Dance Moms Reunion Recap: The Women Are Actually Friends…And Did Cathy Get a New Face?

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 MelissaJeff 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.


Jeff asks Holly who she thinks is the most outrageous dance mom.  At first she tries to be diplomatic, and then she jokingly cites a tie between Christi and Kelly.  Of course, it doesn't take much pressing for her to admit that Kelly probably speaks her mind the most!  After a Kelly meltdown reel, Kelly reveals that she thinks Christi is the most outrageous because she puts the most pressure on her daughters.  Christi reminds Kelly that she pushed Brooke at a young age, although Abby and Melissa disagree.  Abby snidely says that Kelly has never pushed her daughters enough.  Kelly and Christi are still the best of friends, no matter how much they may fight on the show.  Even Melissa shares that she and Kelly often catch up over coffee in the mornings.  Christi realizes that many viewers think she and Melissa aren't friends, but she reveals that while they do have some tension, they are actually very good friends.

Abby's controversial pyramid is discussed.  Abby thinks it is a lesson in the real world, and the women should be happy she's at least taking the time to explain to their daughters where they succeeded and what needs improvement.  She reminds everyone that at normal open auditions, dancers are rejected all the time without being given a reason.  Christi thinks it is too harsh a system for such young girls.  Holly counters that at least the pyramid holds Abby accountable for her thinking, and the moms and dancers know exactly why the girls are chosen for certain routines.  Kelly thinks the pyramid does a disservice to Maddie because now Maddie has a hard time losing.

Jeff shows a highlight reel of Abby's blatant favoritism of Maddie.  Abby speaks about Maddie in such a way, you can't help but feel badly for the other girls…and Maddie.  She's being alienated by the mothers for something that is out of her control.  Jeff brings up the episode when Abby had Maddie bring in all of her crowns.  Abby tries to rationalize the lesson she wanted to convey, but Holly isn't buying it.  Holly tries to explain to Abby that having a high school valedictorian isn't the equivalent of having a favorite, but her words seem to fall on deaf ears.  Kelly accuses Melissa of knowing what Abby wanted to do with the crowns, but Melissa is adamant that she didn't like her daughter put in that position to be alienated from the other dancers.  No one argues that Maddie did NOT want to be showcasing her accomplishments to her fellow dancers.  Abby explains that the "exercise" was provoked when Maddie won a crown at a prior competition and then gave it to a friend to wear.  Um, how sweet and sportsmanlike is that?  Well, Abby wasn't happy because she thought it was Maddie's way of not owning her achievements.  Give me a break!

Abby and Kelly's volatile decades old past is revisited.  There is some really bad blood between these two, to put it mildly.  Jeff questions whether Kelly has decided to return for another season, but she is undecided.  Her girls want to be back in the studio, but Kelly is worried that it is breaking sweet Paige's spirit.  Abby actually agrees, but she implies it is because Paige is lazy.  Nice.  Trying to switch up the arguing, Jeff decides to ask some fan questions.  Kelly began dancing for Abby's mother when she was two.  Abby remembers a young Kelly as being talented, beautiful, and a lot like Paige.  Kelly remembers Abby being bossy and mean, but she thinks Abby has taught her some wonderful life lessons.  For example, ankle strap shoes make your feet look fat. 

Kelly goes back to accusing Abby and Melissa of having Maddie practice to a scratched CD so that she wouldn't be distracted when the CD skipped during competition.  The mothers believe Maddie won because she flawlessly continued to dance with malfunctioning music.  Kelly swears that Melissa told her that Abby knew the CD would skip, but Melissa strongly denies saying anything.  She insists that all of the girls are instructed to keep dancing in the event something goes wrong with their music, and Maddie was just being professional…Paige or Brooke would have done the same.  Christi interrupts to say that in all the years she has known Kelly, Kelly has never lied to her, but she can't say the same for Melissa. 

Christi wishes the viewers could see more of the fun times the moms and daughters share with one another.  Christi touts Kelly, Holly, and Melissa as her support group, and Kelly chimes in that the girls truly are the best of friends outside of the studio when they aren't dancing.  Oddly enough, I believe both statements. 

Jeff asks Christi if she is living vicariously through Chloe.  Christi reveals she had a very hard childhood, and she never wanted her daughter to want for anything.  Chloe has tried a plethora of activities, but she always seems to come back to dance.  Christi just wants her Chloe to have every opportunity she didn't have with supportive parents.  Abby begins to agree, but she basically says that Christi looks at Chloe like a meal ticket.  Um, no.  Abby then says that Christi needs to teach Chloe to be more independent.  Christi snips back that Chloe is very independent, she's just terrified of Abby.

Holly gets the chance to address Nia's afro wearing solo.  She wasn't a fan of how stereotypical the dance and costume were, but Abby informed her at the competition that Nia basically needed to play that ethnic card since she wasn't a technically great dancer.  Holly wouldn't have a problem with ethnic dances, but she didn't think the afro was celebrating any type of heritage…it was purely a gimmick.  Abby agrees, and she thinks Nia needs those gimmicks to win.  Can't this woman, just once, admit she may have stepped over a boundary?  Jeff reminds Holly of the balance she had to find as a working mother, especially when Abby accused her of not being there to support her Nia as much as she should be.

Jill joins the reunion, and I think I saw her dress on Lindsay Lohan last week.  Seriously?  That's what she's wearing?  Jill's reputation as a studio hopper is revisited, and Abby reveals that Jill going to Candy Apples was the ultimate betrayal.  However, she allowed Jill to return because she didn't want to punish talented Kendall for her mother's awful judgment.  Melissa is then in the hot seat for her personal life.  We're shown a clip of Christi, Holly, and Kelly talking about how they know all the details of Melissa's desires and grooming habits for sexy time, yet she won't admit to them that she is engaged.  Melissa felt like she was ganged up on by the other women because she wanted to keep her personal life private as her fiance was still going through his divorce.  Jill jokingly asks if the moms will be invited to the wedding.  Melissa responds with a big, fat no, although the women seem to be over the drama the situation once caused. 

Jeff asks about Cathy, and Holly refers to her as "special."  Cathy and her new face join the women on the sofas.  LIfetime apparently afforded ol' Cath some plastic surgery, or do I need my eyes checked?  Some never before seen footage after Nationals is shown where Cathy douses an irate Christi with water.  Christi clearly wasn't a fan of Candy Apples' "clean Chloe's clock" chant, and she was letting Cathy know until the water started flying!  Christi admits that she and Cathy will never be buds (you don't say!), but she appreciates Cathy's quick wit.  Cathy finds it sad that Abby is so concerned with always winning…oh, and being a lot less classy than herself.  Cathy gives Abby credit for producing great talent, but she thinks Abby needs to be more respectful of the moms…who are her actual clients.  I have to say Cathy is on to something there! 

I know I expressed earlier how excited I was to have a two-part reunion, but I think they are really going to be grasping at straws to fill another hour!


[Photo Credit: Lifetime]