Dance Moms Season 5 episode 7 recap: To Matty B or Not to Matty B

It’s our last week in L.A. Dance Moms nation and Abby says it’s gonna be a big one. More choreography than ever to contend with (which makes Melissa suck her teeth) and we’re down a major player. Our Maddie is guest starring – like, legit, acting —on Disney’s Austin and Ally and that, people, is a honkin’ deal.

It also means we need a swing for the team; let’s meet our prospective swingers now! Oh hey, Sarah and Tracey. Back for more punishment, huh? How exciting! Right, Sarah?!



Kira’s equally excited. Both Sarah and Mystery Girl are from Kalani’s original studio in Arizona and she and Tracey have a past — including on Dance Moms — a bit of which we relive in dramatic black and white.

Mystery Girl’s mom is named Ashlee, and Kira informs us that she might look like a sweet blond Barbie lady, but she’s actually a world-class sh*t-talker. Takes one to know one, perhaps? And anybody else enjoy the “Please watch your step” sign behind her head.


Watch your step, indeed.

Ashlee’s daughter, Brynn, is completely adorable and makes a nicely smiley pal for Big Mac. See?


Abby says something about Brynn reminds her of Maddie.

Pyramid time.

Nia is bottom of the bottom because her mother is yucky and therefore Nia could not dance with the group. Jo Jo is next. It’s a numbers game. Fifth in the competition, fifth spot on the pyramid, acts like a 5-year-old…

Jess ain’t having it. Jo Jo did a good job, she says.
But she didn’t watch the movie. She was given a (completely asinine and inappropriate) assignment and she didn’t complete it.
Jessalyn — who is momentarily my favorite mother in the group because this show loves to screw with my head — defends her choices and her kid.

Abby makes this face.



Jessalyn doesn’t bend. Abby decides that means she thinks she’s too good for the ALDC and tears down Jo Jo’s photo. The kids tears up. Abby says no crying children. Jo Jo says if you yell at her, she’s going to cry. Them’s the facts.

Aaaaaand we’re down two dancers. I’m hard pressed to think by accident. “My kid would never do that!” crows Melissa.

But we haven’t heard the last of Jo Jo.





Because you talked back.



Besides. You yell at any kid in there and …going-to-cry

Well, no. All Abby does is yell. The show would be 100% crying. I mean besides those of us who watch it.

Plus, mama doesn’t want off the gravy train just yet, so go say you’re sorry.


Because. Do it, little girl.


Back to the pyramid.

Surprisingly, Maddie is next. She led the group dance, ya da ya da, and we’re moving on. Next is Kalani, who stood out for Abby in the group dance. Kendall gets the top of the top — wait, where was Big Mac? — because even though she didn’t win, she danced through the drama with her music crapping out.

Speaking of drama, look who knows how to make an entrance. Little Miss prom queen marches back into line, chin held high and says she’s sorry for not watching the movie with all the sincerity of Tommy Nolan inviting Carrie to the prom. Abby accepts it anyway. Jill wants to know why the hell she had to parade on back in in the middle of Abby finally saying something good about Kendall.

This week we’re going to Starbound National Talent competition in Fallbrook — we’re getting the heck outta L.A.. And what say we take a message dance with us? How’s about couple of them?

Since all we’ve done is feud lately, duet #1  will celebrate that little misunderstanding between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. Kalani’s Nancy. Sarah is Tonya. Yay, Kira! Kalani’s the good guy! No? No yay?


Tracey says Kira is more like Tonya than her Sarah. From you, lady, Kira takes it as a compliment.

Our next feuding duo? Big Mac playing Lucille Ball and Jo Jo playing Ethel Mertz. For real. Melissa loves it to the point of hysteria. The children beam, even though they probably have no flying idea who Lucy and Ethel are. Seriously, Abby. Of this century, please? And also, how are Lucy and Ethel a feud?

Nia and Kendall are left out again. It doesn’t escape Jill’s notice.

No solos this time. Instead we will do two small groups. One is a “Sad Clown” dance called No Laughing Matter. Brynn, Mac, Kalani and Sarah will be the sad clowns. The other small group will be based on Moulin Rouge, as in the Christina, Pink, Mya, Lil’ Kim version. Er, I think you mean, Lady Marmalade from Moulin Rouge, there, Ab, but whatever. Kendall, Nia, Jo Jo and Mac will do this one.

Because there are so many dancers, a guest choreographer will be helming Moulin Rouge, which makes the mothers mad.

While Gia manages the Sad Clown dance — which for some reason, will have “lovely costumes” — the moms gossip in the mom room. Jill says that L.A. has been nothing like what they were promised. Holly chimes in. Same old same old. Newbies come and go. Blah blah blah. Someone poke me when someone says something new.

To facilitate the process, Jill decides to poke the Arizona beehive and ask Ashlee, Tracey and Kira what gives with their collective animosity. Super-competitive studio says Ashlee. You wouldn’t understand. <choke>

Meanwhile, Abby gets a Very Important Phone Call and holds up her phone so we can all hear it. It’s from Blake Morris, Dadager of Internet sensation MattyB. MATTY B?! Matty B! Squeeee!

Who is Matty B? Am I supposed to know this? Especially since I know who Lucy, Ethel, Nancy, Tonya AND Lil Kim are? No, I should not. MattyB is a pink-cheeked, cherubic little rapper in a nice argyle sweater, yo. Who really should be learning much better grammar than that.


Anyway, hi MattyB! Hi! We looove you!

Turns out MattyB needs a nice girl for his vid and he’d like the ALDC ladies to audition. But oh no! Since the gig also requires some singing, Mackenzie is the logical candidate, but she already has a recording contract. So why would she promote another artist? Unless. Unleeesssssss …it’s MattyB featuring MackZ. Ooooohhhh! Melissa likes the sound of that. Jill does not. Abby tells her to shut up.

The next day we talk about what a rude beastie Abby is and how if your kid’s name doesn’t begin with an M, you’re SOL. Especially concerning MattyB.

Then we check in with Molly Long who is putting together the Moulin Rouge dance. Molly taught booty camp and passed muster with Abs. She’s happy about this dance, too.

So Melissa, what gives with the MattyB sitch, anyhow? Mack’s music producer says no-go. Backward steps. Then step aside, lady, and let someone else’s kid have a chance. MattyB has 1 billion views and that would be a big shot in the arm.

Oh. Er. A billion? Well maybe it’s not a backward step. Whatever kind of step it is though, it should be one made by an ALDC dancer, not a Jo Jo or a Brynn. And so there. Tracey begs to differ.

Lucy and Ethel work on their dance while the mothers move on to how Jo Jo survived giving Abby lip. We decide it was a no-win situation. They usually are, ladies. They usually are. Also, Tonya Harding’s kinda Abby’s kinda gal.

Company! We’ve got company, people!


For their lead, they’re looking for someone with the essence of a child, says Marshall. Someone who can sing and dance. The girl who wants the job the most.

In addition to the lead, there are also three level-two dancers and the rest are relegated to level three. Abby says she will never let Mack take the job if she’s not the lead.

The pair, plus Erik something or other, who we’ve also seen before, say Jo Jo is a great performer. Brynn looks down too much. Kendall is strong. Her love for MattyB alone might drive her to the top. Kalani gets called a pin-up. Yikes. Nia botches her death drop. Sarah has an older vibe. Mack just looks uncomfortable.

Now let’s sing.

Nia and Kendall are good. Sarah and Brynn not so much. Kalani’s pretty rough, too. Jury’s out on Jo Jo. Mackenzie does OK, too.Looks like a shootout between Mackenzie and Jo Jo for the lead. Jo Jo out-wanted it. Mack seemed entitled.

Let’s shoot. Heeeeeeey! There he is!


Uh, caption guy? That’s Matty. Not Maddie. But Maddie’s here, too, turns out. Melissa, you conniving beast, says Jill. Let’s get the results.

Marshall says the third tier is “Brynn, Kindle and Serah.” The waitresses will be Nia, Jo Jo and Kalani. Mack gets the lead. But Jo Jo’s part was written just for her, so that. Everyone seems happy.

Wow. How gorgeous is Kalani? Let the milkshakes bring everyone together.


Isn’t this day so much fun?! And no Abby to spoil it! So let’s ruin the hell out of that! Melissa calls Abby to tell her that Mack got the lead.

A: As in lead billing?
M: Dunno. But … the lead.
A: Don’t sign anything.
M: Did.

Me: Oh oh.

Hey, Abby! S’up?!



And the reason your talent was here with the camera crew from your reality show in tow, but you weren’t here to make sure the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed is … because this is all a bunch of B.S. designed to show us what a bad-ass, totes legit manager you are?

Stink eye on you, Melissa. Stank eye, too.

Abby is adamant: Melissa is an idiot. Blake and MattyB need us. We don’t need them. Righty-o. Those billion YouTube views were because the universe knew they would be working with an Abby Lee minion someday. Unless MackZ gets top billing in the MattyB vid, the whole shooting’ match is off. Whatever will happen???


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


  1. How can it be that I JUST discovered you, Lori Acken? I have watched every episode of The Grinch Who Stole the Joy from Dance Class (or, You Stink, You Stank, You Stunk!) and find myself sadistically entertained. Now I have your insightful and amusing recaps to carry me laughing into the next day! Thank you.

  2. Oh yeah…one more thing…am I the only one who is so sick and tired of the ‘who is going to be Maddie when Maddie isn’t around’ stuff? I mean how many of those competitions have we had? Chloe won them so many times but Abby kept having them again because she couldn’t let Chloe win and get the Maddie choreography. Kendall won once, too. Gah! I wish that Abby would just give it a rest. We all know that Maddie is her only true interest, but wouldn’t it be nice to have just one episode where she didn’t have to hammer it into the other girls? I just can’t believe that Lifetime doesn’t step in. I am so glad that everyone is going back to PA after this! Oh! How about Melissa bringing Maddie to the video shoot with her hair all done 50’s style and in full make-up. The woman has no shame!

    • Yup, I’m with you Kathryn, on all points :), but then I usually am lol. You have great insight on the show and often say things a lot of would like to say but don’t, love it :).

    • Haven’t you heard…”Who will be Maddie when Maddie isn’t around” is the new “everyone is replaceable.” Never thought I would miss hearing how replaceable everyone is.

  3. Lori, reading your recaps is always a hoot, and then reading these comments from the Dance Moms Nation are the icing on the cake! Thanks for giving me something to look forward to each week. I am a bit bummed that no-one has ever called me a sick bastard, though. I now have a new goal to aspire to!! 😉

  4. In other news I dug most of the girls audition, JoJo was great EXCEPT when it came to that voice, if she could sing she probably would have won the role, because honestly the looks of the video looked perfect for her. Her standing up to Abby was that moment when I wanted to go yay but no cuz it’s not cool when a kid talks back to an adult, but Abby be going hard at these girls and sometimes its hard to turn the tears off. So I was like geez, give her a break Ab’s. I know Jessalynn thinks her kid is the best but all moms do, give Jojo at least a break…for now. She does have to watch that mouth though. Nia was great, death drop was out of place for that particular video so unnecessary for the audition, but her voice was on point, and as much as I love Nia, I wouldn’t have picked her for the lead girl video either, cuz the girl is taller than him, it’s just a height game but she was adorbz in the costume and her hair was AMAZING this week. Poor Kendall, she was good at the dancing and her singing was great but forgettable…again she would have been too tall for MattyB. Honestly Mack would have been the smart choice. but the way Abby bowled in there making claims that they need her she doesn’t need them was like…umm..I know the girls are hot stuff BUT let’s be realistic here there’s a whole other YT world you get access by shutting your mouth and letting your kids enjoy their first LA video together. FLASHBACK (that one was for fun)

    • I think this whole thing was orchestrated start to finish as a way to get someone attention for Kalani and Jo Jo. Abby knew full well the details of the children with contracts. I’d best my last buck on it.

    • I’m wondering, is Jojo homeschooled? Just thinking that any public or private school teacher would have made sure that kid received speech therapy by now, there’s no reason why she shouldn’t be able to speak properly. My youngest nephew was the same way until he started pre-k and within a month of speech therapy he was speaking perfectly. Shame on Jess for not fixing this, all it’s going to do is embarrass Jojo and keep her from getting any speaking jobs.

  5. I felt like this episode was flashback-o-rama!!!! Everytime–FLASHBACK– somebody started talk–FLASHBACK–ing, they had to revisit –FLASHBACK–what happened–FLASHBACK–with a dang flashback –FLASHBACK–! I felt like half the episode was with that weird blue-grey scale they use to emphasize the FLASH—well you know what I mean.

  6. Just one thing. Jill was bitching about having a guest choreographer. Molly long is one of the most innovative, in demand choreographers in the business, both for jazz AND contemporary work (more-so jazz though). Her own studio has amazing dancers like Kaylee Quinn (look up Kaylee Quinn, Hallelujah. The kid is the same age as Mackenzie, and there is no comparison!).

    I personally think that Maddie and Kalani are too good for this show. Yeah it is getting them publicity, but taking away from the time they good be spending actually dancing. Same with Brynn. I hope, for her sake, she only has a 2 competition (3 episode) part and doesn’t come back for the second half of Season 5. Abby would never able to do for her what Alexa Moffett and Club Dance could. Hence why Kalani’s dancing has gone so downhill since going to Abby full time!

  7. I was also quite surprised by Kendall’s voice. Much better than any of the other girls, even ‘Mack Z’ (can’t write that name without it triggering my gag reflex). The reason that JoJo didn’t get the job was that as good as she did in the audition, when it came to the singing, she was tone deaf. She sang one note throughout the whole audition. Listen to it again if you can. Otherwise I think she would have been chosen for the lead. I was actually quite surprised that Mackenzie won. They didn’t like her dance audition because she did tricks after they told them not to, and then when she sang, she just seemed over it. She clearly didn’t expect to win because of the contract stuff so she phoned in her audition. I hope that they don’t auto tune Kendall’s voice, too. She really can sing. Nia is OK, but not good enough to be ‘a star.’ I am glad she got the opportunity that she did on last week’s show. I think that Abby really learned a big lesson herself in L.A. She is not nearly as big a wheel as she thinks she is. I think that Holly and Jill are going to be really sorry that they allowed their daughters to be subjected to all of this for so long once this gravy train ends. I am really hoping this is the last season. Abby is so out of touch with reality that in the face of all of these allegations and the lawsuit by Kelly and Paige, she still continues to be abusive and horrible. She clearly has some sort of a personality disorder where she truly believes that she is always right and everyone else is wrong. Her insistence on driving home the point about JoJo seeing the movie Carrie and punishing her for not seeing it, shows how out of touch she is. Maybe the fact that she was such a spoiled child herself and then was rewarded for a few years for her behavior (by Lifetime giving her more shows and her appearances on legitimate dance shows like Dancing with the Stars) lead her to believe she could get away with anything. I am really surprised she was allowed on that show since both Hough and Ballas have come out quite loudly against Abby’s teaching style and behavior. Now that the spotlight had been turned against Abby to show her worst side, she should have been on notice, but instead has been acting worse than ever. Those poor girl’s expecting something different by going to L.A. and being shat on every time they stepped into a studio or into a green room at a dance event.
    Melissa really did say it right when she had her little aside where she said that the other mothers just didn’t understand about kissing Abby’s ass. Kiss it and you, too, might see your daughter soar higher than the others, but continue to argue and buck the system and you, too, shall be booted to the curb with the Kelly’s and Christi’s and your children will end up like Brooke and Paige. I leave Chloe out of that because she is soaring herself with her own channel on YouTube and has been doing some great dances and working with a great studio that treat her like a human being. You can see in her happy face and in her dancing that she is so much better off where she is now. I don’t know what has happened to Brooke and Paige. I hope that if they want to, they are still dancing…especially Brooke with her dream of Cirque du soleil.
    Thanks Lori, for continuing to suffer through the show with the rest of us die hard’s who care about those girls.

    • You’re welcome. I’m still praying for cancellation, but looks like I’m here as long as Dance Moms is. Ya’ll make that easier.

      • I don’t know if I want cancellation, I just want Abby to stop lying as if she really just wants to be ALL of these girls dance instructor. They should just reformat the show to want she really wants to do ‘Abby’s all talent management show’…or something more snappy, cuz it’s obvious who she wants to work with ::cough cough:: Maddie, Mack, Kalani ::cough cough:: and she wants to push them to be triple threats in LA she wants to be talent agent and OWN different studios and she may like to choreograph dances but not as much as she loves promoting the girls and behind the behind the scenes and in charge of everything and Mellissa is just the type of mom who has no problem letting Abby take over, she’d be sitting back in the chair with sunglasses on just looking like Abby’s assistant! And then let Nia and Kendall get their own spin-off, play it like Abby dumped them in the first episode and then they can begin their climb to the top. BOOM Lifetime I just gave you 2 new shows that 1.) makes Abby look less like a jerk-hole cuz she’s with who she wants to be and 2.) gives Kendall and Nia some more face time! you. are. welcome.

        • Good gawd don’t give the devil new tools!!! The last thing Lifetime should do is reward that POS with more tv time, she’s done enough damage to those girls to land them in therapy well into their 40’s.

      • Ruh roh Lori, Dance Moms has been climbing back up in the ratings over the last three weeks. This week’s episode got a 0.7 rating. By comparison, Maddie’s standing ovation on the Grammys got an 8.5 rating.

  8. I really liked this episode. While planned, it gave us a glimpse into the selection process for videos. Some thoughts for each girl:
    Jojo came off as the big winner. Here personality and fierce dancing style got the producers attention. Sorry JJ but she needs time to work on her diction. Dancing on film is her strong suit.
    Kalani came off as a solid personality. Fell short in the singing part but everything else was way above average. She also blends a wholesome look with a little ethnic/exotic look. Someone your eyes would be drawn to.
    Nia – With the singing was good the theme of this video is not her strong suit. Also, loose the death drop, more jazz/theatre dancing might have given her a better chance.
    Kendall – Yes, K has learned how to sing. (She will be releasing two videos in March) The telling moment was when the production crew was ranking the dancers and the producer commented, “She is forgettable”. K is always being told how beautiful she is, BUT, there are a lot of kids who also have great looks. If K adds singing or a persona to her repetare she will be a star.
    Brynn – As an upcoming dance says, she is a “diamond in the rough”. She needs a lot of work in her non-dance performance skills. Still a big fan of Brynn.
    Sarah – Oops, out of her element. I would like to see more of her interactions with the other dancers. (On pervious episodes they may have shown us the dancers’ interactions because of the evervessant Jojo)
    MackZ – Sometimes we see MackZ in the lens of the camera. She is a cute, sassy, and very talented dancer/singer who can do anything. In doing that we forget how young she is and how in a non-Abby environment she can become uncomfortable. Going into the interview she was clearly the choice – size, dancing, singing (over JJ), and the camera loves her.
    I liked that part of the show but the whole setup of the audistion was dumb. So here we go – why didn’t Abby say that if the producers picked MackZ there would be some items to be worked out – why didn’t Abby tell all the moms not to sign anything she reviewed it – how did Abby lets the dancers go to the shoot without signed contracts – I could go on. Off course it goes with the theme that Abby is in charge and is never wrong. (Get it Melissa)
    On another note, is it me or does Brynn have really long legs. In one of the shots she is standing near Kalani and it seemed that they legs were the same length, but Kalani was 2 inches taller because Brynn’s torso has not matured. My next group of dancers I want to follow are Brynn, Sarah Hunt and the dancers’ dancer Sophia Lucia. Miss Sophia is just a super dancer who is also a super person.

    • I guess that MackZ and KENDALL were not in the video due to music contract issues. Also, in the show they showed Maddie at the shoot she was also not in Video.

      Loved Jojo’s and Kalani’s (very beautiful) facial expressions. Sarah was a great dancers and I liked her glasses. Brynn and Nia were great in their parts.

      • I’d like to see what kind of “music contracts” the girls have, and why the music people are ok with how the girls are being treated by Abby while the parents stand around and put up with it. Any legitimate record company wouldn’t touch Abby with a fifty foot pole, much less mediocre, auto-tuned “singers” like Mack. Kalani and Jojo were amazing in the auditions and the video though, they really know how to work the camera and get into character, Nia did well too, she plays characters like few can.

        • Obviously I was incorrect before when I commented here that Disney would never want to deal with a Miller client in a Disney Channel sit-com. That’s a good thing.

  9. Was anyone else as surprised as I was at Kendall’s singing voice? I had no idea, she was quite good. And I can’t believe I’m about to say this……but I did feel sorry for Jojo when Abby tore into her like that. I mean, the kid has been screamed at for no real reason the last 5 weeks, and didn’t shed a tear, of course she’s going to crack eventually. Good for her for standing up to Abby, I wish more of the girls would have done that in years past. I watched the MattyB video and I swear it gave me a cavity it was so sickeningly sweet…..Give him a few years until he goes through puberty and his voice changes, then we’ll see how adorbs little girls still think he is. I was quite happy to see that Maddie was NOT in the video, she had no business encroaching on the other girls’ opportunities.


    We’re so sorry Auntie Abby
    We’re so sorry if we caused you any pain
    We’re so sorry Auntie Abby
    But there’s no team left at home
    And I believe I’m gonna train

    We’re so sorry
    But we haven’t heard from you all day
    We’re so sorry Auntie Abby
    But if any part should open
    We’ll be sure to give a ring

  11. Wonderful recap Mrs. Acken! These get funnier and funnier by the day, I’m telling you! There isn’t much to comment on since I didn’t watch half the episode for I don’t like episodes like this.

    I’ve been watching some YouTube videos of Jojo and the getting kicked out of pyramid thing. The comments are appalling. Some are making crying emojis when they found out she comes back, some pumping their fist in the air that she was gone. Just ugh… so freaking rude! I must’ve commented ten different replies back scolding people for their ignorance for others, especially because Jojo’s an eleven year-old.

    The competition next week. Ooh boy. The ALDC is rumored to not have done so hot. I went and saw the competition, as I did the last one where I commented on all the dancers… and eh lets just say I have a feeling Lifetime will twist those results like a wicker candle.

    Wonderful job again Mrs. Acken. I can’t wait for next week’s!

    • Really were the results from the spoilers real? Or different because all the spoiler people kept changing the results and no one could really agree

      • Those results from last week were the same as what was showed. But the ALDC did poor, like really poor at the Starbound competition for the 2nd half of this episode, so I don’t know if Lifetime would change the results to make the ALDC always seem like topdog.

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About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.