To say that I wasn’t excited to see Elliana Walmsley return in Dance Moms 8×07 would simultaneously be a lie and the understatement of the year. The kid is easily one of the best dancers—if not the best dancer—to ever represent Abby Lee Miller and the ALDC (even if she does get her training literally everywhere else, from Michelle Latimer’s to Master Ballet Academy, to whatever qualifies as the dance gods). So, that’s great for anyone (me) who likes to see great dancing; but then there’s the drama that she doesn’t deserve and, quite frankly, the waste of time that she could be spending getting even better.
…and then there’s Yolanda Walmsley and her ever-growing, ever-manufactured (we’ll get to that later, folks) mutual insanity with Stacey Ketchman. Oh, and there was a dance competition in Dance Moms 8×07, too.
Check out our Dance Moms 8×07 recap for all the drama that, unlike us, you might have been lucky enough to miss.
(Previously on Dance Moms: Gianina Paolantonio still thinks she’s too good for jazz; the ALDC didn’t do so well without Brady Farrar, and my liver did even worse.)
Pyramid x Hell Week. After a disappointing fourth place finish, the new ALDC made their way back to the studio to hear Abby Lee Miller’s verdict. As always, pyramid was her first chance to deliver some criticism; but something wasn’t quite as expected: Erin and Savannah Kristich weren’t there, even though they were expected to be. Apparently, Erin didn’t want Savannah to lose to Elliana Walmsley, but dance gods forbid we point out that, in the world of actual reality, Ellie and Savannah get along just fine.
Abby had to remind everyone that they were on the same team, and Stacey Ketchman wondered why Erin couldn’t manage to show up if she had to be there, given her history with Yolanda Walmsley. I mean, poor Stacey even had to enlist the other dance moms as her security team, which wound up costing either her or the Dance Moms producers money for custom “SECURITY” shirts and everything!
Regardless, Abby was annoyed (and so was I).
I’m insulted, I’m offended, and I’m ticked.
Abby wanted everyone to know that, since Erin couldn’t bring Savannah to the studio as long as Elliana was there, it meant that Erin didn’t have faith in her. It also meant that she was teaching the kid some “horrible lessons.” Meanwhile, Savannah was probably busy fulfilling some Mini Core Performer duties at Radix or competing with her actual team…but that’s none of my business.
What about the pyramid itself? Gianina Paolantonio was dead last, which caused Joanne to sarcastically tell Abby she’d done a good job. Abby reacted as expected:
Shut up! Don’t you get sick and tired of hearing that mouth on, and on, and on, and on?
(I know I do.)
Next up was Pressley Hosbach for being good but not great; and Hannah Colin was a 13-year-old follower, while Sarah Georgiana had to face the consequences of that disaster of a back tuck in her solo. Lilliana Ketchman did very well in the previous week’s competition, but she wasn’t on the top of the pyramid because it shouldn’t have taken an ultimatum to get her to perform that way.
The top of the pyramid went to the absent Savannah Kristich, who (as covered above) wasn’t even there because
she was afraid of Elliana probably off fulfilling other commitments when Dance Moms 8×07 was being filmed.
Abby Lee Miller promised the moms that Dance Moms 8×07 was “Hell Week,” and she assigned solos to Pressley Hosbach and…Elliana Walmsley. Stacey was jealous because Ellie wasn’t even there yet but already had a solo; and Ashley Hosbach was mad because, while she wanted a solo for Pressley, she “didn’t want her to impale herself with a pair of scissors,” a reference to Pressley’s Edward Scissorhands inspired solo.
Ashley also said it wasn’t fair that Abby brought in Ellie, who “seems to be a ringer,” to compete against her daughter. So, basically, we went from constantly being jealous of Brady Farrar in the first few episodes of Dance Moms season 8 to now using Elliana Walmsley as our scapegoat in Dance Moms 8×07. Cool.
Although, to be fair, I’d be afraid if my kid, no matter how talented in her own right, was up against this, too:
Yolanda Walmsley returns. Elliana…doesn’t. While the new ALDC was busy practicing their very serious hazing piece, the moms were behaving like children—moreso than usual. Stacey Ketchman wanted
her security team the other dance moms to know that Yolanda Walmsley was “the new mom,” so I guess we’re back to the whole “original moms hazing newbies” nonsense that Jill loved to initiate in previous seasons.
Meanwhile, last I checked, Stacey was once new and treated like shit for it, so cool on her to encourage the others to put someone else—even Yolanda!—in that position. Also, as long as we’re making asides: Did Abby Lee Miller have a paddle during that group rehearsal or????
Part of Stacey’s “new mom” speech about Yolanda included saying that she would “spoil everything. It’s not worth it,” which offended me on a personal level because Ellie absolutely is worth any nonsense I have to sit through between her mother and the rest of them. Furthermore, given how the rest of Dance Moms 8×07 went, Stacey should probably take a look in the mirror before making comments like, “she will play the victim, even when nothing is going wrong.”
The moms took a quick transition to gossiping about how Erin Kristich “never had both feet all the way in” and the possibility for their kids to get even more blame for their mistakes, now that there were fewer team members. (Good?)
First, she was mad that Brady left. Now, she’s mad that Savannah left.
Ok but Abby Lee Miller had no reason to be mad about anybody leaving when Elliana Walmsley was making a reappearance…or was she?
With perfect timing, Yolanda strolled through the door and got a big ol’ hug from Abby; but the celebration was cut short pretty quickly. Evidently, Ellie couldn’t dance because her mother, the teacher, thought that a vacation to Rome would count as learning hours while she was studying ancient Roman civilization. God, imagine the privilege.
Yolanda decided that, despite not having her daughter with her, she’d go sit with the other moms to
check out the state of the team participate in some childish drama. She made it very clear that her daughter was joining the team because Abby told her they weren’t doing well, and she even made it a point of asking Stacey if she was upset that Elliana was back. At this point, Joanne Paolantonio jumped in to let Yolanda know the title of Ellie’s solo—”The Strangler”—and Yolanda promised us that the incident was “water under the bridge.”
Fact check: Confirmed.
While Yolanda was busy yelling about how Stacey Ketchman was just worried that Ellie would be a threat, Abby was trying to run Pressley Hosbach’s solo but was constantly frustrated. At one point, Abby said she must have had chemo brain (a real thing!) when she picked Pressley for the team because she absolutely wouldn’t have if she’d seen the kid’s feet.
Rehearsals continue. Yet another day of rehearsal, yet another chance for Abby to criticize Pressley Hosbach’s technique. And this would be a common theme for the last couple of days before the team competed. At one point, Ashley had had enough. She thought that all Abby ever did was knock her kid down; and while she knew this was Abby’s teaching style, she just didn’t want her daughter to get down on herself. Later, Abby and Ashley would fight over whether or not Pressley could do a single thing correctly. According to the ALDC’s tactless leader, Pressley was a total disaster in ballet, but her mom just didn’t want to listen.
At one point, Abby even had the perfect solution to dancers with bad feet.
Imagine all those people out there with bad feet. Just…cut ‘em off. That’s how I feel.
Whether or not this really should apply to Pressley is still kind of fuzzy, though.
Dance Moms 8×07 takes a trip to middle school. Enter Yolanda, with no Elliana Walmsley in sight, yet again.
This time, Yolanda committed her worst crime yet:
bringing a Starbucks cup into the studio sitting on Stacey Ketchman’s throne. These grown women really should be ashamed of themselves for playing the whole, “you can’t sit here” game with the so-called “new” mom.
You’re not a team player. You can move and sit over there.
Despite the ALDC not having any assigned seats, everyone felt the need to tell Yolanda that she was in Stacey’s, and Ashley Hosbach was the biggest culprit. Because whenever you’re concerned that your kid will lose to someone who only had 45 minutes of preparation, you should act out by hazing the competition’s mother? I guess? I don’t know.
The whole thing was so pathetic that, despite my not looking forward to Yolanda’s return, I actually found myself siding with her. She stuck to her guns—and Stacey’s seat!—and, despite all the snide “don’t get too close to the strangler, Lilly” remarks and “the teacher, who doesn’t even provide education for her daughter, doesn’t even have a kid dancing” noise from Stacey, actually remained relatively calm and sane.
…I can’t believe I just described Yolanda Walmsley as sane, but here we are.
Ashley Hosbach wanted to know who Yolanda thought she was (Best Mini Female Dancer 2018, Las Vegas’ mom, by the way); that was really interesting considering Ashley was telling people where they could and couldn’t sit.
But, of course, Ashley continued to have bigger problems than Yolanda. On the last day before competition, it was back to Abby criticizing Pressley’s technique. And Abby just didn’t understand why everyone wanted Brady Farrar out of the way so their daughters would get more of her attention…but now that they had the attention, they were complaining about it.
I feel like Jack Nicholson, you know? You can’t handle the truth.
Ashley stormed out, dragging a crying Pressley with her….only to show up on time for the competition anyway.
Competition day! And look! Elliana Walmsley is here! Finally! Ellie was excited to be back with Miss Abby, but her mom was worried about the minimal preparation. Abby ran the solo once, said Elliana was good to go, and explained to the Dance Moms 8×07 audience that there was “not a chance in hell” Yolanda would be pulling the solo. She also explained that, as “The Strangler,” Elliana would have to play an evil character.
I don’t think this is a big stretch for Elliana. She’s witnessed her mother.
In the dressing room, Abby told Ashley Hosbach that she thought the previous day was “completely out of character” for her; and she had thought Ashley was “the normal one.” Ashley said that, were it up to her, she and Pressley wouldn’t be there; but Pressley wanted to prove to Abby that she was “not a mediocre dancer.”
And then, it was (finally) time for the Dance Moms 8×07 solos.
- “The Strangler,” contemporary solo performed by Elliana Walmsley. (Alternative name: “So, rope! You’d better be on my side.”) What more can be said about Elliana’s beautiful technique? The toes? The extension? The great character work and expression? There’s still maybe a hint of her needing to stop hyperextending those ribs; but even that has improved since Elliana last appeared on Dance Moms. The obvious mistake came from mishandling the rope (burn it); but otherwise, we stand by the title of this Dance Moms 8×07 recap: Elliana Walmsley is too good for this shit. Result: 1st place. Obviously. Now, burn the rope!
- “Scissor Hands,” musical theater solo performed by Pressley Hosbach. I’m going to have to agree with Abby Lee Miller’s assessment of Pressley’s knees. They were just a wee bit soft in places where they should’ve been perfectly stretched. See also: the standing knee in the pirouettes. With that being said, the technique situation is nowhere near as dire as Abby made it out to be. Good God. And just like Ellie, Pressley killed her character work. Result: 2nd place. Abby found that far from mediocre.
And in the purest moment of Dance Moms 8×07, possibly in all of Dance Moms history, Ashley and Yolanda congratulated each other’s little dancers—even after all of that “you can’t sit here” nonsense. Imagine being mature, team players. On this show!
Can we not? Back in the dressing room, Ann Colin congratulated both soloists, so Stacey Ketchman had to start some more shit by pointing out Ellie’s mistake. But Ann backed her up because Ann, for all of her whatever with not letting Hannah speak, appears to be a mostly decent human being:
She was fantastic. I mean, she was amazing.
(My thoughts exactly.)
But Stacey couldn’t just leave it there.
She shouldn’t even be here. Period.
Right. Because she’s too good for this shit. Next!
And so, Yolanda pulled Elliana away from the dressing room, telling her that she wasn’t going to do this with Stacey.
She’s just jealous that I’m here. She knows that I’m a threat to Lilliana.
Abby followed them and had a heart-to-heart with a crying Elliana. (Dance Moms 8×07, I hate you.) Abby told Ellie not to worry about the other moms making Yolanda look bad because for starters, it was adult business that her mom should be handling as an adult. Secondly, Ellie was there to be an asset to the team and push everyone to work harder, not to put up with jealous parent bullshit. (I might have paraphrased that other bit a little but whatever.)
I don’t know about anyone else, but seeing “caring, comforting teacher” Abby had me shook.
And off to the group number we go! If by this point in the episode, you were like, “thank fuck, Dance Moms 8×07 is almost over,” you’re definitely not alone.
Before the group went on stage, Gianina Paolantonio asked her teammates about her timing—because the day of the competition is totally the time to iron that out—and was told to just follow Hannah Colin. Pressley Hosbach simply prayed to the dance gods for on-time turns and a bunch of other things that Abby had probably corrected in rehearsals while Yolanda was drinking Stacey’s tears out of her Starbucks cup.
- “The Hazing,”open category ALDC group dance. There was a lot going on here. Like, tons. So much so that I really felt like I was still drunk from last week’s Brady Farrar drinking game. The judges’ cringe faces basically summed up my thoughts on the matter. Result: 2nd overall. Ok.
After the group dance, Gianina blamed everyone else for her mistake and was upset that her timing was off because she “specifically asked when to go” but wasn’t given a good enough last-second answer. And then, Sarah Georgiana spoke for all of us:
I don’t want to be mean, but it is her fault.
Backstage, she also told her remaining ALDC teammates that they were proving Abby right that they could succeed without Brady Farrar and Savannah Kristich. I mean, they’re all good dancers, so that should never have been a question anyway. So, good for Sarah there, too.
The final Dance Moms 8×07 breakdown.Back in the dressing room, Abby Lee Miller gave the ALDC her patented “first loser” lesson, so Yolanda jumped in to say that, hopefully, Elliana Walmsley would be able to contribute next week. In a surprise to absolutely no one, Stacey Ketchman took offense. And Yolanda called her out on it.
Please don’t use anything that you have against me against Elliana.
…aaaaaand they got into a screaming match. Again. This time, it was something about Yolanda hurting an 8-year-old (Lilly, back in the day?) and a restraining order.
Michelle Georgiana, who had to get up and physically become a barrier so there wouldn’t be another strangling incident, called the entire argument a “nightmare” (same). And then, Yolanda said something about this behavior being the reason why Stacey lost her practice. What’s the tea???
At one point, Ann Colin brought Yolanda a water and asked her to take a breath; but Yolanda slapped away the water.
I don’t want the damn water.
Same! I want the tea!
And that, dear readers, concludes our Dance Moms 8×07 recap. Up next: yet another new dancer, more drama, and probably a sliver of dancing.
Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime.