Kalani Hilliker has been Abby Lee Miller’s reigning No. 2 dancer ever since Chloe Lukasiak’s exit in Season 4, but it appears that is about to change. After weeks of failing to secure a first-place win, Abby will threaten the 14-year-old’s spot on her elite junior team in “Dance Moms” Season 5, episode 9.
“Kalani, I’m sick and tired of you being a second-place dancer,” Abby says to her student in a promo for “The Great Divide.” In the preview, Abby also teases the idea that if Kalani and the rest of her ALDC dancers can’t secure a win in episode 9, only her go-to performer, Maddie Ziegler, 12, will “be a star.”
Despite years of raving about Kalani’s perfect technique, it appears Abby will pull the dancer from the group’s competition routine in Tuesday’s installment. According to Lifetime’s synopsis for the episode, Kalani will be forced to sit out due to her age. “Abby discovers the team is in the teen division and one older member must sit out, sparking even more controversy amongst the team,” reads the summary.
In the promo, Abby breaks the news to Kalani’s mom, Kira Girard, who tells Abby that the performance, a contemporary piece titled “The Domino Effect,” is her daughter’s “favorite dance.” Abby responds with a smile, saying, “Good. She’ll get to watch it.”
While the other moms try to convince Kira to fight back against Abby, Kira doesn’t question the coach’s actions. “Stick up for your kid!” dance mom Jill Vertes tells Kira as Kalani watches forlorn. “You let Abby control everything!” dance mom Jessalynn Siwa adds. “Mom trumps manager, no matter what.”
Abby and Kira won’t be the only ones at odds in episode 9. According to the synopsis, there also will be tension between the dance moms following the dramatic MattyB music video shoot in episodes 7 and 8. Lifetime is teasing the idea that there will be a “division” among the moms who let their daughters stay on set and film the project and those who side with Abby and leave.
According to one “Dance Moms” spoiler site, the cast taped episode 8 at World-Class Talent Experience in Manahawkin, New Jersey, Dec. 6. “The Domino Effect” is said to have placed first in the junior division. While Kalani did not appear in the judged performance of the group dance, she reportedly did perform in the encore performance, which is taped solely for production purposes.
Despite Abby taking Kalani out of the group number, she did grant her a solo. Her contemporary piece “Pretty Little Liar” took home first place overall in the teen division at World-Class Talent Experience. Nia Frazier, 13, also performed a solo in the teen division, but her jazz dance “The Golden Rule” failed to place in the overalls. Kendall Vertes, 12, came in fifth in the musical theater teen division for her dance “Living the Blues.”
Episode 9 “Dance Moms” Season 5 airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime.