'Dance Moms' Recap Season 3, Episode 21: Boy Crazy, Mom Crazy

Dance Moms Cast Members Brooke, Kelly, Paige, Abby Lee Miller
Dance Moms cast members from left: Brooke, Kelly, Paige, Abby Lee Miller

When we last saw Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller announced to her team that she was looking for property in LA. That left us with a mid-season cliffhanger: was Abby leaving Pittsburgh PA, and would she be taking the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) with her? This was not addressed on last night’s two-hour, season 3, episode 21 called “Boy Crazy, Mom Crazy”. Instead, we were left with more questions: what alternate universe are we in where Abby and her nemesis from Candy Apples, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, are the mellow, sane characters? Her daughters Brooke and Paige are doing well this week, so why is Dance Mom Kelly so unhappy? Why are Christi and Kelly still fighting? Will Asia be back? Will Brooke stay on the senior team? Is Anthony Burrell a permanent cast member?

And another question: when did this episode take place? When it begins, Abby says the girls are just back from a month-long break, but then during the rest of the episode both she and the Mom’s refer to the ALDC’s last competition (in NYC, following their appearance on The View) as being “last weekend”. Hmm…

This episode begins as they always do, with studio owner and dance teacher Abby Lee Miller revealing her pyramid, the weekly ranking system she uses for her dancers. From the bottom up it’s Kendall (“You were 4th, maybe without the crying you would have been higher”); Mackenzie (“Do you realize Asia waltzed in here, pushed you out of the way, took over, and every time I entered her in a competition she won? I can’t say that about you”); Nia (How many times do you think Gianna told you about straightening your back leg? Eleven times.”); Brooke (“I thought you were an asset to the group… you did your part well”); Chloe (she tied Zack and beat Kendall, but “didn’t beat Maddie”); Asia is in LA for a professional job but still ranks third (she had the high score in her division); Paige (“…worked hard in the group”). At the top of the pyramid it’s Maddie, who earned the spot this week for competing against and beating kids three and four years older than her.

This week instead of traveling, the ALDC will be staying in their hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, and competing in the Masters of Dance Arts. For the ALDC group number, a jazz routine called “Bad Girls”, Abby is only using four of the girls: Maddie, Chloe, Nia and Kendall, and Chloe and Maddie will also do a lyrical duet called “We’re Alright”. Kelly thinks Abby is “up to her same old tricks” excluding her daughters from the group number, but then Paige is assigned a solo called “Get Up, Get Loud, Get Tough”, and Brooke is promoted to performing with the senior troupe in a contemporary number called “Why Not Me”. Abby tells the girls that her rival Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her studio, the Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC), will be at the competition too. Nia’s Mom Holly says it’s necessary for the ALDC to win “for their pride and sense of worth as dancers.”

Kelly is upset that Brooke is in the senior number because she thinks they’ve been doing the routine for a year, so Brooke will be at a disadvantage and wind up in trouble with Abby. Holly thinks it’s nice that Abby is validating Brooke as a teenager. Down in the studio, we hear the team has only done the routine twice, and Abby tells Brooke, “Don’t be the weakest link.”

Kelly says If Brooke makes one mistake, Abby will never let her live it down. The Dance Moms are perplexed as to why Kelly is upset that Brooke is dancing with the seniors instead of being happy – it is after all, a promotion – and Kendall’s Mom Jill thinks Kelly is being ungrateful. So, Jill stirs the pot and goes to Abby to find out what her motives were for moving Brooke to the senior line. Kelly overhears the conversation, and this starts a fight that causes a big rift with all of the Moms that will probably cause drama for the next few episodes. Christi says, “I’m afraid of what Jill just started.” During the argument that follows, Kelly says she hopes the girls lose.

Chloe and Maddie practice their duet. Abby has heard rumors that CADC’s Gino has been flirting with Maddie and that they were kissing. Abby says, “No fraternizing with the enemy”. Maddie’s Mom Melissa wants to make it clear they weren’t really dating because they live in separate states, and also that Gino gave Maddie a valentine, and only kissed her on the cheek.

Paige rehearses her solo, and Abby works with her to correct the issues that Candy Apple Cathy and her choreographer Anthony Burrell criticized in NYC, and she says “Last weekend Paige was publicly humiliated (earlier Abby said they were just back from a month-long break). For group rehearsal Abby wants the girls to be “nasty, sassy, soulful.” Only on stage though, of course: Abby says, “I want Maddie’s character to be a bad girl, not Maddie.”

Christi, Jill, Melissa and Holly go to lunch without Kelly because they want to figure out what is up with her and find a way to help. No-one knows why Kelly is upset, but they decide to give Kelly a break from the kids by having a sleepover for them. Further into the episode, a defensive Kelly states, “They didn’t invite me to lunch because they wanted to talk about me.”

Jill and Christi go to the studio’s costume shop “to snoop”, but it’s actually so they can discuss Kelly. Jill says, “I’m still disappointed at how Kelly treated me. I would like for Kelly to apologize and understand I was just trying to help.” Christi feels caught in the middle because she does think Abby gave Paige and Brooke good parts this week, but she also understands why Kelly would be paranoid that Abby was just setting them up to fail.

Once the moms are all in the same room again Jill asks Kelly, “Do you feel bad about screaming at me last night?”, and Kelly tells her flat out “No.” Kelly thinks Jill only went to Abby because she is trying to suck up to Abby and get her own daughter Kendall ahead (that is often the case with Jill, and she makes no apologies about it), and she also thinks “the other moms want me to be upset and they want me to fight with Abby”. A loud argument follows, and the never-ending fight about who did or didn’t call the other during the Dance Moms walkout comes up again. Christi drops a few “F-bombs”, and the senior dancers, who are in the studio below, look up at the Mom’s Den in astonishment. Christi walks out, and we hear her say that Kelly is jealous of her because Chloe is a national champion. What we don’t see, is Christi apparently yelled this same sentiment at Kelly’s daughter Paige. We find that out when we see Paige crying.

Kelly is rightfully upset that Christi yelled at Paige, and says that she doesn’t think Christi and her will be close friends again. When Christi arrives and wants to talk about the argument, Kelly tells her, I’m done with our situation, I’m not discussing it with you.” As Abby heads into rehearsal she tells the Moms to watch their language and warns them if there’s another fight like the previous one their child will be asked to leave. Christi decides to go for a walk to get some air. Holly tells Kelly that she knows she’s been a good friend to Christi. This makes Kelly cry, and she starts to hyperventilate. It's hard to watch; I want to give Kelly a hug. Later, Christi says she feels like she and Kelly are going through divorce.

Abby wants Brooke, 15, and senior dance troupe member Kevin, 17, to dance with a strong emotional connection, so she sets them up on a date. Brooke isn’t sure she wants a boyfriend from the studio because then she would have to spend more time there. They go to a bakery and order tiramisu and cannoli, and Brooke says she’s feeling pressure to connect with Kevin because if they don’t win, it will be her fault. The date is going okay, but then Kevin smooshes cake in Brooke’s face. Ugh. No wonder she’s not sure about a second date with him.


At the CADC in Canton Ohio, studio owner/dance teacher Cathy Nesbitt-Stein tells her team that ALDC Dance Mom Jill “point blank told me that the boys are always texting the girls that they’d rather dance with the ALDC.” Apparently Gino (CADC) has a crush on Maddie (ALDC), and they’ve been talking. Cathy says she “can’t have her dancers fraternizing with the enemy.”

Cathy unveils her pyramid. From the bottom up it’s Nick (his “duet was spectacular” and he’ll be working one-on-one with the choreographer to be showcased); Jalen (“you have to continue to take dance classes” to be well rounded); Gino (“you weren’t here with us” [he was sick in hospital with bronchitis]); Zack (“You, I feel, are the leader of the group”).

The CADC group dance is a jazz number called “Be Strong”; Nick is assigned a contemporary piece called “The Bird”; Zack and Gino will do a lyrical duet called “The Young Man”, a tribute to choreographer Anthony Burrell’s father, who, at the time the episode was shot, had recently passed away. Anthony says, “I’m really counting on Zack and Gino to convey the story of my father.” We are thrilled to see Anthony is still on Dance Moms, but very sorry to hear about his loss - our condolences.

At the CADC, Anthony takes the team to SWAT Gym training where they do football camp-style workouts to build their endurance and strength. Anthony wants the boys to develop their muscles because “they’re weak”.

Things are going well at first - Jalen has quick feet! – but then it’s Gino’s turn. Gino is just getting over bronchitis, and his dad Mickey thinks the workout is too much for him. Anthony disagrees, saying that if it’s too hard Gino will stop. Then Dance Dad Rick chimes in saying that Mickey babies Gino, and a fight ensues. This makes Gino cry, and Anthony comforts him. Over the last few episodes I’ve noticed that Anthony is a tough teacher who doesn’t hold back when it comes to busting a student’s chops, but he’s always there with a hug too. I’ve also noticed this about Dance Dad Rick; he’s got a soft side. It doesn’t show this time around though: when Mickey goads him on to “take it outside”, Rick retorts, “And do what, knock out an old man?”

The next day, Cathy is in tears about what happened. She says yesterday’s fight at the gym shook up both her and the parents. She wants Rick to apologize to Mickey, but he thinks Mickey should apologize. Mickey’s loyalty comes into question, and later we see him say “I can only tolerate so much.”

Anthony choreographs the group dance – it’s a piece about performance enhancing drugs in sports. While the team practices, Zack’s mom Gina asks Rick if he thinks Mickey is committed to the team. He doesn’t, and he opines, “We can find another Gino.”

Then we see Anthony working on the duet with Zack and Gino. Anthony is tough in rehearsal and the boys struggle with the difficult, emotional choreography, then Zack starts to cry. Anthony tells the camera, “I just want the best – you’re not going to come here and be comfortable,” and also, “I see potential in Zack … it’s the only reason I’m so hard on that kid.” Zack’s mom Gina starts to cry too, and Cathy points out that she is over-reacting more than Zack is. Gina says she doesn’t want her son to “dance afraid.”


Finally, it’s the day of the competition. When the ALDC arrives, the CADC team is already there. Abby is distracted by Cathy’s presence, so Holly steps up and gets the team ready.

First we see Maddie and Chloe do their lyrical duet, “We’re Alright”. They perform in pink and orange costumes with a chiffon handkerchief hem. They do well together and their turns are pretty.

Zack and Gino are up next with their lyrical duet, “The Young Man”. They wear suit pants with bow ties and button down shirts. During the number Abby looks confused, and when they are done she says, “What was that? That was bad choreography.” It’s not clear if Abby knows the back-story of this routine: if she does know, her comments are rude and awful, but it may just be that she has no idea it was about Anthony’s father, and she was just retaliating for Anthony and Cathy critiquing Paige (in NYC, either last month or last week). Anthony is in tears, and at first says no one is going to get away with disrespecting his choreography, team, and legacy, but then he decides the only thing he can do, for the good of the team, is move on.

Paige does her “Get Up, Get Loud, Get Tough” jazz solo in a purple print costume with a black shrug, then we see Nick’s solo, “The Bird”. He wears a red unitard with a feather neckline and headpiece. He is extremely flexible – Anthony calls him “a choreographer's dream” – and his routine is outstanding. Paige is a beautiful girl and a very good dancer, but Nick has the superior choreography.

As the teams head to the stage for their group numbers, Candy Apple Cathy and Dance Mom Jill get in an insult fight about their looks. Cathy winds up upset with her team for not sticking up for her.

The ALDC senior line goes next with their contemporary routine, “Why Not Me”. Abby says they have never traveled to a competition with her before. The young women perform in grey and black costumes; Kevin is shirtless and wears black pants.

Then the CADC boys do their group number, “Be Strong” in biking outfits with wheels as props, and the ALDC do their “Bad Girls” group routine wearing shorts and bikini tops.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Junior Division, Paige gets 2nd Place and Nick wins 1st place. In the Junior Duo or Trio Division, Zack and Gino are awarded 2nd Place, and Maddie and Chloe win 1st Place. In the Teen Division ALDC’s senior line with Brooke wins 1st Place. In the Junior Small Group Division, the CADC takes 2nd Place, and the ALDC wins 1st Place.

Kelly says, “I’m so upset that I can’t even be happy about this win,” but Abby is thrilled to be back on top, and as she celebrates, we see Mickey stop by the dressing room and make a plea for Abby to take his son Gino on as a student. Gino's older brother is Kevin - Brooke's senior line dance partner and date - so it's not a stretch that he would want to dance there too.

Over on the CADC camp, Cathy confronts her team and says that “since the gym incident, it’s been very grueling.” Then she drops a bomb: “Here’s the thing - somebody standing right here is a mole. It’s you Mickey, you have to go. I want to make strong team with people I trust.” Rick says to him, “Maybe this is where we should shake hands and part ways,” but Mickey declines. Wow.

So what are your thoughts about this episode? Is Kelly still upset because she thinks Abby put Paige in a bad position with Cathy and Anthony in NYC, or is it something else? Do you think Brooke should stay with the Senior line? (I do.) Do you think Abby will let Gino join her team? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.


Next week on Dance Moms, Chloe and Maddie do the same exact routine to the same exact music. This should be very interesting.

To see all of our Dance Moms coverage click here.

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

Photo by Scott Gries, courtesy of Lifetime

Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013