Dance Moms is back! The episode opened with the girls and moms in the dance studio...but with Abby nowhere to be found. After half an hour (we're told - not an actual half hour on TV) Abby appeared, and she seriously looked like she was in mourning.
Abby congratulated Chloe on her solo win, and admitted to Holly that she left the studio because Maddie forgot her solo during the last competition.
Abby then announced that the next competition will be in LA, where the dancers are fearless, so that'll be a challenge. Chloe and Mackenzie were given solos. Mackenzie's was a jazz song called Perfect Fit. Maddie was supposed to have one, but Abby pulled it so Maddie could pull herself together. Chloe, Brooke and Paige got a trio. There was also a group number called "I Want It Now."
Next up was the pyramid. Paige, Nia and Brooke made up the bottom row. Maddie, despite her failure in the last competition, was in the middle row. Her sister Mackenzie joined her. Chloe took the top spot.
We flashed over to Cathy and Candy Apple's Dance Studio, where Cathy welcomed Taylor back to her studio after her dancing accident last season.
In Abby Lee's Dance Studio, the moms pressured Melissa to talk to Abby about what happened when Abby left the last competition. (Melissa claims that she was told that Abby needed to go see her mother, whereas the other mothers knew it was because of Maddie forgetting her song.) While that didn't happen right away, the other moms did approach Abby to ensure that they'd be there for their kids at competitions, and in typical Abby fashion, she wasn't kind in response.
Chloe and Mackenzie had dance rehearsals. Abby seemed to be hard on Chloe, but had nothing but compliments for Mackenzie. The group also practiced their routine, and the trio got practice time on top of that. During the trio rehearsal, Abby had Maddie watch Chloe's performance and perform moves for the girls in the trio. Abby said her reasoning behind this was so Chloe realizes how hard Maddie's had to work to take the spot at the top of the pyramid so many times, but it really looked like she was trying to build Maddie back up to her former glory. After that, Nia and Maddie were asked to judge Chloe's solo, which does seem to match with Abby's intention, although it also seemed cruel to the kids.
Abby went on to make it clear that Chloe needs to lead the group number, and she made Chloe work. Unfortunately, Chloe began to show signs of pain, and Chloe admitted that her hip hurts. However, Chloe knew it was her week to shine and kept fighting.
Maddie and Abby had a talk about how Maddie froze last week. Abby asked Maddie to try her routine again, and Abby told Maddie that she should be ready to do her solo from the last competition because she'll have her do it when she least expects it.
Abby Lee and her team arrived at the Nexstar competition. In a not-at-all made for TV surprise, Abby learned that Maddie was still registered for a solo. (She's originally been registered but it had theoretically been rescinded.) In typical Abby fashion, she told Maddie has needs to do the solo. Maddie made it clear that she wasn't ready, but Abby encouraged her to go forward...because Maddie not doing it makes the studio look bad.
The trio's number, called Girls In The House, was first. I didn't love it. It looked overly simplistic (maybe after seeing the crazy stuff on Dance Moms Miami!) and the moves didn't look perfect. In fact, Paige forgot a step, and Abby immediately lectured Paige for her mistake.
Mackenzie's solo was next. It was cute but a bit mature for her. Mackenzie ended up slipping on her outfit, but continued her dance as long as she could. Backstage, she was heartbroken. Like she's done with Maddie, Abby gave Mackenzie a pep talk to make her feel better - although she admitted that she would rather have yelled at her.
Abby and Maddie spoke again about her solo, and Maddie tearfully declined the opportunity to do her solo. Abby begrudgingly accepted her decision. Still, the announcer called Maddie's name for her solo. When she heard that, Maddie jumped up as if to go onstage. Melissa held her back, and Maddie broke down and cried.
Chloe danced next. Her dance was beautiful. Her dance was fluid and well executed.
The group dance followed. It was very cutesy. It was stereotypical of California Valley Girl. It unfortunately, was not fantastic.
Mackenzie took tenth place in the solo competition. Chloe took fifth. The trio took third place in their competition. The group number took fifth place.
Abby, of course, wasn't happy. She criticized the ways the girls worked together in their number. This led to an Abby and Kelly screaming match. Kelly let us know that she thought Abby's choreography is getting stale, and Abby criticized Kelly's grammatical skills.
It looks like this season of Dance Moms is going to get nasty. It'll put the previous Abby episodes to shame.
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