'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E13 "Mackenzie's Time to Shine"

Mackenzie Ziegler of Dance Moms
'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E13 "Mackenzie's Time to Shine"

Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller and her Abby Lee Dance Company won first place in a competition against nemesis Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC) team. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 12 titled "Mackenzie's Time to Shine," Mack Z gets a chance to bask in the spotlight while big sister Maddie Ziegler is in NYC performing on Saturday Night Live with singer Sia (Maddie dances in her videos for "Chandelier" and "Elastic Heart"), and the ALDC and CADC get a rematch.

As Dance Moms S5 E13 "Mackenzie's Time to Shine" opens, the ALDC reports for rehearsal for their last week in Pittsburgh, PA before they head back to LA for more competitions, auditions and recording sessions. Abby announces that Maddie won't be present this week because she's in NYC performing on Saturday Night Live (SNL) with singer Sia (original airdate January 17, 2015). Then, Abby congratulates the girls for their clean sweep at last week's competition in Detroit (if you missed the episode read my recap for Dance Moms S5 E12 Abby's Trash, Cathy's Treasure).

Abby reveals her pyramid, the leaderboard for the ALDC. The pyramid is usually based on the previous week's competition results, and this week it mirrors how each duet placed: JoJo Siwa and Kendall Vertes at the bottom; Nia Frazier and Mackenzie Ziegler in the middle; Kalani Hilliker is alone in the top spot since her partner Maddie is away.

This week the ALDC will travel to the World Class Talent Experience in Ohio, the home state of the CADC. JoJo will do a jazz-funk solo called "Fancy"; Mackenzie will do an acro solo called "Who Are You" (Abby says she wants to find out who Mackenzie is beyond being pop star "Mack Z" and Maddie's little sister); the group will do a jazz-funk routine called "Tell Me What You Want" inspired by the Spice Girls.

While the ALDC rehearses their group number, the moms observe from their loft. Jill (Kendall's mom) says that Abby has it in her head that they can't do a lyrical routine (their strongest style) without Maddie, and that's why she's experimenting with a jazz-funk number this week. Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom) points out "You guys complain when we have a lyrical number, now you're complaining that we don't have a lyrical number." Then, Melissa admits that she is worried about competing against Cathy's new team because they're all great dancers.

While Mackenzie rehearses her solo, Abby states, "Without Maddie being here this week it's Mack Z's chance to shine." Still, constant comparisons to Maddie abound, and Gianna "Gia" Martello, Abby's assistant choreographer, says if Maddie were learning the routine instead of Mackenzie, she would have gotten it right the first time. Holly (Nia's mom) says it must be frustrating for Melissa to see Maddie get praised so much more than Mackenzie, and the moms urge her to confront Abby, but she says, "There's nothing I can do about it, she's Abby Lee Miller."

When Mackenzie runs the number in her costume, she fumbles a little and stops briefly. Then, when Abby gives her notes, the young dancer says, "I'm thinking too much," but Abby says she's not thinking enough. When Melissa defends her daughter, Mackenzie pleads, "Mom, just… stop." In a talking head interview, Mackenzie admits, "I think it's really hard to learn new choreography when she's yelling at me and comparing me to Maddie, and I tried to stop my mom from talking back to Abby because it just makes everything worse."

While the girls test out their group number costumes, the moms explain who The Spice Girls were. Mackenzie wants to know what she's supposed to do as "Ginger Spice" because beyond having red hair, who was she? Melissa interrupts to show everyone a cell phone pic of Maddie at SNL, and as the moms "ooh" and "aah" over it, Mackenzie says, "I feel great without Maddie." Melissa is shocked, but Jill says that all of the wonderful things happening for Maddie aren't making Mackenzie feel better about herself, so she hopes the younger Ziegler wins this week.

While all of this is going on in Pittsburgh, the CADC is getting ready for the competition with rehearsals in Cathy's Canton, Ohio studio. This week's choreographer will be Cathy's sister-in-law, Erin Stein Rich, and the group will do a lyrical routine called "Stand Up." Cathy tells her new team (Haley Huelsman, Tessa Wilkinson, Chloe Smith, Ashtin Roth and Kaycee Rice) that losing to the ALDC again (last week) "was definitely not what I had in mind." A few scenes later, Cathy finally says something nice about the ALDC when she notes that they are "beautiful girls doing clean lines," and that to win she has to be on the same playing field. The words are barely out of her mouth when she reverts to form and says something horrible: "I don't have any Nias, but I think I have a whole lot of Kalanis."

On competition day in Ohio, the ALDC settles into their dressing room. Suddenly, Cathy and the CADC moms burst in and try to start some drama, but Jill advises them, "This is a competition, go run your number or clean it or something." Abby remains silent, which is a good move, and then tells the camera, "Why any woman who owns a dance studio would come into my dressing room and start this crap, nobody cares. Now my moms, they feed right into it, they went right back to 7th grade, they're in junior high. I don't care, get out. Get on your broom, fly away, I have my own agenda; I want to win."

The competition begins. Mackenzie does a front walkover onto the stage for her "Who are You" solo; she wears a beige costume festooned with multicolored feathers. JoJo is next with her "Fancy" solo; she wears a predominantly black and red two-piece costume with colorful appliques on the legs. Abby thinks Mackenzie is trained well, but JoJo is fancy, and she asks, "Will Mackenzie ever be fancy enough?"

The ALDC takes the stage for their "Tell Me What You Want" routine; they look fabulous dressed as the Spice Girls: Kendall is "Posh"; Kalani is "Sporty"; JoJo is "Baby"; Mackenzie is "Ginger"; Nia is "Scary." It's a fun, energetic performance. The CADC follows with their "Stand Up" number; they wear beige and red costumes with chiffon embellishment at the hip and matching headpieces. They are very good.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Junior Solo Division, Mackenzie gets 2nd Place; JoJo wins 1st Place. Abby's take on the outcome is, "JoJo is hungry, she wants it and she's trying to prove herself to me as well as the rest of the team. Mackenzie is a legacy, she was born into the Abby Lee Dance Company, her sister set the path for her; she doesn't need to work that hard."

In the Advanced Teen Small Group Division, the ALDC earns 2nd Place; the CADC wins 1st Place. Abby tells the camera, "If there's one thing I hate more than coming in second, it's coming in 2nd to the rotten Apples. This is not the way I intended to return to LA."

The CADC returns to their dressing room, jubilant, and Cathy says, "I have a fabulous, fun little thing to do. We took a bite out of Abby, now we need to go enjoy our victory with them." Then, Cathy produces a sheet cake with Abby's likeness on it.

Meanwhile in the ALDC dressing room, Abby is livid over the loss and tell the girls, "I can count on one hand how many times Maddie was second in her life." Noting Abby's foul mood, Holly offers, "At this point we need to just leave and avoid any confrontation." Of course, that's not going to happen. The CADC once again bursts into the ALDC dressing room [without knocking, so rude] and Cathy offers Abby some icing. As Abby makes her exit, she turns and stage whispers to the CADC's Chloe Smith, "Get those ears fixed." It's terrible that Chloe gets the brunt of anger that was meant for Cathy, and Jill acknowledges that. Then Jill adds, "They came in to rub it into our faces… It's like waking a sleeping bear, they came in poking at Abby, and Abby let her have it."

Liza (Chloe's mom) follows down the hall after Abby yelling, "Turn around, Abby. What is wrong? Why would you do that to my daughter?" An argument breaks out – Abby vs. Cathy and Liza – and Abby asks, "Why can't she just get her ears pinned back? What's the big deal?" Back in the dressing room, all of the parents – including the ALDC moms– console Chloe and compliment her outstanding dance talent. Jill tells her, "keep your head high and keep doing what you're doing, honey."

In a talking head interview, Melissa offers, " This is the same Abby that we saw in LA last time, meltdown after meltdown after meltdown… I just pray to God that this won't happen next week; this isn't what we need going back to LA."

Next week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 14 titled "Hollywood, Round Two," Abby Lee Miller and the ALDC return to Los Angeles, Nia and Kendall both work on launching their music careers, and the ALDC works with Demi Lovato's sister Dallas.


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

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Posted on Wednesday, April 1, 2015