The Face of the Abby Lee Dance Company has changed, Dance Moms nation. Kelly’s, Paige’s and Brooke’s are officially gone by virtue of an “official letter” from Abby’s new deer-in-the-headlights receptionist (well and also, you know, those pesky lawsuits).
Kalani’s and Kira’s are here to stay, even though we’re not technically supposed to know that yet … even though Abby said it on The View a month ago. Life was so much easier when I was willful in my ignorance.
Kalani is also the top of the pyramid, I’m guessing by virtue of being the only one whose last name isn’t Ziegler or Gisoni who still thinks being a part of this team (and this show) is a good thing. I kinda zoned the rest of the pyramid, but Paige and Brooke were the bottom of the bottom, Nia screwed up the group dance, and everyone one else did some version of fine.
Since I no longer have a screener to work from and these things are even less fun without visuals, I’m going to warn you right now that to amuse you and myself as much as possible, I’m just going to rifle back through the archives and throw in something I think serves well enough. Or makes me laugh. Which is the same thing, if you ask me.
This week, the Hilliker-enriched Pitt Crew, now with 100% less Hyland, is going to some new deal called Fierce Dance Competition in Woodbridge, Virginia. Everyone will be doing the dipsy-doodle group dance.
Because Holly was a special helper during the Battle in the Bronx, Nia gets a solo as re ward. Except that Holly says she’s not so sure that actually is a reward, because for Nia, nothing ever is. Kalani and Kendall will be doing a duet. So will Chloe and Maddie.
And Mackenzie will be focusing her energies on heading to L.A. to take over for Brooke as Abby’s resident rock star. Pretend there is a lighter at the end of this arm …
Rock and roll.
Up in the Mom Loft, the mothers do the requisite yammering about Kelly’s absence, basically agreeing that Abby lucked — and lunged with mouth wide open — into a super-theatrical way to get what she ultimately wanted. When newcomer Kira offers her two cents, a haggard-looking Christi cuts her off with a terse, “You have no idea what’s really going on.”
Melissa decides to try to calm the waters (and further kiss up to the newbie) by inviting the mothers over to Casa Gisoni for a little whine, er, wine and cheese. Uh, no thanks, says Christi. Why not, says Melissa. Because you are a f—king liar, says Christi. Message from your ex-friend. Personally delivered. Christi’s might have 99 problems, Melissa, but you, b@#$%, ain’t one no more, if she can possibly avoid it.
Holly, queen of many new hairdos lately, agrees that nothing matters more to Melissa than her relationship with Abby, but still … she thinks Christi might be a little too into her whole lone-wolf deal.
Time for, whine, er, wine and cheese!
Kira starts the festivities off by telling Melissa, Holly and Jill that Kalani is just thrilled to pieces with everyone and everything! Jill promptly sells Christi up the river, then charitably backs that up a little and says that, without Kelly there, this is really a fine opportunity for her to break away from the negativity and make a brand new start. Even though we all pretty much know that she and Chloe had already gone the way of the Hylands well before this and are only there because their contract said so.
Remember when Mom gatherings were actually fun?
Whoops! Not that one.
Mackenzie — oops, Mac Z, yo yo yo — is working with Cathie the ALDC’s Ethel-Merman looking vocal coach we first met way back in 2012 and who has gone a little grayer since. Abby shows up at the lesson and listens as Big Mac warbles a tune called Girl Party that makes Abby enthuse, “If I were at an audition and was up after you, I’d think, ‘No problem! I got this!’”
I’ll let ya have the last word on this one, Abby.
Kalani and Kendall’s solo is called Framed and it features an actual frame as a prop, in case our memories fail us midway through. Abby says that since Kendall is so much younger than Kalani, she needs to dance up to Kalani’s level. Jill says she just can’t have Kendall screw it up. Kendall, this is all about your mother. And she just just can’t have a screw up.
Once again, Nia is getting short-shrifted on practice time. As in she’s had none yet. No one is surprised, probably least of all Nia. Holly says her girl will just have to take the scraps of attention she’s been afforded and do the best she can with them.
Maddie and Chloe’s solo is called Confession, danced to a song about one girl telling the other girl that she has neglected her. “I should have told you things,” the song says. Like “Kalani and I are doing our solo and I knew that and I fibbed”? No. Like … well, whatever Abby thinks Chloe should be confessing to Maddie.
Since I don’t get that at all, I’ll confess something instead: I could really do without Abby’s message dances where intra-studio Pitt Crew communication is concerned. Excuse me a minute while I go perform a solo called “I’ve Had Enough Of Message Dances” for my cat.
The group dance is a frothy little bit of musical theater called Yum Yum. As in, “you’re a little yum yum.” A little Charleston-doing Rockette of a yum yum. Abby says all the yum yums have to dance as one one, so the judges have no idea that Kalani is a newbie. Because odds are just tremendous that they have no idea what this team usually looks like.
Up in the Mom Loft, Holly once again takes Christi — who really, really looks like she needs a nap — to task for being much too wedded to the idea of Christi and Chloe against the world. Christi says that until Melissa admits she’s an opportunistic liar, she prefers to keep to herself, thanks.
Melissa makes her patented Many Expressions of Denial and squeaks out that she is neither lying nor deflecting about what happened with Maddie’s duet, but Christi says she’s the BIGGEST LIAR SHE HAS EVER MET IN HER WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. So there.
Then we start to wander off into the tired subject of Melissa’s checkered love life. Melissa warns Christi not to go there. Christi says that’s just the tip of the iceberg, er, dirt-berg wherein the dirt she has on Melissa is concerned.
Time for Kira and Kalani — who is wearing a sweatshirt that reads LIKE in great big giant letters, just in case we need the world’s most not-sublminal subliminal message — to have a little check-in with each other. Kalani says she is worried about the duet because Kendall is just not taking corrections and it’s wasting her time. Kira says she should focus on her own performance and not worry about Kendall.
Upstairs, the mothers want to know if Christi has talked to Kelly. She has, but she doesn’t want to talk about it to them. Jill presses anyway. Christi remains mum, but tells us that if the mothers are so worried about Kelly, they can call her themselves. But are the girls OK, the mothers want to know next. OK enough, says Christi. They’re adjusting. Well, Jill just misses that little Paigey jumpin’ all around and sayin’ stuff. Life at the ALDC isn’t the same without jumpin’ and stuff!
Because God forbid Nia have a dance that doesn’t remind us that she is the sole dancer of color on the ALDC competition team, she will be doing her solo to the Southern Gospel tune Down in the River to Pray. Which I actually love, but not so much in this context.
Abby says the solo is really about rebirth and renewal … and that pretty much every freakin’ move Nia makes is going to be the death of her. Fifteen minutes into the practice, she walks out. Nia tries to keep her composure, but begins to cry in the dressing room. Holly tells her to block out the negativity, tell herself she is a great dancer and dance like one, no matter what Abby says or does.
Aw geez, seriously? Boston’s ‘More Than a Feeling’ — my very special emotional song with my high school boyfriend Craigy — is now the theme song for Yoplait’s Boston Cream Pie yogurt? Is nothing sacred?
We’re off to Virginia to be Fierce for the very first time.
In honor of the fine Virginia climate, Holly is dressed like a human Easter basket. Christi takes a jab at Abby and asks how many secret dances will happen this week. Melissa says it’s Kelly’s and Abby’s fault that last week’s Fibbergate went down the way it did. Not hers. She just lied, you know, to keep Abby’s secret. Two wrongs …well that ain’t right. But it’s in the past now, so can everyone just shut up?
Nia comes out in her costume, and Christi notices that the head wrap is a little wonky. She does some tucking and straightening as Holly looks on. Then Holly gets in Nia’s face and repeats the “great dancer” pep talk. Nia looks like she’d like to throw up.
Kendall’s and Kalani’s duet goes first. Jill says she and Kendall both know that if the duet fails, the blame will fall on Kendall no matter what. It’s pretty as a picture and cute as a button.
OK, how many other people got wildly nostalgic watching Chloe and Maddie dance together, even though Chloe couldn’t seem to look at Maddie’s face?
Melissa says, no matter what has gone on between them, she and Christi just know their kids belong together. I’m not so sure about that, Melissa. It can’t just be good again because you say it is.
Backstage, Maddie tries to chat Chloe up, but Chloe looks uncomfortable and stays quiet. Odds are perfectly good that they were instructed — by mothers or producers or a combination of both — to behave as such, but who knows what’s real any more. I have a tough time believing these two are still close.
Nia’s headpiece migrates to the back of her head as she performs her solo. Afterward she cries and blames her mom and Holly owns it. But it’s not Holly’s fault. It’s Christi’s fault. Sabotage. Abby says so. Because, you know, Chloe and Nia are constantly pitted against each other for … well … nothing.
Then Abby turns to Holly and says maybe solos aren’t Nia’s thing. Holly says maybe giving Nia’s dances the same amount of attention she gives the other girls’ isn’t Abby’s thing. Then the girls reappear and Christi apologizes directly to Nia for the possibility that she may have has something to do with the headpiece mishap. Holly says they are a team and a family and need to act like one, regardless of what happened. So even though it was ultimately a disaster, she’s glad Christi engaged.
Then Abby has a talk with Mackenzie about taking her burgeoning pop career seriously. She needs to aim high with her role models. Britney, not Brooke, understand? You have to sound good live. Everyone can sound good auto-tuned in the studio. Even Abby. Or, say, Britney.
To be little Yum Yums, the girls are dressed as old-timey cigarette girls. Abby tells Kalani and Kira that she will decide their fates based on what happens in the group dance, even though we already know that they are permanent cast members.
Yum Yum is kinda dumb dumb. I mean, it’s very cute and saucy and Maddie especially gives good face, but it’s mostly high kicks and coy poses and we’ve seen these girls perform much more mature, complex, compelling numbers. This one seems a bit phoned in to accommodate the little kid and the new kid.
The awards are some kind of interesting. Apparently so as not to tax their judges with having to assign winners in multiple categories — you know, like solos and group numbers and what have you — Fierce just lumps everything together in one big pile.
So Yum Yum is the competition’s winner
Confession shares second place with another dance.
No word on how framed did, which I find fascinating.
You can see the rest of the results of what looked like a holiday-centric outing here.
Backstage, Abby says that all that matters is that the ALDC had the top-scoring dance.
“Does that mean I am staying another week?” Kalani reads from her cues or cue cards. Yes, child. And also your mother is an angel. I’ll allow it for the situation since she doesn’t rat out the others, when Abby asks her to stage whisper to her what they’re saying about Kelly.
Just that they miss her, says Kira. Good answer. But the wrong one, where Abby is concerned.
“Kelly was A-RRESTED,” Abby bellows. “And that’s the truth.” Pfffllllltttt! And if you miss her you can just shove off.
Does that count for us, too?
Next week on Dance Moms, Christi has lunch with Kelly, the late Maryen Lorrain rats them out (cannot we let the poor woman rest in peace?) and we finally find out who’s behind all the drama.
Could it be … Satan?
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Are you having trouble reconciling fact and fiction now that so much has been made public? Do you even care? Is the Christi-sabotage thing credible or completely ridiculous? Are you bonding with Kira and Kalani? Did you find Yum Yum yummy? Sound off in the comments section below.
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.