PREVIOUSLY Things are going to be different—also known as exactly the same—this year because…Maddie-Chloe showdown. Cathy is a pillar of sportsmanship. Brooke is missing, but not in the “Where Have All the Children Gone” sense. Chloe wins. Christi has been replaced by a disco ball.
PYRAMID, PYRAMID, ON THE MIRROR Once again, Abby starts the show off by congratulating the girls on their victories. And then she proceeds to tear them apart one by one. Paige has a slutty cheerleader for a sister sucks at jumping and life. Kendall has questionable hips. Nia was not bad, but she wasn’t good either.
This week, the group will be going to the Hollywood Vibe competition in St. Louis. Abby tells them that the judges are all from New York and L.A., meaning they don’t fuck around. So the girls better not either. Capiche?
Christi interviews that Abby is always putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on these small children. Especially when she sits on them. Well, she actually only says the former. But I still suspect the latter.
And now for the Pyramid of Shame. Abby skips over the first/bottommost picture, saying, “I’m not even gonna discuss this…” which leads meto think—especially when it cuts to Kelly—that it’s Brooke on the very bottom. Paige is next up because she’s dense, followed by Nia and Kendall, who are only slightly less dense. Kendall is also still on probation, and likely still doesn’t know what that means. Give the kid a fucking jacket already. This isn’t a 1950s greaser gang. Just let the kid’s mom buy her the jacket.
Mackenzie is on the second row for a winning performance. Good job, kid. Somewhat surprisingly, Maddie is also on the second row. However, as Abby explains, Chloe is only on the top because Abby had to put her up there because Chloe had to go and win. What a burden. Abby also gives some weird lecture to Chloe, saying in a very exasperated tone, “You did something out there. You made your mother cry. She was bawling. Don’t make me cry.” The fuck?
Then the producers re-use a snippet from last week where Christi is talking about how Chloe being on the top of the Pyramid is cause for celebration and ice cream. Don’t think I didn’t notice you did that, assholes.
Abby also announces that both Maddie and Chloe will have solos, as well as a trio…with Kendall. Paige says that she has been in a trio with Maddie and Chloe since she was four. And then I feel really bad for her. Kelly is not so much pleased. But Abby has no time for emotions, so she moves onto the group number, which will be about bullying. Then we cut to Maddie, who laughs her way through a story about being bullied on the bus. You seem real torn up, kid.
Holly sees this topic as an ironic one. Because Abby’s such a colossal bitch bully. Interestingly, Nia has been chosen to be the bully. Holly objects. Nia is thrilled to have a featured role.
And then…TWIST. Abby says that she knows everyone thought Brooke’s picture was on the bottom. BUT…Abby Lee Miller is one tricky bitch with tricky sleeves full of tricks. And one of those tricks is a giant 19-year-old girl, aka Peyton, who will be performing in the group number this week in place of Brooke. The girls are totally excited. The moms…not so much. Jill is especially pissed, as she thinks Peyton will take Kendall’s place. Now that doesn’t make any sense. But Jill is probably not the brightest bulb in the tanning booth, so I’ll go along with this drama. For now. Abby places Peyton on probation, so maybe she and Kendall can bond over their ankle monitors and community service.
In a confusing interview, where Abby’s even raspier voice makes her sound like Elmo’s chain-smoking understudy, she says that, “With Brooke being gone, there is only one spot open on this competition team. Kendall and Peyton both want that spot.” But but but…what? What about Vivi The Hostage’s spot? Is Brooke’s spot different? I don’t understand.
FIVE DAYS TO COMPETITION Up in the Momservatory, Kelly, Christi, and Melissa discuss how unfair it is for Kendall to get a trio with Maddie and Chloe. Jill says that it’s more like Kendall is being added then Paige is being taken away, which…no. Christi says the trio is “kind of untouchable, you leave it alone.” Is nothing sacred, Abby?!
Holly is about to lose it watching Nia portray the bully in the number. So she goes downstairs and tells Abby that she has a problem with the set-up. She then interviews that there is a zero-tolerance for bullying at the school where she works, and she wishes there was one at the dance studio as well. I find the whole thing strange. It’s clear that the number is pretend and anti-bullying in nature, so why is there a problem, especially since Nia seems genuinely excited about the starring role? Regardless, after Holly airs her grievances, Abby is just like, “Bitch, please.” And then
Paige is named the bully. Wtf? Paige? Not that giant girl? That’s foolish. Peyton becomes the new bully. Because she’s gigantic. Nia is sad. Abby consoles her by saying “You had a featured part in a number, and your mom took it away.” Nice.
Abby seemingly proceeds to take her anger out on Chloe by saying, “I don’t know why your mother says you aren’t confident. You’re the cockiest kid I’ve ever worked with.” Now…that’s really mean, especially when Abby clearly knows, and has even said, that Chloe constantly second-guesses herself. Apparently Chloe is cocky because she is “choreographing on her own” instead of doing Abby’s choreography. So when a kid doesn’t follow the routine, it’s not because she forgot or doesn’t know it yet, it’s because she is purposefully changing it. Wait, what? Chloe says that she really just didn’t understand what Abby was correcting her on. Chloe cries. Abby tells Chloe that she has a kid on speed dial ready to take Chloe’s place. The moms continue to yell “Irony!” and “Abby’s a big fat bitch bully!” from atop the soundproof perch that is the Momservatory.
BROOKE’S NEW BABYSITTING GIG Kelly invites the dance team over to her house to hang out with Brooke. Mackenzie misses Brooke and wants her back more than she wants her two front teeth. The girls ask her tons of questions about cheerleading, including what she will be doing on the weekend. When Brooke answers that she’ll be at a football game and not at the competition, Mackenzie. Is. Scandalized. Brooke says that she really misses them, and then the girls proceed to get on Brooke’s nerves in a matter of minutes. Also, no adults are anywhere to be found. Joke’s on you, Brooke.
THREE DAYS TO THE COMPETITION Abby is pleased with how Peyton is working out with the group, although her main stipulations are clearly that Peyton loves Maddie and can count to eight.
Up in the Momservatory, Peyton’s mom, Leslie, has joined the group. And Jill has put herself in charge of hazing, even though Peyton has been at Abby’s studio for four years, and Kendall for just a couple of weeks. As the group number is being rehearsed Jill can’t stop commenting on how “big” Peyton is, which is something you say to a teenage girl to spur an eating disorder. Leslie fights back and says that Peyton is better than Kendall. In a one-on-one, Abby give her two cents concerning the epic struggle that is Jill v. Leslie, saying that Jill better get her gat bat out. How is there such a large collection of crazy in this small sampling of individuals? Also, Jill keeps enunciating Peyton’s name to the extreme, and it’s really annoying. While all this nonsense is happening, Christi is sitting between the hazer and the hazed, eating popcorn and enjoying the free show.
To her credit, when Jill calls Peyton a “big bully,” Leslie says, “Like mother, like daughter,” which is probably the most self-aware thing that has been uttered on this show to date.
TRIO REHEARSAL Abby cites spacing as one of the most difficult aspects to a trio number. So someone will probably fuck that up later. And then, besides Abby and the trio members, we see that Paige is also in the room, assisting Abby with running the music. Really? Really. Abby loves to kick children when they’re down. Abby says that she doesn’t know whether Paige would have been a better choice than Kendall for the trio, given the difficult “choreography count-wise.” Yeah, better to give it to the kid who was four counts ahead of everyone in the group number two weeks ago. Kelly is not so much pleased with the situation.
As the moms are watching trio rehearsal, Leslie talks about how hilarious it is to see Abby’s big ol’ ass dancing with those petite little children. They all wonder if Abby could do a turn, and then realize that Abby’s ankles are the real victims in all of this, struggling in silence each and every day.
COFFUNCH FROM HELL Leslie decides to invite the other moms out to coffee/lunch/coffunch, supposedly to see how they are all feeling about Peyton being on the team. Sigh. Christi’s like, “Bitch, please. What you playin’ at?” Leslie asks Kelly why Kelly is still there. Kelly reminds Leslie that, while Brooke may have decided to become a cheerleader, PAIGE is still alive and dancing at Abby’s studio. Poor Paige, such a non-entity. Leslie probably thought Paige worked at the studio as a janitor and occasional laptop operator.
Then, after offending both Kelly and Christi—but not Melissa, because Melissa knows that being a bitch is just Leslie’s “way”—Leslie starts in on Jill, saying that if Brooke decided to come back, Peyton should stay and Kendall should leave. That. Doesn’t. Make. Sense. Dear Leslie, see Episode 1.
A seemingly under-the-weather Holly arrives, and Leslie immediately wants to know why Holly didn’t want Nia to portray the bully. Holly explains how she and Abby have butted heads in the past concerning stereotypical roles that Nia has been portraying. Now, I don’t know if Holly is upset that the black kid was initially chosen to be the bully, but that’s kind of what it sounds like. Leslie says that her daughter will dance any dance and play any part. So there’s that.
Leslie and Christi get into it yet again, and Leslie questions Christi’s parenting, using logic that isn’t logic at all. Christi tells Leslie that Abby often makes Chloe—and in turn Christi—upset, to which Leslie responds that she isn’t bothered by Peyton’s crying in the least. Ergo, Christi’s a bad parent. See? Christi’s a bad parent because her daughter’s crying bothers her. But Leslie could care less that her child is crying, like a good parent.
GROUP COSTUME REVEAL The day before the competition, the girls are being fitted for their costumes and all come out at once to show off their sweet new duds to their moms, most of whom are immediately horrified. Because their daughters are dressed like slutty schoolgirls. It’s very “Baby One More Time.” And we all know how that ended up.
As Abby is defending the costume choice/not giving a fuck what the moms are saying, she tells Leslie that Peyton is supposed to look trashy Catholic school slut, just like every other bully. Now THAT’S what every mom wants to hear about her daughter. In the end, while Abby doesn’t want to jeopardize her “cutting edge” costumes, she does agree to forego the fishnets for some knee-high stockings. What a compromise.
Also, we learn that there will be a “Kick Me” sign placed on Maddie’s back during the dance. So Melissa has to be extra-dextra-super-duper sure not to put Maddie’s ponytails too low, or they will be in the way of the sign. What’s that smell? Oh yeah, it’s foreshadowing.
COMPETITION DAY We don’t see any footage of the bus ride this week, not even to the airport or whatever. Probably because the bus drivers of Pittsburgh have all boycotted Abby’s studio, as she puts them at great risk of a heart attack.
In a cruel twist of fate, Peyton and Kendall have to be next to each other in the dressing room. I still don’t understand why their moms are so worried about the other’s child since they seem to both have a spot on the team, but whatever. Jill is freaking the fuck out about Kendall’s trio, so she bribes Kendall with $20, which doesn’t make any sense since Kendall is probably not going to purposefully mess up in the first place. After seeing such an unsavory transaction, Maddie interviews that they don’t play that way at this studio. They take ice cream bribes, not monetary ones. The moms must bribe Abby a lot.
Right before the trio goes on, Abby reminds Kendall that she is still on probation. Because Abby is helpful like that. The trio goes out, and they start off their routine by sitting on the edge of the stage. Right away, Abby freaks out that Chloe is messing up the spacing. But, as the others point out, Chloe can’t sit where she needs to because there is a giant microphone in the way. So Chloe sits next to it. She is way far away from them, though.
Back in the dressing room after the number, Abby tells Kendall that she was so close to earning her sweat suit, and yet still so far. Abby also blames Chloe for the spacing, and when Christi tries to tell Abby about the microphone, Abby says that the moms should have scouted the stage beforehand. Ugh, you just can’t win with this bitch.
Then comes the solo routines. Maddie goes first, and does very well, leading Abby to damage Chloe’s psyche even further before she goes on. Chloe says that Abby keeps saying how everyone is replaceable, and Chloe really hopes that Abby doesn’t mean her. Well, if you’re not Maddie, then, yes, she means you. Remember, speed dial.
Chloe does her solo, and she seems to do very well. Abby’s like, “meh.” Which…par for the course. Chloe wishes that Abby would tell her that she did a good job. Aww, poor kid. She’s basically Abby’s red-headed stepchild.
Everyone begins preparing for the group number, and Leslie has the AUDACITY to try to help Peyton correct some last-minute issues before going onstage. Abby gets right in Peyton’s face and says, “If you don’t know it yet, you’re never gonna know it. Got it?” What an ogre. And then, Abby and Christi get all riled up about reputations, and, right as the girls are walking out of the dressing room, Abby says to Chloe, “She destroys you,” referring to Christi. That is way harsh, bro. Christi is not so much pleased.
The group begins performing their number, and OMFG Peyton ruins everything by placing the “Kick Me” sign too high on Maddie’s back. The sign is perfectly legible, but Abby is freaking the fuck out that Maddie’s hair is anywhere near it. Her hair should be at least 12 feet away. In Peyton’s defense, she has about a millisecond to slap that sign on Maddie’s back before Maddie turns. Abby. Cannot. Enjoy. The. Number. So. Much. Rage.
Everyone is back in the dressing room, and Abby comes in with her “How-do-you-think-you-did-because-I-think-you-did-horribly” routine. Predictably, Abby singles Peyton out for the sign shenanigans. Leslie and Abby get into it, and then Peyton tells Abby that she thinks she danced better than everyone else…
In a rare moment of reason, Abby says that they all have a nice camaraderie on this team, and the girls don’t critique each other’s performances, only their own. Then Abby gets all Soviet Union on Leslie’s ass, saying how comrades support comrades, for the good of the Motherland. Or something. Abby’s probably going to pull a Stalin and have Peyton sent to the gulag now. Bummer, dude.
AWARDS CEREMONY Maddie wins her division. Chloe doesn’t even place. Abby’s all, “Whatever. Speed dial.” The trio also doesn’t place. Ruh-roh. Kelly is kind of pleased, in a twisted way. As for the group number…yeah, it doesn’t place either. Except that this site suggests Maddie, Chloe, and the group number won first, with Maddie winning the overall high score. Hmm…
When the girls reunite with Abby and the moms, Abby just can’t help herself and makes Chloe feel even more terrible than she probably already does.
Then Abby lays down the hammer and tells Peyton that her days of dancing with this team might be over. Because there’s only room for one overinflated ego on this team. Leslie is pissed and starts fighting with the other moms, and then Abby tells Leslie to “dig her fingernails into [Peyton’s] back and tell her to shut her mouth.” Peyton cries. Leslie threatens to quit. And the credits roll.
NEXT WEEK Someone is on top of the Pyramid. Brooke wants to come back. Abby’s revels in her position of power. Kendall is off probation, and Jill is ready to take over. The moms continue to not like each other.