|L to R: Kendall Vertes and Chloe Lukasiak, stars of Dance Moms|
Previously on Dance Moms, the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) traveled to Orlando, Florida. The ALDC was there to compete; Abby went early to audition new dancers. Abby's being coy about how many ALDC members will be replaced, but this week on Dance Moms Season 4, episode 4 titled "Chloe vs Kendall Round 2", Payton was the first cut when she showed up for rehearsal on crutches. Abby accused her of causing her own injury by goofing around backstage in Orlando. This made Leslie (Payton's mom) angry, an argument ensued, and Abby fired them both. Also this week, Abby makes Chloe and Kendall compete head-to-head again, and Abby nemesis Cathy Nesbitt-Stein is back with yet another new team.
As Dance Moms season 4, episode 4 "Chloe vs. Kendall Round 2" begins, the mother-daughter duos and trios of the ALDC arrive for rehearsal, including Payton, who is in a cast and on crutches after injuring her ankle backstage at a competition in Orlando, Florida.
Abby reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the dancers of the ALDC. The results are based on a combination of things: the scores from the previous week's competition, and sometimes ego and favoritism. This week the order was fairly straightforward (although I think Nia should have been higher), but it turned out to be a dramatic scene. Here's how Abby saw it, from the bottom up:
Payton: "You have yet to admit you were fooling around," states Abby, who heard that the injury was the result of Payton making fun of the ballet routine that was onstage. Leslie (Payton's mom) insists that Payton tripped over a prop saying, "Don’t try to make lies about my daughter." Abby booms, "Payton put this entire team and your victory in jeopardy." Leslie yells out, "If you don't want her on the team, and you want to kick her off, just kick her off." And that was that. "Goodbye, you're out, go!" orders Abby. As they're leaving, Leslie warns Abby, "Remember that when you go to ask her back again. You can't keep messing with somebody's head over and over. You're the liar, not my daughter."
Kendall: Abby is still upset that Jill and Kendall were late to arrive in Orlando, and says, "This kid is out of control." Kendall half-whispers that she has a card for Abby, who instructs the girl to, "Put it over there."
Nia: Abby thinks Nia blended in last week, and she means it as a compliment.
Brooke: Forgot choreography, and her timing was off. Abby thinks Brooke has "lost her drive."
Chloe: Because at the Believe competition, Chloe went backstage and asked to be last.
Paige: Had good facial expressions and out-danced Brooke and Chloe in their trio
Mackenzie: Danced clean and cute, but Abby didn't go home talking about it
Maddie: Great join in the group routine, needs to start dancing like it's the last time she'll dance
Abby hands out the assignments for this week's competition, the Dance Troupe International show in Roanoke, Virginia. Chloe and Kendall will be dancing head-to-head again, so Abby can decide once and for all who her number two girl will be. Both girls will play pop star bad girls: Chloe will do a contemporary number in which she portrays Miley Cyrus; Kendall will do a jazz routine in which she portrays M.I.A. The group number is a lyrical piece called "The Witches of East Canton" – it's a dig at Abby's nemesis Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her Canton, Ohio based Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC), who will also be competing in Virginia this week. Abby has Maddie playing the good witch in the number, and when she says it's modeled after her, the moms get a good laugh. Later in the episode, Chloe's mom Christi quips, "Abby being the good witch is like, I don’t know, Hannibal Lechter claiming to be Santa Claus."
Over in Canton, Ohio, Cathy prepares her latest CADC all boys team for battle with Abby. To that end, she adds "ringers" to her group; siblings Mackenzie and Gavin Morales, the YouTube dance sensations known as "The Morales Kids". They are excellent dancers. They all work with choreographer Blake McGrath on the group number, a jazz routine called "Wild Party." Cathy says if they win she's going to deliver balloons to Abby.
With two days to go until the competition, Jill walks into the studio where Abby and her assistant choreographer Gianna "Gia" Martello are working at the reception desk, and asks if Abby has read the card from Kendall. Abby hasn't – it's still where Kendall left it. Meanwhile, Abby finds out that Cathy has gone back to an all-boys team, and she's angry about it. Christi wants to know who "peed in Abby's cornflakes," and Holly points out that when Cathy's team is all boys, "It's intimidating." (Does anyone besides me think it sounds like sample of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" is playing in the background during this segment?)
With one day to go until competition, the tension is building at the ALDC studio, and even the moms aren't sure the group number choreography is spectacular enough to beat an all-boys (and now one girl) team. Christi likes Chloe's solo, stating that it's pretty and she likes the music, but Abby is unhappy with Chloe's rehearsal, so she calls Christi into the room. Christi decides to videotape the rehearsal so Chloe can review it and correct her mistakes. When Abby dismisses Chloe for the day, her solo still isn't finished. Jill likes what she's seen of Kendall's solo, but thinks "it's a little fast, it's a little busy." Ultimately, Jill doesn't think Kendall has been given a winning number, she would like the opportunity to record her daughter's rehearsal (rightfully so), and says Chloe gets all the breaks. I disagree with Jill on that point; I think Chloe has it the hardest because she should be tied with Maddie for the number one spot, but Abby will never let that happen.
While the two girls rehearse, Kendall is noticeably out of breath, and Jill says the pressure is getting to her. When solo rehearsal is dismissed and the team prepares for group rehearsal, Kendall enters the room in tears, and Christi calls out for Jill. Kendall seems to be hyperventilating, and sobs, "I don’t want to do it anymore. I can't."
Finally, it's the day of the competition, and everyone gathers at the Dance Troupe International Competition at the Roanoke Performing Arts Theater.
As Abby and the ALDC arrive, Cathy attempts to engage them in conversation, but they ignore her and go about their business. Backstage, Abby announces that Kendall is dancing first, and Jill ays, "The gods always shine down on Chloe. Here, once again, Chloe is last in the order, it just makes Kendall's job harder, but we have to live with it." This sentiment is exacerbated when the girls come out in their costumes: Chloe's is a feminine, fluttery beige outfit, and Kendall's is a loud, multicolor outfit with leggings and a t-shirt.
Kendall competes first in her leggings and shirt emblazoned with the word "SWAG." In the audience, Cathy sits behind Jill and critiques Kendall, first calling her choreography "slow" and also saying that Kendall "dances no different than she did the very first year." It's rude, and Jill calls her out for it.
Next, Chloe dances in her sparkly beige costume. Chloe does well, as did Kendall, and Abby agrees they both brought out their inner pop star, so it's up to the judges to decide.
The CADC performs their "Wild Party" group jazz number. The boys wear suits with pink ties, and Mackenzie Morales wears a sparkly pink costume. The dancers are very good, and I like the choreography, but I think parts of the number – the lifts for example – looked slightly under-rehearsed.
The ALDC goes next with their group number; they wear black and purple costumes with spider web fascinators. The number was fantastic, especially the part after the music kicked in faster – the work in unison was executed with precision.
The awards ceremony begins. In the Junior Solo Division, Kendall gets 2nd Place, Chloe wins 1st Place. Abby looks like she could spit nails, but later acknowledges that Chloe is her number two dancer, "for now." In the Junior Small Group division, Cathy's CADC is awarded 2nd Place; Abby's ALDC wins first place.
Backstage, Cathy chalks her studio's loss up to "politics," and calls the ALDC's win "a false honor." I think Cathy would have more wins if she would pick a permanent team and develop it. No matter how well these kids dance – and they ARE very good – there's still no substitute for the chemistry that occurs when a team has a history of rehearsing and performing together.
Despite the ALDC victory, Abby is determined to move forward with the open call auditions because, as she puts it, "I want seven Maddie's on my team." So, next week, on Dance Moms season 4, episode 5 titled "No One is Safe," Abby holds auditions in Atlanta Georgia; Holly worries about Nia's place on the team; and Melissa defends her choice to home school Maddie and Mackenzie.
What are your thoughts on this week's Dance Moms episode? Do you agree with me that Chloe should be competing against Maddie for the #1 spot, instead of facing off with Kendall for #2? What do you think of Cathy Nesbitt-Stein this season? Now that Payton is gone, who do you think Abby will cut next? Feel free to leave a comment and tell us what you think.
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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, January 22, 2014