Dance Moms Season 5 episode 3 recap: The return of JoJo

Lori Acken

We’re only three episodes into Season 5 and the Christi/Kelly conflict seems years away, doesn’t it, Dance Moms nation? Especially considering Holly’s meltdown(s) last week. Surprisingly, Melissa (looking at the floor and cleaning her teeth with her tongue) actually pipes up right out of the gate to find out how “Holl” is after last week’s “you’re only promoting three kids” throwdown. At least we got Melissa to look away from Abby’s-ass-kissing the cue cards, now we just need to work on her, “I care/I’m empathetic” voice.

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Holly, the moral pillar of our program, starts off the show in her nasal-iest whiny-voice and tries to explain why conflict resolution is the way to go — and here comes the queen of conflict.

Humble Holly asks for a Mom Meeting before the girls come in to discuss last week’s competition. Jill thinks that’s a fine idea. Melissa’s body language promptly shifts into an, “I swear Abby; I am not a part of this!” Abby shuts it down with a nice, loud “No” and I don’t blame her! Call and make an appointment if you need some therapy, Mamas.

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Before we get to pyramid, Abby feels compelled to reiterate that she knows what she is doing even if everyone else picks it apart. So eyes on Abby, everyone. Ignore your harping mothers.

After quick congrats for the group dance win, Abby says we’re heading to in10sity Dance in Jersey. Well, most of us. The chosen one has some charity gig in L.A. with Sia this week and won’t be available for her team — but we need to think of it as her blazing the trail for ALDC L.A. And anyways — here’s the new headshots! The girls hug and squeal.

Is it just me or does anyone else realize that Kendall gives far more insightful interviews than her mother? Kendall tries to explain Abby’s “rude” behavior and let us all know that “she knows what she’s doing” I hope you think that the next time you’re crying and running for the door, Miss Kendall!

Pyramid time. Bottom: Kendall, because of course. “What? Why?” Jill, seriously, have you absolutely no intellectual recall whatsoever? Holly helpfully explains that everybody cries sometimes. Next up is Kalani for placing fourth overall. Sorry Kira, but this was your girl’s big chance to show her stuff against Maddie and it didn’t go so well. Nia is next — second week in a row, Abby has nothing but compliments for her. Humble Holly, shows her appreciation via an eye roll. Mackenzie is next for doing a great job of jumping up and falling down really well in the group. And top of pyramid is, of course, Maddie, even though she took second place. (But remember — Eva and her mom rigged it) Abby says that’s OK, because it’s good to get beat once in a while.

Jill decides to compete with Holly for Best Eye Roll and wins.

This week’s group routine is about religion diversity (cue scrunched-up mom faces). But enough about that…SOLOS!

Mack gets the usual Acro Jazz routine — but Abby reminds her that if you don’t do it Abby’s way, this could be your last solo ever! Who’s next? Someone who understands character and never, ever cries to Mommy. The camera lingers lovingly on Nia’s photo and Holly un-smushes her face into a glowing pride because obviously Abby is talking about … JoJo with the BowBow from Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition! What?! Woot! I seriously love this kid; she’s hilarious and talented! And what in the hell is that top she wearing?

Of course JoJoBowBow can’t help herself: “Do you think I could be the next Chloe?” she burbles. The Pitt Crew moms groan and gasp, but Abby, unfazed, gives her usual spiel about working hard and anyone can replace anyone! Well, anyone except Maddie. Bam!

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The mothers barely get their butts parked in the Mom Loft before Jill just has to ask Jessalyn what her intentions are by being here. Just in case Jess lives under a rock, Jill clarifies that it is Maddie who gets preferential treatment. Melissa keeps nervously froofing her hair. Doh! She’s nervous! Last week Kalani was up against Maddie, this week JoJo is up against Maddie. Somebody needs a Xanax!

The Abby asks JoJo to improvise to prove to the rest of the girls what is so special about her. But the mothers are too busy circling the fresh meat in the mom loft to notice much. BowJo’s inability to filter any thought that comes into her head is clearly the apple that doesn’t fall from the Jess. Jess has a fake confidence that I could smell a mile away; unfortunately, Jill cannot. Jill’s going to show her, yes sir! In typical Jill fashion, she points out the obvious: JoJo is NOT a member of the ALDC so why should she get a solo — much less be able to dance with the team at all!

Maybe Jill should do these recaps.

But Jess nips back and dangles the 14K carrot, “You guys are going to L.A. right?” she wonders. Blam… the moms can’t help themselves: “Yes.” Jess informs them that her JoJo has the L.A. look. “Pfft!” says Jill. Bottle of peroxide, rhinestones, bows … so not the ALDC, honey. I’m Jill and I know how things work around here; you, interloper, do not.

Group routine “Something to Believe In” is liturgical: Each girl is playing a different ‘religion’: Catholic Nun (Mack), Hare Krishna (Kendall), High Priestess (Nia), Muslim (JoJo), and Hindi (Kalani) — God (Maddie) will sadly not be there. Abby wants the girls to understand differences and “embody something that she is not” — something she feels is important to learn before they head for L.A.

Hate her all you want, but I think Abby’s routines are thoughtful and always have a purpose in extending the girls’ skills.

Holly’s smush face is back and she feels the need to go on a gentle “disappointment in Abby” rant. But Jess is no dummy! She jumps on that like a kangaroo avoiding a crevasse and says the moms are lucky to have Abby in their kids’ corners! Melissa (looking at knees…was the cue card guy sick?) opts not to get into it. Jill throws down, Jill style: random, obvious, and poor, poor Kendall.

Smelling weakness, Jess keeps pushing Holly’s tantrum button and we have a middle school back-and-forth between 14-year-old versions of Holly and Jess.

Kira is awfully quiet this week.

Because nothing is more inspirational to a child than being told another child is better than you, JoJo is summoned to Mack’s solo practice and instructed to give Mack her bow. Mack grins. Melissa does this.

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Up in the Mom Loft, Melissa fidgets and Jill suddenly switches sides, pointing out that JoJo is a cute kid and oh well if she makes Mack nervous.

Even though Jessalyn says they came here to stay, I wouldn’t bet on JoJo sticking around for too long — Abby just gave the baby Bette Midler a lyrical solo. She wants to see if the devil child can be an angel when she has to. Or not. That lasts about 5 seconds until Abby realizes that this is possibly the most ridiculous thing she has ever concocted and just like that JoJo gets a bouncy jazz routine. The moms are astounded that JoJo gets a JoJo routine and I want to shake them. It benefits YOUR children, too, when ALDC doesn’t put a joke onto the stage. She’s not being sassy — she’s taking ownership! Jessalyn says its because she really cares about JoJo. Melissa gives the hair flip of rage.

But God forbid we have a competition without a lyrical piece from the ALDC. Quick! Go get … SARAH! Enter everyone’s favorite mom of all: Christie. Jessalyn says you usually see a woman like that at the thrift shop or the hotdog stand or NASCAR races, not a dance studio. Ugh. I can think of few people fiction or real that give me the visceral reaction that I get when Christie is a part of an episode. But the Pitt Crew Moms seemed relieved to let Christie do the smack talking with Jessalyn.

In the Dancers’ Den, JoJo and Mack talk about their favorite dance styles and Mack says she’s really an advanced tapper. Following in Maddie’s footsteps.

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Also she is not the least bit nervous about anything.

Kalani – who has even more experience with JoJo than anyone given their AUDC background — says JoJo is nuts.

Up in the Mom Loft, Christie and Jessalyn continue to trade insults, which Jill says gives her a headache. You love it, Jill. You know you love it.

Then it comes time to rehearse the group dance and all the mothers are momentarily distracted by the idea that the routine might make people think they are dissing their religion. Abby tells Nia she is the Maddie of the routine and that if the routine fails, it’s all her fault. Use your face, child. Be regal.

Then we get a peek at Maddie’s rehearsal for her Hollywood Bowl performance with Sia. Maddie says she has never performed in front of 17,000 people before and she’s bummed that every time she does a “Sia thing,” Melissa is always home with Mackenzie. She calls her Other Mother, Abby instead, who takes the opportunity to slam Maddie’s teammates during the conversation. Maddie doesn’t bite. She wishes them all good luck and says she misses them.

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Come competition time, Abby is nowhere to be found, leaving Gia in charge. Gia says Abby is New York, but Holly thinks she is really in L.A. supporting Maddie. Either way, she is not surprised. Praise for Melissa for having her priorities straight.

Jessalyn tells JoJo that this is “her big chance in life.” That’s right, kid. Once you hit 12, it’s all down hill. Melissa tells Mack she believes in her. Gia says whatever happens happens.

JoJo’s solo suits her and she says Abby knows that she is a Hollywood star.

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Just as Mack comes onstage, Abby sneaks into her seat and Jess feels the need to lean over and whisper to Abby that JoJo worked hard and they are very disappointed by her absence. Christie says get over it. (News flash Christie, your kid is at the same status as JoJo here. I wouldn’t be so smug.)

Mack performs just fine and we get to experience the collection of Melissa’s 1.000 dance mom faces.

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In the dressing room, after some fussing from Holly and Jess, Abby lets everyone know that she was en route from her court date ,which is why she was late (don’t we feel badly now, moms?). When the girls come in, miss JoJo just can’t keep it shut. “I killed it,” she burbles. “Since I’m your guest, like, do you feel sad that you didn’t get to see my solo?” Abby response, “No.” To Jess, “You are creating a monster.” Not-so-humble-Holly reminds us all that apple’s don’t fall far. Even if the tree is big.

The group number is a little strange, but kind of moving and the dancers do fine — maybe not their best, but fine.

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Awards time.

Sarah wins the really tiny people category with her JoJo/Maddie replacement lyrical piece. It makes Abby do this.

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JoJo takes third in the junior division. UhOH JoJo! Mack is back! She takes first (Boom!).

The group takes second place. Abby. Can’t. Stand. Being. Second. They blew it. And they know it. Maddie would have made the thing a winner.

Jess decides to cut Abby off (first mistake) saying, “By the way [Christie]…JoJo had 2 more points than Sarah. Death mistake. Finally Kira speaks: Bad comparison, Jess! JoJo is older and scored differently; you actually just made your kid look like a fool. Nicely done. Abby asks JoJo for her opinion and she happily gives it — truth hurts, people. (Nail in coffin).

When Abby takes the girls from the room to “properly thank the judges” — what?! — Holly decides to school Jess on dressing room etiquette and all hell breaks (predictably) loose. The ALDC moms decide to walk out, and Jess says they need to thicken their skins or L.A. will eat them alive. Holly says she’s from the Bronx, so she’s good. And classy. And out.

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Next week on Dance Moms, Abby’s bangs get even taller and JoJo’s sass gets sassier.

New episodes of Dance Moms premiere Tuesdays at 9/8CT on Lifetime.

 

24 Comments

  1. I enjoyed the recap.
    But there is nothing wrong with Jojo. She’s a long way from the diva she was portrayed as on AUDC when she was Asia’s designated competition. Well, this week Abby has each girl tell Jojo what is wrong with her. I won’t watch that, but it sounds like you will really enjoy preteen cruelty inflicted on a peer.

  2. I know there wasn’t a recap for the second episode, but I just have to address this…whenever any of the other girls come in second, Abby gives them the “you’re the first to lose speech.” If Maddie comes in second, she complains that the competition was rigged. I don’t think it was rigged, I think the girl who won was just better than Maddie. I know it’s a hard pill for Abby to swallow, but there are dancers out there who are better than Maddie.

  3. Here’s the story of a big fat lady
    Who was teaching dance to very lovely girls
    All of them had dreams of gold, like their mothers
    The youngest one does twirls

    Here’s the story, of a man named Collins
    Who was stugling with three shows of his own
    They were all flops, cancelled all together
    Yet he’d try one more

    And then one day when fat lady called and bellowed
    And they knew that Collins would pay for lunch
    That this group must somehow form this train wreck
    That’s the way they all became the Abby Bunch

    The Abby Lunch
    The Abby Lunch
    That’s the way they became the Abby Bunch

  4. Sorry, all. I was covering the Television Critics Association press tour for the last two episodes and Katy is a med student, so the transition did not go as smoothly as we hoped. I will be doing the recaps again beginning this week and Katy will chiming in in another capacity. Didn’t mean to leave you in the lurch.

    • Yay Lori! And thanks to Katy for a fine recap! (Is Katy studying pediatric psychiatry perhaps?)

      One thing that perplexes me about the L.A. move is that Miller has always said that her life’s work is to get her students cast in Broadway shows, which makes sense because NYC is by far the most likely place for her students to get professional work. Even the road tour versions of most musicals are cast in NYC.

      The main places for professional kids to get work in L.A. are in TV commercials, and the long shot movie or sit-com role. Of couse all these jobs pay way better than Broadway, but the kids now are already probobaly earning five times as much as any Broadway juvinelle chorus role as it is.

      I can’t see a Disney sit-com wanting anything to do with putting a Miller cast member in the Disney kid star making machine. The right commercial can be extremely lucrative, but again I don’t see a commercial casting director wanting to have the sponsor getting involved with the baggage of a Miller cast member either.

      Miller is going to L.A. to save the TV show for the show’s sake – what with the 50% plus ratings drop situation.

      • I agree. It is delusional to think that these Lifetime “stars”, no matter how pretty or how talented at dance, can hold their own against the gazillions of kids , all with rampant stage moms in tow, vying for spots in TV, movies, or commercials in LA. With no acting or singing talents or training of any kind, the girls don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. And they have the questionable credentials of having been Dance Moms kids that will likely weigh them down until their dance careers are over. The planned move to LA move is all about, and only about, making money for Miller and Lifetime. Miller is grabbing onto Maddie and MacKenzie with every ounce of her being, seeing them as her lifeline after Lifetime. She will do whatever she needs to make money off their backs. An ALDC in LA is laughable – and after the show is gone, it’s highly likely the one in PA will shut down, too. Without exception, all the moms on the show, all the wannabee moms at Flabby Lee’s auditions and in her studio, are fame whores, wanting to stick their kids on national TV for their own gratification and for money. Oh, for a crystal ball to see where they all are five or ten years from now! Blubbering in bankruptcy is my guess.

  5. Does anyone really think that changing JoJo’s dance so Sarah could perform was anything less than a fully *scripted* moment?

  6. I decided I would watch this week, just to see if Jojo had matured since AUDC…pretty sure she is worse now, if that’s even possible. I had to turn it off after fifteen minutes because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Never in my life have I seen such a nasty child. She is rude, obnoxious and just an all-around brat. She’s an absolute nightmare, and so is her mother. I understand her mother has raised her to be this way, but that is no longer an excuse. She’s 11 years-old and she should know to behave in an appropriate manner. She has absolutely no manners or social etiquette. She doesn’t think before she speaks and has no remorse for her actions. You can criticize me all you want for saying this about a little girl, but it’s not my fault that this is the truth. We went from Chloe, who was sweet, classy and elegant, to Jojo, who is loud, rude and obnoxious. Nice. Real nice…

    • We also got Sarah, who is as sweet as can be and a beautiful dancer. Shame about her awful mother CWAY, but at least she was reasonably quiet in this episode. Maybe that is her instructions from Lifetime for the season–shut up so that viewers can feel good about liking your daughter. The double dose of horrible new mothers was a bit hard to take this episode.

      • CWAY was an angel this week compared to Jess, and I think Sarah has come a long way just in the short time we’ve seen her dance, her routine was gorgeous and she absolutely deserved that win. I’m surprised that none of the other mothers addressed Sarah even being added to the roster this week though. In the past, if any of the other girls were having trouble mastering a specific genre of dance, Abby would tell them to suck it up and learn it anyway, there’s no way she would have changed it the way she did for Jojo.

  7. This week’s Dance Moms was in 42nd place on Tuesday night’s cable ratings. It also got a 0.5 (18-49) rating and 1,335k viewership. The Season 3 Premiere was in top 5 with a 1.1 (18-49) rating.

  8. What a sorry, miserable show this is turning into! Not a spark of humor or a moment of joy in the entire episode, just mean, immature behavior all round. I watched a couple of older episodes and I laughed out loud at some of the back-and-forth between Christi and Kelli–they were so smart, sassy, and funny together. Even after Kelli was gone, Christi was hilarious in her on-camera cameos. There is not one entertaining adult left and the kids are sad, defensive, and–let’s face it–getting too old to be cute. I loved the original group of kids, but I now realize that I watched the show for Christi and her smart-talk and snappy, snarky, sense of humor. All the talk about stardom in LA is so stupid and shortsighted, too. Once the show is off the air, the “careers” of these girls will likely tank and they will have spent their formative years preparing for …. nothing. Mothers, it’s time to get out before the boat sinks–if your kids still love dance, get them some good training and onto a college track (for dance or otherwise) so that they can enjoy their teen years and look forward to longer lasting success as adults rather than fleeting moments of glory.

    • Ditto, and sorry to say Katy, I preferred Lori’s recaps. For further reference, we call Sarah’s mom CWAY aka Christy with a Y, just so there isn’t any confusion lol. How can you LIKE Jojo?? That kid is an absolute nightmare, she was horrible on AUDC and is even worse now, including that gawd-awful mother of hers.

      • Let’s give Katy a break. For her first recap, I thought it was pretty great. Lori has her own unique style and I’m sure Katy does, too. I’m just happy there is someone to point out the atrociousness and the silliness of this show!

        • Meh, I guess I’m bitter that we were told there would be a recap last week and have yet to see anything, no apology, no explanation, nothing. I’m not good with change LOL.

    • The good news is that the kids can now easily afford a college track with no student loans – and buy a house to live in while away at college.

      • Oops, wrong spot. This comment was a response to you, John: That’s if the mothers haven’t spent the money already on jewels and furs and nips and tucks. Or, in an ultimate show of foolishness, on moving to LA, where they may very well be bereft of homes and husbands to pay the bills.

  9. Great re-cap, Katy! Nice to have you aboard! You put into words all the things I was thinking (and laughing and cringing about) while watching this latest episode. I’ll be looking forward to your future re-caps!

    • That’s if the mothers haven’t spent the money already on jewels and furs and nips and tucks. Or, in an ultimate show of foolishness, on moving to LA, where they may very well be bereft of homes and husbands to pay the bills.

  10. Nice to have you aboard, new recapper Katy Lafond! I love this recap! You have a very deep insight on the entire scope of Dance Moms, and it’s intriguing to see how this season goes, with you highlighting everything.

    Opening of the episode was… interesting. Holly definitely is standing her ground this season, and Abby’s being caught in her vicious and ridiculous behavior.

    The head shots were beautiful, these girls are very photogenic. We get to see which ones they pick for next week’s pyramid. My pyramid personally would’ve been Nia at the top, then Mackenzie, then Maddie, then Kendall, and lastly Kalani. But, pyramid is normally a bunch of crock as it is so… it doesn’t matter.

    Jojo is a great dancer, but she runs her mouth A LOT. She’s funny at times, but can be obnoxious. Jessalyn… oh dear me. She tried way too hard this episode, and it was quite rude for her to be so snobby and decisive on everything. Jojo asking to be Chloe’s replacement made me laugh. No one can replace Chloe. No one can replace ANY of the dancers ok the team because they’re all different.

    Christy was quite tame, and I enjoy the softer side. I think Sarah is a great addition to the team, and it’s sad- she won’t be back next episode. Jessalyn was so rude to Christy, and even more rude to Sarah. It’s disgusting that she’d say the stuff she said to a 9 year-old.

    Jojo’ solo was interesting. I love her turns. Sometimes, I feel like Maddie; she can over exaggerate her faces a little TOO much, because performing in general allows you to have over-the-top facials, but even you can overdo that in a performance. The music was great though.

    Sarah’s solo One Heart was light, and gorgeous. I personally love Sarah a lot, she’s my 2nd favorite dancer on the show now that Chloe has unfortunately left. Her technique was okay, and she had shaky moments (no one is perfect). Costume? Absolutely lovely.

    You didn’t write anything about Sarah’s solo in the recap, and in case you want to go back and put your thoughts on it, you should.

    Mackenzie’s solo… *yawn*. She’s a great dancer, and even greater acrobat, but I’m getting bored of acrobatics from even her. She’s got so much talent that it’s going to waste as being labeled as an acrobat only. Mackenzie is amazing at tap, huh. Maddie and Mackenzie should have a tap battle; tap solos for the both of them will be amazing.

    The group routine… it was eh. Nia didn’t seem to take the lead on, because she wasn’t choreographed in to be one. There were no turn sequences at all, and there’s normally at least one in the number when Maddie’s with them. It seemed slightly plain. I will say though, I loved Kendall, Kalani, and Sarah’s costumes.

    Sarah wins the entire mini division like the show said, but she did not make the top ten solos of the entire competition- the overalls. Jojo was 3rd like the show said, but didn’t place in the overalls either. Mackenzie took home 1st in Junior, and the 3rd highest solo score of the competition.

    2nd place in Junior went to another AUDC member, Haley Huelsman who danced a lyrical solo to the instrumental of Thousand Years. Her mother, Melaine, sat behind the ALDC. Haley danced for one of Loree Cloud’s studios in Conneticut I think. Loree was one of the select moms last year.

    Group, as we know got second. Of course it did. Maddie wasn’t there, and Abby didn’t give two F’s about the number to begin with. In the dressing room, Jojo and Jessalyn’s behavior were atrocious. I found it to be despicable. I can’t stand either of them for how rude they can be, but we have to deal with it for a while, because Jojo is still with the team, and the season just filmed their 12th episode on Saturday.

    Great recap Katy!

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