Credit: Lifetime TV Photo: Jill Does Makeup

Dance Moms was extra-special this week (Season 2, Episode 6), for several reasons: We got to spend our Valentine’s Day with Abby Lee Miller, a certain someone was at the top of the Pyramid, and one Momzilla wore a cowboy hat. Let’s review!

Did you know that Abby Lee’s dance floor costs $68,000? Well, Abby is here to remind Jill, who dared to wear boots on it.

Speaking of cash, did you know that the Dance Moms have to sign a one-year contract once their daughters become members of the Ivy League Team? Yes, apparently the contract states that, if a girl decides to drop out before her contract expires, the mom has to pay $100,000 to Abby (in cash!) within 7 days of dropping out.

With this much at stake, we honestly wonder why the Moms would ever start yelling and screaming in front of their tiny dancers. Are you trying to make them quit? They just want you to stop the screaming so they can do their acro!

THE PYRAMID
Something wonderful happened this week. On last week’s episode, newbie Kendall’s mom Jill made everyone else’s life a living nightmare. She said that her daughter was the best at everything in the whole world forever, and screamed the loudest and behaved like an infant covered in leopard print fabric.

So, Abby decided to put Kendall at the very bottom of the pyramid, and said “You’re here because your mother is too needy.” That is a wonderful thing.

Nia, Brooke, and Paige round out the bottom, and are given the same criticisms as they get every week. In the middle are Maddy (“I expect more from you,” says Abby) and Chloe, who “needs to learn how to pick up quicker.” Which means, lo and behold, yes it’s really happening and we’re so excited… Mackenzie wins the top spot!

Of course she grins adorably, and says how she’s never been at the top before, and we secretly smile like a loony tune because we think Mackenzie is the best at everything in the whole world forever. Yeah, Jill. You heard us.

Credit: Lifetime Photo: Dance Moms: Christi Fights Backstage

THIS WEEK’S ROUTINE
Abby informs everyone of two major factors going into Dance Explosion, this week’s competition. First, each and every one of the seven girls will be performing a solo number. Second, the moms are responsible for designing and making their daughters’ costumes.

Up in the Moms’ viewing balcony, Kelly aptly points out that she’s nervous about Holly and Melissa’s costume designing skills. All this costume talk sparks Jill’s inner idiot, and she says that she’ll just use one of Kendall’s old costumes and “Abby’s not gonna know.” Um, you do realize that you’ve made every Dance Mom despise you by calling their kids bad dancers, right? Do you really expect them to have your back on this? We’ll answer that question in a bit.

THE PERFECT POSITIVE PYRAMID
We get to revisit our favorite awful dance studio, Cathy’s Candy Apples. And man, are they wearing a lot of colorful makeup! We spotted purple eye shadow, mauve lipstick, hot red lipstick, big circular mounds of blush on 12-year-old cheeks, and even fake eyelashes on little Vivi-anne. Vivi-anne, as usual, doesn’t appear to care, nor does she appear to know where she is.

Cathy is holding open auditions for new dancers so she can finally beat Abby Lee one of these days. And there’s Peyton! Which is kind of great, since she has a successful audition and Cathy even offers her a spot on the team! Sadly, and we emphasize sad, with Peyton comes her mother Leslie.

While Leslie attempts to force her daughter to accept the spot even though Peyton doesn’t want to because it’s so far away from home and she’ll miss her friends (poor Peyton!), Cathy tries to find out what’s going on, and the chickens start screeching. Leslie accuses Cathy of being a negative educator (even though Cathy’s computerized pyramid is called the Perfect Positive Pyramid, awkwardly shortened to PPP), and Cathy accuses Leslie of being too much like the Pittsburgh moms. They screech, Peyton looks mortified, and they stomp out.

COSTUME DRAMA 
Speaking of chickens, it looks like the Dance Moms have slayed a few in order to create their daughters’ costumes from scratch. As Kelly feared, Holly has created a scary cheetah print thing with green mesh (yes, green mesh) hanging off of it. The moms begin their screaming dance.

Jill is chanting her same old “Kendall deserves to be at the top of that pyramid.” Then, she has the nerve to criticize working mom Holly for not showing up enough, despite having another child and ahem, a job. Christi lovingly pipes in with, “Do you ever stop talking?”

Then a charming fellow named Rich calls Abby and gives her the bad news: Dance Explosion has been canceled. Abby makes the appropriate shocked faces, and hurries to find another competition for the weekend. Yee dawgies, it’s in Texas. Abby tells us, “Look out cowboys, here we come.” We shudder, slightly, before admiring her for saying, “I’m never going to let those girls down…the show must go on.”

Credit: Lifetime Photo: Abby and Jill on Dance Moms

THE SHOW (BARELY) GOES ON
When everyone arrives at the M.A. Dance competition, another awful shocker awaits them: “It’s on a gymnasium floor.” Abby looks nervous, the girls look even more nervous, and Kendall sweetly sums everything up for us: “It’s wood and I’m scared.”

Swiftly and surely, the ridiculously talented Abby Lee dancers prove their worth and dance with precision and grace. Even in their moms’ oddly shaped outfits designed with questionable taste. Orange, glittery booty shorts? Really?

Speaking of tacky stuff, Jill has done two unforgivable things: one, she is wearing a cowboy hat without irony. Two, she decided that since she is exceptional, she could break the costume rules, and shows up with one of Kendall’s old costumes. She actually lies in front of us, in front of the children, and in front of America, by pretending temporarily that she made it.

She finally fesses up to Abby, but Abby barely needs to hear it to realize how pre-designed that costume is. Then we find ourselves in the middle of an epiphany. More on that in a moment.

The other Moms do not back Jill up in any way (remember that question we promised would be answered?), and Abby thoughtfully explains why she made these last-minute, throw-anything-together costume rules. “I’m trying to teach the children a lesson. They don’t need a $500 costume to dance.” Oops, Abby awoke the dragon lady.

Jill throws what is known among 2-year-olds as a hissy fit. “Fine, I’m leaving! You guys don’t want me here. I’m sick of this s**t!” Okay, cursing 2-year-olds. She actually throws a shoe and shoves a chair to the side, while wearing her cowboy hat. Christi, semantic genius that she is, observes, “How hard it is to take you seriously when you’re wearing that hat.”

TEARS AND FEARS
So here’s where our epiphany begins. You see, this reality show is not staged. Why? 

We then see Jill telling her poor, poor daughter that she will not be dancing because “they won’t let you wear what I brought for you to wear.” Kendall pleads through tears: “I want to dance…” Jill says, “I want you to dance too. But it’s not happening.”

Kendall isn’t the first one to break into tears before dancing. Next is Nia, who has a panic attack before performing beautifully on stage. Then it’s Maddy, who is the inevitable victim of the sticky gymnasium floor.

These are girls between the ages of 7 and 13, and they are bawling on camera. We think that has to be veritable proof that none of this is staged. These women can be downright absurd, but we don’t think any of them are evil enough to put their crying daughters through any of this, on the instructions of some producer.

In the end, all three top spots go to the Abby Lee girls: Brooke wins 3rd place, Chloe wins 2nd place, and wonderful Paige (Brooke’s often forgotten little sister) takes 1st! All is well and joyful in Abby Lee’s world. For one shining moment. We’re already horrified by the preview of next week’s episode which features only Jill, only screaming.

Catch an all-new Dance Moms on Tuesday, February 21 at 9pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

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