Dance Moms Season 5 finale recap: Would you like seconds?

dance-moms-season-5-finale-abby-cry Lori Acken

OK, so I didn’t quite get to last week’s recap either. Press tour — the near-fatal summer (and winter) camp for television critics. It’s kinda the same thing every day and you’re lucky to make it out alive at the bitter end. Kind of like recapping a season of Dance Moms. OK, recapping of a season of Dance Moms is worse. At least they feed us and sometimes the drinks are free at TCA.

But anyway, let’s wrap this sucker up, shall we?

So Nationals week is here, so is Jeanette and her team from the Broadway Dance Academy — even though they’re based in Michigan — and so is the grand opening of ALDC LA. A lot of ground to cover in 48 minutes.

Since we’ve won nationals the last four times, the pressure is on. Especially since, as Abby notes, we’ve only won 15 competitions in 25 tries. Not betting odds. In fact, adds the stable owner, “that horse should be taken out back and shot.”

Allow Holly’s face — as it has done much of the season — to speak for all of us.


We get a recycled bit of “Abby is acting nuts” from Jill, accompanied by a revisit of one my favorite moments of the season…


….and a recycled bit about Jeanette being the least of Abby’s worries. Then we move on to the most important event of real-time: Nationals. Oops. Nope. The opening of ALDC LA.

Let’s do pyramid.

Bottom of the bottom is JoJo. Doesn’t take corrections.
Then Mack. Has to adjust to being the littlest.
Then Kendall. Just good. Is all.

Row two begins with Kalani. Third at the competition. Third on the pyramid. Abby’s is a symmetrical world.

Then Maddie. Something about an imaginary tug of war in the group dance. So does the imaginary guy who won get top of the pyramid? No. WHAT THE WHAT???? That’s Nia up there. *Pinch* Yes, I’m awake. *Pinch* Yes. I am.

So let me get this straight. Nia is finally the overall highest scoring solo and I was … I don’t even remember what I was doing last Tuesday. I don’t even remember last Tuesday. Press tour, I’m tellin’ ya. It’s a killer. But I am so going back and watching that bad boy.

Time for the big announcement — who gets solos at Nationals.

Of course, Maddie does. She is someone special doing a solo called “Someone Special.”

What? There is only one more solo to dole out? There is also a major debate. It appears that Abby said that whomever came out on top of last week’s edition of solo wars would earn a place at Nationals, no questions asked. Everyone agrees that that is what Abby said and that Nia has earned the solo. Everyone except …


No, says Abby. She didn’t say that. She said something like that.

Wait. There’s another nay in the room. Kira says it wasn’t really a fair battle because the competition was judged by kids. Had it been, like, grown-ups doing the scoring, Kalani would have won.



Yelling. Yelling. Holly appeals to Abby’s sense of fairness (why yes, I will wait while you clean up the drink you just spat across the room) and says Nia is the only dancer here who has never done a solo at Nationals.

Now you can wait while I clean up the drink I just spit across the room — because Nia gets the solo. Yes, I know. The episode is a mere six minutes old and the odds of Nia still doing the solo 30 minutes from now are slim and none. But for now… enjoy it.


Nia’s solo will be called “No Matter What.”

Group dance is called “The Waiting Room” and will be set …in a hospital waiting room. Abby says we do well with gloom and doom, so why stop now?

Over at the International Dance Academy, where Jeanette and the BDA are squatting, they decide that, since their collective target is ALDC, the group will be about just that — no longer being a target right back. A moving one.  They will do a moving dance about it.

Daughter Ava — whom, Jeanette says has been called a praying mantis by our Abby — will compete a solo against Maddie. She’ll be doing a Little Mermaid origin dance called “The Myth of the Mermaid.” Jeanette says she is out for revenge on any number of levels.

The Waiting Room is about the suspended reality of waiting to find out if the news is good or bad. It’s Gianna’s job to make it morbid magic. Abby’s got flooring to procure. And she’s outtie.

She’s not there the next morning either. The moms huff and puff. Then they huff and puff over lunch.

Gia, who’s looking a little pale and tired these days, puts Nia through her solo paces. Holly says the song is a beautiful summary of Nia’s year.

Wait. What? Where are we again?


Who is editing this thing? Fourth graders in “I Can Edit!” class? (Apologies if it actually is you, fourth-graders in “I Can Edit” class. You did a very nice job. It makes as much sense as any other episode.)

Wherever we are, it’s time to practice Maddie’s solo. Gia reminds her that she is special to, everybody everywhere and Melissa adds that Maddie is “the most famous 12-year-old in the country right now.” Therefore she simply must win. Because when you’re the most famous 12-year-old in the country, winning some hokey-dokey dance competition will make or break your career.

Telephone! It’s Jeanette calling Holly for a little (not the least bit staged) checkzy inzy. Jill says Jeanette is still trying to prove to Abby that Ava belongs at ALDC. Maybe so, says Holly, but Holly thinks that Ava could feasibly beat Maddie. That’s right. She said it. Jess seconds the motion.


With freedom from filming this show so close she can taste it, Holly doesn’t bother to hide the fact that she enjoys pulling Melissa’s easily-pulled chain. And it does kill some time.

Abby appears, chides the mothers for sitting on their asses at the “vegan ions” restaurant and heads on in where she is pleased with Gia’s work. The girls, however, need to work on their emotion. Melissa decides to help by bringing up the death of Maryen Lorrain.


maddie-cry maddie-barf

Good one, I Dream of Gisoni.



Back with the BDC, we get target props and more yammering about revenge.

Let’s open us a dance studio! Where Melissa is plainly dazzled. Or merely overcome by an overdose of pink. Or perhaps the sight of a giant shiny ruler.


This happens.


Two unidentified boy celebrities and pop group Wilson Phillips— whose biggest hit is a quarter century old — are in the uncontrollable crowd, too.

When it’s all over, Abby is verklempt.

With the party out of the way, it’s time to head to Centerstage Nationals in Lancaster, CA. Still with major chips on our shoulders about Abby’s lack of focus.

Of course, Maddie’s costume entails a baby doll dress. And Nia has a head wrap. And Jeanette and Ava walk in, you know, to say good luck. They are quickly and awkwardly dismissed.

Let’s dance. Nia first.

Her music skips — 30 seconds worth — but Nia dances on. No matter what, people. No matter what. And she dances beautifully. Love. This. Girl.


Ava goes next. She says she’s not flustered by Abby any more.

Aw geez, this costume. For one, it is much too bare to begin with. And for two, when Jeanette knows the girl has been tormented for her thin frame, why, oh why, would she put every single bone on display?


If you want people to focus on the power of your daughter’s dance, let the dance be the focus. Abby pronounces it awful. Jeanette says she’s just scared.

Mad’s turn. The costume is lovely, the song is lovely and Maddie is lovely. It should be a shoo-in.


Congrats all around in the get-ready, then it’s time to dress for the group dances.

“Moving Target” goes first. The camera is all over the place, so it’s hard to get an overall sense of the dance, but it’s intense and edgy and pretty cool from what I can tell. Holly’s worried.



“The Waiting Room” is next. And it is fantastic. Goosebump fantastic. Even though we do mature themes all the time, this is the first time that the maturity and complexity of the choreography has kept pace.


Awards time. Which we know from the “Coming Ups” is not going to go entirely well.

We start out fine. Nia’s solo gets second in Teen Solos.

Then we notice something is rotten in Lancaster. A kid just won in two separate divisions. Could you bring that trophy back real quick, kid? So we can give it to … Maddie. Because Ava won. Abby is livid. Something is up with the scoring — and the announcer — she declares.

The Waiting Room gets second, too. Melissa calls for a walk-out. Even before Moving Target is named the winner. In the audience, Abby calls for mutiny from anyone who paid to attend this debacle. She motions for her dancers to leave.

Announcer says they can’t leave. Abby says the law says they can. She does. Melissa, Kira and Jill and their kids do.

Outside, Abby says she was just defending her kids and their hard work. Then she does this. Her poor, besmirched reputation.


Next week, it’s reunion time where Jill and Holly bicker, Holly walks out to boos and  … is Abby leaving the show?!

So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Is Abby leaving the show (Season 6 arrives in January), going out with her head hung low? Did you think the BDA’s dances were, indeed, winners? What did you think of Ava’s costume? How ’bout that Waiting Room? Are you looking forward to the debut of Nia’s latest vid next week? Sound off in the comments section below.



  1. Hi,Lori! I’ve been following along all season and just wanted to say that I think you do a fantastic job at recaps! I could honestly care less about the Maddie vs. Ava thing. They’re both fantastic dancers,and that’s it. I thought Nia’s solo was good, and watching her improve makes me so proud. Moving Target was kind of boring for me and I think Waiting Room should have won but whatever.

  2. I really hope that there isn’t a season 6! If there is, you can be sure that Kalani will be gone. I do remember seeing an interview where Nia said that she is back for season 6, so she will probably be back. She is still 13 (I saw that someone said that she was 15 this year). She looks older, and her videos and straight weave and the fact that she just has grown up a bit, she just looks more womanly. That will be a bane for her during the new one’s filming.

    I really despise what Jill has become…all of her talk about how she ‘needs’ for Kendall to perform a certain way must have been very disappointing for her. No matter how much Kendall tries to improve, she just seems to have reached a peak and isn’t willing to do the hard work to really improve. As for the talk of new members, they really do need to get at least 1 more younger girl, preferably 2. I really hope that Sarah from the Pittsburg ALDC company gets to be a permanent member. She has the potential to be the best dancer of them all. Of course her mother is her biggest obstacle! I just really hope the show will end but if it must go on, I really hope Sarah will be there. I imagine that if Maddie is gone, Mackenzie will still be there…but i guess that’s up in the air.

    I really enjoyed the recap, Lori. Are you going to continue if there is a season 6? I am late with this comment because I was in the hospital and didn’t get to see the show. I saw the episode in the hospital, but didn’t have a computer handy where I could go in and check out the recap. I watched this week’s show, too but will wait and see if you recap it before commenting, although I will say that it looked like Abby wasn’t going to be on board if there is a season 6, which is actually OK with me. We’ll see if she can get out of her contract.

    I was happy to hear that Chloe won a TCA. I am so glad that so many still follow her progress. I am one that subscribes to her channel and regularly watches her videos.

    Well…I am still too tired for one of my super long rants…It would have been a good week for one, although I will rant more if you cover this weeks shows.

    If you aren’t back to re-cap season 6 or if there isn’t a season 6, thanks so much for all you do and did. I really enjoyed this forum and always looked forward to it more than to the show and have to admit to being really disappointed about the missing re-cap a couple of weeks ago. HEE!

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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.