Dance Moms Recap S5 E17 Showdown in Pittsburgh, Part 1: Nia's Video Premiere

Nia Frazier premiered her Star in Your Own Life video on Dance Moms season 5 episode 17
Nia Frazier premiered her "Star in Your Own Life" video on Dance Moms

Previously on Dance Moms, Abby Lee Miller and her Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) were in LA, and Jill Vertes and Holly Frazier ramped up the mama drama while their daughters – Kendall K and Nia Frazier, respectively – shot music videos. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 17 titled "Showdown in Pittsburgh, Part 1," Abby and the team are back in Pittsburgh, PA; Holly plans a premiere party for Nia's "Star in Your Own Life" video; and the ALDC prepares to compete against two rivals: Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, owner of the Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC), and Jeanette Cota, owner of the Broadway Dance Academy (and mom of former ALDC Select Team member Ava Cota).

As Dance Moms S5 E17 opens, the ALDC is back home in Pittsburgh, PA, before making a permanent move to LA (next season). Melissa (mom to Mackenzie and Maddie Ziegler) laments, "This is our last Pittsburgh pyramid." In a talking head interview, Abby says, " I have taken these kids from right here in my hometown and led them to national victories for five competition seasons. This might just be our last competition here."

Holly announces the premiere party for Nia's "Star in Your Own Life" video and invites the team, but Abby isn't thrilled that Holly scheduled the party for the same date that the ALDC will be attending the JUMP Dance Convention (an event with classes, competitions, scholarship opportunities, etc). Next, Abby announces that the team will be traveling to Australia where she and assistant choreographer Gianna "Gia" Martello will teach a master class and the ALDC will have a showcase.

Abby reveals her pyramid, the ALDC's leaderboard. It is usually based on the previous week's competition results and events (if you missed last week read my recap for Dance Moms S5 E16 "Video Killed the ALDC Star") , and it goes from the bottom, up:
Kendall Vertes: at the bottom because she cried backstage.
Mackenzie Ziegler: didn't perform (under the weather).
Nia Frazier: needs higher relevé, lengthened limbs.
JoJo Siwa: praised for her performance.
Kalani Hilliker: Abby wants her to take more leadership.
Maddie Ziegler: performed at the Grammys with Sia.

This week, the ALDC has a packed schedule: in addition to attending JUMP, they'll be in the Starbound National Talent Competition. Kendall and Kalani will have solos; the group will do a contemporary routine called "No Sign of Life." They'll be competing against two of Abby's rivals: Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC), and Jeanette Cota and her Broadway Dance Academy (BDA). Jeanette and her daughter Ava were members of the ALDC Select Team in season 4, but Abby dismissed them in Dance Moms S4 E26 "No More Crybabies," and again in Dance Moms S4 E30 "Hollywood Here We Come, Part 1".

While the team rehearses, the moms observe from their loft. Holly is excited to get a call from Mikey Minden (Nia's video director) so she discusses it a bit, and that annoys Jill because she wants everyone to focus on the team and not on individuals. "Kendall has a music video coming out soon too," says Jill [it's called Wear 'Em out"], "but you don't hear me blabbing about it all the time. I'm loyal to the team and their needs. Holly used to be, but she's not anymore." An argument almost erupts, but Melissa diffuses it by saying, "Let's move on from that because we have a big week. "

Meanwhile, Cathy and her Candy Apples are in Pittsburgh (their home base is Canton, Ohio). Cathy takes daughter Vivi-Anne out for ice cream, and tells her that the new group dance is about her recently becoming a US citizen. Cathy says it would have been easy to get Vivi-Anne's citizenship when she was first adopted, but she wanted her to be old enough to hold the American flag and know what it meant. It's very sweet. Later at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio where the CADC is rehearsing (back in the day, my Mother was a dance teacher for Arthur Murray), Cathy tells the team that Vivi-Anne will be in the group number, a contemporary piece called "The Patriot." She also reveals that years ago Abby chastised her because at the time, Vivi didn’t know she was adopted.

Back in Abby-land, Holly calls Jeanette (they're friends!), who is also using the Arthur Murray studio for her Broadway Dance Academy rehearsals, and invites her to Nia's premiere party. While they're talking, Cathy stops by, and Holly tells Jeanette to invite her to Nia's event. Jill gripes, "We hate Cathy, and we tolerate Jeanette. She cares more about filling the room for Nia's premiere than what she should be focused on, and that's beat Cathy, and beat Jeanette."

Mikey Minden sends Holly a link to the latest edit of Nia's video, and she leaves the room to watch it in private. While she's gone, the moms discuss how Holly and Nia have always been conservative, so they're surprised by the stills from Nia's video (posted on social media) that show her in uncharacteristically mature clothing and makeup.

The girls rehearse their solos. At the ALDC studio, Kalani's practice is uneventful, but Kendall struggles to please Abby. Over at Arthur Murray, Ava Cota tells her teammates about her contemporary solo called "Hurtful Words." According to Ava, it's about things Abby has said to her and to "all of the students that she's pretty much had, other than Maddie."

At the ALDC studio, Abby makes an announcement: "I want everyone here to know that I am opening a branch in Los Angeles… I'm not closing, I'm not going anywhere, the Abby Lee Dance Company and this dance studio will remain here forever… The thing is, the opportunities are there and if I don't strike while the iron is hot it's never gonna happen, so I have to go and I have to do this and give it a shot, you know. And if I fail, I tried."

While the girls work with Gianna, Abby stops by the mom's loft and the talk turns to Nia's video. Abby admits she wasn't thrilled with the photos from Nia's shoot, and doesn't like that Nia danced with men in their underwear. When Holly points out that Maddie also danced with a man in his underwear (Shia LaBeouf in Sia's video for "Elastic Heart), Jill says, "I don't think you can compare Nia's video to Sia's… Nia doesn't have the name that Sia does." Later, Holly tells Nia, "Because it [her video] looks so strong and so good, I think it has some people a little upset. You might hear things from other people and for whatever reason why they're saying what they're saying, it's not about you."

Finally, it's Nia's big day. The ALDC moms show up (it seems that JoJo is the only teammate there and the rest of the girls stayed at the Jump Convention) for the premiere party, as do Cathy and Jeanette. Abby arrives just in time to see the video, and afterward, Nia thanks her family and then says, "I have to thank my dance teacher, Miss Abby, because she is the reason why I'm dancing and if I wasn't dancing, then I wouldn't be here." Then, Nia's father calls Abby to the stage. She says, "I just want to congratulate Nia and her family for job well done, amazing work, and I'm glad to see her dancing in it. Nia, I'm going to tell you something that I tell all my students: you are moving into the professional world, this is just the beginning."

Later, Abby states, "I thought the video was dynamic and slick. It was good, but I was a little disappointed the video is based on her song, and the song is "Star in Your own Life." That didn't seem like Nia's own life, it seemed like somebody's contrived life they want Nia to have."

As Dance Moms season 5, episode 17 "Showdown in Pittsburgh, Part 1" closes, Holly says she specifically scheduled the party for when there was a break in the girls' schedules at JUMP, so she doesn't understand why they didn't come. "I don't know if they're mad, jealous or what, but something is definitely going on."

Next week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 18 titled "Showdown in Pittsburgh, Part 2," Jill and Holly argue, Jill and Cathy argue, and it seems that some of the ALDC members are late for the competition against the Candy Apples and Broadway Dance Company.


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

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Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2015