Previously on Dance Moms — by now, you should know the drill — Abby continued her bracket-style-elimination-dance-dance-revolution-dance-off-battle to see who gets to perform a solo at Nationals. And Kendall dropped the scarf she was dancing with during her routine, securing Maddie’s spot in the competition. 

Thank Beyonce that Nationals is only one week away because this pseudo-tournament to determine who Abby chooses to perform is becoming tiresome. In this episode, “Nia vs. Kalani: Winner Takes All,” we’re down to the final match-up. At this point, It’s insulting to viewers and downright wrong for the girls involved because it’s clear that Abby will handpick who she wants to see perform. The whole dance-off thing is a charade. However, the recap must go on.

Dance Moms Recap: Can the ALDC Maintain the Top Spot in the Competition? >>>

The Pyramid

The girls are coming off a pretty big win. They’ve swept the last few competitions, but where does that leave everyone in the pyramid breakdown? JoJo finds herself on the bottom since she messed up in the group dance. Kendall is next, which is surprising since she dropped her prop. Dropping your prop in a competition is like dropping the spirit stick at cheerleading camp. Maybe not being on the bottom of the pyramid is Kendall’s consolation prize for not getting to compete at Nationals since Abby makes it clear that she is absolutely out of the running. Next, it’s Nia, Kalani and Mackenzie, leaving the top spot open for Maddie.

Shades of Cray

This episode finds the girls competing at Dance Kids USA. Remember, this is the competition where 13-year-olds judge the performances. Abby assigns Kalani a contemporary solo titled “Shades of Grey.” I don’t know where these dance names come from, but I’m pretty sure whenever the judges saw the name of this dance in the program, they thought, “Hey! My mom read that book.” It’s just weird. 

“Bye, Felicia” is the name of Nia’s solo. “Bye, Felicia” is a trendy saying that’s on its way out the door. “Bye, Felicia” is basically when you don’t care enough about someone to even know their name, so you just call them Felicia. 

The group routine is called “Made in the Shade” and there are props! Each girl will dance with an umbrella. This could be dangerous. The umbrellas aren’t even staying open during rehearsal.

MDP will also be performing at the competition. They’re entering a group number called “The Last One Standing.” The girls will be wearing hoods, which will make it hard for them to see. Maybe that is just the edge the ALDC needs to pull out a win. 

Shades of “Slay”

Nia is not in the group routine. She is having to sit out because she is going to miss a day of rehearsal to shoot her new music video for her song “Slay.” JoJo and Carmen Electra are both in the video too. Mikey Minden is the producer and director. He worked on her last project as well. This video has an edgy, urban feel. Holly seems to think it will actually help Nia with her solo performance since both have the same kind of vibe. 

Nia ends up leaving her solo rehearsal early to start work on the video. Abby thinks she’s making a “youge” mistake. Of course, Abby doesn’t have any faith in Nia. She doesn’t believe Nia will be able to juggle the two projects. I’m not sure she can either. 

Isn’t It Bad Luck to Open an Umbrella Indoors?

The girls are rehearsing the group routine. Right off the bat, there are major malfunctions with the umbrella props. Melissa tells Abby the umbrellas are falling apart and suggests putting wooden dowels in the frame to secure them. Abby immediately shoots down the idea. She thinks the weight distribution will mess the girls up, and she doesn’t want another prop malfunction. My roommate points out that the best way to avoid a prop malfunction is to avoid using props. There’s no room for logic on this show, Brittany. The moms decide to tape the umbrellas anyway. 

Dancing for a Spot at Nationals

It’s the day of the competition. ALDC is making their way to the building, lazily swinging their umbrellas, while MDP is outside doing push-ups in the 85-degree heat. Abby thinks this is borderline abusive. I think it sounds like a vacation. (We’re supposed to hit 102 this weekend. I’d take exercise and mid 80s over that any day!)

Nia is the first to dance. While she seems confident, I don’t think it is one of her better dances. Abby agrees. After the performance, the camera cuts to Abby and she shakes her head. Abby is not pleased at all. 

Kalani is next to dance. Her solo is really pretty and her technique is good. At this point, it looks like Kalani and Maddie will be the ones to perform at Nationals. 

MDP is the first to dance in the small group division. “The Last One Standing” is phenomenal. It’s fitting that the girls’ hoods make them look like executioners because they kill it! Their performance doesn’t make Jill feel any better. She already believes the ALDC is at a handicap for dancing with props. It’s like they’re going on stage with points already deducted. 

Kira is concerned for the group routine as well. She thinks the music will put everyone to sleep. How can anyone sleep during their performance? I’m sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for an umbrella to turn inside out or fly across the stage. Luckily, that doesn’t happen. The girls are able to perform flawlessly, and their props work like they are supposed to. 

The Results

Small Group Division

2nd place — MDP

1st place — ALDC

Teen Solo Division

3rd place — Kalani

1st place — Nia

Holy shit! Nia just beat Kalani. That means she gets to perform at Nationals, right? Can we all agree to go ahead and change the name to Nia-tionals? Not so fast. 

Remember, we’re playing by Abby’s rules, and Abby’s rules can change on a dime. 

Next time on Dance Moms, Nationals is finally here and ALDC LA finally has its grand opening. 

How do you feel about the way Abby treated Nia in this episode? Do you think she deserves to dance a solo at Nationals? Sound off in the comments below. 

Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 9pm on Lifetime.

(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Casey Cummings

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV