|L to R: Nia Frazier and Kendall Vertes, stars of Dance Moms on Lifetime|
Previously on Dance Moms, Abby Lee Miller and the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) were victorious in their rematch with Erin Babbs and the Murrieta Dance Project. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 16 titled "Video Killed the ALDC Star," the ALDC spends their last week in LA in a competition judged by kids, and the ongoing tension between Holly (Nia Frazier's mom) and Jill (Kendall Vertes' mom) comes to a head as both of their daughters shoot music videos, one produced by Abby (Kendall), and one not (Nia).
Dance Moms S5 E16 "Video Killed the ALDC Star" opens with Abby on set at the "Kendall K" ("K" is her middle initial) video shoot for "Wear 'Em Out." Abby tells Jill that Holly made her bed (having someone besides Abby produce Nia's video) and now she has to lie in it. In a talking head interview Jill states, "Kendall has 100% of Abby's attention right now. Nia could have had that too, but she chose to go with Aubrey O'Day. That was her choice."
We only get glimpses of the video shoot, but it looks like an ALDC routine with Kendall singing [I mean that as a compliment]. Kendall and her female backup dancers (her older sisters, Ryleigh and Charlotte, along with Kalani Hilliker, Payton Ackerman and Addison Moffett) wear olive green military-inspired costumes, and they are joined by a troupe of male backup dancers wearing grey sweat suits.
The next day at 3rd Street Dance (the ALDC's temporary studio), Abby reveals her pyramid, the leaderboard she uses for the team. It is usually based on the previous week's competition and goes from the bottom, up (if you missed last week read my recap for Dance Moms S5 E15 "Maddie vs. Kalani").
Bottom Row: JoJo Siwa didn't stand out in the group routine; Mackenzie Ziegler hasn't done much on this LA trip.
Middle Row: Nia Frazier and Kalani Hilliker both stood out in the group number.
Top Row: Kendall Vertes elevated herself at video shoot; Maddie Ziegler was the high scoring winner and soloist.
After pyramid, Abby announces that Maddie will be performing with Sia at the Grammy Awards (they did "Chandelier" with actress Kristin Wiig on February 8, 2015). Then, Abby assigns this week's competition routines: Kendall will do a jazz solo called "This is Major"; JoJo will do a contemporary solo called "Straighten Up" and she'll be wearing straight jacket. The group will do a lyrical routine called "Platinum." Abby informs the team that Mackenzie won't be performing because she's not feeling well, and then she tells them about the Dance Kids USA competition they'll be in this week – it's judged by kids.
While the girls learn the group number, the moms talk about the videos. Jill giggles about being Abby's new "BFF" and says she's excited for Nia's video (her "Star in Your Own Life" video is scheduled for the next day), but after Holly elaborates about clothing for the shoot and using Katy Perry's hair stylist, Jill tells the camera she thinks Holly is namedropping to shove it in her face.
When Abby sends the girls on a water break, Nia approaches her and asks, "Do you think you'll be able to make it to my video tomorrow? I really want you to be there." Abby responds, "Well you should have wanted me at the beginning in the recording of the song. I'm your manager and you just flushed all that down the toilet like it was nothing, like 'Who needs that, I got this.'" Nia offers, "I don’t really think of it as that," but Abby says, "I do, I do." Nia tells her, "We have different opinions then," but Abby counters, "No, there's right and wrong. You went to a meeting, it is what it is, you sold out." Again, Nia says, "I don’t think of it as that, and I don’t think other people do either," but Abby disagrees: "I think every single kid thought you sold out." Holly is incensed, and says Abby is just trying to get inside of Nia's head because she's worried Nia's video will be better than Kendall's. Afterward, Holly offers to talk to Abby, but it's not necessary; Nia is fine with agreeing to disagree.
At Nia's shoot, Mikey Minden encourages Nia to post photos of the shoot on social media, and Aubrey arrives with a giant floral arrangement for her protégé. When Nia leaves the room, Holly tells Aubrey that Abby hasn't been supportive of Nia, and Aubrey says that after seeing Abby's true colors she "can't stand her." In a voiceover, Holly says Abby's behavior is going to earn her enemies in the music industry. Holly also admits to being nervous because Nia's music career has cost her her relationship with Abby, so if the video isn't successful it's all been for nothing. WE don't think she needs to worry – from the brief bits shown on this episode, Nia's video appears slick and professional, and she looks like she's having the time of her life.
When the moms show Abby photos posted from Nia's shoot, she's unhappy with how they've changed Nia's image [in my opinion her hair and makeup are stunning, but they do make her look much older]. Abby says, "I guess I'm not her manager anymore." Then, they find an Instagram from Aubrey that reads, "ON SET w my lil baby @nia_sioux5 & her dancers KILLING any music vid ever released on @dancemoms. @therealabbylee #TeamNia." Jill wonders, "How am I supposed to shield Kendall from seeing this? If Holly was so concerned about Abby getting into Nia's head, then why did she go ahead and let Aubrey do this to my kid, and right before competition? It's not right."
Abby invites the team to see her brand new (but still unfinished when this episode was shot) LA studio. While Abby shows the girls around, the moms hang out front and Holly talks about her "magnificent" day at Nia's shoot. Melissa (Mackenzie and Maddie Ziegler's mom) asks Holly if she saw Aubrey's post, and she answers, "No." Holly also says that Jill talking about it (Aubrey's post) and bringing negativity to it (Nia's video) is the result of jealousy. "Just like you weren't taking responsibility for Abby, I'm not taking responsibility for Aubrey." [This is most likely referring to last week's meeting with Kendall's video director, Todrick Hall – Abby didn't invite Nia, and Jill and Holly argued about it.]
Abby arrives in the middle of the discussion and adds, "The silver lamé and the heels were a little much for me, personally." Holly responds, "You know what? It's nothing more than someone dancing in a nude body suit [obviously referring to Maddie's costume in the Sia videos]." Abby is incredulous and asks, "Oh. So we're comparing that to "Chandelier"?" Holly says the moms aren't happy for Nia, and she sits in her car and cries.
Competition day arrives. While the girls get ready, Holly talks to Aubrey on the phone and reports, "it hasn't been the smoothest of sailing, coming back to the competition team. People are saying I was boasting and bragging and that I posted too much… they took something so positive and made it into something so negative." Aubrey advises her, "That's what haters do" and "Don't let anyone steal your joy. "
The competition begins. JoJo is up first with her "Straighten Up" solo; she wears a straight jacket and black trunks. It's extremely difficult to dance with restrained arms, and JoJo does an amazing job (thankfully she gets to free her arms about a third of the way in; I was worried she'd fall).
Kendall is next with her "This is It" solo; she wears a red drum major-inspired costume and she has a large baton as a prop. It's a cute routine, but I think she's capable of tougher choreography. Backstage, Kendall cries because she messed up (parts that were only obvious if you knew the choreo), and she worries about what Abby will say. "Abby's expecting me to win today, but I'm pretty sure I just blew it." When Abby sees Kendall's reaction she warns her, "If you cry you're doing a thousand push-ups." When Abby says Jill is making Kendall crazy, Kendall replies, "It was everything, everybody pressures me." Abby tells her to "suck it up."
The ALDC takes the stage for their "Platinum" routine; they wear knee-length white dresses and headpieces with CDs in them. Their choreography is pretty and their timing is very good.
The awards ceremony begins. In the Junior Solo Division, Kendall gets 5th Place; JoJo doesn't place. In the Overall Small Group Awards, the ALDC wins 1st Place. Offstage, JoJo is teary and says that she disappointed Abby and assistant choreographer Gianna "Gia" Martello. However, in the dressing room Abby compliments JoJo with, "I liked the routine. I thought it was wonderful and I thought you did a great job, so my opinion differs from those three judges on that." Then she tells Kendall, "You can't show fatigue… I've had many favorites throughout the years, BUT, with that, comes responsibility and comes pressure."
In a talking head interview Abby tells the camera, "This was a high pressure week for the entire team and all of us felt it, especially the moms. What's ironic is the girls are the ones who kept it together while the moms, well, they almost lost their minds. Maybe the next time we’re back, I'll leave them at home."
Next week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 17 titled "Showdown in Pittsburgh, Part 1," the ALDC is back in their hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, and they compete against two of Abby's rivals: Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, owner of the Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC), and Jeanette Cota (mom of former ALDC Select Team member Ava Cota).
Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime.
Photos courtesy of Lifetime.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2015