|Christi and daughter Chloe leave the ALDC on Dance Moms season 4 finale|
Last week on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller and her Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) were in LA for Nationals (their biggest competition of the year), and Abby announced that she's opening a studio there. This week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 31 "Hollywood Here We Come, Part 2" (the season 4 finale), Abby considers pulling one of the assigned solos and having Maddie Ziegler compete instead; Abby's nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, has her Candy Apples team do a group routine that spoofs Maddie's acclaimed dance in Sia's "Chandelier" video; in a move many fans alternately hoped for and dreaded, Christi and Chloe Lukasiak leave the ALDC.
As Dance Moms S4 E31 opens, Abby and the ALDC are still in Los Angeles, CA, where they are preparing to compete in the In10sity Dance Nationals, their biggest competition of the year. Abby tells the girls, "This is it. All the work that you have put in up until this point has prepared you for Nationals." She also warns the Select Team and Kamryn that if they don't win, they're done with the ALDC.
For Nationals, the Elite Team will be doing a contemporary group number about kidnapping called "Amber Alert"; The Select Team will be doing a contemporary group number called "Hollywood Stars"; Kendall Vertes (Elite) will be doing a jazz solo called "My Name in Lights"; Chloe Lukasiak (Elite) will do a contemporary solo called "Soaring"; Kamryn Beck (Select) will do a solo called "This is the Start."
Maddie Ziegler wasn't assigned a solo because she was busy with an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (it aired in July of 2014; she taught him her dance from Sia's "Chandelier" video). Mackenzie Ziegler didn't get a solo because she's at the low end of her age division, so it would be hard to secure a win against her older, more experienced competitors. And, despite having her strongest season to date, Nia Frazier was not given a solo, also because Abby thinks the other girls have a better chance of winning.
Christi (Chloe's mom) is unhappy because two weeks ago, during Dance Moms S4 E29 45 Second Solos, she spoke to an Energy Dance competition judge who confirmed that Abby tried to get Chloe's win over Kamryn overturned. Christi says that to insure that Chloe doesn't beat her again, they've given her sub-standard choreography (it does, in fact, look less interesting than the other solos). Holly (Nia Frazier's mom) is unhappy because in all the years her daughter has been with the ALDC, she's never done a solo at Nationals. Jill (Kendall's mom) is unhappy because when the solos were assigned, they were all told Maddie wouldn't be doing a solo, but now she is learning one. When Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom) says she's happy for the three girls that have solos this week, Abby accuses her of "back-pedaling" and in being more concerned for her friendships that Maddie's future.
Abby puts the Select Team through their paces at rehearsal. In addition to the pressure of having to win at Nationals, Abby has told all of her girls that when she opens her studio in LA, she's only bringing her "stars" with her. There's a lot on the line.
Meanwhile, Abby's nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, owner of the Candy Apple's Dance Center (CADC), is also in LA with her team. In last week's episode (Dance Moms S4 E30 Hollywood Here We Come Part 1), Cathy challenged the ALDC to a dance-off (the ALDC took the group prize, CADC member McKenzie Morales was the solo winner). This week, she's preparing to shock Abby by having her team compete in Nationals with a spoof of Maddie's "Chandelier" dance. Cathy says, "I decided to use Sia's song 'Chandelier.' Abby thinks that it's Maddie's song; she's very territorial, and I know that that's probably going to rattle her and make her upset."
The Elite Team rehearses their "Amber Alert" routine. Abby adds Select Team member Sarah Reasons to the number to replace Sarah Hunt, who was dismissed last week. The team is behind learning the dance because Abby hasn't spent much time on it, so, because she needs "a sure thing" to win at Nationals, she tells Maddie to go rehearse her solo. Holly looks annoyed. Nia steps up and asks Abby, "Can we practice the group dance? Since, you know, the group dance comes first." I write this a lot because it's true: Nia rocks. Abby answers, "For a minute and forty-five seconds, Nia and Mackenzie have choreography with that chair [a prop in the number], so, until those two get their act together, Maddie should go do something else." Holly walks out, and in a talking head interview she says, "Shame on Melissa. She should be speaking up and saying, 'That's wrong.'"
Outside of the studio, all of the moms chide Melissa for not speaking up and telling Abby to pull Maddie's solo so the other girls get a chance to dance. Melissa storms off, bursts into the rehearsal space and hollers that she's sick of all of it, then leaves. Maddie just looks at Abby and shrugs.
While Kamryn rehearses her solo, the moms sit in a hallway and talk. Jill says she doesn't know where they stand, and Holly says it's the most fractured they've ever been. Abby walks up on them and starts in on Christi for checking her phone instead of paying attention to her. Christi says, "I am amazing, I can do two things at once. I can check a text and listen to you rant about stupid things."
Abby calls Chloe and Kendall in to rehearse. Christi states, "Watching Chloe rehearse her solo, it's apparent that she's not the same dancer she was," and she says that Abby has stolen Chloe's passion and joy for dance. After rehearsal, Christi tells Chloe: "That wasn't looking like you wanted to dance. It's gotta come from you, I can't keep giving you the same pep talk over and over, I can't make you want to dance."
In a talking head interview, Chloe admits, "I guess I'm in a really tough situation right now, because I don’t really think that Miss Abby's expecting me to beat Kamryn, and that's really hard to go into a dance competition with all this pressure on you and everyone working against you." Then we see Christi crying and saying that Chloe is beaten down and has given up on herself.
Finally, it's the day of Nationals. In the dressing room, Chloe and Christi apologize to each other for their argument, and Christi tells her to go out there and dance for herself and give the performance of a lifetime. It's very sweet.
When Jill informs Abby that the CADC is doing "Chandelier," she responds, "Oh my God, I'm gonna get sick to my stomach." Jill says, "Abby is livid… one thing you don’t do – it's mess with Maddie." Abby and Melissa go to the CADC dressing room and argue with Cathy. Cathy tells Abby that Sia can't stand her, but Abby is like, "Why would you say something like that? Where would you ever be that you overheard Sia?"
In order to get back at Cathy by beating her, Abby once again considers taking away one of the assigned solos and putting Maddie in instead (Cathy rarely has dancers who could beat her). Abby asks Maddie if she wants to do the Sia number and have the place go crazy. She lets Maddie decide, and the young dancer says "no." Holly says Maddie had to make that decision because Melissa "couldn't bring herself to do the right thing, and that's really sad."
The competition begins. Kendall dances first with her "My Name in Lights" jazz solo; she wears a pretty blue floral two-piece costume. She does a great job and looks confident. Chloe is next with her "Soar" contemporary solo; she wears a royal blue two-piece costume. She gives a beautiful performance, as always. Kamryn goes third with her "This is the Start" contemporary solo; she wears a two-piece costume and matching headpiece in red. Kamryn is a wonderful dancer and she starts strong, but unfortunately, she falls during her number. She bounces right out of it, but it looks like she hit hard. Backstage, Abby hugs her, and I'm happy that she does, but as Holly points out, if one of the Elite girls had fallen, there's no way they'd get a hug.
While the ALDC girls get ready for their group number, Brigette Triana (Lucas' mom, from Dance Moms Miami) stands outside of their dressing room and blasts "Chandelier." It's childish on her part, but funny when Maddie breaks into her famous dance.
The group numbers compete. The CADC goes first with their "Chandelier" contemporary routine. They wear different colored unitards; the girls' have cutouts. The kids are good, but Cathy is a jerk for using that music. The ALDC Select Team is next with their "Hollywood Stars" contemporary number; they wear pink, two-piece skirted costumes and matching headpieces. They do a nice job, but I notice they exit the stage out of step (even if the exit wasn't scored, my teacher would have had fits over this). The Elite Team dances last with their "Amber Alert" contemporary routine; they wear grey and white knee-length dresses. The character Mackenzie is playing is kidnapped and is killed at the end of the number.
The awards ceremony begins. In the Solo Division, Kendall gets 9th Place; Kamryn gets 6th Place and Chloe gets 5th Place. Chloe and Kamryn actually tie at 278.4 points each, but Chloe has the higher technique score so she gets the higher award. Abby says, "I cannot believe that Chloe actually beat Kamryn again, I don’t know how she pulled it off, I really don’t." In the Group Division, the CADC is awarded 5th Place; the ALDC Select Teams is named as 2nd Place; the ALDC Elite Team wins 1st Place for the 4th year in a row.
When Abby finds out that Kendall is disappointed at where she placed and is crying in the dressing room, she stops the moms in the hallway and reads Jill the riot act. Christi defends Jill and Kendall, and wonders why it was okay for Kamryn to cry backstage (when she fell), but not Kendall? Abby says the moms are jealous of Kamryn, and then points at Christi and says, "Your kid doesn't have the technique; she does [she points at Kamryn's mom when she says this]."
Christi follows Abby down the hall and yells, "You know what Abby? That's on you, you're her technique teacher. " Abby spins around, but before she can get a word out, Christi shouts, "Go ahead, say awful things about my daughter." Then, Christi continues, "Those five kids in there put your fat name on the map… You were no-one before these kids… You think putting a few kids on Broadway makes you someone? Guess who made you a household name? Them."
While Abby is walking out she barks, "Chloe is finished. Your kid's washed up." Christi follows behind her and roars, "How dare you? Do you know anything about that kid? No!"
Back in the dressing room, Christi cries, because Abby doesn't support Chloe (and it's not that Abby wanted Kamryn to win, so much as she wanted Chloe to lose), and because they've dealt with so much over the years that they've been with the ALDC. In a talking head interview, Christi states, "This isn't about dance, this is about human decency, and how low can you go. I don’t think anybody is lower than Abby."
When the kids enter the dressing room, the moms shift gears and give them a big, happy, welcome and congratulate them for their wins. When Christi hugs Chloe she asks, "Are you alright?" and Chloe responds, "I heard Abby." Christi hugs Chloe, and they both cry.
The action cuts back to Christi's interview and she says, "As a mom, I can't sit by and watch this woman destroy my child anymore. She can't steal her passion, she can't steal her self-confidence. My line's been crossed. Dance isn't worth it. It's really sad that Chloe was part of the winning group dance, and she had the highest-scoring ALDC solo, and this is how her National ends."
As Christi and Chloe exit the building, the Select team meets with Abby. "Wow, tumultuous ending," she remarks. "The Select Team did its job, yes, you pushed the Junior Elite Competition Team to the next level, and now, today, after that victory on stage it's clear; they pushed you right out the door. Goodbye." In an interview Abby says, "My decision to disband the Select Team was not in anger. They did what I wanted them to do. They pushed the right buttons." Next, Abby addresses the Elite Team. "Who do I take to LA? Figure out what you want because I have to figure out what I want, and I only want the girls that want this. I can make you a star, or I can cut you."
As the season 4 finale winds down, Chloe is sobbing in the parking lot. She offers, "I still want to dance, I still want to do this, but I don’t want to do it with her anymore." We see Abby hugging the girls from the Elite Team, while in an interview Chloe says, "My favorite part about dancing with the girls is that even if we lost or won, we were always a team and we always worked together. We were just always there for each other and we know how it felt."
The final shot of the episode shows Christi and Chloe walking away. Are they gone for good? Time will tell. I'd be sad to watch a Dance Moms episode without Chloe, but thrilled to see her happy and thriving at a new studio.
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Next week's Dance Moms episode is a season 4 reunion show.
Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2014