Abby Lee Miller’s back with a new season of Dance Moms. Last night kicked off with a three-hour (yes, really) special for the series’ eighth season, but it functions more like a reboot than another beginning.
Hardcore Dance Moms fans know that Season 7 promised to be the end of the show. With Abby Lee Miller set to go to prison for bankruptcy fraud and the girls on the show nearing the end of their high school years, the future of the series remained uncertain.
Before heading into prison in Victorville, Abby Lee Miller milked all the publicity she could get. Not only did she have a special detailing her fears about getting locked up, but she also had cameras follow her as she had gastric bypass surgery.
Rumors abounded that Abby wasn’t coping well in prison, but fans were still waiting to see if she would emerge as a svelte new woman.
Unfortunately, Abby wasn’t set to reset her life immediately. Instead, she was diagnosed with and battled Burkitt lymphoma, a rare form of cancer. The past year since her release has been peppered with hospital stays and chemotherapy.
She’s definitely lost weight, but that accomplishment is flying under the radar for the moment.
While Abby’s currently in remission for her cancer, she remains paralyzed from the waist down and uses a power wheelchair. She even recalled wanting to die at certain points in the journey, saying it was easier to succumb than to actually live with the diagnosis.
While the special certainly celebrated her hard won victories, such as being cancer-free, it definitely glossed over some of the behavior that got her locked up in the first place.
The Dance Moms star glided over her prison stint, only saying that she’s come out “stronger” for having withstood it. As in, having withstood a prison sentence for a crime she’s been convicted for and admits to having committed.
How she fared in prison and what exactly went on in the clink took a backseat to her more dramatic cancer diagnosis, and her struggles in physical therapy.
The future of Dance Moms may have been uncertain to the audience, but it seems like the cameras were pretty sure of it all along. With a film crew along for the ride, Abby Lee Miller announced a “surprise” audition, which seemed to stun the producer. Though, he was sitting in front of the camera as it appeared.
Miraculously, thousands of hopefuls and their mothers appeared, ripe for verbal abuse from the new Abby Lee Miller. She even called a few of the kids “losers” and asked their parents if they spoke English during the callback, but they were eager anyway.
At the end of the episode, she’d gathered a team of hopefuls that will carry us into the next season.
Thus far, Dance Moms spin-offs without the original cast have tanked. Dance Moms: Miami, was a ratings disappointment. As the original girls grew, interest in the show also waned.
But can this new crop of girls (and boy) see us through to a new era of Dance Moms? Time will only tell.
Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime.