Welcome back, Dance Moms nation. You all sure had a lot to say about the crab-assery that was the Season 4 premiere!
Speaking of which, a very bouffant-y Abby wastes no time in reminding the assembled Pitt Crew that one day they were national champions, the next, third-place nothings. Makes her want to replace the whole team. This week, it will be first place or else. Especially since we’re heading off to the land of the Apples — Columbus, Ohio — to the Believe Talent competition. And she’s sure that Cathy’s been working for weeks on a winning routine.
Let’s do the pyramid.
Pay Pay is bottom of the bottom for crying about her hair. We get a little better look at what actually went down, though, and I’m not sure anyone would have been terribly happy about having something jammed through their head. But on Abby’s team, you’re happy about it.
Brooke is next. Missed four counts in the group routine and just rolled around on the floor.
Then Nia. Good week, pretty girl, nice costume, nice job … eh performance.
Rounding out the bottom row is Mackenzie. Too much fooling around in the dressing room.
Row two begins with Paige. The trio won, but she could have been better. Same goes for Kendall, who’s next.
Chloe rounds out the row. Abby piles on the compliments. Dancer’s body, good look, technique shines through. Aaaand …? And we’re leaving it at … compliments? Abby? Hallooooooo? Someone check for fever!
Maddie is top of the heap.
Kendall and Chloe get solos to see who’s the #2 girl to superstar Maddie. Battle of the pop stars, Abby says. Chloe’s routine will be inspired by Katy Perry. Kendall will be Gaga. Anyone who watched AUDC will recognize the shtick. I wonder if we’ll recognize the dances, too.
Jill says she’s confident Kendall can vanquish Chloe.
Group routine is called Just Another Number to remind the girls that that’s what they are. Nameless. Nothing special. Easily replaceable. Everybody dance!
Abby says she wants them to learn that if they were all Maddie, then the team would be perfection. Uh, Abby, I think we all got the lesson a looooooong time ago. And it’s tiresome. That’s what Dr. Holly says, too.
Then we start working on the dance and Abby decides that Payton’s height and maturity are ruining the routine. The dancers are supposed to be clones. All of a kind. Yes, dear, but Kendall’s 16. She’s tall. She’s been dancing a long time. She can help none of this. Maybe we should free her to back to dancing with the grownups.
The trip to Ohio gets a classy new makeover, with an overpass-mounted Welcome to Ohio sign, a fetching little waterfall and some duckies in place of the pigs and hillbilly yard waste.
Let’s see what we have for Apples.
Well I’ll be. All familiar faces. Mrs. Super Happypants Kaia, Brigette Triana, Gina Collins, Gina Zack’s Mom and Yvette Walts.
That means our dancers are Nicaya, Lucas, Mari, Zack and Hadley. I’m happy. I like all of them. The dancers, I mean. Kaia rides my nerves like a cowgirl.
Blake McGrath is still our choreographer. He looks very excited about it.
The Apples’ group dance will be a lyrical number, designed to show Abby that she’s not the Queen of Lyrical. She’s the Jester of Lyrical. So there.
After Cathy says she considered giving Nicaya a solo, but she isn’t sure she could win, Lucas gets the dance instead. Kaia doesn’t appreciate the way Cathy handled that at all, and she feels compelled to mention it. Kaia says that Bridgette has been partying it up with Blake ever since Nationals and that’s how her boy gets special favor. Cathy tells them to behave like big girls. What big boy Blake does on his own time is his own business. Kaia says Lucas better win.
No Orange Pants Guy on our return to Pittsburgh, which makes me sad. Bring back Orange Pants guy!
Up in the Mom Loft, a rumor is afloat that Kendall started learning her solo via a private lesson over the weekend, which is not not not fair. Also, it means that Jill knew that Kendall was getting a solo even before pyramid. Not fair. Drama ensues. Jill leaves. To go book more privates, she tells Christi. Nerny nerny.
Abby explains to rival soloists Kendall and Chloe that pop stars are always trying to be #1 in everything they do. She only expects them to be #2, because Maddie will always be #1, but they get the drift.
Chloe will be doing a jazz solo to a knock-off of Katy Perry’s Roar. Christi says it’s her girl’s chance to prove she’s irreplaceable on the team.
Kendall will be dancing to a knock-off of Gaga’s Applause. Abby says Kendall is too focused on getting the steps right and forgets to emote and perform. I just wonder what her costume’s going to be like. And if she’ll get to ride to the stage in an egg.
Aaaaand we have a Dance Moms Fashion Moment, courtesy of Kelly and this Buffalo plaid, ruffled-grandma-apron-meets-dress dealie that is not entirely flattering to the, er, other pair of Hyland girls, if you get my drift.
Also, Leslie’s back.
Back in Ohio, Kaia thinks Blake is over-choreographing the group number. That’s what happened at Nationals and they lost. She feels compelled to mention this. She also feels compelled to mention that no one is backing her up on her tantrum. Then she feels compelled to storm out.
Back to Pittsburgh. In the Mom Loft, the mothers are discussing Abby’s demand that the girls all dance the same. Clone good, says Jill. Clone bad, says everyone else. I don’t really get the dance thus far, so I’ll reserve judgment.
Downstairs, Abby is calling Payton a giant and saying that she sticks out too much, so the mothers switch to talking about standing up for their children. Leslie says she will tell Abby to quit picking on Pay Pay. Just not during group dance practice.
We apparently take the back route to Ohio this time and get a Canton sign instead. Cathy says Lucas, who will be doing a Spanish-flavored dance, is their best chance to beat Abby.
And it’s off to Columbus already. Cathy says she’s feeling confident. Home field advantage. Great team. What’s not to love?
Chloe emerges in her costume first. Christi decides to buck up her girl by telling her that if she doesn’t knock off the nervous thing, her phone is gone. Because …
Yeah. That should help.
Kendall is feeling twitchy, too. Abby tells her that if one tear falls from her face, that’s it. Maddie will go out and improv in her place. Kendall (who looks like she has shredded gauze on her head but is otherwise tastefully dressed) tries to fight back tears, which Abby interprets as rolling her eyes. No eye-rolling brats allowed on the team, dammit. Jill does her best to placate both.
Over in the Apples room, Lucas is feeling loose and Cathy is feeling confident. And Kaia is still feeling pissed. She says she hopes Lucas loses to the ALDC soloist just to shut everyone up. But she does the Apple Corps chant anyway.
Smack talking in the audience as everyone takes their seat.
Lucas goes first. I’m a shameless Lucas fan and have been since back in the day when he and Kimmie warmed my heart on a weekly basis during Dance Moms Miami. The dance is suave, understated and grown up.
Then there’s some confusion about who goes next.
Turns out it’s Kendall, who falls out of her first turn sequence. She recovers nicely after that, though, and I have to say I think her dance is more technically complex than Lucas’ overall.
Out in the audience, we have some discussion of the dance floor versus the shoe style. Leslie weighs in, even though it has nothing to do with her kid. Abby ain’t having discord in the ranks right there in front of the Candy Apple crew. Especially from a know-nothing like Leslie. She tells Leslie to SHUT. UP. Leslie takes that particularly well.
Chloe’s up. I like the dance, but she looks a little lost here and there. But maybe it’s just the choreography. Either way, I’m happy to see her have a solo.
Backstage, Abby goes after Kendall’s stumble and says Chloe got lucky going after her because she could play it safe and just make sure there were no major errors.
Then Christi points out that there’s a kind of a hush … all over the roooooom … tonight. All over the room, there’s the sound of … well actually it’s what there isn’t the sound of. Which is Leslie’s mouth. Because she’s in out in the hall doing this. …
Christi says that had she known the magic Leslie-hushing words were Shut Up, she would have said them a long time ago. If I’m not mistaken, everyone has told Leslie to shut up at least once since she appeared to torment us all. But maybe not.
Melissa goes out to try to buck her up and tell her Abby doesn’t mean any harm. Well, not much anyway. It doesn’t work. But Leslie returns to the get-ready room anyway. After the group dance, she plans to give Abby a piece of her mind.
Just Another Number Goes first. Cool dance. Cool makeup. Cool costumes. And the girls perform nearly miraculously in sync. That’s what I’m talkin’ about! I have goosebumps, too, Melissa. And how about that Big Mac stepping it up to the big girls’ level?
The Apples’ dance, whatever it is called — Believe, maybe? — is pretty amazing, too, and the girls’ dresses are knockouts. The ALDC moms look justifiably worried.
Results time. Abby can’t be too nervous, because she’s boogying in her seat. Not Jill. Jill is standing up and getting down!
Despite Jill’s fervent wish for a better outcome, Kendall gets fifth place. Lucas gets fourth. Cathy says maybe Black Patsy was right and he wasn’t the right choice for the solo. Chloe gets second.
Just Another Number edges Believe for the win. And Abby looks purdy. Smug. But purdy.
Backstage with the Apples, Blake hugs it out with Lucas and Cathy again wonders again if Blake’s choreography was too fussy. I dunno. I thought it was great — and the kids danced it beautifully. It’s just that the ALDC’s dance was great, too, and the Pitt Crew danced it beautifully, as well. Someone had to be second.
Cathy says she has some thinking to do. Don’t we all, Cathy. Don’t we all.
Abby keeps the victory celebration to a minimum, and heads right back to trodding the subject of the open auditions. She takes it reasonably easy on Kendall, and tells Chloe she played it safe, but it worked for her. Chloe is officially christened Girl #2.
Then Abby turns to Payton and tells her that her mother is ruining her chances to be anything on this team. Then Leslie and Abby get into a nice little, “Shut up!” “No, YOU shut up!” match, which doesn’t end well for Leslie. Well, really, it doesn’t end well for Payton, even though all she did is dance well. Abby declares her just another number, anyway.
Next week, we all troop off to Orlando for the first open auditions, and Payton gets an owie that has nothing to do with her mom. You’ll have to do this one without me, since I’ll be covering the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. Don’t let anything good happen without me.
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.