Dance Moms Recap S5 E22 Summer Premiere: Live From LA, It's Kendall K

The cast of Lifetime TV's Dance Moms
The cast of Lifetime TV's Dance Moms

Previously on Dance Moms, Abby Lee Miller and her Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) were on tour in Australia where Nia Frazier (aka Nia Sioux) made her triumphant live debut singing "Star in Your Own Life." This week on Dance Moms Summer Premiere (season 5, episode 22) "Live From LA, It's Kendall K," the ALDC is back in the USA, but not in their Pittsburgh, PA hometown; they have officially moved to Los Angeles where Abby is opening ALDC-LA. Abby's lack of attention frustrates the team – she's busy working on her new studio and doesn't attend their competition – but she does make time to emcee the video premiere for "Wear 'Em Out" by Kendall Vertes (aka Kendall K).

As Dance Moms S5 E22 "Live From LA, It's Kendall K" opens, the team reports to 3rd Street Dance, their temporary home in LA. They expect Abby to unveil her pyramid (the ranking system she uses for the ALDC), and she does, but not before she dumps her Prada purse onto the studio floor because she won't film without the silver earrings she thinks she threw in the bag. It's a huge pile of papers, pills (or perhaps Good & Plenty), a fingernail, a loose cookie… Holly says, "LA does not bring out the best in Abby, it just brings out the crazy."

Finally, Abby reveals the pyramid, as usual, from the bottom up:
Kalani Hilliker: missed a rehearsal to take a personal day.
JoJo Siwa: was talking at the ASTRA Awards.
Mackenzie Ziegler: needs to work on her feet and flexibility.
Kendall Vertes: did a great job, gave 100%.
Nia Frazier: was outstanding at her live singing debut.
Maddie Ziegler: is humble and always includes her team.

This week the ALDC will be attending an Energy Dance Competition, and much to the moms' dismay, Abby will not be present for the event. Kalani will do a lyrical/acrobatic solo called "Unbeauty"; Nia will do a contemporary solo called "Master of Disguise"; Kendall will do a solo called "Just an Illusion," and Abby has scheduled the premiere of her video for "Wear 'Em Out."

The group will do a contemporary piece called "Shame on You." At first Abby doesn't tell the team what the routine is about, but then makes it known: "The concept of this whole dance is, you were a team, but we have a traitor who went and did her own thing and didn't do what the team was doing."

Abby is, of course, referring to the fact that when Abby cut Nia (and JoJo Siwa) from the team's activities in Australia, Holly invited Mikey Minden (Nia's video director) to join them "Down Under" to produce Nia's live debut singing "Star in Your Own Life" (the song Aubrey O'Day wrote for Nia). Whatevs. Nia's gave a brilliant performance, and shame on anyone who would try to tarnish that.

Anyway, when Nia objects and says it was because she wasn't invited to team activities, Abby shoots back that the team wasn't invited to her recording session (if you missed the episode with Nia's debut in Australia, read my recap for Dance Moms S5 E21 "Down Under, Part 2").  Naturally, Holly is incensed that Abby has "manipulated the truth." It is perplexing that Abby would praise Nia's performance during pyramid, then punish her during this routine.

While Kendall rehearses her "Just an Illusion" solo (as in illusionist - the theme is magic), Abby says she wants to stick a needle or her pen ("even though it's kinda dull") in Kendall's heel to make her relevé. Then, when Kendall is teary-eyed from foot pain Abby tells her to "suck it up." Jill agrees with Abby, and reminds Kendall that the reason they left their family and came to LA is to do great things. This is surprising to me, because Abby is tough on the girls, but she normally expresses more concern when there is pain or injury.

While the team waits for Kendall's video premiere, the girls meet with the crowd, take selfies, etc. Abby intros Kendall, the crowd goes wild, and the video for "Wear 'Em Out" plays on a giant screen. The video has an 80s feel to it, and Kendall looks beautiful in it.

The next day in rehearsal the girls go over their solos, and it seems that Nia's "Master of Disguise" routine in which she wears two masks is yet another dig, supposedly referring to her being two-faced. Along with that, that moms discuss how Abby being preoccupied with planning her new studio is affecting the team and leaving them unprepared for this week's competition: Kendall has no magician's hat, Nia has no mask, and the team as a whole isn’t ready. When Kalani practices her solo, Abby is busy with paperwork. Holly says, "I think it's really difficult to pull off a win when your leader doesn’t care."

Competition day arrives, and as expected, Abby does not attend. Jill (Kendall's mom) says, "Every time we come here she starts this crazy s—t," and Holly adds, "Abby is consistently crazy in LA." (for background info on why the moms are saying this, read my recap for Dance Moms S5 E5, "Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby").

Kalani competes first; she wears a diaphanous pink costume. Despite the fact that she forgets part of her routine, she covers it well and gives an elegant performance. Nia is next; she wears a costume that recalls The Blue Man Group. She's nervous because she hasn't had a chance to rehearse with the masks, and one does fall off early in her number, but like Kalani, she still delivers a wonderful performance. Both dancers think they would have done better if Abby spent more time with them. The ALDC wears pretty blue two-piece costumes for their group number; they do a great job and their timing is very good.

Meanwhile, Abby has Kendall's costume, and since she's not attending the competition and not answering Jill's calls, Kendall doesn't compete. Jill says, "This was supposed to be Kendall's week, Kendall's time to shine, and Abby blew it for her." Later in the episode Holly asks, "How do we trust her as a manager when she can't even provide the basics? How do you trust she can do anything else?"

The awards ceremony begins. In the Teen Solo Division, Nia earns 5th Place; Kalani wins 1st Place. In the Junior Small Group Division: the ALDC wins 1st Place. Kalani calls Abby to fill her in on the results, and then Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom) talks to her and says, "We missed you... you didn’t think you needed to be here." Abby responds, "I train my kids to win, whether I'm an hour away or a million miles away. Doesn't matter."

Next, Abby asks to speak to Kira (Kalani's mom). When she goes on and on about the reasons she wasn't at the competition – business, exhaustion, health issues – the moms thinks it's a bunch of excuses. Jill asks, "At this point, who needs this crap?" As Dance Moms S5 E22 closes, Kira puts the phone down on the table and they all leave while Abby is still talking.

Nest week on Dance Moms S5 E23 titled "Maddie vs, Mackenzie," the Ziegler sister compete head-to-head in the same age division, and Abby brings in a guest choreographer to teach the ALDC a routine inspired by voguing.


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

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Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2015