|Jill Vertes watches daughter Kendall rehearse on Dance Moms|
In Dance Moms season 3, episode 30 titled “Recital Rebellion”, teacher Abby Lee Miller is nervous about her studio’s upcoming recital. Kelly is upset that her daughter Paige has been assigned a new routine for the show, because normally the girls do numbers they already know in recitals. Then, Abby pulls Paige's number and gives the slot to Maddie, resulting in Kelly and her daughters walking out. On happier notes, Dance Mom Jill gets a solo in the recital, and the girls from the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) compete for the cover of Dance Track Magazine.
Abby reveals her pyramid – it’s the system she uses to rank the ALDC, and it’s usually based on the girls performances at the previous week’s competition, although sometimes personal issues creep in. Normally the responses to the pyramid involve the moms giving each other side-eye glances, and perhaps recording a few voice-overs disputing Abby’s choices. This week, however, the pyramid erupts in several verbal altercations between the Dance Moms and Abby.
Abby starts at the bottom, as she always does, and the first person she calls out is Paige. Abby asks her if she knows why she’s at the bottom, and Paige answers that it was “because when everybody was in the air, I was on the floor already”. Kelly (Paige’s mom) objects, because last week Maddie’s apron fell down during her performance – something that would have been a serious offense if it had happened to someone other than Maddie.
Abby and Kelly go back-and-forth about it, and Abby sarcastically orders Maddie to do twenty push-ups as punishment. Then, Abby goes back to the pyramid. She starts over with Paige and tells her she was at the bottom “because you were perfect,” and then she names Paige’s sister Brooke and says, “You’re next because you were next to perfect.”
The pyramid progresses. After Brooke, Abby names Kendall (she messed up a turn), and then Nia (she never rolls her eyes and is never upset, but Abby wants more from her). Next, Abby reveals Asia’s photo, even though Asia was absent last week (she was practicing for a charity event). Jill (Kendall’s mom) objects to Asia being so high up since she wasn’t even there last week, then Kelly jumps in and agrees with Jill, then Kristie with a K (Asia’s mom) jumps in and they’re all fighting.
Abby names Chloe next, and says that last week Chloe was challenged with hip hop and “you were 4th overall, you need to put more effort in, you need to be the best you can be, and I don’t see that.” Christi (Chloe’s mom) tells the camera that if Abby wants Chloe to be better at hip hop, maybe Abby’s studio should offer hip hop classes. I agree, Christi!
Abby names Maddie next, and tells her, “it kills me that you’re not on top of this pyramid because I thought your solo was outstanding.” Finally, Maddie’s sister Mackenzie gets the top spot because she won her division last week. Abby compliments Kenzie, saying she “went out on stage and did what she was supposed to do.” Then Abby tells Kenzie to turn to the right, where Asia is standing. Abby asks Mac, “Are you going to let that girl show off and take over?” In a voice-over, Kristie with a K says (regarding Mackenzie), “Thanks for keeping the seat warm.”
This week instead of traveling to a competition, the girls of the ALDC will be staying in Pittsburgh, PA for their annual dance recital. They will all be doing multiple routines, and Jill calls it “stressful” due to the fact that there will be 28-30 numbers. All of the girls will be doing solos they already know except for Paige, because Abby doesn’t think any of her old routines stood out. Instead, Abby assigns Paige to learn a new jazz-gymnastic solo, and gives her sister Brooke the opportunity to sing her “Summer Love Song” live. The group number will be a musical theater style piece called “Sugar Babies”, in which they will start out in oversized trench coats, then remove them to reveal beautiful ruffled costumes.
Along with all of the recital news, Abby has a special surprise: the team will be doing a photo shoot for Dance Track Magazine. It’s the first time the publication has interviewed kids, and one of them will be chosen for the cover.
While the girls rehearse, their parents hang in the Mom's Den where Kelly asks, “Do you guys agree with me with the things I said to Abby in pyramid?" They do, and Christi says that Abby “always says everyone is terrible, except for Maddie and Asia, but the other five girls, she has nothing nice to say about those kids, ever.”
Kelly is excited about the fact that Brooke has been offered a chance to sing at the recital, but doesn’t understand why Paige has to have a new solo, because making her learn a brand new routine the same week as the recital isn’t fair. Kelly says that Abby, “always has to give a negative with a positive.” Jill thinks Kelly is taking it too personal – she sees Paige getting a solo as an opportunity.
The next day, Holly, Jill, Melissa and Kristi with a K arrive at the studio, and Abby talks with them about how angry she is about Kelly’s outburst during pyramid. When it comes to Christi and Kelly, Abby tells the camera, “I am not going to tolerate their ‘mom crap’”.
Once they are all in the Mom’s Den, Christi asks, “Do you think Abby is different during recital week than she is during competition weeks?” Holly (Nia's mom) discusses the stress involved with the show, and talks about worrying it will be her kid that will make a mistake. She says until the final bow, she can’t breathe. Kristie with a K says it’s Asia’s first recital, and asks if it’s going to be “cray-cray”. Melissa says it is, and advises her to “just stay out of the way.”
We see Asia’s solo rehearsal – she gets better every time they show her – and we see a brief clip of Brooke rehearsing her song. The other girls are shown rehearsing their solos, and then it’s Paige’s turn. Abby has heard rumblings about Kelly’s displeasure about Paige’s solo, so she asks what Paige wants to do. Paige tells Abby she’d rather do her “Get Up, Get Loud” number from a few weeks ago.
Abby doesn’t like that Paige wants to “play it safe”, and she makes it known to the team during rehearsal. While on a microphone in the recital auditorium, Abby tells the group Paige doesn’t want to do her routine, pulls the number, then asks who wants Paige’s spot. No-one raises their hand, so Abby gives the spot to Maddie for a solo called “Survivor”. When the Dance Moms object – no-one raised their hand because no-one wants Paige to be out – Abby tells Maddie to raise her hand. Kelly and her girls walk out. Later Christi calls Kelly to see if they’ll be returning, and Kelly answers, “I doubt it.”
In the next scene we see Abby giving the girls items from her new dancewear line, free of charge. It’s cute – the pieces shown are crisp looking red and black streetwear and loungewear with white lettering (I totally want one of those shirts with the Flashdance neckline). Christi says, “Abby giving the girls the whole dancewear line isn’t about giving them a gift, it’s more about turning them into dancing billboards, because, you know, isn’t it all about Abby making more money?”
Because Paige and Brooke are gone, Abby has to re-block the group routine, and during the rehearsal Abby says she's very impressed with Chloe. Christi beams and says those words will go so far with Chloe’s self-esteem.
While she is outside of the Moms Den, Abby overhears Jill defending her with the Moms, and gives her a solo in the show. Jill will be performing a tango duet!
Then it’s time for the Dance Track Magazine photo shoot - Kelly, Paige and Brooke are not present. Each girl gets a character: Chloe - rebel rocker; Maddie - teacher’s pet; Asia - girl with the big reputation; Kendall – mean girl; Mackenzie – book worm; Nia – athlete.
Jill sticks up for Kelly and says that since this same situation happened last year – Kelly walking out – that she'll probably be back. Abby says she won’t allow it, and she tells the camera “She’s not going to be wasting my time anymore.”
Finally it’s the day of the recital, and it draws a sold-out crowd of 1300 people. Before the show starts, a rep from Dance Track Magazine arrives and gives the girls the news: the winner of the cover spot is Kendall. Her mom Jill is genuinely surprised, since Maddie and Mackenzie normally get the special gigs.
Maddie opens the show with her tap number, then we see solos from Chloe, Kendall and Nia. Then it’s Asia’s turn, and lo and behold, her pants are on backwards. It looks fine through – you wouldn’t know unless you knew. Kristie with a K says she’s not sure how Abby is going to respond to this – it could be the end for them, or Abby could think Asia was amazing.
After the group’s “Sugar Babies” routine, it’s time for Mackenzie’s solo, but she can’t remember it. Abby tells her she has to go out because the music is playing. Mackenzie does a great job – she says when she got on stage it all came back to her.
Jill is nervous about being on stage for her tango number – she doesn’t want to mess up the recital or embarrass her children. Abby’s pep talk for Jill involves the line, “Your boobs just better not be bouncing around out there.” Jill takes the stage with confidence though – she struts out in her black gown with red ruffles and gets a big round of applause when she’s done. When Melissa and Christi go out on stage and present Jill with a tiara and roses, Abby is not happy. She asks Melissa, “Since when does your ass go on my stage?” and she tells the camera, “Jill, never again are you dancing in the show.”
The recital ends, and during the curtain call Abby praises her dancers saying the show was injury-free, and everyone had a great time and "Pittsburgh just got a little taste of Hollywood". Abby gets a standing ovation.
Backstage the moms discuss whether Melissa should have allowed Maddie to take Paige’s spot. The girls come backstage, and so does Abby. She applauds, but says there are a few things she wants to go over, namely Asia's backwards pants. It’s a situation that has the potential to turn into a fight, but when Abby asks Kristie with a K who dressed her daughter, little Asia steps up and says, “I did, it was my responsibility.” Good girl, Asia!
Christi asks if Jill will be on the pyramid next week, then the episode ends with her saying she wants Kelly to come back. I’m not sure that will happen next week though – scenes from the upcoming episode show Payton and her mom Leslie have taken one of the vacancies left by Paige and Brooke. We also see a few seconds of Black Patsy, and get a glimpse of choreographer Anthony Burrell in what looks like an argument with Cathy Nesbitt-Stein from the Candy Apples Dance Center.
What are your thoughts on Dance Moms Recital Rebellion? Do you think Paige should have been at the bottom of the pyramid? Did you think Kelly was justified in being upset, or do you agree with Jill that Kelly took the whole thing too personal? Will Abby let Kelly come back now that she's walked out and her kids missed the ALDC recital? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.
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Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo by Scott Gries, courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, July 24, 2013