The season is winding down, Dance Moms nation! It’s time for nationals and things are about to get seriously crazy. But before we get into that, let’s take a moment to reflect on the hot messery which has been Season 4…
Our faithful Abby brought in a “Select Team” of dancers whom she talented poached from around the country to challenge the Pitt Crew. For the first half of the season, we waited for them, we argued about them and mostly we hated them. When they beat the girls in competition we were worried they might be here to stay.
After the mid-season break, Abby brought the Select Team back sporadically as a group and as individuals to shake things up and to keep the format from becoming stale but it’s all felt very transitory.
Maddie has had an eventful year. She starred in international music sensation Sia’s video for the song “Chandelier,” she has appeared on multiple late night talk shows and even a few web series. Of course, Abby is thrilled and has taken plenty of time to scold the other mothers for keeping their girls in middle school.
Kendall is struggling to rise as a favorite, Nia is struggling to be noticed period, and Chloe is trying to keep her mom from getting her kicked off the team… again. MackZ is tiny, cute, and looks a little sick of dancing.
Last week was the annual ALDC Dance Concert and each of the girls (plus a Select dancer) performed a forty-five second solo to audition for a place on the Nationals team. Since then, we’ve all been on the edge of our seats to see what would happen this week. And I can’t say it was surprising.
The team is in L.A. for nationals this year and everyone piles into a tiny, rented studio for rehearsals. The Select team busts in just in time for Abby to start critiquing the previous week’s performances.
Pyramid is quick and only semi-painful. Like ripping off a band-aid. Chloe is last because a buckle fracture in her foot prevented her from dancing at all last week. Mackenzie dropped a few turns. Nia was not as good as Abby thought she should be. Kendall was, like, alright I guess. Kamryn (straddling the line between Select team and Pitt Crew) performed to the back of the audience and was very impressive.
Maddie gets the top spot for breathing so beautifully.
Now for the part we care about. Who’s dancing solo at Nationals? The answer is … not Maddie. Despite requesting to dance anyway, the fledgling starlet is appearing on Jimmy Kimmel and has to attend rehearsal for the taping, so she will only be around for one day of dance practice. The actual soloists this week will be Kendall, Chloe (whose foot is conveniently all better now) and Kamryn.
Holly is not happy. Nia — dancing with the ALDC since she was two years old — has never performed a solo at nationals. Her beautiful, contemporary dance tribute to Maya Angelou killed the competition two weeks ago, but Abby didn’t think she lived up to it in her audition. Nia won’t be dancing this week and Abby tells Holly to take her elsewhere if she wants to have a solo so badly.
With the obligatory, early conflict out of the way, Abby drops this week’s real bomb. Although the Select Team has been hit or miss all season, Abs now invites them to join the studio which she is going to open in L.A. in the coming year. As the moms wonder how Abby will split her time between a new studio an entire country away, Abby wonders which of the moms will be moving with her.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the primary conflict of Season 5.
But back to this season’s conflict. As this news sinks in for the moms, Gia (still, apparently, Abby’s secretary even in a rented studio space) arrives to tell them a package has arrived with Abby’s name on it. They drag the brightly-wrapped box inside only to find Cathy’s hideous name stamped on it. Abby decides to leave it in a corner and encourages the girls to ignore the trash.
But before rehearsals can start, another familiar face appears. Ava and her mother arrive, apparently here for pyramid, both of them with selective amnesia. In case you’re struggling with the same condition, DM Nation, Abby kicked Ava off the team after her mother had the young dancer compete against the ALDC a few weeks ago.
Not one to go back on her word (well, this time), Abby stands by her decision and kicks Ava out all over again. As the rejected mom and daughter walk out the door, the mothers express their absolute disgust that someone would allow their child to be screamed at by such a horrible, rude, loudmouthed woman more than once.
Apparently they’ve never heard of irony.
Maddie and Melissa head off to rehearse with Jimmy Kimmel and leave the lesser dancers behind.
After the break, the moms talk with the girls about their feelings about the pyramid. Chloe pipes up that she’s just glad the original team is dancing together again and it’s really freaking adorable. They discuss the possibility of moving to L.A. for Abby’s studio, and it’s almost universally agreed that if anyone goes to L.A., it will be to find their own opportunities, not to dance with Abby.
The Select team rehearses their number, entitled “Hollywood Stars.” The goal in this routine is to show off their lines and control. Abby gushes about their technique and fails to mention that, except for Sarah, every dancer on that team came from a different teacher and she can’t take any responsibility for any of it. The Pitt Crew’s dance is, of course, a statement number about kidnapped children which is subtly entitled “Amber Alert”. Mackenzie is being terrorized for the millionth time in her ALDC career and the girls rehearse the number with their usual half-heartedness.
On the other side of the dance tracks, Cathy has begun rehearsing with her thirty-millionth team of dancers this season. This week, she’s brought in a former So You Think You Can Dance winner to choreograph their routine the music for which is… Sia’s “Chandelier.” Nice. That’s definitely going to end well, Cath.
Back at the rented studio, the moms decide to open Abby’s package. Surprise! It’s hideous! The package contains an apple-dotted chandelier in the world’s least subtle act of passive aggression ever. Cathy decides she’s not getting enough attention and marches into the ALDC studio to nag Abby in person. The mothers gleefully send her into the rehearsal to hand deliver her gross light fixture. The Wicked Witch attempts to goad Abby, the moms, and even the girls, but no one takes the bait. Though it’s definitely one of her more annoying stunts, it’s also her least effective.
Afterwards, the moms discuss Cathy’s message … which was basically “You didn’t choreography Maddie’s biggest dance” …. which literally everyone knew already. They have to agree with the sentiment, segueing into a discussion of Maddie’s super-secret private lesson earlier that morning. It’s assumed that Maddie will be doing a last-minute number during Nationals. And it will be more surprising if that doesn’t happen.
Back in the studio, Abby is on the phone with a realtor — she plans to have a studio up and running by next season but she doesn’t have a building yet? — and ChristY decides now is the perfect time to ask about the apple chandelier very loudly.
Abby loses her temper and Sarah starts crying, prompting Abby to yell at her instead of her mother.
This is (hopefully) the only time I sympathize with CWAY, but Ab’s tantrum seemed more abrupt than usual. That screaming match just came out of nowhere.
So now CWAY and Sarah are off the team (how many times is this now?) and the Select team is down two members. Abby has gone AWOL to hunt for studio space and watch Maddie’s Jimmy Kimmel performance, leaving the soloists with woefully little rehearsal time.
Christi is predictably unhappy with Chloe’s choreography despite Gia’s reassurances, and all the moms are now certain beyond a doubt that Maddie is going to be brought in to “save” them at the last minute since she’s been learning new material with Abby all week.
To finish off the episode, the team heads to a street-dance show in downtown L.A. It’s being hosted by one of Abby’s numerous “old friends” and she takes plenty of time to pimp out Maddie’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel and the new studio that’s supposed to be open by this time next year. The girls watch in awe as a bunch of young, West Coast hip-hop dancers take the stage. It’s almost like Abby has only taught them how to do contemporary, lyrical routines! How odd!
Of course Cathy can’t take a day off from being annoying so she hauls her team out to the street, too, and challenges Abby to a dance-off. ALDC accepts and the kids throw down. They go at it as individuals first, and Nia and Chloe nail it.
Chloe is a total sass bucket of curly blonde hair and Nia is as fierce as she has ever been and infinitely more confident than when she is doing a choreographed number. They go head-to-head with a Candy Apple and let the crowd decide who wins.
The traitorous crowd picks the Apple girl, but no one can deny that Chloe and Nia looked fabulous up there.
The groups then face off. The ALDC takes the stage first and perform a perfectly in sync, completely unchoreographed routine to music they have never heard before, followed by the Candy Apples who are also amazingly perfect just, you know, riffin’ off the tops of their heads!
Really convincing, editing crew. Really convincing.
The ALDC wins the overall competition and Cathy leaves a tad more humbled, while Abby self-advertises some more. It’s quite an ending to a big episode — and with only one episode left in the season, the stakes have never seemed so high.
So who is dancing next week? Is Abby’s L.A. studio really a thing? Is Christi going to hang in there for another season? What about Holly Give me your thoughts, Dance Moms Nation! And see you next week!
The Dance Moms Season 4 finale premieres Tuesday, Oct. 7 on Lifetime.