Previously on Dance Moms, Kira brought in an outsider to choreograph Kalani’s competition solo. She was already on thin ice with Abby, and this caused the ice to break. Kalani was pulled from performing in the group dance because her age would have pushed the group into an older division. When it was all said and done, Kira decided to pull Kalani from the studio completely. 

The ALDC might be down one dancer, but the show must go on! Nationals is just around the corner. It’s time to start weeding out the weakest links to see who will perform in the ultimate competition.

Dance Moms Recap: Will the ALDC Lose Another Member? >>>

The Pyramid Scheme

In this episode, “Solo Battle: Round 1,” JoJo is at the bottom of the pyramid. Abby attributes that to her feet looking horrendous in the previous competition. Then it’s Nia and Mackenzie. Abby says that Mackenzie did well, but she had to be corrected a lot. Abby also notes that Mackenzie doesn’t express herself enough through her eyes. I beg to differ because I’ve seen Mackenzie express her feelings through her eyes on more than one occasion — especially when she’s rolling them at Abby giving her those said corrections.

Maddie is next on the pyramid. She was the lead in the group dance and did well; Abby just feels she needs to be knocked down a peg. That leaves the top spot open for Kendall.

Dance Madness

This episode is aptly titled “Solo Battle: Round 1.” Abby needs to decide which girls will compete at Nationals. She figures a bracket-style dance-off is the way to go. She takes the person on the bottom of they pyramid and pits them against the girl at the top, meaning JoJo and Kendall will face off. The winner will advance to round two. Spoiler alert: a 16 seed has never beaten a one seed. JoJo is definitely the underdog in this scenario. 

Kendall will dance to a contemporary jazz piece called “Immortal.” JoJo is assigned a Miley Cyrus-themed dance titled “She Can’t Stop.” JoJo is a huge Miley Cyrus fan and couldn’t be more thrilled for this dance — me too, girl! 

The group dance is “Don’t Fence Me In” and, yes, it involves a barbed wire chain link fence prop. Melissa thinks the fence is a catastrophe waiting to happen; Jill agrees. The girls don’t seem to have a lot of luck when props are involved, especially if the dancer is Chloe and the prop is a headpiece. I miss Chloe. 

Broadway Dance Academy is the new Candy Apples

Jeanette is still overseeing the Candy Apples. Cathy has not returned to her dance team yet, so Jeanette continues at the helm. She owns Broadway Dance Academy (BDA) and decides that’s what studio the girls will represent. 

Jeanette doesn’t know what light and easy means. She pulls out all of the stops and has BDA doing a transgender-themed group routine called “Run, Run, Run…” — an original song from the It Gets Better Tour. The It Gets Better Project began online as an anti-bullying campaign designed to protect LGBT youth and let them know people do love and accept them. Oh yeah, I should mention that “Run, Run, Run” will be sung live during the competition by the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA.

The It Gets Better Tour‘s transgender story is based on Jay. Jeanette brings in Jay to inspire the girls. He lets them know his backstory. When he was 11 years old, he went by the name Janet. He wants BDA to know what and who they’re dancing for. This dance has to be powerful. 

I’d say this routine has the potential to give the ALDC a run for their money!   

Knock Knock. Who’s There?

It’s Kira and Kalani! The moms are standing in the middle of the parking lot asking each other if they think Kira and Kalani will come back. They’re all exchanging no’s and shaking their heads when Kira pulls into the parking lot. Jill pauses for a moment to pick her jaw up from the asphalt. Melissa wants to know if Kira talked to Abby or gave her a heads-up that she was planning on returning to the team. Earlier in the episode when she was asked if she wanted Kalani back on the team, Abby answered no. This mother/daughter duo has no idea what they’re in for. 

They go inside, where the girls are in the middle of the group rehearsal. As soon as Kalani walks through the door, all of the other girls rush to give her a hug. They are happy to have their teammate back. Kalani starts to make her way toward Abby, who cuts her off, saying, “Walk away.” Rude!

Abby lets Kalani know she will not be in the group dance. They have already choreographed it and have been dancing it for a day now. Plus, there is a huge prop and you don’t wanna mess with that!

Kira still doesn’t know the meaning of rehearsal time. She busts into the studio and asks for Abby to reconsider putting Kalani in the group. She tries to butter her up with compliments, but the answer is still no. Actually, the answer is, “You’re asking all of us to bend over backwards. Take one up the *** for your kid. And I’m not doing it anymore. Kalani is not in the group dance, period.” Now it’s my turn to pick my jaw up from the floor. 

But You Gotta Get It Right, Can’t Get It Wrong…

It’s the day of the competition. JoJo is up first. She’s wearing a wig that is a little more Dorothy Hamill than Miley Cyrus, if you ask me, but it’s cute. The music starts and JoJo is really into it. Remember, she’s basically president of the Miley Cyrus fan club. She’s followed her from Hannah Montana to Bangerz — which I think might be a little explicit for someone JoJo’s age, but I listen to it everyday too and totally understand.

JoJo is giving this dance everything she’s got, and then she completely forgets the whole thing. As much as she wants to run off stage, she knows that she can’t stop. She improvises 90% of the routine, and it’s really not that bad. Once the dance is over, she runs to the wings and cries. She says she knows that Abby is going to kill her. 

Since JoJo just forgot nearly all of her choreography, there’s no pressure on Kendall. She is able to get out there and nail it! It doesn’t hurt that Kendall has awesome choreography, music and a killer costume. Jill is just thrilled that her daughter gets to play the role of Maddie this time.

After the solos, Abby confronts JoJo in front of everyone. She wants to know what happened. JoJo starts to cry, and in the most sincere, tiny voice, she says she was excited about the solo and really wanted to do well, but she doesn’t know what happened. In a surprising turn of events, instead of screaming at and humiliating her, Abby asks JoJo to step forward so she can give her a hug. 

It’s time for the group routines. I normally don’t  give Jeanette enough credit. Usually, I think she tries too hard with her routines. She always wants them to be really heavy and emotionally driven, and it’s just eye-roll inducing. This routine is an exception. The song is great, the message is powerful and the choreography is incredible! I think BDA is flawless. A judge claps in the middle of the routine! Audience members are crying! This dance is Nationals caliber, and the ALDC is shaking in their Capezios. The Candy Apples would normally be a 16 seed, but performing as BDA has raised the stakes, letting them play their way into The Big Dance.   

Abby Lee Dance Company is taking the stage. “Don’t Fence Me In” had all of the potential in the world to be a complete disaster, but the girls managed to pull it off. It was really good, actually. The fence didn’t fall; Mackenzie didn’t cut herself on the razor wire — the girls stood a chance to win, or at the very least place.

The Results


3rd place — Kendall

JoJo did not place.


2nd place — Broadway Dance Academy

1st place — ALDC

This one is really close. Both groups performed exceptionally.

Next time on Dance Moms, Kendall battles it out against Maddie to continue on the road towards becoming America’s next top model dancing a solo at Nationals. 

Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 9pm on Lifetime.

(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Casey Cummings

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV