Dance Moms Season Finale Recap: A Team Divided

dance moms kendall jojo

Last night’s Dance Moms was the second part of the Abby Lee Miller’s swan song in Pittsburgh before heading out to Los Angeles to open the West Coast ALDC studio. Of course, it wouldn’t be a finale if it wasn’t coming on the heels of a tween video showdown, and it’s certainly only fitting that Cathy and her Candy Apples were involved! Even better? We don’t have to sit through a pyramid…we can just head right into the competition.

With the other dancers involved in the various JUMP convention showcases, JoJo and Nia are the only ALDC members ready to compete. Despite Melissa’s tepid excuses for the team’s absence, Holly can’t help but think that something shady is going on to which she wasn’t privy. Jessalyn and Holly are confused as to why Abby double-booked her team (especially since Kendall and Kalani are supposed to have solos), but Kira and Jill play dumb. Cathy interrupts to question why half the group is MIA, and on cue, Abby arrives to ignore Cathy’s insults about her blobby, big hair. She wasn’t about to have her dancers miss out on the coveted time with master choreographers at the convention. Jessalyn is livid to learn that Abby texted the mothers whose daughters were involved, instructing them not to mention the scheduling conflict with her and Holly. “Shame on you,” admonishes Holly. As Abby and Holly scream at one another, Cathy takes great pleasure in watching the demise of the friendships crumbling in front of her. Jill scolds Holly for airing their dirty laundry in front of the Candy Apple moms, and her anger is only exaggerated by the fringe on her tacky jacket. Holly and Jessalyn storm off, realizing they are getting no support from their counterparts. Cathy cackles with delight, while relishing in Vivi’s starring role in the Candy Apple’s group routine.


As the ALDC moms convene in the dressing room, Jessalyn wonders if it crossed Jill or Melissa’s minds to share their daughters’ agendas. Melissa swears up and down that she had no clue that the entire team wouldn’t be participating in the JUMP convention. Melissa does clueless well. When JoJo and Nia enter the room, Abby announces that Nia will be filling in for Kalani’s solo, while JoJo will substituting for Kendall. Both girls appear shell-shocked, but like the professionals they are, they prepare like champions. I hate seeing these sweet girls being set up for Abby surely hopes is failure. Abby informs the mothers that she plans to speak with the judges about Kendall and Kalani potentially missing their performance times, and she will figure out how to sub in JoJo and Nia. Abby shrieks that Nia will perform one of her tried and true solos while JoJo will be left to improv. JoJo looks terrified, but I have the utmost confidence in her. Kira argues that the team loves their group routine, and it’s not fair to declare it a scratch. Abby derides that she would never risk her reputation by pulling her girls from a showcase where they have the opportunity to learn from the best of the best.

dance moms abby

Nia and JoJo will be pitted against Ava, and Holly finds it ridiculously unfair. Jill argues that Abby clearly has faith that the girls are contenders, but I think she’s also got some ocean front property in Arizona she’s going to try to sell Holly during intermission. Cathy barges into the ALDC staging area and feigns surprise that Abby would enter JoJo and Nia in the solo division. A cool and collected JoJo politely responds that her teacher always provides her with good opportunities, while Nia ignores her completely to focus on rehearsing. Can these two get their own spin-off please? Cathy chides that Abby knows how great Nia’s video is, and she is hoping for a win so she’s able to at least garner some credit for Nia’s success. She then reminds Jill that she didn’t have enough respect for Nia to allow Kendall to attend her friend’s video premiere. As Jill cusses up a storm, defending her love for Nia, Holly silently smiles in vindication. Undeterred by the crazy women around her (her own mother sadly included), Nia just practices like a champ. 

Jill can’t understand why Holly isn’t thanking her lucky stars that Nia got a solo. Sure, Jill. You’d feel so grateful if the tables were turned, right? Holly concedes. She’s so happy that Abby chose Nia to get a solo over the empty chair sitting beside Jill. I mean, who else was going to dance? Jill, please exit stage left, and take that Roadhouse wardrobe malfunction of a jacket with you. Despite the mothers’ issues, Jill is proud to see how beautifully Nia performs (and does she!). She hopes that Nia has what it takes to beat Ava…so, you know, her heart is in the right place. Um…sure. Ava is ridiculously talented with her precise technique and long limbs. She looks like something out of a Matrix fight scene, but she’s able to do it without the benefit of slow-motion technology and special effects. It’s crazy to watch. 

dance moms jill

Jojo’s routine is every bit as impressive, but it’s made even more so by the knowledge that she had no choreography and no time to prepare. She is a consummate professional. Once again, Cathy barges in to congratulate Nia for being the star of ALDC. If Holly can’t see through this crap, she’s even more far gone than I thought. As Cathy and her mothers insult the other girls’ videos, Jessalyn screams at them to leave. How I’ve grown to like her this season! Cathy insults Abby’s boobs before heading out to watch her group routine. I can’t believe I even had to type that last sentence. The ALDC group number is in limbo, and Jill refuses to admit that she’s concerned the girls won’t arrive in time to compete. Even Melissa agrees that their tardiness is unacceptable, citing Abby said the team would be ready in plenty of time to take the stage. Holly and Jill’s friendship is beyond repair at this point. 

dance moms cathy

Abby prompts Nia and JoJo to dress for the group number despite the fact that they are the only ones present at the competition. The Candy Apples perform first, and, while I’m delighted to see Vivi highlighted in a small portion of the number, it’s not the type of routine that takes one’s breath away. Vivi is talented and beams throughout, so that’s enough for me. As the ALDC members rush in to dress for their dance, Jeanette’s team performs an upbeat hip hop number that showcases Ava. It’s fun and lively, but it’s not memorable. The ALDC girls are in a panic to make it to the stage before being disqualified, and it is total chaos. Not surprisingly, the not only make their final call, but they dance flawlessly. At the awards ceremony, JoJo’s improv takes third place with Ava winning the junior solo division. Abby snarks that sure, Ava could easily beat Nia, but she could never beat Maddie…had she been competing. Nia, your video trumps this stupid competition. Only half a point separates first and second place in the group routine, but Cathy is once again runner-up to the ALDC. Of course, the mothers can’t allow the girls to enjoy their victory, and Jeanette and Abby get into a screaming match before Abby turns her nastiness on Cathy who retaliates with a pair of reading glasses before snatching Jill’s phone. Security has to separate the women before an impending brawl, and Holly ponders how they got to such a negative place. The flippin’ end…till next season! 


[Photo Credit: Lifetime]