'Dance Moms' Recap S4 E22, Kiss or Get Off the Pot: Maddie and Gino Duet

Gino Cosculluela and Maddie Ziegler on Lifetime's Dance Moms
Gino Cosculluela and Maddie Ziegler on Lifetime's Dance Moms

Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller had two Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) teams compete head-to-head. The new Select Team beat the original Elite Team, but was it fair? The Select girls were older with more training and experience, better choreography and prettier costumes. This week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 22 titled "Kiss or Get Off the Pot," the Elite Team works to get back on top, and to do it, they'll compete against Abby's nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, and her Candy Apples team. For that showdown, Abby pairs her star dancer, Maddie Ziegler, with former Candy Apple Gino Cosculluela. During their duet, Maddie will get her first kiss.

As Dance Moms S4 E22 "Kiss or Get Off the Pot" opens, Abby says she let the "Select Team" (her new girls) stay home for the week because they won the last competition. So, on this episode, we have the "Elite Team" (the original ALDC girls) plus one new girl, 8-year-old Sarah H, along with her mother, Christy with a "y". Everyone on the team pronounces her name Christ-y, with a long "i" so as not to confuse her with Chloe Lukasiak's mom, Christi with an "i". Sarah H is a cutie pie and a good little dancer – Abby likes her – but this is just a trial because Christy is combative with everyone, including Abby.

Abby chastises the Elite Team, not for coming in second, but for their attitude after the competition: they cried. I know Abby is hard on these girls and their moms, but I agree that it's poor form to cry when you lose. However, I also agree with Jill (Kendall's mom) that maybe they were in tears because they felt let down by Abby (they feel like she set them up to lose – read about it in my Dance Moms S4 E21 recap), and I don't think the ALDC dancelings are sore losers.

Abby reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the ALDC. It is usually based on the previous week's competition, although sometimes other factors like ego and favoritism color the results. Here's how this week's pyramid looked from the bottom up:
Chloe: Abby was unhappy with her turns in the group dance.
Maddie: As the team leader, she sets the tone for the group.
Kendall: did a good job, but Abby was also unhappy with her turns.
Nia: Abby wants her to work harder on flexibility.
Mackenzie: was dancing for Abby and not the judges.
Sarah H: is at the top because she was in the winning group.

Abby announces that this week the ALDC will be traveling to Cleveland, Ohio for the In10sity Dance Competition, and with that comes an eye roll because everyone knows who's in Ohio: Abby's nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, and her Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC). There is a long-standing rivalry between the studio owners, and Cathy often employs underhanded tactics in her attempts to beat Abby.

The ALDC group dance will be a contemporary ballet number called "Broken Dolls" because that's how Abby sees them; Maddie (her sister is teammate Mackenzie and her mom is Melissa) and former Candy Apple Gino Cosculluela (his dad is Mickey) will do a musical theater duet called "That Girl Has Gotta Be Kissed" - it  was inspired by the partner work Abby witnessed when she was a guest judge on Dancing with the Stars. Christi quips, "For once, I think I'm excited about what Cathy might have to say."

As usual, while the girls rehearse, the adults hang in the Mom Loft and gossip, and a minor argument ensues when Christy says she thinks the Elite Team was too upset by their loss to the Select Team. As the rehearsal progresses, it appears Sarah H isn't dancing at the level of the rest of the team, and Abby goes to the Loft to tell Christy. To deflect the negative attention, Christy tells Abby that the other moms are going into the competition expecting to lose.

Gino and Maddie rehearse, and Maddie has issues with the kiss that Abby has choreographed into the number. "I shouldn't have my first kiss like this," says Maddie, adding that it's especially awkward because Gino likes her. When they finally kiss, Maddie runs out of the studio and everyone, including her, laughs. Up in the Mom Loft, Mickey makes it clear he wants Gino on the Elite Team, and Christy gets defensive and tells him that spot belongs to Sarah H.

Meanwhile, in Canton, Ohio, Cathy is getting the CADC ready for In10sity Dance. She tells her students that two of their teammates aren't there: Nick is in Spain, and Zach is busy with extra-curricular dance activities. Then, Cathy introduces this week's choreographer, John Culbertson (Mr. Dance of America, previously seen on Dance Moms S3, E14), who just so happens to be good friends with Abby. Cathy cannot wait for Abby to find out.

The CADC Group Dance will be a contemporary number called "Conspiracy," and Cathy brought in two new dancers, Alyssa (mom is Meredith) and Evan (mom is Vida), to do a lyrical duet called "Stars Align," which Cathy says is a tribute to Abby's appearance as a guest judge on Dancing with the Stars. Hmmm. The group number looks cool in rehearsals, but the duo has an issue with wobbling in their lift. Did you catch that quick shot of Cathy's daughter Vivi-Anne watching the rehearsal? She's growing up so fast.

On competition day, Abby reads the program and discovers that John is working with Cathy. They meet up and Abby warns him, "If you value our friendship just walk away." Abby tells the camera that she's livid, and that John should never cross her path again.

Alyssa and Evan compete first with their "Stars Align" duet: Alyssa wears a white chiffon costume with a cut-out midriff and sheer skirt; Evan wears white button-down shirt and grey shorts. They are both beautiful, fluid dancers. Next, Maddie and Gino perform their "That Girl Has Gotta Be Kissed" duet: Maddie wears a black halter-neck costume with hot pink accents; Gino wears black shirt and pants with a bright pink tie. They are entertaining, but they are cute while the other duet was sophisticated; it could go either way.

The CADC group does their "Conspiracy" number; they wear blue military-style jackets and black bottoms. The choreography is cool, modern, and well-executed. The ALDC "Broken Dolls" group dance is next; they wear doll-like makeup and petal pink costumes with wide, stiff tutus. During the routine, Chloe slips and her feet come out from under her – she falls hard on her tush (I once fell just like that during a tap routine and broke my tailbone). It's painful to see see her fall, but the rest of her dancing is wonderful.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Elite Duo and Trio Division, Maddie and Gino take 2nd place; Alyssa and Evan win 1st Place. In the Elite Junior Small Groups Division, the CADC gets 2nd Place; the ALDC wins 1st Place.

Both teams return to their get-ready rooms. Cathy trash-talks the ALDC in front of her students. Abby talks to Chloe about her fall, but it appears to be out of concern, not anger. Abby tells Christy that "working with Sarah this week took a little extra energy." The ALDC dressing room seems surprisingly drama-free this week, but then Jill tells the camera, "Maddie lost, and that's all that matters to Abby." Right after that, Abby dismisses Gino and Mickey. Christy gloats that Abby has "seen the light," and the rest of the moms jump in to defend Gino. Christy thinks Abby is on her side, but really, it goes back to what Jill said: Maddie lost with Gino, so Abby is done with him for now.

Out in the hallway, Cathy tries to pump the ALDC moms for dirt about Gino, but all they say is that he was just a guest for the week, and that if she wants more info she should talk to Abby.


Next week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 23 titled "3 Soloists, One Star," Maddie is away filming a guest spot on "Ellen," so Abby strives to determine which of her remaining dancers can win at their upcoming competition. When Chloe, Nia and Kendall are assigned solos, Christy's jealousy jeopardizes her daughter Sarah H's place on the team.

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

Posted on Wednesday, August 6, 2014