Welcome to Dance Moms! Last week, Kendall and Jill were unofficially welcomed back into the unloving arms of Abby Lee Miller Dance Studio. Which meant the inevitable return of the Candy Apples and their revenge dance. Let the hunger games begin.
Not on the Pyramid of Doom at all this week is Kendall, who is “still a guest” in Abby’s eyes. On the bottom are Brooke, who is punished for being injured last week, Paige, who is also being punished for having a broken foot, and Mackenzie, because she cried. She is 8 years old.
In the middle are Maddie (!), because she needs higher goals, and Chloe (“I want you to be intense,” says Abby).
At the top is Nia! Finally! Her solo was obviously outstanding, and we’ve never ever seen Nia at the top, so this is a momentous occasion. Nia becomes Team Captain, which is also a brand new thing, but Abby can make up imaginary positions any time she wants.
At Starbound in Myrtle Beach this week, Kendall has a duet with Mackenzie, Chloe has a solo, Maddie doesn’t have a solo, and there’s the standard group number. It’s called “Taken,” and “it has to do with four little girls who are all dressed the same and they’re watching this other little girl. She’s dressed in her own color, and she’s happy. And of course, they want to be like her. But they know that is not a possibility. So what do they do? They get her to be like them.” Note that Maddie is the peer-pressured superstar.
In the moms’ box, Jill tells the other moms that they are just going to have to deal with her. And poor Kendall has to deal with Abby telling her she is a “mess.” For the group dance, Abby reminds everyone that Maddie is the star.
“Apparently Abby is using this as an opportunity to explain to the world that our girls are a mediocre cult and if they see someone who is better than them, they’re going to drag her down to their level,” says Christi. “It’s art?! It’s bulls**t!”
Melissa, typically, just doesn’t get it. “Everybody celebrates everybody,” she insists. Christi gets nasty then, saying, “You are a f**king troublemaker. And you’re a bitch!”
Major Screams begin, with Christi taking a whole new route on this show: “Who had an affair with her boss? And is sleeping with a man who is still married?!” Whoa! “That’s it. I did not have an affair with my boss!” says Melissa. “Yes you did!” screams Christi.
Weirdly, none of the other moms defend Melissa, and Mackenzie overhears the whole thing, and comes out of practice in tears. Mackenzie is 8. Did we mention that? “They’re talking about you,” she wails. Our heart crumbles into pieces, because Mackenzie is cuter and sweeter than a basket full of playful puppies and fluffy kittens.
With Maddy and Mackenzie missing from rehearsal, Nia is allowed to stand out a little as the Team Captain. That’s the bright side, but the downside is that Jill is all smiles because whenever a tiny dancer is missing from practice, Jill thinks this means that finally, Kendall will get to prove how amazing she is. Not by default or anything, but because, hot damn, her kid is the most talented little person to ever walk this earth!
Phew. Over in Ohio, Cathy is directing her tiny BOY dancers to punch tables while imagining they are punching Jill’s face. So, well, should someone call Child Services or something? “No smirking!” says red-headed Justice, the BOY. Once again, Cathy’s daughter Vivi-Anne does nothing except walk lethargically through the other dancers, holding a prop.
Nia tries to be a leader and calls Maddie to tell her to get her perfect little butt to practice. On the phone, however, Maddie says that her mom won’t let her (ugh!), and Nia proves how mature she is by saying, “I am not her mother.” That’s right, Nia! In the world of Dance Moms, we leave the mothering up to these batty nutcases up in the box. And Abby Lee Miller.
Abby finds out that Cathy is putting two boys up to compete with Kendall and Mackenzie, so Abby decides to assign Maddie a solo the night before the competition. Christi fumes, of course. Melissa actually steps up to Abby for a change, saying Maddie doesn’t have to. Abby yells, “But I need to intimidate him!” speaking of the tiny boy dancer Justice. So that was mature, obviously.
Finally, we get to Starbound in Myrtle Beach. Christi overhears Cathy’s voice, and says, “Ugh, that voice. It like, haunts you in your nightmares.” Abby tries to get Jill to give her some scoop on Drazen, the “ringer” boy who does not compete but is being pulled in as a “guest artist.” Is that even allowed, to bring in outsiders to a dance team competition?
Chloe’s solo is up first, and she wears blue sparklies. As usual, her ballet skills are stunning, and so is her ability to incorporate the lantern as a prop in her routine. Justice is shirtless OMG U GYS! And he does a lot of leaping across the stage, sideways splits, and warrior handstands. He’s a little too shaky and loose-limbed for our taste, though. Abby chimes in, “Ladies and gentlemen, that is not choreography. That is called stretching.” And that’s why we love our Abs.
Next up is the group performance. The choreography is gorgeous as Maddie tries to free herself from the other girls in bonnets. We have to give credit where credit is due: It’s all Abs. It’s actually not bulls**t. It’s art.
The Candy Apples’ group dance is all set to begin, but Cathy starts screaming from the audience before they can even turn the music on. “Stop, stop. Stop!” she demands. Abby is all, “Nuh uh, who does that?” And we collectively answer for her: Cathy. Cathy does that.
Awards time for the solo awards, and Chloe wins 2nd place. She lost to Justice by 1/10 of a point! Abby, intelligently, points out that judges like to award boys, because they like to keep boys dancing.
The Candy Apples win 3rd place for their group dance, and Abby Lee’s girls win 1st place! Abby takes it out on Melissa for not letting Maddie do the solo, and yells, “You have a man at home to pay the bills? I don’t. This is how I pay the bills.” We find ourselves applauding Abs yet again!
Justice and Drazen are dressed in suspenders and ties to do pirouhettes and jump off of tables. Abby isn’t impressed, and it’s up to Mackenzie and Kendall to win the duet. They’re obviously adorable, but did they kill it?
Justice and Drazen wind up winning 2nd place, and Abby’s girls win 1st place! Such cuties.
Dance Moms airs every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.
Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @MollyFriedman.