opens this week's episode with a preview of mom drama. The team travels to the Believe competition in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where Ohio's "wicked witch" will be in attendance. Adding to the stress, Leslie and Payton return with Kelly, and Brooke and Paige are gone.
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Prior to the pyramid, we find out that the Dance Moms do not know if the Hylands will return. The pyramid reflects their absence with Brooke and Paige at the bottom with Asia and Nia. Holly tells Abby she needs to work more with Nia. Mackenzie and Maddie are joined by Chloe on the second row and Kendall makes it to the top due to the photo shoot. Melissa isn't happy because of Maddie's placement, which is due to her failure to volunteer for a solo. All will perform "Open Waters." With the the Candy Apples appearing with a trio, Abby gives one to Chloe, Kendall and Nia, leaving Maddie out in the cold and Melissa upset.
The Candy Apples are also rehearing with "another" new team. Hadley, Mari, Lucas and Nicaya return. Brooke is the new "flexible" member. Cathy likes Kiya because she stood up for her against Jill.Their group dance will be a classical number called "Four Seasons." Anthony again is doing the choreography. In Pittsburgh, Abby is rehearing her group with props and taking rehearsal slow. She immediately finds problems with Nia. Holly realizes this is because she called Abby out during pyramid.
We find out Abby doesn't trust Cathy and the group dance must shine. The Dance Moms are missing Kelly. Abby brings in Payton (who's 15 years old) to do the group number. The dance was envisioned with Brooke as the center. Payton's leadership skills are needed. Leslie joins our Dance Moms, who think for this week this is good because Leslie stands her ground. Leslie tells us that Payton wants to be on the team and will do anything to stay there. Our Dance Moms plot a defense against Cathy.
Cathy discusses the competition over dinner with her mom and Vivi. Her mom is warned about the Dance Mom's behavior. Cathy tells Vivi that her grandmother tapped when she was younger. During rehearsals, Cathy and Anthony fight in front of the students again.
Abby is worried about whether the trio can beat Cathy. The Dance Moms aren't happy when Leslie claims Kelly's seat, expressing the desire to keep it permanently. Jill explains to Leslie some of Cathy's maneuvers and urges all to stick together.
After being greeted by cheers, both go prepare for the competition. Our Dance Moms feel that the kids work well with Payton, but Abby calls her on bad behavior. Abby informs the group that she wants no interaction with the Apples, but Kristi and Yvette have a fight backstage. The Apples take the stage with a Broadway dance. Anthony is not seated beside Kathy, which means Melissa doesn't have to listen to their negative comments. Abby's trio takes the stage and Abby seems pleased, saying Nia is on the right path.
The group routines begin with the Apples' classical music, but with a modern routine. Abby's group takes the stage with a lyrical number. Abby is proud of the girls. At the awards, Candy's trio finishes seventh, while Abby finishes fifth. In the group dance, Cathy's group is fourth and Abby's is first.
In the dressing room, the team celebrate, and Christi and Leslie argue while Abby celebrates Kelly's absence. Cathy's "moms" enter with Anthony's mom, whom Cathy introduces. She heard the comments about Anthony and states that he is a gentlemen. Jill tells her that he isn't to them. Christie tries to break up the fight. The girls come in and celebrate. When Holly asks about the Hylands, Abby acts like she has never heard of them and Melissa walks out.
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(Image courtesy of Lifetime)