March 12, 2013 09:00 PM by Stephanie Gustafson
It’s double the fun on Dance Moms tonight with a two-hour episode! Yes, it is absolutely possible to fill two full hours with the moms’ bickering, not to mention Abby’s yelling and the occasional display of excellent dancing.
Abby’s not too happy with all the 2nd place finishes last week, but amazingly enough, she also thought the dancing looked okay. So, not too much yelling today. Or, at least, not yet. The dreaded pyramid hour arrives and it looks like little Mackenzie is on the bottom this week. There was an 11-point gap between her and the 1st place winner, which was an absolute no-no in Abby’s eyes. Nia is also on the bottom, although Abby says she’ll let the mistakes go this time around — after all, the poor girl was sick. Paige rounds out the pyramid with arms that didn’t look quite right in the group dance. In the middle are Kendall and Maddie. Abby appreciates the fact that these two dancers are duking it out, except, let’s be serious here, it’s really their mothers participating in cutthroat competition. Somehow, Brooke ends up on top of the pyramid, which is a surprise given how Abby’s treated the teen as of late. And Chloe’s the new Brooke, with no place on the pyramid at all!
The group dance this week is bound to cause some controversy and for more than one reason. It’s name is ”Don’t Ask, Just Tell” and the girls are dressed as soldiers, so I think you can guess the basic theme of the dance. I’m not so much bothered by the political nature of the routine as the fact that Abby decided to have the girls compete hip hop — their weakest style — well before they’re ready. They’ll be dancing in Minneapolis this weekend and the competition there is fierce. You’d think Abby would bring her A-game, but nope, she’s tossing mediocre choreography at a group of hip hop challenged girls and hoping they win first. As you can tell, my expectations aren’t too high at this point.
Perhaps the dance’s biggest problem is that Abby is distracted…by a man! After the speed dating fiasco last week, I didn’t expect that anyone would actually call back a woman that used him for the fun of playing audition task master. I was right, actually, because nobody from speed dating called her back. Instead, Abby met a guy at the gas station after the speed dating event.The two set up a date and Abby goes off to get her nails done. Except, since the moms can’t resist living vicariously through Abby’s dating escapades, they insist on joining the little manicure expedition. Jill tries to choose a special outfit for Abby, but she’s having none of it, explaining that the only thing going for her is her cleavage.
Abby takes a break from date prep to run this week’s solos. Maddie has a more mature solo called “Uphill Battle” and I’m looking forward to seeing her try something other than the usual sappy lyrical. Brooke is given a very graceful solo but Abby warns her that she’s going to be up against some really stiff competition in Minnesota. Kendall also has a solo this week and of course, Jill is super excited. But she resents Abby telling Kendall to look like Maddie. After a decent rehearsal (decent meaning Abby doesn’t lose her voice from yelling), Kendall joins the others for a group rehearsal. This one isn’t so decent, mostly because poor Mackenzie injured her foot. But Melissa thinks she’s still okay to dance, so she sends her back into practice. And while the girls perfect the least, uh, hip-hoppy hip hop dance I’ve ever seen (I don’t care how flexible you are, leg extensions in hip hop not cool) the moms discuss some pre-wedding planning for Melissa. Christi’s understandably nervous about all this, as the last time the moms attempted this sort of thing they wound up with cease and desist letters.
The big moment arrives when Louis shows up at the studio to take Abby on her date. The moms decide to head over as some sort of a welcoming committee and I’m amazed he doesn’t run away. They return to Abby’s little dressing room and give her the lowdown, describing Louis as handsome, well-dressed, kind and…short. Abby’s not too happy with the height thing but I think she’s being a little too picky. He’s very attractive and more importantly, quite the gentleman. He takes Abby to a very nice restaurant and treats her to chocolate cake. And most remarkably, he is constantly making her laugh. As in full-on belly laughing, which is very disconcerting coming from the usually scowling Abby. But when she later describes the date to the moms, she says that most of the laughing was at Louis as opposed to with him. But also that she enjoyed the date.
Speaking of romance, the moms take Melissa out to try on dresses and despite Christi’s hesitation, this is a far different Melissa than the one who threatened legal action last year. The moms are having a little too much fun, drinking champagne and doing a pre-wedding bouquet toss. But Melissa find a beautiful dress that makes her tear up…and while the moment is sweet, I’m awfully distracted by those ridiculously long fake eyelashes.
The day after the dress fitting isn’t as good for Melissa, who is forced to take Mackenzie to the hospital to have her foot looked at. It’s looking like she won’t be able to dance this weekend, although Christi and Kelly are wondering if Mackenzie could be exaggerating the injury to get out of performing. The other girls continue practicing though, or at least, they do until Abby decides to take a little break to explain the concept behind the dance. None of them have any idea what Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Is, and while Abby thinks it’s important for them to know, she feels the moms are better equipped to give that particular lesson. I’m expecting a complete disaster and, as such, am surprised when Kelly provides Brooke and Paige with a straightforward explanation that ends with her letting the girls know that it’s important for everyone to be able to express who they are. The only problem I can find with Kelly’s little heart-to-heart is that she speaks as if “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is still on the books. Either she doesn’t pay enough attention to the news to know it’s been abolished or the editing just made it seem that way.
The ALDC arrives in Minneapolis and Kendall’s the first to perform. She has a contemporary dance this week, and, thanks to the extended length of the episode, we get to see the whole dance! Kendall’s made some improvements, but as Abby has already explained, her facials need work. And she spends almost the entire dance looking down. Maddie follows with a really cool contemporary solo — I’m loving this more mature choreography! While her stage presence is spot on, there I think a few minor technical issues (ie. standing leg heel too close to the ground during the turn sequences) could prevent her from snagging that first place spot.
Speaking of failure to snag first place, there’s no way that hip hop dance is going to take the title. The girls look fine but it’s clear that Abby or whoever the show had do the choreography for this dance hasn’t figured out that jazz and contemporary skills DO NOT BELONG IN HIP HOP. The problem is, Abby likes to include tricks in her dances, and the tricks the girls have learned are mostly only suitable for contemporary. The obvious solution would be to spend a little time learning kip-ups and head stands and other tricks that don’t look so awkward in a hip hop dance. Or at least put the dance in the jazz funk category. Of course, Abby thinks the problem is the dancers and, after reprimanding the girls, orders them to do push-ups.
Awards are a definite disappointment for the Abby Lee Dance Company. Kendall gets fourth, which is actually pretty good for her, but Maddie takes (gasp) second place! Brooke also comes in second, which, as Kelly notes, could have been a first had Abby bothered to spend time with her in practice. Worst of all though, is the group dance, which only takes 7th! Abby insists something is broken in the ALDC. You’re right Abby — it’s your hip hop choreography.
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