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I am so confused as to what Lifetime is trying to pull with this season of Dance Moms.  Not only has it lasted almost a decade already, but Abby Lee Miller bounces on and off the show like hyper kid on a trampoline!  What is going on here?

Last night's episode began as Melissa busts into Abby's house and she's decked out in a bathrobe and a towel.  Abby's mom isn't doing very well, and she may not make it to the pyramid again.  Melissa shares that Maddie misses her dance teacher, but Abby is adamant that her needs come first (and I don't blame her with a very sick mother).  As Abby shares her hardships, Melissa is in tears…but Melissa is promised that Maddie will be dancing a solo at Nationals.

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Gianna is back in the choreographer's position, and she's trying to have a Abby-esque attitude.  Abby has relayed her orders to Gianna, and Chloe will be performing a solo.  Maddie will not have a solo, but she will be featured in the group number.  Asia and MacKenzie will be dancing a duet.  The mothers clap when they learn there will be no pyramid this week, and I can't help but be excited about it as well.

Kathy is is happy to have her moms and dancers back in the studio, and Anthony is glaringly absent.  As he's kind of a ticking time bomb, Kathy isn't upset with this turn of events.  She moves right into ranking her dancers on the apple tree.  I can't even keep up with  her kids.  Dance Moms: Miami's kid is at the top.  Black Patsy's daughter is somewhere in the middle.  Botox mom thinks her daughter works the hardest.  Zack is granted a solo, and Kathy is hoping that he can beat Chloe.

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Chloe's solo is basically her audition for a solo spot at Nationals.  The mothers don't think it's fair that Abby isn't around to watch their daughters dance.  How will she fairly decide who has solos?  Since when does Abby do anything fairly?  Jill questions if Abby mentioned anything about Nationals during Melissa's meeting with her.  Melissa reveals that Abby said that maybe Maddie would have a solo, but she's not totally sure.  Watch out Melissa, your pants are on fire!

The ladies go to lunch, and Kelly feels badly…she doesn't want the fact that her daughters are at the studio to keep the other dancers from getting the dance lessons they need.  Christi thinks that no matter what, all of the mothers (with the exception of Melissa) will be in Abby's crosshairs.  Holly thinks that regardless of whatever is going on with Kelly, Abby needs to be at the studio.  Again, when has Abby ever acted professionally?

Botox mom has turned into a petite blonde Anthony as she yells at the Kathy's kids like a drill sergeant.  Kathy wonders when people will realize that this is her studio and she is in charge?  Back at ALDS, Gianna is leading the girls in a group rehearsal until Abby enters, sucking all of the fun out of the room as Kelly astutely notes.  Abby promises to work Paige and Brooke so hard that they'll regret they ever returned to her studio.  She has no tolerance for lazy girls.  Oh, that's rich!

Abby summons the mothers down to the studio, and she gets very offended when Jill questions her whereabouts.  It is none of their business.  Kelly agrees that it's not their business just like it wasn't Abby's business where she was when she wasn't at the studio.  Abby wonders why Kelly and her big mouth are there now, and she asks Melissa if she agrees with what Kelly says about her.  Goodness no!  Both Melissa and Kristie 2.0 couldn't disagree more with Kelly's rude ways!  Christi unleashes the f-bomb on Abby, and Kelly's about to blow a fuse.  Classy!

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Kathy is excited about how well Zack is performing his solo, and she reminds him to dance for a cause, not applause.  At Abby's studio,  Abby is treating MacKenzie and Asia's duet as an audition for the mini-division solo.  Abby is especially hard on MacKenzie, taunting her for not being as good as Asia or her sister.  In the viewing room, both Melissa and 2.0 are tense, and 2.0 goes off on Kelly.  Holly hates seeing the group torn apart…however will the girls dance cohesively?  Oh Holly…you are far too intelligent to be on this show!

The ALDC is taking the bus to the competition, and Abby passes out the costumes for the duet.  Lifetime has hired a cheering section for the Candy Apples.  Jill is annoyed at how obvious it is that Abby doesn't want to be present with her dancers.  Well, what gave it away, Jill?  The fact that she left??  2.0 reminds the moms that their common goal is to beat the Rotten Apples.

In the auditorium, Kathy starts in on Melissa about plastic surgery rumors.  Are these ladies for real?  Melissa is concerned that Asia is going to outshine MacKenzie, so she is determined to out-cheer 2.0.  The duet is precious and high impact, and all of Abby's moms are out of their seats cheering while Kathy's moms look bored and unimpressed.  Zack performs an amazing solo. Christi knows that Chloe won't be nervous, given the fact that Abby isn't around to tell her how bad she is before she performs. As usual, Chloe is powerful and graceful, but I'm just not a fan of the lyrical choreography.  She's flawless though, and she's extremely proud of herself once she's done.

Kathy's moms and Abby's moms meet in the hallway, and it's like a bleached, nipped, and tucked scene from West Side Story. When one of Kathy's mothers brags about how wonderful Kathy's choreography is in the Candy Apples group number, Botox mom loses it.  She helped with that dance!  She storms off crying and yelling that she can't believe she's been so disrespected. For once, Abby's moms don't seem so insane.  Kathy realizes that Botox mom brings just as much drama as Anthony. Sheesh!

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The Candy Apples group number is really good, and I can't take my eyes off of Zack or Botox mom's daughter.  Of course, Abby's girls totally kill their group dance, and Maddie's emotions make the number.  At the awards ceremony, Asia and MacKenzie score the top spot in their division, and Chloe beats out Zack for first place in junior solos.  I am so excited for sweet Chloe!  The Apples also get second as the ALDC takes the top prize.  Instead of relishing in their victory, Abby's moms take the time to taunt Kathy's ladies.  Geez.  Melissa calls Abby to share the good news, but Abby hangs up when Jill says she would have been so proud of the girls.  I love the maturity level of these women!

Next week, the group heads to Las Vegas, and Paige has a panic attack.

TELL US-WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LAST NIGHT'S EPISODE?  DO YOU WISH GIANNA WOULD TAKE OVER PERMANENTLY?

[Photo Credit: Lifetime]

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