Previously on Dance Moms, Nia beat Kalani, but not without controversy. Abby planned on having the girls compete head-to-head to see who would be the soloist at Nationals. Once Nia won, it threw a wrench into her entire scheme. It looked as though Nia’s hard work was all for nothing. The ALDC is undefeated when it comes to Nationals. They have won all five years they’ve gone to the competition. 

Going into the season 5 finale, “Chaos at Nationals,” we’re still not sure what the line-up looks like. When it comes to Dance Moms, there is only one sure thing we all know — Maddie will dance, unless she’s helping Sia.

Dance Moms Recap: Will We Find Out Who Dances at Nationals? >>>

The Pyramid

JoJo is on the bottom of the pyramid. That isn’t too surprising. She hasn’t really done much to be visible lately, and Abby feels that she’s giving her the same corrections over and over. Mackenzie, Kendall and Kalani are next. Kalani was third in the previous competition, so it’s only fitting she’s third in the pyramid. Maddie is second, allowing Nia to take the top spot — which is where she should be after coming off a win.

The Soloists are … *Drumroll*

It has already been decided that Maddie will dance in the competition. She secured her spot a few episodes ago. It’s pretty much a given that Maddie will dance in any competition unless she has booked a job that weekend. Last season, she missed Nationals because she was working on Sia’s music video.

Abby is getting ready to announce who the other dancer will be. She admits to assuming that Kalani would be the one to fill the vacant spot. Jill cuts her off before she can finish her sentence and says that the solo should go to Nia. Abby flat-out says no! Kira starts to agree with Jill that the solo should go to Nia. Then she remembers that if Nia dances, she takes the chance away from her own daughter. So she starts to backtrack, saying Kalani has worked hard and deserves the chance. 

Holly reminds Abby that Nia is the only person on the team who has never danced a solo at Nationals. Apparently, that is all the persuasion Abby needs because she then announces that Nia will be dancing a routine called “No Matter What.” Good choice, Abby! I’m so excited Nia finally gets her chance. I’m still trying to get everyone on board with changing the competition name to Nia-tionals, by the way. 

Broadway Dance Academy (BDA), formerly known as the Candy Apples, will also be in attendance. Jeanette gives their solo, “Myth of the Mermaid,” to her daughter, Ava. No one is surprised by this. Last season, Ava was a member of the ALDC Elite Team. Abby kicked her off the squad on the day of Nationals with the infamous line, “You’re too tall for us today!” I hate to admit it, but I use that line in daily conversation. It was a terrible thing to say to a child. Ava and Jeanette seem to still be reeling from the way Abby treated them, and they’re out for revenge. 

The Group Dances are Assigned

Abby seems to always pull out the weird group dances for Nationals. Keep in mind, this is the competition that produced dances like “The Last Text” and  “Amber Alert.” They’re winning dances, but they’re so heavy. This season, the group is dancing to a piece called “The Waiting Room.” It’s about waiting in a hospital room to find out the fate of your loved one. That’s some heavy stuff for these kids.

BDA is doing a routine titled “Moving Target.” Jeanette believes the ALDC has been gunning for them. This dance is about moving that target off of BDA and placing it back on ALDC.

The Rivalries Continue

Here’s one of the things I don’t like about Dance Moms: there always has to be some kind of rivalry. Either ALDC is battling another troupe or they’re competing against each other within their own ranks. I don’t like the negativity that all breeds. Of course, competition is healthy, but I think the extreme these rivalries go to is toxic. These are young kids. They should be dancing for themselves. I don’t understand why they’re made to feel like they have something to prove — constantly.

The moms are out to lunch when Jeanette calls Holly. It’s a pretty lighthearted conversation and they all wish each other good luck. Jill thinks Jeanette is trying to prove to Abby that Ava should still be a member of the ALDC. Holly thinks Ava is going to give Maddie a run for her money. Melissa doesn’t think Ava will beat Maddie. Melissa says that Ava doesn’t compare to Maddie. Melissa likes to run her mouth.

Of course, Maddie is a great dancer, but Melissa needs to keep her confidence in check. The key to staying great and having people rooting for you is to be humble about it. Being over-confident will get you every time. (This is the point where I wrote “foreshadowing, Maddie will lose” in my notes.) 

Speaking of pressure, Abby tells Maddie she’s the “it” girl and she can’t go on stage and be anything less than “it.” Abby says she will be embarrassed if Maddie loses. I say, prepare to be embarrassed. 

It’s the Day of #NIAtionals

Nationals has arrived. The girls are backstage getting ready. Holly asks Nia if she likes her costume. Nia admits it’s not what she expected. I didn’t realize until she’s on stage that she’s wearing her costume in this backstage scene. I thought it was just a purple robe to lounge in and keep the makeup off her real costume. 

Nia is just into the beginning of her solo when the music skips. Nia herself doesn’t miss a beat; however, her soundtrack skips ahead, cutting off 30 seconds of the song! She still performed beautifully. I’m so glad we finally got to see her dance at Nationals. 

Maddie’s routine is gorgeous as well. Although her choreography seems to be the same every week, why would you fix something that’s not broken?

Ava’s performance is not necessarily my cup of tea. She’s a really strong dancer, though. I’m just not sure if her routine is strong enough to beat Maddie. Once she is finished, Abby says, “That was awful.” Nope, Abby’s attitude proves that Ava will beat Maddie. There’s no way Dance Moms would reward Abby’s behavior with a win. Which is unfortunate, because I believe Maddie had the superior routine.

BDA’s group routine is really strong. They start off a little shaky and not in-sync, but they seem to get on the same page eventually. They’re also dancing with a prop! 

ALDC is up next. “The Waiting Room” is incredible. I have goosebumps watching this performance. Their weird, creepy routines always draw me in. It seems like this one is a shoo-in for first place!

The Results

Teen Division

2nd place — Nia

Junior Division

2nd place — Maddie

1st place — Ava

Abby loses her shit. She tells the girls to leave the stage. They’re stopped by the announcers because there are more awards to give. Abby doesn’t care because she knows that award isn’t going to her dance company. Abby, Jill, Melissa and Kira all leave the competition. It’s fitting considering that’s how they started their trip in LA. 

Where Do We Go from Here?

Abby has just opened ALDC LA. Now she isn’t sure what her future holds. She has placed all of her eggs in one basket, banking her reputation on this competition. She can no longer say she has a current National Champion on her team. Karma’s a bitch, right?

How do you feel about Abby’s reaction? Were you shocked by the results? Sound off in the comments below. And don’t forget to tune in for the reunion show where I’m sure all hell will break loose. 

Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 9pm on Lifetime.

(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Casey Cummings

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV