'Dance Moms' Season 3 Tell-All, Part One Reunion Recap: Abby vs. Cathy

Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms
Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms

On the Dance Moms season 3, episode 19 reunion show titled “Tell-All, Part One”, Executive Producer Jeff Collins sits down with Abby Lee Miller and the Moms for a behind-the-scenes look at the first half of this year’s dramatic run. Christi and Kelly talk about their friendship and their falling out, which leads to discussion of Christi and her daughter Chloe, and their suspension from the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC). Abby gets so angry she leaves the stage! This reunion has its lighter moments too: the cast answers audience questions, and the dancelings from the ALDC perform. Dance Moms "Tell-All Part Two" will air next week, then according to our sources at Lifetime, the second half of Dance Moms season 3 will begin on June 4, 2013.

Before the Dance Moms "Tell-All, Part One" reunion show airs, there is another new one-hour episode called “The Mother of All Specials”, in which Abby Lee Miller introduces her mother, Maryen Lorrian Miller. They talk about how Mrs. Miller, a dance teacher herself, trained many successful dancers and how having a great physique led to her having an interesting job as a leg model in a department store window at age 15, a job that could have gotten her thrown out of Catholic school. We hear a funny story about how when Abby was a little girl she would purposely get lost in stores so she could hear her name over the loudspeaker. We hear a less endearing story about how Abby was named after the prettiest woman her father ever dated; Abby’s mom Maryen must be a saint.

Executive Producer Jeff Collins opens the Dance Moms "Tell-All Part One" reunion show by mentioning how well Abby did as a co-host on The View, and says she “held her own.” Abby says it’s because she “sells people dreams every day.”

Then Jeff moves on to some of the unpleasant moments from season 3, like when Dance Dad Rick yelled in Abby's face. Abby responds, “I was verbally assaulted. Let’s get it straight.” Jeff also brings up another incident that happened in the same episode, when Abby’s nemesis Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, owner of the Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC) hit her with a purse, and Abby states, “I was physically assaulted by Cathy.”

Next Jeff and Abby play a word association game: he says a name; Abby says the first thing that comes to her mind.

Jeff: “Kelly.”
Abby: “Foolish.”

Jeff: “Christi.”
Abby: “Evil.”

Jeff: “Melissa.”
Abby: “Sly like a fox.”

Jeff: “Chloe’s hat.”
Abby: “Death.”
Me and the audience: “Oooooooh!”

Jeff: “Apple Corps.”
Abby: “Plagiarism.”

Jeff: “Cathy’s purse.”
Abby: “Heavy. Sharp. Hurtful. Bludgeoning.”

The Dance Moms, who are watching from the greenroom, also play along. Christi asks them for one word to describe Abby. Holly says, “Mean”, and Jill tells her, “You stole mine.” Then Christi adds a word of her own: “Vindictive.”

Jeff changes the subject and asks Abby about how she felt about Maddie and Mackenzie’s mom Melissa siding against her with the other Moms this season. Abby says she thinks Melissa is respectful, but that Melissa just wanted to fit in. She says the fact that Melissa chose that over putting her daughter’s best interests at heart was disappointing to her.

Melissa comes out on stage and kisses Abby, who like the other cast members, was not invited to her wedding. Melissa says the wedding wasn’t a secret, but that Greg – her husband – didn’t want to get married on national TV. Abby says Greg should do what Melissa tells him to do. Melissa says he does everything she asks him to and more.

An audience member asks Melissa if she bought the “perfect dress” she found during the episode when the Dance Moms all went to a bridal salon. She says “No”, because it would have been silly to wear it in her living room, which is where her wedding took place, but that she did buy a different dress at the same shop.

Then another audience member asks how siding with the other Moms affected her relationship with Abby, and she says she “lost a lot of sleep over it.” The next question is how things are with the other moms “now that Maddie is back on top?” From backstage Paige and Brooke’s mom Kelly says, “No-one gives a @#$% about Maddie being on top,” and all the moms agree that Maddie was never not on the top anyway.

Melissa’s answer is that, “Maddie is Abby’s favorite and it’s clear,” but Abby chimes in and says they all have the ability to be the favorite, but that they don’t step up to the plate.

Jeff shifts the dialog to Holly. They talk about how Abby likes to critique Holly’s wardrobe, then Holly comes out and admits, “As much as I wanted to resist Abby and her advice, there was some good constructive criticism.” Then they talk about when Holly called Abby a “monstrosity of evil. “ Abby didn’t like it when it happened on the episode, but now says, “At least it was a good tagline.”

Holly’s question from the audience is that if Nia’s pain disorder (RND) is caused by stress, does she think competitive dance is the best environment for her? Holly answers that Nia is going to have to learn to deal with stress in life, that Nia is not limited by her disorder, and that she’s a “tough cookie.” Then someone asks Holly since she always asks Nia to rate her pain from 1-10, where does the pain Abby causes Holly fall on that scale. Holly answers that “it varies by the day.”

Next Brooke performs an acro solo called “The Animals Know” in a two-piece orange print costume with black trim.

Then Abby gets a question from the audience. A self-proclaimed "Dance Dad" with two daughters asks if Abby “…really feels that Kelly isn’t very bright?” Abby answers, “Yes absolutely,” and says Kelly threw away her future because she always wants to have fun, and that she’s doing with her daughters now. Abby points out that life is. “way more competitive now” than when Kelly was a kid.

Kelly comes out and Jeff asks her if it was hard to watch Paige and Brooke struggle after they returned to Abby’s studio (after the walkout). Paige says, “Every mom wants their kid to be a favorite or be treated well,” and says it’s been difficult but she’s just trying to keep her mouth shut.

The talk turns to the fight between Kelly and her BFF on the show, Christi. Kelly says she did call, three times, and that if Christi wanted to talk to her she could have answered the phone. Christi comes out and they go back and forth over whether Kelly did or didn’t call.

Then they move on to the fateful moment when Christi and her daughter left the ALDC. Christi says they left because after Chloe dropped her hat on stage during a group number, she knew Abby was going to come into the dressing room and read her the riot act, so they left. Abby says part of the problem was that Chloe messed up the whole turning section during that number. Abby also adds that Kendall beats Chloe in competitions. Christi says, “Abby came back with a vengeance because she hates me.” With that, Abby says she “finished” and she walks off stage.

An audience member asks Christi if she thinks it’s possible for Abby and Chloe to have the same relationship as Abby and Maddie, and Christi says she doesn’t.

What I find distressing about this part of the reunion is that it is put out there several times that Abby doesn’t like Christi and Chloe. I can see Abby not liking Christi (although I think she’s a hoot), but no-one, including Abby, bothers to refute the part about her not liking Chloe. I hope it was editing or an oversight; Chloe is delightful.

The show moves on to talking about Kendall’s mom, Jill. Christi likes her and thinks she’s funny. Jeff asks Jill about her ongoing feud with Candy Apple Cathy. Jill doesn’t like that Cathy critiques Kendall, and thinks only Abby should do that because that’s who she paying to teach her daughter.

An audience member asks Jill about why she hired an outside costume designer and photographer for Kendall, and Jill says she does “whatever it takes to get Kendall ahead.” The she’s asked why she chose to hide the private lesson she got for Kendall when she was preparing to perform a duet with Nia, and Jill answers that it wasn’t a private lesson, that she just saw Gianna (a teacher at the studio) walking by and asked her for help.

Next we see Chloe perform her “What About Mother” solo in a pretty blue chiffon skirted costume, and Maddie does her “Breaking Down Walls” routine in a white costume with a fluttery handkerchief hem and a head scarf.

An audience member asks Melissa why she chose to dedicate Maddie’s solo to Broadway Baby (Abby’s little white poodle who passed away last December) after the rest of the team was discouraged from doing so. Melissa states that it was because she was close to Baby and she a “big dog lover,” but admits that she has regrets, and “doing it was pretty stupid on my part.”

Someone asks Christi and Kelly if they were hurt they weren’t invited to Melissa’s wedding. Christi wasn’t, but Kelly thought it was “weird.” Melissa assures them they are invited to a party she’s having to celebrate the wedding.

Melissa is asked that since Mackenzie didn’t dance all season because of her injured foot, did she think it was right that she got to perform on The View. Jill answers for Melissa, and says it was right because Mackenzie was an original member of the team who performed in “The Last Text” number. Christi says the point is that Melissa made it sound like Mackenzie would never be able to dance again, but that she then was miraculously cured when The View gig was offered to the ALDC.

Jeff asks, “Who wants to talk about Cathy?” Oy.

Cathy comes out and says she thinks “Abby is about to implode” and talks about how Abby won’t say her name. She and Christi bond over this because of when Abby refused to says Chloe’s name and started calling her “Blondie”. The Cathy cackles about how Abby’s digs at her are good publicity for the CADC. Jill says Cathy is disrespectful with her criticism; Cathy says she has a right to critique Kendall because she’s a dance teacher. When Cathy is asked what she thinks about Jill, she calls Jill a “studio hopper”, and accuses her of trying to buddy up to other moms who left the CADC.

Then we see Nia perform an acro solo in a lovely white costume with a one-shouldered ruffle across the top.

After Nia dances, the talk turns to the most explosive moment of the season, when Cathy hit Abby with her purse. Cathy says, “I don’t consider that a hit, it was a swat, and the purse was this big, it was a little patent leather purse.” Abby says she didn’t mean to throw water on Cathy, that she meant to just gesture at her with the water bottle while making a “let’s see if she melts” joke (as in, The Wicked Witch of the West” from The Wizard of Oz), but that the force of the water in the bottle caused the lid to fly off. Abby says that she immediately apologized, and that Melissa has photos of the bruises Cathy inflicted on her with the purse. Then Jill and Cathy start to fight. Jeff chides all of them with, “Hitting and throwing water probably shouldn’t happen in the future.”

An audience member brings up when Abby told Cathy to "go to hell" in front of the kids (in Detroit), and asks Abby if she has ever regretted anything she’s said in front of the kids? Abby answers "No. On any normal given day I don’t normally swear." Cathy says it was because Abby was jealous she arrived in a limo, and Abby points out she is always in limos for Dance Moms promotions, and that it’s “not a big deal.”

Then an audience member asks the Dance Moms if they have ever heard Abby say, “I’m sorry.” Jill says she did hear Abby apologize to Cathy for throwing the water in her, but no-one else speaks up.

Dance Moms "Tell-All, Part One" reunion show ends with the ALDC performing their “Runaways” aka “Children and Guns” aka “Children and Violence” number.

So, what did you all think of the Dance Moms "Tell-All, Part One" reunion show? Whose side were you on in the Abby vs. Cathy showdown? Did Cathy "hit" or "swat" Abby with her purse? Were you surprised Cathy didn't melt when Abby threw the water on her? We'd love to hear what you think - leave a comment!

Next week Lifetime will air Dance Moms: "Tell-All, Part Two", and we’ll get to see Sophia Lucia and her mom Jackie, and Asia Ray and her mom Kristi; Kelly and Christi have another go-round; Abby calls Cathy’s mom “poor and pathetic.”

For our recap of Dance Moms "Tell-All, Part Two" click here.
To see all of our Dance Moms coverage click here.

Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime

Photo ©Scott Gries, courtesy of Lifetime