Time for another reunion show, Dance Moms nation, this one called “Seeing Stars” since we used up “Playing Favorites” on last time’s and “Enough About the Videos, Already!” was apparently not an option.
JC, Executive Producer Superstar, is still apparently copping to the title and he starts us out by reminding us that we’re all packing up and moving to L.A. so tonight’s festivities will serve as a fond farewell to Pittsburgh.
Except when he introduces Abby, she promptly says that we are not either leaving Pittsburgh. We’re expanding. Making a place to which the Pittsburgh kids can migrate, if you will.
(Also, though we’re wearing understated black this evening, someone‘s Big Hair has reached a bold new altitude. Because I know you’d want to know.)
With that bit of old news handled, let’s jump right in and pick on Holly. Abby says that she must be taking bad-attitude privates from Christi. Also everyone else is just jealous of Maddie, but that’s what makes the team good.
JC digs. Or thinks you’re nuts. Hard to tell really.
Let’s bring out Holly and see how she feels about it.
Dr. Holly is calm as a puddle. She says Abby is delusional about what she’ll admit to saying and then we see clips of Abby being delusional about what she says. Then Abby outright admits that when she has a dispute with an adult she goes after the child instead. (First step to recovery is admitting it, dear. But I think I’ve said this about 37 times before, so maybe not.)
Abby says that is her modus because the child is her student and children ultimately know the truth, so … er, that. I suspect that logic is not going to be our very special guest this evening.
JC asks if Abby really meant what she said about her planning on only Maddie and Mackenzie getting work. Abby says the photographer she was talking to was from Pittsburgh and she’s known her for many years. JC says that doesn’t answer the question. The audience laughs. Holly says, for God’s sake, woman, at least own your tragic flaws.
Abby says nothing.
JC wants to know if there is any mending fences for these two. Holly says yes, if Abby treats Nia with the same respect that she does the other children. Abby offers a snippy no. Oooooooooooh! says the audience. But Abby’s not punishing Holly, mind you. She just doesn’t want to play with her (her words, not mine) and so there and phhhllllltttttt. Holly says something about breaking toys in a sandbox.
Because JC has officially lost his marbles, he picks now to ask Holly for some of her favorite memories of ALDC Pittsburgh. Bless her heart, Holly offers some nice ones, which allows us to see this absolutely adorable blast from the Dance Moms past.
Gah! Look how eensy peensy Nia is!
We see the girls celebrate Nia’s first trip to the top of the pyramid and the Maya Angelou solo and the Free At Last group dance. Abby looks puzzled by Holly’s good will. It’s fun, Abby. You should try it.
Then the girls do Stomp the Yard, inspired by Orange is the New Black, which the girls should not be watching under any circumstances. Like Carrie. Cool dance though. Must have happened during my sabbatical, because I don’t remember it. I’m glad I got to see it. I could watch it 100 times, in fact. Where are Kalani and Jo Jo?
When we come back, JC asks Holly about Jill and Melissa’s lack of backbone where Abby is concerned. Let’s bring them out and ask them about it. Jill says she’s not afraid of Abby …she’s afraid of the consequences if she doesn’t bend to Abby’s will. Same thing, says an incredulous Holly (and exhausted Lori). Melissa says Abby likes to rule the world and Melissa likes to be ruled and that’s just the way it goes.
We see a clip of Holly hysterically calling the other mothers cowards and then JC asks them if they, you know, are. Like they would say, “Oh you betcha!” JC, but way to move the storyline along. Melissa says she’s not a coward, she’s just, you know, grateful for opportunities and that’s how she shows it. Holly says that’s bull. Melissa retorts that Holly thinks Melissa and Jill and their kids are uneducated and “simple.” And she even said it to Nia. Jill heard her do it. Ain’t that right, Jill?
Well, maybe she didn’t say it exactly like that.
She didn’t? Because I just said you said she did … on TV.
Jill would prefer not to get into it, thanks. The others would. Holly especially. Yelling. Yelling.
Finally, Melissa says she is not a strong woman like Holly and she admits it so get off her silver, spangly ass. Abby says if Holly is so miserable, she can go elsewhere. Holly says she is not going elsewhere. Abby says then she should shut her mouth and let Abby rule the world. Holly is not going to do that, either.
Oh yay. Abby just said Holly “does not know her place as a woman.” What are you, Abby? Her husband from a past life? Say one in 1952? Or 1847? Happy to have finally gotten a rise, Abby nods vigorously at the truth of her words. Jill says Holly’s place is wherever Holly wants to be. Melissa nods, but studiously avoids eye contact with Abby or Holly or anything that has a pulse. Abby says screaming and yelling are not appropriate behavior. Backstage, Kira speaks for all of us and says Abby should take her own advice.
Holly tries to expound on the situation but Abby is not interested. She tries to dismiss Holly, but Holly says if Abby won’t take action as a manager, Holly will take action as a momager. That’s fine, says Abby. I refuse to look upon you any further, but fine.
Since that was so enormously pleasant, let’s talk about the dueling videos, because that should improve the mood in the room. Jill says that all Holly did was yammer on and on about the Hollywood types who were working on Nia’s video and (throwing up her hands) “I had Abby Lee Miller. How am I supposed to complete with that?” The audience cracks up.
Get ’er, Abby! Get that bad, sassy Jill! Abby goes after … Holly. Same ol’ same ol’ about Nia not looking like herself and men in underpants and what have you. However shall Abby take her to Nickelodeon or Disney now? Same way you take Maddie — who is younger than Nia and shocked the planet in those Sia videos — Abby. Exact. Same. Way. With pride and enthusiasm.
Speaking of that, let’s have Melissa weigh in about whether or not there is a double standard at work here. Melissa makes her patented Many Faces of Denial and says well, it was only one grown man in underpants in Maddie’s video and besides, she’s not Maddie’s manager, so don’t look at her, man. Uh, you’re her mother, Toots. Mother trumps manager. And way to dodge the issue … and the double standard … and responsibility.
By the way … what are your favorite memories of Pittsburgh?
Oh, you know … the time I had the mall hair and mom jeans and worked at the front desk greeting cherubs.
And back when Mackenzie and Vivi looked like this …
And when Mackenzie had to do stuff like this because Maddie is Abby’s favorite and she is not.
Dance break. Freak Show. Bearded Kalani. Still no Jo Jo?
After break, Jess and Kira are onstage. Let’s pit them against each other and relive Kira’s “these for fwee and these for fwee!” moment. Kira says it wasn’t right to make fun but she only did it because she knew Jo Jo could take it. Under her breath (Microphone, dear. They catch everything.), Abby says some kids need to be made fun of. Asked to say that a little louder, she edits the statement to Jess has serious issues. Jess says she has no issues. Ok, well then Abby has issues. And here they are:
Jo Jo needs speech therapy.
Jo Jo needs shots.
Jo Jo needs a hearing test.
Jo Jo needs to go to school. For more than one semester.
Oopsie, Abby. Jo Jo actually skipped a grade. Oh. Well, she still can’t say her r’s even if she is Einstein in a straitjacket. Jess says that, because Abby has no kids of her own, she knows nothing about raising kids. Abby responds by screaming … in Melissa’s ear.
Jess calmly congratulates her on being the loudest person in the room. Abby screams in Melissa’s ear again. Oh. She’s pretending to be Jo Jo. Get it, Melissa? MELISSA?! Hold up two fingers if you can hear us.
Let’s have a little reminder of Jo Jo’s chutzpah. And another example of Abby’s double standards, this one for taking back talk. Mack, yes. Jo Jo, no. JC chalks it up to different parenting styles and moves on.
Even though Jill has behaved like a complete wack-a-doo for most of the season, she gets a pass on having to relive anything unpleasant (like last week’s camera incident) and gets to move right on to her favorite memories of Pittsburgh.
Well, there’s the time I did the ol’ vent-the-furnace dance while Abby got her nails did…
When I had yellow mall hair and gray feathers….
When Abby told a complete stranger that she “did it” on the 50 yard line. Holla!
Let’s have Jo Jo do the “Carrie” dance.
When we come back from commercial, we quiz Kira about having Abby as Kalani’s manager. Kira doesn’t really get how the whole deal works. Here. Let Jill break it down into one simple step for you: You need your kid to be seen with the ALDC kids. Boom. Done.
It is to laugh, says Kira. Kalani has worked with Marguerite Derricks. She doesn’t need Kendall or Maddie. She just loves Abby, so here Kira sits.
JC says let’s leave each other alone for a bit and talk about a common enemy — Cathy. Nahhhh, says the Pitt Crew. JC pushes on. She did score a win against them, after all. Scabs, all of the dancers, says Jill. Cathy just wants her Dance Moms paycheck, says Melissa.
And here comes our best friend now. With Mr. Megaphone. And corn. We get no explanation for the corn.
We keep Mrs. Stein safely in her own chair, just in case, and quiz her about the megaphone. Simple, says Cathy: Fight loud and obnoxious with loud and obnoxious. Then JC wants to know if she enjoys pushing Abby’s buttons. Best part of the competition, says Cathy.
The audience laughs. Abby says that’s just sad. Jill and Melissa agree. Button-pushing: 1. Abby: 0.
We talk a little bit about last week’s The Patriot dance and its meaning and then Maddie dances All God’s Creatures.
When we come back from commercial, we get in a fight with JC about whether Ava was a real ALDC team member or not. Abby says Jeanette came crying to her about getting Ava on TV and she’s just a great big user. A big user who just so happens to be here to talk it over. Smooshing in beside Jill, the statuesque Jeanette says if anyone is using anyone, it is Abby riding Maddie’s coattails. Melissa doesn’t get it. Abby says how dare you. Jeanette dares her because she has fetched Abby Coney dogs (with mustard, notes Cathy) and cherry dipped ice cream cones and everything.
Yes, but are you a stalker, JC wants to know. Jeanette says she was told to go to things. By Santa, Abby wants to know? By you, retorts Jeanette. Santa has no response.
All the same, Jeanette says, Abby’s hurtful words have driven Ava to work harder to show Abby that she couldn’t keep her down. She tells a story about Ava reaching out for a hug from Abby and Abby ripping her ALDC jacket off instead and Melissa says that, yes, that was sad, but still. Ava wasn’t invited back and Jeanette brought her anyway. Abby may have torn the jacket off of Ava, but she was punishing Jeanette. Anyone feel better? Anybody?
Jeanette says the best revenge is to beat Abby’s dancers and she plans to continue doing so.
Let’s dance Frozen Together.
When we come back from commercial, Abby says the Pittsburgh location will remain in her possession and she still loves it like a firstborn. We also learn that the place is overrun with stinkbugs and that 18 — not 17, Cathy — of her kids have danced on Broadway.
Next we get a speech from Abby and a tender little montage of the children’s faces and long-ago dances and I miss the bejesus out of Chloe and Paige and Brooke and simpler times. JC asks if Cathy will head west to compete against the ALDC out there. Probably, says Mrs. Megaphone.
Then we hear about the ALDC’s globetrotting, Ireland first, then Australia. The entire team is going, but not everyone is included in every event, says Holly. Jeanette says she’s seen posters for some of the events with Nia’s face on it and then Nia’s face disappeared on later versions and we have a little disagreement about whether Nia is included or excluded. Cathy wants to know why Holly would “haul her cookies” down under for nothing.
Holly says if Abby doesn’t include Nia, they will make their own opportunities while there. And also if Abby doesn’t like that Nia is Holly’s mini-me, then she should not take her with because baby girl is an extension of mama and that’s a proud thing.
Since we had no real high notes thus far this season with which to salve the wounds, JC mumbles something about Los Angeles and calls it a day.
Next week on Dance Moms, everyone’s down under except passport-free Abby (or was it visa troubles?!!!), the Aussie press and dance community have no love for Abby, Kira and Melissa have drama and Kira experiences a brief nuclear moment.
So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Snoozefest to the n-th degree? Did you miss the mega-glam dresses and hairdos of reunion shows past? Did you even watch the whole thing? What are you most looking forward to about the Thunder Down Under, since that at least looks interesting? Sound off in the comments section below.
Dance Moms Australia Special Part 1 premieres Tuesday, May 19 at 9/8CT on Lifetime. Part 2 debuts May 26 at 9/8CT.