'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E6: Nia Risks it All to Record with Aubrey O'Day

Nia Frazier, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime
Nia Frazier, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) moved to Los Angeles, but once there, teacher/talent manager Abby Lee Miller left the team on its own for several days. Abby did attend an audition with the girls, but she criticized Nia Frazier in front of the casting directors, a move that led to mom Holly Frazier going around Abby to get her daughter a professional gig. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 6 titled "Nia Risks it All," Holly scores Nia a recording session with Aubrey O'Day, and as a result, Abby cuts Nia from the group routine.

Before I begin this recap, did you all see Maddie Ziegler perform with Sia and Kristin Wiig at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards? They did "Chandelier" and it was fantastic. Also, Maddie walked the red carpet with Sia - they both wore black Armani suits and white crimped wigs; they were my choice for best dressed.  

As Dance Moms S5 E6 "Nia Risks it All" opens, the ALDC reports for rehearsal at a studio called 3rd Street Dance. In reference to the team's shaky first week in LA, Jill (Kendall Vertes' mom) says, "Hopefully this week things will calm down and Abby will get back to helping our girls succeed." Holly (Nia Frazier's mom) asks, "When we go inside am I gonna be the only person talking, or are you girls gonna have my back?" Jill assures her, "I got your back." Holly has a backup plan, though. Over the summer, Holly met singer/songwriter Aubrey O'Day (Danity Kane) at Abby's Booty Camp (an annual training session), and that's who she called at the end of last week's episode (if you missed it, catch up by reading Dance Moms Recap S5 E5 Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby: ALDC Moves to LA).

Abby opens the studio door, calls the girls in, then chastises them for only coming in 2nd Place at last week's competition. Holly wants to know why Abby's blaming the kids when she wasn't even around to help them, and Jill tells Abby, "YOU were not YOU last week, and it concerned us and it concerned the children... we wanna make sure it doesn't happen again." Abby says she doesn't owe them an explanation, and then repeats a phrase she used in Dance Moms S5 E3: "If I wasn't there, just guess it was a darn good reason." The implication is that Abby was busy taking care of business surrounding her legal issues with former student Paige Hyland (see Dance Moms S5 E2) and/or her mother, Kelly Hyland, with whom Abby was involved in a physical fight (in Dance Moms S4 E7) that led to lawsuits.

Then, Holly calls out Abby for disparaging Nia in front of the casting directors (Abby was unhappy with the direction Nia took her reading, but the casting director defended her choice), basically jeopardizing Nia's opportunity. Abby disagrees, Holly says she's lying, they argue, and Holly raises her voice, stating, "I refuse to be in the room with this woman who is lying. My integrity is worth more… Get your act together and stop telling lies." Then, Holly yells at the other moms for not having her back and she calls them "cowards." Holly leaves the room, and then we see her crying.

Next, Abby calls Aubrey to complain about Holly's "ugly" outburst. Aubrey says, "My assumption was that this was something that they were asking me to do like, for you, as your friend." Abby tells her, "That's what they do, they lie and go to my friends and they use that. It needs to be done the right way."

Finally, Abby reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the girls of the ALDC. It is usually based on how well each dancer did at the previous week's competition. This week Abby rushes through the pyramid so fast that even Maddie looks perplexed. From the bottom up:
JoJo Siwa: "You're on the bottom 'cause you're not even on the team."
Nia Frazier: "That's you, next, I'm sure she [Holly] woulda fought with me about that."
Kendall Vertes: "We have you next, you're good."
Mackenzie Ziegler: "Same thing."
Kalani Hilliker: "Not a lot to judge you on."
Maddie Ziegler: "Great, congratulations, there you go."

Abby informs the team that this week they'll be in a Sheer Talent competition, and she snipes, "I'm sure we'll be embarrassed and humiliated there." Kendall will be doing a Bollywood-style solo called, "Welcome to a New World"; JoJo will be doing a contemporary solo called "Prom Queen" based on the horror movie Carrie.

In the middle of giving out the assignments, Abby starts to cry and says, "I just pretend it doesn't matter. I can't pretend anymore. Nobody is gonna talk to me that way, NO-ONE! I'm not gonna stand here and do something I don't wanna do. I don't wanna do it. I want to teach dance, I want to be creative, don't want to do this (waving her hand toward the studio and team) anymore." And then, she walks out.

The next day, Abby is back and so is the team, except for Holly and Nia, so just like last week, JoJo is a swing (alternate) in the group dance, a contemporary piece called "Collateral Damage." Jill asks if the kids would be more focused if the moms stepped out (there's no viewing area / lounge for the moms at this studio) and Abby says, "Yeah, but if you're out there then I can't control what you're saying." The moms exit anyway.

The action briefly shifts to the Boom Boom Room recording studio, Aubrey gives Nia a big hug, then we see Nia in the recording booth. It's a very short clip and we don't hear much - I'm looking forward to watching Nia's singing career progress.

Back at 3rd Street Dance, the girls rehearse their solos, and the moms have found a place to sit and talk. Jessalynn asks Jill if she's worried that JoJo will beat Kendall. Jill says she isn't, and adds that JoJo has it easy because if she doesn't do something well, Abby changes it, like when she switched JoJo's lyrical solo to a jazz solo because it's her stronger style. Jessalynn is unfazed, and says it's going to be a good week for JoJo, and that yesterday was good too. Melissa (Mackenzie and Maddie Ziegler's mom) disagrees because of what happened with Holly and Nia, but Jessalynn (JoJo's mom) says, "It didn’t affect me; Holly's problems don't affect me… I'm not the one that opened my mouth and yelled at Abby yesterday." As far as Jessalynn is concerned, this is JoJo's chance to prove to Abby "that she is useful and she can save this team."

The next day at rehearsal, Nia and Holly are still missing, and JoJo is too. Melissa tells the girls if Nia shows up she wants them to help her learn the group dance. Nia and Holly do report for rehearsal, and Holly recounts the positive experience she and her daughter had in the studio with Aubrey. Then, Jessalynn calls and says she had to take JoJo to get treated for head lice, and that she thinks she got them from one of the girls. Jill says, "Are you kidding me?... I've had enough of her drama and enough of her kid's head bugs."

Abby calls Gianna "Gia" Martello (her assistant choreographer), who fills her in on JoJo's absence and Nia's return. Abby responds, "I just cannot have people going behind my back. She was in the wrong; she knows she was in the wrong. She had plenty of opportunity to fess up and tell me. Absolve her sins. But I mean, whatever. She's not in the group number." It is left to Gia to break the news to Holly.

The moms – minus Jessalynn at first – go to Tartine o Chocolat (ToC), a Parisian bistro and patisserie in Beverly Hills, and they tell Holly how Jess reacted to her absence. Holly calls Jessalynn a "Vulture." Then, Jess shows up, and asks if JoJo and Nia are expected to battle it out for the spot in the group dance, but is told that JoJo has the spot. Then they argue: Jessalynn says Holly shouldn't have gone after Abby; Holly says Jessalynn is a "lousy mother" for letting her daughter benefit from Nia's situation. Then Holly leaves.

Competition day arrives, and Holly and Nia attend to support the team. Holly tells Nia, "Don't ever forget that Abby's not the world, just one small piece, that's it." When Abby arrives, she has a present for Nia – it's a shirt that reads, "Stay Strong." Holly is unimpressed. Jessalynn tells Abby how nice she looks, and Jill says they're happy to have her back. Abby says, "You think I was gone, I was never gone, maybe I was just doing something better, with better people, that was more fun."

Backstage, JoJo runs her routine, and Abby doesn't think she's portraying her character "psycho" enough. Abby is angry that JoJo didn't prepare by watching the movie Carrie, but Jessalynn explains that they didn't have time so they watched the trailer and she told JoJo what it was about. Abby snaps that when JoJo was spending "fourteen hours a day" getting treated for lice that Jessalynn should have played the movie on a laptop.

Meanwhile, Jill hopes that Kendall will beat JoJo so "Jess will quit being so annoying and shut up." But, when Kendall runs her solo she starts to cry because her costume is too tight. However, Abby doesn't yell at her or tell Kendall to "save her tears for her pillow," instead, she is kind, gives advice and tells her to "take a moment." It's creepy that we see Jessalynn smiling during Kendall's brief bout of tears; hopefully it's just a misleading edit.

The Sheer Talent competition begins. Kendall is first with her Bollywood-style "Welcome to a New World" solo; she wears a gold skirted costume with bright yellow and lavender accents and a matching head wrap. Kendall is in the middle of doing a great job when the music suddenly stops, so she completes the dance without music. It’s exactly what you're supposed to do in this situation, and Kendall nails it.

JoJo follows with her contemporary "Prom Queen" solo; she wears a white dress, a tiara and sash, and she's covered with fake blood. I think she does a nice job of portraying "Carrie," but Abby says JoJo didn't take the viewers on an emotional rollercoaster, "probably because she never watched the movie."

The group takes the stage for their "Collateral Damage" routine; they wear tan and brown ombre costumes with long chiffon skirts and braided head wraps. While they perform, Nia watches from the wings. It's a cool number with interesting moves and timing. After the performance, JoJo asks Nia, "Are you sad that you weren't in it?" When Nia answers that she was a "little sad," JoJo quips, "Now you know how I felt for the past three weeks." Nia reminds JoJo, "but I'm on the team," and Kendall adds, "she's really on the team and she's been in every single group." In a voiceover, Nia says she is upset, but doesn't want Abby to see it because then Abby wins.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Pre-Teen Solo Division, JoJo gets 5th Place; Kendall is awarded 2nd Place. In the Pre-Teen Group Division the ALDC wins 1st Place. Nia is on stage, but doesn't get to accept the award with the team because she didn't perform with them.

In the dressing room, the moms discuss how sad they feel that Nia didn't get to dance. In a talking head interview, Holly says, "Actions speak louder than words. The moms keep saying that Nia's part of the team, but as soon as Abby walks in the room, they're silent and they have nothing to say."

Then, Holly tells the moms, "…Jess couldn't wait till JoJo could take Nia's spot, so I'm good." Jess counters, "It wasn't my decision… JoJo stepped in for Nia this week, did her job as the swing, and you guys won. You're welcome, you're welcome. Sorry it didn't work out for you this week." Holly says, "It worked out great for me because my kid as able to pursue her dreams with someone who cared and produced a song that she's incredibly proud of. All of this will come and go, but my child learned a life lesson… I have no regrets."

As Dance Moms S5 E6 closes, Holly mentions how she and Nia had no support from her team, and that it wasn't just one incident, it was several. When Jill says "We're here for you, Holly, we’re here for Nia, we're here as a team," Holly resplys, "It's a broken team."

Next week on Dance Moms S5 E7 titled "Wild Wild West Coast, Part 1," it's the ALDC's last week in Los Angeles (so it's not a permanent move for all of them), they have four numbers and two new people (Sarah Reasons and Brynn Rumfallo), and the team shoots a video with pre-teen pop singer/ rapper Matty B for his new song "Turn Up the Track."

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Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime.
Photo courtesy of Lifetime.

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Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2015