Tragedy has struck Dance Moms Nation! We’ve finally made it to Nationals. Everything else led to this episode. But what are we left with now? No longer will adult women appear on our screens to yell at each other about children dancing. No insanely pretty young girls will floor us with their endless talent and amazingly thick skins. Tuesday nights will become meaningless … just another long, boring night of the week with work the next morning!
… I may be getting ahead of myself. After all, there’s still the inevitable reunion special next week. And probably at least one Christmas special, right? And the Easter special. And probably a St. Patrick’s Day show or two. I mean, Abby and the Pitt Crew will never leave us, right? Er, right?
Before anybody freaks out (some more), let’s take a moment to appreciate our crazy season so far. We’ve had interlopers in every corner, a villainous “Select Team” trying to undermine our Crew every step of the way. Maddie did a music video and Abby won’t let anyone forget it. Cathy threw her rocker out a bus window on the way to a competition somewhere and left behind every last shred of sanity she may have once possessed. Christ-Y preached us the good, nutz-o Word of Her Opinions, and Christ-I preached the truth about Abby. Nia killed it in competition and Abby gave Nationals solos to absolutely anybody else anyway. Holly stopped trying to be the “nice” one and Melissa is getting ready to throw a chair at somebody. With all that, we knew this week would be explosive so let’s have a look at how it all turned out…
Even though there is no pyramid since it’s the middle of the week, Abby took the time out of rehearsal to line the girls up and tell them they aren’t working hard enough. With her “new L.A. studio” looming, everyone is feeling pressure to perform better than usual — especially the Select Team. They may never have stood a real chance of joining the team in Pittsburgh, but they might be able to secure themselves spots in a brand new studio. Abby, however, is not impressed with anyone’s performances so far and threatens to pull one of the selected soloists (Chloe, Kendall, and Kamryn) and put Maddie in instead.
Group rehearsals start with a fury. Abby is shrieking at everyone and all the dances are sloppy messes. The moms are mad at Abby because she hasn’t given the teams her full attention since she’s been out studio hunting … and they’re also very mad at Melissa. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. Even though she spoke up in the arbitrary lineup at the beginning of the episode, saying she thought it was good to give some other team members a chance, Melissa still refuses to pull Maddie from the competition. The rest of the Pitt Crew corners her outside the rented studio and make her so angry that Abby’s most reliable butt kisser actual confronts her and starts swearing up a storm.
After group rehearsal, the girls begin work on their solos and it’s clear who Abby favors. Kendall is sweet, but at best she’s going to become the next Chloe (always second to Maddie, constant verbal punching bag, take your pick of indignities) … and the actual Chloe doesn’t stand a chance as long as Abby hates her mom. After an altercation with Christi, Abs returns to rehearsing Kamryn and insists that if the older, taller girl doesn’t win, she’s off the team. Chloe rehearses with Abby but her choreography is sub-par and she just looks tired and beat down. Christi attempts to encourage her, but Chloe makes it clear that she knows Abby doesn’t want her to win and it’s taking its toll.
The next day, both teams head to their final competition. Unfortunately, Cathy got there first. Instead of the cheering crowds that usually appear to welcome the girls into the competition space, they are greeted by a silent crowd holding apples high in the air. It may be a pointless gimmick, but it’s still annoying to think that people would even pretend to support the Apples at this point in the series.
And of course the shenanigans aren’t done there. Cathy’s entire final routine is one big joke and the ALDC catches on quickly. Cathy hired herself a So You Think You Can Dance alum to choreograph a group routine to Chandelier, which was the hit Sia song whose music video made Maddie more famous than Dance Moms. Abby is furious but no amount of screaming matches in competition dressing rooms is going to change the number, and Abby has to find a new way to get her revenge.
Abby wants to put Maddie in the competition, now using her Chandelier routine just to stick it to Cathy (conveniently forgetting that they don’t have the rights to the song and that it’s not Abby’s choreography). Maddie, however, decides she doesn’t want to dance if it means one of her friends has to get pulled from competition. Abby may think that’s immature but I’m pretty sure I speak for the entire Dance Moms Nation when I say: You go, Maddie!
Solos compete first. Kendall does a barely memorable jazz routine. She looks nice but it’s definitely not on par with some of her earlier choreography and no amount of cutaways of Abby looking happy will convince me she performed it better than Applause. Chloe performs her solo next. Again, the routine is very lackluster for a nationals routine but she’s definitely gotten more expressive from yesterday to today. She looks beautiful and performs the inferior choreography very cleanly. The pressure is on Kamryn to beat Chloe if she wants to stay in Abby’s good graces.
From the get-go, it’s obvious that this routine is better than Kendall’s or Chloe’s (and not just in a Christi-is-oversensitive way). The choreography is intricate and very detailed. Kamryn looks just gorgeous doing it and she is as impressive a performer as she is a dancer. Unfortunately, three days proves not to have been enough time for her to learn such a difficult number. She slips while running backwards downstage and takes an impressive tumble. She goes literally head over heels and then… we cut to commercial before we can see what happens next.
Of course, this all would have been a lot more shocking if they hadn’t been showing clips of the fall in every “Coming Up…” since last week’s preview…
Fortunately, Kamryn covers her fall and bounces back up quickly. Backstage, though, the panicked girl starts crying and Abby comes back to … give her a hug? The world’s most terrifying teacher hugs the Select Dancer and says the fall was “okay” and that she did really well and that she made Abby proud.
Seriously? I’m never in favor of Abby screaming at upset children but “no crying” is the biggest rule after “everybody’s replaceable”! Never, ever has falling (at Nationals, no less) warranted anything but a talking-to. And the moms definitely notice this treatment.
From somewhere nobody cares about, one of the Candy Moms walks past the dressing room while the girls are warming up. She’s wearing a horrible dress and playing Chandelier on her phone. All of the mom’s and Abby stand in shock at this blatant disrespect and Maddie takes it upon herself to drop into her choreography as soon as she picks up the beat. She finishes her number flawlessly and the Candy Mom-minion walks away, defeated like a video game mini-boss.
For the second time this episode: You go, Maddie!
Group numbers are, of course, next, and we finally get to see the product of Cathy’s weeks of bragging.
It’s a little underwhelming.
The poor kids are in ridiculous costumes. Like, a ’90s kid’s idea of what bad ’70s disco outfits look like. The choreography is good but not exactly mind-blowing and hardly even approaches “cutting edge.” Her kids are talented, but lack the drive of Abby’s hand-selected team from legions of child-star wannabes … and basically what I’m saying is that I’m disappointed and I don’t even know why I’m surprised. If Cathy is made of anything other than vitriol, it’s hot air.
The Select team is just gorgeous. Abby explained last week that the routine was designed specifically to cater to their great lines and technique (again, none of which was developed by her…) and it does its job. The girls are tall and elegant and the routine is near flawless.
Remember how Abby conveniently found an excuse to yell at Sara and kick her off the Select team? I can’t imagine it had anything to do with the fact that she’s five inches shorter than everyone else on it and not nearly as experienced. It’s almost like the girls who trained outside of the ALDC are better dancers. How weird!
The Pitt Crew number is not to be shamed, however. Although the choreography is not nearly as mature, the girls handle the subject matter well, as always, and can pull points for tugging heartstrings. Mackenzie, as always, rocks her role as a murdered/abducted/sickly/kidnapped kid and Maddie as the tragic pseudo-mother figure.
The girls are appropriately creepy and the routine definitely delivers some goosebumps. Which means it’s all up to the judges now.
Solo awards are a pretty lackluster affair. Kendall only places ninth, but with that choreography, who can blame her? Chloe and Kamryn tie for fifth with the title going to the dancer with the highest technique score. Recall in days past when Maddie beat Chloe the same way? Abby ripped on her for that. I was preparing for horrible flashbacks when the order was announced. Kamryn in sixth and Chloe in fifth. If you’re keeping score (and you should be), Chloe has now beat Kamryn three times out of three. Boom, baby!
Group results are a little more tense. The Sour Apples only get fifth for all their bluster. Maybe they should have spent less time prepping dumb gimmicks and more time practicing? With that out of the way, we finally come to the culmination of this whole season. Who will win in the end — the Select Team or the Junior Elites?
Our Pitt Crew girls pull through. The Select team takes a close second, though, and the moms revel in their superiority for a little while longer. Of course, that’s not good enough for Abby.
Backstage, and before the girls return, Abby insists that Kamryn should have beat Chloe and Christi is livid. No matter how many times she wins, Chloe will never prove anything to Abby. As the girls file in, Chloe enters crying and announces that she heard everything Abby said.
While Christi gather their things, Abby gives the Select Team a final boot out the door. The Select moms may be pissed, but, as Abby points out, their dancers have served their only purpose, which was to push the ALDC girls into the next level of competition. Well, the Crew has stepped up and the Select Team is no longer necessary. Let’s have a moment of joyous silence for the show’s worst gimmick yet.
The last thirty seconds are a heart-wrenching dedication to Christi and Chloe leaving without the team. Chloe says she still wants to dance, but she can’t do that under Abby any more. As the camera lingers on the mom and daughter leaving Nationals, Chloe cries as she says that the best part of dancing with ALDC is her team and knowing that she always had friend who knew exactly what she was going through after every rehearsal.
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
And that’s it, Ladies and Gentlemen. The end of the season. This is your last chance to vent about a regular episode for a while, so make sure you get it all out. Are Christi and Chloe really gone for good? Who’s watching next season, even if it means a move to L.A.? Who’s had all they can take? What kind of hell awaits us at next week’s reunion special? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.
The Dance Moms Season 4 reunion special airs Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 9/8CT on Lifetime.