January 02, 2013 12:51 AM by Stephanie Gustafson
It’s been nearly three months since we had the pleasure of seeing the antics of Abby Lee Miller…three long, hard months. Maybe less if you watched Abby’s Ultimate, but Abby Lee just isn’t the same with her Pittsburgh cuties. And now, to kick off the new year, we’re pleased to announce that Dance Moms is back and crazier than ever! This year, Abby’s shaking things up with the addition of a new dancer and therefore…a new mom. How will newbie Ally and accompanying mother Shelly fit in?
We know you’ve grown attached to Jill, Melissa, Holly, Kelly, Christi and their daughters, but you will need to find room in your hearts for a new mom. Oh yeah, and forget Kelly. In case you forgot, she got really pissed at the end of the last season and decided to remove her girls from Abby’s grasp. Well, for now. I’ve seen pictures from later in season three that include both Brooke and Paige, so expect the return of Kelly sometime within the next few months.
Since two of her dancers are gone, Abby decides that a pyramid is pointless. She is not a happy camper, but it’s not just the lack of pyramid that has her upset; apparently, the girls haven’t been so great about getting to practice during the break. Abby shouldn’t be one to talk though — she was off being the big reality star and as such, also failed to show up. After offering up a misguided lecture, Abby launches into the big news: an audition is in the works! And once Abby finds an acceptable dancer, the new and improved group will head out to Denver for in10sity Dance. (side note: I’ve done a little research on in10sity, and it looks like this competition is really milking the whole Dance Moms angle. Honestly, I’ve never heard of a competition charging spectators to attend. I always assumed that, following the ridiculous $30 or more per dancer — and per performance — friends and family members at least had the chance to watch the competition for free. Not so with in10sity. Spectators at in10sity competitions attended by the ALDC get to pay a whopping $40 each.)
Audition day arrives, and wow, the competition is fierce. Leslie is back with Payton, a talented but alarmingly bitchy high school dancer. Leslie’s even more obnoxious, with a voice that causes visible cringing among the other mothers. But as Holly points out, Payton and Leslie aren’t the worst of the moms’ worries. The auditioning dancers have their technique down, to the point that Abby could easily discard her existing team and create a new one from scratch.
After a lot of soul searching, Abby finally makes her selection. The newest member of the group is Ally, a 13-year-old dancer from New Orleans. Her height may make the other girls look like shrimps, but that doesn’t really matter, because Ally is definitely talented. More importantly, she seems like a very friendly girl. And that’s a good thing, because, despite the bad influence from their teacher and mothers, the dancers (besides Payton) have never come across as anything other than gracious.
But enough of Abby Lee Miller and her award-winning dancers. It’s time for an update from the ever-entertaining Candy Apples. Like Abby, Cathy (aka “the witch”) is in a bit of a predicament. Following a humiliating loss, she’s ready to mix things up. Perhaps most devastating for Cathy is the fact that her beloved Justice ditched the studio. Although Justice’s mom had been scoping out ALDC, a quick look at the results from a recent Nuvo competition indicates that the little guy is now competing with Krystie’s Dance Academy (also located in Ohio).
It seems that Cathy has finally learned that putting an 8-year-old girl (especially one who can’t even execute a double turn) in a group full of 14 and 15-year-olds really doesn’t make sense. She asks Vivi for permission to be left out of a newly-formed dance team. Predictably, Vivi-Anne could care less. She’s really not big on the whole competitive dance thing. Cathy thinks that an all-boys group might have a shot at taking down Abby’s dream team. We’ll see.
And…back to Pittsburgh! The group dance of the week is Angels and Demons, and true to form, Abby is singling one girl out to be the star. Of course, this is nothing unusual in the dance world, but what is unusual is the fact that the new girl is receiving the special part! It works well though, because, given Brooke’s absence, Ally definitely stands out as the oldest dancer. Of course, Abby’s choices aren’t always just about aesthetics, and this certainly is the case for the Angels and Demons dance. The moms theorize that Abby is making Ally the angel in hopes of getting her to stick around.
The other moms have proven that they’ll stick around with or without special treatment (well, okay, the jury’s still out on Kelly). Which is why, grumbling aside, they’re content to sit and watch as their children are screamed at in solo practice. This week’s solos are awarded to Chloe, Maddie and Mackenzie, all of whom receive quite the tongue-lashing from Abby. I believe this episode was filmed before Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, so I have to wonder how much worse things will be once Abby has discovered the amazingness (and shockingly age-inappropriate moves) of Asia, who happens to be Mackenzie’s age. If you didn’t see Abby’s Ultimate, look up Asia Ray’s solo to Heartburn (I think it’s better than most of her Abby’s Ultimate dances) and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
The dancers head for Denver under the threat of having all the old team members pulled, thus potentially turning Angels and Demons into a solo. Shelly begs Abby to keep the dance scheduled as a group performance because the moms are already giving her grief. Unfortunate, because Shelly actually seems like a reasonably nice person.
Abby apparently decides to keep the group dance as is, because the solo category does not include a performance from Ally. Instead, Maddie does the usual lyrical schtick (please, can we give her something different?!) as does Chloe. They look good, but Abby chastises Chloe for forgetting a turn. Kendall’s solo is strictly mediocre, which, in Abby land, is not a good thing. Even worse, though, is Mackenzie’s solo. The choreography is the typical cutesy fare with a bit of acrobatics thrown in for posterity. Abby makes a few last-minute changes, telling Mackenzie that she better remember or else. Things start off okay, but after a costume mishap (specifically, a flying hair bow), Mackenzie freezes up. Amazingly, Abby doesn’t seem as angry about the fiasco as one might expect.
And finally, the group dance. Wow. Even without Brooke and Paige, it looks amazing. Ally is a great dancer with lovely extensions — her tilt in the middle of the performance is particularly impressive. The full dance is available on the Lifetime website if you’re willing to jump through a few hurdles (such as tweeting about how much you looove Dance Moms). Definitely worth checking out.
Time for results! Despite the wardrobe malfunction, Mackenzie wins first place. In the junior category, all three girls end up in the top 5, with Maddie winning the top prize. And finally, the group dance takes first place! The dancers and moms are ecstatic, although Christi grumbles about Ally getting all the credit.
A nice, heartwarming end to the premiere, but there’s more drama coming later in the season. Apparently, YouTube sweetheart Sophia Lucia will be making an appearance, and arguably giving Maddie a run for her money. Although, having seen Sophia’s dances for several years, I still think Maddie is the better performer. Quad turns and leg extensions are nice, but there’s something to be said for facials and a dance that flows. But I’m sure all that will be hashed out later this season. Until then, feel free to argue about your favorite dancer in the comments section below!
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Photo Credit: Lifetime