Even though we’ve been reading about it and watching stuff on YouTube for months now, its time for the official Jeff Collins-crafted version of the ALDC’s Australian misadventures, Dance Moms nation. Everyone got their comfortable walking shoes … and their passport?
No, no everyone does not.
We start out in the dark of night at LAX where Abby is two hours from departure and a million light years from knowing where hers — plus her driver’s license and her credit cards — is. Er, what seasoned traveler heads to the airport without checking and rechecking boarding passes and necessary I.D.? Isn’t that, like, Important Thing One and Important Thing Two? And are those dainty tears I see you daubing in the dark, Abby? I thought we saved those for our pillow, not for the driver and his Kleenex box.
Meanwhile, hi! We’re in Australia … even if Abby is not! (Anyone else wonder why Kalani is not garbed in ALDC attire?)
Everyone who planned ahead has deplaned and is ready to start prepping for the Astra Awards, which Jill says is Australia’s equivalent of the Emmys and features everyone who is anyone in the entertainment industry. She doesn’t say if it’s the entertainment industry down under, or the entertainment industry whole wide world, so I guess we’ll see.
Also, this guy in the shades. I bet he watches Dance Moms all.the.time.
Melissa gives Abby a jingle to see where she is, and Abby explains that she is in America because she must have dumped her passport and credit cards in the parking lot at the bank. That’s the last place she remembers having them.
“Did you go to the bank to see if they have your passport at the bank?” asks Melissa helpfully, speaking slowly and loudly just in case Abby has also suddenly turned into a preschooler who misplaced her lunchbox.
“I’m going to reach through the phone and choke you,” says Abby, expounding on the proper etiquette for questioning someone who has lost something. Which is to basically just shut the @#$% up about it.
With that handled, she says best-case scenario, she’ll be there Thursday morning. It makes Holly look like this:
It makes Gia look like this:
Then the one who is still in the U.S. begins to grouse to the ones who actually made it to Australia that they don’t realize what a big deal the Astra Awards are. So, you know, since Abby’s not there, it’s probably better if only Maddie performs. Especially since, well, Maddie is the only one who apparently has an invitation.
Holly protests. Abby says she’s not putting up with her s**t anymore. It wasn’t bleeped in my version.
Then she tells us that she actually only invited Maddie, Mack, Melissa, Kalani and Kendall — and therefore Melissa, Jill and Kira — to Australia in the first place, so what the tar Holly, Nia, Jess and JoJo are doing there is a mystery to her. I’ll take “making this TV show” for a thousand, Alex. And enjoying a free trip to Australia because of it, so win.
Since she has no plans for the latter four, Abby informs Melissa not to call her …
… anymore. Not any more.
Holly doesn’t seem entirely unaware that Nia was on the Not-Included list, because, even though she will be in L.A. in a couple weeks, she says she invited Mikey
Minion Minden to come on down (under), too, and Mikey’s thinking having Nia do a concert in Melbourne might be nice. Holly’s just not ready to tell the other mothers about that yet.
Melissa asks Jess what her plans are and Jess says she, too, tried to make something happen for Jo Jo — which would be where we find out that some folks in the Australian dance community launched a petition to revoke Abby’s visa. Did you reeeeeally lose your passport, Abby? Really? Or did the Aussies give you troubles? (Cast your votes in the comments section below!)
Jess says that because of that, she’s just peachy not having Jo Jo associated with any of Abby’s private events while they’re here. After all, they named names in the bad press …
(They did? Like names-names?)
… and hers and Jo Jo’s weren’t a part of it, so thank God for that.
Jill says, oh sure, Jess is happy as a clam to be part of the good stuff but when something bad happens, then noooooooo. Jess says she was never given the opportunity to say yes or no to the events getting the bad PR, so nice try, there, Jill, but noooooo.
Let’s go to “Dance Studio” and practice dance. Gia says that she talked to Abby who apparently decided that proving them right by only letting Maddie dance at the Astras is probably not the best way to warm the hearts of the frosty Australians. Thus, everyone will dance a number called Bulletproof, Baby. Because that’s what the girls are. Ain’t that right, Jo Jo?
Abby calling! Tell her you’re in the presence of heathens and you can’t talk right now, Melissa. Tell her. Tell her, Melissa! Melissa doesn’t tell her.
Abby says it’s Melissa’s job to make the girls understand that their performance will be the peacemaking mission that will determine if she can ever open up an ALDC Australia (let’s get L.A. off the ground first, there, toots) or host her own dance competition there. Jill brings up the bad press thing and Abby says if Jill understood the nature of showbiz, she’d know that any press is good press if they spell your name right. That certainly wasn’t her opinion a few years back when she took me to task for doing an interview with Christi Lukasiak, even though I spelled her name right. But it’s her opinion now.
Then, Abby being Abby, she says JoJo isn’t really necessary in the Astra number, unless — and this is more or less a quote — Jess “crawls up Abby’s ass and teaches her kid to kiss it a little better.” I’ll just sit over here and hum to myself while you guys choke down that little visual. Boopdie doopdie dooo … hmmm hmmm hmmm.
Everyone better? Good. It isn’t going to last.
Abby’s so mad now that she says she’s glad she’s not there. Then she tells the camera guy to get the light out of her face. Well he’s kind of stuck in the car with you, Abby. He may as well do something. It’s his job.
Drinksies with the Momsies, down-under style! (Remember when these used to be fun?) We start out by having a collective shudder over what would have happened had it been any of us who lost our passport. Then we move onto Abby changing her tune about bad press being good press in disguise, what with all the boohooing about it at the start of the season. Holly thinks Abby is staying behind on purpose because she doesn’t want to have to Meet The (Bad) Press. I could back that theory.
Meanwhile, Abby is back in L.A. learning the ins and outs of passport replacement. Such as you cannot fax a birth certificate.
Back at the meeting of the moms, Jess springs it on the others that video of the other girls (except Nia) mocking JoJo while they were in Ireland has made it to her inbox and what the hell?
To be fair, the girls did back it up with “we kid because we love” — mostly, I’m guessing, because someone, seeing all the cellphone cameras aimed at them, began gesturing wildly for them to do so from the sidelines. But still. Can the “this for fwee” crap stop now? We got it. She said it. She lisps. Kira mocked her. Drop it.
Jill says the girls were just caught up in the moment. Jess says the third sh*t of the episode. Melissa says that’s just how the girls relate to each other. They’re not mean girls. They’re just … kids. Blink blink. (Everyone who thought “kids who are observing their mothers’ behavior,” raise your hand.)
Next day, the girls run the dance without Maddie who is doing an interview in Abby’s place. So let’s talk about her, since she and Melissa aren’t here. Kira thinks that because Maddie is all over the tube lately, the audience will be watching the other girls because they’re something new. And besides, Maddie has plateaued anyway.
Ooooooh, girl, no you did not …
Kira clarifies that she meant Maddie has plateaued with this teacher and this team. Jill nods along, but privately says Maddie is still cresting … or something like that.
On the ride to the interview, Melissa brings up the Ireland mockery to Maddie for the sake of damage control. Maddie says well, JoJo IS loud and did say that stuff, but she’ll apologize all the same. And today she’ll try to talk about the good things, even though no one here likes them anymore. Melissa tells her daughter that’s not true and fervently hopes they don’t ask her about the negative press. Sure would be nice if the person it’s directed at were here to take the hit, wouldn’t it, Melissa? Sure would.
Back in L.A., that person is making some headway on getting to Australia.
Let’s beat the “plateaued” horse again, just to pass the time. Jill helpfully facilitates the half-hearted discussion while Melissa twitches and makes as-if faces.
In an aside, Maddie says the Astras will be the biggest audience they’ve performed in front of as a group. She, of course, has performed in front of many big audiences — just not with her team. If I didn’t already know doom was coming for Maddie from last week’s promos, I’d predict doom for Maddie.
Meanwhile Abby shops for pastry while telling Gia she wants to slit her wrists about a dance she has not even seen. Gia takes it in stride. Abby selects a “pink and white thing” as nourishment.
The girls wrap up practice to Gia’s satisfaction and then Andrew Maiden, the CEO of the Astras, tell the excited gang what — and who — to expect.
Melissa tags along to fetch Abby at the airport and is relegated to the back seat for her efforts. When they arrive at the hotel, Abby wants to know why all the ladies are in her room — which is pretty creepy, but you can’t film turmoil if everyone is peacefully watching pay-per-view in their own rooms, now can you?
Holly decides to welcome her with the news that, since Abby snubbed them for everything but the Astras, Nia will be doing the performance in Melbourne. Abby says they may not utter “ALDC” during this extra-curricular blasphemy. Holly says fine. Melissa wants to know if the concerts conflicts with one of their events. Holly says what different does it make. Abby wants everyone out of her face, right now.
At the venue, Jess and Holly are highly entertained when Abby shows up in the same durn thing she wore on her flight (and last week’s reunion show), plus …
Well, it’s a really big bracelet — her Dale Evans special — so there’s that.
Astra time! Everyone is all prettied up for the red carpet. Here is all the pretty …
Abby keeps Maddie tucked beside her and says shmoozy things about the local dance community. The others fret that people only want to talk about Maddie and Sia.
In some sort of get-ready, the moms are still weirdly dressed down, and Melissa instructs Holly and Jess not to show up at their private events tomorrow and rattle the “paying customers.” Got that, fans? You are not fans. You are paying customers.
Holly tells her she’s wasting her breath — why would they show up somewhere they weren’t invited or wanted? Melissa is not pacified. You stay away. No fights in front of the customers. No.
Guys, guess what?!
Melissa loves Giuliana! Therefor she hates you, children. So, so much.
Come time to head for the stage, Jo Jo is doing her patented Jo Jo thing and Abby gets in her Jo Jo face and tells her to shut it. Silence. Understand?
JoJo rewards her with a “nobody here likes you” face that only an adolescent can perfect.
Er, Jill? Did we have to make us a dress out of hotel towels? “One over this shoulder, and one over that shoulder, one around my hips, tuck and boom! Fashion!”
The group is announced as “the sensational Maddie Ziegler and the girls from the Abby Lee Dance Company.” So of course, this happens.
Backstage, Melissa clutches her head. Abby picks on Jo Jo and Nia instead. Jill coos for the perfectly stoic Maddie not to be sad until Maddie is duly sad. She goes to the bathroom to cry out her frustrations, which I suspect go well beyond the bobbled turn.
With Maddie’s sobs echoing in the background, Abby tells the others this is how the business goes: One minute you’re a star and the next minute you’re, well, a kid bawling in the bathroom. That’s showbiz for you.
We end on the sound of Maddie’s whimpers.
So what say you about this half of the Australia special, Dance Moms nation? B.S. on the lost passport … or it happens? B.S. on Holly and Jess not knowing that they weren’t included in the private events for the sake of a storyline? How’s about that “upsetting the customers” deal? Did Jill make Maddie cry or did life make Maddie cry? Sound off in the comments section below.
Next week on the Dance Moms Australia Special Part 2 … Nee-yuh! Nee-yuh! Nee-yuh! And Jo Jo hugs a koala, which makes Abby mad.
Part 2 of the Dance Moms Australia special premieres Tuesday, May 26 at 9/8CT on Lifetime.