The kids of "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" have invaded the Season 5 cast of Lifetime's hit reality-TV series "Dance Moms." The International Business Times witnessed "AUDC" Season 2 contestants Kalani Hilliker and JoJo Siwa competing with Abby Lee Miller's elite junior team at In10sity Dance Regionals in Warren, New Jersey, Oct. 25. Former "AUDC" star, Haley Huelsman, also competed at the event under the New England Dance and Gymnastics Centers.
While it appears Kalani, 14, has officially rejoined the cast, rumor had it JoJo, 11, was only there as a Season 5 guest star. JoJo first appeared on "Dance Moms" in December 2013 when she and Haley auditioned for Abby to become a member of her now defunct ensemble team. Kalani, who did not audition, debuted her role in Abby’s elite junior team in February after placing fourth on Season 2 of “AUDC” only to depart the series in August ahead of the mid-Season 4 premiere. Kalani’s mom, Kira Girard, previously told IBTimes the dancer’s leave was due to family-related and contractual issues with Lifetime.
In true Abby Lee fashion, the team showed up late to the event and caused a scene outside the venue with streams of fans awaiting the cast's arrival. While other competitors taunted Abby from outside her infamous bus ("Abby, come out and play!”), the notably tough dance instructor was nowhere to be seen. Other noticeably absent cast members included Abby's go-to student, Maddie Ziegler, 12, and fan-favorite performer Chloe Lukasiak, 13.
While security guards at the event confirmed to onlookers that Chloe was not scheduled to attend the competition, fans still cheered for the former ALDC dancer ahead of the cast's entrance into the venue when prompted to do so by the show's production crew. (Chloe announced she no longer wanted to study dance under Abby in the Season 4 finale last month.) Other chants requested by production included one for JoJo, Maddie and, of course, Abby.
Initially, Abby, 48, was believed to be a no-show at the competition to care for Maddie. She was in Los Angeles, performing "Chandelier" alongside Sia at the 2014 We Can Survive Concert. The ALDC matriarch did eventually make an appearance just in time to catch Maddie's sister Mackenzie, 10, perform her acrobatics solo, "Boom Boom.” Although Abby did miss two of her other dancers' performances, Sarah Hunt's lyrical solo "One Heart" and JoJo's crowd-pleasing contemporary number “Electricity," she did catch the encore performances, which the show always tapes for production purposes. Haley's one-time performance of her contemporary routine "Thousand Years” was never viewed by Abby. The ALDC’s only group performance, a religion-inspired piece entitled “Something to Believe In” starring dancer Nia Frazier, 13, was also witnessed by the coach and several of the moms.
Unlike the “Dance Moms” girls and their mothers, Haley, 12, and her mom Melanie mingled with other competitors during the event. While the cast and crew of "Dance Moms" remained sequestered in their own dressing room throughout a majority of the nine-hour competition, Haley and Melanie, made themselves available to chat and pose for pictures with fans.
Sadly for the “Dance Moms” cast, their adventure from Pittsburgh to New Jersey was not a complete success. The ALDC team placed second overall to TKO Dance Academy's show-stopping performance, “Sin.” Fortunately for Abby, her youngest dancer, Mackenzie, was able to pull out a win for the studio, placing first overall in the junior solo division. Sarah, 9, also took home first in the mini division for her routine. JoJo and Haley made notable scores, both receiving platinum awards with Haley placing second and JoJo, third, in the junior solo category.
“Dance Moms” Season 5 is expected to return to Lifetime next year.