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dance moms group 1

Um, are we watching someone unravel right in front of our eyes? The first three minutes of last night’s Dance Moms Reunion was akin to watching Britney Spears’ epic meltdown circa 2006, except there wasn’t any head-shaving…yet (at least). Abby Lee Miller arrives extremely late–and braless–as the mothers wait patiently on the stage with this year’s host, Jai Rodriquez. As a huge Queer Eye fan, I’m glad to see he’s still around! I notice that Phil Collins was wise enough not to get to close to this debacle! Abby stumbles on stage, hair half up in hot rollers, much she like starts her day at the studio. Abby complains about her bra, pulling it outside of her shirt to show the appalled audience, as Melissa Gisoni rushes to her rescue. Jai quickly cuts to a group routine which is already prepped and ready to go.

Jai gushes over the season, and Abby seems to have regained some sense of composure. He inquires about the Ziegler girls’ exit, and Abby accuses Melissa of lying to her, the producers, director, and Lifetime’s legal team. Melissa counters that they all knew, and she followed the proper channels. As Abby rolls her eyes, Jai questions what rumors Abby has heard. She goes on a rampage about Maddie judging So You Think You Can Dance, dismissing the competition show and its decisions. Melissa’s blood is boiling but she’s not allowed to speak on Maddie’s next move. Jill tries to calm her friend. Jessalyn interjects to remind Abby that she cried for hours when she heard about Maddie and MacKenzie’s impending departure. Abby argues that she’s beyond happy for Maddie, but she wanted to part of the united front when announcing their new opportunities. The other moms recognize that Melissa was following the advice of her lawyer, but they feel slighted that she always accused them of lying or believing gossip when they would question her about the rumors that turned out to be true. 

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Abby doesn’t want to take away from the excitement that comes with Maddie’s next adventure, but she wants the viewers to realize that she gave up so much to make her dancers successful enough to have these opportunities. While the mothers agree, Holly feels that Maddie and MacKenzie deserved more than the iciness that Abby showed them. Jill just hopes that there is potential for Kendall to become a leader on the team, and Abby surprises Jill by spouting off her grand plans for Kendall’s music career. Jill is floored, and no one has the heart to point out that Abby’s likely just trying to needle Melissa with this assertion. Jai then turns his attention to Ashlee who complains the mothers hated her because Brynn was poised to join the team as “the new Maddie.” As the moms try to downplay the drama, Jai reminds them with a highlight reel of Jill, et al., talking smack about about Ashlee’s daughter, and vice versa. Even with the evidence in her face, Jill maintains that she wasn’t trying to badmouth Brynn. She was mad at Abby for not teaching Ashlee her place. Kira agrees. If a child doesn’t fit in with the team, it’s the mother’s fault. Has Jai really ever watched this show? He seems petrified! You know who else was frightening? Lizzy Borden. Yes, that was my segue to Maddie’s creepy solo, and I’m darn proud of it! 

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The mini-moms join the veteran mothers on stage, and I can’t even with any of these women. They revisit the mini’s beautiful solo in honor of her brother who has cerebral palsy. The mini mother felt hurt that Melissa tried to overshadow her daughter’s moment by making it all about Maddie and MacKenzie. Having them play back the drama isn’t any easier to watch than the first time around. Melissa tries to act apologetic, but she’s sick of the mini moms thinking their daughters will be the next generation of the ALDC. Isn’t that point? If all the original dancers stayed on the elite team until they were 18, is Abby supposed to close up shop when they age out? Nope, no more dancers! I broke the mold with these, and I don’t need any more. Even Holly has been drinking the Kool-Aid. How dare the mini moms even consider they could possibly be a part of the ALDC legacy? Thankfully, the bickering is interrupted by a Kendall and Maddie duet. 

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Diving into Abby’s legal struggles and stress over opening the new studio in Los Angeles, Jai wonders what has affected Abby the most. Abby quips it’s that producers told him to ask that question and he actually did. The moms discuss Abby’s erratic behavior, hot rollers, and bathrobes. Abby seems to be going off the rails again, refusing to address her shadiness and disappearances from competitions. The team’s studio time with Debbie Allen is revisited, and Holly believes that it was a good decision. After their session with Debbie Allen, Abby returned and hasn’t sketched out since. Jai points out that Nia is now the only remaining original member of the ALDC. Holly reveals that Nia has learned a lot under Abby’s training, and they have no plans to leave any time soon. Abby claps loudly while pointedly staring down Melissa. Kalani and Nia take the stage to perform their Debbie Allen choreographed duet. 

The attention turns to Kira and Jessalyn’s showdown when Melissa was responsible for Kalani after Kira gave birth to her son. In the footage, Kira hurls a water bottle at Jessalyn, and I feel like if she had one on the reunion stage, she’d do it again. All of mothers accuse Kira of pawning off Kalani on them at multiple times during the season. While they admit that Kalani is a dream, it’s supposed to be a mother-daughter experience, and Kira didn’t carry her weight. Before Kira can get any more defensive, Jai introduces another group routine. Thank goodness for all of these dance interludes! 

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Is it just me, or did the first half of the Dance Moms reunion make an Andy Cohen moderated event seem like hard-hitting news? The last few minutes are a walk down memory lane for the ALDC as Melissa sobs about her last reunion. Abby sobs when they footage of her late mother and dog. The moms share their “heartfelt” good-byes to Melissa as she thanks Abby, the show, and the fans. The mothers shower Melissa with their love and support and adoration of her beautiful daughters. Ashlee even takes the opportunity to gush about MacKenzie and not make it about her daughter. Jai prompts Abby to give some parting words, which she does, somewhat sincerely. Jai passes around champagne as Melissa and Abby embrace. Damn you, Lifetime. I’m getting misty! 

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[Photo Credit: Lifetime]