Credit: Lifetime

This week, Dance Moms went to the land of “sun, sand, and pool boys” as Abby Lee Miller put it: Miami! But first, miserably, we must begin in the world-famous, internationally known city of Pittsburgh, where Abby is telling her troopers that “Last week was unacceptable.” On to the Pyramid of Doom.

PYRAMID
On the bottom this week are dollop of sweetness Mackenzie (“Your acting could have been bigger and stronger,” said Abby), Paige (“I didn’t see you utilizing your spare time”), and Nia (“I just need to see more from you”).

In the middle are Chloe (“Your age is 10, you’re competing in 10 to 12, you need to dance like a 12-year-old”) and Brooke (“At 13, you won the whole 13 to 15 division”). And at the top, predictably, is Maddy for the second week in a row. Maddy says that she’s delighted to be at the top again, but feels badly for the other girls because of how hard they worked. Nice, and bodes well for her future as a powerful, popular high school queen bee.

Abby tells the girls that their group number in Miami will be inspired by the 1960s. “I want you to think of Frankie Avalon and Beach Blanket Bingo.” Naturally the girls have no idea what those words mean, but we suspect that some of the eye-rolling, “Of course…” Moms didn’t really get it either. Their homework assignment? To play Clockwork Orange with their daughters and force them to sit through movies starring itty-bitty-bikini’d Annette Funicello.

The soloists will be Nia (yay!) and same-olds: Chloe and Maddy. The same-olds will also trio with Paige, who chooses this moment to announce, “I’m just letting you know that I’m getting my warts taken out of my feet tomorrow.”

Abby explains that every dancer gets planters warts, and speaking of warts you want removed…

Over at the Ohio Candy Apples Dance Studio/Beef Jerky Mart, Kendall is having a private lesson with Cathy, who is nothing but positive reinforcement. So encouraging! High fives all around! Jill says, ominously, “Cathy says she has big plans for Kendall, I just hope that Cathy’s big plans are in line with MY big plans.” We gulp and sort of secretly hope those two come to fisticuffs by the end of the episode. And they both lose.



Credit: Scott Gries/Lifetime Television © 2011 Lifetime Entertainment Services Photo: Abby Lee Miller at Rehearsal in Dance Moms Season 2, Episode 1

BACK AT ABBY’S
Abby tells a tiny dancer, “If you don’t point that foot, I’m going to come out there and break it.”

Up in the moms’ box, Holly wants Nia to be in the trio, but Nia got a solo this week! Why is she so upset? What about poor, former superstar Brooke?

Holly takes a deep breath and ventures into the jungle that is Abby Lee’s rehearsal.
“I would like for Nia to be considered for the trio.” Abby starts scream-smiling, saying “You are so far off my plans, you have no clue. This is my domain.”

Long scream short, Abby tells Holly that she and Nia are “expelled.” Holly says, “I am never setting foot in this studio again.” Once again, the girls are just trying to learn their dances, and a Mom decides to ruin her daughter’s dreams. After all this time spent as an Abby Lee Dance Mom, in what universe do you think that interrupting Abby mid-rehearsal, with no expensive gifts or naked man surprises a la Jill, will do anything but hurt your daughter?

Another week, another girl doesn’t get to do what she loves because of a Mom’s ego.

Nia doesn’t show up to rehearsal the next day, and Abby puts on extra makeup to tell us how ridiculous Holly is. Abby wants the girls to “smile! Over the top!”

Now we visit the local foot doctor with Kelly and Paige. The podiatrist is Pittsburgh-cute, which is sort of like saying that Don Draper is New York-cute and Larry the Cable Guy is Nebraska-cute, and so forth. For his respective city, Mr. Foot is a dreamboat. He should probably work on his baby voice, though. Mute button works wonders for now.

He gives each of Paige’s warts “a little zap.” Paige looks glamorous in a big Rachel Zoe coat and big Nicole Richie sunglasses. There are tears behind those shades, though. We know from watching Nicole and Zoe all these years.

Cathy got Kendall “an opportunity to dance with the Harlem Globetrotters.” Jill thinks it’s adorable and perfect. We smell beef jerky, and we don’t like it…

TRIO REHEARSALS
“This is advanced choreography.” Paige is dancing through the pain, and her feet are seriously bothering her.

Predictably, Holly comes crawling back to Abby Lee with her tail between her – wait a second! Why is the calendar behind Abby Lee’s front desk blurred out? And why does it look like a scene from Beach Blanket Bimbos 3? Is that a spread-eagle – okay, sorry. Yes, Holly feels dumb, and Nia gets punished for it in rehearsal. Abby puts a marker between her ankles and tells her to squeeze, and we think about that Santorum supporter who recommended squeezing aspirin tablets between young ladies’ knees as an optimal form of contraception. Kooks!

Oh dear. Abby Lee is standing on a serene, white-sand beach. All of the girls have to do push-ups because their moms didn’t wire their eyes open and play Frankie Avalon movies until their eyes bled.

The girls are doing back flips in the ocean, and then they give Abby a big, wet hug. Why is everything suddenly so lovely and dreamy and nice? To perfect the moment, Mackenzie sort of gets left behind in the waves and tells us, “I could have got lost at sea!” with fake indignance, and we do what we never think we’ll do but always do mid-Dance Moms: LOL.

But then three out of four Dance Moms are strapless on the beach, and we find ourselves praying to the lords of the dance that a strong breeze doesn’t blow by.

Back to, as Sienna Miller might say, the Pitts, where Kendall is dressed in yellow sparklies and racing stripes, being pulled by the arm by both Cathy and Jill, about to perform at halftime for the Harlem Globetrotters.

Kendall is actually great, and watching her try to jump up to high five those (oddly old?) ‘Trotters was really cute. Sorry, nothing much more to say here. Smiles for everyone involved.

Credit: Scott Gries/Lifetime Television © 2011 Lifetime Entertainment Services Photo: Abby Lee Miller in Dance Moms Season 2, Episode 1

COMPETITION
Time for the first Miami performance: the trio. They look so good with no sparklies whatsoever, and they nail it. The group dance is just as spot-on. They’re wearing orange sparkly bikinis and do the Swim, and the Pony, and some splits, and some sitting kicks and they’re having so much fun. Everybody looks happy and even Mackenzie shows off her bigger, stronger acting!

The trio gets 2nd place. And the group dance gets 3rd place. As Abby says, they were competing against girls in high school! So everyone is proud.

Now the soloists get a crack at it. Maddy wears blue sparklies, and does her standard amazing job. Mom Melissa even cries.

Next is Chloe, wearing black sparklies. She makes doing about 56 pirouettes in a row look easy, and even we, cold-hearted and cynical recappers that we are, actually feel moved and enthralled.

Okay, it’s Nia’s turn (orange sparklies). Check out that sass! But wait. Did our television freeze, or did Nia? Sadly Nia has frozen, apparently forgetting the routine mid-routine. Holly says it’s her worst nightmare coming true, and we think she might want to pick something a little more drastic than a missed dance opportunity for her “worst nightmare.” Girl won’t be prepared for real life, is all we’re saying.

Nia’s face crumples and she runs off stage, straight into the hugging arms of Maddy and Chloe. “I forgot it Mom!” And oh, what’s this? Mackenzie’s face starts crumpling, as she collapses into tears from the stands.

Holly rights her former bad behavior by asking the judges if Nia can have a do-over. Uh oh, here comes Abby. “This is a life lesson that we all need to learn. I am preparing Nia for the future. A future in this business is tough. You don’t get second chances.”

Geez, right when we think Abby is going to be completely hateful, she busts out lines like these and we have to agree with her. So Nia does it again, proving that she can, and it’s trophy time.

Nia wins 3rd place! In second place is Chloe. Always the bridesmaid to Maddy, who placed first. Abby is so proud because all the solos placed. “I’m thrilled, and I’m honored, and I’m glad we came to Miami and kicked some tan butts.”

The preview for next week roughly resembles a horror snuff film with worm-people and ambulance lights, so yes, we’ll be back in the Pitts. (Team Sienna.)

Catch an all-new Dance Moms on Tuesday, March 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

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