|L to R: Abby Lee Miller, Melissa Gisoni, Jill Vertes, Holly Frazier of Dance Moms|
Previously on Dance Moms, the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) girls auditioned for a MattyB video. When Mackenzie Ziegler scored the lead role, Melissa (her mom) signed the contract without consulting teacher/manager Abby Lee Miller, who didn't want her pop star protégé in the video unless she got featured billing. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 8 titled "Wild Wild West Coast, Part 2," Abby wants ALL of the girls out of the video, but only Melissa and Jill (Kendall Vertes' mom) honor her wishes. It's a bold move for the others, because Abby never forgets. Meanwhile, the news that Abby plans to cut one girl from the team leads to mega mama drama.
Dance Moms S5 E8 "Wild Wild West Coast, Part 2" opens with the ALDC on location at the Pink Motel (which has been popular for shoots for over 40 years) to do a video for the MattyB song "Turn Up the Track" (they auditioned last week in Dance Moms S5 E7 "Wild Wild West Coast, Part 1"). Mackenzie Ziegler (aka Mack Z) has the lead female role opposite pre-teen pop/rap internet star MattyB; JoJo Siwa, Kalani Hilliker and Nia Frazier are playing waitresses; Kendall Vertes, Brynn Rumfallo and Sarah Reasons are background dancers.
"It's our last week in LA and not only do we have a competition, the girls are shooting a music video with kid rapper MattyB," says Jill. "This could be a great experience for everyone, he has over a billion views on the internet, but of course, Abby is throwing a wrench into it."
What Jill is referring to is the fact that Abby doesn't want Mackenzie in the video unless she gets a guarantee that her pop star protégé will have equal billing with MattyB. Unfortunately, Melissa (Mackenzie and Maddie Ziegler's mom) signed the contract before Abby had a chance to have her legal team negotiate. Abby may have found some wiggle room, though; she says that the contract was only for Mackenzie to appear, and if they also want her to sing, she should be billed as a featured artist. Abby says, "Mackenzie is a recording artist, and as her manager I am not going to let this happen. There is no way that this kid is taking a step backwards."
"I'm pulling the plug on this," announces Abby as she heads to the set. While Abby talks on the phone, presumably with a lawyer or adviser, Blake (MattyB's father/manager) pulls Melissa aside and says they'll use Mackenzie without having her sing. When Abby says Mackenzie's not doing the video in ANY capacity, he asks if there are any other kids she'd like to pull. Holly (Nia Frazier's mom) predicts, "This is going to end badly." Yep.
In fact, Abby wants to pull ALL of the girls out of the shoot, and the moms aren't happy. They say they get why Abby wants Mackenzie pulled – she's a solo artist with an album – but their kids are still waiting for their big breaks, and this is a chance to be seen. Jill and Melissa abide by Abby's wishes and pull their kids from the shoot, but the rest of the moms let their girls do the video. Holly has already seen her daughter Nia deal with drama at her audition for casting directors (Dance Moms S5 E5) and before her recording session with Aubrey O'Day (Dance Moms S5 E6), so she's not tolerating any drama with this video. "Nia finally has an opportunity to make a splash in LA and I am not letting Abby take this one away."
"Once again, Holly has stabbed me in the back," Abby says. "She's the only original ALDC member that is staying to participate in this video." As a result, Abby's not sure she wants Nia in the ALDC's group number at the upcoming Starbound National Talent competition. She says, "They didn't stand by the team today, so I'm not so sure they should be standing with the team tomorrow." As Melissa and Jill leave the set with their girls, Jill muses, "I just wish Holly would understand this, it's not worth it." Holly does understand though – she tells the other moms, "Abby doesn't forget anything."
The next day when the team reports to 3rd Street Dance for rehearsal, Abby tells them, "I really can't believe that some of you went against me yesterday." However, she doesn't have time to choreograph a new number, so everyone gets to dance in the competition. BUT, Abby does confirm what Holly said earlier when she tells the team, "Mark my words, I will not forget this."
For this week's duets, the theme is infamous duos. Mackenzie and JoJo work on their musical theater style number, "Lucy and Ethel" (Ricardo and Mertz, respectively), and then Kalani and Sarah go over their contemporary piece, "Tonya and Nancy" (ice skaters Harding and Kerrigan).
As Abby points out, Kalani and Sarah [as well as Brynn] are from the same studio (Club Dance Studio in Arizona), and their mothers have been feuding for a long time. So, it's no surprise when Kira (Kalani's mom), Tracey (Sarah's mom) and Ashlee (Brynn's mom) get into an argument. Ashlee says that Tracey helped take care of Kalani when Kira was busy with a boyfriend [allegedly], and that Kira doesn't have custody of her son [allegedly]. It's a below-the-belt hit, even for a Dance Moms fight. When Ashlee says "Karma's a bitch," Kira says, almost calmly, "You're absolutely right." Uh oh.
There are two group numbers this week: a jazz routine that was choreographed by Molly Long called "The Moulin Rouge" with Mackenzie, Nia, JoJo and Kendall, and the "No Laughing Matter" (aka "The Sad Clown Dance") acro number choreographed by Abby with Mackenzie, Kalani, Sarah and Brynn. (Maddie isn't dancing with either team because she's been busy filming an episode of the Disney Channel series Austin & Ally.) Jill reiterates what she said last week: the number choreographed by Abby will have better moves than the other, and it shows which group of kids Abby wants to win.
The ALDC arrives at the Starbound competition in Fallbrook, California. Abby tells the alternate girls – JoJo, Sarah and Brynn – that she's going to cut one of them after the competition, and this leads to mega mama drama. Tracey doesn't think Kira deserves the opportunity because she abandoned the team (in season 4) and has a "history" of "manipulation" and "lies." Kira shoots back that she could pull up some things from Tracey's history, and then Tracey drops this bomb: "I will be happy to talk about your arrest record and everything else… you have been arrested for credit card fraud, give me a break, Kira." YIKES [and also, allegedly]. Holly says, "If I was Kira, I'd be really nervous about these two moms. It is evident that they're out for blood and they definitely want Kira's spot on the team."
Kalani and Sarah compete first with their "Tonya and Nancy" number; they wear ice skating costumes in pale yellow and burgundy. They give each other a big hug before they perform – thankfully they are friends despite their mother's issues – and they dance well together.
JoJo and Mackenzie take the stage for their "Lucy and Ethel" number; they wear white dresses with black sashes, and their makeup is done in grey tones so they look like they're on black and white TV. They get just a few bars into their number when the music stops, unexpectedly. Just like Kendall did when it happened to her two weeks ago, they continue dancing, which is what you're supposed to do in this situation. They do a fantastic job keeping the timing together.
Before the girls return to the dressing room, Abby tells the moms that Kalani and Sarah danced beautifully, but didn’t blow her away, and that she's pleased with how Mackenzie and JoJo handled their music problem, but she's upset that JoJo messed up the ending. When the girls arrive, Abby lets JoJo know she's disappointed in her performance.
The first ALDC group takes the stage for their "No Laughing Matter" acro routine; they wear white clown costumes with pink and blue embellishments. It's a cool routine, and they all do well with the tricks and contortions. When the number ends, Abby has a big smile on her face.
The second ALDC group goes next with their "Moulin Rouge" contemporary number; they are dressed similar to how Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Lil' Kim looked in their "Lady Marmalade" video. It is also a cool routine, but doesn't have the degree of difficulty the first number did.
The awards ceremony begins. In the Duo or Trio division, JoJo and Mackenzie get 4th Place; Kalani and Sarah do not place. In the Group Division, the ALDC's "No Laughing Matter" routine takes 4th Place; "Moulin Rouge" does not place.
Backstage, Abby tells the girls, "I don't think that you're ready to compete in LA. You have to step up your game. You all know what you have to do and I think we need to re-group in Pittsburgh. We're at the end of the road here. Who do we take, who do we leave?"
Abby decides to keep Brynn and JoJo. She praises Sarah and says she has a great future and they'll work together again, but she's too old for this particular group. Sarah is broken up and tells the camera, "Being on the team was a really great opportunity and I wanted to keep going. I thought Abby helped me a lot and that's why I wanted to keep working with her, but I just feel defeated and let down." Abby also keeps Kalani but warns her, "You better start winning because I am serious about making changes on this team."
Then Abby says, "I haven't forgotten what happened in the video shoot yesterday. I don't like sneaky stuff; I don't like people going behind my back… it will not be tolerated." She continues, "I want to be involved in your children's lives. If you don't want me to be, there's the door. Don't do to your kid what Christi [mom of former ALDC member Chloe Lukasiak] did to hers, 'cause it's happening right before my very eyes. When we get back to Pittsburgh, things are going to change."
Next week on Dance Moms S5 E9 titled "The Great Divide," the ALDC returns to Pittsburgh and the moms are split between those who honored Abby's wishes and those who defied them regarding their kid's participation in the MattyB video; Abby wants Kalani to place higher; Abby discovers all of the solos are in the Teen division.
Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime.
Photo courtesy of Lifetime.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2015