Welcome back, Dance Moms nation. I am pleased to report that my screener is complete with intact persons this go ’round, so no lobotomy humor, I’m afraid.
But we did get the LA version of the Welcome to Ohio sign (and a freaky caption), so that’s nice.
A little bland, what with no cows and yard waste and what have you, but we’ll take what we can get.
We start out with light hearted moments with the girls taking their loss in stride and congratulating Mack on her victory over Maddie last week. After playfully tussling with her little sister, Mads warns her that it probably won’t happen again. No problem. Mack has a plan.
Here’s Abby. She’s happy to see the girls all prettied up in their traditional black leotards, pale tights and posied buns. However. They did not win. No more jazz for you. It bums Holly out. Me, too.
Kendall is bottom of the bottom.
JoJo is next. She’s capable of more.
Then Nia. Isolations were a hot mess.
Row two begins with Kalani. She was soft in the group dance.
Then Maddie. All her extracurricular crap is taking a toll on her technique.
Mack scores her spot at the top.
This week we’re going to Calabasas for Fierce Talent Competition. MDP will be there, too. Ack. Pfffft.
Before we dole out solos, JoJo has a question. Her grandma is coming into town and she’s been seriously ill with colon cancer, so JoJo is hoping she could have a solo to perform for her.
And what happened then? Well in Whoville, they say, the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!
JoJo gets her dance. Bravo, Abby. Dahoo damus!
Kendall will do the dance they had to scratch when Abby never showed with the costume and the prop. Abby says it’s Kendall getting the second chance, but I beg to differ.
Group routine is called Voices In My Head.
The voices in Melissa’s head compel her to go all zombie in stilettos.
Whooooa … creep-ay!
Mack will be the lead in the group dance. It waas supposed to be Maddie, but Mack is getting her chance to carry the dance.
Watch yourself, twerp.
Abby wants to know if she has what it takes to carry the dance facially and emotionally. Mack looks concerned. Melissa tells her she can do it. Maddies tells her to say yes. She says yes. She does not look like she means it.
Chided by Abby, she says she just doesn’t want to let anyone down. Point to who you’re thinking you’ll let down, say Abby. No one over there, Mack says, pointing at the moms and earning a laugh. She’s worried about letting down her team. Well, and Abby.
Then Abby breaks it to JoJo that she will not be doing the group dance. Jessalynn objects. Grandma’s in town after all. Abby’s studio; she’ll do as she pleases. The kid can’t focus enough to do two routines.
Over in Murrieta, Erin Babb’s mind is blown that she was beaten by the same routine Abby does “year end and year out.” I think that’s the same thing, but let’s not get grammar fussy, shall we? I have no idea what I’m typing halfway through these things.
Also, Erin has a message dance of her own. Their group routine will be called Monster Under the Bed … AND GUESS WHO THE MONSTER IS! NENH! GET IT?! ABBY IS! ABBY IS THE MONSTER! UNDER THE BED!
But here’s the kicker: the dance is going to show that the monster under the bed is just a joke. Also, Erin makes her dancers call her sir. I’m sure Abby wishes she would have though that up first.
At ALDC — oops — ALDC LA rehearsal, Abby tells the ladies that the group dance is all about asking the voices in your head what you should be doing. (run!) Understand? (run!)
Abby asks Mack to improv to the music and let her face display what she is feeling. Mack dances beautifully, and Abby says so — for her. But her face never changed once. New flash, Abs. Neither does Maddie’s. It’s just that she’s frozen on “angst” while Mack opted for “whatever.”
Dr. Holly says a little encouragement — or say, instruction — would be nice. Um, yes. But we’re just biding our time till Maddie takes over the dance. You know it. I know it. Mack knows it. The voices in our heads know it.
While the group dance is practicing, Jess, JoJo and Jess’s teeny-tiny little mom Cathy go for lunch. Can I just say, three hundred props to the brave, beautiful Cathy? I went through cancer and chemo, too, and to see this radiant lady spending time with her equally lovely family thrills me to no end. Beats group dance practice any day of the week.
JoJo breaks it to grandma that, while she does have a solo, she won’t be in the group dance. Then she finds the lemonade in the lemons: If she was in the group dance, she’d just be in the back corner anyway. And that’s not where our JoJo belongs. Straight up, sister! You’re right where you should be now.
Over at Murrieta, Erin is reminding Caylie that this is the first time she will compete a solo against the ALDC, and poor wee Caylie is responding by looking like she is about three seconds from running screaming from the room. Or passing out cold.
Caylie is adorable and reminds a little of Kimmy from Dance Moms Miami (eh, Michelle?) … and I could not be more grateful that Maddie is not doing a solo this week.
Over the social media — damn that social media — the Pitt Crew learns that MDP had a 12-hour rehearsal the day before. But not to worry, says Jill. The MDP may have flash and little costumes, but the ALDC girls have that classic, old world … … what? Sauerbraten recipe? Polka rhythm? What?
Kendall says and she though Abby’s pep talks were bad.
JoJo’s solo is called Faith is All I Need. Problem is, JoJo is not a lyrical dancer. Abby hopes the idea of doing the dance for her grandma inspires her to dig deep and find the long lines and grace.
Holly says she thinks it’s refreshing that JoJo is getting to do a dance other than the spunky jazz stuff she always does, much to the delight of Jess, who is wearing her Easter bonnet for the occasion. Or maybe her Kentucky Derby hat.
Kendall doesn’t have a cancer-stricken grandma so all she gets during her solo rehearsal is yelled at.
Everyone, please meet the Murrieta Dance Project version of Abby.
Also known as someone’s leftover American Girl doll, who is probably not appreciating what is happening to her right now at all. “I’m Samantha Parkington™, dammit! Leave me alone!”
Monster Under the Bed does look adorable. But you can’t leave the Murrieta mothers alone, even for a minute.
Poor Samantha Parkington™ Lee Miller. She didn’t ask for this.
Back at the ALDC, Mack is proving adept at the dance portion of the group dance, but her face doesn’t change. Give ’er a try, Maddie. Welcome to your reward for beating Maddie last week, Mack. Mack’s out; Maddie’s in. Gosh, whoever saw that coming?
In the Mom Closet, the other mothers ask Melissa if the favoritism bothers Mack. Melissa makes her zombie arms and says it’s Abby’s dance and she is not a terrible mother. It is what it is. The girls have to win. Winning is everything. The hell with how the youngest feels. Ok, I added that last part myself.
Come competition day, we discover that we are that same place where Christi had “her last hurrah” at Nationals. Oooooooh! The ladies wonder if the place is, thusly, cursed. The curtain falls on them for good measure. (High five, ghost of Christi!)
Abby arrives at the same time as the MDP infiltrate their ranks. Erin says they have a gift for her and may they please deliver it? It’s balloons. Making friends with the monster, you know. Jill says they’re rude.
Erin tries to explain that the girls wrote something on the balloons, but before we can find out what that is, Jill pops every one of those suckers about three inches from Abby’s head.
The MDP is excused, before Jill gives the same treatment to their noggins.
Turns out, the Monster has a plan. Here it is:
Kleenex! I need Kleenex, stat!
Lyrical may not be JoJo’s first choice, but that child did an absolutely lovely job of the dance.
Backstage, her teammates hug the stuffing out of her.
Kendall kills her solo, too. Love that kid.
Abby said she did well. Not great. But well.
Time to sic Maddie on poor little Caylie, who goes right out there and bobbles her very first turn. But she is still an intense, stunning, precise little dancer, and kudos to Erin for choreographing a solo that shows that off. The technical things that tiny, tiny child pulled off were remarkable. This should be a horse race.
Turns out two can play the psych-out game. Erin lines her kids outside the ALDC and has them do jumping jacks to a chant that taunts Abby. The monster decides to come out from under the bed.
The monster is not offended. The monster has dealt with far worse than this. She laughs off the affront and then tells the girls that their teacher is not only encouraging them to behave obnoxiously backstage, but she is allowing them to jump on cement, which could hurt them. One thing you do have to hand to Abby — no matter how asinine the mothers behave backstage at times, the girls never have. Tonight, she’s doing these kids a favor.
Erin beats a hasty retreat.
Sounding completely rational, Abby tells her girls that she is not trying to shove Maddie down people’s throats; she is only trying to win, and I swear to God, if we go a whole entire episode with zero JC-baiting cray-cray from Abby, I’m going to pass out cold.
Erin gives her kids a pep talk that has something to do with Monday.
Monster Under the Bed is pretty awesome and the kids are perfectly in unison. Also, is it actually someone’s job to sing these dippy songs? Do you buy them on CD? Commission them from Dippy Songs R Us? Someone please enlighten me?
The ALDC’s group dance is pretty and mature, but there are spacing issues throughout the whole thing and that coupled with the part where it doesn’t have the entertainment value the MDP’s dance had leaves me more than a little worried. Melissa says it’s all about what the judges like.
Kendall gets second. Abby says she blew it.
First goes to wee little Caylie.
Abby says winning wasn’t the point for JoJo’s solo.
Voices In My Head comes in second to Monster Under the Bed. As it should be, I think.
A little awkwardness in the hallway, which Erin supplements by handing over the doll, and then Abby says that no matter how obnoxious they were, they still beat us. The other mothers decide it’s all Melissa’s fault.
Next week on Dance Moms, Kira screams, everyone cries and Abby turns on Giana (whuuuut?)
So let’s talk, kids. Were you stunned by a completely lucid Abby? Moved by JoJo and her nana? Were the results as they should be? Is all this fussing at Melissa warranted? Who felt bad for the doll? Sound off in the comments section below.
New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.