Dance Moms Season 8 brings a whole new cast, but the same old drama

Dance Moms season 8 premiere
Lilliana Ketchman’s mom leads the drama on Dance Moms. Pic credit: Lifetime

After a two year hiatus, Dance Moms returned for an all new season — with a three-hour event.

For the non-dedicated Dance Moms fans, that’s a lot to sit through. But for Dance Moms fans who have been waiting for the past couple of years for the show to return, it’s barely enough.

The show made its return with the first hour marking Abby Lee Miller’s now-heroic prison sentence and her fight with Burkitt lymphoma. It also showed her “surprising” everyone with the idea to do an eighth season of Dance Moms, though since the producer was already in the room, it’s safe to guess he already knew.

In the first hour, viewers saw Abby Lee Miller welcome 20 handpicked dancers, including three from previous seasons: Maesi Caes, Lilliana Ketchman and Elliana Walmsley. Only Lilliana made the cut and was asked to join the new “elite” team.

The show introduces several new dancers and their mothers, including one boy in the core cast. Viewers of the show will remember that Abby previously complained loudly and often that teams with boys did better in competitions. So now, she’s got one of her very own: a boy named Brady who we haven’t really gotten to know yet.

The first real episode of the season brought us back to Abby’s native Pittsburgh where the girls got on the floor immediately. Choreographing from her chair, many tears were shed over how strong Abby Lee Miller is for going to prison (for fraud) and fighting cancer.

As for the show itself, it doesn’t seem much has changed when it comes to the episode formats, despite the entirely new cast. The show mostly focused on Lilliana, who Abby dubbed her new favorite, taking the title away from former Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler.

With all of the pressure, and her mom starting random drama with another cast member’s child about whether she was an intermediate or advanced dancer, Lilliana’s pretty much cracking and having a nervous breakdown at 10. Seems healthy.

Most of the show centers on Lilliana’s mother complaining about her daughter getting a “childish” solo and Abby then pushing Lilliana for more advanced dances. Of course, the child cracks when she doesn’t take home the grand prize.

Lilliana and her mother
Lilliana and her mother. Pic credit: Lifetime

The rest of the girls, thus far, are background noise at best. One had a toenail fall off. Another let everyone know she’s been on Broadway and Nickelodeon. So far, there’s only been one blow up between newbies, when one of the indistinguishable mothers told the other not to speak about her daughter, which resulted in a new girl named Hannah (or was it Savannah?) breaking down in a public toilet.

And a minor disagreement over moms being angry about their children being backup dancers.

Pretty much your standard Dance Moms fare of children being put under enormous pressure, being exposed to borderline verbal abuse and fights with other cast mates.

It’s uncertain if we should get attached to all the girls and their moms just yet, though. Lifetime has uploaded a few “profiles” of girls who didn’t originally make the cut, including former cast member Elliana Walmsley.

Whether that means we shouldn’t get too fond of the current cast or not is unknown.

As Abby says: everyone’s replaceable.

But will the new drama be enough to keep the show moving forward with an entirely new cast? Tune in to Lifetime on Tuesdays at 9/8c to see how well it fares.

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