Previously on Dance Moms, Kira forgot that the AL in ALDC stands for Abby Lee and decided to bring in someone from the outside to teach a dance class, one sure-fire way to piss off Abby Lee Miller. Abby felt slighted knowing the moms thought the girls needed more classes and technical training, so she hit the road. However, the girls were able to overcome their dance teacher being missing in action and swept the competition.

Will Abby return to the studio in time for Nationals? The short answer is yes. Now, whether or not anyone will be mentally prepared for Nationals in four weeks is an entirely different question.

Dance Moms Recap: Can the ALDC Win Without Abby? >>>

A Lukewarm Welcome Back

In this episode, “Abby vs. Kira … AGAIN!” the girls are warming up for rehearsals when Nia notices the pyramid isn’t set up. Everyone takes this as a sign that Abby will not be joining the class today. They are wrong. Abby walks through the door and immediately goes into “dance teacher mode.” The moms want a few minutes alone with Abby to talk about what transpired over the last week. Abby refuses at first but finally gives in to Jill’s persistence.

This is the point where you think that Abby is going to blow up at Kira, right? Where she will tell her how terrible she is, and she’s just lucky to be here, right? Wrong. Abby says that what happened the previous week was not because of Kira at all, but because of what Jessalynn said! I’m not going to lie; I appreciate the flashback that’s given to us here because I couldn’t remember Jess doing anything that questionable in the previous episode.

The black and white flashback tells us that Jess was in fact criticizing Abby. She said, “If you had the chance to help someone, I don’t know why you wouldn’t.” Really?! We’re supposed to believe that is what set Abby off into her week-long hiding? Abby starts screaming about how she has helped hundreds of kids! She’s bought meals and babysat!

Jill, being the regular Nancy Drew that she is, says this is all just a smoke screen. Jess thinks that Kira should have stood up for her and offered to take blame. Melissa sits back and bites her tongue. I mean, she can’t really say anything because then everyone will know her secret to Maddie’s success. Although, the secret really is to just sit back and shut up. 

Kalani Has a Solo

The competition in this episode is Xpression Dance Competition and it’s taking place in Kalani’s home state of Arizona. Kira has decided that Kalani will have a solo, called “The Investment.” Also — get this — she’s bringing in Kalani’s former dance teacher, Alexa, to choreograph it! That should be totally fine, though, because Kira undermining Abby’s skills as a dance teacher and choreographer is not what the issue was in the previous episode, right? 

Abby agrees that Kalani will have a solo, but she is not happy about Alexa choreographing it. Gia, the actual choreographer, isn’t too happy either. Kira is all bite and no bark. She talks a big game, but then becomes really timid when it’s time to bring in Alexa. This poor girl can’t even look Abby in the eyes. She asks Alexa why she is here, and Alexa responds by saying, “Just here to teach my student.” I’m pretty sure she meant to say former student. Abby reluctantly agrees to the outsider coming in, but only after bringing up a non-compete contract.  

Candy Apples or Applesauce?

Kathy has handed over the reins of the Candy Apples to Jeanette. It’s not clear whether or not this is just for this competition or if it’s a permanent gig for Jeanette. She decides it’s only fitting that her own daughter, Ava, perform their solo at competition. The last time Ava and Kalani went head-to-head, Ava was the victor. The title of Ava’s performance is “Praying Mantis.” 

It’s Showtime

It’s the day of the competition. Everyone is in the dressing room. Kalani is running through her choreography with Alexa, who is making corrections. Abby and Gia are sitting nearby, not saying a word. Melissa mentions that it’s not like Abby to bite her tongue. Jill, being the instigator that she is, keeps pressing the issue, trying to bait Abby into exploding. I’m actually impressed that Abby is able to keep it together. 

It’s finally time for the solo performances. Ava’s solo isn’t bad. Her costume is kind of weird; the arms are really long, and Ava’s arms are already really long anyway. It works, though, because it does make her look like a praying mantis. 

Kalani’s solo is really good too. Abby even claps for her. It’s almost like Abby is able to look past everything that has happened recently with Kalani’s mom. Oh, no, I spoke too soon. 

Here We Go

The girls are getting ready for the group routine when Gia asks Nia how old she is. Nia is 13 years old now. With Nia and Kalani both performing in the group dance, it pushes them into an older age division. The teen category is for ages 12 to 14. The junior division is for ages 9 to 11. This means that someone is going to have to be pulled from the dance. Normally, this person would be Nia, but an opportunity has presented itself for Abby to get back at Kira for all of her shenanigans. Kalani is sidelined. 

The group routine is a contemporary number called “Panic Room.” It reminds me of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. It just has this powerful, rebellious feel to it. I really like it. Maddie and JoJo give everyone a pep talk before taking the stage. Even though Kalani isn’t dancing with them, they know they need to perform their best. 

The Results

Solo Category:

4th place — Ava

1st place — Kalani

Group Category:

3rd place — Candy Apples

1st place — ALDC

The ALDC girls were able to pull out wins across the board. When they return to the dressing room, Kira lets them know she and Kalani are leaving — like, really leaving, leaving the dance company. Kalani is devastated. She only has four years of dance left and doesn’t want to dance for someone who doesn’t want her. It’s heartbreaking. These girls just want to do what they love, but there is always some kind of drama preventing them from just being happy. 

Next time, the moms try to get Abby to realize what an asset Kalani is to the team. Hopefully, things start turning around and we start to see a little more sunshine for the ALDC in Los Angeles.

Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 9pm on Lifetime.

(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Casey Cummings

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV