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dance moms 1

The newbies are invading Dance Moms and Abby Lee Miller couldn't be more excited. Melissa is homeschooling both Maddie and MacKenzie so they can have more time to dance. Why are they wearing full make-up? Both Maddie and MacKenzie are happy. Melissa is happy. Most importantly, Abby is thrilled, and really, that's all that matters to Melissa, right? Jill is trying to decide if homeschooling would be right for Kendall so she can step up her game.

Abby calls her girls together and congratulates them for beating Kathy's Candy Apples, and then she quickly reminds them that she kept enough recruits from her Orlando open-call to replace the entire team…even Maddie. Melissa wasn't expecting that bombshell!  Abby is excited to scope out the talent in Atlanta. Holly volunteers her services as a former school recruiter to help with the trip…and spy. Melissa then offers up her daughters and herself to sell Abby's merchandise at the auditions. I'm surprised she's able to speak with her face shoved so far up…well, you know.

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Kendall is on the bottom of the pyramid for being the only dancer not to finish in first place. Brooke follows for not having enough height on a layout. Really reaching there, Abby, huh? Paige's posture garners her the third from the bottom spot. MacKenzie rounds out the bottom for not sucking in her stomach enough. Nia moves up to third in the pyramid for her facial expressions and pizzazz in the group number. Maddie and Melissa are shocked to see Maddie isn't on top. Chloe scores the prized position for her solo. Maddie will be doing a ballet solo and sister MacKenzie will be doing a lip syncing piece. Kendall, Paige, and Chloe are granted a trio. The girls are competing in Atlanta, so Abby wants to educate the dance world about the civil rights movement…which means Nia will be featured in the solo. Because the routine will be so mature and controversial, MacKenzie won't be dancing. Holly hopes that Abby won't be sensationalizing such an important historical series of events.

Christi questions Holly as to whether she's going to speak up if she feels Nia is being typecast or portrayed in a way that Holly feels isn't okay. Holly is excited to see Nia so thrilled to be featured, and, let's be honest, she doesn't want to rock the boat now that Nia's spot on the team is up for grabs. Thankfully, the moms move on to interrogating Melissa about her decision to homeschool her daughters and the unfair advantage it gives them. Um, isn't that the point? 

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The trio number is called Southern Belles. Abby reminds the girls that to channel their inner genteel, sweet-tea swilling selves, which basically means that they need to act in the exact opposite manner of their mothers. All of the moms find Abby's speech on manners to be hilarious, even Melissa. They share a story of the time that Abby sneezed boogies into her hair over dinner. Lovely. Abby is laying on the praise during Maddie's rehearsal, and she talks about how Chloe used to be the ballerina of the group, but alas, Christi is too selfish to pull her daughter out of school to make dance a priority. 

Holly thinks that the group routine has the potential to be very powerful. Abby thinks that if Nia ruins this dance, she will be able to find plenty of suitable replacements in Atlanta. At least they're on the same page, right? Christi approaches Chloe about homeschooling and explains how Abby was pushing homeschooling on Christi. Sweet little Chloe loves dance, but she can't imagine her life without school. It's her only "normal" part of the day. I love that child. Too bad she's stuck with crazy Christi!

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In Atlanta, Abby is holding her second round of open auditions. Melissa is ready to sell, sell, sell while Holly is more concerned with her covert operations, Abby calls out some poor girl for her crimped hair. According to Melissa, she doesn't fit in with the ALDC's all-American looks. Abby is weeding through the dancers left and right. A little girl begs for a second chance, and some of the moms in the audience are planning a mutiny when one girl gets cut after her instructor tells her to strip down a layer of clothes to show off her abs. Holly is appalled. What is this, the Jerry Springer of dance? Abby is giving lots of second chances, and Melissa and Abby can't believe that Abby has lost control of her own audition. 

MacKenzie performs her lip sync solo, and I'll be honest, I don't understand this genre. I get that she may want to be a pop star one day, but she won't be doing back flips while singing. Plus, what's the point of singing when the microphone is just a tossed around prop? It's distracting. Next, Maddie proves to us that regardless of the style of dance she performing, her pained facial expressions remain the same. The girl can dance, no doubt, but she needs to soften that face a bit. The costumes for the trio leave a lot to be desired…oh wait, they are great compared to this cheesy choreography. Yikes. 

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Before the group number, Holly hopes that the girls can't feel the moms' tension. Abby hopes that Nia won't ruin the entire routine, and poor Nia is nervous. Of course, a nervous Nia is way more composed than any of the mothers. Holly gives her daughter a pep talk, but Holly is totally freaking out herself. The group number is extremely powerful and beautiful, and Nia is phenomenal. Holly is in tears, and I'll be honest, so am I. The girls earn a well-deserved standing ovation from the entire audience. At the awards ceremony, MacKenzie ends up second in her solo, and the trio places first. Maddie also wins her solo division. Not surprisingly, the ALDC group number takes the top prize. Back in the staging area, Abby chastises MacKenzie for her second place finish, and she promises Maddie a new team mate to push her to be better. 

TELL US-WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LAST NIGHT'S EPISODE? HOW AMAZING WAS THE GROUP DANCE? 

[Photo Credit: Lifetime]

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