about Melissa and her shifting allegiance to the moms over Abby. Abby says Melissa is still respectful to her and Abby’s pretty sure she knows she has her daughters’ best interests at heart, and really she just wants to be part of the clique — even more than she wanted to assure that Maddie was a winner — so that’s disappointing.

Here’s what else is disappointing: Abby wasn’t invited to Melissa’s wedding. Let’s bring Melissa out to talk it over.

Melissa says even though it was just a little homespun feller, the wedding was lovely and Greg even cried. Melissa says the moms knew about it. Melissa says Greg didn’t want to get married on national TV even though she tried her best to convince him otherwise.

Abby doesn’t get that part at all. “You’re marrying this man!” she retorts, smacking her hand for emphasis. “What you say goes!”

<Insert your own “why you are not married” here. I’ll wait.>

Melissa says Greg does everything else she says, just not get married on TV. Then an audience member asks Melissa if she wore the dress we saw her trying on during the outing the mothers hosted for her. Melissa says that one was a little much for getting married in her living room, but she did buy another dress at the same store.

Back in the peanut gallery, Jill hollers, “That’s your next wedding, Melissa. That’ll be the next one!” AHAHAHAHA! Right, everyone?


Another audience member wants Melissa to comment on how her making nice with the moms affected her relationship with Abby. Melissa says it was tough and she lost a lot of sleep because of it, because her children really do come first. Then she’s asked if her relationship with the moms has soured since Maddie resumed her reign at the top of the pyramid and in Abby’s heart.

Let Kelly answer this one for us. “Nobody gives a @#$% that Maddie’s on the top!”
Well, there you go.
“Maddie was never not on top,” adds Jill.
That, too.

Melissa’s take on the situation is this: “Maddie is Abby’s favorite, and it’s clear. She shows it.” Whoa, there, Nellie. Hold up. Even though you know that and I know that and everyone who watches Dance Moms knows that, Abby’s not about to admit to it with an audience and the cameras rolling.

“It’s not about a ‘favorite,’” she protests. “It’s about on time, prepared, hair’s up in a bun, ready to perform, in peak physical condition. They all have the ability to be the favorite.” They do?

Anyway. Let’s talk about Holly. Even though Dr. Holly once called her a “monstrosity of evil,” Abby says it was simply a rough day and a rough weekend and she gets it. They’re cool. Well, except for what Holly wears. Too much cankle. Not enough shoulders.

Someone got the memo. Beautifully.

We’re going to trod the “Monstrosity of Evil” subject for a spell, since that’s about the only serious drama Holly was involved in. Abby says at least the insult had some panache. Both she and Holly say that they were just looking out for the children. Abby says the crux of the matter is that she can hear a bone break from three rooms away and she didn’t hear Nia’s foot break, so that’s where she was coming from.

Audience member wants to know, if Nia’s pain disorder is stress-related, is the ALDC the best environment for her? Holly says that’s the question she is asked most often and explains that if Nia is going to manage her condition, she is going to have to learn to deal with stress throughout her entire life. So Abby’s studio is teaching her more than dance. Plus, if she takes dance away from her daughter, she takes away a part of who Nia is. And that is ultimately a worse punishment than having to deal with Abby’s crap.

Abby high-fives her.

Next audience member wants to know, since Holly is always asking Nia to describe her pain on a scale of 1-10, on a scale of 1-10, how much pain does Abby cause Holly? These go to eleven! Holly says it actually varies by the day. Abby nods. These two apparently have a genuine understanding that should be bottled and sold.

Dance break. Yay! We get dance breaks! Brooke performs The Animals Know and reminds me why I so wish we would see Brooke dance solos more often.

Then it’s time for more questions for Abby.

A dance dad in the audience wants to know if Abby really feels that Kelly is, well, not very bright. Abby really does. She says Kelly was a beautiful girl with an amazing future and she chucked it all in the name of fun, just like she’s doing with her own daughters now.

“Is this Beat Up Kelly Day?” Kelly groans back in the Mom Room. Every day is Beat Up Kelly Day, Kelly. At least for the past couple of seasons. You should know that most of all. And now it’s time to add to your pain. You’re up. The mothers all look super-pretty tonight, don’t they?

JC notes Kelly’s tan, which she attributes to being in L.A., and then asks if watching Paige and Brooke continue to struggle with Abby was tough. Kelly says her one goal for the season was to get her kids back to dancing with the team and she’s tried to her level best to just keep her trap shut after that.

Speaking of not talking … first audience question for Kelly is about her epic battle with Christi early in the season. Kelly says she’s with the moms more than she’s with her husband, so of course they’re going to fight. Too much togetherness. She says she still doesn’t understand why things got so blown out of proportion, though, and, backstage, the other mothers back her up and tell Christi that Kelly really did call her more than once.

Abby says the whole deal is, like, so totally seventh grade. Kelly, like, totally agrees.

No time like the present to bring out Christi.

Kelly and Christi tussle a bit about the argument and the crux of the argument and who’s to blame for the argument. Abby says the real issue is that Chloe screwed up the dance and whatever happened after that is Christi and Kelly’s own fault. Then she points out that Chloe sometimes even gets beat by Kendall — that’s how far she’s fallen. Christi says Abby makes sure that Chloe gets beat. “Not by Kendall,” Abby sneers.

So Abby only makes sure that Chloe gets beaten by Maddie? What happened to everyone has the opportunity to be the favorite? Are you sure you meant to say that out loud, Abby Lee? Christi says that all of Chloe’s woes can be traced back to one thing: Abby hates Christi. Abby doesn’t want to discuss it. Abby wants to leave. Now. And, over JC’s protests, she does.

After the commercial break, we continue on with just Kelly and Christi, while Abby prowls around the green room with the other mothers, talking back to the ladies on the stage via the handy-dandy monitor. While Christi explains how demeaning it was for Abby to refuse to use Chloe’s name in what was probably one of the most squirm-worthy episodes of a squirm-worthy season, Abby says she has lots of words to use in place of the girl’s name, or her special nickname, “Stupid.” Dimwitted. Halfwit. Abby has lots of words.

But you were the one who was verbally assaulted, Abby. Only you.

<breathe, breathe, breathe>

And then we squirm off of that subject and go back to the Christi-Kelly fight. Christi says the bottom line is that Kelly should call her up every single blasted day or else. Then she says she’s moved past it, so whatever.

A charmingly naive audience member wants to know if Christi thinks it is possible for Abby to have the kind of relationship with Chloe that she has with Maddie. Christi says what is obvious: not ever. JC wants to know if that’s because Abby will never get past her disgust for Christi. Christi says Abby doesn’t like either of them and never will. Backstage, Abby appears to be rethinking her decision to bolt the stage.

Then JC reminds Christi that she got so mad that she actually punched a camera. Did not, says Christi — she pushed the camera out of her way. That’s different. Well, either way — was it overreacting or what? Christi says her instinct was to protect her child and that’s what happened, whether she or anyone likes it or not. Then Kelly and Christi sum the whole shebang up by saying that they don’t bow to Abby like Melissa does, so they and their children will never win her favor. Abby is Chloe’s dance teacher only, Christi says. She has no right to dictate their lives outside of the studio.

Good enough. Let’s talk about Jill, instead. Kelly says she’s relieved that Jill got rid of her 1-900 voice. Christi is happy that Jill got rid of the poof. The giant one, anyway. Then both women say that they actually like Jill — especially because it’s so much fun to pick on her outfits. Mama hears that, my babies! Mama hears that loud and clear!

Let’s see if we can pick on her outfit today. We cannot. Jill is wearing a perfectly tasteful emerald dress and merely medium poofy do.

JC wants to know what’s the deal with that. No cowboy hat. No Muppet vests. Is Jill feeling OK?

Then he wants to know what about the season thus far has made Mrs. Vertes the angriest. Jill says Cathy. Even angrier than Abby, Christi wants to know? Yes. Because she pays Abby to be hideous to her kid. Cathy just goes right out there and does it for free.

JC has a Captain Obvious moment and points out to Jill that Cathy not only gets under her skin, but also pushes her buttons. Thank you for the summation, JC. The prosecution rests.

Let’s take it to the audience. A lady with an Aussie accent wants to know about Jill hiring outside costume designers and photographers for Kendall. Jill says she’ll do whatever it takes to get Kendall ahead.

Another lady wants to know why Jill felt compelled to hide Kendall’s impromptu solo duet practice with Gia. Jill says she wasn’t really hiding it; Gia just happened by and she took advantage of the happening. Plus it didn’t really pertain to the choreography of the duet. She’d probably think twice about doing something similar in the future, but still. It wasn’t really a private lesson. So let’s just agree to disagree on the rightness and wrongness of the whole affair.

Dance break. This time it’s Chloe performing What About Mother. This is the child Abby says can no longer dance. Why am I so certain that about 900 other studios (and, say, the Joffrey Ballet School) would love to have her dance this “badly” for them? Fleah.

And then another dance break while we bring all of the moms onstage together — this time Maddie doing Breaking Down Walls.

Then there’s more arguing about the Mystery of the Missing Kelly Phonecalls, now with added Melissa! We still don’t clear anything up. Backstage, Abby seems to be enjoying watching the peasants brawl, so it’s not a total waste of time. Seriously, ladies. We put this thing to bed episodes ago. Let’s let it sleep.

Audience member wants to know why Broadway Baby’s death was such a big deal to Melissa. Kelly does, too.

Melissa says, well, for one thing, she babysat Baby. Also, she liked Baby. For that matter, she likes all dogs. She apparently just doesn’t like the other moms well enough to let them dedicate the group number to Baby so that everyone can be in on the kind gesture. Melissa says, having thought it over some (and now that it’s over), she regrets hogging the credit. Next time one of Abby’s pets dies, they can all dance about it.

Next question is whether Kelly and Christi were hurt that they weren’t invited to Melissa’s living room wedding. Christi says she wasn’t surprised in the least. Kelly says she did think it was a little weird, since the moms are always together, and Melissa nods along like she agrees completely, even she was the one who did the leaving out. Then she says, guess what! She’s happily married! So that makes up for everything. Plus, she’s having a after-party and they will all be invited to that, so get it over it.

Speaking of getting over things, an audience member wants to know how everyone feels about Mackenzie miraculously getting over her foot ouchie just in time to dance on The View. Jill says it doesn’t matter — she was part of the original Last Texters and therefore she should have done the dance. Christi says that’s not the point. The point is that Melissa made it sound as though Mac would never dance again and then BLAM! She’s cured.

Melissa’s head hurts now.


JC has a great idea. Let’s talk about Cathy. Who wants to?!

JC pushes forward, anyway. He informs Jill that she had the biggest fight with Cathy this season and so what about that? Someone else wants to know what about it, too. And look! She’s got her own green room!

Let’s bring her out.
Well, the audience is happy to see her, anyway.

Cathy says that she thinks Abby is about to implode. She pouts that Abby won’t even say her name now, which results in a little bonding moment with Christi. Then she says that Abby actually does discuss her — it’s just off-camera at her meet-and-greets. And the joke’s on Abby, because that’s just free publicity for Candy Apples, so Cathy actually thanks her very much.

Despite the face, Jill says she doesn’t believe that Abby is threatened by Cathy at all. Well maybe a dab, Jill.

Then Jill and Kelly go after the diminutive bully for talking smack about their children, and Cathy says that as a dance teacher, she has every right to offer critiques, even if they do not dance for her. Then we go back to what is turning out to be the United Nations of Dance Moms Reunion Show Audience (UNODMRSA). A terrifically exotic woman wants to know what Cathy thinks of Jill. Cathy thinks she is a studio hopper and a spy-tech-er who cozies up to Cathy’s former students trying to get information from them. Jill rolls her eyes. That’s so a couple of seasons ago.

Dance break. Nia performing a lovely, lyrical dance called Cathedral. What say we allow Nia to try her hand at some of these during the actual televised season? That might be nice.

After the commercial, Abby’s back to discuss the epic purse-and-water-battle. Cathy would like to clarify the meaning of the word “hit.” Because what she did with her little patent leather purse was actually a swat. Not a hit.

Here’s “hit”:

Here’s “swat”:

See the problem, Candy Apple?

Candy Apple does not see the problem. She says Abby’s flu shot probably hurt worse than the swat. And besides, Abby started it by throwing water on her.

Abby says she did not “throw” water on Cathy. She was only trying to see if Cathy would melt. It was not throwing. It was a science experiment. The force of the water inside the bottle during Abby’s not-throwing motion is what made the water land on Cathy. Not Abby actually throwing.

And besides, she apologized, but Cathy went psycho anyway and either hit or swatted, which is really the same thing.  And it did too hurt. Melissa even has pictures of Abby’s bruises.

Cathy says in any case, Jill shouldn’t have butted in with her own scientific bottle of water and just let Abby and Cathy work it out. Like that was going to happen.

JC wants everyone to agree that hitting, swatting and the accidental application of water are all very naughty and we must agree to not ever do them again. Agreed? Agreed. Then we go back to the UNODRSMA for a last round of questions. Has Abby said anything in front of the kids that she has ultimately regretted? Surely you jest, lady. And also Abby is not jealous of Cathy and her lame-o limo. And also-also, every one of Cathy’s rent-a-dancers would rather be dancing for Abby. So there.

Let’s end on a doozy question: Have any of the mothers ever heard Abby say “I’m sorry”?

Say what now?

“I’m sorry.” It’s an “apology,” Abby. Here, let me help.

Jill says they heard her apologize to Cathy for the accidental water application that did not involve throwing. But that’s about it.

And then we end on a high note— the girls performing a 12-year-old number called Children and Violence. Abby says it is still relevant today. Lori says it was called V is for Violence last week when it made Cathy and Anthony go all sassy in the audience. And blog commenter Michelle, you are right. In the proper context, it is a really impactful number.

Next week, on part two of Dance Moms: The Mothers Tell All: Kristie, Sophia’s mom, crying, jealousy — and Abby lobs a low blow at Cathy’s mom. And on the June 4 summer return, “Boy Crazy, Mom Crazy,” Abby plays matchmaker for Brooke, Kelly and Christi face another hurdle to their friendship, and Cathy discovers there’s a rotten apple amongst her corps.

So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Were you touched by the Mother’s Day special? Did you learn anything new during this half of the reunion? Which mom looked most lovely? Should Kelly and Christi let bygones be bygones? Did Cathy “hit” or “smack” Abby with her purse? Did Abby throw water at Cathy or merely douse her with science? Sound off in the comments section below.



  1. Agree with the comment re: Abby’s treatment of children ..Howwever, am I the only one who is appalled by the language of these mothers? No wonder we have the issues we have with the girls in this society…their roll-models are foul-mouthed, poorly behaved “adults”..

  2. Sometimes I just watch dance moms and wonder if every single words that comes out of Abby’s mouth is scripted… I mean really? How can you talk so badly about a child? The things she said about Chloe are just so… I don’t even have words for it!

    On the other hand I thought the girls all looked beautiful and danced wonderfully!

  3. hi abby its erika i heard that you have a famous legs and feet class and i was woundering if you come to ventnor or alantic city for your famous class thank you and i under stand because its proply to far.

  4. Abby has a long way to go in how to teach and motivate children. She should spend some time with a child psychologist so she can see the damage she is causing. I don’t care if the show is scripted – she goes way too far. The reunion show was a joke and the moderator guy is about as interesting as watching paint dry. Boring!

  5. The “mother special” thing? To me looked sooo fake, and Abbe’s mom looked, well, scared. We have no way to know what she was like when Abbe was a kid, but we most certainly see what Abbe is, now.

    The “tell all” show? As another person called it, “The Abbe Lee Miller Damage Control” special. And it was a big fail.

    I cannot decide if Miller is a pathological liar, or if she actually believes her version of things. The woman is just cruel, vindictive, and should just go away.

  6. Holly looked absolutely stunning last night!!! I was, as usual, appalled by what Abby had to say about Chloe. That was beyond cruel and just flat-out untrue. What kind of dance teacher brags that one of her most talented students gets beat on a regular basis? How does that protect her precious name in the dance world? Crazy much, Abby? Here’s the thing about these “reunions” that drives me crazy: the questions are so clearly scripted and boring. Why not invite in real fans and let them ask real, tough, questions? This was the single most predictable and boring “reunion” show, yet. I think I’m just about done with Dance Moms…

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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.