Why We’re Unashamedly Watching Dance Moms

Haven't got into the show about competitive mums/dancing yet? Here's why you should


by Daisy Buchanan |
Published on

It begins with Abby in full Abbey Lee Dance Company mode, screaming, ‘WHO AM I REPLACING!?’ as she announces that the team are heading to Orlando for a competition and to watch her openly audition for another team-mate. Star company members Maddy and Mackenzie get to travel with Abby – to ‘help’ – but the rest of the girls are in trouble.

Kendall’s recent fifth-place performance has landed her at the bottom of the pyramid, with Abby yelling, ‘You gotta quit the crying crap!’ as her lip wobbles. Good one, Abby! Fill her with confidence and power!

And team member Payton hasn’t danced badly at all, but she lands at the bottom of the pyramid too because her mum, Leslie, had the audacity to whisper a question about performance shoe sole-ing techniques during the last performance. ‘When you act out of line, your child will be punished,’ explains Abby.

I’d say she runs her studio like a particularly aggressive, brutal Russian Communist Party meeting, but that doesn’t seem altogether fair on Stalin.

Abby announces that the group will be performing to a song called Losing You because ‘I might be losing one of you.’ It’s subtle stuff. She’s hoping to ditch almost everyone and replace them with ‘a whole team full of Maddys – I’m looking for an eight-year-old who is STRONG.’

Strong like Beyoncé, or like an ox? Abby, do you want children who are going to dance for you or kids who can help you move house?

Mackenzie is pretty strong, as she keeps a straight face and does not start weeping when Abby demands a foot massage. Apparently, it’s to help Mackenzie ‘get into character’ for her dance – Mackenzie is performing as a waitress. This begs the question: which restaurants has Abby been going to? And can I book a table?

It’s worth noting that Abby, who is an entrepreneur, television star and aesthetic perfectionist, is wearing the sort of socks you’d swerve if you saw them by the tills at H&M. Socks that cannot cost more than £2 for 10 pairs.

They arrive in Florida, and Abby waves at hundreds of adoring fans. She’s wearing a T-shirt with her own name on it. We’re not sure if that’s for the benefit of the auditionees or for her own good. Never forget who you are, right Abs?

She knows exactly who she doesn’t want. ‘It’s not your dancing, it’s this!’ she mutters, gesturing at a small girl’s face and waving her off the stage. Mind you, I couldn’t conduct auditions. I’d just give the place to the girl who is dancing in the stunning floral statement trousers. They really are excellent trousers.

The next round is a bit bumpy. ‘I don’t think they heard you say go to the left,’ timidly murmurs one aspiring mum. ‘You just humiliated your daughter in front of everyone. GET OFF! LEAVE!’ rejoins Abby. Less Stalin, more… dunno. Jafar from Aladdin? Scar from The Lion King?

When it comes to the day of the competition, Kendall is having an emotional wobble. ‘Oooh, THAT SOUNDED REALLY BRATTY,’ screams Abby, who herself sounds like a hybrid of Veruca Salt and Paris Hilton circa 2006. Eight-year-old Maddy does her magical dance to Down My Spine (and I am desperate to know who is writing these songs, and who is signing them off as ‘child-appropriate’.)

Mackenzie’s dance is much harder than Maddy’s – comprising a series of endless backflips – and she does brilliantly. Abby’s facial expression isn’t exactly beaming, but she appears to be… not displeased. The jazz trio goes reasonably well, and just before the group are gearing up to their final dance, Payton hurts her ankle!

For once, Abby’s terrifying ‘show must go on’ mentality makes sense – she forces the gang to work the routine with new blocking while a fuzzy-faced paramedic tends to Payton. Mum Leslie is worried about her daughter – partly because she’s in pain, and mostly because she fears Abby will now drop Payton from the company altogether. Priorities, people!

Luckily, everyone wins – apart from the jazz trio, who place second. Abby isn’t overly bothered about the wins, but she’s pretty angry about the girls who finishin second place, or ‘first to lose’. ‘Don’t live a life of regrets,’ she tells the girls, seriously. I’m assuming that’s a veiled reference to not trying your best, but I’m worried the girls will always feel bad that they spent all their tween leisure time being yelled at and going through thousands of hairpins, when they could have been at home watching SpongeBob.

But then, this is why Abby’s girls win prizes when I struggle to remember the steps to the Macarena.

Next time, we’ll find out whether Payton will make it back into the team, or if she’ll be replaced with a Floridian dancer. I hope Payton makes a swift recovery, but if Abby has to choose anyone else, let’s hope she picks the girl with the great trousers.

Dance Moms is exclusively on Lifetime Mondays at 9pm.

Follow Daisy on Twitter @NotRollerGirl.Follow Lifetime on Twitter @LifetimeTelly

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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