A few hours later, the event begins. The families file in, and Kathy is particularly anxious to see Teresa again for the first time since Punta Cana. Though Teresa may think she's won the battle, says Kathy, alienating someone makes her a loser overall. Likewise, Jacqueline and Bratshley are both there and keeping their separate corners. Jacqueline has resolved to avoid future trouble by keeping her mouth shut -- generally a solid idea. Caroline, of course, is above all of this because she's a proud mama first and foremost.
While Melissa gets ready, the guys all take shots and Joe takes it upon himself to rev the crowd up. Melissa can hear the screaming and whistling backstage, and she falls to her knees to pray to her father and her Jesus that the performance will turn out well. This is some serious reality TV gravitas, y'all. If you didn't know what you were watching, you'd easily think you were seeing a clip out of Maria Full of Grace or Vera Drake or something. That's how serious this moment is. As such, Melissa explains, "This is it. If I don't bring it tonight, it's over."
And then the performance happens. If you've ever seen an episode of Made or any such comparable reality show, you know that they can make even the most inept people look like they've just owned the world. All of which is not to say that Melissa is inept, but let's just say there are a lot of reaction shots and not a lot of shots of her. I suspect she's somewhere in the middle of the talent spectrum, though I'm not sure being an arena performer like Britney Spears or Janet Jackson is in her future. Then again, Janet Jackson faced criticisms about her lip syncing back in the day, and even Britney isn't Britney any more. Regardless of whether she turned it out on a level that makes her professionally competitive, Melissa seemed to impress her friends and family, which is really what matters in this scenario. Even Juicy made a point to compliment her in front of everyone! Teresa hopes that gesture will signal a fresh start for her family. Then Joe Gorga randomly picks up Caroline and picks her up over his head. As you do?
And just so we don't get too weepy from that moment of family unity, the bonus footage features catty comments from Rich and Teresa about Melissa's performance. Rich snarks that he didn't know whether Joe was bumping to the beat of Melissa's song or to the ching ching that she'll make from its sales. "Because, you know, Joe loves that ching ching." Teresa says cattily, "The only thing that was on display was Melissa's cleavage." Why don't those two get along again?