|Dance Moms Recap S5 E5 "Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby": ALDC Moves to LA|
Previously on Dance Moms, as the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) prepared to move to Los Angeles, dance coach/ talent manager Abby Lee Miller emphasized that the moms shouldn't book gigs without her; the moms wanted assurance that Abby would promote all of the girls, not just her favorites. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 5 "Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby" the ALDC moves to LA, but Abby is stressed out and emotional and abandons the team. When Abby IS present, she criticizes Nia Frazier in front of casting directors, which leads to Holly Frazier going around Abby to get daughter Nia work. Meanwhile, the team doesn't get a warm welcome from their LA competitors who want to "make Abby cry" and "squash" the ALDC.
As Dance Moms S5 E5 "Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby" opens, the ALDC – including JoJo Siwa, who was dismissed from the team last week (if you missed it read my Dance Moms S5 E4 recap) – reports for rehearsal in Los Angeles. Abby says, "This city is all about stars, and I make stars." Holly (Nia Frazier's mom) is thrilled to be there, but also skeptical because over the last two weeks, "Abby has not had Nia's best interests at heart." Still, she says she's chosen to trust Abby and hopes she won't be disappointed.
Abby is still building her permanent studio, so for now, the ALDC is in a rented space. Abby expected it to be a private situation and is dismayed to discover that dance teacher Tiffany is there rehearsing with her students known as The Rage Dance Company. Even in rehearsal they are fierce, and this seems to freak Abby out.
Jill (Kendall Vertes' mom) sees this as a sign that Abby is intimidated and says, "She had to know there are gonna be other dancers in LA. What is she afraid of?" Holly adds, "It makes no sense to come all the way out to LA and stand in a parking lot." The moms go into the studio and meet the other team, but Abby stays in her car and eats Sour Patch Kids.
From her car, Abby calls the moms in the studio and says "I just don’t feel comfortable working in there. That's just not going to work, so I think it's best that I find another space for us to work in." Abby does have one bit of good news, though: "We have an audition for all of the girls for tomorrow morning. It's going to be fun."
Even Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler's mom), who is rarely critical of Abby, is shocked and wonders aloud, "Abby what's going on with you?" Kira (Kalani Hilliker's mom) points out, "In a couple of days we are up against some of the best dancers in the country and we have no dance and no dance teacher. We are in big trouble."
Meanwhile, we see Erin Babbs at the Murietta Dance Studio, where she is rehearsing with her students known as The Murietta Dance Project (MDP). Fans of the show will remember Erin from Dance Moms S4 E11 in which she worked as a choreographer for Cathy Nesbitt-Stein (who wound up getting intimidated by the ALDC and pulling her Candy Apple Dance Center's group routine from the competition). Erin thinks Abby is unaware of how hard the competition is going to be in LA and is in "a little bit over her head." She tells her students that Abby makes everyone cry, and this is their chance to make Abby cry. To that end, Erin assigns dancer Talia Seitel a contemporary solo called "Letting Go." Erin calls Talia "one of my more consistent dancers," and she IS very good – her moves are crisp, yet graceful.
The next day, Gianna "Gia" Martello (Abby's assistant choreographer) arrives to direct the ALDC; she says Abby is "running around doing things." She gives the girls sides (pages from the script) for their auditions with John Barba (they are reading for the part of Ellie), then she assigns the competition routines: Maddie will be doing a contemporary solo called "All God's Creatures"; the group will do a lyrical routine called "I'd Rather Be." Gia reports that according to Abby's instructions, JoJo is not in the group dance, so she'll be learning the number as a swing (alternate).
The moms are perplexed that the team isn't doing something more hard-hitting, especially after seeing the Rage rehearsal, but Gia says they need to show LA what they do best. Melissa thinks Gia looks nervous, and Holly says it's because she know that they're right, but she has to back her boss.
The moms call Abby to see what's up. Kira asks if she's coming, but Abby says, "Actually, there's some stuff happening at home, so I might have to fly out tonight on the red eye… I have to just do what’s best for me, you know?" When Kira asks if there's anything they can do to help, Abby responds, "I wish." The moms don’t think anything is happening at all, they all agree that Abby is running away. Jill opines, "I think Abby's on the verge of some sort of breakdown. She doesn't know what to do with herself and she doesn't know how to handle LA. It's ridiculous."
The ALDC girls go to their audition with John Barba at Envision Studios. When they get there, they hear Abby yelling – she's arguing with someone over a parking spot. Afterward, Holly asks Abby if she has any "words of wisdom" for the girls heading into the audition, but Abby looks confused and says, "No." Holly calls her "Absolutely disgraceful."
The girls meet with casting directors John Barba and Lisa Fields. Kendall is adorable when she giggles after flubbing the word "anatomy," and Lisa is impressed with Kalani and Maddie's readings. When Nia gives a wonderful, albeit different reading of the part, Abby talks her down to the casting directors. She is disdainful of the fact that Nia took the character in a different direction, but John says, "Sometimes it's those choices that actually get the job."
Of course, Holly is livid and tells the camera, "I want Nia to be successful, I want her to achieve her dream of becoming a star, but at what cost? I'm not a puppet, I'm not gonna be a 'yes' person, but I'm sure not gonna stand here and let you say these horrendous things about any of these kids, it's wrong." Once they get outside of the audition, Holly confronts Abby and says, "What you just did was foul Abby, it's foul." An argument follows, and Abby accuses Nia of being a Holly "mini-me," but seriously, Holly rocks and so does Nia, so I agree when Holly sees that as a compliment.
Not surprisingly, none of the other moms have Holly's back with Abby. Melissa thanks Abby for the opportunity, then JoJo changes the subject when she asks, "Abby are you going to be at the competition tomorrow?" Abby responds with a grimace and says, "I don't know." JoJo asks if they'll still be competing (this week it's an Energy Dance event) and Abby tells her, "No, you're not in the group."
After Abby leaves, the moms resume talking, but Holly isn’t having it because when she confronted Abby about the audition, no-one stepped up to agree with her. "We all know what she did was wrong, and we stood there and said nothing as a team, so whatever you got out of it… hope it keeps you warm at night." She tells them they failed their daughters because they're afraid of Abby.
Finally, it's the day of the ALDC's first competition since they moved to LA. Instead of arriving to their usual cheering, adoring fans, they hear competitors asking where Abby is and see them carrying signs that read, "Squash ALDC."
Abby shows up at the competition with her hair a mess (I'm sorry Abby, I'm not into looksism, but since your hair is normally fabulous, your disheveled look is notable). At first she seems close to tears, and then she seems defiant. I've don't know Abby, but to me it seems like she's exhausted.
JoJo approaches Abby and asks, "How are we wearing our hair for the group?" When Gia asks, "Didn’t she tell you that you weren't in it?," JoJo answers that she wants to be ready, just in case. While this may come off as pushy to some people, I think JoJo is doing the right thing because if a last-minute chance to perform did arise and she wasn't prepared, she'd be in big trouble with Abby. JoJo did learn the routine as an alternate; the understudy does get dressed for the show.
Then, Erin Babbs and the MDP moms show up in the ALDC dressing room to welcome the team to the West Coast. Erin says "Hi, Abby," then whispers to her friend, "She's ignoring me." When Erin's friend says, "hi," Abby deadpans, "Send a fruit basket." Later in the episode, Erin actually does show up with a basket, and Abby promptly drop-places it on the floor causing some of the fruit to scatter.
The competition begins. Talia goes first with her contemporary "Letting Go" solo; she wears a red two-piece costume with a long train and she has a chair for a prop. She gives a lovely performance with lots of turns. Maddie goes next with her "All God's Creatures" contemporary solo; she wears a crocheted head scarf and a tattered sweater and skirt (her character is supposed to be homeless). Maddie's choreography is fantastic: she does a side aerial coming out of a kneeling position that blows my mind – she makes it look easy, but it takes an incredible amount of physical strength.
The team prepares for their group number. Holly doesn't understand why Jessalynn is dressing JoJo for the group routine and says, "Nothing about this is a good idea, this will definitely push Abby over the edge." When JoJo reaches for a costume Abby snaps, "you are not in this dance," and says her attempt to take a costume makes her a "greedy little monster." Jessalynn warns Abby, "You know what? You're selfish and it’s gonna get the best of you." Abby walks out, so Gia takes over for her and tells the girls not to be distracted by what's going on around them.
The competition resumes. MDP is first with their "Unstoppable" contemporary routine; they wear black two-piece costumes with silver embellishments. Their timing is excellent and their dance is cool. Next, the ALDC takes the stage for their "I'd Rather Be" lyrical routine; they wear baby blue, one-piece costumes with chiffon skirts and floral headpieces. They look amazing. I don't see it on camera, but Erin says that Maddie fell out of a turn. Jill tells the camera that they did have some mistakes, "but you never know what the judges see. Fingers crossed."
The awards ceremony begins. In the Overall Solo awards, the announcer says "2nd and 1st Place tied with perfect scores and the judges had a really tough time breaking that tie but they did it": 2nd Place goes to "Fragile Forest"; 1st Place goes to Maddie (Melissa says Talia didn’t make it into the Top 5). In the Junior Small Group Division, the ALDC gets 2nd Place; MDP wins 1st Place with a perfect score.
The moms are unhappy and unimpressed with their first days in LA. "It’s obvious that Abby's behavior this week has definitely impacted the girls," states Jill. "Clearly we need to change something." In a voiceover Holly says, "Abby abandoned the entire team, not just my kid, but your kid too. It’s wrong. It's more important for you to teach your kid morals than to have Abby as a manager."
As Dance Moms season 5, episode 5 "Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby" closes, Holly makes a phone call: "I've been meaning to give you a call to see if you might be interested in working with Nia. So, if you're willing to take her on, we just need someone who's interested and invested in her." Then Holly tells the camera, "I don’t know what the cards hold for us, or the weeks to come, but I do know that I want to make Nia a star. I'm gonna do it on my own and I will do whatever it takes."
Next week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 6 titled "Nia Risks it All," Holly gets Nia work behind Abby's back; Maddie prepares for her latest Hollywood gig; Abby announces an open call audition in LA.
Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime.
Photo courtesy of Lifetime.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2015