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.
I don’t know about you, but last night’s parade of bump-its, spray tans, and grown-a$$ women dressed in prom dresses was exactly what I’d expect from the Dance Moms Reunion. As the mothers get dolled up pageant style, we learn that Abby Lee Miller has been texting them constantly, forbidding them from attending the reunion. Of course, when she finds out they are already there, she arrives and silently takes her seat, putting a slew of papers under the cushion.
As the show begins, Abby refuses to speak to anyone because she’s classy like that. I’m thrilled that Jeff Collins dialed back the orange tint in his hair from the last go-round. As the mom take the stage, Jeff rehashes the Nationals upset. Abby holds up a sign that reads, “Fixed!” Jill explains that the competition was orchestrated, and Holly interrupts to say that yes, the awards ceremony was a mess, but they’ve never complained when the ALDC won. No one cries “fixed” then! Jessalyn touts that it made their team seem like sore losers, and suddenly Abby has found her voice with Jill and Melissa co-signing her every word.
It's a Dance Mom's extravaganza! Lifetime knows a good thing when it pas de bourées in the ratings, and the network is going to milk this cash cow for all it's worth. You know what that means? It means that last night you were treated to two and half hours of Abby Lee Miller and the drama mamas. It felt like Christmas all over again, didn't it?
In the hour leading up to the season three premiere, Jeff Collins returned to lead yet another reunion type show, only this time the ladies would be highlighting the upcoming drama instead of rehashing the past. Let's see how this works. Abby is wearing a lot of sequins and bling and spray tan. Taking a few questions from the studio audience, she reveals that she has a special man in her life, and the mothers are the most selfish people on the planet. Okey, dokey. Poor Jeff looks one Ambien shy of hibernation, but luckily the stage setting mirrors (literally!) Abby's outfit, so all the twinkling should keep him awake at least until the premiere begins. He is going to bring out the moms to have some one-on-one time with Abby and the audience.
Holly is the first to untangle her way through the sequined streamers, and she is wearing a tomato red number that seems to combine the finest vinyl with raw silk. Abby immediately comments about it under her breath to Jeff. Holly often gets on Abby's nerves, what with her professional demeanor and her need to analyze things. Holly takes one audience member's question, and responds with a non-answer before making a swift exit.
I am still baffled why Dance Moms needed a two-part reunion, but apparently Kaya had a lot to say, and there is never enough time for Candy Apple Cathy and Abby Lee Miller to bicker. The reunion did have to reach back to past seasons to get enough material though.
Poor Jeff Collins looks like he had a couple Red Bulls after the first hour. We are treated to the moms dancing at Abby's dance recital from a past season. Cathy choreographed the act, and she took off mid-number to perform a crazy-eyed jazz solo. It's hilarious, and Abby shockingly is appalled that Cathy tried to purposely embarrass the ladies.
Cathy and Abby discuss the competition between their two studios. Cathy thinks her studio is just as good as Abby's, but she does credit Abby's dancers for having more star power. Jill and Cathy go at each other over Kendall. Cathy isn't keen on Jill's studio hopping, and Jill doesn't like that Kendall didn't fit in with the other Candy Apple dancers. Cathy is questioned about whether she has cheated in the past by trying to sneak older dancers into younger age categories. Lots of choreographers average ages of those dancing in group numbers according to Cathy. She proudly admits to copying Chloe's solo music for one of her dancers to psyche out poor Chloe before she performed. After a viewer question, Cathy addresses bringing in outside choreographers. Abby admits to have done the same, saying that she likes working with them.
Last night was the first ever Dance Moms reunion, with the show's executive producer Jeff Collins mediating the crazy. I really couldn't be more excited that Lifetime jumped on this bandwagon. Let the insanity fly! It's a two parter as well, which is always nice!
Abby Lee Miller faces off with the Kelly, Christi, Holly, and Melissa. Jeff is admittedly nervous, and I can't say I blame him after he shows an "everyone's replaceable" montage followed by some highlights of lighthearted moments interspersed with Abby threatening the moms. Why do I love this show so much? It is truly amazing, and we're only two minutes into the episode.
Jeff questions the ladies about Abby's teaching style. Christi believes that Abby is harsh with some students while being overly kind to others. Holly, an educator for over twenty years, believes that Abby's direct message is usually on target, but her delivery is off base. Melissa, of course, sings Abby's praises. Abby thinks that the mothers have too much time on their hands. Dance moms of years past weren't as privileged and didn't have the luxury of leaving their jobs to hang out in the studio. Plus, Abby believes that kids these days get a trophy for just being born…and I couldn't agree more.