Dance Moms Season 5 episode 14 recap: I’m havin’ contract-tions!

dance-moms-jill-takes-notes Lori Acken

So we’re back in L.A. Dance Moms nation. Who else got a nice chuckle out of Jill’s “I kind of feel like we never left” remark? Given the amount of recycled footage you guys have pointed out — I really need to learn to pay attention better — who knows if we actually did.

But anyway, Jo Jo says L.A. is the best! Melissa says Mack went with Abby to look for studios the other day and it was so much fun!


Uh. Anyhow.

The moms just hope the memories from this go-round are much more pleasant than those from last time, and Holly even goes so far as to hope we will be entirely drama-free. Holly clearly bumped her noggin hard on the overhead bins while getting off the plane from Pittsburgh.

Jill asks her if she plans to work on Nia’s music career while they’re out here. Holly says of course. So drama-free should last about 4.5 seconds.

Jill says the only reason she is happy to be back out here is because of Kendall’s music, too. Does everybody want to be a pop star now? And what does this say about our dance teacher? But Jill has placed Kendall’s musical dreams in Abby’s hands, so everyone light a candle for KendV.

Jill also says Abby promised that the whole focus of the trip is to make a music video for Kendall. The whole focus? That should last about no-point-zero seconds, too.

Let’s go be squatters at 3rd Street Dance.

Abby is all rejuvenated by the West Coast sun and rallies a group cheer. Jill throws in one of these. Holly is not about the hip bump.


Then Abby tells Kendall that her video will no longer be about a high-school band. Now it includes the armed forces. Kendall thinks that’s so cool. Jill thinks she’d like to see the contract now.

Abby says her attorney is stretched pretty thin — snort! — so she thinks they should just sally forth and deal with that whole contract business, you know, later or whatever. Just like that MattyB deal. Cause that worked out great.

Since we’re talking videos and contracts and all that stuff, Holly decides that now is as good a time as any to make sure everything is copacetic with Abby about Nia doing her video while she’s out here, too. Because when opportunities come along, Holly is going to take them.

Abby says she wants everyone to hear this: All that she asks is that when one of them there opportunity dealies comes along, you pick up the phone and you let Abby know. Because, people, this is the best friend you will ever have.


And with friends like this …

Pyramid time. Let’s just go ahead and rename it The Stack, because it hasn’t resembled a pyramid since I don’t know when.

Mack’s at the bottom. Awful tuck. Just awful.
Kalani, Nia and Kendall make up the middle row. They were all in the group and the group didn’t win.

Jill says it’s just because the Apples were better this one time.
Mack says this.


Good one, Abby’s little mouthpiece, just in case we didn’t see her Instagram about being forced to do the Spice Girls dance.

Abby goes on to say that her reputation is based solely on the success of her students, which heats up a Bonus-Size kettle of bullcrap that you already know backward and forward from 4.5 seasons of practice.

Jo Jo shares the top of the pyramid with Maddie. Abby says it doesn’t matter who wins as long as we win. Jessalyn, to her enormous credit, is amused.

This week, we’re headed back to New York Dance Experience, this time in Anaheim. In other words, another trip to the non-competition that Abby is still calling a competition. IS ANYTHING REAL ANYMORE?? If a girl can’t count on Dance Moms to be real, then what??

Kendall gets a solo called Waiting.
Despite Abby’s bluster and fluster about Nia never ever getting another solo ever again, she gets one called “Never Knew.”
So if there were any lingering doubts that this is not a career-making competition …

The group number is lyrical and called “Together We Stand,” because apparently Abby was inspired by the Stand Up group number that beat her last week or what? But unity … it’s a beautiful thing.

So here’s the deal. We’re going to rehearse for the next two days and then spend Friday at an acting workshop. And not just any acting workshop. An acting workshop with the Lovato you have never heard of — Dallas. Er, yaaaaay! I guess. One degree of Demi!

In the mom closet, we discuss what a Nicey McNicerson Abby is today — even to Holly. Holly wants to know why Jill is so Zen about the missing contract, though, and Jill says she and Abby have the same attorney so whatever. Besides, she doesn’t even know what should be in the contract to begin with. Way to get your money’s worth from you attorney, Jill. Also, do not look at Melissa about this stuff, man. Not her wheelhouse. Legally binding documents pertaining to your child’s future. Icky.


The other mothers think Jill’s nuts. And spineless.

Abby shows up and kicks the other mothers out of the room so she can talk documents with Jill. She says there will be a talent contract between Jill, as Kendall’s representative, and herself. There will. Sometime. But for now, shut up because she’s spent $57,000 on Kendall this month alone so just hush. Unless, that is, Jill is asking if Miss Abby would like her to fetch her some tea and victuals.

Scribbling notes furiously in a teeny notebook and realizing she has nothing that will appease Holly therein, Jill tries one more time for an ETA on a contract. Abby says Jill doesn’t need one because all she is putting up is her kid’s talent. Same goes from creative control. You just sit there and look pretty, honey. Put that pencil down.


The day has come for Nia to meet the director and choreographer of her video.

mike-the-minionHolly says his name is Mike the Minion.

Oh. Mikey Minden.
<giggle fit>
Holly rifles off his impressive resume and then Mikey Minion gets to work demonstrating how this thing will shake out

Holly loves his energy.

She and Nia both love that Nia’s makeup artist will be Janet Jackson’s makeup artist.


Not only that, but hair guy does Katy Perry’s hair.



Abby says Kendall’s solo is called Waiting because she’s always waiting to be the star. And the mothers give Jill crap for still waiting on a contract. It will protect you, says Holly. She should know.

Nia’s solo is called Never Knew because Abby says it’s all like, “I never knew if I worked hard for something, the payoff could be so good.” Lori’s all like, that’s because there’s never any payoff for Nia period, so it’s a tough lesson to grab.

Let’s razz Jill some more.

Then we get a lecture about toeing the party line at tomorrow’s Dallas Lovato thingie and the competition that is not a competition. You mess up, Abby’s business is down the toilet. Got that, people?

Time for the Dallas Lovato Triple Threat Seminar Of I Keep Losing Gigs To Demi And Selena Gomez, But I’ve Learned Stuff From it. Maddie looks bored stiff.

Dallas wants the girls to think up a character and whisper it to her. OK, let’s improv. We’re vacationing at the Eiffel tower. So how would our character act?

Apparently Kalani picked a “retail sales associate,” which does not lend itself to much interpretation at all. She goes with, “Where can I find a crepe to eat beneath this architectural marvel?” Kendall as Katniss in Franceniss comes sweeping and asks the hungry sales associate to snap a picture of her. The sales associate doesn’t know how to use Katniss’ imaginary phone. Mackenzie the nerd is not much help. But she is tremendous comic relief.


Dallas calls end scene and gives Kendall-atniss crap about not behaving like her badass, futuristic character at all. The Retail Sales Associate gets no feedback. Since Mack killed the exercise, she gets to pick the fate of the next three actresses.

Urban Diva Nia saunters all chill to her imaginary seat, sits down and puts on her imaginary Beatz.

Oh good God. Jo Jo picked an elderly Korean woman. This will not be racially offensive AT ALL. Apparently Jo Jo has been taking Korean lessons — KOREAN LESSON?? — so she gets the “hello” linguistically accurate, not that anyone else would know it.

All that getting inside Sia’s head has apparently rubbed off on Maddie who picks this.


The Korean grandma gets handsy with the girl who hates herself and Maddie grumps “Stop” and that’s the end of the scene, which Dallas, for some reason, thinks was great.

Dallas says Nia has to jump harder into that good subway. Adorable Jo Jo needs to work harder on her R’s even if she was speaking Korean and mock Korean … and oh God how did my job turn into this?

Then Dallas dares ask Maddie if she is tired and Maddie gives her a chilly look that says “I have done videos with Sia and the Grammys and Saturday Night Live and you have done Snowflake, the White Gorilla” before offering a clipped no. Dallas is undeterred. Sparkle, Girl Who Hates Herself, says Dallas. Uh … what? But she hates herself. Girls who hate themselves don’t sparkle. I think this may explain Snowflake, the White Gorilla.



A little more entirely generic acting advice for all and class dismissed.

Then Abby rattles on some more about proving that the ALDC is a winning organization at the competition that is not a competition. But I’m still happy about it, because Rachelle Rak!! Not nearly enough Rachelle Rak, but any Rachelle Rak is better than no Rak at all.

Pep talks that don’t mention the word “win” from the moms and then Nia goes first.

It’s a cool, slinky, jazzy solo and Nia works it.


Judge No. 1 says Nia is powerful, but she needs to learn to be soft. Judge No. 2 says the power worked for him. Hey. Where’s Rachelle?

Kendall goes next. It’s a typical Kendall solo and Kendall does it with typical Kendall panache — I so love to watch this kid dance.


Judge No. 1 liked her opening sequence. Rachelle wants her to give more at the performance level.

A little mama drama about contracts to fill the time while we get ready to dance the group dance. Then Abby asks the girls what they think a lot of money is. Maddie says a cool mil. Jo Jo says $100K. What’s the point? The point is their success is money in Abby’s pocket. Never mind their own careers. This is about getting other children into Abby’s coffers, er studio, so that when your Dance Moms contracts are up, Abby lives on.


It’s a beautiful dance, beautifully danced. Rachelle just wishes they would have looked at each other to display their unity. Judge No. 1, too.

Come awards time, we all get down to Kendall’s new song, which is totes adorbs and actually unites the Pitt Crew in a cheery moment of boogie. Jill says the fact that they are playing it proves Abby’s love.

Nia gets third in her division.
Kendall wins hers.
Yes, I know. No one won anything, but just go with it.

Abby says they can’t win anything but first place. Well, yes, that is correct because no one can win anything, including first place, but for the sake of the episode …scream and shout, they did it.

Back in the get-ready, Nia is feeling her oats and when Abby says they have to get her placement up, she offers this …


Good a place as any to end, you ask me.

Next week, the battle of the videos begins and Erin Babbs is back.

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



  1. Did anyone catch Maddie on Austin and Ally? She did an okay job, but I don’t think she’ll be winning any Academy awards yet lol. The show is super cheesy, but she did a nice job dancing and with the lines she was given.

  2. Snowflake the White Gorilla
    Had a very stupid show
    And if you ever saw it
    You would even say it blows

    • I think this episode was a missed opportunity for this show to do some good. Dallas shouldn’t have just conducted an acting class – she should have told these girls, on the cusp of teen fame, of the all too common story of how her little sister become the “It” girl, and the resulting serious problems that her little sister is now open about.

      • That would have been a wonderful idea that would help the girls keep their feet on the ground. But Dance Moms has never been about what is best for the girls…. All reality TV is about schadenfreude, enjoying the mistakes of others.

  3. Good job Mrs Acken, oh and Christian. Dance moms is becoming more and more boring. We are 10 episode behind in Africa. Thanks a lot Mrs Acken, I like your recap

  4. My mind is running on high speed with this episode. So let me go through the review in reverse order.

    Dances – Nia was great!! She has found her niche and is adding more technique to her dance. As the judges said, a little more face and let’s try to swing from strong dancing to softer moments. As we have heard on several shows – if it’s all strong than none of it is strong’. The performers’ job is to take the audience on a trip through the story.

    Kendall was Kendall. A beautiful girl, in a beautiful costume, with beautiful song, how can you go wrong. Kendall added some face and great technique to elevate her to “first place”. I just wish Kendall would be pushed out of her comfort zone and show the audience another side of her personality/techniques. Can you imagine Kendall as the bloody prom queen that Jojo performed or Maddie’s Helen Keller?

    I loved, loved, loved the group dance. Abby is spending money on costumes!!! The girls looked great and they were flawless in their execution. The chirography used different spacing and I loved the waves (dancers in pairs) of moment that were arranged to create a flow of dance. For me this was one of the top dances that the girls have done on the show. Did I mention that I loved, loved, loved this dance.

    Now for the fun part of this review. I will not go through the individual items but focus or the overall opportunities/themes. This DM show added ammo to the options. Options would be: 1. Focus on the moms in-fighting over their child’s individual projects, 2. The comparison of Holly’s’ contract/creative input approach versus Jill’s’ just trust Abby approach, 3 The who needs who more – Abby or the dancers?, 4 After the DM contacts ends the next show may focus on the individual dancers’ careers with or without Abby, 5 Insight into the business/legal side of the entertainment business. Remember in a prior episode Abby said that once the dancers get to be 13-14 years old she is done (as a dance teacher????) with them. The next 4-6 episodes will focus in on the parallel processes to create, promote, and release Nia and Kendall videos. The last episodes of this season should setup the direction of the show for next season. I’m in – no matter what direction the producers head.

  5. Gosh, Master Christian, I so hate to think I am keeping you from your English studies with these recaps, but you are clearly communicatively blessed for your tender age. Now get off the internet and do your chores. Signed, Mrs. Acken

    • Mrs. Acken, you are my English assignments! I’m not kidding. Once a week, we have to write blog entries/commentaries. Your blog is my practice!

      • Then for your sake I hope you’re acing that class!! Seriously, you have a great style for writing, keep it up!!

  6. Le sigh and Good grief…I feel like Abby can’t give a girl her props At.All. “Nia left the door wide open for Kendall.” I mean seriously? The girl did amazing, more of a mature routine than she has ever had before despite the ridiculous amounts of flexed feet she keeps putting in her solos, but she did great, she couldn’t even do one of her sly comments like “Nia did great, I hope Kendall puts her best foot forward,” or something like that…ugh, It’s just sad to see. But Kendall did do amazing, a solo with pointed feet and turns galore are that girls specialty and she rocked it!

    Kendall’s song, adorable, got a great beat but unfortunately next week seems like it was gonna be what I thought it was gonna be all along when I heard the girls wanted to start doing music and that’s a Nia vs Kendall music video battle royale sponsored by Abby. It’s not the girls trying to go at each others throats, it’s the adults. Abby is gonna pull as much power as she has to make sure Kendall has everything because she wants to show up Holly for going off and doing her own thing when Abby was showing absolutely no interest in Nia doing anything besides dancing in the background. I just hate it, I really wish Abby would stop throwing the rocks at these girls relationships and their moms relationships and then hiding her hands and saying “well, that’s showbiz”.

  7. Dallas who? I know I’m out of touch with the whole celebrity/ who’s famous thing, but am I the only one who never even knew Demi Lovato had a sister? Much less one who is also in the industry? Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    • LOL! They have a younger sister, too, who played the oldest daughter of Eva Longoria’s character on Desperate Housewives, but she has a different dad.

  8. Hello Mrs. Acken, another round of my oh so ridiculous commentary.

    First off, I want to apologize for last week. I, in my original comment made statements that hurt other people’s opinions and feelings which wasn’t the way to go. I backlashed rather rudely which at my age is unacceptable. Although I cannot give an excuse for my behavior, my generation of 13-18 years old… we are an immature group of naive youngsters who think everything is flowers and rainbows. Seriously. So, my backlash was my annoyance to immaturity poking out and forgetting decorum and professionalism that I should have everywhere. My apologies, I hope to not have that happen ever again. Thank you Miss Diane for calling me out on my own ignorance.

    Now- your funny side of you Mrs. Acken really shone through in this blog entry. Kendallkatniss or whatever name you put up there got me cracking the most, and I loved it. Got me laughing for five minutes straight. It was very spot on!

    The whole episode was rather… divided again. Jill/Abby v. Everyone Else. Pyramid was not how I imagined it all. Personally, I would’ve had Jojo singularly at the top, then Kendall and Kalani sharing middle, Nia, Mackenzie, and Maddie in that order as the bottom row.

    Like I mentioned in the last entry with those controversial spoilers that caused the Earth to slow, Mackenzie’s solo was not shown. Her piece was called Take That, the typical Jazz Acrobatic routine she does in her sleep. She got 3rd place in her division, but did not place in the top 5 solos of the competition.

    Kendall’s # is one of my favorites of the season. Her turns are so good, the costume was gorgeous. Music was breathtakingly vocalized by Carlie de Boer who has been an artist featured numerous times on the show. At Meet and Greets, this her number she does for their performances and I’m telling you, in these videos her turns are better than Maddie’s and Chloe’s! It’s my honest opinion and I love Chloe more than anyone on television ever. For me to make that claim, they’re pretty good turns. Kendall did indeed place 1st in her division, but was the 2nd highest scoring solo of the competition.

    Finally, I had been waiting for Nia to get a mature, contemporary number that was elegant, sophisticated, clean, expressive, womanly… do I need to go on? Finally it was a number that embraced her ethnicity, but didn’t stereotype it by Street Star, The Golden Rule, Color Purple which only focused more so on the color of her skin rather than her as a developing young lady who has a culture to wear as a badge. She had pointed feet in there! And then it was ruined by Abby’s flexed feet choreography that no one loves. I despise it. It does not look appealing to me at all. Nia did place 3rd in her division, did not place in the overalls.

    Group #? Yawn… I changed the channel. Considering I’ve already seen the dance on YouTube, I knew what was going to happen. Maddie would start, do a duo part with Kalani who does her typical Acro kick thingy that I don’t know the name of… Yawn. Predictable Abby. Mackenzie was right about her comment at pyramid with Tell Me What You Want. But, I’ll tell you what! I loved that number far more than most of the other lyrical this season.

    The acting thing with Dallas was cool. I’m an actor myself, and I’ve been doing it since I was 9, so about six years since I’m 15. I love acting. It does so much to my self esteem, to my social skills, connecting with emotions. I felt Kendall did not embrace Katniss (the character is quite challenging). Mackenzie was a stereotypical nerd. I’m a smart student, I make high B’s and high A’s, and seeing this stereotype kind of stung, even if it was light mannered. We’re not all like that, thanks Lifetime. Kalani really didn’t embody her character, Maddie missed her’s by a mile. Nia should’ve made a differnet choice. The only one I thought did a good enough job was Jojo, I’ll be honest.

    This music video crap, I don’t care about. It’s the only drama the show can find so they milk it dry. This is a season old now, since Mackenzie started videos. I fast forwarded those parts. If we weren’t dancing, we were talking about music videos.

    Next competition, I won’t say much. Murieta Dance Project is indeed back, and their number is glorious. They’ll have to change the music on the show due to copyright so- you won’t get the whole piece. Someone in the ALDC does their typical ALDC solo. I have a feeling that a solo will be botched from the show similar to what happened in Episode 5 of this season. The way previews looked, that’s the vibe I got. It’ll be a shame. Plus, the awards for next week are a bunch of crock. I’m not telling you if they win or lose, but just no, awards did not go how they should’ve gone.

    I think that’s I got. Look, I just typed an English essay. Damn, I’ll be doing these weekly since people want to know how my eloquent commentary works. Any ineloquincies I have (I think I spelled that word wrong)… should be advised as unintentional because we do not need another Jenny v Me v John Linen v Diane v Mrs. Lori Acken. God no!

    Great recap Mrs. Acken! I’m keeping my eyes peeled for next week. Yes, super studier of Dance Moms is out. I know too much about this show… XD

    • I made the right choice to wait until after this week’s episode to read last week’s review. I see there are more spoilers posted in comments. Again, please show some respect for those of us who choose to learn what happens at a competition while watching the show, not by reading spoilers. The continued references to your age have become a display of your arrogance. There is no excuse for being rude, and continuing to post spoilers is rude.

      • Which spoilers did I post? Granted, this is several years ago in the past now… but what spoilers? I mentioned there were soloists, an ALDC dancer doing typical ALDC stuff. But, I didn’t specify whom. Maddie typically does Lyrical, Kalani with acrobatics, Nia in a Jazz/Contemporary # on her ethnicity full of flexed feet, Kendall with a Jazz/Lyrical # and Mackenzie full of jazzy acrobatics. Never once did I say whom did what! And, me referencing my age honestly shouldn’t bother you. If it does… I need to know why. I’ve stopped my spoiler postings mainly so you’d get off my back.

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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.