'Dance Moms' Recap S4 E23, 3 Soloists One Star: Christy with a Why

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Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller choreographed a duet for star pupil Maddie Ziegler and Gino Cosculluella (during which Maddie got her first kiss), and the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) Elite Team took first place in a competition against the Candy Apples team. This week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 23 titled "3 Soloists, One Star," Maddie is in LA taping the Ellen show, so Abby assigns Kendall Vertes, Nia Frazier and Chloe Lukasiak solos to see which girl will come out on top. Christy with a Y repeatedly provokes Abby, and it leads to her daughter, Sarah Hunt, being dismissed. Her behavior is why we and some viewers call her "Christy with a 'Why?'"

As Dance Moms S4, E23 opens, Abby and the "Elite Team" (the original girls) celebrate their win at last week's competition. It was an especially sweet victory because they beat Cathy Nesbitt-Stein (Abby's nemesis) and her Candy Apples team (if you missed it, read our recap for Dance Moms S4, E22). Abby's second group, the "Select Team," is still on hiatus except for little Sarah H (there are two Sarah's on the Select Team; the other is Sarah Reasons, aka Sarah R), who is doing a series of trial dates with the Elite Team. This week, Maddie is in LA taping the Ellen show; she's there to recreate her video for "Chandelier" by Sia. She'll be back in time to learn the group dance, but she won't have her usual spot as lead dancer.

Abby reveals her pyramid, the system she uses to rank the dancers of the ALDC. It is mostly based on the results of the previous week's competition. The Dance Moms S4, E23 pyramid from the bottom up:
Maddie: only because she's not present this week
Chloe: because she fell during last week's group dance
Nia: Abby says her ballet isn’t where it needs to be
Sarah H: worked hard, but was a beat behind
Mackenzie: pulled focus in negative way – she was too short!
Kendall: she took the group dance seriously

This week the ALDC will be traveling to the Powerhouse Dance Competition in Front Royal, Virginia. The group will do a musical theater piece called "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves"; Kendall will do a contemporary/lyrical solo called "Not Just Another Pretty Face"; Nia will do a jazz/acro routine called "The Underdog"; Chloe will do a contemporary solo called "I Should Have Known." When Sarah H's mom Christy (with a "y," pronounced like Christ-y with a long "i") protests the choices, Abby's removes Sarah H's photo from the pyramid, throws it on the floor and threatens to bench her. Why Christy, why? In an interview, Jill (Kendall's mom) says of Christy: "You don't get it. You're the bus that is running over your daughter's chances every time you're here on this team."

While the girls rehearse the group dance, their parents hang in the Mom's Loft and discuss how Abby always pushed Maddie – but not her other students – for big opportunities. Christi (with an "i" - Chloe's mom) says someone told her that when they called Abby for girls, they were told that only Maddie was available. They also discuss that due to Maddie being away, Kendall has the lead role in the group dance, a position that hasn't always worked out for her. Christi warns Jill, "I wouldn't count your 'Gypsy' chickens before they hatch." Abby does, in fact, tell Kendall that if Maddie returns tomorrow and does the lead role better, she'll get it.

When Maddie returns, Abby says she's on a different level than the other girls, so she enlists her to help choreograph their solos. Kendall goes first, then Chloe, then Nia. For Nia's routine, she has to growl and bark like a dog. The scene with Abby and Nia practicing is funny, but Holly (Nia's mom) is not amused. I agree with Abby here: "When you get hired and to do a job and you get paid, you gotta do it or they'll find someone else." I think it adds to Nia's experience, and she can definitely pull it off.

When the girls rehearse the group number with Maddie, Abby once again tells Kendall that she could lose the lead part. Up in the Mom's Loft, Jill complains that Maddie is home schooled so she gets to rehearse more, which is why she does better in the studio. I understand Jill's point about Maddie having the advantage – the girls who are still in regular classes DO have to work harder – but that's why Melissa chose to home school daughters Maddie and Mackenzie. Anyway, in the end, Abby lets Kendall keep the lead role.

Gianna "Gia" Martello, Abby's assistant choreographer, arrives with the girl's costumes. There is no package for Sarah H, and Abby explains that it's because initially, she wasn't going to be in the group dance. Abby says they've ordered Sarah H's costume and it's being shipped.

Abby calls the moms down to the studio floor, where Christy voices her displeasure at the costume situation, and then says to Abby – wait until you hear this – "I think this studio needs [to be] revamped and I think the garbage needs to be taken out and I think that starts with you." Why Christy, why? Christy acts surprised when, as a result, Abby dismisses Sarah H from the group number. What did she think was going to happen?

Sarah H stands up for herself and asks, "Can I please be in the number, Miss Abby?" Abby says if Sarah H can go to the competition without her mother, she can. Sarah H makes it as far as the team bus, but she sobs and tells Abby that her mom won't let her go.  Poor Sarah H exits the bus and walks away Christy. Why Christy, why?

The ALDC arrives at the Powerhouse competition in Virginia. Nia is up first with her "Underdog" solo; she wears a black studded leather costume and adorable dog makeup. She is fierce, and Holly and Abby are all smiles. Chloe goes next with her "I Should Have Known" solo; she wears a plain black bikini under a sheer black unitard with "ALDC" emblazoned on the bodice - it's an odd bit of branding. Chloe's choreography is cool and she is wonderful, as always. Kendall performs her "Not Just Another Pretty Face" solo; she wears a lovely white two-piece costume with a car wash skirt, scar makeup, and she uses a hand-held mirror for a prop. It's a beautiful dance. The ALDC does their group number; they wear bright bluish-purple skirts, white cropped tops, hoop earrings and head scarves, and they carry tambourines. Their timing is very good.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Pre-Teen Solo Division, Nia gets 4th Place; Chloe takes 2nd Place; Kendall wins 1st Place. In the group awards, the ALDC wins 1st Place. Backstage, the moms discuss the fact that the solo Kendall did was originally choreographed and costumed for Maddie, so it was a natural for the win. Jill doesn't want anyone to think Kendall had it easy because she worked very hard for the win.

Abby and the girls arrive in the dressing room, and Abby congratulates them for the group win. Abby compliments Kendall for doing so well with Maddie's solo, she gives Nia corrections on her facial expressions, and says Chloe's performance was "great" but was "missing the fire." Abby thinks Chloe works harder when her position on the team is threatened, so she's considering bringing in outside dancers next week. Abby says at the next pyramid there might be five girls, or there might be seven.


Next week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 24 titled "Abby-phobic," the ALDC travels to Virginia for an Imagine Dance Challenge. Abby invites Jade Cloud from the Select Team to join the Elite Team for the week, then assigns her to compete against Chloe Lukasiak. It looks like a talented group from Studio Bleu will be competing against the ALDC.

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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo courtesy of Lifetime

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014