Welcome to the second half of Dance Moms Season 4, Dance Moms nation. Remember that team Abby was building in the front half of the Season? They’re baaa-aaack! After winning the final competition, the “new” team has returned to keep things, uh, interesting. The original team is feeling understandably nervous, but Abby hopes having in-house competition will push the Pitt Crew to perform better this season.
We kick off with a quick and unsurprising pyramid. Maddie has been unseated from the top spot for refusing to lead the new team in last season’s finale and Chloe secured herself the honor when she beat Maddie in the solo division. And everything else is pretty much the same as before, for all the same reasons.
It should be noted that nobody’s bothered to add the new team to the pyramid — or a new pyramid to the board — so who knows if they’re here to stay for the season, like Asia, or a couple-episode gimmick like Sophia.
Abby’s decided that it’s time for Mack Z to step up in the dance studio after the success of her song and video over the summer, so this week, she’s going toe-to-toe against Sarah, one of her two mini-division counterparts on the select team. This decision shocks everyone as Sarah was not allowed to dance in the last episode of Season 4A after her mother, Christy H., got them both kicked off the team because she couldn’t keep her mouth shut. Mackenzie seems pretty confident in her ability to win, but the moms are still unhappy their kids have to prove themselves at all.
The new moms and the old moms meet in the Mom Loft and after about two seconds of overly polite “hellooos”, they immediately start in with the shouting. As the room trades hands, it’s clear that Christy H. is not going make friends with moms new or old.
Chloe gets the lead on the group number and Christi is excited for the opportunity her child has to prove herself. The original team is confident that if they can keep it together and just “do their thing” without focusing on the pressure of the select group, believing their natural chemistry and dance talent will win easily. Mackenzie is splitting time between her so-called “pop star” career and her dance (which is yet another “acrobatic” routine) and Abby is worried she can’t handle the pressure.
Sarah’s dark, contemporary piece is called Scary Little Monster which Abby hopes will push her to not just dance, but perform. The pieces are starkly contrasted, so at this point it’s really a toss-up to see who wins come competition time. The new moms gather to ask Abby why Sarah was allowed back on the team after being kicked off last season (because absolutely no one has ever been allowed back into ALDC after being kicked out/leaving) and Christy H. overhears the conversation.
She accuses the other new moms of trying to sabotage her and, when none of them deny it, the third shouting match in less than twenty minutes begins and quickly devolves into a hair-pulling, arm-biting brawl between Christy H. and two of the other new moms whose names I haven’t bothered to remember just yet because, really? How long do you think they’re going to be around? Abby takes pictures while a man (one of the dads maybe? Who is that poor guy?) breaks them up.
Say what you will about Abby Mills, but she knows when she’s got a good angle.
After the break, Abs decides not to send any of the new girls home, because she claims to not want to make a girl learn a dance one day before the competition (as if that’s ever stopped her before) but she does force Christy H. to apologize. Both moms apologize to each other and both are super-convincing, so I’m sure this issue will never come up again. I’m sure of it.
In the dressing room, Maddie tells the other girls about the select team and encourages the originals to stick together and everyone is still hopeful … at least for a few seconds. But when Abby has them warm up while the select team practices, even the Pitt Crew Moms have to concede that the select team has better dancers. But they also — fairly — notice that the select team has older dancers and that without the eight and nine year old, the selects would have to compete in the teen category and would never dance against the originals. They also see that the choreography for the select team is significantly better than the original’s choreography and the moms realize that Abby is stacking the deck against their girls.
The team heads to Sheer Talent Competition in Wheeling, West Virginia for Season 4B’s first dance-off. Christy H. accuses Abby of giving Mackenzie a better outfit and makeup and Abby is just about done with Christy’s mouth. Mackenzie goes first and her dance is yet another gymnastics routine with a few pirouettes thrown in. But she certainly nails it and Sarah feels the pressure.
Sarah’s own dance was one of Abby’s weirder pieces of choreography — and this saying something — but it has more actual dancing and she does “the faces” Abby’s all about, so that might be enough to pull a win.
Then the teams get ready to take the stage and the Pitt Crew moms are seriously concerned that the select teams’ costumes and preparations are better than their girls’. Their nerves rub off on their dancers who, feeling all of the extra pressure, drop Chloe while rehearsing a lift.
The select group goes first and they nail their routine, a weirdly religious piece entitled Rapture. It’s solid technically and full of individual movement, which means they don’t have to dance in sync with each other very often or be as precise with their movement. The new moms are thrilled and the Pitt Crew moms are nervous, but the original team rallies backstage.
On stage, the size difference between the two teams is immediately apparent. The originals look small and skinny in comparison. But as the routine takes off, they are more in sync than they’ve ever been.
Chloe takes the lead and nails it as a demon-possessed grade schooler. The dance relies on their ability to remain on point at all times and to work with and off of each other. It’s the sort of thing that would have messed with them last season, but now they hit their points seemingly without effort and they even land Chloe’s lift without a hitch.
As the competition winds down, the teams take the stage for awards. First up is the overall solo division. Flash wins over limited substance today, as Sarah’s little face falls when they announce her at fourth place — almost certainly not high enough for Abs to keep her on the team with such a loud-mouthed mom. Big Mac takes home first — unsurprising considering the number of tricks she threw in a minute-long “dance” number.
The team routines are finally announced and once again, the select group won out over the smaller, less-experienced original group. Though they took second place, the original group is clearly distraught and fighting to hold it together on stage. Everyone makes their way back to the dressing room and the new moms tries to buddy-buddy with the original moms — but our ladies aren’t going to let anyone try to weasel their way into the ALDC family. They gather their things and leave the dressing room, mostly ignoring the scorn and thinly veiled congratulations of the new moms.
The Pitt Crew meet their girls in the lobby and reassure them that they never really stood a chance in this competition, no matter how well they performed their routine. Abby wanders through the team and the moms reproach her for the treatment of their children. Most of the girls start crying and the rest can barely hold it together at this point — to which Abby responds by fleeing up the elevator, claiming, “I’m not getting paid to stand around in the lobby arguing with you.” Even though that’s … exactly what she’s getting paid to do. I mean, that’s why we’re all watching, am I right?
Next week we head to Apple country for the first time and I hope you’ll all be back with me as we watch the ALDC teams and moms new and old take out their frustrations on each other — and especially on the Candy Apples.
New episodes of Dance Moms premiere Tuesdays at 9/8CT on Lifetime.