Well played, Lifetime, well played. I’ll give the network a slow clap for sure after last night’s wrap up to the Dance Momsreunion. It had me bawling like a baby, but I appreciated that it focused on the only two redeeming qualities of the show: the girls’ genuine friendships and the amazing dancing. Plus, kudos for plugging the girls’ music videos and YouTube channels! Each of these young ladies has a bright future ahead of her, and Jai Rodriquez is yet again a breath of fresh air compared to ol’ Phil Collins.
The reunion begins with the girls joining The Boys of Temecula in a fabulous hip-hop number. After the dance, Maddie, MacKenzie, Nia, JoJo, Kalani, Kendall, and Brynn join to Jai to dish about the drama and the fun we’ve seen this season. Maddie recalls that she, her sister, and Nia were the only original ALDC team members remaining, and they have all grown up together. Jai shows a clip of the girls learning of Maddie and MacKenzie’s departure which starts the waterworks. You can tell how much these girls love each other. Don’t you remember being that age when when those kind of friendships were the only care in the world?
Um, are we watching someone unravel right in front of our eyes? The first three minutes of last night’s Dance Moms Reunion was akin to watching Britney Spears’ epic meltdown circa 2006, except there wasn’t any head-shaving…yet (at least). Abby Lee Miller arrives extremely late–and braless–as the mothers wait patiently on the stage with this year’s host, Jai Rodriquez. As a huge Queer Eye fan, I’m glad to see he’s still around! I notice that Phil Collins was wise enough not to get to close to this debacle! Abby stumbles on stage, hair half up in hot rollers, much she like starts her day at the studio. Abby complains about her bra, pulling it outside of her shirt to show the appalled audience, as Melissa Gisoni rushes to her rescue. Jai quickly cuts to a group routine which is already prepped and ready to go.
Jai gushes over the season, and Abby seems to have regained some sense of composure. He inquires about the Ziegler girls’ exit, and Abby accuses Melissa of lying to her, the producers, director, and Lifetime’s legal team. Melissa counters that they all knew, and she followed the proper channels. As Abby rolls her eyes, Jai questions what rumors Abby has heard. She goes on a rampage about Maddie judging So You Think You Can Dance, dismissing the competition show and its decisions. Melissa’s blood is boiling but she’s not allowed to speak on Maddie’s next move. Jill tries to calm her friend. Jessalyn interjects to remind Abby that she cried for hours when she heard about Maddie and MacKenzie’s impending departure. Abby argues that she’s beyond happy for Maddie, but she wanted to part of the united front when announcing their new opportunities. The other moms recognize that Melissa was following the advice of her lawyer, but they feel slighted that she always accused them of lying or believing gossip when they would question her about the rumors that turned out to be true.
It’s not an episode of Dance Moms if Abby Lee Miller doesn’t tap dance all over the feelings of her dancers, and it’s not the season finale if Lifetime doesn’t force an extra thirty minutes of the show on us. Last night was an emotional ride, with MacKenzie andMaddie Ziegler saying good-bye to their oldest friends and Melissa Gisoni peacing out on the ladies she has loved to hate for the last several years.
For the last week, Maddie wishes for good dances, fun times, and Abby keeping the yelling to a minimum. Keep wishing, kid! Jill hopes the mothers will remember to be on their best behavior, and Jill reminds the mini-moms that this isn’t the time to cause drama. So wise, that Jill.
After a poor showing at the last competition, Abby praises the minis for being her only winners, teasing them with the idea of head shots. Maddie makes the mistake of asking if she’s trying to replace the Zieglers, and Abby retorts that she’s not quitting just because Maddie’s a quitter. Maddie backs down, “It’s your team!” as Abby basically takes full credit for Maddie‘s success. Had she been dancing for anyone else, she’d still be living her boring, humdrum, middle class life. It’s awkward, and I feel both badly for Maddie that her teacher is being so hateful and glad that she’s getting the heck out of dodge.
Wait, I’m confused…Dance Moms is going to go on without Maddie? Do you hate us that much, Phil Collins? In the wake of Melissa’s announcement, the ALDC team wants to soak up the last few weeks they have with Maddie and MacKenzie. While they’re obviously sad to see them leave (at least the girls are), it’s clear that everyone is excited for what’s to come in Maddie’s skyrocketing career. Jill believes that even though she’s not showing her true feelings, Abby Lee Miller is secretly seething over the news. In other new, Jill is a candidate for MENSA.
At pyramid, Abby rakes her team over the coals for a second place group number, but it’s a step up from not placing the week before. JoJo is on the bottom, and she jokes that she’s been on the bottom a lot lately. This child’s attitude is everything, but Jessalyn objects to JoJo’s placement–she worked hard and did well last week! Abby rips JoJo’s picture from the pyramid, yelling, “We’ll move her!” before placing her at the top of the pyramid and laughing. JoJo is thrilled. Jessalyn is thankful Abby didn’t throw her daughter’s head shot on the ground and stomp on it. If I were everyone in the studio, I’d be slowly backing away…it’s clearly a sign that Abby’s about to go totally loco. Brynn is now the bottom-most dancer for not dancing, with MacKenzie on her heels for not showing enough emotion in her duet with Nia. When MacKenzie tears up, Abby warns her not to be a crybaby. Emotions are only for the stage! Speaking of, Nia’s dancing was emotional and beautiful, but only third rung of the pyramid awesome. Kendall, Maddie, and Kalani make up the second tier in that order. She praises them all.
Last night’s Dance Moms was it…the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. I think I took it about as well as Abby Lee Miller, and I’ve had a head’s up for months! As the episode begins, the mothers are all atwitter about whether Melissa and her daughters will be sticking with the ALDC. When asked pointblank, Melissa admits that Maddie and MacKenzie will be exploring other opportunities and will no longer be a part of the elite team. Jill feels betrayed. Holly is confused that she wasn’t able to share this news long before now. Ashlee (I’m not shocked) is convinced that Melissa leaked the news of Maddie’s departure to the media herself in order to create more of a buzz. She may actually be on to something! Melissa promises she was just following her attorney’s advice, and hey, at least the moms’ know before MacKenzie does…she has no clue. Melissa predicts that Abby will be sad about letting go of her daughters, but happy that she’s prepared them for fame. Good luck with that.
Melissa approaches Abby who seems more consumed with her lipstick than Melissa’s admission. Melissa hems and haws and feigns fake tears while staring at the ceiling before breaking the news that this her daughters’ last season with the ALDC. Abby freezes, and Melissa is quick to assure the emotionally fragile studio owner that she had nothing to do with the rumors that her daughters would be peacing out from Abby’s tutelage. Abby quickly regains composure and warns Melissa that Maddie better never be on So You Think You Can Dance, Kids! Melissa back pedals. Melissa stumbles over her words, “Um no, Maddie won’t be, um, dancing on So You Think You Can Dance, Kids. No, no dancing. I can promise you I have never even heard of that new show that my daughter is in no way affiliated with so, um…” Don’t quit your day job, Melissa, if your day job is not being a giant liar. Abby tears up and acknowledges the cameras…why did Melissa wait until now to break this news? Could she not have given her a courtesy phone call?
On last night’s Dance Moms, Christ-y returns! Ashlee wanders into the viewing room to a find a new mother. Christy explains that she’s not exactly “new,” since Abby Lee Miller has been training her daughter Sarah for ages. Ashlee looks a bit deflated and admits that while her daughter has been working hard to make the team, she’s not very popular with the moms. Christy understands…and agrees with Ashlee’s detractors. Abby needs to keep to girls she’s been training since they could walk, and she warns that Brynn’s ALDC jacket can easily be taken away from her. It’s extremely rich when Melissa enters and hugs Christy, thanking her for her support and text messages. Could this be more fake? When Jill and Holly welcome Christ-y with open arms, I know it must be a sign of the apocalypse. They all used to hate this woman. Ashlee is basically Christ-y 2.0! At least Jessalyn remembers how horrible she was.
At pyramid, Abby praises the girls’ David Bowieroutine. The bottom row is comprised of Kalani (she’s absent for her great-grandfather’s funeral), MacKenzie (sloppy feet), and JoJo (good job in the group number, there’s no real reason why she was arbitrarily placed on the lowest rung). Kendall follows on the second tier for making it through a morning without a meltdown, and Maddie is shockingly in the third spot for her silly string aim. Nia is in second for a great performance in the group number, and Brynn takes the top spot for her solo win.
Last night’s Dance Moms brought the drama, but Abby Lee Miller managed to stay slightly above the fray. You know that means it’s bad! As the episode begins, Abby is as unhinged as ever as she lectures the mothers on not respecting how busy she is as Ashlee lobbies for a pyramid to prove to the other moms that Brynn is worthy of the ALDC jacket. She’s still fuming that the team refuses to accept her daughter as its newest member, and I’m fuming that I get riled up and forget this a scripted mess.
At the studio, JoJo inquires to the whereabouts of Ashlee’s friends, and Ashlee retorts that she has no friends. Meanwhile, Melissa drives her daughters to practice, and Maddie admits that she love Brynn, but her addition to the team was awkward thanks to the mothers. MacKenzie chimes in to say how sad it was that the moms accused Brynn’s win of being rigged, and Melissa quickly shuts her down. “We don’t say that word.”
The minis were back on last night’s Dance Moms, as was Abby Lee Miller’s unstable behavior. Maddie has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award, and Abby has managed to snag two tickets for herself. Jill whines to Melissa that the entire ALDC should be allowed to attend to support Maddie. Good luck with that, Jill! The veteran moms need to stay behind to insult the mini-moms and grill potential newbie Jeannie with her three dancing daughters Coco, Rihanna, and Kaylee. Jeannie has been personally invited by Abby, so of course the moms are immediately wary of her.
Luckily, Ashlee takes some of the heat off Jeannie by interrogating Melissa about Maddiequitting the team. A frazzled, eye-rolling Melissa is quick to deny the rumors, although she looks very much like the cat who ate the canary! Melissa swears that Maddie will never leave the ALDC, but she can’t even keep a straight face as she says it. Abby enters sporting her normal hot-rollered head, warning the remaining mini-moms about how amazing Jeannie’s daughters are in the dance world.