'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E12 Abby's Trash, Cathy's Treasure: ALDC vs. CADC

L to R - Kendall Vertes and JoJo Siwa on Dance Moms S5 E12
'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E12 "Abby's Trash, Cathy's Treasure"

Previously on Dance Moms, Holly, Jessalynn and Kira (moms to Nia Frazier, JoJo Siwa and Kalani Hilliker, respectively) formed a pact to have each other's backs for issues with studio owner Abby Lee Miller. On the same episode, Abby presented JoJo with a team jacket and made her an Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) member for the rest of the season. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 12 titled "Abby's Trash, Cathy's Treasure," rival studio owner Cathy Nesbitt-Stein forms a new team made up of dancers with whom Abby declined to work. Meanwhile, "Elastic Heart" – Maddie Ziegler's 2nd video with Sia – is controversial, and Cathy discusses it with the press.

As Dance Moms S5 E12 opens, the ALDC girls arrive for rehearsal and Abby talks about Maddie's second video with Sia. This one is for the song "Elastic Heart," and in it Maddie dances with actor Shia LaBeouf. Maddie plays a wolf in a cage match with a human (Shia), and both of them represent aspects of Sia's personality. I saw the video as an art piece with no sexual overtones whatsoever, but, art IS subjective, and some people were disturbed to see a young girl dancing with a grown man and/or saw it as pedophilia. As a result, Sia issued an apology to those "who felt triggered" by the video.

While the moms wait for rehearsal to start, they discover that Abby's nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, has yet another brand-new Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC) team, AND, it's made up of dancers who formerly worked with or auditioned for Abby. Kira says, "Cathy has made a team out of all Abby's rejects," including Tessa Wilkinson and Haley Huelsman (who, like Kalani and JoJo, are from season 2 of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition). Abby says Tessa has become a "beautiful dancer," and she considers her mother Renee a friend. Abby does not have that same warmth toward Haley's mom, Melanie. Apparently, Melanie showed up at a book signing for Abby's memoir and autographed copies of the book. Tacky!

Abby reveals her pyramid, the leaderboard for the ALDC. The pyramid is almost always based on the previous week's competition results (if you missed last week read my recap for Dance Moms S5, E11 "Nia's Last Chance") Kendall Vertes and Nia Frazier are on the bottom row because they both had solos and didn’t place. JoJo Siwa, Mackenzie Ziegler and Kalani Hilliker are on the middle row because despite doing a great job in the group number, they only came in third. Maddie Ziegler is at the top of because she had the overall, high-scoring solo.

This week the ALDC will travel to Energy National Dance in Highland, Michigan, and they'll compete against the CADC. There won't be any solos: in honor of Maddie's dance with Shia, all of the girls will do duets. Maddie and Kalani will do a lyrical duet called "Walking Through the Storm"; JoJo and Kendall will do a jazz duet called "Play to Win" (it's based on the movie Freaky Friday in which a mother and daughter change places); Mackenzie and Nia will do a contemporary duet called "The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane."

The group will do a jazz routine called "Get a Clue" based on the Clue murder mystery board game. Abby says in this number, one of them will die, and that they'll all have to act because… next week they are all heading back to LA. The girls are very excited.

Over in Canton, Ohio, Cathy welcomes her new Candy Apples dancers: Haley Huelsman, Tessa Wilkinson, Chloe Smith, Ashtin Roth and Kaycee Rice. Cathy says her previous CADC team is taking a break because they failed to beat the ALDC in over two years. Cathy introduces her new choreographer, Chehon, winner of the popular televised competition So You Think You Can Dance. Melanie says, "Haley and I are out to get Abby," and Cathy tells the moms she wants them to shun Abby. Abby will be crushed (/sarcasm).

Back in Pittsburgh PA, the ALDC moms hang out in the loft and gossip. Because of their previous AUDC connection, Jessalynn is enlisted to call Renee (Tessa's mom) for inside info on the CADC. Renee shuts her down with, "How about you get a f---ing life," and everyone has a laugh.

While the CADC rehearses their group routine – a lyrical piece called "Ethereal" – Cathy gets a call from TMZ. The reporter says, "We're doing a story on, um… Sia's new video with Maddie. I was just curious to hear what everyone has to say about it." Cathy responds, Well, I almost threw up. I have to say that, and I am flabbergasted. I don’t think that many parents out there would allow that. That was not art form to me." In a talking head interview, Cathy says, "The video itself made me very uncomfortable."

While Nia and Mackenzie rehearse their duet, Holly phones Aubrey O'Day, the singer/songwriter with whom Nia recorded her single last time they were in LA. That booking, done without Abby's input, caused a lot of tension between Abby and Holly, so this phone call could signal more trouble ahead (if you missed that episode read my recap for Dance Moms S5 E6 "Nia Risks it All"). Holly tells Aubrey that they're heading back to LA, and that Nia wants to do a music video. Then, Holly pulls Nia from group rehearsal so Nia can chat with Aubrey. Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom) gripes, "This is ridiculous, I mean, they could have done this prior to rehearsal. One day of rehearsal, this is it. Just saying. The kids need to all be in there." When Holly joins the moms in their loft, Jessalynn tells her what Melissa said, and Melissa is all, "Oh my GOD."

While Maddie and Kalani rehearse "Walking Through the Storm," Melissa and the moms find out about Cathy's TMZ interview, and they discuss the negative press surrounding Sia's "Elastic Heart" video. They tell Melissa that Sia apologized, but Melissa says she's unaware of any controversy because she doesn't read negative stuff. The moms think Melissa should tell Maddie so it won't come as a surprise.

Earlier in the episode, Maddie did an interview with reporter Patrick Varine from The Murraysville Star. Now, while the team rehearses the group number, a reporter from TV's Entertainment Tonight drops in to interview Abby and Maddie. Holly asks Melissa if she thinks this is different from when Nia left the room to talk to Aubrey, and Melissa concedes that it isn't. The moms are annoyed that rehearsal was interrupted, and Jill (Kendall's mom) worries, "This could be the week that we lose to Candy Apples."

On competition day in Michigan, the CADC arrives first, and they snoop in the ALDC dressing room. When the ALDC arrives, the CADC emerges from behind a curtained off craft services (food) area as if they're getting out of a clown car. When Abby and Renee hug, Cathy is annoyed. In a talking head interview Abby says, "Cathy? She has to be an idiot if she thinks that this new team is going to be loyal to her. These girls are so desperate to be on my team they would come running to me at the drop of a hat." A little bit later, in front of Cathy and all of the CADC moms, Renee tells Abby, "With all due respect, I'm here to fight a war. I am part of this army now, and I am ready to conquer." Abby is like, "Whatevs." (I'm paraphrasing)

In that same segment, Jessalynn taunts the CADC moms by asking, "Do you guys wanna touch JoJo's jacket? It might be the closest you'll ever get to an Abby Lee jacket." Then, Melanie (Haley's mom) starts yelling about how she's happy to be on Cathy team, and Jessalynn points outs, "Right. That's why you were at the audition [when Abby was looking for new ALDC members].

The competition begins. Kendall and JoJo perform their "Play to Win" jazz duet; they wear purple, silver and black costumes with bikini-style tops and shorts. Like Jill, I thought it was a "cute" routine. Nia and Mackenzie take the stage for their "The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane" duet; they wear lavender leotards with a tie-dyed chiffon dress overlay. Earlier, Abby said that Nia and Kenzie trust each other as partners, and you can see that in their performance.

Before Maddie and Kalani perform, an argument breaks out in the audience between the ALDC and CADC moms, during which Melanie insults the "Elastic Heart" video. It's loud enough that the kids hear it from backstage. Kira stands up, faces the audience and says, "What do you all think? Are you all embarrassed at what Maddie did, or do you love Maddie's video?" The crowd cheers. Finally, Maddie and Kalani do their "Walking Through the Storm" lyrical duet; they wear two-piece lavender costumes with halter tops and layered ombre skirts. Their duet is the most advanced of the three.

The ALDC takes the stage for their "Get a Clue" routine; they wear black one-piece costumes and each of them has a different color feathered headpiece. It was very good, but to me, it didn't seem like an ALDC number. Next, the CADC does their "Ethereal" lyrical routine; they wear gold two-piece, skirted costumes with matching gold laurel headpieces, and they have a set of stairs as a prop. The choreography is very cool and the girls have good timing for a brand new team. I liked it, and so did Abby.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Junior Duet or Trio Division, Kendall and JoJo get 3rd Place; Nia and Mackenzie take 2nd Place; Maddie and Kalani win 1st Place. In the Small Group Division, the CADC is named 3rd Place; the ALDC wins 1st Place.

Of course, Cathy thinks her girls were robbed, and in the dressing room, she cries and disparages the ALDC. It's not a good look for a dance teacher. Cathy vows, "We're gonna come back next week. We'll pick ourselves up, we'll' dust ourselves off, and we'll be even stronger and better."

In the ALDC dressing room, Abby congratulates the team, and says she wishes they could do the same in LA. She announces, "Next week we're gonna have a very important week, and then we are on the road to Los Angeles! Hollywood!"

Next week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 13 "Mackenzie's Time to Shine," the younger Ziegler has to break out of her older, more famous sister Maddie's shadow. Also, the ALDC travels to Ohio for another competition against the CADC – this time they'll be performing as the Spice Girls, and the routine looks fierce.


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

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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2015