This week, Dance Moms is back with a special episode that looks at the Chloe/Maddie feud. The girls have danced together for years and are friends but also competitors. This episode wants us to think that the two are always against each other. If so, they must know how to keep their friends close and their enemies closer.
Collins hosts the show and he wants to stir up controversy. He’s after ratings and that’s how you do it. What’s this? The title may be about the girls, but the emphasis is focusing on the moms. I thought this was a look at the girls as competitors and not the moms. Most viewers realize that Christi will fight for Chloe, while Melissa is the typical stage mom who will do anything to have her daughter succeed.
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Maddie’s and Melissa’s Side
Melissa truly believes that Abby will make Maddie a star. Maddie doesn’t really have a life, in my opinion. Everything revolves around dance. Abby will push Maddie’s career and thus pushes the child with private lessons. Abby isn’t giving viewers the whole story of a dancer. Talk to any dancer and they will tell you that your professional life is short. By not allowing Maddie to develop other interests, both Abby and Melissa have narrowed Maddie’s opportunities. Without knowing the world outside dance, can Maddie develop an interest that can continue after her dance career ends?
Melissa is asked once to pull Maddie’s second solo and she refuses. To her, pulling that second solo would hurt her daughter’s career. This attitude hurts Maddie more than a loss because it reflects badly on the mom’s attitude.
Melissa pushes Maddie sometimes to the extreme. Putting pressure on Maddie prior to a performance only adds to the child’s stress. While she has dreams for Maddie on Broadway, sometimes she takes matter too far. By going to a producer on her own to self-promote her daughter, she shows herself not only to viewers but to the producer as a stage mom.
Chloe’s and Christi’s Side
If we believe Collins, Chloe’s major problem is Christi. Christi will fight for her daughter at any cost. Personally, I expect a mom to protect her child. While we often see Christi’s bad side, she is there for all the girls in the dressing room.
When the trio from season 1 is shown, Chloe comes across as being a consummate performer. She keeps going even when her headpiece falls. Abby, of course, sees the problem as being Christi’s fault. Abby, ultimately you are the one who should oversee the costumes.
Christi comes across as a mom first who has dreams for her daughter. Christi, by allowing Chloe to dance, is fulfilling her own childhood fantasy. Christi does realize that Chloe needs down time and rest. Is allowing your daughter to fulfill your dream a good reason to put your child in this pressure cooker environment? Maybe not. Chloe has talent and Christi sees her daughter as her priority.
Abby arranges situations that allow Chloe and Maddie to be pitted against each other. Abby stirs up the controversy and causes dissention between the moms. At an early Starpower competition, Abby manages to get Maddie in the same age category as Chloe. The reason: to allow Maddie another opportunity to beat Chloe.
Abby’s choice of “rewards” (dances and the pyramid) comes across as favoring Maddie. Maddie always gets the solos, and she always gets the top of the pyramid. Abby empowers Melissa to come across as the mother of the star. Meanwhile, Abby sees Christi as the attacker. Abby needs to admit that she’s the cause of the problem because of favoring Maddie.
Abby wants a studio of Maddies and claims everyone is replaceable. While that may be true, these girls have given Abby her fame and helped pay her bills. While Abby does encourage Chloe when Chloe threatens to quit, she still empowers Maddie as the star.
Abby uses Broadway and videos as a means of competition for the girls. While Maddie won the producer over who was casting Annie, Chloe gets the starring role in the video shoot. Even after Melissa tries to connive the spot for Maddie, Chloe shines and wins. While Melissa sees nothing wrong with the private meeting, Christi sees this technique as wrong. Christi, I agree.
From Season 1 to Now
Collins does admit that Maddie and Chloe are friends, even when being competitors. The girls care for each other. The friendship and trust comes through in the “Black Swan” number. This duet is one of the best I’ve seen on the show and it works because the girls know each other so well they can work together.
My Thoughts on the Situation
Collins says this episode has traced the Chloe/Maddie war, but to me it shows two different styles of parenting and the emphasis that the studio puts on success. The show’s focus is not on the girls dancing but on Abby pitting them against each other.
I want to hear from you! Is it fair for Abby to control these two talented dancers this way? Both have strengths and styles that differ from each other. Is one better from the other? Which team are you? Are you Team Maddie and Melissa, Team Chloe and Christi or Team Abby?
(Image courtesy of Lifetime)