|Christi Lukasiak and Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni from Dance Moms|
Dance Moms season 4, episode 8 titled "Wingman Down" shows the members of the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) dealing with the aftermath of the physical fight between studio owner Abby Lee Miller and mom Kelly Hyland. The show begins with Abby revealing that Brooke and Paige Hyland are no longer part of the ALDC, and ends with Abby announcing that Kelly has been arrested. Christi Lukasiak (Chloe's mom), who is Kelly's best friend on the show, thinks that Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom) is at fault for what happened, so she isolates herself from the team.
Last week, viewers saw a fight between Abby and Kelly come to blows when Abby jumped up and advanced toward Kelly while making chomping motions, which resulted in Kelly smacking Abby's face and grabbing her hair. This week, as Dance Moms S4 E8 "Wingman Down" opens, Abby is at the reception desk in her Pittsburgh, PA studio telling her staff that she wants a letter written to Kelly to inform her that she is no longer a member of the Abby Lee Dance Company's Elite Competition Team, and that she is not allowed on the premises. Abby says, "Kelly's gone, she's out, she's history."
New Dance Moms cast members Kira Girard and her daughter Kalani Hilliker arrive and receive a warm welcome from Abby. Kalani was Abby's favorite contestant on season 2 of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition; she was in tears when Kalani was eliminated, and then surprised viewers by bringing Kalani back to the show the following week. Kira joins the other moms who are waiting for class to begin, and they pepper her with questions. Holly (Nia's mom) wants to know, "Did Abby ask you to join us this week?" and Jill (Kendall's mom) wonders, "For how long?"
Abby reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the members of the ALDC. The pyramid is based on their scores at the previous week's competition, but the results are often colored by ego and personality clashes. This week's pyramid from the bottom up:
Brooke and Paige: They are "no longer members of the Abby Lee Dance Company."
Nia: "You made a mistake in the group routine."
Chloe: Did a duet with Maddie, but didn't win.
Kendall: Jill kept her "mouth shut" and "didn’t cause any trouble."
Mackenzie: She "better watch out" because a lot of talented kids are auditioning.
Maddie: "Another successful competition."
Kalani: "Welcome to the Abby Lee Dance Company; that's the way to do it, show up and win."
Abby assigns the girls their routines for this week's road trip; the ALDC will be traveling to Woodbridge, VA to compete in the FIERCE National Dance Competition. The group will do a musical theater number called "Yum Yum"; Chloe and Maddie will do a duet called "Confession," (although Christi isn't sure Chloe can trust Maddie after last week's surprise duet with Kalani); Kendall and Kalani will do a duet called "Framed"; Nia will do a contemporary solo called "Down to the River." Abby says that Nia's solo is a reward for her mom Holly stepping in and taking charge when the fight broke out – it was Holly who got the kids out of the room. Holly is happy about Nia's solo, but nervous because it gives Abby an opportunity to look for flaws.
As usual, the moms hang out in their loft and gossip while the girls rehearse. When Melissa observes that Abby's in a good mood, Jill says she thinks Abby is happy that Kelly, Brooke and Paige are gone from the ALDC, and that "it was an ugly way to get there, but she got what she wanted." Christi says that "Abby always gets what she wants." Kira asks if both of them – Abby AND Kelly – are happier now, and Christi answers, "Nope, you have no idea what's going on." Christi's answer may be based on the fact that unbeknownst to the rest of the team, Abby had Kelly arrested.
Christi is, of course, very pretty, but this week she looks drained; I think recent events are weighing heavily on her. It's not surprising then, that when Melissa invites everyone to her house for wine and cheese and to "initiate" Kira, Christi declines the invitation. This leads to an argument between Christi and Melissa. Christi says, "If Melissa hadn't lied about Kalani's secret duet with Maddie (one of the incidents that led to the Abby vs. Kelly fight), none of this would have happened," and she tells Melissa, "You're a f-----g liar." From what we were shown last week, it's hard to know what Melissa knew, and when she knew it, but as Christi points out, "Maddie's hair magically got in a bun, and her costume magically appeared." Holly has this to say about Melissa: "She's going to be your friend up to a certain point, but if Abby tells her to do something, you're friendship does not mean as much to her as her relationship with Abby."
Later, the moms meet at Melissa's house and discuss Christi, saying that she always had Kelly by her side, and they had their hatred of Abby in common. The main thing that comes of the get-together is that they all want to put last week behind them, and Jill says Christi is either part of the group, or she's not. It's strange how instead of understanding how upset Christi is – she and Kelly were each other's "wingman" – they just seem annoyed with her.
With two days to go until the competition, everyone is rehearsing except Nia; Abby hasn't had time to work on her solo yet. While the rest of her ALDC teammates are dancing, Maddie's little sister Mackenzie is taking singing lessons. Abby is excited about launching Mackenzie's pop star career – she's calling her "Mac Z" (her last name is Ziegler) and has her flying out to LA to record two songs – but she's not very happy with the rehearsal, and Mac looks very sad.
When Chloe and Maddie practice their "Confessions" lyrical routine, Abby says the lyrics, which include phrases about one girl telling another, "I should have told you things… instead of keeping the secrets" are about Chloe confessing to Maddie. If you were surprised by Abby's interpretation of the lyrics, please go back to Dance Moms season 1, episode 1, and start over.
Kalani and Kendall practice, and although Abby acknowledges that Kendall is younger than Kalani, she also thinks it's her opportunity to step up and dance at a higher level. Jill says, "This duet is different, it's quirky. I'm very worried, here Abby has given Kendall this opportunity; I can't have Kendall screw it up." Meanwhile, Kira tells Kalani, "If Kendall sinks, she sinks, but you can't let her pull you down… Paige and Brooke are gone, so it's your turn to get on this team and stay, you got it?"
Finally, Abby has time to rehearse with Nia, but it doesn't go well: first Abby yells, "Face! I don't see Maddie!" (Abby loves Maddie's facial expressions), and then a few minutes later she gets frustrated and shouts, "I'm finished, I'm done, I can't deal with it," and walks out on Nia. It's awful, but Holly turns it into a teachable moment and tells Nia, who is crying, "You have to block out all the negativity… what type of dance do you visualize yourself being?" When Nia answers that she sees herself as a "great dancer," Holly tells her, "I don’t care what Abby says, if it doesn't reflect your vision of who you are a dancer, don't let it get stuck in your brain."
Holly asks Christi, "How are you feeling today?" and she answers, "It is what it is." Christi tells the camera, "Kelly, Paige and Brooke are gone, and this time, it's not going to go back to the way it was." Jill asks about Kelly, "Does she want to come back? She didn't go to jail, did she?" Christi tells them it's not her business to say, but in a voiceover she says if they really want to know, they should "pick up the phone and call her like a real friend."
In the dressing room at the FIERCE competition, there is an odd scene in which Christi fixes a piece of Nia's headwrap that is hanging down. I use the word "odd" because it seems like Christi swoops in from quite a ways to do it, and also because Holly seems unconcerned about it, which is strange since everyone knows that Abby expects all headpieces to stay on, and if they don't, there will be hell to pay. It could just be how the scene is edited.
The competition begins, and Kalani and Kendall go first with their "Framed" contemporary duet. They wear grey, black and plum costumes, and they use a big picture frame as a prop. They look good together, and Kendall does not "sink."
Chloe and Maddie are next with their "Confessions" lyrical duet. They wear understated, skirted costumes in dusty lilac.They do well, of course – their duets have always been fabulous – but afterward it looks like Chloe wants to say something to Maddie, but she doesn't. I'm so sad for these girls.
Nia does her "Down to the River" contemporary solo in a flowing chiffon costume and the aforementioned headwrap. She dances beautifully, but when she's going into her ending pose, her headwrap slides backwards, and she is distraught. A furious Abby enters the dressing room and blames Christi for the wardrobe malfunction, warning her, "If you, so help me God, ever put your hands on another kid again and fix them, you're finished."
I'm not shocked that Abby blames Christi, and neither is she because as she puts it, "with Kelly being gone, clearly I am her number one target. For her to even suggest that I would sabotage Nia's headpiece is ridiculous." She does apologize to Nia, though. I did expect Holly to step up and take some or all of the blame for the mishap, but she doesn't. Holly does, however, express regret that after isolating herself from the team all week, the one time Christi joins in it becomes "a disaster." Unfortunately, we may not see another solo from Nia for a while because Abby tells Holly, "I don’t want to continue to put this pressure on Nia. Maybe the solos aren’t her thing." Holly protests, but Abby shouts over her.
The ALDC does their "Yum Yum" musical theater style group routine wearing black and hot pink two-piece costumes with matching pillbox hats. There is a lot going on in this choreography, but it's cute, and Abby thinks the performance was "pretty darn good."
The awards ceremony begins. The FIERCE set-up has all of the dancers in an age division judged together, so instead of solos, duos, trios and groups having separate awards, they compete en masse. Abby says that's okay, "as long as the overall high-score winning number came from the ALDC." Chloe and Maddie tie with another contestant for 2nd Place, and the ALDC group takes 1st Place.
Backstage, Abby says Kalani "shined," and confirms that she'll be staying on the ALDC team for another week. In an interview, Abby says that "Kira has been an absolute angel this week… the complete opposite of Kelly." Then, Abby calls Kira aside and whispers, "What did the moms say about Kelly?" All Kira reports is that they miss Kelly, but this prompts Abby to make an announcement: "Just so all the moms know exactly what happened, Kelly was arrested, that's the truth, so if you miss someone like that you might think about going, because I saw a whole bunch of kids in New York City that want to be on this team."
Based on the lawsuits filed by both Abby and Kelly, I don't expect the Hylands to continue as members of the ALDC, but next week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 9 titled "Nothing's Fair in Abbyville," Kelly is back, at least briefly, because we see Jill asking her "What are the charges against you?" and Kelly answering, "I'm really not allowed to discuss it." Christi and Abby remain at odds too: during a bus trip they argue and Christi yells, "You did a good job getting rid of Kelly!" and, "At least I didn’t lie to police!" Meanwhile, Abby promises the winner of an improvised dance-off a starring role, but goes back on her word when she doesn't like who wins.
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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014