Credit: Scott Gries/Lifetime Television © 2011 Lifetime Entertainment Services

Have you recovered from last week’s Dance Moms, in which Candy Apples Cathy danced like a chicken in the final minutes? We barely have. But now we have a new episode, and that means more Abby Lee, more Cathy, and more crying children.

But naked crying children this time! Shall we?

PYRAMID
“Congratulations!” That’s the first word out of Abby Lee Miller’s mouth, and we wonder if we’re watching the right show. We are, and Abby explains, “The girls did a fantastic job last week.” We agree, especially when we see the helpful flashbacks to their wedding group number. On to the Pyramid of Doom.

On the bottom are Paige (“The arms,” Abby explains), Brooke (“I just want to see you smile,” says Abby; Brooke frowns), and our favorite, Mackenzie (“I need you to bring the level of your dancing up”).

In the middle are Chloe and Nia. Abby says “There’s a thousand Chloes out there,” which frightens us more than a little bit, and she tells Nia that she does better when she’s entertaining. Her mom Holly mentions musical theater and we’re like, YES. This girl should be at Glee’s McKinley High in the Class of 2020!

Maddy is at the top because, as Abby says, “Maddy breathes, sleeps, and eats the art of dance.” We wonder what the art of dance tastes like. Probably like too many feathers.

THIS WEEK
The girls are going back to Fire and Ice, the internationally famous competition in...Pittsburgh, which Abby describes as if it’s Davos. “They have an elite competition where they invite the top scoring studios back.” Chloe and Maddy will be doing solos, and every single one of them will be in a group dance. Then comes the kicker.

“You’re going to be showgirls,” says Abby. Everyone but Brooke jumps up for joy. Brooke has her arms awkwardly crossed, and then we remember just how traumatizing being a 13-year-old was. I mean, do you remember Welcome to the Dollhouse? That was a horror movie.

Abby tells everyone, “I’m only going to say this once: the audience is going to think you are nude.” The girls go from elated to sort of intrigued, and peek at their mothers out of the corners of their eyes. Aside from Nia, who makes one of those “That’s totally gross!” faces. Mackenzie grins from ear to ear.

Christy tells us, “No one ever wants to hear the word ‘nude’ associated with their 10-year-old, ever.” Once again, Christy is the wisest of all the Dance Moms. “I don’t want to be naked onstage,” says Mackenzie. Kelly shares her two cents, with “There’s no dance in this world that should feature little girls dancing naked.”

All of this sounds ridiculously obvious, smart, and morally sound. And then Abby starts taking us on a whimsical adventure, describing the art of the Fan Dance, something she’s “always wanted to do... There are two fans, and it’s literally the fan dance. One fan goes in front, the other goes behind.” She says, “It’s called Fan-Tastic.”

We’re still not convinced that these girls should appear nude in front of strangers, but then Abby reassures us and we’re sold: “I want my girls to always be classy, well-respected and elegant on stage.“ Well why didn’t you say so in the first place?

To slam home her point, she reminds us that “Feathers are rich. They’re exciting. They’re fun.” Get those girls some flesh-toned sports bras, stat!

Credit: Lifetime Photo: Dance Moms: Christi Fights Backstage

MOMS’ BOX
Up in the moms’ viewing box/ersatz dive bar, we’re actually shocked that the moms aren’t more upset. They spend approximately 14 seconds saying how unbelievable the theme is, and Christy gets in the best line of the night: “And people wonder why we drink.” Wow. But then all they cared about was Melissa’s stupid engagement ring.

Melissa says Holly and Evan should renew their vows because she looked so amazing at the champagne-soaked wedding boutique from last episode. Melissa skedaddles and Christy says, “I think it was really weird how Melissa just said you should renew your vowels” – Seriously, Christy? You’re smarter than all the moms by a landslide, and you think the term is “vowels”? 

All the moms start yawning at 10 pm. “Abby’s really pushing them a little way too hard,” says not-so-secretly engaged Melissa. But then her kids (Maddy and Mackenzie) are dismissed and she’s like, See ya! Paige and Brooke are held longer, and the first child cries. Paige is sad because she has a test the next day. Sure, she is.

CATHY’S HOUSE
We are inside Cathy’s house, and we can’t get out. No, we have to listen to her painfully boring and straight-edge husband Mike (this must be the stuff Santorum voters are made of) complain about how he wants to “generate a little more sales” for his Ohio beef jerky store.

He wants to be “the sausage king of Canton” by producing a local commercial, and he thinks their tiny daughter Vivi-Anne should be the star. She’s so naturally…wide-eyed! He tries to well, liven up those eyes by saying, “Dress you up like a cowgirl? Would you like that?” We’re worried.

Cathy, being an idiot, realizes how to create some synergy between Tommy’s Jerky (the actual name of her husband’s store. His beef jerky store. Where he sells nothing but JERKY.) and Candy Apples Dance Studio – which is on the other side of Tommy’s Jerky, we see.

“Free jerky to the first person who applies for ballet classes!” Because, obviously. We don’t remember much from Black Swan, but we’re pretty much positive that Natalie Portman spent most of the movie at a gas station shoplifting as much jerky as she could. 

REHEARSALS
Pink feathers everywhere. Abby is very concerned about getting the fan dancing right, “because one day, one of them is going to be a showgirl.”

The girls love the feathers. “Abby is living all of her dreams vicariously through our children,” says Christy. They begin imagining Abby as a teenager, wanting to be a showgirl, and Christy says something that should never be said aloud: “Can you imagine her topless?” We literally (and we know we exaggerate a ton in these Dance Moms recaps, but this time we are 100% serious) screamed, out loud. “That’s scary,” announces Kelly, for all of us.

Maddy loves her solo dance, called “I’m Already There.” As for Chloe, Abby tells us, “Chloe is always going to be in Maddy’s shadow,” so she wants to give her “something dark, something to make her stand out.” It’s called “The Raven.” Chloe gets to use acting skills.

Credit: Scott Gries /Lifetime Television Photo: Kathy With Daughter Vivi in Lifetime's Dance Moms

DID WE MENTION THAT TOMMY’S JERKY IS RIGHT NEXT TO CANDY APPLE’S STUDIO?
Bids for producing Michael’s commercial are in, and they range from “$100k to $200k,” according to monotonous, mom-jeans-wearing Michael. Cathy says she’ll handle it, and tells him, “All you have to do is kick back in your chair with a couple of sausages around your neck.” We temporarily lose the ability to dream, to hope, to live. Thankfully, we’re revived by the sound of Abby’s voice. How happy we are to hear it!

It’s time to try on the costumes. “Those are not tops. Those are band-aids,” says Holly. “I could fit these on my American Girl doll,” says Mackenzie. “Obviously they’re supposed to portray flesh” says Abby.

Leave it to Nia to shed some oddly eloquent light on this flesh-colored feathery mess: “This costume’s better than all of the other costumes because it makes my body look pretty, pretty. It makes me look beautiful.”

Cathy asks Chloe to be in her husband’s beef jerky commercial. “I’m thinking of this as a pure business decision.”

Kelly wants to do an engagement party for Melissa, and Holly thinks it’s a fun idea. Kelly wants to do strippers because “she’s going to be mortified.”

BEST LOCAL COMMERCIAL OF ALL TIME
Oh, my goodness. The Candy Apple stars are wearing red sparkle cowgirl outfits and riding imaginary bulls. Cathy tells the official director (who has such a deep voice!) that she, not him, has the final say on everything. He says, audibly, “Whoa.”

She wants to fill a counter top with beef jerky. Mike, who is eating beef jerky and not doing anything else, is unhelpful.

Chloe arrives, and Cathy wants Chloe to wear a sausage outfit. It is a beige cotton onesie with scraps of actual beef glued to it. This is no Lady Gaga meat dress.

Chloe says, and I quote verbatim, “I’m in a stinky, dried-up, vlahhhh, disgusting beef jerky meat suit.” Chloe does not want to be a little dancing sausage.

Cathy’s direction is, “Go boom boom, I’m meat!”

COMPETITION
Christy decides to debut Chloe’s beef jerky commercial in the green room right before the big Fire and Ice competition. Chloe only has about 3 seconds of screen time, and it’s clear that Cathy only did this to “humiliate” her. “It’s embarrassing, and you should have checked with me,” says Abby. “She wouldn’t have been the piece of meat, she would have been the star.” Christy realizes that Cathy used her child like, well, a piece of meat.

On to the show! Chloe wears black sparklies and we know we already used up our Black Swan reference for the week, but she is channeling Natalie, and she is channeling her hard. She’s fierce! This girl can play dark.

Maddy gets to wear blue sparklies, and Chloe says the sweetest thing we’ve ever heard on this show: “Because we’re all competing, she inspires me to become a better dancer.”

Time for the group number! To make the children-as-showgirls thing worse, they are number 69. The male judges are smirking and rubbing their brows. Brooke says, “My favorite part was the bras, because they were sparkly and really pretty.” She’s smiling now.

Chloe gets 2nd place for her junior solo! And Maddy wins the Overall 1st place junior solo! We’re thrilled.

The group dance doesn’t place. Well, suddenly, Abby says this was about teaching the girls something different.

Yes, then the girls and the Moms throw Melissa an engagement party. Melissa’s like, “I’m not getting married.” Then a guy walks in and says, rudely, “I’m here to fix the heat.” Oops, he’s a stripper! But Melissa thinks strippers are trashy. As for Abby, she decides to have fun with it, but ultimately gives him her professional opinion: “The stripper was clearly not a professional dancer.”

Boom, boom, you’re meat!

Catch an all-new Dance Moms on Tuesday, March 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

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