Abby Lee Miller has always told her students that “everyone is replaceable” and it appears that statement may finally go into effect. With her ALDC girls teetering on their teenage years, and following an unsuccessful run in Los Angeles, the dance coach shared her shocking plans to change up her elite junior team in Season 5, episode 9 of “Dance Moms” Tuesday.
The announcement came on the heels of the team’s first competition back on the East Coast, World-Class Talent Experience. After being warned that her team’s group number would have to compete in the teen division in “The Great Divide,” Abby made her plans known.
“I like the competition, I don’t like their ages. Twelve-years-old is teen,” Abby said before assigning the girls their competition numbers ahead of their visit to the Manahawkin, New Jersey, event. Abby went on to share that if the team kept attending competitions with varying age division requirements, a change would have to made within the ALDC family.
“This is the junior elite competition team and if we keep finding competitions that teen is 12, you’re not junior anymore, you’re teen. And guess what? Once you’re a teen. I’m finished with you,” Abby revealed.
Dance Mom Jill Vertes was the first to stick up for the girls. “We really only have two teens right now. A 13 and a 14,” she said.
Dance mom Kira Girard, whose daughter Kalani Hilliker is the oldest in the group at 14-years of age, tried to clarify Abby’s plans.
“You would take some of the teens out and keep some of the younger ones and put them in?” she asked. Abby nodded in approval.
As usual, dance mom Holly Frazier did not agree with Abby’s proposal to possibly boot her 13-year-old daughter Nia Frazier -- who is the oldest remaining original team member -- due to her age.
“I don’t think it’s right just all of a sudden to say, oh because you’re too old, you’re like geriatric and you can’t compete,” Holly said.
“When you dance in the teen division, the level of difficulty is so much more advanced and we couldn’t even win in the junior division in L.A. Kalani and Nia pull the average age up above 12, so if I pull one of them out, then we’re back in the junior division where we belong,” Abby explained of her decision.
After allowing all of the girls to learn the comptemporary group number “The Domino Effect,” Abby followed up on her threat to take one of the older girls out of the group dance. During rehearsals Abby announced that Kalani — who was also gifted a “Pretty Little Liars” inspired solo for the week — would not compete with the rest of the group.
“I’m going to have to make a difficult decision… I will not compete in the teen division,” Abby said before heading to the viewer observatory to tell Kira the bad news.
“She is the oldest. So, she’s not in the group routine. She was brought here to be my big 13 and over winner, she hasn’t won big yet,” Abby said. “Maybe by not begin in the group dance, she can really concentrate on this solo.”
Fortunately for Kalani, her solo was able to pull out a big win for Abby during Tuesday’s episode. After weeks of failing to place, she snagged a first-place overall win with her contemporary piece. The group was equally successfully, taking home first in the junior division.
Kendall, who also competed in the teen division with her musical theater solo “Living the Blues," took home fifth overall. Nia did not place with her jazz solo “The Golden Rule.”
Do you think Abby should have removed Kalani from the group dance? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below. “Dance Moms” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime.