I would like to start today’s Dance Moms recap with a moment of silence for the absent Select Team… Yes, you read that right. After three excruciating weeks of watching the wannabe dance moms parade around our screens like we owe them something, it’s finally time to settle back into the comfortable familiarity of Abby screaming at the Pitt Crew.
After last week’s atrocious cultural appropriation (which Abby dared to call a “dance routine”) managed to win, one would hope that leading lady Nia would make the top of the pyramid for the first time in… forever? But alas, no one can beat Maddie even when she’s shoehorned in at the last minute to make up for Abby’s choice to use only young dancers in a weighted age category.
Unfortunately, this week sees the team go up against the Cathy and her Candy Apples once again. Adding to the drama, Gino is back to dancing for the Wicked Witch of Canton and is slated to take on his one-time dance partner, Maddie. Abby’s star pupil is faced with a dilemma, however. She may be scheduled to go to Miami and shoot a web series on the day of the competition.
Rather than pull the number and give attention to someone else, Abby decides to let this be another in-house competition. Chloe and Kendall will understudy Maddie’s number and whichever one “does it right” will get to dance in the coveted shoes of Maddie.
As the group rehearsal starts, the moms settle in and discuss this latest effort to compare everyone to Maddie. Finally, they decide it’s time to get some “quantitative data” on Abby’s mistreatment of the rest of the girls and Christi — whose dress looks like it’s made from the top of a circus tent — starts taking a running tally to see how often Abby negatively criticizes each individual girl.
In Ohio, the Apples have also begun rehearsal. Gino is practicing an intense number entitled “Warrior” about his desire to beat ALDC or… something. Cathy is pretty sure he has a chance against Maddie which is doubtful. Good luck, kid. The adults in your life have sent you on a path to self-destruction.
The producers have finally decided the girls are old enough to start speaking for themselves and we get a nice little cutaway scene of Chloe, Kendall, and Maddie warming up together. They talk about understudying and both girls seem alright with this decision. They relive the week of Maddie’s first kiss and the star of the show takes her teammate’s teasing pretty well, but has no kind words for her former dance partner. It’s refreshing to finally hear the girls talk about themselves but hopefully this doesn’t signal a future where the girls argue like a pack of mini-moms.
Meanwhile, the Mom Loft gets a new addition: A giant whiteboard with the name of every girl (except Maddie) and space to tally Abby’s negative notes. The tallies stack up quickly and the moms are super pleased with themselves. Melissa finally begins to express some personal opinions and, as usual, they’re about how the other moms have “singled Maddie out.” Unlike how normal and not-special she was before.
As the girls rehearse the solo, it becomes pretty clear that Abs only intends to spend time teaching Maddie. It is Maddie’s solo, after all, but the Abby monster’s refusal to even look at Chloe while she dances might, debatably, take that point too far.
During group rehearsal, Abbie finally comments on the board and speculation runs across the dance floor. None of the girls know what’s going on, but they do notice Maddie’s name is missing. Chloe even mouths “Take it down” to Christi, but the moms are sure they’re doing the right thing by making this very large and visible. Because pointing out Abby’s behavior to Abby herself always goes over really well and never backfires.
As rehearsal continues into the third day, the Mom Board quickly becomes a distraction — and makes increasingly less sense. Although they first said it was meant to track the number of times Abby says something negative to their kids, the definition of “negative” now includes not only saying something mean or derogatory, but also making basic corrections. As the girls focus more on the board rather than rehearsal, Abby confronts the moms but they still refuse to take it down, launching Abby into a “take your money somewhere else” speech.
As the day of competition dawns, the Pitt Crew enters Wayne, New Jersey with their usual fanfare followed by an atrocious wake-up call from Cathy over the loud-speaker. It’s always nice to see such a fearless leader who will set an example for her kids by doing such respectful, socially acceptable things like projecting insults about people’s clothing over a speaker system for a building full of strangers to hear!
In the dressing room, Jill starts problems of her own by asking if all three girls can dance the solo in competition. Earlier in the week, Melissa mentioned that it would make a nice trio, but Jill has got to go all the way. It’s solo or bust for Kendall.
Abby, never known for her ability to take criticism, pulls Jill vaguely to the side and informs her that she’s not going to put Kendall out on the competition floor just to “humiliate herself” against Maddie. She also mentions that having three girls dance the exact same solo would be “ridiculous,” apparently having forgotten that she already did exactly that with Maddie and Chloe once upon a time.
Although Abby may be in the right, Christi is quick to point out that this “private” conversation is happening in the dressing room and within earshot of everyone, including the girls. Abby doesn’t even pause, however, as she lays out Kendall and Chloe’s flaws for the whole team to hear.
Meanwhile, in the Apples’ dressing room, Gino prepares for his solo and is confident that Maddie isn’t as strong a dancer as Abby makes her seem. If anyone would know, it’s Gino — but Maddie’s numerous “overall high scorer” awards would suggest otherwise. I guess we’ll see when they hit the dance floor. Is it bad I’m almost rooting for Gino at this point?
Solos compete before groups and the Apples have the stage first. Gino’s warrior dance would probably by more convincing if he were two feet taller and fifty pounds heavier, but he hits some complicated choreography. The contemporary choreography is an interesting break from the perpetual slew of lyrical dances Abby has been sending her girls to perform, but Gino just doesn’t have the look (Or the costume. Booty shorts? That’s what you’re gonna fight in?) of a real warrior.
Maddie’s lyrical routine is as pretty as her last million lyrical routines.
Back in the dressing room, the moms are still b****ing. Melissa agrees that the routine would have made a good trio, but no one is impressed by her lack of backbone against Abby. Not that you can blame her. Half of the reason Maddie is the favorite is the fact that Melissa refuses to participate in 85% of the drama in the Mom Loft.
Abby finally calls out the whiteboard (which they bothered bringing all the way to the competition) as the mostly ridiculousness that it is. Holly steps up as the most vocal of the group, but our Abs is having none of it. She threatens to pull a solo Nia was slotted to have next week and claims that twelve is old enough to have kids and get married (in that order) in some countries.
Holly pretty much speaks for all of us when she calls Abby a vile, ugly woman and flees the room. The moms (including Melissa) rally around Holly over Abby’s rude words about a preteen girl. Holly even refuses to talk on camera, she’s so angry. Go Holly, standing up for your kid!
The moms do return to get their daughters ready for the group routine but Abby disappears without a word. The Candy Apples perform their routine (which is made of chiffon, Valentine’s Day cards, and cancer (?)). They look clean, but certainly aren’t groundbreaking.
Their win is assured, however, when the MC announces that the ALDC routine has been dropped from the competition.
The girls are hurt and confused (having not been around for the fight) but Abby is quick to assure them it’s all because of their mothers. The girls are still forced to sit on stage for awards (Maddie beats Gino, if anyone but Abby even cares about that any more) but the moms jump ship before the group numbers are announced.
Backstage, Abby and Holly have yet another go at it. Holly accuses Abby of being a bad teacher and Abby officially pulls Nia’s would-be solo.
The girls’ fates at Nationals are still up in the air and we leave things with a distinct feeling of being incomplete. The preview for next episode still shows Nia on stage, though an additional two Select dancers seem o be practicing with the ALDC team.
Who’s right and who’s wrong here, Dance Moms Nation? Everyone seems to have lost their minds; Cathy doesn’t even look like the crazy anymore! Tell me all of your feelings on the tick board, shouting matches, Abby’s atrocious remark and nationals futures and failures in the comments below!