Yeeeeesssss, Dance Moms faithful, I’m back, lured by the prospect of Christi and Kelly’s revenge … and the fact that your new Dance Moms recap mommy Katy LaFond will take over next week.
We begin Season 5 on a hyper perky note with the girls super squealy about returning to the ALDC and a super squealy Abby Lee. Who, it appears, is down a good 40 pounds. Maybe more. I’m bad at that sort of thing. How ever many pounds it is, Jill says it’s too many and we have to fatten our fearsome leader back up. Nobody likes a skinny Santa … er, Abby … papa.
Plus, it diminishes the opportunity for fat jokes, ain’t that right, Jill … and Cathy Candy Apple?
After all the Lukasiak-quashing drama that was the Season 4 finale’s showdown at Nationals, only Nia, Maddie, Mack and Kendall — and thus, only Jill, Melissa and Holly —are back. And things is a leeeeeettle quiet.
Finally the girls break the silence by pointing out that no one knows where Chloe is. Maddie says that she hasn’t talked to Chloe since before the Nationals blowout and her pal’s not returning texts or FaceTime requests from any of them. Plus, she misses her.
Nia would like a little clarification as to whether Chloe was officially kicked out or if she just … left. The moms assure her that she was not kicked out at all. Jill hopes the Lukasiaks show up, because, you know, they’re a team and teams stick together through thick (dance teacher) and thin.
A morose-looking Holly says the other shoe has yet to drop, and it just does not feel like a complete team. Still, the remaining girls need to chin up and present a untied front.
We start studio time with congrats all around on winning Nationals for a fourth time, and opting to play dumb, Melissa wants to know if Abby has talked to Christi. “Talk to her?” Abby crows. “ I don’t think she would spit on me. Oh sure she would, Abby. She’s just removed herself from the situation. Abby goes on to say that Chloe is welcome to come back to the ALDC — but without her mother.
Holly points out that, yes, but we’re down to 4 girls from 7. Never you mind that, Holly. Never you mind.
Then we sing our Abby Lee ABC’s! Now I know my ALDCLA’s … going to happen. Won’t you come and sing — and act! and dance! — with me!! And we have a mere four weeks to prep!
Because of our awkward numbers, the pyramid is a square with a chimney. Kendall is bottom of the bottom, because she was ninth. And Abby doesn’t want to hear Jill’s lip about it. Chloe makes her final pyramid appearance next to Kendall in the bottom row. Hey, at least she ranked.
Nia and Mack make up row two. Nia gets props for leading the winning group number and takes the iffy pyramid placement for doing so with her usual grace. Big Mac took being snatched with style.
Maddie is the chimney for handling professional work and responsibilities to the ALDC with aplomb.
This week we’re going to Sheer Talent in Niagara Falls, about which the girls look unreasonably happy. Is Niagara Falls that big a deal anymore?
Kendall and Nia get solos. Abby said she would have also given a solo to Chloe, but it’s hard to dance if you ain’t around.
Group number will be called Freak Show — someone’s been watching her some FX! — and all four girls will be getting their freak on. Then, Abby reminds the girls that they’re not going to be junior elites much longer, they’re going to be working dancer/actresses. There’s a method to her madness, damn it.
The mothers head up to the Mom Loft and before they get down to work, Abby tells the girls that she really believed that sorries would be said, Chloe would be there and life would go on. But oh well. Traitors are traitors and that is that
Holly says a team of four dancers just plain looks ridiculous. Melissa says given that so much is up in the air, well…let’s go eat and drink and be merry!
Freak Show is musical theater and it’s dark and scary and uncomfortable and it should make people uncomfortable. In other words, your basic Abby Lee group dance. In this one, Nia is going to be the Strong Woman. Mac will be the contortionist. Kendall and Maddie will be Siamese Twins. It’s a teeny little circus.
Jill says she’s hallucinating Chloe. Let’s call them and see if that helps the psychosis. It doesn’t; the call goes right into a voicemail box.
Down in the studio, Abby says the girls aren’t being dark and seedy and carny enough to suit her. Holly obsessed on about Only Four Dancers. Abby has an idea. She’s calling someone! Someone’s coming!
Kalani is coming. The girl’s are thrilled. The mothers are not. Holly says the arrival of Kalani and her mother is what started all the troubles in the first place. Holly! You’re smarter than that.
For her solo, Nia is going to be a “Street Star” with a contemporary jazz number that Abby says is also avant-garde. Nia’s supposed to think yellow and red and blue and exciting! Holly adds that the primary-colored solo is designed to help her prepare for LA.
Holly also says hat the dance off against the Candy Apples back in Season 4 made her see a different side of her kid and well, maybe Nia is ready for a go in L.A. after all. Nia also has to dance with a giant barbell in the group number. Because of course she does.
Jill says the impending arrival of Kira and Kalani makes her worry that Chloe and Christi really are gone for good. Trust me, toots. They’re gone for good, Kalani or no Kalani.
Holly says she hopes that it’s not going to come down to an “us versus them” with Kelly and Christi — a.k.a. the Old Guard. She hopes that whatever is going on with them isn’t going to derail what their girls have worked so hard on.
And look who’s here. And who has grown up a ton since we saw her last.
Jill wastes no time in hazing Kira in the Mom Loft. Kira says the issues have been worked out and she’s not going to leave again and anyways, where’s Christi? Holly wants to know what Abby told Kira about where’s Christi and Kira says not a single word. Nope. Not one. Just that’s there’s been changes.
Kalani gets Chloe’s solo. Which makes no sense, says Jill. The jazz dance is called Dance Till I Die and it’s a little bit Austin Powers. In heels. Kira says her girl is finally being challenged. Maybe it’s her big chance to challenge Maddie, too.
Holly wants to know why Kalani gets a solo right out of the gate, because someone has to wonder it. Kira says Holly needs to take it up with Abby. Holly says no, she’s holding Kira accountable. Kira gives her one of these.
In the newly christened “Dancers’ Den” the girls are opining that Christi is telling Chloe not to respond to them and that she would really love to come back and dance with them. Maddie says she feels like she’s lost a friend. The mothers coo soothing things.
Kendall’s contemporary is called Victorious and she is dancing with a spear because she’s a warrior and she’s trying to take over Chloe’s role in the company. Jill likes the solo. Abby doesn’t like Kendall’s technique. Abby doesn’t like Jill’s tone.
Come time to rehearse the group dance, Abby needs more face in her Freak Show. These girls are not dancing seedy and carny at all. Despite the group dance being far too tame, Holly continues to obsess about Christi and Chloe, instead. But Melissa isn’t going to miss Christi. At all.
Kira says Christi has been posting stuff on social media. In fact, Christi and Kelly are supporting each other on social media. Jill says their supporting each other on social media is the same as tearing her down on social media — and also tearing Abby down on social media — and that’s just wrong. Social media. Social media. Social media.
Holly agrees. She says there is no call for the wayward duo to try to destroy them, just because they’ve chosen to support their children, who still want to dance for Abby Lee. She feels betrayed. In fact, it’s a bloody war, you ask Holly. (It’s dancing, people. Dancing. Dancing, people who take it far too seriously and a TV show about that. Is what it is.)
But anyway, Kira sees a chance to get in good with her new/former comrades by nodding along about loyalty.
Come time to hop for the bus for Niagara Falls, the mood is somber because news of Paige’s supplemental lawsuit to her mother’s has hit the universe. Holly says it’s shocking. Melissa stayed up all night long. Jill and Holly say she has to get her shiznit together for Abby. Calming vibes, people. Calming vibes. For the woman who wouldn’t know a calming vibe if it bit her.
Resurrecting the hairbands of yore, Abby is the very picture of misery. “I’ve given up my social life, my personal life, my family life for somebody else’s child,” she laments as the bus rolls down the road. “A lot of them are very grateful and appreciative and make me proud every day. And a lot of them are bitter and ungrateful.”
Or unwilling to allow their children’s self-esteem suffer at the hands of a vindictive teacher only too willing to allow the sins of the mother fall on the child? Maybe?
Anyway, Holly’s worried about what they will face from the public when they get to Niagara Falls. And the crowd goes wild anyway — at least the crowd they show on camera. Even the ones holding the We Love Chloe signs. Mostly because their brains are not yet fully formed.
“They get us,” Jill says. “They really get us.”
Nonetheless, Abby looks sober in the get-ready room. Jill says the lawsuits are just dumb because Abby has been the same for years and years and years and nothing has changed. Precisely. And also Jill and Holly spent years and years and years telling Kelly and Christi they had to stand up for their girls and protect them. Until now.
Abby invokes the (truly) sacred name of Maryen Lorrain in saying why she will fight to the death for her legacy.
Come time to dance, Kendall is up first and she dances beautifully, as per usual. “I am a warrior … even when it hurts,” says Abby’s first message dance of Season 5.
Jill says it should go along way in proving to Abby that Kendall’s the right girl for the LA job. Is everyone moving to L.A.? What is the deal with L.A.?
Nia looks all kinds of cool in her white chicken–pocked “pop art” getup. Holly looks like she’s going to throw up for all her determined concentration as her girls dances. And the dance ends on a death drop for good measure. Nia!
Abby says Kalani needs to prove she’s ready to compete for the No. 1 spot, but I’m not sure this is the choreography to do it. Kalani gives good face and great, long-limbed grace and the routine is pretty mature, given it’s an Abby routine, but there wasn’t really much spark to it.
But the girl has a second chance to show off her chutzpah, because here comes the Freak Show. Oh. Poor. Kalani.
Ain’t that right, Maddie?
Jill is so glad we’re starting the year out with something fun! And that her kid is not a bearded lady! She didn’t say that. But you know she’s thinking it. You know she is.
Ooops. Maybe not so fun. Abby gets a phone call that makes her look like this.
She tears up and leaves the room dramatically. Melissa is elected to chase Abby down, because of course she is.
Turns out the news is at Abby’s house. Melissa says they have to fight back. Holly says Kelly and Christi are causing a freak show of their own with this media circus on the very weekend the competition season starts.
Come now, Holly. Really. You had a front-row seat — and so did the rest of us — to the crap Paige, Brooke and Chloe were dealt. Forget Christi and Kelly. I’m betting you find it at least a tad understandable.
Maddie leads a group cuddle and then the Freak Show begins.
The dance is fun and visually interesting and te girls perform it well. The crowd gives it a standing O. Abby says she was blown away.
The judges were, too. It’s Freak Show for the win.
Nia gets second in junior solos. Kendall wins.
The (still) Bearded Kalani gets second in teen solos.
Then announcer man takes it upon himself to say that Sheer Talent indisputably supports Abby Lee. Then he calls her to the stage the whole place can support her, too. “If you love what you do and believe in what you do, keep doing it,” says our beaming leader. “You will succeed.”
Hear that, Paige, Brooke and Chloe?
Coming up on Dance Moms: Ava’s back to torment the ALDC. And, oh Jesus, it’s JoJo.
New episodes of Dance Moms premiere Tuesdays at 9/8CT on Lifetime.