"Dance Moms: She's a Maniac" Recap

A very Fosse group dance.

We’re back to one-hour “Dance Moms” episodes, which means the focus is on the dancing instead of the moms’ drama. Hurrah! Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments from this week's show:

AWESOME: Rachelle Rak makes a guest appearance! Rachelle, or “Sas,” is Broadway royalty, so us DS editors were already obsessed with her. (Check out her “Letter to My Teenage Self” here.) But seeing how well she works with my favorite kiddos makes me love her even more. The group routine, “Gold Digger,” is Fosse-esque, so the moms freak out that the kids are dancing with turned-in feet (the horror!). The choreography is great, and the kids pick up the new style in a snap, rocking those turned-in feet and hip swings. But the best part is that Rachelle isn’t afraid to stand up for Mackenzie when Abby tries to kick her out of the dance. Abby may have taken all the credit for their first place win, but the true winner at this competition is definitely Sas.

AWKWARD: Of course, Rachelle looks unbelievable in her classic high-waisted black leotard, so the moms get jealous. They have a party to wrap their body parts in seaweed or something, which is supposed to help them tighten up their “problem areas.” The idea that Rachelle’s years and years of dancing (not some strange organic beauty product) may be the source of her awesome bod doesn’t seem to occur to them, so instead they strip off their clothes and choose which body part deserves a little special treatment. Mom Holly even wraps her face, which is just confusing. They all look exactly the same afterward. I think it may be time to sign up for a dance class, ladies.

AWESOME: Chloe’s new rocker look. It’s her first solo since being suspended, so she comes back in style. “Black Heart” shows off her rock n’ roll side—crimped hair, pleather pants and all. At first, I wasn’t sure she could pull it off (this isn’t the ethereal bunhead we’re used to), but she totally nails it! First place!

Careful, Chloe: Faces like that will get you in trouble.

AWKWARD: Whatever Abby’s doing with Kendall. Sure, Abby gives her a solo, but then she makes her jog in place to “work on her stamina.” Last week it was all about Kendall’s faces, this week it’s all about her endurance. I think Abby’s sudden interest in Kendall may be more about punishing Mom Jill than it is about improving her daughter’s dancing—but there’s no harm in a little extra attention, right? Then, just before Kendall goes onstage, Abby makes her “sit the wall.” Kendall’s flapper routine is cute, but it could probably have been better if her thighs weren’t exhausted from that pre-performance workout.

AWESOME: Maddie and Mackenzie do a duet! As soon as Abby assigned this routine, I knew it would make it to the “awesome” list. Turns out, the choreography is kind of blah, but the combination of Maddie’s talent and Little Mac’s cuteness is just too much amazingness for one dance. Obviously, this sister act snags first place. Go Zieglers!

AWKWARD: Abby is the ultimate Debbie Downer. In the end, the girls sweep the competition once again and everyone’s thrilled—except Abby, who’s “appalled.” She tells Kendall she behaved badly in the wings and chastises Chloe for giving an in-character exit. Ugh. Just let them have their shining moment, Abby.

And now, the QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“I don’t like when Abby is always comparing me to Maddie, because I’m not Maddie. I’m Mackenzie.” —Mackenzie, who will hopefully never stop being proud of herself

Maybe the arrival of newcomer (and “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” alum) Asia Monet Ray will lift Abby’s spirits next week. I know I’m looking forward to seeing this little munchkin again! Until then, let me know what you thought of this week’s episode in the comments.

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