All good things must come to an end, but the Dance Moms finale came and went with no real closure. Luckily, this series was never about “good things.” When Abby Lee Miller created her unstoppable team years ago, nobody could have expected Dance Moms to last this long. While we’re at it, nobody could’ve expected the series to end with so much unfinished business either. Will the ALDC return? Is this really the end? Nobody knows. But here’s what we do know: With the returns of everyone from Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her Candy Apples, to former AUDC contestant Zack Torres, to true original team member Chloe Lukasiak, the Dance Moms finale was jam-packed with familiar faces and plenty of drama. Grab your final(?) bottle of Haterade, and check out our recap for all the dirt.
Disclaimer: If you want all the dance competition dirt, including what happened when Christi and Chloe Lukasiak dropped by, skip to page 2. For the full Dance Moms finale story, pop open a bottle of Feels-Flavored Haterade and join me on this journey of cray.
You can’t have a Dance Moms finale without a “Dance Moms Loitering in Parking Lots” finale.
Dance mom Holly and Nia Sioux Frazier had a “full circle moment” in the ALDC’s parking lot. Before entering the studio to prepare for the team’s trip to Nationals, the only true original team members left took a few moments to reminisce. As would be the case for most of the Dance Moms finale, Nia and Holly’s memories were accompanied by flashbacks to the bad ol’ days. In this particular segment, Team Frazier chatted about the team that started it all.
Note to dance mom Jill Vertes: You weren’t mentioned. Now, why would that be? Oh. Right. You and Kendall aren’t original team members. You’re only Original* Team Members.
…but that’s none of my business.
Anyway. Parking lots.
Even with a ton of drama on the agenda, the Dance Moms finale managed to fit in another trip to the parking lot. Later in the episode, just as the ALDC was about catch the bus, Abby Lee Miller had her own special moment. After showing off one of the original Abby Lee Dance Company jackets, our potentially less-than-free leader took a final, lingering glance at her studio.
These last five years have been fun, exciting, victorious…It’s a very passionate location to go into. You’d think after all these years that I could take it easy. That I could just lie on the beach somewhere…Nope. I want a team that’s going to go out on top of their game — that will go down in history as the ALDC, the team that couldn’t be beat.
(To relive some of Abby’s tears, check out the video in our Dance Moms finale spoiler post.)
Side note: If your cold, dead heart wasn’t melting during this scene, please teach me your ways.
Some traditions need to die, though. So, the Dance Moms finale did away with pyramid. Let’s just relive the very first time instead!
Rest in peace, our old friend.
It’s going to be a very emotional week for all of us. For me especially.
Instead of ranking the ALDC based on last week’s competition, Abby Lee Miller took a different route: She actually congratulated all of the dancers. Regardless of the lack of rankings, though, Abby still took some time to chat about the ALDC’s Nationals assignments. After some wasted build-up time, she announced the final round of soloists. Elliana Walmsley and Lilliana Ketchman were set to dance in the 12 and under category, while Kalani Hilliker and Brynn Rumfallo got the 13 and up nods.
That awkward moment when the only dancer who’s been with Abby Lee Miller since the beginning…doesn’t get a solo in the Dance Moms finale.
Seriously, though. Cue your typical arguing from dance mom Holly, which made sense. Making absolutely no sense at all, dance mom Jill tried to make Kendall’s case for a solo…by talking about how she was an Original* Team Member. No, Jill. Just no.
Abby tried to explain her reasoning for leaving Nia and Kendall out of the solos, but there was no logic anywhere to be found. She didn’t want a low placement ruining Kendall’s big week as a pop star. Similarly, Abby didn’t want Nia’s run on Dance Moms to end with in failure. Read as: Abby had zero confidence in either of these two dancers, so she didn’t give them solos. She assumed they’d do poorly and made her decision based on that assumption. Period.
Nia stuck up for herself, saying that a solo at Nationals would have been good for closure. Abby agreed…only to tell Nia that she didn’t think the Dance Moms finale was really the end of the road for her. This was one of many, many confusing references to the idea that Dance Moms might not actually end here. Basically, it’s all up in the air, pending Abby Lee Miller’s potential time in the slammer. That was, at least, my impression. I don’t care about anyone else’s. (Unless someone has dirt. If you have the dirt, come dish.)
Here’s where the non-pyramid got bizarre, though. Abby wanted the ALDC to make a statement with their final(?) group dance. She chose a cancer theme, but dance mom Jill reminded her that the team had already done that. Oops?
Look: If the pink ribbon dance was so forgettable that both Abby Lee Miller and myself forgot it even existed, it could probably be replaced with a different “cancer dance.” Abby didn’t want to repeat herself, though, so it was back to the drawing board.
Dr. Holly stepped in with some coaching, asking Abby what she wanted her legacy to be so she could come up with a new theme. Well. Apparently, Abby wanted her legacy to be typecasting dancers. I mean, I guess that worked really well when they did “Good Help Is Hard To Find,” so why not? But really, though. Check out the characters for the Dance Moms finale group dance.
- Gang member played by Nia Sioux Frazier, dancer of color. “Couldn’t she be a gang member?” I swear to God, Abby. No. Just no.
- Girl with eating disorder played by Brynn Rumfallo, skinny blonde dancer.
- Schizophrenic played by Kendall K. Vertes, daughter of actual crazy person.
- “Lady of the night” played by Camryn Bridges, your other dancer of color.
- Addict who overdoses, played by Kalani Hilliker.
Do better, Abby. Please.
This doesn’t fit anywhere, so: Remember that time they had a music video premiere in the Dance Moms finale? Huh.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I could have done without this bit. Right in the middle of preparing for Nationals, the ALDC…partied. I thought the “opportunities” were going to die after leaving L.A.
But I thought wrong.
Kendall K. Vertes’ music video premiere was held in a crowded venue, complete with screaming fangirls. I have no idea where any of them came from, much less why a music video from a tween pop star needed that much hype, but here we are. Abby was invited, which worried dance mom Jill. Meanwhile, I’m like…Ok, but you invited her.
Abby used the premiere party as an excuse to sell some ALDC gear, which caused Kendall K. to call her “crazy.” Nah, girl. If you’re having a “sold out” concert, you’d better have a merch table. Meanwhile, just after the mother-daughter dragging session in Kendall’s dressing room, the star of the night got on stage to…thank Abby for helping her and having faith in her. So, if you ever watched Mean Girls and wondered if Regina George would donate her two-faced ways to her offspring, you might just have your answer.
Bonus: Dance mom Jill was in Kendall’s music video. A lot. “Bonus” as in, it was a bonus opportunity for Jill to mooch off of her daughter’s fame. Yay.
Rehearsals, Dance Moms finale style!
While the ALDC dancers rehearsed with Abby Lee Miller, the dance moms had their usual time to bicker. When Abby was adorably proud of herself to surprise Lilliana Ketchman with solo music from her daddy, dance mom Yolanda automatically kvetched that Ellie was being set up to lose. That raises two points: One, I actually just called Abby Lee Miller adorable, so I want to swallow bleach. Two, the Dance Moms finale kept at least one stupid tradition intact.
None of the Original* dance moms cared to hear Yolanda’s complaints, especially since two of the Original* dancers didn’t even have solos. This started a weird shrieking match between Yolanda and dance mom Kira Girard. I don’t know. Blah, blah. Fight, fight.
I put passion and empathy into things that actually matter.
Same, Kira. That’s why I have no idea what happened during that argument and don’t care to go back and find out.
Here’s what we all should care about, though: First up, Abby gave the dancers some real corrections. When she instructed Lilly to point her feet, I felt particularly alive. Hearing Abby give Brynn technical corrections, rather than just harping on her face, was a pretty close runner-up. Secondly, the moms talked about Kalani’s future during her solo rehearsal. I never, ever want to hear the idea that she could go into acting — ever again. Thanks.
Bonus rehearsal sound bite:
I can’t believe people do that. Like, look what it does to them. I don’t know why people…would do it.
Elliana Walmsley’s anti-drug commentary, ladies and gentlemen.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and the Candy Apples did whatever it is that they do. I guess it qualifies as preparing for competition or whatever.
Cathy Nesbitt-Stein’s plan to beat Abby Lee Miller and the ALDC was the same as ever: Bring in outside dancers, talk a lot of smack, lather, rinse, repeat. Zack Torres was the CADC’s poached dancer of choice for the Dance Moms finale. And just like in the bad ol’ days, Cathy’s daughter Vivi-Anne was joining the team as a prop.
Bizarrely enough, after ranting all over twitter about her love for Unpresidented Orange Dumpty, Cathy created this week’s group dance out of at least partial concern for her daughter. At Nationals, the Candy Apples were set to make a statement about human trafficking. Meanwhile, Cathy proved last week that she was all about keeping “others” out of the country, so…Sorry, little girls: If you’re the victims of human trafficking, don’t flee your home to come to the deplorable U. S. of A.
(Pro-tip to Cathy: If you care about your daughter, you should probably care a little bit more about other little girls. Maybe even rethink the whole supporting Mr. “Grab Them By The Pussy” himself while you’re at it.)
Even more perplexing, Cathy called human trafficking “the number three concern in the country.” She thought ISIS should be the number one, had no clue what the second most important concern was, and then listed human trafficking. You can’t make this shit up. I mean, I could think of plenty of worthy causes to fill that second spot. But I’d have to consider ISIS the most important to do that. I don’t. Let’s talk about white terrorists like Dylann Roof and others.
No? Ok. Soapbox deleted.
With only one day before Nationals, Cathy took her team to Asbury Park for an extra day of practice in the competition venue. She was convinced she’d created “one of the finest routines” yet and would defeat the ALDC for the second year in a row.
Sorry, guys…but you’re going to have to click through to page two if you want to find out what happened at Nationals.