On tonight’s Dance Moms, Abby Lee realized the error of her tyrant ways, gave everyone solos that showed off their best strengths, hugged all the mothers hello and good bye, called Kelly to make amends and realized a whole new team would just be dumb.
What? It’s April Fools Day, people!
Actually my husband suggested that I post my favorite recap from Season 1 and make that my April Fools funny, but I think he mostly wanted to revisit the glory days of Hubby Rik’s participation. Hubby Rik don’t watch along, Hubby Rik don’t get to play along, ain’t that right, Dance Moms faithful?
We start out with many scenic images of Pittsburgh, except Orange Pants Guy whose return I am eagerly awaiting, and then Gia at the front desk of the ALDC. Abby is with her mom, who has taken a turn for the worse that looks like it may be final. Holly says the girls have grown up with Mrs. Miller, so this won’t be easy on them, either.
Because this may be our last chance for a feel-good moment, let’s remember Orange Pants Guy.
Turns out not everything is somber after all. Today is photo shoot day for Mackenzie — excuse me, Mack Z — for her upcoming musical debut, “Mack Z: It’s A Girl Party.” Abby arrives to audition girls to be in the accompanying video. Melissa says that’s because when Abby isn’t busy, she thinks. And when she thinks, she dwells. Well, that explains why we haven’t seen much dwelling this season. I know. Her mom is dying. I must be nice.
Getting back to the business of dance, Abby congratulates the group on putting a twelfth victory on her shelf. Also, we’re going back to Ohio for a Dance USA competition. No mention of the Apples, which disappoints me.
For continuing to dance even though they could not hear their music, Maddie, Mack, Kendall, Chloe and Nia all share a row of the pyramid, which is basically a line of everyone else with Kalani on top for her solo win.
Then Abby tells everyone that her new team will be arriving in Pittsburgh in two weeks, so Abby can have double the wins. Anyone else wondering what happened to the ALDC L.A. and how that morphed into two teams from Pittsburgh?
In any case, auditions for Mack Z’s backup dancers will be in-house. Abby will take part, but Mack gets final say. Maddie demands that her sister pick her, Mack says she will and we all chuckle at how adorable the Ziegler sisters are.
Then Abby tells everyone she won’t always be on hand for the foreseeable future, because Maryen Lorrain is, indeed, dying. Melissa desperately needs everyone to know that she knows and loves Mrs. Miller the most. She thanks Abby for letting her and her girls be part of Maryen’s life. Maryen is, like, Melissa’s mom, too. She loves her. She loves Abby. She loves everything. Maddie hugs a crying Abby. The others girl cry, too. So do I. You did, too. Admit it.
Even though I want to clobber Melissa for making this all about her.
Feeling philosophical in her grief, Abby says there are good dance teachers and there are bad dance teachers, but all dance teachers must love children, because there a million other jobs where they wouldn’t have to deal with them. She wouldn’t do this if she didn’t believe that every child should dance.
Dance for someone who is kind and supportive is another matter entirely, but I’ll let it go for tonight.
Kendall will be doing a solo call Dream it. Nia will be doing one called Damsel in Distress.
All you people who study the hell out of everything Dance Moms, why is Maddie suddenly doing no solos whatsoever? Separate competitions? Favoritism claims in somebody’s lawsuit? What? Enlighten me.
Chloe and Kalani will do a duet. For You Too. They hug it out, looking genuinely delighted.
Bollywood And Vine is the group routine. Everyone is in it.
Then Abby and the Zieglers cry some more.
Up in the Mom Loft, the ladies discuss how it’s nice to see Abby share feelings other than, you know, rage. Christi says some things trump dance and Abby is doing the right thing being with her mom. Kira wants to know why Abby would want a new team that could potentially beat this team. Everyone wants to know where she’s going to get all these costumes, when she couldn’t even scare up enough for last week’s group dance.
Then Abby calls Melissa. “This is all going to happen very fast,” she tells her, her voice choked with exhaustion. “My heart is broken.”
Tough stuff, for sure.
Gia runs Nia’s solo, which is cute and expressive and should suit her well. Holly’s still apprehensive, saying Nia feels more vulnerable and exposed doing solos because she hasn’t fared so well in that regard this season. Jill says same goes for Kendall. She’s just not having fun anymore. Too much pressure. All the same, Jill needs Kendall to beat Nia.
Bouffant Abby returns to the studio because it’s time to cast Mack Z’s vid. She says her dying mother understands that the show must go on, even if Maryen will not. And, sure enough, all the little dancers we thought were here to usurp the Pitt Crew have actually been here all along and only want a spot in the video.
Clara! Clara Lukasiak in the house!!! Also, the ama@inc on Abby’s shirt? Turns out Abby has her own talent agency. Which only makes money when we make money.
Chloe gets eliminated and Christi says that’s because Abby doesn’t want anyone cuter than Mack in the video. Abby and Mack decide Maddie will serve as Mack’s assistant, rather than dance. Perhaps anticipating a sound sisterly beating back at home, Mack backpedals that a little. Abby says it’s up to her. Kalani and Nia make the cut. Kendall and Chloe do not.
Abby says Mack Z is a shining representative of the ALDC and her first go at producing music. The moms discuss Mack’s newfound power over Maddie.
Turns out we have the same costume issue as last time, but no one has to chase down Kelly this time or pull out their dishwater gray leftovers. Abby’s just going to pull one dancer. Without Payton here to make it easy, Abby turns on her next favorite target for neglect.
The mothers think that’s just turrrrrible. Christi says Nia excels in theatrical dances like this, so the move makes no sense. Jill says she’s very sorry, but I think she’s mostly sorry because Nia suddenly has more time to work on her solo. Holly says Abby is not doing her job and planning for the appropriate number of costumes.
Everyone who agrees, raise your hand.
Before returning to her mother’s side, Abby tells Gia and the girls to ignore Holly if she protests. Holly’s leaves the Mom Loft and says she’s moving on. Contracts, Holly. Contracts. You ain’t going nowhere.
After the commercial, Melissa visits Abby and Maryen at the hospice, where Abby meets her in the hallway outside her mother’s door. Abby says she doesn’t know why Maryen is waiting to pass to the other side and join her father in their heavenly castle. Melissa comes unglued, but Abby says this is all part of being an only child. She says she and Maryen are at peace with what’s about to happen, but maybe Maryen doesn’t want to leave her alone just yet.
Back at the studio, Christi says it’s ludicrous that Nia is not in the group dance. Holly, who didn’t really go anywhere, says she’s washing her hands of it; it only makes Abby look bad. Then Melissa arrives and we talk about what a fine thing heaven is. Melissa creepily demonstrates Maryen’s labored breathing. A somber Christi says even though she and Abby are not friends, she feels bad about what is happening.
Watching Gia run Chloe and Kalani’s duet, Christi says the girls are well matched because they are both such regal dancers. Still, she says, if the duet doesn’t win. Chloe will be the fall guy. Then we notice the children studying a giant cork board of unfamiliar faces plopped where Abby is usually parked. Holly says the evidence of the impending new team is upsetting to the kids, and is Abby’s way of psyching them out.
“Whhhhhy try to psyche your dreeeeam teeeeeam out?” breathes Jill in her finest 900-number voice. Becaaaaause she has another dream team and she wants them to know it, says Holly, just normal.
Come competition day, Abby is not on the bus and everyone else’s emotions are running high. Holly tells the girls they are Mrs. Miller’s legacy and asks them to share stories about her. Kendall talks about her blue, blue eyes. Chloe talks about her kind, kind words. Then everyone joins hands and has a moment of silence and I’m all choked up again. This is a bus full of very good people who are finally free to display that, even if it is in the most heartrending of circumstances.
In the get-ready room in Columbus, the mood is noticeably more companionable with Gia in charge. She calls Abby and tells her the girls send their love. “I don’t need their love,” says Abby. “I need them to win.” Oh you do too need their love, Ms. Toughie. Also, Melissa wants to say something. Of course she does. She tells Abby Miss Mack just said it’s not the same without Abby. Except Mack first realizes five minutes later that Abby didn’t make the trip. Oh well. The point is … I’m not sure.
Melissa when Abby’s not here, yeah, they’re all more relaxed, but the girls like it better when Abby is here. Did we actually ask the girls that, Melissa? They sure look a lot happier to me right now.
Before the dancing begins, Gia tells the girls this is their chance to make Abby realize there is no other team. This is the team. I’m totally #TeamGia. All the way. I’m the No. 1 mascot for #TeamGia. Get the girl her own show.
Kalani and Chloe go first. They are wearing matching costumes, Chloe in berry and Kalani in teal. As Christi, predicted, they are beautifully matched and the dance is absolutely lovely.
Kendall goes next. Her costume is a sophisticated black tights and bra ensemble that suits the saucy dance. She is clearly more relaxed without Abby there and does the dance with panache. Jill notices it, too.
Chloe gives Nia a pep talk and some smooches for luck. In the audience Holly is a mom-sel in distress. The dance is awfully upbeat for something called Damsel in Distress and Nia sells it for all she’s worth.
Backstage, Gia said that it’s the best she’s ever seen Nia dance and everyone agrees. #TeamGia. #TeamGia #TeamGia #TeamGia. Lori + Gia forever.
Still Holly and Nia’s happiness is tempered by watching the others get ready to go the group dance without Nia. Gia gives the group another pep talk about being the only competition team. And, she tells them, tonight and every time after, they are dancing for Mrs. Miller, who is the reason they are here. Holly leads a prayer.
The group dance is a knockout — and is anyone else impressed with how much Mackenzie has stepped up her game since, well, she’s been allowed to?
Jill says it proves how good the girls are, whether Abby is there or not. It’s the first time I notice she has henna on her hands.
Come awards time, Nia gets third and Holly is over the moon.
Kendall gets second. Jill is proud, but not over the moon.
Chloe and Kalani get first place.
The group dance wins, too, but I am totally distracted and amused by the fact that the third place dance is “I Don’t Speak German” and the runner-up was something about Berlin. Something tells me this competition’s theme had something to do with international flair. Or Abby totally missed the German boat.
In any case, Lucky #13 is in the bag and the girls call to yell that they won. Also, Melissa has something to say. Of course she does. Abby says she’ll pass along the good news to Maryen.
Next week on Dance Moms, Abby’s vigil continues, Mack shoots her video, and Melissa and Christi are at it again. Plus, Abby. Meets. Her. Match.
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Did you cry? Yes, you did. You did, too. Did Melissa spend a little too much time making Abby’s grief her own or am I just one big meanie? Or both? Was Abby unfair pulling Nia from the group dance? Would you like to see Chloe and Kalani dance more duets? And should Maddie be in the video or fetching Mackie her Kool-Aid? Sound off in the comments section below.
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.