Dance Moms Recap: Twisted Sister

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First, I need to offer my sincerest apologies for missing last week’s Dance Moms premiere recap, but you’ll have to take that up with Mother Nature and her nasty thunderstorms and ridiculously long (and hot and oh so muggy!) power outages. Second, did we really miss much? Abby Lee Miller, true to fashion, flaked on practice and was extra nasty to over compensate for her evident insecurities caused by relocating to Los Angeles. Jill discovered once again that no matter how much bum she kisses, Kendall will never be Abby’s favorite. Basically, Abby was mean, yada yada yada, Nia was discounted, Holly was fuming, Jill was confused as to what exactly she needs to do to cement Kendall in Abby’s good graces, and Maddie was revered. A recap in one paragraph…who knew my wordy self was capable of such a thing? 

It’s the second week in LA for the ALDC (this time around, at least), and the moms are still harping on Abby’s erratic behavior. Why anyone is still surprised by her antics is beyond me! The moms are surprised that Abby is in attendance at rehearsal (ehh, she’s “slightly” there), and Abby takes no time building up Maddie and tearing down Nia who doesn’t back down to her teacher. At. All. Go Nia! Of course, Nia ends up on the bottom of the pyramid followed by JoJo for timing errors. Shockingly, Maddie rounds out the bottom rung for not standing out in the group routine. MacKenzie is third for taking direction well, and Kendall is runner up to Kalani’s top spot on the pyramid. Kendall didn’t perform last week, but her video premiered which garnered her a higher spot. Kalani reigns supreme for her exceptional solo. So she forgot a few eight-counts…she improvised like a champ. Jill interrupts to say that a family commitment will keep Kendall from performing this week, but Kendall promises she’ll still be at rehearsals. Abby’s eye rolls say it all. 


This week, MacKenzie and Maddie will be dancing solos, and Maddie will being tap dancing, which is totally in her element. Melissa is happy to see her daughter get to showcase her favorite genre. JoJo receives the final solo, and Kira points out that the sisters will be competing against one another. Travis Payne is the guest choreographer and has worked closely with Lady Gaga, J Lo, and Michael Jackson. Abby is giving him complete control in the group number, and far be it from Abby to second guess him. At least she’s cognizant of that fact! The style of the group number will be different from what the ALDC is used to, and he’s bringing in a collaborator (and one of Beyonce’s dancers!) to work with the girls. As the girls rehearse, Abby surfs her phone. At least the mothers recognize that their daughters are finally having fun while learning new choreography. They conclude that this style of dance will help with future auditions, and they hope that Abby will be able to hold her tongue and give up control. Abby is able to stay quiet for about two seconds until she realizes that MacKenzie is front and center. Doesn’t Travis want to highlight a dancer that will remember the steps? The moms knew it was too good to be true, and they find Abby’s fixation with her hairpiece (which she takes off her scalp, fluffs, and then reinserts! What?) to be that extra bit of crazy they’ve come to expect when their leader feels uncomfortable. Melissa notes that Abby desperately needs to the center of attention, and the mothers howl at her attempts to get it. 

Maddie is working on a tap routine she’s known for ages. Abby wants to perfect it, but the other mothers note that MacKenzie and JoJo haven’t even started to learn their new solos. Melissa wishes the other ladies would realize how much pressure her oldest daughter feels to be the best. As JoJo silently practices the group routine in the corner, Abby calls her out for hosting a master dance class over social media. Abby is sorry that JoJo’s daddy isn’t making enough money to take care of their family and she has to try to make a quick buck off Abby’s name. Jessalyn interrupts the tirade to clarify that JoJo is taking the master class, not teaching it, and JoJo leaves crying. Travis takes the tearful JoJo under his wing to remind her how special she is. He admits that she’s one of his favorites, and it’s just the push that JoJo needs. As Abby works with MacKenzie on her number, Melissa boasts about Maddie’s latest Sia video. OMG! Sia just texted to let Melissa know that the video has reached a million hits! Holly wonders why Melissa is making MacKenzie’s rehearsal all about her older sister, but Kira and Jessalyn go in for the kill, reading negative internet comments about the video. Is that really necessary?

It’s JoJo’s turn for some one-on-one time with Abby as she learns her choreography, and Abby is determined to keep the young dancer from “embarrassing herself”…and her. The moms all know that Maddie is being groomed for the win, but Jessalyn reveals that JoJo’s confidence is sky high. Travis works with the team to learn something other than their typical lyrical numbers, and the women are thrilled that their girls are finally being taught with respect and positive affirmations. Travis wants the girls to focus on growth and balance as opposed to winning. He cites Michael Jackson’s career as a good example. The mothers recognize that without a win, Abby may nix any future guest choreographers. They don’t want Abby to say that the ALDC aren’t able to succeed with another teacher, and Abby can’t help but give Travis her two cents on what needs improvement. 

On the day of competition, Maddie admits that she’s feeling extra pressure due to the release of third Sia video. She knows that people wonder why she isn’t pursuing stardom on her own in light of her recent success, but her loyalty is to her team. Abby should take many notes on Maddie’s mature handle of her situation, but instead, she just sticks her weave on Maddie’s horrified head. It’s no Sia wig, that’s for sure! JoJo dances first, and she’s a firecracker, although she doesn’t have the same spark (in my opinion) she’s had in the past. MacKenzie performs next, and its the same acrobatic number she usually does. Don’t get me wrong, she is fabulous, but it’s nothing new for her. Abby seems to mildly approve of both outcomes. Maddie’s tap is awesome, and I love getting to see her shine doing what she loves the most. 

Backstage, Jessalyn confronts Abby about her intentions with JoJo. Abby dismisses her question, saying she cares about JoJo as a child, but not necessarily as a dancer. Travis enters just in time, joking that he could hear their ruckus in the hallway. He lauds the girls and their teamwork before ushering the ALDC to the stage. The choreography is unlike anything we’ve seen in a group routine, but the girls totally nail it. Without a doubt, the dance proves their versatility as performers. At the awards ceremony, JoJo places third with Maddie taking the second spot. Abby is floored that Maddie is in second, but she’s also shocked that MacKenzie didn’t place. Abby shouldn’t have spoken so soon…MackZ garners first against her sister, and Melissa is in tears, of pride I assume.

The group routine also takes the second place spot, and the moms all wince at what will surely be the end of wonderful guest choreographers. Travis beams over the girls’ performance, and Abby revels in the fact that her girls usually win with her choreography. The guy who worked with MJ for two decades? Not so much. In the dressing room, Maddie is obviously upset about losing to MacKenzie, and she’s peeved with her mother and sister for trying to force her to be happy. Abby takes the opportunity to pull Maddie up front and remind the moms that even though they thought she had an unfair advantage because she already knew her dance and got extra rehearsal time, she’s still a giant loser. Maddie nervously giggles before leaving the dressing room, and a weepy Melissa admits that Maddie should have been the victor. Sure MacKenzie was cute and technically perfect, Maddie beamed in her tap routine. Congratulations, Melissa. MacKenzie is going to see this. 


[Photo Credit: Lifetime]