'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E10: Is Brynn Rumfallo the New Maddie Ziegler?

Brynn Rumfallo on season 5 of Dance Moms
Brynn Rumfallo on season 5 of Dance Moms

Previously on Dance Moms, teacher Abby Lee Miller and the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) left LA and returned to their home base of Pittsburgh, and the moms struggled for middle ground between those who obeyed Abby and those who defied her. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 10 "The New Maddie?" the moms deal with Abby's praise for guest dancer Brynn Rumfallo; Holly (Nia Frazier's mom) and Abby are still at odds; the ALDC dances against Abby's rival, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, and her Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC). Also, CADC mom Brigette calls Cathy out in a big way, so she and her son, Lucas Triana, are dismissed. No worries; Lucas was quitting anyway.

As Dance Moms S5 E10 opens, the team – including guest Brynn Rumfallo, who danced with the ALDC in LA – reports for rehearsal, and Abby reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the dancers of the ALDC. The pyramid is usually based on how well the girls did at the previous week's competition (if you missed last week's show read my recap for Dance Moms S5 E9 The Great Divide). The S5 E10 pyramid from the bottom up:
Nia Frazier: her solo didn't place at competition.
JoJo Siwa: blended well with the group.
Mackenzie Ziegler: comprehends choreography quickly.
Kendall Vertes: Abby said her solo was "outstanding."
Maddie Ziegler: participation in group helped team win.
Kalani Hilliker: highest scoring soloist last week.

Abby tells the team that this week they'll be traveling to a Sheer Talent competition in Wayne, New Jersey, and then she makes two announcements: Cathy Nesbitt-Stein (Abby's nemesis) will be at Sheer Talent, and the Sia song "Chandelier" that made Maddie globally famous (she does an amazing dance in the video) was nominated for four Grammy Awards. Abby high-fives Maddie and says, "We're going to the Grammys!" However, in a talking head interview Maddie says, "Abby thinks I'm going with her, but I'm really not." That's probably because Maddie was going with Sia; the Grammys aired live on February 8, 2015, and Sia and Maddie walked the red carpet together in matching Armani suits.

Abby assigns this week's routines: Maddie will do a lyrical solo called "Vertigo" and compete against Brynn who will do a lyrical solo called "Diamond in the Rough"; the group will do a lyrical piece called "Dance in the Rain."

Abby tells Mackenzie and Nia, both national title winners at Sheer Talent last summer, to bring their crowns and banners because they'll be handing out awards. But then, Abby notices Nia's bored look (I noticed it too, before Abby even brought it up), and tells Nia if she doesn't want to do it she shouldn't ever ask to compete for a title. Holly (Nia's mom) tells Abby the "needling needs to stop." In an interview, Holly says "Nia just needs to be left alone."

The action shifts to Canton, Ohio, where Abby's nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, has her Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC). Cathy has enlisted Erin Babbs to choreograph the CADC's competition routines (Erin's team beat the ALDC in LA in Dance Moms S5 E5 Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby). Cathy gloats over Abby's loss in LA, and says, "Abby is going down and there's nothing she can do about it."

Back in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the girls rehearse the "Dance in the Rain" routine and the moms discuss the tension between Holly and Abby. Holly acknowledges that it started because she booked a recording session for Nia with Aubrey O'Day without Abby's permission (Dance Moms S5 E6 Nia Risks it All), but she stands behind her actions saying, "I'm not gonna say my child can't take advantage of opportunities because she's not chosen as your prize possession." Jill (Kendall's mom) wants Holly to talk to Abby to work it out, but Holly responds, "I have no desire to have a conversation with her."

During solo rehearsal, Abby asks Brynn what it's like to compete against someone going to the Grammys, but Maddie answers that SHE'S nervous to go against Brynn because she "has amazing technique." Abby says that if Nia had the same solo she'd have to change the choreography numerous times.

When Abby tells Brynn, "You inspire me," the moms question if it's "real" because Abby tends to praise newcomers, but Ashlee (Brynn's mom) thinks they're intimidated. When Holly says, "I think she wants Brynn to stay," Jessalynn (JoJo's mom) interjects, "she's gonna suck up to you," and Kira (Kalani's mom) adds, "the first few weeks are always nice." Even Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom), who never speaks against Abby, chimes in with "we call it 'the honeymoon phase'."

Abby calls Ashlee down to the studio floor and says, "I think your daughter has a special gift. God made her to dance. Brynn, I don't say that to too many kids and I see a lot of kids in this country. I think you have something really, really special." And then she tells Brynn not to make a mistake in the competition or "they [the moms] will nail you to the wall."

Over in Ohio, the CADC is rehearsing a contemporary group number called "Torn." There are three boys – Lucas Triana, Evan Gorbell and Gavin Morales – and two girls – Alyssa Chi and McKenzie Morales. McKenzie is the lead dancer and practices in an over-sized skirt with a long train. Cathy says the dance is about the struggle between good and evil. She sees herself as the good guy, and of course, Abby as the bad guy. She says the fact that she's working with Erin Babbs is "totally going to rattle Abby." During the rehearsal, Cathy says Lucas is acting squirrely around her, and Brigette says her son Lucas thinks Cathy shows favoritism toward the Morales kids (Gavin and McKenzie are siblings).

As they prepare for their next rehearsal, the ALDC girls talk amongst themselves. Nia is late, and Maddie points out that "every week something bad happens with Holly and Abby," and that its "starting to get a little bit like Christi and Chloe… if it continues to happen then it will become something that big." Then, in a talking head interview Maddie states, "I understand that Holly is standing her ground and sticking up to Abby, but we all know when you mess with Abby, nothing goes well the rest of the day, or the week, or the month, or the year."

When Maddie rehearses her "Vertigo" solo, Abby is harder on her than usual because she doesn't want her to rest on her laurels. While Maddie practices, the moms ask Ashlee what Abby said to her in the studio, and she answers that Abby was "gushing" over Brynn. Holly observes, "It's interesting Abby has given Brynn all those accolades and then she continues to tear down the kids on her team. That is not her student. She's a guest this week on her team." Then, Ashlee surprises the moms by saying she thinks Brynn has a chance to beat Maddie (Jill asked), then Jill tells the camera, "Maddie is Abby's 'Queen Bee'. She is not gonna let some kid from another studio waltz in here and beat Maddie. It's just not gonna happen."

When The ALDC arrives at the competition venue in Wayne, New Jersey, Cathy is there with her team and a bullhorn. As Holly says, it's obnoxious. When Cathy follows them into the dressing room and continues bleating through the bullhorn, Kira snaps, "I wanna shove that ----ing microphone up her ass."

Abby gets very upset and leaves, and as she walks down the hall, she pulls off her Dance Moms microphone. She returns shortly after and says, "I know that I shouldn't let Cathy get under my skin. I can't give her that satisfaction. I need to worry about my kids and beating her on the stage. That's MY satisfaction."

Suddenly, CADC mom Brigette pops into the ALDC dressing room. "I just came to say good luck," she offers. "I'm gonna be a good sport if no-one else is." Abby thanks her and says, "I appreciate that," and "same to you." As Brigette is leaving, she runs right into Cathy, who is incensed at Brigette's actions. Cathy chastises her with, "Are you the welcoming committee? You don't fraternize with the enemy. What happens in Candy Apple Land stays here."

The competition begins. Maddie dances first with her "Vertigo" lyrical solo; she wears a beige two-piece costume with a halter top, asymmetrical skirt embellished with streamer on the hip, and a gorgeous headpiece. She gives a phenomenal performance. Brynn goes next with her "Diamond in the Rough" lyrical solo; she wears a gold two-piece costume with colorful sequin appliques and a matching headband. Brynn is flexible and graceful, and she has great control.

Between the solo and group segments, Cathy sees Abby's boyfriend arrive and does everything in her power to get him to talk to her, but he makes a hasty exit. Of course, when Cathy relays this information to her team, she says he flirted with her. If that did in fact happen, it wasn't on MY screener.

The group division begins. The ALDC competes first with their "Dance in the Rain" lyrical routine; they wear two-piece, sky blue costumes (halter tops and short fluttery skirts) that look like chiffon overlay embellished with sequins and beading, and they have matching head wraps. Abby says the dance "looked like poetry," and I agree; it was lovely.

The CADC is next with their "Torn" contemporary routine; McKenzie wears a beige/gold bra top with lace sleeves and the aforementioned long skirt; Alyssa wears a white bra top with lace sleeves and feathers around the neck; the boys wear black pants and shirts, silver vests and ruffled ascots. The whole team works the fabric of the skirt to make it billow around the stage. It was a cool dance, and the fabric work is something you don't see a lot at competitions.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Pre-Teen Solo Division, Brynn earns 2nd Place; Maddie wins 1st Place. In the Pre-Teen Group Division, the CADC gets 2nd Place; the ALDC wins 1st Place.

On their way to the dressing rooms, the ALDC and CADC moms pass in the hallway and congratulate each other. Then Cathy shows up and attempts to antagonize the ALDC moms, especially Jill, by pointing out that Kendall and the original ALDC girls dance in the back while the newer kids dance in the front. Instead of taking the bait, Jill says, "My child is dancing with winners."

Then, when Cathy protests Jill's answer, Brigette goes renegade and calls Cathy out in front of everyone saying, "Oh, does that make you feel bad? We're not supposed to talk to them; we're not supposed to look at them. We're not supposed to say, 'hi', we're not supposed to pass pleasantries in the hallway." Cathy tells Brigette she should go stand with the ALDC, but she doesn't, so when they get back to the CADC dressing room, Cathy dismisses Brigette and Lucas. Brigette tells Cathy her son will "never come back."

Out in the hallway, Brigette tells Lucas to go in and tell Cathy he was going to quit anyway. Lucas refuses, but says, "Whatever, Candy Apples was stupid anyway… I don't even want to waste my breath for Cathy… they all treat me like crap and I'm tired of it."

As if Cathy wasn't having a bad enough day, Jill and Melissa burst into her dressing room, steal her bullhorn, then flee into the hall with Jill booming, "Guess what? ALDC won! We beat you!" Melissa takes a turn to yell, "WOOOOOOO!" For their finale, Jill executes an amplified raspberry.

In the ALDC dressing room, Abby congratulates the girls. She says she's not having Brynn back next week, but only because Brynn has things to work out at home (last week, Kira said Brynn's brother was struggling with diabetes). Then, Mackenzie and Maddie grab the bullhorn and start a cheer: "A-L-D-C, what does that spell? Winners!"

It's so nice to see an episode end on a high note, and wonderful to see Abby laughing. That's not going to last long though: next week on Dance Moms S5 E11 titled "Nia's Last Chance," the tension between Abby and Holly results in an unusual alliance; the team gives JoJo Siwa performance notes and it looks like she's in tears.


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

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Posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2015