'Dance Moms' Recap, Season 3 Episode 10: All's Fair in Love and War - Abby Goes Speed Dating

Abby Lee Miller goes speed dating on season 3, episode 19 of Dance Moms

When we last saw Dance Moms, studio owner Abby lee Miller was mourning the loss of her beloved poodle Broadway Baby, and the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) was on the receiving end of Mama Drama when they ran into Black Patsy (Kaya Wiley) at a competition in St. Louis, MO.  If you missed it, you can read our recap here. This week the mood is lighter, and Abby has a good time when the Moms take her speed dating. All's not quite well though: Jill uninvites Christi from their girl's night out because Abby won’t participate if she she goes, and later, as stated in the show’s official description, “Jill tries to get Kendall private lessons so she can outshine Nia in their duet.”

The ALDC girls arrive for class. Abby congratulates them for winning last week in St. Louis, but says it wasn’t their best performance, and she chides Chloe for not doing the right choreography again (she has been corrected for this several times this season). Then Abby reveals the pyramid, her weekly ranking system for the dancers. From the bottom up it’s Paige (didn’t use her face), Kendall (didn’t stand out), Brooke (not a leader), Nia (third overall high score in competition last week), Mackenzie (overall high score Mini division), and at the top for the third week in a row, Maddie (high score for solos in her age division, highest scoring solo for the entire competition). Chloe is not on the pyramid; she’s been on probation for several weeks due to the fight her mom, Christi, had with Abby.

This week the ALDC is headed to the Xpression Dance Competition in Bernardsville, NJ, an area Abby describes as having strong dancers with killer costumes. There will be four ALDC numbers in this competition: the group number, a lyrical piece called “Your Dream is My Dream” (the number that was scrapped last week) – this routine features a male lead, Nick, and a female lead, Brooke; little Mackenzie is not in the group number, but has a contemporary solo called “Love is War”; Maddie has a lyrical solo called “Lifeline”; Nia and Kendall have a modern jazz duet called “Dig It”.

The dancelings rehearse the group number, and Abby explains that the piece is about a woman who is dying so she asks the man she loves to take care of her daughter. Upon hearing this, the Moms begin talking about first loves and wonder who Abby’s special guy was, and then they come up with the idea to take Abby speed dating. Down on the studio floor Abby can hear the Moms but can’t tell what they’re saying – she says she knows they’re “up to no good because they’re laughing and getting along”. Abby does a little booty-shaking happy dance by herself in the studio – it’s cute – and when the Moms see her they all laugh, and so does Abby. It’s a rare, lighthearted moment, and it suits them.

Jill invites Abby to dinner as a way to get her to the speed dating location, and Abby asks, “Are you hooking me up with some guy?”

The next day when Christi and Chloe are late for rehearsal, the Dance Moms wonder if she’s merely late, or if something else is up. They do arrive, and it turns out there was heavy traffic. I'm worried that Abby doesn’t flip out, because it means she’s probably saving it for a future fight. Hang in there, Chloe.

Abby runs Mackenzie’s solo, and when she's done the Moms tell her they want her to come to dinner “right now”, and they have a limo waiting. As they head out Abby jokes, “I’m not paying!”, and it seems like they are all going to have a fun girl's night out together, but then Abby refuses to go if Christi’s going. Jill delivers this news, and they all ditch Christi, who can’t believe that no-one stuck up for her.

The talk turns to what kind of men Abby likes. Turns out she fancies “a young George Clooney” (as opposed to the current George Clooney, because you know, ewwwww) who is worldly, speaks five languages, likes to live and eat and order one of everything on the menu. We find out that Abby is actually seeing someone, but she doesn’t say who. Still, she’s ready to meet some new guys. The speed dating begins and Abby asks the men questions like “Do you own your own tux?” and “How many times have you been to Disney World?”

There is a bartender named Chris who actually does have a tux and can tie a bow tie too; an insurance man named Karl whose Mom was a dance teacher; and a handsome former football player named Darryl. When Abby tells Darryl she has never dated a man of color, he says “You know what they say!”, and she looks under the table, but alas, he has pants on, and she responds, “I can hope”. The talk turns to sports and Abby reveals she’s “A 50-yard-line type of girl.” Darryl thinks she means she was a cheerleader, but Abby says, “No, I DID IT on the 50-yard-line”. La-la-la-fingers-in-my-ears-I’m not listening.


The next day Nia and Kendall practice their duet. Jill decides her daughter Kendall needs some extra help, so she sets up a private lesson with ALDC teacher Gianna. Jill says the lesson is about "personal growth", but Holly thinks her daughter Nia should be included. While this is going on, the Moms gossip about Abby and say that the boyfriend she referred to earlier is a gay man in Los Angeles. Abby tell the dancers she thinks he should give her a ring, and she tells them about speed dating. This is a strange episode.

On the day of the competition in Bernardsville, Abby is nervous to be back in New Jersey, a state that has hosted a few bad luck moments for ALDC, including Abby’s infamous meltdown in season 2 when Maddie forgot her choreography and ran off stage, which led to Abby being distraught and fleeing the competition in tears. That happened in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Nia has a bad cough – you can hear it rumbling in her chest. Abby expresses genuine concern, then calls Maddie over and tells her to get Kendall to show her the dance in case Nia isn’t well enough to perform. Then Abby tells Jill Nia is sick, and it seems like Jill is all smiles. Holly hears this from the other room, and is annoyed, saying it’s “totally inappropriate to discuss my child’s health with another parent”. Jill tells Abby she’d rather have Kendall do the duet as a solo instead of putting Maddie out there with her, but it doesn’t matter, because Nia is determined to perform.

The competition begins. Mackenzie is cute in a two-piece costume and pigtails for her “Love is War” solo. She looks good out there, and just like it’s obvious how far Nia has come along over the course of three seasons, you can really see the strides Mackenzie has made as a dancer and performer.

While on a bathroom run, Jill bumps into Gianna, and once again asks her run the duet with Kendall. A private lesson at home base is one thing, but to run a duet with just one person moments before they take the stage at a competition is another. Jill should have gone to get Nia. Backstage Abby tells Holly not to blame Gianna, that the private lessons were the result of Jill being “pushy”. But then Abby plays both sides of the fence by asking Jill, “Why are the other moms more important than your own child? You shouldn’t give a darn what Holly thinks.”

Nia and Kendall finally get to perform for the judges, and do their “Dig It” duet in hard hats and use shovels as a prop. The girls are good (Nia’s facial expression in the final pose is adorable) and the idea is cute, but the choreography is unremarkable. Maddie wears a pretty white two-piece skirted outfit and a tiara for her “Lifeline” solo, and she does a wonderful job.

The Moms talk backstage, and Christi says she was humiliated that Jill made her get out of the limo when they took Abby speed dating, and says Jill will do anything to make Kendall look better in Abby’s eyes. Kelly points out that they aren’t acting like a team. I think this scene may be laying the groundwork for Mama Drama in future episodes.

We see snippets of some of the group numbers, including one team that filled the stage with dozens of dancers performing in unison – they look really cool. ALDC does their “Your Dream Will be Mine” routine in white swan-like ballet costumes, except for Nick, who wears black pants and a white shirt. It’s a strong, dramatic piece and they give a lovely performance, but it looks a bit dated compared to the flash of the large group that was shown before them. I wonder if there were other groups in ALDC’s division with a similar style?

It’s award time, and boy does this emcee go through them quickly. In the Elite Mini Solo Division, Mackenzie wins second place. In the Elite Junior Solo Division, Maddie takes second place. For Elite Junior Duet or Trio, Nia and Kendall get fifth place. In the Small Group Division, ALDC is awarded second place.

Abby arrives backstage and says she doesn't want to be nasty, but she does express her disappointment. She thinks some of them need a break, that sisters Mackenzie and Maddie needed to be “knocked down a peg”, and that they all need to ask themselves if they love to dance and want dance as a career. She says she loves all of her dancers, but doesn’t love what happened at this competition, and then she leaves.

Do you think Jill was right to get Kendall a private lesson for the duet routine? Who is Abby's mystery man? Young George Clooney or current, completely unattractive, ancient George Clooney? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

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Next Tuesday Dance Moms airs earlier than normal, with a special two-hour episode beginning at 8/7c on Lifetime.

Photo credit: Lifetime via Facebook.

Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013