“Dance Moms” gained a new member in Season 5, episode 3. With coach Abby Lee Miller’s favorite dancer, Maddie Ziegler, 12, working with pop singer Sia in Los Angeles, she decided to add a new face to her Pittsburgh elite junior team. So who did she introduce as a guest star? Season 2 “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” contestant, JoJo Siwa, 11. Much to the dismay of the cast, JoJo’s mom, Jessalynn, also made her noticeably unwelcome entrance on the Lifetime reality-TV series.
“She has that charisma. She has that energy. She wants it. She is dynamite onstage. She is going to fire this group up a little bit,” Abby said of JoJo. “She will be filling in for Maddie.”
In episode 3, “JoJo With A Bow Bow,” Jessalynn rubbed the ALDC dance moms the wrong way. After it was announced Mackenzie Ziegler, 10, would go head-to-head at competition against the energetic performer, Maddie and Mackenzie's mom, Melissa Gisoni, appeared threatened by the young dancer. And she wasn’t the only one.
“Jess and JoJo come in with a couple of big bows on your kids head, a bottle of peroxide, a couple of rhinestones and you think you know what’s going on. I don’t know who Jess thinks she is, but she doesn’t fit in at the ALDC,” dance mom Jill Vertes said of the ALDC newcomer.
Jessalynn, however, appeared unfazed by the scrutiny. “I think the other moms are scared to death of JoJo and what JoJo can bring to this team,” she said. “I think their girls are going to have to step it up.”
Despite JoJo claiming she could handle filling Maddie’s shoes, she ran into some trouble when trying to rehearse a lyrical number gifted by Abby. To help JoJo win at competition, Abby invited back Season 4 “Dance Moms" star Sarah Hunt, 9, to perform the number in her place. Abby choreographed a new number for JoJo, a contemporary piece titled “Electricity.”
Following Sarah Hunt’s last-minute addition to the team, Jessalynn also had an altercation with Sarah’s mom, Christy, at the studio.“This is my studio. You’re going to be gone in 24 hours. I have nothing to worry about,” Christy told Jessalynn after the duo argued over which dancer was a better fit for Abby’s team.
“Does your kid always look at the floor and bite her lip while she dances? She looks scared to me,” Jessalynn later taunted Christy. After Christy responded by telling the mom she has “a lot of issues” with Abby’s studio, Jessalynn responded with: “My biggest issue at this studio is your stupidity.”
Unfortunately for the girls, it wasn’t just the mom drama that caused a hiccup in episode 3. Abby’s late arrival to the competition, as previously reported by International Business Times, also caused a ruckus among the girls and the moms. While Abby missed the judged versions of Sarah and JoJo’s solos, she did make it just in time to watch Mackenzie’s perform her acro routine. According to Abby, she was late because she was busy handling her legal matters in New York -- presumably with her ex-customer and co-star, Kelly Hyland -- on the day of the competition.
The cast competed at In10sity Dance Regionals in Warren, New Jersey, Oct. 25. Despite her last-minute arrival, Sarah managed to bring home a first-place win in the mini division for her lyrical routine “One Heart.” Mackenzie’s number titled “Boom Boom” placed first in the junior division. JoJo took home third overall for her solo. The ALDC group dance, however, wasn’t so lucky. Their religion-inspired piece, “Something To Believe In,” placed second.
“Dance Moms” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime.