|L to R: Dance Moms stars Maddie Ziegler and Mackenzie Ziegler|
Previously on Dance Moms, Holly Frazier scored daughter Nia a recording session with singer Aubrey O'Day but didn't have dance teacher/talent manager Abby Lee Miller's approval, so Nia was cut from the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) group number. This week on Dance Moms season 5 episode 7 "Wild Wild West Coast, Part 1," it's the ALDC's last week in LA. Maddie Ziegler is away taping TV show Austin and Ally, so Abby brings in two alternates, Sarah Reasons and Brynn Rumfallo, who will dance with the girls at competition, and compete against them for a role in a MattyB video. Mackenzie Ziegler lands the lead, but Abby wants to pull her from the shoot unless she gets equal billing with MattyB.
As Dance Moms S5 E7 "Wild Wild West Coast, Part 1" opens, it's the ALDC's last week in LA. The girls and their moms report to 3rd Street Dance, but Maddie isn't there and won't have her usual lead dancer spot this week because she's taping a guest starring role on the Disney Channel's Austin and Ally.
Maddie's absence leaves room for one of the other ALDC girls to be the lead dancer, but that becomes less of a possibility when Abby brings in two alternates, Sarah Reasons and her mom Tracey (from Abby's Select Team in Dance Moms season 4), and Brynn Rumfallo and her mom Ashlee. Kira (Kalani Hilliker's mom) is aggravated that Abby would bring in two girls from her old studio. Kira has butted heads with Tracey on previous episodes, and says that Ashlee SEEMS nice but that she's really on her phone "talking s—t about every single person." She adds, "I thought we were finally free of all of them."
Abby reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the girls in the ALDC. The pyramid is usually based on the results of the previous week's competition, and goes from the bottom up. Nia Frazier is at the bottom this week because she was cut from the group last week (if you missed it, read my recap for Dance Moms S5 E6 "Nia Risks it All").
JoJo Siwa is next, and Abby says that she came in 5th, is 5th on pyramid, acts like a 5 year old and maybe 5 is her magic number. Or not. Ouch! Abby is still unhappy that JoJo didn't watch the film Carrie to prepare for her solo last which in which she portrayed the title character. When Jessalynn (JoJo's mom) protests, Abby removes JoJo's photo from the pyramid. Then, when Abby tells JoJo to stop crying she sasses back, "If you yell at me I'm gonna cry," so Abby dismisses her from the team. Once in another room, JoJo tells her mom, "I want to stay, but I don't want to be treated like this." She also says, "Oh, so she's a baby, she can't handle talking from a little girl?" Jessalynn agrees with JoJo, but tells her to apologize to Abby so she can stay on the team, and JoJo does.
The rest of the pyramid is Maddie Ziegler (led the team); Kalani Hilliker (had a breakthrough in the group number) and at the top, Kendall Vertes (didn't win, but something [good] happened).
This week, the ALDC will be participating in the Starbound National Talent Competition in Fallbrook, CA. Because there have been so many feuds lately, Abby has decided to celebrate infamous duos: Kalani and Sarah will portray Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding in a contemporary routine called "Nancy and Tanya" (later in the episode Abby quips, "Considering how badly Tracey wants her daughter to dance with the ALDC team, I'm gonna hide the crowbars."); Mackenzie and JoJo will portray Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz in a musical theater number called "Lucy and Ethel."
There will be two group routines this week: an acro number called "No Laughing Matter" (Brynn, Kalani, Mackenzie and Sarah), and "The Moulin Rouge," a take on the famous "Lady Marmalade" video with Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Lil' Kim (Kendall, Nia, JoJo and Mackenzie); it will be handled by guest choreographer Molly Long.
While the girls rehearse, the moms talk about how LA didn't turn out how they thought it would. Holly (Nia's mom) says she's been annoyed since they landed, and she had to make her own opportunities. Jill (Kendall's mom) is unhappy that the alternate girls got duets, but ALDC regulars Kendall and Nia didn’t. Then, Jill asks Kira, Tracey and Ashlee – all from the same studio – if they get along, and it's obvious they have a history of mama drama. Jill hopes there won't be issues that cause a distraction during the ALDC's last week in LA.
Abby gets a call from Blake Morris, the father/manager of "internet artist" MattyB; he wants the girls to audition for a spot in MattyB's new video. Abby tells the moms she's concerned about having Mackenzie (aka Mack Z) as a backup dancer since she's a pop star in her own right, but isn't against having it billed as "MattyB featuring Mack Z." When Jill suggests that perhaps Mackenzie should sit this one out and give the other girls a chance, Abby tells her to "shut up." Jill is still insulted the next day at rehearsal, and she's not thrilled that the girls are working with a guest choreographer because usually whoever works with Abby gets the best routine.
The moms discuss the MattyB audition. At first Melissa says Mackenzie's producer doesn't want her to do it because it would be a step backwards for her, but she changes her mind after she learns that MattyB is mega popular (1.4 billion video views and over 3.6 million YouTube subscribers). When Melissa says it would be sad if Brynn or Sarah got the gig over the ALDC regulars, it starts a small spat. Ashlee doesn't think the call Abby got about the audition has anything to do with the ALDC, but it seemed to me that Abby got the call BECAUSE of how well known the girls are. Ashlee doesn't care – she says, "We're gonna do it and we're excited about it... I'm here to give Brynn opportunities."
Blake and Marshall (the video director) arrive at 3rd Street Studio to fill Abby in on the audition details. Marshall tells the group that one of MattyB's videos has 100 million views and is still getting clicks, and Blake says exposure in this new video could do for one of them what being in Sia's "Chandelier" video did for Maddie. The next day, MattyB's team, including choreographer Erik Saradpon, visits the studio to audition the girls. Abby tells the camera that if Mackenzie doesn’t score the lead, she's not going to do the video because as her manager, she'll never let her do a job where she doesn't share top billing.
The girls are told to dance but not do tricks, and that there are three levels in the video: Level 1 is the lead role, Level 2 is the waitress parts, and Level 3 is the background dancers. JoJo volunteers to go first, and they call her "sassy" and "a great performer." Brynn looked down too much. Kendall was "one of the stronger ones." Kalani is a "pin-up" with "a lot of confidence." Nia did her death drop move, but it confused Marshall, who wasn't sure if she fell on purpose. Sarah was "a little more mature." Erik said Mackenzie did everything he asked her not to do – tricks – and he thought she looked uncomfortable dancing with MattyB's stand-in. The vocal audition was next, and it was nice to hear that Kendall can sing. Nia and Mackenzie did well too. The lead role comes down to Mackenzie and JoJo.
When the team reports to the shoot, Maddie is with them, and Marshall says he'll try to fit her in if she wants to be in it. Mackenzie gets the lead role, Nia, Kalani and JoJo are the waitresses, and everyone else is background. I feel for Kendall because she was strong in the audition and she's a MattyB fan.
When the shoot begins, Abby hasn't arrived yet, so Melissa calls her with the news that Mackenzie got the lead. Abby says they need to make sure that "she's getting a top billing credit" and orders Melissa, "Don't sign anything!" Melissa admits, "I did already," and Abby asks, "Are you kidding me? Well, we got trouble." Holly offers, "If Abby says we have trouble, she's usually who's bringing it and I'm really worried right now… Abby will stop at nothing to get her way."
Abby arrives and tells Blake, "I need you to talk to my attorney who represents Mackenzie and her music deal. You need to talk to him. Just so we're all clear on everything." Blake responds, "Well, I can tell you now, work for hire's in play. I mean, there nothing I can do. They wouldn't be in that room if Melissa didn't sign that contract with me!" Abby responds, "She's an idiot."
Abby says, "We don't know who owns the music [or] who gets any revenue derived from the music, we don't know if the video's to push the record sales... we don't have a deal." Jill tells the camera, "I think that Abby is blowing this way out of proportion. She thinks Mackenzie is as big a star as MattyB. I hate to say it, but he has over a billion views on the internet. I think all of our kids could benefit from this exposure."
Abby and the moms have a sit-down at the location, and when Jill asks Abby if she's having second thoughts about having the girls do the video, she nods "yes." In a talking head interview Abby says, "What type of deal features a guest artist on their record and doesn't give them any type of credit. This is ridiculous! I don't like what's going on here and I'm about to pull all of my girls. They don't need to do this. He needs us, we don't need him."
Next week on Dance Moms season 5 episode 8 titled "Wild Wild West Coast, Part 2," the girls have a tough schedule with both a competition and video shoot booked; Abby wants to shut down the video shoot; Abby decides to cut one girl from the ALDC.
Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime.
Photo courtesy of Lifetime.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2015