|Kelly Hyland and Abby Lee Miller on Dance Moms|
For the past few weeks on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller has been absent, so her assistant choreographer, Gianna “Gia” Martello, has been leading the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC). During this time, Kelly Hyland and her daughter Brooke and Paige, who were on the outs with Abby, returned to the team. This week on season 3, episode 35 of Dance Moms titled “Diva Las Vegas”, Abby tells us that in the famous gambling mecca “You either hit the jackpot, or you lose,” and this is definitely the case for Kelly and her girls. Abby and Kelly finally have a showdown, and instead of permanently parting ways, it looks like the beginning of a reconciliation between Abby and the Hylands, and we all win a glimpse of a kinder, gentler Abby.
Usually this show begins in Pittsburgh, PA, but Dance Moms S3, E35 titled “Diva Las Vegas” takes place in the titular city, where the ALDC has traveled to compete in the Powerhouse Dance Competition. The episode opens with the Dance Moms still questioning Abby as to why she was absent from rehearsals and competitions over the past few weeks. Abby tells the moms she could no longer put herself in a position where she loses her cool and is filmed behaving badly. This in reference to when Abby was filmed throwing water on Candy Apple Cathy (I’m Team Abby on this one; Cathy provoked her), and also the recent debacle with Abby refusing to let Kelly sit with the team at a competition in Florida (I’m neither Team Abby or Team Kelly on this issue, I’m Team Paige and Team Brooke. I want the adults to work it out and let the kids dance).
Next, Abby reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the team. The pyramid is usually based on the previous week’s competition results, although sometimes ego and favoritism affect the results.
This week’s pyramid from the bottom up: Paige ("Until you start to improve a big amount in the technical area, you’re not going to be moving up that pyramid"); Brooke (“You did a solo in Ohio, you were 4th, you never used to be 4th.” Kelly defends Brooke and tells Abby the 4th place finish is because of the choreography); Nia (“It’s almost like your mind wants it and it’s there, but your body isn’t listening yet…keep doing what you’re doing and someday it’s gonna click”); Kendall (Abby says she is “inconsistent”, and that she's better in class than she is on stage); Mackenzie (not here this week, she “needs to learn there are consequences for her actions”, ie: not dancing as well as Asia); Asia (Abby praises her for being being in last week’s winning duet, and says she’s improving); Maddie (“Outstanding – what is next for you?”). At the top of the pyramid it’s Chloe, who was overall high score winner last week when she beat Candy Apple Zack. Go Chloe!
Then, Abby assigns this week’s competition numbers. She gives Asia a solo and says, “You are my best bet for Nationals.” Kendall gets a solo, and is told, “this is your audition to see *if* you will be dancing at Nationals – don’t blow it.” Brooke (the reigning National champion) and Paige also get solos, but since “not too many dance teachers want to work with Paige and Brooke”, and because Abby and her staff are “done with Kelly and her kids”, she brings in pro Ricky Palomino to choreograph the girls’ solos.
Christi is happy that Brooke and Paige have solos, but thinks it’s “weird” that her daughter Chloe doesn’t, since she was at the top of the pyramid. She wonders if it’s part of Abby’s “grand plan to phase Chloe out.”
For the group number, the girls will be the “Brat Pack” and do a routine based on the famous Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop). Asia will practice with the group, but Abby’s not sure if she’ll be in the number – she wants Asia to focus on technique for Nationals.
Paige rehearses with Ricky Palomino, and Abby tells them the costume she’s having made for the number will run “upwards from $500.” Paige finds it easier to learn from Ricky because he doesn’t yell at her. Next, we see Brooke working with Ricky, and he feels like he makes the teen dancer nervous, so he coaches her on emotion, and says for her to try to give herself chills. Then we see Abby work with Asia on a solo called “The Flamingo”.
A little earlier in the episode, Kelly got a call from Brooke’s record producer, who told her he secured a booking for Brooke to sing and interview on a local news show. Kelly knows Abby will be furious if Brooke misses rehearsal, but it’s a good opportunity. Kelly and Brooke do the show together, and it goes well.
While Paige rehearses at the Fern Adair Conservatory of the Arts, Kelly tells the camera that she’s worried about Paige, because “her relationship with Abby is making her a nervous wreck.” Kelly talks to the other Dance Moms, and after, Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom) says she's worried about Kelly, Brooke and Paige, and that she hates to see Paige so upset.
Abby rehearses with Kendall; they work on her solo called “The Luxor”, in which she plays an Egyptian princess. Jill says, “With Chloe sitting out this week, this is Kendall’s chance to shine… if Kendal wins this competition, then Abby will have to give her a solo at Nationals.”
Abby has each of the girls do the group routine by herself, so she can check their ability and technical skills. Paige gets super-nervous and has difficulty breathing, and has what appears to be an anxiety attack. Kelly sits with her arm around Paige and cries. When Kelly says they need to get out of there (the ALDC), Paige says, “I like it here, I just don’t like Abby.”
Finally, it’s time for the competition. When Abby isn’t there at first, the Moms wonder if she’s going to be a no-show again, but she arrives in plenty of time, and goes over the girls’ costumes.
Kendall is up first. She does her “Luxor” contemporary solo in a white two-piece skirted costume. It’s a nice routine with neat-looking angled arms. Asia is next with her “Flamingo” jazz solo; she wears hot pink vinyl with matching pink feathers, and she does a great job. Brooke does her contemporary “Now is My Time” solo in a pink two-piece costume with a chiffon skirt and beaded top, and she is wonderful.
Then it’s time for Paige to do her contemporary solo to “The One” – she wears a gorgeous royal blue (or is it purple?) skirted costume. Unfortunately, she is so wound up about pleasing Abby, that she forgets her number and walks off stage. I watched this episode numerous times to work on this recap, and cried every time; it was heartbreaking to see Paige struggle. Backstage Paige cries, and her Mom and Ricky comfort her. As Abby walks through the crowd, she tells the audience, “Just so everyone knows, I did not choreograph that solo. I would never do that to a child.” At first I think Abby is going to go backstage and read Paige the riot act, but thankfully, something entirely different happens.
Back in the dressing room, Kelly asks, “Abby, are my girls in the group dance?” and the conversation that follows winds up being a huge breakthrough for Kelly and Abby. Kelly completely melts down, and through tears tells Abby, “My daughter was a wreck all frickin’ week, and now my kid is having attacks because she is afraid of you and afraid of what you’re going to do to her, and you’re allowing this with the relationship that you had with my kids and me. ”
Abby calmly answers, “Okay, understood, I’m hearing you… Kelly, you have driven the wedge between your children and myself.” Then Abby tells the camera, “Seeing Kelly really break down at a competition like this really disturbs me. When I look at Kelly, I don’t see the mom of two dancers in my company, I see my own student when she was 12 or 13 years old crying her eyeballs out. That’s when she stopped dancing, and I think Kelly could have had a great future. I just hope she doesn’t do the same thing to her two girls.” Then we see Abby tell Paige, “You have to trust me… you need to trust that when I put you out on that stage it’s not to fail…”
The team does their musical theater style “Brat Pack” number dressed in menswear with hats. The choreography is cool, and they look fabulous.
The awards ceremony begins. In the Elite Mini Solo Division, Asia wins 1st place. In the Elite Junior Solo Division, Kendall gets 6th Place, and Brooke takes 3rd Place. In the Elite Junior Small Group Division, the ALDC wins 1st Place, and Abby says they “hit the jackpot.”
Backstage, the Moms tell Kelly they think the talk she had with Abby was a good start. Kelly says she doesn’t trust Abby with her kids, and that Abby is going to need to re-earn that trust with Paige. Right then, the team bursts into the dressing room, and they and Abby yell “woo!” and celebrate their win. Abby hugs Paige and tells her, “Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, and that she “looked great in group dance.”
Abby informs Melissa that Mackenzie might not be dancing at Nationals, because Asia has a better record and chance to win there. She also tells Kendall that her 6th Place win didn’t cut it for a spot at Nationals, and Kendall admits she could have done better.
Then Abby says, “Brooke, Paige, I hope to see you in class on Monday. Kelly, nice talking to you today.” Kelly says “I feel like after my talk with Abby today, there might be a little bit of hope”
As Abby heads out of the dressing room, she leaves her team on a pleasant note: "I will see you, enjoy yourselves, girls please be safe, alright, try to see a show, congrats ladies”
I say "congrats" to Abby and Kelly - it was great to see them start to work out their differences.
Before we close out this recap, we have important scheduling notes for Dance Moms that come direct from our sources at the Lifetime Network:
- On Tuesday, September 3, and Tuesday, September 10 - the Dance Moms season 3 finale - the show will be on one hour earlier, so be sure to tune in on both dates at 8/7c.
- The reason Dance Moms will be on earlier, is because season 2 of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition premieres September 3 on Lifetime at 9/8c.
For our Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition recaps click here
Photo courtesy of Lifetime