|L to R: Chloe Nguyen and Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms|
Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller held another round of open call auditions for the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC). This week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 6 titled "Clash of the Chloes," Abby invites one of the girls who tried out, Chloe Nguyen, for a trial run with the team. Because Abby has announced she wants to replace one or more ALDC members, and because the team already has a dancer with the same first name – the fabulous Chloe Lukasiak – Abby calls them "old Chloe" and "new Chloe." This, of course, creates tension and mama drama.
Abby tells the assembled Dance Moms and their daughters that she thinks some of them have gotten too comfortable, and she reiterates what she's said several times in prior episodes: "The face of this team is going to change." Then, Abby brings in a woman named Kim and her 12-year-old daughter, Chloe Nguyen (this last name is usually pronounced like "Win"), a dancer from the Orlando auditions (season 4, episode 3). Abby introduces her as "the new Chloe," which is a dagger in the hearts for fans of Chloe Lukasiak, who has been a beloved member of the ALDC for all four seasons of Dance Moms. I refuse to refer to girls as "old" or "new"; moving forward here, they are "Chloe L." and "Chloe N."
Abby reveals her pyramid, the system she uses to rank the dancers of the ALDC. It is usually based on how well each performer did at the previous week's competition, but sometimes other variables, such as ego or personality clashes, factor into the equation. The season 4, episode 6 pyramid from the bottom up:
Mackenzie: "You got beat."
Brooke: "Put the phone down."
Paige: "I'm still seeing technical issues."
Kendall: "What happened to that kid… who was right behind Maddie?"
Chloe L.: "Again, in the trio – not perfect."
Chloe N.: "You were outstanding at that audition."
Maddie: "You were great in the routine, you worked well with Nia."
Nia: "You were wonderful, you embraced the role, I thought you did it justice." Congratulations, Nia!
Abby is referring to Nia's lead role in last week's triumphant group routine (season 4, episode 5). However, when Abby hands out the assignments for On Stage America, this week's competition in Voorhees, New Jersey, Nia doesn't rate a solo. Instead, Nia and Kendall will be doing a jazz duet called "Pieces Together"; the group number is a jazz routine called "Why Not Me"; Chloe L. will be doing a contemporary solo called "Seeing Red"; Chloe N. will be doing a lyrical solo called "The First Day." Abby tells Chloe N., "I will be challenging you to become an official member of this team. Right now, you're here as our guest. We'll see."
After the assignments are complete, Abby notices that Melissa is visibly troubled and questions her about it, but Melissa doesn't answer. In a confessional interview, Melissa admits she was hoping her daughter Maddie would get to compete against Chloe N.
Abby dismisses the moms, who head up to their loft. As they're leaving, Abby tells Kim that if the Dance Moms start to attack to bang on the wall and she'll rescue her. Christi tells Kim that Abby "knew she was going to use your daughter today to make my daughter feel bad." Holly also expresses her feeling that Chloe N. shouldn't have gotten a solo, and that the time Abby is spending with Chloe N. is taking away from Nia and Kendall's solo.
Kim tells the camera, "I think these moms are ruthless. They say they're part of a team and they’re team players, but I really believe that they're there for their child only." Then, Kim tells the moms that her daughter is already the star of her current team, and "maybe now she wants to be the star of another one." Kelly (Paige and Brooke's mom) bursts out laughing and says, "Good luck on that one."
After rehearsal, Kim heads down to the studio to see how her daughter made out, and she tells her, "Just because you're competing against the old Chloe, doesn't mean that the new Chloe can't come in here and take over. You're gonna work hard and move up that pyramid, right? You're not gonna move down." Chloe N. says, "I think I got the better technique."
Meanwhile, Christi tells her daughter Chloe L.: "I don’t think you need to focus on this other person, I think you need to focus on yourself. You're the Chlo-bird, and there's only one of you and you're very unique… nobody is gonna to be you."
When Chloe N. and Kim arrive at the studio the next day, they present Abby with a gift: a skin brightening system (Kim works in a plastic surgeon's office). Abby says, "Oh yeah, she's staying, we’re good," but after they head into the studio, Abby says, "I don’t want to look like her though." Glamorosi Magazine does not condone or engage in body snarking or looks-ism, but as a recapper I feel compelled to mention that there have been several references in this episode to Kim's face, which may or may not have had a few procedures. We will not be discussing it further.
The team rehearses the group number; it's a period piece from the 1930s inspired by French cabaret, and Brooke is the featured dancer. During practice, Abby concentrates on making Chloe N. fit into the team, not a completely easy feat since the ALDC dancers have several years experience working as a unit. Surprisingly, Abby doesn't coddle Chloe N.; she is as critical of her as she would be of the other girls, and she admits that Chloe N. might not make the ALDC cut.
While this is going on, Holly (Nia's mom) and Jill (Kendall's mom) start to worry that with all of the time Abby is spending with Chloe N., that's she's not going to have time to choreograph their daughter's duet. Abby tells them she might get to it that night (it's two days before the competition), "and if I don't get to it, they're not doing a duet." Holly starts to protest, but Jill hustles her out of the studio, knowing that if they push Abby, she'll cut the duet right then and there.
When they get back to the mom loft, Kim asks, "Do you guys always go barge into class like that?" Holly corrects her with, "We didn't barge", but Kim goes on: "I think you should be a lot more grateful about having your daughter on this team and that you shouldn't take it for granted." Christi calmly replies, "Sit here in my spot for three years and have your daughter be treated the way my daughter is, and then you can tell me what you think." Kim says that her daughter does get yelled at at her regular studio, but Christi counters, "There's a difference between being yelled at and torn to shreds."
With one day to go until the competition, Chloe L. and Chloe N. are back in the studio rehearsing, and the moms are back in the loft. Kim gets a phone call from Jeremy Fullam, the owner of Studio One's Innovation Dance Company, Chloe N.'s former studio and team in Las Vegas. Kim conveniently has the call on speaker phone so we can all listen in. Jeremy asks Kim, "Why is it that I found out you were in Pittsburgh?" She responds, "I didn't know you needed to know." He tells her, "We're one of the highest ranked teams in the country; we would destroy Flabby Miller's kids." Is Abby Lee Miller a plus-sized woman? Yes. Is Jeff Fullam an ass for making that remark? Yes. We will not be discussing him further.
During the call, in response to a question, Kim says that at times, her daughter is dancing circles around the others girls. She also states that her daughter is there to "bring the team up." Oh my. I have no problem with Chloe N. – she's lovely – but Kim is delusional.
Finally, Abby begins to work on Nia and Kendall's duet. First, Abby is on the phone (she looks worried during the conversation), then she criticizes the girls for not picking up the choreography fast enough. Jill is starting to get fed up with the rehearsal, so she interrupts the practice and asks Abby how it's going. Abby tells her "horrible." A few minutes later, Abby tells Holly and Jill that she's pulling the number. Abby may just be pulling their leg, though – we'll have to see.
Competition day arrives. As the team prepares backstage, Abby reminds Chloe that it was at last year's On Stage America competition in Voorhees that her hat fell off on stage during a routine (season 3, episode 6), a mishap that led to Chloe and Christi quitting the ALDC, and then being suspended (season 3, episode 7). That may seem odd, chronologically, but not if you watch the show.
Abby chides Kim for not having a needle and thread, mandatory items for Dance Moms (on the show AND in the real world). Kim tells her, "I don't normally sew during a competition, but I'm very capable of doing that." It seems Kim isn’t used to getting her daughter ready in terms of sewing her hairpieces in, things like that – so Melissa steps up to help her, only to be ridiculed by Abby. Meanwhile, Christi thinks Melissa must have an ulterior motive for helping Kim. Hmm...
Nia and Kendall, who have only had 17 minutes of rehearsal with Abby, go first with their "Pieces Together" jazz duet. They wear purple leopard costumes and matching headbands. They do a really good job.
Chloe L. goes next with her "Seeing Red" contemporary routine, and naturally, she wears a pretty red costume. I like the choreography: it's interesting, and there's crab walking.
Chloe N. dances third with her lyrical solo, "The First Day". She wears a feminine white (or off white?) costume. As Chloe N. is executing a series of turns, her headpiece falls off. Deja Vu! Abby says, "That makes me look unprofessional, and that mom, a failure." Backstage, Kim insinuates that Melissa, who helped her, set her up. Hmm…
Then, Abby comes in and reads Kim the riot act: "Your kid had one chance, one opportunity to get on this team, because the kid that I saw onstage at Orlando perform, was amazing, she (would have) beat Maddie…. that kid that I just saw on stage was a hot mess, and that headpiece falling out at the end was just like the icing on the cake… I am very disappointed."
The ALDC takes the stage for their "Why Not Me" group number. They wear pink shorts, white bikini tops and feathered headpieces. The way it's filmed – with close-ups and shots that don't show their legs – it's hard for me to tell of the girls jelled as a team. Abby thinks there were a few missteps, "but for the most part, they looked gorgeous, and sometimes it's all about the look."
Kim takes a moment backstage to throw some shade: "Ladies, I just want you to know that my daughter was off today, it's probably because her choreography she's used to is a little more difficult than this. I don't even know if I want to be here now that I've seen what it's like slumming here with you ladies and slumming it in Pittsburgh. It may not be my style at all."
Then, Kim goes out in the hallway, and when Abby shows up and asks her what's wrong, she plays the victim. It doesn't take but a second for the Dance Moms to tell Abby that Kim thinks she's slumming it with the ALDC, and just as fast, Abby sets her straight: "Don't say you're 'slumming it', I have a pretty good record so far, sweetheart. I was offering your daughter the opportunity of a lifetime."
The awards ceremony begins. In the Junior Advanced Solo division, Chloe L. gets 4th place; Chloe N. gets 2nd place. In the Junior Advanced Duo Division, Nia and Kendall get 3rd place. In the Junior Advanced Small Group Division, the ALDC wins 1st Place.
After the awards are given out, Abby and the moms go backstage and have a meeting behind closed doors. Abby tells Kim if Chloe N. had won 1st place she'd be a shoo-in for a place on the team. Kim asks for another chance, but Abby isn't sure. When Abby yells about the duet coming in 4th, Holly reminds her that she only spent 17 minutes on the routine, but Abby says she only spends time on a child that warrants her attention. As Abby exits, Jill calls her a "miserable bitch."
Next week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 7, titled "Big Trouble in the Big Apple," we finally get to see the smack heard around the world: Abby and Kelly get into the physical altercation that led to their current court case and made international headlines.
So, Dance Moms fans, what do you think? Would you like to see more of Chloe N.'s dancing without it coming at Chloe L.'s expense? Did you like Kim? Do you think Melissa sabotaged Kim when she helped her with Chloe N.'s headpiece? Do you think Abby should make Chloe N. and Kim permanent members of the ALDC? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts on this episode.
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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014