'Dance Moms' S3, Ep3 Recap: The Original Team Returns

Chloe Lukasiak from Dance Moms

On the last episode of Dance Moms, the original team held a parking lot sit-in to protest Kelly and her daughters Brooke and Paige leaving the group, and Abby quickly brought in a whole new team to replace them. This week on Season 3, episode 3 of Dance Moms the original girls return, but first Abby has to deal with some new girl issues.

When the show begins, our Old Dance Moms, including Kelly, are once again in the studio parking lot, but Abby is busy with other business: New Dance Mom Shelly and her daughter Ally have gone back to New Orleans because the other New Moms blamed Ally’s performance for the group coming in second at last week’s Xpression Dance Competition.

Abby is so angry to hear Ally was intimidated into leaving (or is it that her Mom didn't want to deal with the petty behavior), she kicks the remaining New Moms - except for Jackie and her 10-year-old dance phenom daughter Sophia Lucia - out of the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC). Then, because Sophia is the only one left to represent ALDC, Abby tells her she has to win her solo AND the overall title at the next competition.

Abby finally notices everyone in the parking lot. Last week’s parking lot sit-in didn’t work out so well for the Moms, but this week Abby needs dancers, so she tells them if they want to come in the door is open. They all enter the studio, except for Kelly. The plan is for them to not sign Abby’s contracts until Kelly and her daughters, Brooke and Paige, are allowed to come back. They go in and demand that Kelly gets a contract too, but when Abby refuses they fold, one by one, and Christi says Kelly needs to fight for herself. Kelly says she doesn’t want to come back, but her kids do. Kelly thinks Abby is still mad about things that happened 30 years ago (is this still about that guy?). Then she signs the contract too.

Once in the studio, they all realize Sophia is there, and Abby tells them, “While you all were out in the parking lot Sophia was in here learning.” Then she reveals the pyramid - all of the girls are at the bottom – all equal, just like the Moms want them to be, says Abby – and they are all on probation. Sophia is at the top in the number one spot. Abby says she knows she can count on Sophia’s Mom Jackie to be a team player. It seems Kelly has heard the opposite, but she doesn't elaborate.

Sophia gets a solo called “Superstar”, and Abby asks her how many turns she can do. Sophia can do 54 consecutive turns (it’s true, she hold the world record, see the video below). Meanwhile Chloe gets a contemporary solo called “Another Girl” and Abby tells her it is about being left in the shadows of some kid who is popular and famous. Abby says Chloe can identify with this because she has always been in Maddie’s shadow, and now she’s in Sophia’s shadow. The she bails on Chloe’s solo rehearsal to do an acro class with Sophia. Nice.

Christi says that Abby didn’t give Chloe a solo as a reward, but did it as a punishment by making her dance against Sophia. But remember that line in the film Dirty Dancing? No-one puts Chloe in a corner. Chloe says Abby’s constant praise of Sophia is inspiring her to work harder.

New Dance Mom Jackie wants to get along with the Old Dance Moms, and compliments them by saying all of the girls are stars, but Christi says she saw unflattering things Jackie wrote online about a young dancer named Mia from Miami. Jackie responds, “You hear a lot of things, but that’s not true.” (I was at the vet again today - Django had a check-up and got his stitches out - and didn't have time to research this tidbit for this recap, but if any of you have the scoop in this Miami business, I'd love to hear it.)

Christi talks with the other regulars about punking Jackie. She discusses putting E6000 (an industrial strength epoxy) in her eyelash glue, or putting roofies (aka Rohipnol, a drug that can cause blackouts) in her drink. Then she reveals she’s been roofied before.  This scene is not funny. 100 years ago when I was a little danceling I had one mother hide my costumes and put grease on my shoes, and later that season a different mom threw my tap shoes off of Steel Pier into the Atlantic Ocean. Those things were mean – Christi’s the Dance Moms scriptwriter’s suggestions are sinister.

There was also some Mama Drama about Sophia having an advantage because she’s home-schooled so she can train all day. Frankly, I’m surprised all of these girls aren’t all home-schooled since they are TV stars now.

In the 30 minutes before the bus arrives to take the team to the competition, Abby finds time to finish choreographing Chloe’s solo. Christi says Abby is setting Chloe up to fail; Chloe says she is feeling pressure to go up against Sophia, and she doesn’t want to let down the group.

Then Abby decides there are too many kids in the group number, and at first she wants the Moms to decide on who gets cut, but then says since the Moms will all vote to keep their own kids in, she’s going to make the cut, and she dismisses Brooke.

They all meet around the reception desk, Abby belittles the girls and blames the mothers, Christi tells her to shut her mouth… No need to elaborate - just imagine everyone yelling at once.

They take the bus to the competition – this week it’s In10sity Dance in Ohio. Abby rehearses with Sophia while Chloe practices alone, then Sophia takes the stage for her solo. She’s very good, of course, but the choreography is mostly turns. Chloe immediately follows with her solo, and just as Christie says, she shows more emotion than Sophia. After her performance, Chloe sits on Christi’s lap and they have a mother-daughter pep talk – it’s very sweet. Abby praises Sophia for improvising when she falls out of a turn, when just two weeks ago she chastised Chloe for improvising when she forgot a turn. It’s ludicrous.

Then it’s time for ALDC’s group number - it’s called “Red Carpet Special”. It gets off to a awkward start when the prop, a long red carpet (obviously), gets stuck and little Mackenzie can’t pull it onto the stage. Why is the tiniest girl in the group responsible for the giant prop? The emcee ad-libs, “Don’t feel bad, the same thing happened at my wedding.” The dance finally starts, but the way the scene is filmed it’s hard to tell if they performed well or if they were in unison. Also, a barely utilized prop that the girls never got a chance to rehearse with and that almost no-one can see because it’s flat is pointless.

The awards are announced. In the Elite Junior Solo division Chloe takes third place, Sophia gets first place. Backstage Chloe tells her Mom she is glad she got third place instead of second so she wouldn’t have to hear the Abby-ism “second is the first to lose”. Chloe also gets a special prize from the judges – the Expressive Heart Award. Bless you, judges! I think they should also give Chloe a horse, a canopy bed, a cotton candy machine, an all-access pass to a Justin Bieber concert, and a role on Broadway. Even if this show is scripted, Abby being mean to Chloe is breaking my heart.

In the Elite Junior Small Group category, ALDC is awarded first place. Does this put Abby in a good mood? Nope. She tells the girls she’s happy the judges weren’t looking at all the mistakes in the group dance, she congratulates Sophia for having the high score, and then she calls Chloe a hot mess. I call BS on this - Chloe danced beautifully. Then Abby says Chloe needs extra flexibility training at home, and she and Christi get in a fight about when and where Chloe should be working on her flexibility, and who should be working on it with her. Toward the end Christi calls Abby a plagiarizer for putting her name on Sophia, who is someone else’s student. Then Christi cries because of how horrible Abby is being to Chloe, and asks, “What are we doing to our kids?”

Next week it looks like Kendall is the target of Abby's wrath. Sigh. Can we get a new show called Dance Kids and just leave Abby’s tantrums and the Mama Drama out of it? Would you all watch that?

What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you as glad as I am that our original girls are back? Do you think Abby was too hard on the dancers and/or their Moms? Leave a comment here and tell us.

To see all of our Dance Moms coverage click here.

Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays 9/8c on Lifetime

Photo ©Lifetime
Video ©Sophia Lucia