Dance Moms Recap Season 3, Episode 22: Abby Assigns Two Girls One Solo

Dance Moms stars Chloe Lukasiak and Maddie Ziegler
L to R: Dance Moms stars Chloe Lukasiak and Maddie Ziegler

On last week’s episode of Dance Moms, Christi and Kelly had a terrible fight that threatened to end their friendship. This week on season 3, episode 22 titled “Two Girls, One Solo”, they make up. Studio owner Abby continues to pit Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) stars Maddie and Chloe against each other though: for this week’s competition she gives them identical choreography, music and costumes.

This episode begins as they always do, with Abby revealing her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the ALDC (it is usually based on the previous week's performance at competition). From the bottom up it’s Asia, who has just returned from LA where she was doing TV and magazine work (“You weren’t here, that’s where you end up”); Nia (Abby says in the group she “lagged behind a little bit, I don’t want you to be the weak link”); Kendall ("You were part of an award winning group, you did a good job… you need to be stronger"); Paige (“You had a great performance, you should be very proud of yourself”); Mackenzie (“I have big plans for you this week “); Chloe and Maddie, who did a duet last week (Abby says they were “two professionals out there, congratulations to the two of you”). At the top of the pyramid it’s Brooke! Regarding Brooke’s performance with ALDC’s senior company last week, Abby remarks, “It’s about time you dance like you’re 15 years old,” and says she “did an outstanding job.” High five, Brooke!

This week the ALDC will be traveling to the Powerhouse competition in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The group dance is called "Living with the Ribbon", and is about surviving cancer. Mackenzie and Asia won’t be in the group number, but they will have solos: Asia will be doing a routine called “Too Hot to Handle”; Mackenzie will be doing a piece called “Old West”. Maddie will do a solo called, “Be Anything”, and Chloe will have a solo called “You Can” (as in, according to Abby, “You can listen to your mother, or you can listen to me”).

Since Asia Ray and her mom Kristie with a “K” are just back from LA, the Dance Moms fill her in on the fight between Christi with a “C” and Kelly. Holly tells her they watched the friendship disintegrate right before their eyes. After Jill and Christi leave the room, Kristie asks Kelly what’s up, and Kelly says she’s “taking a break” (from the friendship).

Meanwhile, Abby takes ALDC teacher Gianna aside, and tells her about a surprise: she’s giving Maddie and Chloe the same choreography and the same music for competition this week. It doesn’t stay a secret for long - Maddie plays her solo music for the group, and they all realize what’s going on. Maddie says she is confused; Chloe’s mom Christi thinks Abby is doing it to teach her (Christi) a lesson because she’s complained about the kids not having a level playing field in terms of Abby’s attention and choreography. When Kelly asks Melissa if her daughter Maddie is concerned about having the same dance as Chloe, she answers, “Not at all.” Kelly doesn’t care for the idea, saying, “No matter what happens, one of the kids is going to be upset, and I don’t think that’s fair.”

When Abby rehearses Chloe and Maddie, she won't let them observe each other, but when Asia and Mackenzie rehearse in the room together, she makes them watch each other so they can see what they are up against. Also, Kristie is, once again, allowed in the room to observe Asia's practice. The other Dance Moms are never allowed in the rehearsal studio, and Jill points out that it’s not fair.

The focus shifts to Jill and Christie – both wearing dark shades – when they decide to sneak around the studio and video tape rehearsals to prove that Maddie and her sister Mackenzie get the advantage of more private lessons and time with Abby than the other girls. After Jill goes in to get some footage she thinks she’s left her glasses behind, but they are in her pocket. It’s a comical scene.

Later in the studio, Abby assigns Christi and Kelly to work together to dye a long, pink, elastic ribbon for the group number. Holly hopes they’ll use the time to laugh and talk and whatnot, but they work in silence.

The pink elastic is for the group number – it represents cancer. Brooke will dance entwined in the ribbon, then at the end of the number she will beat cancer and be freed from the elastic. When Abby first explained the number to the team, we learned that Melissa’s Mom died from cancer, and Kelly’s father is still fighting prostate cancer. Then, after Abby gathers the team to show them their group routine costumes, she tearfully recounts how her late father had a seizure from a cancerous brain tumor and passed out in their bathroom, and she had to lift him. It's an emotional moment, but the tension is broken when Abby asks a teary-eyed Asia who she lost to cancer. Bless her heart, Asia tells the team that before she was born, her Dad’s dog died from the cancer. It made me laugh, not because of the topic, obviously, but because of Asia’s sincerity and completely innocent delivery.

Finally, it’s the day of the competition, and the ALDC arrives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Mackenzie gives an energetic performance of her “Old West” routine in ponytails and a costume of black shorts and a yellow top. Next, Asia makes sassy work of her “Too Hot to Handle” routine while wearing a black and fuchsia costume with a cute tulle skirt. After her number, Abby reads Asia the riot act for lip syncing during her dance saying, “You ruined your entire number because everyone was looking at what you were saying.” Asia tells the camera, “Miss Abby can yell at me, she’s not going to make me cry.”

Maddie and Chloe do their twin numbers in yellow costumes with chiffon skirts and silver beaded bodices. I’ve said before that I think they are equally talented, but in this case I preferred Chloe’s rendition of the dance. She has better ballet skills than Maddie (based on what we’ve been shown on Dance Moms) that I think helped with this routine, and I noticed Maddie stumbled out of a turn this week. In fact, after her performance, Maddie and her little sister Mackenzie get in a brief shoving match backstage, because Maddie is upset about her turns.

Backstage Jill reveals that she has video footage of Maddie getting an extra private lesson, and Abby yells, “What difference does it make, you all know Maddie can learn a dance in one hour.”

The ALDC does their group dance in pale pink, over-sized button down shirts and white shorts. They do a beautiful job with the choreography, and the symbolism is obvious (in a good way – it’s never good if the audience doesn’t get it). After the performance, Kelly hugs her daughter Paige, and seeing this, Christi has an epiphany that she loves Kelly like a sister, and that she’ll always love her. They hug and kiss, and it makes me cry

The awards ceremony begins. In the Junior Small Group Division, the ALDC wins 1st Place. In the Mini Solo Division, Mackenzie takes 2nd Place; Asia wins 1st Place. In the Junior Solo Division, Maddie gets 2nd Place; Chloe wins 1st Place. Her mom Christi is happy because the win will be a “huge boost to her confidence, and proves to Abby once and for all Chloe is a force to be reckoned with. There’s no doubt Chloe should have won.”

But then, suddenly, there is doubt. The emcee comes backstage and tells the team that the judges made a mistake with the scores, and that Maddie was actually the winner over Chloe. Abby tries to pass it off as the judges discovering the mistake and then relaying the information to her, but then she is caught in her lie. The emcee comes back into the dressing room, returns Abby's score sheets, and says, “Thanks for bringing it to our attention.” If the wrong person was credited with the win, then the mistake needed to be corrected, BUT, something about this seems… odd.

When Chloe tells the camera she is happy for Maddie her voice breaks just a little, and so does my heart. A while back in my Dance Moms Season 3, Epsiode 3 recap I wrote that I wanted the judges to “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." That still stands, in fact, now more than ever.


Next week on Dance Moms, Abby nemesis Cathy Nesbitt-Stein from the Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC) is back, and it appears she is recruiting new dancers.  It seems the self-nicknamed "Black Patsy" (Kaya Wiley) and her daughter Nicaya will be part of Cathy's plan. I do hope choreographer Anthony Burrell is back too; we need someone at the CADC to be the voice of reason.

So what are your thoughts on this episode of Dance Moms? What was your favorite routine? Are you glad Christi and Kelly made up? Did you find the ending with the score mix-up as odd as I did? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays 9/8c on Lifetime

Photo by Scott Gries, courtesy of Lifetime

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013