In this episode of Dance Moms, “The New Maddie?”, Abby shakes things up by bringing in a possible replacement for Maddie. Cathy is convinced that she can beat Abby after the ALDC’s disappointing trip to Los Angeles. Holly’s frustration over Abby’s treatment of Nia continues. Dance mom Ashlee finally arrives in Pittsburgh with her daughter, and the latest “addition” to the ALDC.

Kalani beats out Maddie for the top spot on the pyramid because she received the highest overall score in the teen division and the highest-scoring soloist that day. Looks like Kira made the right choice in not making a big stink over her daughter getting pulled at the last minute from the group dance.

Dance Moms Recap: Holly Reevaluates Her Friendship with Jill >>>

Under Pressure

The girls are heading to New Jersey to compete in the Sheer Talent competition, where Abby and the moms will be reunited with Cathy and her Candy Apples, who have been absent on the competition circuit of late. Holly finds this odd and is convinced that Abby’s arch nemesis must have something up her sleeve.

It’s a big week for several of the girls. Mackenzie and Nia won national titles at a Sheer Talent competition in Las Vegas over the summer. An added perk is they get to hand out awards wearing their banners and crowns. Abby may be excited, but Nia looks underwhelmed, which doesn’t go unnoticed by her overbearing dance teacher. Abby’s convinced that Nia is “inheriting” her mother’s charms. Her solution is to berate and bully, and Holly has had enough.

Holly knows that Abby is still holding a grudge about stuff that went down on the west coast and is taking out on Nia. Nia tells the other moms she doesn’t want to fight, but she’s not going to deny Nia opportunities because her daughter isn’t Abby’s prized possession. Jill urges Holly to have a sit-down with Abby, but Holly isn’t the least bit interested in conflict resolution.

Maddie gets a solo, “Vertigo,” and Abby’s brightest star is under even more pressure than usual. The music video that she performed in with Sia, “Chandelier,” has been nominated for four Grammy Awards.

Even though Abbie is relishing all of the attention Maddie is getting, she fears Maddie’s dancing may be suffering. Twelve seems a little young to be washed-up, but Abby is All About Eve-ing Maddie by bringing in Brynn. It seems counterproductive to try to sabotage your own proven dancer with a young upstart, but Abby’s motivational techniques have always been questionable.

New girl Brynn gets a solo, “Diamond in the Rough,” because that’s how Abby views her. This girl has the feet and the legs but lacks the formal training and experience needed to fulfill her true potential.

Seeing Red

In Canton, Cathy is gloating about the ALDC’s overall poor showing during their time in LA. She’s also brought in guest choreographer Erin Babbs, whose girls from Murrieta Dance came in first place in the group category with a perfect score. Cathy is pulling out all the stops since she believes Abby is vulnerable.

Shaken Not Stirred Up

If Abby’s confidence is shaken, she’s hiding it well. She’s riding high on the whole Grammy thing, and she thinks the group routine, “Dance in the Rain,” is stunning.

Abby gushes over Brynn, and the moms question if all the praise is genuine. Ashlee takes offense, but then again, what mom wouldn’t? She questions if the other moms feel intimidated. Of course, what mom wouldn’t?

A Team Still in Turmoil

Jill doesn’t feel threatened, just territorial. If Brynn wasn’t around, maybe Kendall could have had a solo. Jessa is happy to have Brynn on board because she knows Abbie will play nice. They all warn Ashlee that she’s experiencing the honeymoon period phase, during which Abby will try to butter her up.

Maddie and some of the other girls are becoming more vocal and in tune with the severely dysfunctional relationships that Abby has with the mothers. When Nia is late for rehearsal, they discuss the deteriorating relationship between Holly and Abby and express fear that it’s heading toward an epic fallout like the one that occurred between Abby and Christi.

Going into the competition, the moms have doubts. The girls didn’t look so hot during group rehearsal, they’ve got a guest dancer breathing down their daughters’ necks and they have to deal with perhaps the only woman on earth more annoying than Abby: Cathy. They know the woman drives Abby insane (short trip), and they’ve had their run-ins with her as well. They are also curious why Cathy has suddenly decided to crawl out from under the house that fell on her.

Abby warns her girls to just tune Cathy out but is unable to follow her own advice. Abby is blindsided by the presence of Erin Babbs, and Cathy has decided to wave the red flag and taunt Abby through a megaphone. Abby manages to hold it together because she believes Cathy’s retribution will come in the form of another ass beating by the ALDC.

And the Winners Are…

All is as it should be for the ALDC. Maddie comes in first, securing her status as the reigning queen bee, Brynn comes in second and the group dance wins. Brynn may have been Maddie’s de facto Maddie all week, but she won’t be returning to the ALDC in the foreseeable future.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

Cathy may have lost, but she’s going down swinging. She points out that Kendall and Nia are stuck in the back while outside dancers are enjoying the spotlight. Cathy brings in new dancers and choreographers all the time, but when Abby does it, it’s because the regular members of Abby’s team are past their prime. At least Abby gets results. Don’t hate the player, Cathy, hate the game.

Cathy has bigger problems. One of her own moms turns on her, and in true Abby fashion, Cathy gives the woman, and her kid, the boot.

Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 8pm on Lifetime.

(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.