It’s a new day at the ALDC, and while everyone is happy that they are winners, Holly feels distant from Jill and Melissa. It’s pyramid time, and after proclaiming that Abby’s kids are miles above any rotten candy apple, the moms complain that lyrical is the only genre of dance that their little darlings ever pull off. The moms want the girls to break out ofAbby’s box, and perform different styles of dance to be prepared for something other than lyrical stardom, even if it means losing once in awhile. Abby throws them a “yeah, right” and then brings the girls up one by one to critique JoJo on her official team member bid. The girls believe that JoJo is loud and annoying, but a hard worker, so Abby decides to bestow on her an ALDC team jacket, which will remain sacred for approximately the rest of the season.
JoJo handles the criticism like a pro, and Jess pinkie swears that she won’t sue Abby for approximately the rest of the season. All of the girls are on the same pyramid level, except Maddie, who is permanently plunked on the top. The are heading to Philadelphia this week, for New York Talent Experience, where they will be critiqued, live on stage…AKA a Dance Moms drama booster. Lyrical is out, as Abby assigns a group dance that is a period musical theater piece, and solos are doled out to Maddie, Kendall and Nia. Kendall will be challenged with props, and Nia is warned to place, or never dance alone again in her lifetime.
Rehearsal begins, and everyone is thrilled to be free from the lyrical prison that Abby throws them into every week. Holly bonds with Kira and Jess while Melissa and Jill haul props in order to kiss Abby’s ample butt. The bonding feels forced and not genuine. Maddie is dancing like a mannequin this week, and Melissa gushes about being the teacher’s pet and scoring great numbers, to which Jess succinctly replies “blah,blah.” Kendall’s rehearsal begins, and she is challenged by some cumbersome luggage props. Abby comments that there are no worries, because she will probably end up as a waitress anyway, and won’t have to worry about traveling. Holly begins whining about favoritism right on cue, and acknowledges that because Kira and Jess aren’t major butt kissers, they are her new best friends. Holly, Kira and Jess are the new it-girls, and Holly informs Jill and Melissa that they have been cut, because everyone’s replaceable. Jill objects, and points out that Jess and Kira stood with Holly on the video shoot for their girls, not Nia. The Three Musketeer Pact is announced, and Jill comments that she will believe it when she sees it. I’m with Jill on this one.
Nia’s ‘Color Purple’ rehearsal kicks off, and as Abby complains about Nia’s technique, Jess and Kira are hard at work kissing up to Holly. Holly appreciates it, but Jill believes that it will only create division. Abby reminds Nia again that this is a do or die solo, and because her mom is a big pain in her took is, Nia pulling off a win is the only way it’s worth it. Nia and Abby rehash the demo cut defection, and although Nia would like to keep her music career separate, Abby says nope, because a crime against the ALDC always deserves the solo death penalty. Holly and Nia discuss the exchange, and as Nia sniffles, Holly comments that she would yank Nia out if they weren’t scoring a TV show.
The team arrives at the “competition” and Abby is sweating the live critique portion, hoping that her girls can control their breathing with class, so that she can avoid utter humiliation. Nia performs, and is a lovely girl, but a pretty weak dancer. A weird Vanna White-esque hostess kicks off the critiques, which are led by SURPRISE..the same judge that works with Abby on her other show. Nia is only criticized on her facial expressions, so either there is a ton of film on the cutting room floor, or this whole critique angle is completely bogus. Holly basks in the obvious glaring absence of technique correction, and hopes that Nia will place.
Maddie performs and is great, but not technically perfect either, which the judges point out. GASP! Maddie is a human, not a mannequin of perfection, and Abby acts peeved. Kendall performs, and the number is adorable, and my personal favorite. The judge comments that he wished for a greater connection, but understands, because she was “dancing a lot.” That says it all for this phony bit, as the group prepares to go on. It’s not lyrical, which could be the kiss of death, but the number is cute, and at least different from their same old shtick. Maddie wins first for her solo, with neither Kendall nor Nia hitting a top 5 spot. Holly is devastated, but is already preparing her “Kendall didn’t place eitherrrr” argument from her seat. The group wins third, and Jill blames Holly for fracturing the group and crushing their Charleston. Abby vows to never leave lyrical again, and Jill spills the tea that Holly, Kira and Jess have formed a justice pact, which Abby labels as negative energy. Holly yells at Abby for comparing murder to cutting a demo, and Abby and some others have a hard time choking back laughter. Holly bleats endlessly and finally and mercifully walks out. Cathy is back with a new bunch of apples next week…see you then!