Dance Moms Recap: Los Angeles Let Downs

dance moms girls

Hollywood, baby! Last night on Dance Moms, the ALDC finally arrived in Los Angeles so that Abby Lee Miller can start on the next chapter in her star-making career. Of course, things rarely go as planned in reality television, and Abby is livid to get to her new rented dance studio to find another class rehearsing in her space. Jill and Holly find it funny that Abby is so intimidated to learn that other dancers are also present in the city where everyone comes to be entertainers. Abby is quickly on the phone with her attorney speaking about privileged information. Jessalyn and JoJo are also present, feeling that they were kind of invited. As Abby fumes in the parking lot, the mothers enter and introduce themselves to the interlopers. Even Melissa finds her behavior odd. Jill doesn’t get the temper tantrum…why can’t the girls just dance?

We’re treated to some of the other competitive west coast teams, including one led by a choreographer once hired by the dreaded Candy Apples’ Cathy. As the girls warm up, Abby calls the mothers to say she feels uncomfortable practicing in the studio with the other teams. Melissa is beside herself. Abby tries to temper her news that she won’t be attending rehearsals by sharing that she’s scored all of the girls an audition the following day. While that’s all well and good, the moms want to know who is going to prepare their girls for the competition! 


The following day, Gianna arrives at the studio to take the reigns. When Jessalyn questions Abby’s absence, Gia tries to cover for her boss while passing out the girls’ lines for the audition with casting producer of Transformers. Gia announces that Maddie has a solo, and the group number was choreographed without JoJo dancing, so she’ll be a swing/understudy. As much as Gia tries to remain confident, Abby’s no-show is wearing on her as well as the dancers. The moms know that Gianna agrees with them, but she can’t say anything against Abby. Why did they drop everything to come to L.A.? When Kira calls again to question Abby’s whereabouts, she reveals that she’s heading back home to take care of some business. The moms all know she’s just running scared. On the upside, we don’t have to sit through another pyramid, right? Maddie is channeling her inner homeless child for her solo, and Melissa knows that her daughter is a professional. She’ll shine without Abby’s guidance. I think Sia proved that to us! The Los Angeles choreographer is grooming her west coast vet to go head-to-head with the ALDC protege. 

The following day, all of the girls arrive at the casting session. As the dancers bubble in the excitement of their first call, nearby Abby is getting into a verbal altercation over a parking spot. Jill wonders if she’s having some sort of breakdown. When Abby approaches, Holly asks if the MIA instructor has any words of wisdom for her pupils. Nope. Holly responds that she’s acting disgraceful, causing Abby to go on a tirade on Nia. Melissa tries to shuffle the girls into the building so they aren’t subjected to the madness. The girls are excited to learn that they are working with the folks behind Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off video. I’m equally in awe. 

dance moms nia

Um, I think Gia’s face says it all!

As the girls work with the casting directors, the ALDC troupe prove to be as great at acting as they are at dancing. JoJo is a tad over the top though. Nia does an amazing job, and Abby criticizes her for going in a different direction than the previous auditions. The casting director applauds Nia for doing the role in her own way. He thought Nia was great. When Holly calls out Abby, Abby says she was just trying to keep Nia for looking like a fool, accusing Nia of morphing into Holly’s mini-me. By the way, according to Abby, that’s not a compliment. When JoJo asks if Abby will be at the competition, Abby scoffs that JoJo isn’t even dancing. Holly feels like the other mothers didn’t have her back, and she’s very disappointed in her friends. Jill blows up that she has no clue what to say to a woman who is so clearly off kilter. Holly cites the other mothers’ fear of Abby as deplorable. While I can’t speak for Melissa, I don’t think Jill’s silence is her attempt to further Kendall’s career. I think–for once!–she’s just totally speechless. 

dance moms abby

At the competition, the ALDC is a bit out of their element, especially given that their teacher is once again invisible. Moments later, a very disheveled Abby appears (has she been on a bender?), and the mothers are beside themselves. They are clearly watching a woman who is having some sort of psychotic break. She’s been getting Maddie’s costume together, you fools! Abby cackles that the moms have no clue what it takes to manage their daughters. JoJo wants to know how she should fix her hair for the group number, you know, just in case she gets to dance. Poor Gia interjects in order to save the child from another lashing. A teary Melissa tries to tell Abby how much the girls need her, but Abby disjointedly tries to convey that she’s just going to apply some make-up. She didn’t get to do that when she was busy trying to find Maddie’s costume. Duh, Melissa!

Talia, the dancer hoping to beat Abby, does an amazing job on her solo. Even Melissa admits that her performance left her speechless. Melissa hopes that her daughter can handle all of the pressure that her solo has placed upon her. Maddie’s costume and make-up are beautifully done, but those details pale in comparison to her dancing. She is breathtaking. Backstage, Jill is concerned that Abby isn’t “all here.” Oh, she’s here, but it’s weird. A competing choreographer brings Abby a fruit basket, telling her that she can’t wait for her girls to compete against the cream of the crop. Abby thanks her by throwing the basket on the floor. Jessalyn clearly doesn’t pick up on social cues, and she’s fixing JoJo’s hair and getting her daughter a costume…which Abby promptly trashes. She laments that she’s so sick of always looking like the bad guy to children before storming out of the room. Gia tries her best to restore the girls’ confidence. 

dance moms maddie

The rival group number is well executed and in sync, but it doesn’t have the heart or creativity we’ve seen from the ALDC group routines this season. It’s like a high school cheer leading squad that’s been competing together since birth, but it’s not special. The ALDC is performing a lyrical number, and it has a lot more emotion although it’s not nearly as flashy. It’s definitely not their best though. At the awards ceremony, Maddie wins first place after the judges tie breaker. It’s well deserved. MDP beats out the ALDC for the top spot in the group routine. Holly believes their second place spot is a direct result of Abby’s behavior. She’s had enough. Holly is out to find a manager for Nia who is invested in her daughter’s future. And the lines are drawn…


[Photo Credit: Lifetime]