After last week’s emotional episode, the ALDC is one week closer to Nationals, and they are potentially down one very talented dancer and one instigating and annoying mom. Last night’s Dance Moms begins with the mothers waiting outside their Los Angeles dance space hoping that Kira will show up with Kalani. Melissa reveals that Kira won’t be allowing Kalani to rejoin the team per a phone conversation they had. Do you think Abby Lee Miller cares? Of course not! The mothers rehash Kira’s initial fight with Abby and concur that it should be Kalani’s decision as to whether she continues to compete with the ALDC.
At pyramid, Abby is still on a high for beating the Candy Apples, now helmed by Jeanette. The team will be going head to head with the Candy Apples again, and Holly wonders if Abby misses Kalani, with Jill adding that her absence creates a void. Nope. Not a bit. Kalani walked out on an amazing opportunity. Next! JoJo is on the bottom of the pyramid for awful feet and her ability to correct them, followed by Nia for being less than mesmerizing. MacKenzie is in the third seat for un-expressive eyes. Maddie is in the second spot to remind her she needs to be knocked down a few pegs…she needs to work harder for that top spot. It’s not a given. Kendall is deservedly at the top of the pyramid, and Jill is practically salivating with glee.
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Kendall and JoJo are granted solos, pitting Abby’s first place with her bottom feeder. It’s like a twisted dance version of the Hunger Games. JoJo can barely contain her excitement when she learns her jazz number is inspired by Miley Cyrus. JoJo can’t be tamed, and she’s even sporting Miley socks. The group number is entitled Don’t Fence Me In. Across town, Jeanette is confused by Cathy’s absence yet again. Perhaps she’ll enter the number under her own studio…the Candy Apples group routine will tackle the issue of transgender teens, and their number will be accompanied by a live performance by a gay chorus. The mothers find the theme to be very powerful, and they are happy to have Jeanette leading their girls.
The ALDC is working on their group number, complete with a human pyramid and a length of chain-link fence as a prop. This may not end well. The following day, the hens are still clucking as to whether Kira and Kalani will appear. Melissa feels that there is no place for quitters on the their team, but she’s going to have to eat her words as the missing mother-daughter duo roll up in the parking lot. She even drops the f-bomb. Jill is basking in “I told you so’s” but Holly and Melissa fear Abby’s wrath. The moms are a bit concerned that Kira didn’t alert Abby to their return. When Kalani enters the studio, her friends bombard her with hugs as Abby sits stone-faced, whispering to Kira to “walk away.” She plans to pretend they are both invisible. As the mothers pepper Kira with questions, she retorts that Kira decided to come back. If it was up to her, they wouldn’t be here.
It’s beyond hilarious to listen to the women applaud Miley Cyrus’ individuality and refusal to conform as Abby chastises JoJo for lip syncing to her music. Abby has gifted Kendall with a contemporary piece since she always wants what Maddie gets, but Abby barks that she’s dancing more like a MacKenzie. Talk about bringing down two girls with one blow. Abby is insistent that Kalani won’t be participating in the group routine, but the moms warn her to pick her battles. Kira approaches Abby in tears. Abby ignores her for a spell but explains that the choreography is already set. The ladies wish that Kira would just keep her mouth shut for a week and let her daughter watch from the wings while she gets back in Abby’s good graces. When Kira won’t leave well enough alone, Abby throws in the towel, quitting for the day. Jill and the other moms are beside themselves that the girls have to be punished because Kira can’t sit back accept her punishment.
The day before the competition, Jeanette introduces her troupe to the transgender man whose story inspired her choreography. Jay is spearheading the It Gets Better Project which features a song about his transformation…the song which will be performed as they danced. Jay, the songwriter, and the singer explain that the initiative is to help LGBT teens. Jay, who used to be Janet, chronicles his journey and gets teared up that the Candy Apples are sharing his experience through dance. I’d say their a shoe-in to win, just based oh the inspiration alone. Meanwhile, Abby reminds Kalani that as a good Catholic, she needs to repent for her sins…and perhaps remind her mother to do the same. The girls are wide-eyed as Abby doles out her lecture, and Kalani silently retreats to the sidelines. As the girls rehearse, Abby is screeching corrections at them…not even Maddie is safe from her tirade.
It’s competition day, and Jeanette is walking in like a boss with her girls sporting her studio’s name…not the Candy Apples. Cathy is sure to make a shrill appearance any moment now. As Jeanette regales the theme of her group routine as well as their collaboration with the Gay Man’s Choir. The ALDC moms spit and stutter that the rules couldn’t possible allow that before coming to the conclusion that this dance is going to resonate with the judges and the audience. Bottom line? They’re screwed. JoJo takes the stage with her solo first after Abby lords over her and Kendall, citing there is only room at Nationals for one of them. Sporting a Miley-esque wig, JoJo rocks her dance…that she improvised after forgetting the majority of her routine. She exits the stage, saving the tears until she’s safely out of the judges’ eyesight. As her friends offer support, she’s fearful of Abby’s reaction. Aren’t we all!
Throughout Kendall’s amazing solo, both Abby and Jill beam with pride. It’s beautiful, for sure, but to me, it’s lacking a wow factor. That said, y’all know I don’t know a kick-ball chain (change?) from third position–my dance training was short-lived. In the parking lot, Abby takes the opportunity to question JoJo’s forgetfulness in front of the entire team. Didn’t JoJo want to show off Abby’s choreography instead of her own? JoJo chokes back tears, expressing intense disappointment in herself for not being able to execute her favorite solo to date. In a very un-Abby move (one I’d like to see more of!), Abby engulfs sweet, wigged JoJo in a big bear hug. Jessalynn is happy that her daughter is finally being treated like a true member of the team by its leader.
I’m not going to lie, I am mesmerized by Jeanette’s girls as they perform they routine. I’m not the only one…Abby and the ALDC team waiting to perform in the wings are with me. Melissa calls it amazing, and she’s right. Up until this point, the ALDC group number has been a hot mess, but it’s actually really cool. Can it compete with relevant and controversial social issues? I’m not sure, but it’s phenomenal nonetheless. At the awards ceremony, Kendall’s solo is third with JoJo neglecting to place. Jeanette’s girls’ group routine is ousted by (barely) by the ALDC who takes the top spot. In the dressing room, Abby announces that Kendall is still in the running for Nationals…and she’s up next against Maddie. Kira is keeping quiet in an effort to appease Abby so that Kalani still has a spot at Nationals.
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE? WHICH GROUP NUMBER DESERVED TO WIN?
[Photo Credit: Lifetime]