Welcome back, Dance Moms Nation! Who’s glad CWAY CWAY is absent, come this week’s pyramid? It’s amazing how much faster things get done when no one is giving Abby camera-grabbing sass.
This week’s Select Team crossover is Jade and her mom Loree, who Abby says is elegant and a successful dance studio owner in her own right.
The pyramid itself reveals no new surprises. Mack Z rides the middle and Abby promises to push her this week. Maddie comes in second since she was gone part of last week but still perfect when she finally did show up, and Kendall gets the top spot since she won her solo division and lead the group number to success.
The bomb drops just after pyramid. The team is headed back to Woodbridge, VA, where they will face some tough competition, including Studio Bleu who have beaten the Pitt Crew in the past. Not only that, Abby decides to pull the group number she had choreographed for the occasion and says she will save it for nationals. She says that everyone will be in the new number … she just doesn’t know what it will look like yet. The moms are shocked and even the unflappable Gia questions Abby’s decision, but Abs stands by this decision as she does all her decisions. Especially the victory-thwarting ones.
The girls then begin rehearsing The Number That Doesn’t Exist. Gia sorts through music in the back while Abby begins throwing out ideas at the girls. She settles on the theme of “phobias” and has each girl improv something that they’re afraid of. It goes so-so, until things come to Mackenzie whose fear of bugs is admittedly difficult to portray through dance, not to mention the part where she hates improvising in the first place. Poor Mack Z leaves the room crying and Abby benches her, claiming it’s ridiculous that a girl with a “No. 1 video” can’t pretend there’s a bug in the room. Someone might also say that it’s ridiculous a woman with a “No. 1 TV show” doesn’t have a danced choreographed ahead of time, but that someone probably isn’t standing in the same room with Abby Lee Miller.
With two days left to competition time, solo rehearsals finally start. The plan is for Chloe to take on Jade, but Jade’s advantage in both age and attention from Abby makes Christi furious. Later in group rehearsals, Mackenzie is given the option of participating in the group or doing a junior solo. Although it seems obvious that Mack Z would want to do the group rather than try to learn a new solo, the moms quickly realize that by removing Mackenzie from the group, the Pitt Crew will have to compete in the Teen division rather than the Junior division. Since Junior is where Studio Bleu beat them last time, the moms suspect that Abby is rigging the game so they never have to face their old rivals. Even Loree finds this behavior suspicious — and she’s been sunshine and bubbles this whole episode.
On the final day of rehearsals, Loree final reveals to the moms her fears about Abby’s choices. Jade’s solo is an acro number which Jade can complete, but which isn’t her strongest style. Plus, she thinks Abs has made a mistake putting the girls against hundreds of teen-division dancers. The moms warm to Loree now, realizing that her relationship with Abby and her experience as a dance teacher might give them some leverage. Plus, you know, she’s nice. Genuinely nice.
Come competition day, the Pitt Crew settles in, while Abby looks through the program only to find out that Studio Bleu is competing in the Teen Division. The moms are quick to jump on Abby’s failed gamble, but Miss Abby Lee Miller was never one to admit her mistakes. Even when the moms convince Loree to speak up and ask Abby to put Mackenzie back in the dance, Abby still claims it’s Mack Z’s attitude that is the problem and not her own. It always is, Abby.
On stage, Jade nails her routine and Christi is resigned that Abby will always put Chloe in impossible-to-win situations. Chloe does pull off a beautiful contemporary piece, however, and even Abby compliments her performance. But neither girl danced at her strongest and the outcome is anyone’s game.
As the girls prep for the group number, Chloe accidentally hits Maddie in the face while they rehearse in the tight space.
Both girls are fine but it sets Christi and Abby off on each other, leaving the girls tense before they go to face their stiffest competition of the season.
The Studio Bleu routine is flawless and mature. Their simple costumes and tight, synchronized motions develop their theme of conformity and they tell a clear story. Not to mention that the median age is definitely higher than that of the Pitt Crew. But nothing can stop our girls, who are used to an uphill battle by now. Although the number was put together less than 24 hours before, the girls deliver on it. However, it lacks the clarity that more time would have given it and the girls seem all over the board in terms of style and skill this week.
Come awards time, the solos are hugely disappointing. Chloe only lands sixth place and Jade third. Abby’s head-scratching choices — Jade’s acro number and dialing up the pressure on Chloe yet again — definitely hurt the girls in both style and performance. The cobbled-together group number still manages to snag second place, even in the Teen Division, but Studio Bleu takes the top spot. Abby is relatively light on the girls, hopefully realizing that coming home with no wins was really her fault and that they did a good job considering the time crunch.
You’re laughing, aren’t you? Well, we can dream.
With such mediocre results, Loree questions her decision to bring Jade into ALDC and Abby is shocked when Loree voices this, since the woman has been such a reasonable, respectful voice But she stands her ground. The motto has always been “Everyone is replaceable” — even the nice ones.
With nationals on the horizon, we seem to be lacking any nationals-worthy routines and the time between shows just keeps getting shorter with less time to learn new material. Plus, if Abby keeps alienating moms new and old, how can she expect to have any full, cohesive team for nationals? And although we’ll never miss Christ-Y, Mackenzie definitely stands out against the older girls with Sarah gone. So will next week bring a new tiny dancer or is Mack Z’s star waning before it begins? Let me know how you think Abby will handle it next week in the comments section below!
New episodes of Dance Moms premiere Tuesdays at 9/8CT on Lifetime.