Credit: Lifetime

We’re going to the Joffrey! For this bittersweet season finale of Dance Moms Season 2, Abby Lee Miller, her tiny dancers, and the yappity Moms themselves are headed to the big city. Which, oddly, is not Pittsburgh. It’s New York City. Let’s see how they fare, shall we?

We begin with the girls already in urban territory, where they are rehearsing for the Joffrey Ballet audition, and they can already see a tree (reflected in a brick wall’s air conditioner outside windows with bars on them) that grows in Brooklyn. Or wherever this makeshift studio is.

Mackenzie is wearing a pink and yellow cheetah sleeveless turtleneck. We felt the need to point that out.

PYRAMID OF DOOM
On the bottom: Paige. Kelly tells us that Paige is always forgotten about, and gets stuck in the back. To contradict this point, Kells says, “I think she’s…fine in the group.” Sorry Paige! Next on the bottom is Mackenzie, who we should mention looks as adorable as ever, despite the aforementioned piece of clothing (“You made them look like idiots,” says Abby), and Chloe (“You’re not 7 anymore. You’re 10 years old. That’s the unemployment line.”).

In the middle: Nia (“It’s the technique.”), and Brooke (“You always just do what you needed to do.”). Maddy is at the top for the 87 zillionth week in a row.

We learn that the three Joffrey instructors will look at feet, turnout, and body lines. Melissa is nervous! “I hope that they don’t embarrass themselves.” We’d say the same for you Melissa, but it’s far too late.

Abby Lee is shocked at the way they’re dressed, even though she is wearing a blue paisley muumuu. The moms are instructed to go buy ballet clothes. No trademark Pittsburgh sparklies in the big city. In addition to the pressure of the Joffrey auditions, Abby is entering them in the Starbound competition in Atlantic City.

“Each one of you is in jail,” says Abby to the girls. This will be a take on the Cell Block Tango number from Chicago, which is about a group of homicidal maniac women bragging about the gruesome ways they murdered their husbands. In fact, one killed her husband for chewing gum too loudly. So, perfect for children.

CANDY APPLES
Ack! We see Cathy’s slimy red lipstick and Kendall’s false eyelashes and Toto, I don’t think we’re in New York City anymore. Cathy says she has a wonderful routine that is very “heartfelt.” We see Justice, the small redheaded boy, thrusting his legs up into the air and we know Abby’s little ladies are in trouble. Beware the dancing boy who comes at you spread-eagle, girls!

“Everybody who dances for Candy Apples knows that they have a certain aura about them when they walk into a competition,” says Cathy. Unfortunately, this aura is typically so smothered in purple eyeshadow that it’s never actually been seen by anyone. We trust ya, Cath!

Credit: Lifetime

BACK AT ABBY’S
Abby is very busy making the girls cry by giving them a crash course in ballet.

She tells us, “I think it’s going to be intimidating. I think they’re going to be frightened, I think they’re going to be a nervous wreck. And I just hope their mothers are nervous and frightened and keep their mouths closed.”

Holly thinks the best solution would be to go shopping for leotards. Abby says, well, as cute as these ruffly neon bras are, sure. The moms pop into the local ballet store and ask for leotards with “really high cuts. For kids.” They gaze at the black leotards and Melissa asks for something “prettier.” And then Kelly makes a forced joke about how they don’t make leotards in Abby’s size. Really, Kelly? Fat jokes? Abby may be many things, but she’s certainly above the fat jokes. She’s on TV, she has Twitter, she’s heard all your catty remarks. We suggest mocking the paisley next time.

Chloe will be playing the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland for her solo in the competition. Abby says, “She really relates to the darkness, to the viciousness, to the evil aspect of playing a character on the dark side.” The producers helpfully cut to Christi pursing her lips.

Maddie couldn’t resist some Pittsburgh flair and wears a bright pink flower attachment in her otherwise flawless bun. Which may explain why the little superstar is suddenly having some anxiety issues about her performance.

Abby asks the girls to go fetch their jazz shoes, but Melissa is busy coming up with five different lies to tell Abby about why Maddie and Mackenzie don’t have their jazz shoes, let alone their “dance bags.” First, she tells the moms, “We don’t even have a dance bag.” Then, she tells the girls, “Just tell Abby you left your shoes on the couch.” And then in a state of distress as Maddie looks like she’s about to cry (“Don’t cry!”), Melissa blurts out, “The bags are at the hotel!” to Abby. You know you’ve hit a dead end when you can’t keep your own fibs straight, let alone inside your own head.
 
“Stop with this face, because I’m not in the mood,” says Melissa to Maddie. Then she flips out and leaves the room. Christi, as usual, knocks some sense into this show and says, “What’s the big deal? It’s a pair of $14.99 ballet shoes, go down the street and get a pair!” But Melissa seems to think they’re still in Pittsburgh, where you have to walk to the car and search the high heavens for a store that sells jazz shoes.

Out to dinner with the Moms. Christi is lamenting the jailbird theme, saying, “It’s like, I’m trapped in dance jail and I can’t get out.” Kelly and Holly are all, We’re not gonna win, Abby puts the girls under stress, we care about our daughters, we’re nearing the season finale so we should say all the obvious things we should have been saying back in the Pitts, etc.

But with Melissa out somewhere among the dangerous Manhattan streets, asking men digging through garbage cans if they happened to have found any jazz shoes for 9-year-olds inside (“pretty” ones!), the moms get to talk about her. Yay!

Credit: Scott Gries/Lifetime Television © 2011

BLACK SWAN, TAKE 2
It’s the big Joffrey audition day, and the girls kept it classy by showing up in neon pink jumpsuits. While waiting in the hall, Cathy’s squeaky voice slowly creeps up on us, and we prepare for aWest Side Story-style dancing gang fight on the streets. 

In the auditions, Brooke does her best neck-dancing, scraping that neck around the wooden floor, and the prissy lady judge tells her she doesn’t like tricks.

Mackenzie is up next, and the prissy man judge says, “You jumped, you twirled, you flipped, uh, a lot. But you gotta tell whoever told you to shake your bum bum like that, that they are a dum dum.”

Prissy McPrisserson tells a Candy Apple that she is wearing way too much makeup. Kendall gets a good report on her arms, “in the beginning.”

Chloe! Goodness, can she bust out some ballet. “Your natural, God-given ability is wonderful. You really have something special. Just please get into more ballet classes,” says one judge. Next is Maddie, who looks shell-shocked. But she still gets a “You really know how to perform. You could be on Broadway. You have showmanship.” And then they tell her she’s not so good at the ballet stuff.

Cathy starts nitpicking and being an enormous pain. The Abby Lee moms are composed, and we’re actually kind of proud of them. Cathy is downright rude, loud, obnoxious, all the while chomping down on a greasy piece of pizza. She actually says to Christi, “I’m not the one who’s drunk all the time with their kid.” Ugh! The Joffrey man has to come out into the hall in the middle of the ballet lesson and tell these grown women to be quiet! Appalled.

“Our moms were so bad. It was so rude, I hope they don’t embarrass me again,” says Paige.

Now everyone gathers their pink paisley suitcases, and Abby grabs her black furry fur duster, and they’re off to Starbound in Atlantic City. Everyone takes a deep breath as they realize they can scrub all that class right outta their hair. Oh, how they’ve missed their sparklies!

Sigh, the Candy Apples are there too.

The group dance is up first, and the Abby Lee girls walk out with their own individual jail cells, before mimicking those singing cathouse vixens from Chicago. They look a little sloppy, but Melissa loved it.

Next are the Candy Apples. Vivi-Anne dances by hugging herself and keeping the age average low enough. They’re dressed as angels, and everyone takes turns lifting Vivi-Anne up and putting her down. “My palms are sweating and my butt’s shaking, which is what happens when I get nervous!” says Cathy.

GROUP AWARDS
The Abby Lee girls get 10th place, and Abby is shattered. The Candy Apples get 9th place. Cue: gloating from Cathy, and something we very rarely get to see, Abby Lee crying.

Christi gets a call from Joffrey Ballet. “We want to offer Chloe a scholarship for the summer,” and Christi is shrewd and realizes that Chloe’s trying hard not to show her excitement because of the feelings of the other girls who wanted it, too. Maddie has a temper tantrum, because she thinks she deserved to be on top. Now Christi is crying because of how badly she feels for Maddie. Melissa lamely attempts to discipline Maddie by yelling at her from behind a curtain. Bizarre. And! A super duper fun thing to do right before the girl has to perform her solo dance.

Credit: Lifetime

Unbelievably, Cathy puts Kendall in the exact same Queen of Hearts costume as Chloe. She doesn’t even try hiding her attempt at stealing by literally saying, “We’re going to steal her thunder.” These are kids, Cathy. They’re not the voices in your head.

Poor Maddie is weighed down by the knowledge that Chloe got a scholarship at Joffrey in New York, and she didn’t. And in the middle of the dance, Maddie starts crying and running off stage. This is truly a tragedy, since it’s never happened before with Maddie, and because the reasons are so painful.

It’s like when you and your best friend both try out for the starring role in the high school musical, and you know you’re better. Everyone tells you you’re better, your mom is best friends with the director, and you always get a better grade in drama class. But when it’s finally time to cast Roxie Hart, your best friend, the perennial second-place winner, the bridesmaid to your bride, gets to play the part. Who wouldn’t have a good gut-cry?

Sadly for Maddie, this gut-cry came just as she was forced to dance a solo in front of literally, tens of people. We wish we could be Maddie’s big sister and tell her all about how cool she’s going to be once she starts smoking cigarettes and making out with boys.

Of course, Maddie’s first thought is about how mad Abby will be. Chloe, who is the best friend who feels terribly about getting the part, and would even give it up to her best friend if only her parents would let her, has to witness Maddie’s breakdown, on top of which, she has to perform the exact same number as Kendall did.

The moms are all abuzz because Abby is crying about Maddie forgetting her part. So Holly starts with, You’re so cruel for NOT crying for my daughter when she forgot her dance. “I don’t care,” says Abby. “These are children!” yells Holly. “Double standards! Different systems!” she shouts.

Abby just sits and takes the abuse, and poor Abby. Should she be screamed at for caring about one dancer more? The daughter of your own best friend?

SOLO AWARDS
Kendall wins 7th place for her Queen of Hearts. And Chloe wins overall first place for her solo! Abby didn’t even bother showing up for the awards, and the moms go backstage and she finally ends her silence by standing up, presenting her rear, and instructing the moms to get a paddle. “Please, that’s a visual I just do not want to see,” says Holly. Word.

Abby pulls a romantic-comedy-Act-Two move and dashes from the room, hails a cab, and informs the moms that she needs “a break.” Just in time for…Dance Moms: Miami! How serendipitous.

Follow Molly Friedman @MollyFriedman

Catch the Dance Moms Season 2 finale on Tuesday, April 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.