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Dance Moms Season 4 Episode 8 Assignments Images

Welcome back Dance Moms Nation! Time for our Tuesday meet up and the eternally entertaining antics of the Abby Lee Dance Company.

Last week we saw Chloe and Jade go head-to-head for the Junior division title only for Chloe to land in sixth and Jade’s dance teacher mother, Loree, to seriously consider leaving the ALDC over her daughter’s third place.

Despite last week’s drama, Jade and Loree both appear for pyramid and remain with the Pitt Crew, which displeases the returning Select Team. Yes, the infamous Select Team has returned to spice up the mid-season and pave the way to nationals. Pyramid goes quickly as Abby rushes through the unsurprising results.

Mack Z — who was not allowed to dance last week — is bottom of the bottom followed by Chloe. Jade receives third place to match her third place trophy — a far more generous deal than an original dancer could ever hope to get — and Maddie keeps her coveted top spot.

Dance assignments stir up trouble, however. Select Team dancer Ava goes up against Maddie this week, even though she was originally intended to be Kendall’s nemesis. Maddie hasn’t danced a solo in several weeks now, but she’s sure to win as Abby’s “old friend” has written a song specifically inspired by Maddie’s own “journey” to stardom.

With Jade on the original team, the Select is left two dancers short and Abs switches Chloe over to the dark side in order to even things out, demonstrating her unfailing ability to start drama before rehearsals even begin.

Not surprisingly, tensions flare before rehearsals even get properly underway. Dance moms new and old literally face off outside the studio before Day Two begins and the Select Team moms accuse Loree of abandoning them while Loree feels it’s her right let her kid dance wherever Abby puts her. Christi remains apathetic toward the new moms, simply trying to give them the chance to brace their own girls for a failure of Abby Lee proportions.

The Select Team rehearses with Chloe in the lead and Christi is very blunt with the moms. She informs them that Abby never sets the stage for Chloe to win anything, so they should expect failure this week. No one would ever accuse Christi of being an optimist, but time and trials have informed her opinion and the truth begins to reveal itself to the skeptical moms as Ava rehearses her own dance compared to Maddie’s specially written and choreographed number. Maddie has a live singer and inordinate amounts of praise heaped on her, while Ava has an awkward prop and the brunt of Abby’s special teacher-rage.

Loree invites the Select moms to lunch to further discuss their already pointless argument and it goes about  as well as you’d expect. Jill and Melissa go with her as back-up and the Select moms take this as a personal offense because it’s totally unacceptable to dance where Abby tells you and with whomever Abby tells you.

Maddie’s solo progresses perfectly, but Ava struggles with a blue umbrella (and not the cute, Pixar kind, either). Christi’s warnings finally start sinking in when mama Jeanette realizes that Abby isn’t going to do anything to fix either the prop or the choreography. With Christi’s encouragement — laugh — she enters the Abby Lee Lions’ Den.

You may recall that last week Loree’s words were given all kinds of clout and respect because she’s a “fellow dance teacher,” but Jeanette will get no such break this week. Abby continues to criticize Ava’s dance and particularly her technique, eventually throwing Jeanette out of the studio entirely.

The girls prep for competition and Abby has nothing but praise for Maddie and nothing but snark for Ava. Maddie’s song was literally written for her and Abby announces that she can’t be anything less than perfect.

Maddie’s dance is the usual piece of lyrical fluff which Maddie churns out on a weekly basis (bonus: We finally hear the song and most of the lyrics are “mmm-Da-da, mmmm-Da-da”) so she really has no excuses for anything other than a win. Ava walks out with her prop after kind words from one of her fellow Select dancers and delivers a striking lyrical performance, but nothing can save her when the umbrella inverts itself in the middle of the dance. Ava continues on like a trooper and ends the dance strong, but that won’t stop Abby’s prop-related-wrath.

It goes down in the dressing room. Even before the girls enter, Abby comments on Jeanette’s instruction of Ava. She claims that the unpredictable umbrella should actually have helped Ava’s arms stay in place and that only years of non-Abby training could have caused her to perform so poorly. Of course, Abbie also saves some comments for Ava herself and she rails on the girl’s technical skills, claiming that not a single one of her dancers has ever had such an issue with a props — conveniently forgetting the last four years of giant lollipops, awkward triangles, and poorly pinned head wear. Ava commits the capital offense of crying and Abby pulls her out of her mother’s lap and demands that she grow up, even threatening to pull her from the group routine.

Ava pulls it together in time to get ready for the group dance and the girls show off their costumes. The Select routine is entitled “First Lady” and although Abby has been touting it as “classy,” the number of slinky chemises on my screen says differently. The routine is pretty, though, and even the original moms have to admit it is very elegant, although pretty basic in terms of style and technique.

The Pitt Crew + Jade dances to a song entitled “America Gone” and they all wax nostalgic for simpler years when there was only one dance team and Abby’s hair wasn’t so big.

The pressure is on come awards time. Abby is on the hunt for dancers to take to nationals and only Maddie has a secured spot. As expected, she  takes first in the junior solo division, but Ava only manages to snag third. That may have worked for Jade against Chloe, but it won’t fly after her mom’s talk with Abby. The group routines are only separated by a tenth of a point but the Select team wins again, Chloe leading them to victory over the Pitt Crew.

In the dressing room, of course, Abby has to express her doubts over whether the Selects deserved the win, but she’s quickly distracted by the chance to make fun of someone for not being Maddie. Ava and Jeanette leave in a huff and Abby offers Tia, another Select dancer, a spot on the original team next week. The moms are quick to point out the hypocritical turnover, but the Select moms know they are far too easily replaced for any of them to argue with an opportunity to be featured with the Pitt Crew.

Although this week’s results were not surprising, it may have set us up for some interesting drama next episode. Abby’s getting serious about who’s going to nationals, and we only have five more weeks to get there. The preview promises more CWAYzy times, a stand-off between this season’s youngest dancers, and offensive Native American headdresses so be sure to come back next week to vent with me about our love-hate relationship with Ms. Abby Lee and all things ALDC!

New episodes of Dance Moms premiere Tuesdays at 9/8CT on Lifetime.

Images/video: Lifetime

The Face of the Abby Lee Dance Company has changed, Dance Moms nation. Kelly’s, Paige’s and Brooke’s are officially gone by virtue of an “official letter” from Abby’s new deer-in-the-headlights receptionist (well and also, you know, those pesky lawsuits).

Kalani’s and Kira’s are here to stay, even though we’re not technically supposed to know that yet … even though Abby said it on The View a month ago. Life was so much easier when I was willful in my ignorance.

Kalani is also the top of the pyramid, I’m guessing by virtue of being the only one whose last name isn’t Ziegler or Gisoni who still thinks being a part of this team (and this show) is a good thing. I kinda zoned the rest of the pyramid, but Paige and Brooke were the bottom of the bottom, Nia screwed up the group dance, and everyone one else did some version of fine.

Since I no longer have a screener to work from and these things are even less fun without visuals, I’m going to warn you right now that to amuse you and myself as much as possible, I’m just going to rifle back through the archives and throw in something I think serves well enough. Or makes me laugh. Which is the same thing, if you ask me.

This week, the Hilliker-enriched Pitt Crew, now with 100% less Hyland, is going to some new deal called Fierce Dance Competition in Woodbridge, Virginia. Everyone will be doing the dipsy-doodle group dance.

Because Holly was a special helper during the Battle in the Bronx, Nia gets a solo as re ward. Except that Holly says she’s not so sure that actually is a reward, because for Nia, nothing ever is. Kalani and Kendall will be doing a duet. So will Chloe and Maddie.

And Mackenzie will be focusing her energies on heading to L.A. to take over for Brooke as Abby’s resident rock star. Pretend there is a lighter at the end of this arm …

Rock and roll.

Up in the Mom Loft, the mothers do the requisite yammering about Kelly’s absence, basically agreeing that Abby lucked — and lunged with mouth wide open — into a super-theatrical way to get what she ultimately wanted. When newcomer Kira offers her two cents, a haggard-looking Christi cuts her off with a terse, “You have no idea what’s really going on.”

Melissa decides to try to calm the waters (and further kiss up to the newbie) by inviting the mothers over to Casa Gisoni for a little whine, er, wine and cheese. Uh, no thanks, says Christi. Why not, says Melissa. Because you are a f—king liar, says Christi. Message from your ex-friend. Personally delivered. Christi’s might have 99 problems, Melissa, but you, b@#$%, ain’t one no more, if she can possibly avoid it.

Holly, queen of many new hairdos lately, agrees that nothing matters more to Melissa than her relationship with Abby, but still … she thinks Christi might be a little too into her whole lone-wolf deal.

Time for, whine, er, wine and cheese!

Kira starts the festivities off by telling Melissa, Holly and Jill that Kalani is just thrilled to pieces with everyone and everything! Jill promptly sells Christi up the river, then charitably backs that up a little and says that, without Kelly there, this is really a fine opportunity for her to break away from the negativity and make a brand new start. Even though we all pretty much know that she and Chloe had already gone the way of the Hylands well before this and are only there because their contract said so.

Remember when Mom gatherings were actually fun?

 

Whoops! Not that one.

Mackenzie — oops, Mac Z, yo yo yo — is working with Cathie the ALDC’s Ethel-Merman looking vocal coach we first met way back in 2012 and who has gone a little grayer since. Abby shows up at the lesson and listens as Big Mac warbles a tune called Girl Party that makes Abby enthuse, “If I were at an audition and was up after you, I’d think, ‘No problem! I got this!’”

I’ll let ya have the last word on this one, Abby.

Kalani and Kendall’s solo is called Framed and it features an actual frame as a prop, in case our memories fail us midway through. Abby says that since Kendall is so much younger than Kalani, she needs to dance up to Kalani’s level. Jill says she just can’t have Kendall screw it up. Kendall, this is all about your mother. And she just  just can’t have a screw up.

Once again, Nia is getting short-shrifted on practice time. As in she’s had none yet. No one is surprised, probably least of all Nia. Holly says her girl will just have to take the scraps of attention she’s been afforded and do the best she can with them.

Maddie and Chloe’s solo is called Confession, danced to a song about one girl telling the other girl that she has neglected her. “I should have told you things,” the song says. Like “Kalani and I are doing our solo and I knew that and I fibbed”? No. Like … well, whatever Abby thinks Chloe should be confessing to Maddie.

Since I don’t get that at all, I’ll confess something instead: I could really do without Abby’s message dances where intra-studio Pitt Crew communication is concerned. Excuse me a minute while I go perform a solo called “I’ve Had Enough Of Message Dances” for my cat.

The group dance is a frothy little bit of musical theater called Yum Yum. As in, “you’re a little yum yum.” A little Charleston-doing Rockette of a yum yum. Abby says all the yum yums have to dance as one one, so the judges have no idea that Kalani is a newbie. Because odds are just tremendous that they have no idea what this team usually looks like.

Up in the Mom Loft, Holly once again takes Christi — who really, really looks like she needs a nap  — to task for being much too wedded to the idea of Christi and Chloe against the world. Christi says that until Melissa admits she’s an opportunistic liar, she prefers to keep to herself, thanks.

Melissa makes her patented Many Expressions of Denial and squeaks out that she is neither lying nor deflecting about what happened with Maddie’s duet, but Christi says she’s the BIGGEST LIAR SHE HAS EVER MET IN HER WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. So there.

Then we start to wander off into the tired subject of Melissa’s checkered love life. Melissa warns Christi not to go there. Christi says that’s just the tip of the iceberg, er, dirt-berg wherein the dirt she has on Melissa is concerned.

Time for Kira and Kalani — who is wearing a sweatshirt that reads LIKE in great big giant letters, just in case we need the world’s most not-sublminal subliminal message — to have a little check-in with each other. Kalani says she is worried about the duet because Kendall is just not taking corrections and it’s wasting her time. Kira says she should focus on her own performance and not worry about Kendall.

Upstairs, the mothers want to know if Christi has talked to Kelly. She has, but she doesn’t want to talk about it to them. Jill presses anyway. Christi remains mum, but tells us that if the mothers are so worried about Kelly, they can call her themselves. But are the girls OK, the mothers want to know next. OK enough, says Christi. They’re adjusting. Well, Jill just misses that little Paigey jumpin’ all around and sayin’ stuff. Life at the ALDC isn’t the same without jumpin’ and stuff!

 

Because God forbid Nia have a dance that doesn’t remind us that she is the sole dancer of color on the ALDC competition team, she will be doing her solo to the Southern Gospel tune Down in the River to Pray. Which I actually love, but not so much in this context.

Abby says the solo is really about rebirth and renewal … and that pretty much every freakin’ move Nia makes is going to be the death of her. Fifteen minutes into the practice, she walks out. Nia tries to keep her composure, but begins to cry in the dressing room. Holly tells her to block out the negativity, tell herself she is a great dancer and dance like one, no matter what Abby says or does.

Aw geez, seriously? Boston’s ‘More Than a Feeling’ — my very special emotional song with my high school boyfriend Craigy — is now the theme song for Yoplait’s Boston Cream Pie yogurt? Is nothing sacred?

Anyway.

We’re off to Virginia to be Fierce for the very first time.

In honor of the fine Virginia climate, Holly is dressed like a human Easter basket. Christi takes a jab at Abby and asks how many secret dances will happen this week. Melissa says it’s Kelly’s and Abby’s fault that last week’s Fibbergate went down the way it did. Not hers. She just lied, you know, to keep Abby’s secret. Two wrongs …well that ain’t right. But it’s in the past now, so can everyone just shut up?

Nia comes out in her costume, and Christi notices that the head wrap is a little wonky. She does some tucking and straightening as Holly looks on. Then Holly gets in Nia’s face and repeats the “great dancer” pep talk. Nia looks like she’d like to throw up.

Kendall’s and Kalani’s duet goes first. Jill says she and Kendall both know that if the duet fails, the blame will fall on Kendall no matter what. It’s pretty as a picture and cute as a button.

OK, how many other people got wildly nostalgic watching Chloe and Maddie dance together, even though Chloe couldn’t seem to look at Maddie’s face?

Melissa says, no matter what has gone on between them, she and Christi just know their kids belong together. I’m not so sure about that, Melissa. It can’t just be good again because you say it is.

Backstage, Maddie tries to chat Chloe up, but Chloe looks uncomfortable and stays quiet. Odds are perfectly good that they were instructed — by mothers or producers or a combination of both — to behave as such, but who knows what’s real any more. I have a tough time believing these two are still close.

Nia’s headpiece migrates to the back of her head as she performs her solo. Afterward she cries and blames her mom and Holly owns it. But it’s not Holly’s fault. It’s Christi’s fault. Sabotage. Abby says so. Because, you know, Chloe and Nia are constantly pitted against each other for … well … nothing.

Then Abby turns to Holly and says maybe solos aren’t Nia’s thing. Holly says maybe giving Nia’s dances the same amount of attention she gives the other girls’ isn’t Abby’s thing. Then the girls reappear and Christi apologizes directly to Nia for the possibility that she may have has something to do with the headpiece mishap. Holly says they are a team and a family and need to act like one, regardless of what happened. So even though it was ultimately a disaster, she’s glad Christi engaged.

Then Abby has a talk with Mackenzie about taking her burgeoning pop career seriously. She needs to aim high with her role models. Britney, not Brooke, understand? You have to sound good live. Everyone can sound good auto-tuned in the studio. Even Abby. Or, say, Britney.

To be little Yum Yums, the girls are dressed as old-timey cigarette girls. Abby tells Kalani and Kira that she will decide their fates based on what happens in the group dance, even though we already know that they are permanent cast members.

Yum Yum is kinda dumb dumb. I mean, it’s very cute and saucy and Maddie especially gives good face, but it’s mostly high kicks and coy poses and we’ve seen these girls perform much more mature, complex, compelling numbers. This one seems a bit phoned in to accommodate the little kid and the new kid.

The awards are some kind of interesting. Apparently so as not to tax their judges with having to assign winners in multiple categories — you know, like solos and group numbers and what have you — Fierce just lumps everything together in one big pile.

So Yum Yum is the competition’s winner
Confession shares second place with another dance.
No word on how framed did, which I find fascinating.

You can see the rest of the results of what looked like a holiday-centric outing here.

Backstage, Abby says that all that matters is that the ALDC had the top-scoring dance.
“Does that mean I am staying another week?” Kalani reads from her cues or cue cards. Yes, child. And also your mother is an angel. I’ll allow it for the situation since she doesn’t rat out the others, when Abby asks her to stage whisper to her what they’re saying about Kelly.

Just that they miss her, says Kira. Good answer. But the wrong one, where Abby is concerned.

“Kelly was A-RRESTED,” Abby bellows. “And that’s the truth.” Pfffllllltttt! And if you miss her you can just shove off.

Does that count for us, too?

Next week on Dance Moms, Christi has lunch with Kelly, the late Maryen Lorrain rats them out (cannot we let the poor woman rest in peace?) and we finally find out who’s behind all the drama.

Could it be … Satan?

So what say you, Dance Moms nation? Are you having trouble reconciling fact and fiction now that so much has been made public? Do you even care? Is the Christi-sabotage thing credible or completely ridiculous? Are you bonding with Kira and Kalani? Did you find Yum Yum yummy? Sound off in the comments section below.

New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.

 

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