Dance Moms Season 5 episode 18 recap: The Patriot and Games


Sorry for the delay, Dance Moms nation. Rough week. But since this is the mid-season finale, I could hardly let it go unnoticed, now could I? Sure I could. But I didn’t. Because I like you.

We’re back at Starbound, where we seem to be pretending that we didn’t end at Nia’s video premiere last week. I thought we’d dropped by Starbound already, but there is Cathy with her megaphone pondering Abby’s absence and only Melissa, Jess, Nia, Holly and Jo Jo seem to be representing ALDC. Holly says something must be up. Melissa says, the others are just still at Jump (might as well). Not sure why Melissa is not still at Jump, too, but apparently we need someone on hand to answer Holly and Jess’s questions. Oh — the other mothers ARE here, too, and apparently they were given different intel about Jump than Hol and Jess were. Oh oh.


And here come the first crocodiles, Kendall. Let us share with them why we look all stressed out. It’s always wise to share your weaknesses with your A#1 Mortal Enemy.

Here comes General Abby. Cathy tries to get a rise. Doesn’t work. Jess launches the attack about excluding Jo Jo and Nia from Jump. Holly throws in a “shame on you” for good — and completely ineffective — measure. Shame doesn’t figure anywhere in this series, muffin. Turns out Abby’s nuthin’-but-love appearance at Nia’s video premiere was all for show, because she’s hot as a hornet nest about the video and Aubrey O’Day Recording Artist all over again. Doesn’t really explain why Jo Jo was left out of Jump, but whatever.

Jill Bon Jovi finally notices that we should probably not be screaming at each other for the entertainment of our enemies — who are clearly enjoying the crap out of it — and Holly pretty much tells Jill to stick it where our enemies are super-sure not to see it ever.


Exit Apples. Exit Holly and Jess, Holly a huffin’ and a puffin’ the entire way.

In the Apples get-ready, we celebrate the ALDC drama and then Cathy moves on to wondering if putting Vivi in her group dance was a mistake, just to score herself a little mother love. Sure enough. The mothers coo and reassure. Cathy says she is determined to show Abby she can too teach her kid to dance.

Alone with Jess in the ALDC get-ready, Holly says she feels like she’s in some sort of dance related Twilight Zone. Or Mean Girls. Shhhh. Here they come. Jill halfheartedly tries to walk back what she said downstairs. Melissa says she left her girls a note, a banana and a drink and … uh, that. Oh sure, the ol’ potassium and hydration excuse…


Well this is awkward.

And it’s about to get more awkward. Abby says Nia and Jo Jo are going to do solos in place of Kalani and Kendall. Nia is going to do Never Knew. Jo Jo is going to … improv. Am I awake? *pinch* Yes, I’m awake. This is the competition about which we can’t stop yodeling its importance and Jo Jo is going to improv a solo? Alrighty.

Abby Lee says that because she is not dead yet, the kids must do as she says and her kids — not including Jo Jo and Nia — need to be at Jump. If they walk out the door, it’s like a big fat middle finger to the Jump folks. I thought the team was everything, but Holly seems to weirdly accept that Nia and Jo Jo are not Abby’s kids and says only that they are disrespecting this competition by not competing all of their kids.

Back in the Apples get-ready, Jeanette gives Ava a pep talk and says she’s dancing for thousands of people who are subjected to Hurtful Words. Speaking of which …. Abby’s dealing some doozies to Jess and Jo Jo right now.

(For those of you still sticking around from the Hubby Rik days, he just walked by, peered over my shoulder, saw Abby, watched for a spell and happily announced, “There’s my Sugar Booger Pumpkin Seed!” Rik misses his Abby.)

Rik misses you, Sugar Booger Pumpkin Seed.


Cathy and Co. reappear to wish the substitute soloists luck and tell Abby she’s only doing this to punish Nia because she knows Nia’s video was glorious and she can’t take any credit for it. Jill drops an F-bomb. Nia — well practiced in ignoring these people — dances on.

Holly says Cathy was reacting as a mother in defending Nia and shaming the others. Jill says Holly should be grateful that Nia got a solo, so say it. SAY IT! Holly says Nia and Jo Jo defaulted into solos, they didn’t “get” them. I don’t “get” any of this, but I’m not really trying that hard.

Time for Nia to dance. With her confidence clearly bolstered by showing the world what she’s really capable of via her video, Nia rocks her last-minute solo, looking confident and mature and completely beautiful.


In the audience, Abby looks like a bored cheerleader mocking the JV squad.

Ava’s turn. The dance is beautiful and powerful and when Ava matures and grows into her features and her height, she will be an utterly stunning dancer.


Jo Jo is next. She does some turns, leaps a bit, borrows some power moves from Ava’s dance and generally pulls off a decent version of a solo. Backstage she says improv-ing is her thing, so of course she did.

Here’s the Apples again, this time with star glitter to shower on Nia, the star of the ALDC. When Abby arrives, Melanie takes a shot about the videos — Mack’s specifically — and looks real, real proud of herself for doing so. Abby begins video-ing the scene they are making and Cathy says she’ll call her attorney and tattle because Abby doesn’t have permission to video her. And also Abby’s jowls and boobs jiggle, so there.

Cathy says the Patriot dance is a “memorabilia” for Vivi and we have to win for her so the memorabilia isn’t tainted. Jeanette runs her group dance, D-town, and wants her dancers to give the judges death stares. Will they even have an ALDC group dance to compete with because it’s 2:45 and the Jump kids were supposed to be here at noon and they’re not and Abby’s a liar and Jill riding the choo choo  train and I don’t know what all else and no one is taking control.

Turns out the kids can’t get their scholarships if they leave Jump, but they’re on their way to Starbound now.  For the 40 millionth time, Holly says the whole thing is a joke. Pretty much: Out in the audience, Jeanette notices that Abby doesn’t have a group dance entered. Cathy says it’s because she’s scared of them. I say because it’s probably an “invitational” and who really cares who is dancing or not.

The Patriot is pretty spirited and cute and Vivi actually looks like part of it instead of a prop, as she was in days past.


I’m guessing the judges have seen dances like D-Town approximately 40 million times, but maybe that’s just me being overtired and bitter. Jeanette’s happy about it though, and it is fun to watch.

Back in the ALDC get-ready, everyone is here but makeup kits are missing and Abby is flipping her shizznit — even though it’s her fault this whole thing is such a choo choo wreck, ain’t that right, Holly? The announcer calls and calls for them and finally here we are, blue lipstick and all.

No Sign of Life is powerful and perfectly danced, so all’s well that ends well? Yes, I can hear you laughing from all the way over there.

Melissa’s feeling better enough to get her sexy wiggle on a foot from Gia’s face before awards.


Jo Jo gets third.
Ava wins.
Nia gets blanked.

Only half a point between first and second for the group. ALDC takes the win. Apples get second. D-Town gets sent back to D-Town with nada.

Kira says hurray, we’re back to normal! Abby rolls in a big, pink Hooray for Hollywood cake. She says all the running around this weekend is a good lesson for living in Hollywood, what with heels and makeup and traffic and all that California sort of thing. Jo Jo just wants seconds.

Next stop, Australia. Whoops. Nope. Roadblock. Tough-looking crowd right there.


Jeanette invites more Hurtful Words and asks Abby what she thought of Ava. Abby says Jeanette is teaching acrobatics, not dance. Cathy tells Abby to shut her mouth. Abby calls Cathy “Paint By Numbers Hair.” Melissa gets the head ouchies.


Then Abby says that when Vivi looks Maddie, Cathy might have something to say to her. Cathy gets in her face about it. Jill gets out her camera. Cathy grabs it away. Girl fight!!!



Jill unloads another F-bomb and supplements it with an “ass.” A flustered Abby calls Cathy a “little smart fat.” Jill calls Cathy a loser. Lori calls the whole thing ridiculata. Holly wonders what has become of her life.

You sold it to J.C. Executive Producer Superstar — the guy who is mediating your war of words with the other mothers on next week’s  Dance Moms: Seeing Stars  — that’s what, dear. Call me if you need anything else.

So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Weird that Nia and Jo Jo were not invited to Jump. Weird that we were made to think they were last week? Are you deeply tired of seeing the mama drama get physical? Do you think the show will follow Abby to L.A. or is the summer season pretty much it for Dance Moms? How about The Patriot — cute or corny? How about No Sign of Life? Sound off in the comments section below.


  1. Did anyone else notice that Meri, from one of Cathy’s old teams (back in the Jalen, Zach, Hadley, Nicaya days) was in Jeanette’s group? I didn’t recognize her until they showed her mom sitting next to Jeanette in the audience. Had she always been a part of that studio or did she defect in protest of Cathy? She actually did pretty well in that group, I was pleasantly surprised since she has that lyrical/ballet look to her.

  2. producers, you might want to go back to not allowing the garbage with Cathy and her dance mom wanna be’s to get into the shot. Its called “edit”, you’re going to lose alot of people watching, if we have to hear Cathy, see her, or watch “her team”. Hoping the move to LA will end it, im not paying to watch a show about Cathy and her goons!! I’ve put up with it long enough. And since when is it that teams go into dressing rooms writing on mirrors, talking nonesense, etc., the rules should be applied to all of the teams.
    im tired of the new format, used to be it was about ALDC, the students, and their competing, not about all the other garbage, and you will lose viewers! I know so many people who are DONE, OUR GROUP OF FANS WILL WATCH FIRST EPISODE AND SEE!! TAKE HEED!!
    As for Nia’s video, you dont know whats happening, but they are cutting you out of your life, because that video didn’t look like you, act like the sweet young lady we all know and love, you have a gift in your voice, but i was disappointed, and i think your mom is going to ruin it for you like kelly did for brook, but you have a great voice, was hoping for a more wholesome, “Nia” video, you can have fun, but be YOU!!!

  3. Am I the only one who watched the Jill/Cathy fight eight times trying to figure out if Jill got her phone back? I need details! Sounded like one of the security guys said, “The phone’s on” or “The phone’s gone.” After the Kelly lawsuit, why would Cathy be that bold?

  4. I have been reading this blog and recap for a few weeks and I am convinced I like the recap better than the show. Thank you Lori for cracking me up every Weds! So here are my thoughts and questions on this weeks show. The show was so cut up that I do agree it really made no since. Could Abby be correct in saying all the drama and edits could be ruining the show? I think it is. My favorite part is the kids and dancing and yet all I see is adults acting childish.
    My next question is when the kids could not come to Nia’s viewing the excuse was they were with Jill’s mother? I thought she died?
    If Nia did the solo “Never Knew”at JUMP and that’s why she had the dress with her why is Jo Jo ” improving?” The song was Electricity which is a dance she already knew. She did do parts of the original routine and part improve. Why didn’t Jo Jo do a solo at JUMP? She would of had her costume as well. Why not just do the routine? Is this whole thing to get back at the two girls who did the Marty B video?
    Good point on the camera being the wrong way. I thought that was what I saw LOL. That entire thing made no sense to me. I do agree that Abby was not making a racist remark about Vivi I think she was picking on her dancing not being to par with Maddie’s. I will join in on the utopia.
    The thing about next week is I know I will watch it and be pissed off because the answers I want I wont get and the questions I want asked wont. I ask myself why do I watch this show? Its a car wreck I cant help look at and cant turn away. (sigh)

  5. Hoping I can clear up some of the confusion here, though there was so much from this episode it may be hard to do!

    JUMP competitions were on the Saturday, whereas Starbound was the Sunday. On Sunday in jump there was workshops, where kids can win scholarships to JUMP conventions and master classes. Nia and JoJo both attended JUMP on Saturday, where both competed “No Sign of Life” and “The Rose Garden”, while Nia also dance “Never Knew” (solo) and “The Little Girl Down the Lane” (duet with Mac). I think Holly and Jill were pissed that they weren’t told to stay for the solo classes.

    Now, to the dances. Nia was nice, but I have to agree with Abs – her technique isn’t as strong as is needs to be for competitions. However, when it comes to working as a dancer later, technique is not as important and I’m sure she’ll do well as a backing dancer.

    Ava was stunning. I do thing her stature and natural build can come against her at times, as her arms and legs can look too long, thin and awkward. However, like Lori said, when she grows into these features and matures she will be amazing. That over split on her arms was just :O.

    I actually loved JoJo, and think this was the best solo she’s danced so far on the show. It’s a bit sad that her improv choreo is better than anything Abby has given her so far. It was mature, different, and showed her strengths. Her turns are amazing, as is her ability and commit to and act out a role when she is dancing! For a child and mother I couldn’t stand on Abby’s Ultimate, they are quickly becoming my favourite pair in the entire show!

    Groups – Didn’t like Jeanettes, at all. Like ALDC, hip-hop is clearly not their strong suit, they aren’t sharp enough and don’t hit is fast enough to make it look good, in any way. Candy Apples and ALDC were nice, I just preferred ALDC story. And it was different for them. Below is a link to the whole routine from JUMP, and it looks much better in full! (Called “Dancing in the Rain in JUMP).

    Thanks again for another recap Lori, absolutely love them!

    • I thought I was the only one to think that compared to what Jojo and Jess were like (or portrayed to be) on AUDC, they’re quickly becoming two of my favorites on the show as well.

  6. I was baffled by the mishmash of film put together, also, Debra, but, like Lori, I wasn’t trying too hard to “get” it, either. I gave up on that a long time ago. I mainly just watch the show now for Lori’s giggle-worthy recaps. (Jill Bon Jovi…LOL) Great job, Lori! And I am glad to hear that everything is OK with you & your family.
    I also agree that it did seem like a filler episode. And kudos to Nia- she blew me away with her solo, too, and I can’t imagine that she wouldn’t have placed high in the rankings at any decent, honest competition.
    When my sister took a dance class a million years ago (I was always too heavy), she was told “There is no such thing as being too thin for a dancer.” I am however, looking forward to Ava filling out a little so I can actually focus on her beautiful dancing.
    Did anyone see the DWTS Results show that aired Live on Tues. nite, May 5th? Maddie Ziegler, Brynn Rumfallo and Jaycee Wilkins danced to Josh Groban singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It was beautiful. I love Josh Groban. Did I mention that I love Josh Groban? 🙂

  7. what a mishmash of film put together. Laughable.

    1. Jill said that her life is to keep Kendall happy. So, Kendall runs that household? It has been showing.

    2. Holly, who said Nia got the solo by default, managed to magically have that costume with her.

    3. Miller actually told Cathy she did Vivi a disservice by adopting her, and this was by no means her first racist comment. That was why Cathy grabbed jill’s phone, and in a previous episode, was crying. Because miller again made a crude racist remark about

    4. Someone who took her girls to see miller’s meet&greet in Monterrey, her girls approached maddie and kendall, who moved away giggling and pulling their sleeves over their hands, and heard them say “I’m not touching a dirty Mexican”. The mother took her children out, in tears. Shame on maddie and kendall!!

    5.miller told Cathy to get back to her when Vivi looks like maddie. Why on earth would Vivi want to look like maddie??? Vivi is a sweet little girl, her own person, and she clearly has taken ballet and I was proud of her. As Nia’s song says, star in your OWN life!

    6. That cake, Hollywood or bust. That will be bust miller. And stop blaming everybody else because the world has seen you and your lies and vile remarks to children.

    • Wow….what a disgusting display of racism those girls displayed if that’s how it happened….they should be ashamed of themselves, as well as the mothers should kick some serious attitude adjustments into those little brats. I don’t recall when Abby made those comments about Vivi, please refresh my memory? I don’t blame Cathy for hating Abby at all, not if she’s going to take cheap shots at her heritage like that, it’s sickening that a grown adult would stoop to that level. Also, several studios instruct their students to bring along a solo costume in case they want to enter a solo, its not just Abby, I know a lot of studios that do the same thing, so it’s not that unusual that Nia had a costume with her.

    • I took Abby’s remark about Viv looking like Maddie as being when she dances, rather than something racial, but maybe I’m being utopian. What’s the general consensus?

      • I didn’t take it as racial, Abb is a lot of things but a bigoted racist jerk isn’t one of them…well maybe the jerk part is rignt but the other two, no. She meant dance wise cuz her and Mack were on the same skill level once but now Mack is gettin great and obvs Maddie is amazing so it’s more of a “look at MY kids and look at YOUR kids” kinda jab, i think. And I agree with Michelle, most of the girls if not all dancers will bring a spare leo or costume wit them just in case and these girls have learned to since abby yelled at thema few seasons ago about bringing a spare costume in case she wanted to enter them in last minute.

        • Abby’s remark “When Vivi looks like Maddie…”was totally about the vast difference in Maddie’s dancing skills compared to Vivi’s, not about the color of their skin, for crying out loud!! I am mystified as to how anyone would interpret it in a racist way! I really don’t think it’s a Utopian attitude as much as plain common sense.
          (I can’t comment on anything that any of the girls may have said in Monterey, but if they said anything even remotely like what Debra reported, that is disgusting and unacceptable.)

      • The show spliced film together. Miller actually said that Cathy did a disservice by adopting Vivi. It wasn’t the first time either.

        The thing Maddie and Kendall said about not wanting to touch “dirty Mexicans” while in Monterrey was told by a mother who took her girls to their meet & greet. She was quite upset.

        I agree that Miller meant “when Vivi dances like Maddie”, but it still just made me so angry. Vivi is not maddie, nor are any of those kids. Why should they be?

        If these “comps” weren’t staged/fake, many kids would beat maddie. I am just so sick of having that kid put up as the end all be all of the world of dance. There are many who would beat her in a real comp.

  8. I don’t know what to believe this whole episode…I mean everyone acting crazy, everyone filming everyone else, besides the dancing, it actually felt like a filler episode cuz not a lot besides the madness was happening. But speaking of the dancing, Nia did WONDERFUL, her confidence is really building and that’s what se needs, sure as heck wasn’t completely getting it from Abby as she is blatantly making her feel like a you know what for doing something that we KNOW she wasn’t going to help her do. I don’t think she should have gotten first, but I am surprised she didn’t place…they could at least show them when they get special awards cuz I thought I heard from other folks that she did get a high award and that would help boost her up when she watches back. Abby looked as bored as could be. I’d like to think this was editing, but considering she looks that way for pretty much ALL of Nia’s dances, i’m not so sure.

    Ava was great…she’s naturally thin, I know girls like this, and they could eat more than anybody, it’s just they’re thin. She’s a natural ballerina if she ever chose to be, when she does mature as someone points out and yes starts to fill out up top but also get hips and shape up a bit, she could be unstoppable, but until then she’s showin some great technique, not sure if that’s ALL Jeneatte teacin her but if not it shows she does have skilled teachers at her school and as someone who lives in Detroit, that’s nice to see and show off our skills! The group dance was ok, I mean hip-hop numbers have to be TIGHT to place high and beat lyrical/contemporary numbers, and it was cute to watch but I kinda figured it wouldn’t win.

    The patriot dance, great, although I remember the Abby girls doing a dance where Asia ran on the stage with a flag too (even though she let it drag AND accidentally held it up the wrong way) but considering I was adopted as well (not internationally), I was feeling it, but I felt like Abby’s girls edged them out. They really do dance as a whole unit and it’s amazing to see. The girls have got skillz (yep with a ‘Z’)!

  9. I know it’s your favorite kind of group dance Lori…where Maddie exits the stage the opposite direction of everyone else!!!!!!!

    • My favorite is her lying on the floor in an agonized heap. Walking haughtily away from the commoners is a close second. But blue lipstick is always a bonus no matter what happens ….

      • I thought the agonized heaps were saved for her solos and walking away from the dregs of her team were a group thing! But yeah the blue lipstick looked amazing, they really have stepped up the costumes since the days of “not sure if we have enough!”

        • Oh. Imagine my embarrassment (You: “I cannot”). You’re right. You know me better than I know myself, Kei.

          • Somebody has 2 help u share the madness of this show Lori! Although I’m surprised you didn’t mention Dr.Holly saying the funniest line of the night…”EMPTY CHAIR, DO A SOLO! “during her and Jills heated exchange. A little comedy dressing on top of the madness salad!

  10. Something I’ve noticed before and was also true in this episode is that anything positive that Abby and Jill say about another dancer is after the fact in the confessional video. It reeks of damage control. The part where Abby says that JoJo and Nia did a good job it sounded like “Neeea” (as she said it) was spliced in. I think that audio was originally JoJo and someone else, probably from another episode. Notice we don’t actually see Abby when she says Nia.

    Jill’s obsession with having a solo every week for 4 seasons has gotten old. Gee, what an opportunity for Nia to do a solo at a staged invitational vs. attend an extra day at a real competition. If I recall correctly, there was a previous year when all the girls left Jump before the scholarships to go film. Maybe they should negotiate for the week off filming next year instead of another revolving dressing room door episode.

    • I think they should do an episode with tasers: You cross the threshold of competitor get-ready, you get a free leg-hair perm. Yep. Need more sleep. Definitely …

      • Or a laser obstacle course. Jeanette can come into the dressing from, but maybe half of her hair will be singed.

  11. Nia didn’t get robbed it was a fake invitational with only Cathy Jeannine and Abby girls where they taped to an empty teather and nia was at jump and did a few numbers one with her blue dress that magically appeared at star bound when she had to do solo if you go on jump competition site you will see nia in roster and results so holly knew and producers created crazy drama

  12. Looks like Jill is “pretend” filming??? Her phone is backwards with the camera facing her vs. Cathy.

  13. I found it interesting that I didn’t miss the other girls at all during this episode. Nia and Jojo are so good they can carry a show all on their own. I also loved Ava’s performance. The group performances were all good but not great. And the ALDC’s lyrical pieces all end up looking the same in the end – pretty to watch but not memorable. Abby has limited resources and can never fully invest in every single girl on her team at the same time. I don’t blame Holly for making opportunities happen vs. waiting for them to be handed to her. Abby is so tyrannical that she can be vindictive and malicious about opportunities – as we all saw her do with Chloe and the Freaks Like Me video.

    • I barely noticed the other girls weren’t there lol, so much for the “stars” carrying the show while the rest are extras.

  14. Which would you rather see? Kendall doing another lackluster solo…. or the chair doing a solo. I’m with Holly… I vote for the chair. Great recap, Lori!

    • It has been said that the dance “No Signs Of Life” was a tribute to Kendall’s personality. I didn’t come up with that one but it made me laugh 🙂

  15. Nia got robbed IMO. This show is so biased!! I just want Holly to leave now…I can’t take a second half of this season with her being the new Christi.

  16. Welcome back Lori, hope all is well with your family :).

    Nia was ROBBED, absolutely completely, face-palm ROBBED……she outdanced both Ava as well as Jojo, and at the very least should have placed. You’re absolutely right, that video did huge things for her confidence, she’s like a completely different dancer out there, I loved her confidence and connection with the audience. Ava was great as well, but when you’re that tall and lanky, it’s difficult to look graceful and strong. Give her a couple years to grow into her height (I mean maturity-wise, once she hits puberty and fills out a little) she will be beautiful to watch. Jojo was good as well, and she is a little improv machine, but there wasn’t much structure to it.

    I enjoyed CADC’s group, and given what Vivi was asked to do, I think she fit in well. Her technique and lines have matured, but she is still years behind Mackenzie and Jojo given that she’s the same age. The theme was sweet though, and I liked the speaking part at the end, very touching.

    Honestly I loved Ava’s group, she rocked the hiphop and they all performed the crap out of it. I think they should have finished behind ALDC just for the entertainment value. But it’s the old adage, lyrical will beat hiphop every time.

    ALDC was good, but no better or worse than the other numbers they’ve done this season, I preferred the number they did the week the kids adjudicated.

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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.