'Dance Moms' Recap Season 3 Episode 16: Abby Makes Maddie Assistant Choreographer

Maddie Ziegler from Dance Moms
Maddie Ziegler from Dance Moms

When we last saw Dance Moms, Maddie and Chloe competed against each other, and studio owner Abby Lee Miller made the team vote on who was their favorite. Maddie won both times, and now on the season 3, episode 16 of Dance Moms titled “May I Have This Dance”, she gets another vote of confidence: Abby promotes her to assistant choreographer. Also, Abby tells the group she was invited to co-host The View, and they are going to perform on the show.

The episode begins as they always do: Miss Abby reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the Abby Lee dance Company (ALDC). This week it's based on the performances at the Powerhouse Dance competition in Philadelphia, PA.

The pyramid from the bottom up: Mackenzie (“you didn’t dance”); Paige (“That flag was a symbol for everybody in that audience… don’t do a disservice to this country”); Kendall (facial expressions and stamina are better, needs to work on focus); Brooke (was better during rehearsal than during show); Chloe (nice job with solo last week, second only to Maddie); Nia (looked good in group number); Asia (“You were the overall high score in the Petite Division – I think you’re a little firecracker”). The top spot on the pyramid goes to Maddie (“You were the overall high score of the Junior Division, your friends voted for you, and you’re the type of person this country was built on… Maddie, you are America the beautiful”). Talk about superlatives!

Before Abby gives the dancelings their assignments for the next competition, she asks Mackenzie why she isn't wearing her cast. Kenzie has been dealing with an injured foot for several episodes, and her doctor ordered her to stay off of it for two weeks. Mackenzie says her foot doesn’t hurt anymore and she can dance again but Abby isn’t comfortable going against the doctor’s wishes, and doesn’t want Kenzie to do anything now that would permanently damage her foot and prevent her from having a career further down the line.

The end result is, Abby won’t let Mackenzie dance this week when the ALDC goes to the Energy Dance competition in Youngstown, Ohio (scenes from this episode were shot there in mid-February, 2013). However, when Abby hands out this week’s assignments, the big news isn’t that Kenzie isn’t dancing in the group number; it’s that her big sis Maddie won’t be in the group number either – instead, she’ll be assisting with the choreography for the routine, a contemporary piece called “Hear No Evil”. Abby thinks the rest of the team relies too heavily on Maddie and her sense of timing, and she wants them to see what it’s like to dance without her.

Maddie will be doing a solo though, a lyrical piece called “They’ll Never Change” (because Abby thinks the other girls will always be jealous of Maddie). Chloe will do a contemporary solo called “About Mother”, and Nia and Asia will do a jazz duet called “Move U 2”. Later in the episode Abby says she wants Nia and Asia to have big personalities like drag queens for this routine.

While the girls rehearse, Chloe's mom Christi questions Melissa about Mackenzie’s foot and how it recovered so quickly, and Melissa gets defensive. Christie asks, “What changed with Mackenzie that now she’s 100% ready to go?” and says that either the foot was not that hurt to begin with, or it’s still hurt now. Melissa insists it’s better because Kenzie rested for a week, and then tells Christi that maybe she should call the “@#$%ing doctor”. Christi also asks if Maddie is uncomfortable teaching her friends, and Melissa says that Maddie is happy to be helping with the choreo, but sad that she’s not dancing in the group number.

Abby gets a call that she has been invited to co-host The View, and the ALDC is going to perform on the show. Abby decides to have the ALDC do “The Last Text” dance for The View – the one where they get in a car accident because the driver is texting (it's from the season 2 finale). Because Mac can’t dance, Asia is taking her place in the number. This sets off a controversy about who will do the dance on The View – should it be Mackenzie because it was initially her part and her foot will be healed by the time they head to NYC for The View, or should it be Asia, because she’s the one rehearsing the number now? I'm thinking since it's an imaginary car they can easily add another seat.

Meanwhile, Mackenzie is telling people that Asia is bullying her – that Asia dropped a block on her foot on purpose – and there’s more confusion when Maddie tells Asia she’s not doing The View (she's echoing what Abby told her). At first Asia’s Mom Kristie doesn't want to discuss it with Melissa – she says, “I’m not gonna argue with stupid” – but then they get into a fight about whether Mackenzie’s foot is really healed.

In the middle of all this, Kelly has a vocal coach work with Brooke so when she goes to NYC she’s prepared to take advantage of any opportunities that come up. This scene is just a blip, and it isn't mentioned again during this episode - maybe we'll see a follow-up next week?

The ALDC arrives at the Energy Dance competition in Youngstown, Ohio, and Abby is surprised that her nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, isn’t there with her Candy Apples team because they are from Ohio.

The competition begins. Chloe does her contemporary solo in a beautiful medium blue costume with a sparkly bodice and a thigh-length chiffon skirt. Maddie goes next with her lyrical solo – she wears a two-piece costume with silver trim and a pretty layered chiffon skirt that is slightly longer in the back. The choreography for both routines is very similar, but Maddie’s is slightly faster.

Then Nia and Asia’s jazz duet is announced. This is a surprise to them because there was supposed to be 14 numbers between the solos and the duet, and they haven’t had a chance to warm up or run the routine with Abby. Nia’s mom Holly worries that the girls are “totally unprepared”. They do very well, though – they look adorable in their silver sequin jackets, Nia does a great job lifting Asia over her head, and they end with a cute pose. Abby says Shangela would be proud. Backstage though, Holly and Kristie are annoyed that Abby didn’t rehearse the number. Abby tells them it's a lesson in always being prepared.

The ALDC group number is the last performance in the competition. The girls look sophisticated in their black two-piece costumes with halter tops and long asymmetrical chiffon skirts. While the team performs, Maddie watches from the wings.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Energy Junior Solo Division, Chloe takes 2nd Place and Maddie wins 1st Place; there is only one point separating their scores. In the Energy Petite Duet/Trio Division, Nia and Asia win 1st Place. In the Energy Junior Small Group Division the ALDC wins 1st place.

Abby is happy she accomplished her goal – the team survived without Maddie – and she says if they could learn not to rely on their mothers she might have a whole new team.

On next week’s Dance Moms the ALDC performs on The View. Kristi asks Abby if Asia will be performing on the TV show, but Abby won’t confirm it. Also on the next episode, Candy Apple Cathy holds auditions for a contemporary dancer.

To see all of our Dance Moms coverage click here.

Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime

Maddie Ziegler photo ©Scott Gries

Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013