Is it really only episode 8 of this season?  So much has happened.  So many crazy Abby spirals… and we are just getting Maddie back full time this week!

Speaking of, big movie star Maddie is back in the group and she adorably says that while she loved being on a movie set, she is glad to be back with her friends.  Jill just hopes that Maddie’s return will quell the crazy that has sprung forth in Abby.  I am less hopeful because I adore lost-her-shit Abby.

maddies back

The moms point out that Abby has actually shown up, is dressed and seems ready for work today and they question if it’s due to the return of Maddie.  Jill and Holly point out that Abby has been less than motivated to teach the girls and wonder if her heart is really in it.  Abby says that her love and passion for teaching dance has never gone away but that she has been weighed down by financial and legal issues and she believes that the girls understand that but that their mothers are less forgiving.  True story. The girls are totally fine and just want to dance.  The moms are the ones whose tops spin every time Abby does…well, anything really.  But that’s why this show is called Dance MOMS and not Dance GIRLS.  The girls are pros and DGAF.  That said, the Moms are, at this point, also pros and know that it’s their job to GAF.

Anyhow, so Maddie is back and Abby reminds her that she left the group as a winner but came back briefly during a movie shoot break and came in 2nd.  Abby needs Maddie to be #1 every week no matter what.  Abby also did not watch Maddie’s most recent performance on Ellen.  Melissa is pissed.  But frankly?  That should just go to show how busy and stressed Abby is if she isn’t even watching her golden child on TV.

At Pyramid, Jojo, Nia, Maddie and Mackenzie are all on the bottom of the pyramid because according to Abby, they brought the group dance down a notch.  WHAT.  The group dance was awesome, no thanks to Abby, and all of those girls were wonderful in it.

Kendall and Brynn are on the middle row of the pyramid, with Brynn above Kendall because Abby didn’t agree with the judges regarding Brynn’s performance.  Kalani is on top, despite her mother’s outbursts and according to Abby, Kira gave an ultimatum stating that it would be either Brynn or Kalani in the group.  Abby doesn’t do ultimatums so Brynn is still there and technically so is Kalani, but Kira peaced out and since Melissa is legal guardian of Kalani anyhow now, no biggie.  Abby loves Brynn, but hates her mother Ashlee so Brynn is still on probation and for now will be “the swing” even though Maddie is back.

There are three solos this week.  Nia is doing a musical theater piece called “Money Makes the World Go Down”; Mackenzie is doing a solo called “don’t take my fire”, and the last solo will be performed by Jojo.  She will be playing a killer nurse in a piece called “Mercy”.  Jojo is good at the dark freaky actor dances so that should be fun.  The group routine (as I accurately stated last week) is a recycled routine from about the 7 deadly sins.  Holly says that this is just a further sign of Abby phoning it in and says that the recycled dance is Abby being lazy.

7 deadly sins rehearsal

For the 7 deadly sins dance, Mackenzie is “sloth”, Brynn is “envy”, Nia is “Pride”, Maddie is “gluttony”, Kalani is “lust”, Kendall is “wrath” (apparently because Jill is a hot head), and Jojo is “greed”.  My question is, who is playing Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt? Oh! Does this mean Abby is Kevin Spacey’s John Doe?

Jill and the other women start giving Melissa shit for not standing up for Maddie with the Ellen show thing. They are all also shocked that Maddie doesn’t have a solo this week.  From a dance perspective, it makes sense to me since Maddie has been out for weeks, but from a show perspective, it’s crazy.  Jill also says that the 7 deadly sins apply to one person and one person only, and that’s Abby.  The moms also talk shit about Abby’s eating (gluttony), which isn’t totally fair, because it’s not like any of them are gym rats and Abby’s actually looked thinner than she has in years.

The women stir shit up with Melissa and say that Abby is jealous of Maddie’s success and was angry that she wasn’t AT the Ellen performance which is why she didn’t bother watching it.  Jess tells Melissa that it might not even be intentional, but that Abby would rather break her toys than share them (although it SERIOUSLY sounded like Jess says “rape” instead of “break” which made me rewind the scene with a horrified expression on my face 4 times before I figured out what she really said).  Jill says that Maddie’s career is skyrocketing while Abby’s is going down the drain and Abby can’t handle it.  But what she can do, is punish Maddie.  So far, all Abby has done is not have time to watch a video and not give a student who has been gone for weeks a solo.  I get where the moms are coming from, but no great injustice has been done here yet.

Like vultures, the moms descend on Melissa and keep chattering about how Abby has abandoned Maddie and they force Melissa into confront Abby regarding the solo schedule.  Abby isn’t sure when Maddie will have a solo next.

Abby runs through Jojo’s solo with her but Jess feels like she is rushing through it and not giving 100%.  Abby reminds us that Jojo has yet to win, but I think that’s because she is always given the actor-y pieces with the dark story and crazy makeup and ultimately those dances will never beat the pretty lyrical routines.  For the record, I think Jojo has killed it on every dance she’s performed.  Jess says that she misses the passionate and inspired Abby.  I’m pretty sure the Abby she is referring to, died after season 1 or 2 before Jess was even around so I’m not sure what she’s talking about.

Nia is in the teen division and is performing a Broadway inspired routine.  Abby, in a moment of unusual complementary clarity, says that Nia is a talented singer and dancer and she could see her in a show like Ragtime.  Abby includes some classic Broadway dance moves in Nia’s routine (like the Charleston) and Holly is livid because…..why?  I’m not totally sure other than she feels the moves are juvenile.  But it’s just a moment in the number, not even a full bar of music that she does it.  It’s clearly just a nod to an old style.  Holly really likes to get worked up over nothing these days.  Holly says that this is not a winning routine and that Abby refuses to give Nia winning choreography.  Oh, also, Holly calls Abby a “buffoon”, which is an insult I would like to start using more.

It’s two days until the competition and Abby runs through Mackenzie’s acrobatic solo called “don’t take my fire.”  You want to talk about Abby not giving winning choreography to someone?  She routinely gives Mackenzie acro solos and while they are technically interesting, they almost never win.  Melissa is mad that Abby is yelling at Mackenzie during her rehearsal.

UGH. These women.  They are mad when Abby is too freaked out and crazed to show up, and then when Abby DOES show up they  are pissed because Abby is acting exactly like Abby has acted for YEARS.  I’d be more mad about it but this is all clearly manufactured TV show nonsense.

abby in a towel

The next morning, Abby shows up with a towel wrapped around her still wet hair and walks into the studio to teach the girls.  The moms are appalled and treat this like it’s a basic human rights violation.  Melissa hilariously tries to imply that she also works hard but at least she gets her hair done.

Hey- what happened to the minis?  Did they get left somewhere?  Were they fired and I didn’t notice?

On the day of the competition, Brynn’s name isn’t in the program as one of the girls on the team.  Ashlee takes great offense to this because although Abby never stated that Brynn was part of the team, she did call Brynn part of the “family”.  I can see how that could be confusing.  Abby loves the dancer but hates the mother.  Which, to me, makes Brynn as much a part of this team as anyone else.

Jojo is the first to perform her angel of death inspired routine called “mercy”.  It’s not my favorite routine that Jojo has ever performed but as per usual, she sells it.  Unfortunately her choreography doesn’t seem very complicated.  It’s mostly just faces and turns.


Mackenzie’s routine has much more challenging choreography and is surprisingly mature for what Abby usually gives her.  It’s still an acro routine, which doesn’t usual score all that well as it’s mostly tricks and lacks emotion.

Nia, who by the way- Abby gave a huge compliment to backstage by saying that more so that the other girls, she was on the pinnacle of a possible stage career, is the last solo to perform.  Her dance is cute.  I don’t love Broadway routines though, so I’m not a great person to judge.  I think she did really well with the material she had, but if the dance doesn’t do well, I don’t think that the 3 beats of a Charleston moves that Abby included in the choreo will be the reason.  Holly says that it wasn’t a competitive teen routine and I begrudgingly agree.

Outside, Ashlee, for some ungodly reason, thinks it will be a good idea to question Abby’s decision to not give Maddie a solo and asks her if she is jealous of Abby’s success.  This goes about as well as you can imagine.  Abby says that it would be wise for the moms to have her back because she can help make their girls a success, or she can help them do a whole lot of nothing.

Back inside, Ashlee keeps spouting on about how Abby’s (alleged) dismissal of Maddie is good news for Brynn and the moms get hella bristly about it.  I think they think they look like they are doing it in support of Maddie, but ultimately it just looks like they are all pissed that when Maddie left, Abby pulled in another girl and crowned her as NextMaddie instead of rising up one of the OG girls.

backstage group

The girls come into the back stage room dressed in their group costume and Abby corrects Maddie for wearing rings.  Again, the moms blow this out of proportion and assume it means that Maddie is on the outs.  It was just a costume correction; calm down you menopausal mongrels.  On stage, the girls absolutely kill their routine.  I’m not sure I agree with the costume choice considering what they were trying to portray with the dance, but they performed it really well, regardless.

Jojo gets 3rd place in the junior solo and Mackenzie gets 1st.  I don’t think that Mac’s routine was spectacular, but the choreography was miles above Jojo’s.  Nia only gets 4th place for her solo. The girls win 1st place in the overall small group routine.

Backstage, Ashlee pushes Abby again on the Brynn being on probation issue. Abby says that Brynn is not the issue; her mother is. The girls come in and Abby congratulates them on their win and admonishes the losers a bit.  Holly says she is proud of Nia regardless but she feels like the routine she was given wasn’t on the teen division level.  Abby says that the routine probably wasn’t on the competition level but it could help her get a job later on (sure?  I don’t know…).  Holly begs for Abby to care more and to give the girls harder routines so that they can rise to the occasion and Abby calls that accusation a slap in the face.

The moms actually make Abby cry in front of them and more importantly they actually make me side with Abby.  Abby is supposed to be the big bully in this show.  That’s the premise.  But Abby is a torn up fighting dog at this point and I just feel bad for her.  The women keep pushing until Abby breaks and says that she has given up everything for their girls and the moms agree and back down.  Clearly, Abby is dealing with some crazy legal shit but the team keeps winning so maybe the moms can cut her some slack?  Maybe?  No?  Bueller? Bueller?

Recap written by Liz