Dance Moms Recap S5 E20 Down Under, Part 1

The cast of Dance Moms on the red carpet at the ASTRA Awards in Australia
The cast of Dance Moms on the red carpet at the ASTRA Awards in Australia
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller announced that the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) would be traveling to Australia. This week on season 5, episode 20 titled "Dance Moms Down Under, Part 1," the team arrives in Sydney and prepares for their performance at the ASTRA Awards, but Abby is stuck in the U.S. because she loses her passport. In addition to that drama, Abby schedules the team for additional appearances in Australia but excludes two of the girls, Nia Frazier and JoJo Siwa. Also, the adults on Dance Moms really like the word "s--t."

As S5 E20 "Dance Moms Down Under Part 1" opens, Abby arrives at the airport in LA to catch a flight to Australia, but a crisis quickly unfolds when she discovers she's lost her passport, driver's license, credit cards, etc. The ALDC is traveling separately from Abby, and they arrive in Sydney without incident. Jill (Kendall Vertes' mom) explains that they are there to perform at the ASTRA Awards, an equivalent to the USA's Emmy Awards.

Melissa (Mackenzie and Maddie Ziegler's mom) calls Abby and puts her on speaker phone, and Abby suggests that since she won't arrive until the day of the show, they should scrap the team dance and have Maddie do the show as a soloist. She also says that Maddie is the only one with an actual invitation to perform. When Holly (Nia Frazier's mom) protests, Abby snaps, "I'm not putting up with your s--t anymore, that's the way it's gonna be." Well, wow.

Abby tells the camera she invited Maddie, Mackenzie, Kendall and Kalani to Australia,  but not Nia and JoJo – they decided to tag along – and she has no plans for them to perform beyond the ASTRA awards. In a talking head interview, Holly reveals that she hasn't told the other moms yet, but she asked Mikey Minden (Nia's music video director) to join them in Australia to help her arrange singing appearances for Nia. Meanwhile, Jessalynn (JoJo Siwa's mom) tells the team that when she looked into bookings for her daughter, she discovered that Dance Moms has a lot of negative press in Australia, and there's even a dance community petition against Abby being there.

Abby's assistant choreographer, Gianna "Gia" Martello, teaches the team the "Bulletproof, Baby" routine they'll be doing at ASTRA. Abby calls Melissa, who once again puts Abby on speaker phone. When Jill tells Abby that Jessalynn said they're getting negative press, Abby threatens to cut JoJo from the ASTRA performance. Jess responds, "JoJo's already in the number. I don't think you're taking her out of the number." Abby then says, "You want to crawl up my ass and teach your kid how to kiss it a little bit better?" Jess tells her that's "inappropriate" and reminds her that the girls can hear her, but Abby says, "Well, that's okay. I think your daughter should know that's what you do." As the scene ends, Abby orders an off-camera crew person, "Why don't you get the light out of my face."

The moms go to lunch, and Jessalynn informs them that when the team was in Ireland, their daughters (except for Nia) said mean things about JoJo on camera, and she shows them the video. Kira (Kalani Hilliker's mom) says the kids didn't say anything ABOUT JoJo that they didn't already say TO JoJo, and Jessalynn tells her, "You're the first one to not give a s--t, I know that." Melissa chalks it up to the girls teasing each other: "It's not a mean girl thing, it's just a kid thing."

With one day until the ASTRA awards, the team has another rehearsal, but Maddie is missing because she's filling in for Abby at an interview. Soooo, the moms gossip about Maddie: Kira says she's "not showing any growth", and Jessalynn says she's "plateaued." Jill disagrees and tells the camera, "So what if Abby has put Maddie in a box, look what that kid has done. Everybody around the world knows her, and every child wants to be her." Later, Melissa says, "That's really nice that you talk trash about my daughter" and "Maddie's just starting her career."

Abby finally makes it to Australia on the day of the ASTRAs; Melissa meets her at the airport and fills her in on the routine. When Abby gets to the hotel, all of the moms are waiting for her in her room (how weird is that?). Holly informs her that Nia has a singing gig in Melbourne. Abby warns her not to use the Abby Lee Dance Company name.

Abby arrives at the final ASTRA rehearsal and gets to see the routine for the first time. Jessalynn says she's "an idiot" for showing up in curlers. "She put a frickin' bracelet on and six curlers in her hair," Jess tells Holly, and they giggle.

The ALDC walks the ASTRA red carpet. At first, the press only wants to discuss Maddie and Sia (Maddie became globally famous after starring in three Sia videos). When the attention briefly turns to Nia, she says, "After hearing about Maddie and Sia for the last 30 minutes, I finally get to hear something about my music video, this is SO exciting."

In the greenroom, the moms discuss the fact that after the awards, Maddie, Mackenzie, Kendall and Kalani have bookings without Nia and JoJo. Melissa instructs Holly and Jessalynn, "I just want to tell you, don't show up tomorrow… I don’t want trouble. We have paying customers coming to see our kids… It would look really bad for us to have an argument there." Holly and JoJo have no intention of showing up, but in a talking head interview Holly admits, "It's one thing to hear this kind of nonsense from Abby about exclusion, but now to have the other moms chime in and basically carry on her battle cry? Hurtful."

The ALDC takes the stage at the ASTRA Awards, and they are introduced as "the sensational Maddie Ziegler and the girls from the Abby Lee Dance Company." During the routine, Maddie falls out of a turn, but afterward, Abby only gives corrections to JoJo and Nia and doesn't mention Maddie at all. Jill does though – she tells Maddie not to be sad, and says the team is only in Australia because of her. Melissa and Maddie both say she's not sad, but then Maddie runs into the bathroom and cries. Melissa says, "Maddie's a perfectionist, she always tries to out on a brave face, but that just got to her, Jill got to her, of course. Jill always tells me to be quiet and not say anything when Kendall messes up, so she should shut her face."

Abby cautions the team, "Just remember that with stardom, with fame, with recognizability, comes responsibility and pressure and being perfect all the time. You never know when your star's gonna end, you gotta ride the wave."

Next week on season 5, episode 21 titled "Dance Moms Down Under, Part 2". Abby clashes with Jessalynn and Kira (who says she "doesn't give a s--t"), and Nia performs her "Star in Your Own Life" single at a live appearance.

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

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Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015