'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E15 Maddie vs. Kalani, ALDC vs. MDP

Jill Vertes and daughter Kendall K on Lifetime TV's Dance Moms
Jill Vertes and daughter Kendall K on Lifetime TV's Dance Moms
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller and the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) left their Pittsburgh, PA hometown and returned to Los Angeles, CA for round two of competitions, workshops and appearances. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 15 "Maddie vs. Kalani," the ALDC gets a rematch against choreographer Erin Babbs and her Murrieta Dance Project (aka MDP, the team that beat them during their first trip to LA), and the tension between Jill (Kendall's mom) and Holly (Nia's mom) escalates as their daughters prepare to shoot music videos, one produced by Abby (Kendall), and one not (Nia).

As Dance Moms S5 E15 opens, the ALDC reports to 3rd Street Dance (their temporary studio in LA). While the girls discuss Kendall's upcoming video shoot for "Wear 'Em Out," the moms discover a social media post from Erin Babbs (choreographer for the Murrieta Dance Project (MDP). It reads, "Can't wait to go up against the ALDC again this weekend, we're ready to kick some Pittsburgh booty. Watch out Abby!" The MDP beat the ALDC during their first outing in LA, and Holly says, "Abby hates them, she won't even say their name."

Abby reveals her pyramid, the ALDC's leaderboard. The pyramid is usually based in the previous week's competition results (if you missed last week, catch up by reading my recap for Dance Moms S5 E14 "Hollywood, Round 2") and goes from the bottom, up:
Nia Frazier: came in 3rd Place.
Mackenzie Ziegler: not applying corrections.
JoJo Siwa: "had a quiet week… that's a good thing."
Maddie Ziegler: needs to tighten up her technique.
Kalani Hilliker: stood out in group routine.
Kendall Vertes: won 1st Place.

Abby announces that during Kendall's music video shoot, she's going to use the girls and their moms as PAs (Production Assistants), but Holly says Nia will be busy doing her own video, so they won't be able to participate. As Holly attempts to elaborate, Abby cuts her off to discuss the competition routines.

This week the ALDC will compete in the World Class Talent Experience in Riverside, California. Maddie and Kalani are in different age divisions but will be going head-to-head for Overall High Score: Maddie will do a lyrical solo called "Dreams Come True"; Kalani will do a contemporary solo called "Innocent." The group will do a contemporary number called "The Rose Garden." After the routines are assigned, Abby tells the group that Maddie will be absent the following day because she's doing the Ellen! TV show. Kira (Kalani's mom) tells the team she'll be absent because she has to attend a fashion event.

While the girls rehearse "The Rose Garden," their moms hang out and chat. Jill is excited for Kendall's video shoot and says her daughter feels confident; Holly says Nia is feeling the opposite because Abby isn't promoting or acting excited for her video. Holly says, "There's no need to be on a mission to make Kendall's video better than Nia's." Abby likes to win though (and why make a video if you don't want to be #1), and she tells Kendall she wants her video to be better than Nia's.

Over at the Murrieta Dance Studio, choreographer Erin Babbs and the MDP rehearse their contemporary routine called "Passing Through Time." Erin reminds them they'll be competing against the ALDC and says of Abby, "You have to prove that LA is too tough for her, she's really out of her league and we are gonna show her who's boss once again… We cannot lose, we will not lose." In addition to the group number, MDP member Keara Nichols will be doing a contemporary solo called "Resurgence." Erin says, "I feel sorry for anyone who gets in her way."

With two days to go until the competition, the ALDC is back to practice their "Rose Garden" number, and the moms are back to discussing the videos. Holly is upset that Jill took Kendall, Mackenzie and Maddie (who is the assistant choreographer for Kendall's video) to meet with Todrick Hall (Kendall's video director) and didn't invite Nia, who saw the pics online and cried herself to sleep. Holly wants Jill to admit to excluding Nia, but Jill disagrees because it was Abby's meeting, so Abby chose who to invite. An argument ensues, and ends with Jill walking out and Holly saying, "Jill's an idiot."

I think Nia is awesome, and certainly don't want her to cry, but why would Holly expect Nia to be included in meetings with Kendall's video team? After all, Holly didn’t take anyone to meet with Aubrey O'Day or Mikey Minden (Nia's video director).

The next day, Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom) confirms that the meeting with Todrick was an unexpected invitation from Abby, but Holly still thinks Jill contributed to excluding a child. Jill wants the other moms to understand that she's been waiting four years for Kendall to have her moment to shine with Abby, and now that she is, she plans to enjoy it. In the end, all of the moms agree that they need to be united to defeat the MDP at this week's competition.

At the next ALDC rehearsal for "The Rose Garden," Abby gets a call from real estate agent Erica Taylor who reports, "You're about to be undergoing a lot of construction because you got the building!" This is, of course, referring to Abby's new studio in LA.

The ALDC arrives at the World Class Talent Experience venue. Upon entering their dressing room, they discover that someone has used a lipstick to write "Welcome to the West Coast, MDP" on a mirror. The moms find out that MDP is also Tweeting about beating ALDC. So, the moms, led by Jill, decide to visit the MDP in their dressing room. Erin chalks the social media posts up to her girls having high self-esteem. Jill says they're not raising their girls to say they want "to kick butt," but Erin proposes, "Maybe they should, and maybe then they would."

The competition begins. Maddie dances first with her "Dreams Come True" solo; she wears a gold two piece costume with an asymmetrical knee-length skirt. Keara goes next with her "Resurgence" solo; she wears a gold one-piece costume with a short skirt. Kalani is third with her "Innocent" solo; she wears a burgundy two-piece costume with chiffon streamers on the tush. All three girls give wonderful performances, but I like Kalani's choreo best.

The ALDC does their "The Rose Garden" routine in two-piece burgundy costumes festooned with leaves and roses, gorgeous matching headpieces and long fake nails representing thorns. The MDP follows with their "Passing Through Time" routine; they wear gold costumes with long white chiffon skirts and feather fascinators, and they have scenery that looks like a dressing room. Their long skirts move beautifully, but I think in this competition they would have been better served if the judges could see their legs. Both teams dance very well.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Overall Highest Scoring Solo Category, Keara gets 6th Place; Kalani is awarded 2nd Place; Maddie wins 1st Place. In the Small Group Category in the Advanced Division, MDP takes 3nd Place, the ALDC wins 1st Place. Jill asks, "Who's kicking whose booty now?"

Out in the lobby, Abby talks to the judges, and Erin stops by to introduce herself and ask Abby, "Do you guys always talk to the judges right after?" Then she says, "I thought your group was way better than the last time but, I don’t really agree with what the judges decided out there." Then, in a talking head interview, Erin says, "Abby is schmoozing the judges as if they're best friends, and I would just like to be able to compete on an even playing field. Next time were gonna come out harder and stronger."

Backstage, Erin tells the ALDC, "Good job you guys. I like that dance a lot better than last time," and then she says that she's "super-proud" of the MDP. Jill quips, "They looked good but they didn’t kick our butts," and Jessalynn (JoJo's mom) adds, "Not only did we kick their butts, but someone else did" (referring to the team that took 2nd Place).

One of the MDP moms tries to zap the ALDC with, "You guys have been doing the same routine for five years… different costumes, different song…," but Melissa shoots back, "I'd like for you to do over 400 routines in four years!"

Abby enters the room and Jill tells the MDP, "Our kids win because of that lady and their technique." When one of the MDP moms responds, "They win despite that lady," Abby just laughs and says, "Either way!"

The girls run into the dressing room and Abby congratulates, high-fives and air kisses them. Then she tells Kendall, "Tomorrow is your day to go for it. It could change your life. You could be the next Britney, the next Katy, or maybe even the first-ever Kendall K" ("K" is her middle initial). When no mention is made of Nia's video shoot, Holly tells the camera, "Thanks Abby for your encouraging words to Nia as you send her off to her first music video. Really appreciate that."

Next week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 16 titled "Video Killed the ALDC Star," it's the ALDC's last week in LA, and they participate in a competition judged by kids. Meanwhile, the tension between Jill (Kendall's mom) and Holly (Nia's mom) comes to a head as their daughters shoot music videos, and it reduces Holly to tears.

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

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Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2015