'Dance Moms' Recap S4, E21: "Double the Moms, Double the Trouble"

Abby Lee Miller, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime TV
Abby Lee Miller, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime

When we last saw the cast of Dance Moms on the season 4 midseason finale (original airdate April 15, 2014), studio owner Abby Lee Miller brought in a "Select Team" to compete against her Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) regulars, aka her "Elite Team", and she moved her favorite student, Maddie Ziegler, to the new group. Now, on Dance Moms season 4, episode 21, "Double the Moms, Double the Trouble," Maddie's back on the Elite Team (Kalani Hilliker is no longer with the ALDC), and Abby deals with "double the mothers, double the problems, double the drama," including a fistfight between new moms Tami and Christy.

After the Dance Moms season 4 midseason finale aired (if you need a refresher, read our recap for Dance Moms S4 E16: Presenting My New Team), it was a busy hiatus for the ALDC: Maddie Ziegler starred in a wildly successful music video for Sia's hit song, "Chandelier";  Abby filmed her new Lifetime series, Abby's Studio Rescue; cast members including Chloe Lukasiak made appearances at meet-and-greets. But, when the Dance Moms cameras are rolling, it's business as usual in the Pittsburgh, PA studio, and this includes the often funny, often sarcastic observations from Christi Lukasiak (Chloe's mom). This time she has a list of nicknames for the new moms:  Jodi (Kamryn's mom) is "Dudmuffin"; Loree (Jade's mom) is "Boring Loree"; Tracey (Sarah R's mom) is "Frumplestiltskin"; Jeanette (Ava's mom) is "Count Stalkula"; Tami (Tea's mom) is "Whatserface"; Christy with a "Y" (Sarah H's mom), who often references the bible, is ChrÄ«st-y, prounced with a long "i".

Christy's daughter Sarah H was cut from the last group dance because Christy called Abby a liar, and she doesn't hold back during this episode either – she jumps right in and reminds Abby that she's a paying customer. In an interview, Christy says her goal is to get Sarah H on the Elite Team and prove to Abby that she can be the next Maddie.

Abby reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the dancers of the ALDC. From the bottom up:
Kendall: her duo with Kalani was beaten by two of the new girls.
Nia: Abby is unhappy with Nia's follow-through on corrections.
Mackenzie: her chart-topping "Girl Party" song and video took time away from her dancing.
Maddie: because she didn't want to dance with the new team.
Chloe: is at the top because she did an "Outstanding job with her solo."

They briefly discuss Kalani Hilliker's absence: Abby says it due to the fact that Kira (Kalani's mother) chose her boyfriend over her daughter; Jill (Kendall's mom) says it was because Kira was unhappy that Sarah R beat Kalani at the last competition (Jill opines, "Kira blew a great opportunity for her daughter; once that door closes, it never opens back up"); we think it could also be due to stalled or failed contract negotioations.

This week both ALDC teams will be traveling to the Sheer Talent competition in Wheeling, West Virginia. The Elite Team will have two spots: the group will do a contemporary routine called "Light as a Feather; Stiff as a Board"; Mackenzie will do an acro-jazz routine called "Watch Me Fly". The Select Team will also have two spots: the group will do a contemporary routine called "The Rapture"; Sarah H will do a contemporary solo called "Scary Little Monster."

While the girls rehearse, the Elite and Select moms exchange words in the Mom Loft when Christy stirs the pot by mentioning the latest scoring controversy: at the last competition, Chloe beat Kamryn, and depending on you who ask, Abby either questioned the judges about it for clarification, or to sabotage Chloe. In this argument, Christy is Team Christi. The Select moms leave, and the Elite moms take their seats in the loft.

After rehearsal, the Select Moms gather around the reception desk and question Abby about why she let Christy and Sarah H back on the team. Abby is impressed with Sarah H's dancing, but Tami (Tea's mom) says that if Abby dismisses Christy and Sarah H again, Tea knows Sarah H's solo and can take her place.

Christy is outside the door and hears all of this, and confronts the moms. A loud argument begins, Christy tosses something toward the moms – paper? – and then Tami barrels through all the moms – pulling hair as she goes – and starts throwing punches at Christy. A production crew guy pulls them apart while Abby tapes the fight with her phone.  Abby sends all of the moms except Christy on a time-out and tells them to go sit in their cars, and then warns Christy that she has to apologize or her daughter's solo will be cut. Christy heads out to the parking lot and insists that Tami says she's sorry first. Tami extends her hand and apologizes, and Christy doers the same.

Both teams' moms gather in the studio to observe rehearsal, and it dawns on the Elite moms that it's not a level playing field because the Select Team has a few teenagers who have several years' experience on the Elite Team. Jill points out, "Our kids will be good when they're 15 too," but for now, because Select Team also has two younger girls (one 8, one 9), they get to compete in the same age group as the Elite Team. Holly (Nia's mom) says, "Abby's doing everything in her power to set it up for the other team to win."

Both teams arrive in Wheeling, WV, and as they get ready to perform, Abby mentions that the last time they competed at Sheer Talent there was an "incident with Kelly" (she is speaking of former ALDC member Kelly Hyland - they had a now-famous physical fight that led to lawsuits). Jill remarks, "I think we already had an incident, and they're still here." Then she tells Tami and Christy that Abby "can't suspend her two youngest members of your team because you have all teenagers. You couldn't compete against us. If Abby didn't need you guys right now you'd be gone." Abby intervenes and says it's her team, her rules, but as Holly observes, it is odd that the Select moms had a full-out brawl and Abby just turned the other cheek like she didn't see it. For Holly, it's clear that Abby wants the Select team to win.

The girls get dressed for the competition. Sarah H wears a silver and black two-piece costume; Mackenzie wears an orange one-piece bird-like costume with a matching fascinator and elaborate makeup. When Christy points out the disparity, Abby tells her, "You are relentless." Abby calls Christy a "handful and an earful," but she's tolerating her because Sarah H has potential and Abby's hoping she'll be part of the team. Mackenzie dances first, and is adorable as always. Sarah H goes next, and Abby is correct: she is a talented dancer – she looks like a younger Maddie, and she has good facial expressions.

There is more costume drama when the Select Team changes into beautiful beige and rhinestone dresses. Holly is all, "You gotta be kidding me," and she comments that the flower in the Select girls' headpieces cost more than the $10 pajamas the Elite team is wearing. Then, while the Elite girls are running their routine, Chloe takes a spill. She's not injured, but she's a little freaked out and starts to cry. Mom Christi gives her a pep talk, and soon Chloe is smiling again. The two teams compete with their group dances. The Select Team does seem to out-dance the Elite Team because of their age difference.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Overall Solo competition, Sarah H takes 4th Place; Mackenzie wins 1st Place. In the Preteen Group Division, the Elite Team gets 2nd Place; the Select Team wins 1st Place. Christi says she's sad for the girls because they don't realize they were set up to fail.

Backstage, both sets of moms congratulate each other, but the conversation devolves into a shouting match and the Elite Moms leave the room. As they're heading out with their girls, who are in tears, Abby steps out of the elevator. She tells them "life's not fair" and calls them "sore losers." Holly says the girls deserve better. Abby tells the camera her instinct is to bench the Elite Team because the girls aren't behaving properly (it's really not cool to cry when you lose). As Abby gets back on the elevator to leave she says, "I'm not getting paid to stand out here and argue with you." The episode ends with a shot of Maddie crying.


Next week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 22 titled "Kiss or Get Off the Pot," the Elite Team competes against Cathy Nesbitt-Stein's Candy Apples team, and Abby brings in former Candy Apple Gino to dance a duet with Maddie. Apparently, Gino kisses Maddie as part of their performance.

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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo courtesy of Lifetime

Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2014