Maddie Ziegler’s teacher’s pet status was threatened in episode 10 of “Dance Moms” Season 5. After bringing dancer Brynn Rumfallo to guest star on her ALDC elite junior team in episodes 7 and 8, Abby Lee Miller had the young performer and her mother Ashlee return in Tuesday’s installment, “The New Maddie?”
Despite Maddie, 12, learning that her performances in pop singer Sia’s music video “Chandelier” resulted in four Grammy nominations, Abby made it clear to her star student that she could not rest on her laurels. In an apparent effort to make her prove her worth, Abby awarded Maddie and Brynn solos, informing the duo that they would be going head-to-head at this week’s competition in Wayne, New Jersey.
With Brynn’s outstanding technique and an array of unique tricks under her belt, Abby warned Maddie that she was in for a true battle.
"You need to get out there and dance like your life depends on it, like your future," Abby told Maddie. She later revealed to the cameras that she feared Maddie's recent opportunities in television and in music videos had caused her training to suffer. "Maddie is not the same kid she was last year," Abby said.
While Maddie prepared for the competition, it was apparent that her teacher complimenting Brynn got under her skin. Despite her success in the entertainment industry, Maddie shared that she was “nervous” to go up against award-winning 11-year-old dancer. “She has amazing technique,” Maddie admitted.
While a majority of the dance moms warned Ashlee that Abby was merely buttering her and her daughter up in order to keep them on her team, the mother-daughter duo didn’t seem to mind whether or not her comments were genuine.
“I think your daughter has a special gift. God made her to dance,” Abby told Ashlee in her Pittsburgh studio.
The coach later showered Brynn with similar sentiments. “I think you’re something really, really special,” Abby said.
So how did Maddie fare against the ALDC newcomer? Despite Abby’s favoritism toward the new dancer and a dramatic cameo from Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her Candy Apples team, ALDC still came away victorious. Not only did the group's lyrical routine “Dance in the Rain” place first against the Candy Apples — their number, “Torn,” took second place — Maddie also beat out Brynn in the preteen solo division.
Maddie’s lyrical solo “Vertigo” won first place and first place overall. Brynn managed to secure second place with her contemporary piece “Diamond in the Rough.”
After Maddie secured the win, Abby admitted she could still count on her student to perform well at competitions. Meanwhile, Ashlee said her daughter’s loss to the “Chandelier” star was a step in the right direction.
“It gives her something to work for. She very well could be first next time,” Ashlee said.
While Brynn won’t be back for episode 11, Abby said she does plan to work again with the dancer.
“Dance Moms” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EDT on Lifetime.