Credit: Lifetime

The Dance Moms are back. And the first lesson of the evening is quite the doozy. Abby Lee Miller tells superstar Maddie that she should never be scared of dancing boys. Quite the contrary! We hope Maddie remembers this when she’s at NYU in the distant future (Tisch ‘24, naturally).

PYRAMID OF DOOM
On the bottom this week are: Chloe (“You need a challenge,” says Abby. “I need to light a fire under her butt.”), Nia (“You have the style and the sass but the rest of it is a mess.”), and Paige (“You did your job. I want more.”)

In the middle are Mackenzie (“You continue to improve. I don’t want it to be all about your gymnastics.”) and Brooke (“Watch the chin in the chin-stand, no more hickies.”). Maddie’s at the top for the zillionth time in a row.

There’s going to be a scout from the — oh wow, has there ever been a more glaring error in a voice edit? We see Abby, she’s talking, clear as she possibly can in her throaty, scrape-y voice to the girls about what’s coming up this week. And as soon as the camera moves away from her, we hear a different Abby. A tired, sick Abby who has lost her voice entirely, and makes words come out of her mouth by summoning all of the saliva lingering at the back of her throat, thrusting it forward, and making shapes with her lips. Egads.

Anywho, this week there will be a scout from the Joffrey Ballet scouting kids to go to an audition. “Its reputation is unparalleled,” says Christi.

Abby describes the group dance for this week’s Michigan competition: “This is a message about our body image, people that do have work done.” Maddie makes a grossed-out face. There will be two trios, a sort of Varsity and Junior Varsity separation. Mackenzie, Paige and Nia will do a high-energy jazz routine. Kelly is all, “Paige is being downgraded.” Now Brooke, Maddie and Chloe will be the heavily favored trio team vs. the feisty underdogs.

“I don’t understand why she was in the bottom,” says Christi, referring to her lovely Chloe. And we agree. Chloe is a beautiful dancer, and now that we’re nearing the final stretch of our journey with the Dance Moms this season, it’s time to “get real,” which is reality TV speak for “be honest.” Chloe and Maddie are stars. Nia will not be a professional dancer. She can star in the Glee remake on The CW in 2025 as the dark and moody shy girl with the big stage personality.

As an odd explanation for why Abby is having the girls do a plastic surgery-inspired group dance, she says, “I keep hearing the moms talk about the ‘work’ they want to have done,” says Abby.

Credit: Scott Gries/Lifetime Television © 2011 Photo: Chloe and Dance Mom Christi on Dance Moms

“My girls know what liposuction is because I always talk about it? I would like to get it?” asks Melissa? We wonder why she thinks this is funny?

And Kelly says, “I want boobs because I think I need them to balance out my ass.” And since she lost her boobs after having “three beautiful children,” she says her hubby “should give me two beautiful boobs.” Have we been watching Dance Moms too long, or does this somehow sound like a reasonable transaction?

On to Christi, who puts her obligatory pointer finger on her obligatory nose, and says, obligingly, “I know everyone wants me to do my nose, but I wear this thing like a badge of honor.” Glad we got that out of the way. The Moms are saying how they totally used to be as skinny as their rail-thin daughters, before they needed a “nip and tuck.” Way to inspire your daughters, ladies!

Suddenly Nia is lunging at the camera like a ragdoll, and we see the Moms’ shocked expressions before cutting back to Nia on the floor, crying. An ankle has been twisted (again).

“She lands on her foot, and she’s down for the count,” says Abby. What other body part should the girls land on? Their chins? We know Brooke could probably do that…

So Holly takes Nia to the doctor because “better safe than sorry.” Well, we would hope the girl goes to the doctor after twisting her ankle! “So I can still do all my tricks?” asks Nia hopefully, and Mr. Grey-Haired Doctor says, “Absolutely not!” Someone’s grumpy.

We’re on to Maddie’s solo rehearsal, and the pressure’s really on in anticipation of the Joffrey Ballet scout. She is told to really use her emotions to connect to the audience. “Her emotions tell the story, and that’s what you fall in love with when she dances,” says Abby. And this is when we fall in love with Miss Abby.

As for Chloe, Abby accuses her of trying to be a choreographer and doing what she wants instead of listening to Abby. She looks great to us, but Abby says to take a break and moves back to Maddie. Christi fumes, of course. “She’s not even trying to hide her favoritism anymore.”

Abby shows her senior dancers Maddie’s solo as a way of inspiring them. The Moms fume further, saying that Melissa allows Abby to “use her kid to turn the other kids against her.” They moan, and they bitch, and Melissa does what she does best: rages in silence. The speedy percussion music added by the producers indicates to us that a fight is going on, and the Moms talk louder and louder until the Screams are back. We thought the Screams left with Jill!

Melissa decides to be ridiculous and storms out of the studio without her daughter (“I’ll make arrangements for Maddie to get home,” she says, as if she’s Jennifer Lopez), and struts out of the studio with, we kid you not, her faux-fur jacket and discount bag from Chico’s covering her face so the prying cameras don’t catch her. Meanwhile, the camera is following her from behind, so the only thing she manages to hide is her dignity. Where on earth has this woman’s dignity gone?

Christi, Holly, and Kelly do their best Sex and the City impression by “going out with girlfriends and blowing off steam” at the local Mohan’s, which is the “home of universal fried chicken & ribs.”

Next up for rehearsals is the Varsity trio, made up of Maddie, Brooke, and Chloe, and Abby surprises everyone by being very hard on Maddie. Somehow, none of the Moms are there to see that. Drama maintained!

Everybody boards the competition bus, and Abby yells out, “Bus driver, we’re going to stop by my house and pick up my dog!” The friendly bus driver, named Jim, says he’s the captain of “this ship,” this ship being a bus. Melissa gives Kelly a black bra as a gift. Christi notes: “Typical Melissa, one day she’s storming out saying she’s never coming back, the next day she’s handing out gifts. Wackadoodle-doo!” Thank you, Christi.

THE COMPETITION
Maddie tells us how tired she is, and Abby says she is “prancing around this dressing room in a frenetic state.” Uh oh, now Maddie’s crying! Someone tell the President of the United States! Oh right, she’s not as important as Dance Moms likes to pretend. Turns out her silly mom Melissa just poked her with a safety pin. Apocalyptic crisis averted.

Her solo is up first. She wears black sparklies, and helpfully, we’re treated to shots of the Joffrey scout in the audience, trying his best to not look like a pervert.

Oh, adorable Mackenzie! She’s in the audience, beaming. “I like watching my sister dance. I may not be as good as her, but I’m workin’ on it.” Cuteness overload, dearest.

The Varsity trio is up — Maddie, Chloe, and Brooke — and they wear adorable pink gypsy leotards. It’s very pretty, and they all look synchronized. We forgot how much we’ve missed seeing Brooke dance.

JV Varsity trio’s up next — Nia, Paige, and Mackenzie. Nia starts out with some major gymnastics, and so do the other two. They’re full of tricks, and Nia tells us she didn’t worry about her foot at all. They’re really having fun, which we love seeing. They burst into the dressing room cheering, and everyone’s delighted! But Holly wants to dump on the whole thing by asking Abby for more feedback on Nia’s performance. Ugh.

Backstage, Chloe’s showing signs of a struggle by forgetting one part of the number while rehearsing in the dressing room. Christi gives her a pep talk and says, “It’s only about doing your best,” and then, “I love you Chlo-bird.” Adorbs.

Chloe’s solo is going along fabulously, as she glides along in blue sparklies. And then, er, she freezes. But she keeps moving, and Christi frets, and we must get seven close-ups of poor “Joffrey Scout,” who doesn’t even merit his own chyron with his actual name on it. He looks gassy in every close-up.

Abby gives her a bit of a hard time, but really focuses on bashing Nia, who, when she froze a few weeks ago, ran off the stage crying. “It’s a lot better to do what Chloe did,” says Abby. Poor things.

Adding insult to injury, the girls’ group dance means the girls have to have those dotted lines drawn on their 9-year-old faces, which would actually be a fantastic ironic image if say, Steven Meisel were taking photos for Teen Vogue. But they’re dancing a strange, robotic dance about plastic surgery for a half-empty high school auditorium.

Still, the dance is so incredible and we’re stunned by how truly cool they look. Awards time!

First place in the Junior division goes to Maddie!  As for the trio dances, the Varsity team wins first place! Next up is the group award, and collective sad faces are made when they realize they didn’t place at all.

The big question is, who’s this gentleman daring to enter the girls’ dressing room? It’s Mr. Joffrey Scout, and he invites the Abby Lee girls to come audition, which is tremendous news. It’s also perfectly timed for the season finale. They will be going to the Joffrey Ballet School in New Yawk City for an official audition for the official Big Time. Somebody find these ladies their dignities, stat!

Catch the Dance Moms Season 2 finale on Tuesday, April 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

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