JoJo Siwa Defends ‘Controversial’ Abby Lee Miller on ‘Dance Moms’ Reunion

The cast of Dance Moms is reuniting for the first time, but it sounds like only one is willing to defend the woman who brought them together.

Abby Lee Miller reality show legacy is not just one of turning her students into stars on Dance Moms, but for torturing them to do so.

She’s been called every name in the book – bully, tyrant, abusive – but despite all the controversy, one of her former pupils came to her defense during the Dance Moms: The Reunion special.

JoJo Siwa apparently is still team Abby Lee Miller.

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The gang’s all here! JoJo Siwa with Kalani Hilliker, Kendall Vertes, Chloé Lukasiak, Paige Hyland, and Brooke Hyland during the Dance Moms Reunion special (Lifetime)

JoJo Siwa Defends Abby Lee Miller’s Behavior to Angry Co-Stars

“This is going to be a little controversial to say, I think, but, to me, Abby was always right,” JoJo admitted to a collection of her former costars.

Reunited with the other girls for the first time, JoJo chats with Kalani Hilliker, Kendall Vertes, Chloé Lukasiak, Paige Hyland, and Brooke Hyland during the Dance Moms: The Reunion special. When pressed, she confesses that the trials she endured under Abby’s direction prepared her for the next chapter of her life.

“If I was a mess and a beat off, she wasn’t just yelling at me because she wanted to yell at me. I actually was a mess and I was a beat off,” JoJo admits in the first look of the special via ET.

She hold firm in her argument that Abbey wasn’t controlling or mean just to be vindictive, but rather to prepare the girls for the reality of being a professional dancer.

“One thing that I’ve learned really working, like, insane, in Hollywood is that that’s normal,” Jojo adds. “And it’s scary that that’s normal, but that taught me how to survive in the industry. It truly is so tough.”

‘Dance Moms’ Cast Don’t Forgive Abby Lee Miller

It may turn out to be that JoJo is the lone defender of her teacher, as the other girls have made it quite clear through the years that they’ve found Abby’s methods abusive and traumatic.

For example, in October 2014, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Paige Hyland, who was then only 13 years old. She claimed that she suffered emotional abuse during her time at the ALDC. She went so far as to claim Abbey “insulted and abused Paige on an almost daily basis, including cruel name calling, insults about Paige’s physical appearance and making offensive false and defamatory accusation [sic] about Paige’s family.” The suit was dismissed in July 2015.

How Paige responds to JoJo defense remains to be seen, but in the trailer indicates that Paige hasn’t yet let go of her anger (and rightly so.)

“It’s hard to say I forgive her when she did so many nasty things to me.”

Abby Lee Miller
Abby Lee Miller visits the Empire State Building on June 09, 2022 in New York City. ((Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust))

Maddie Ziegler Missing From ‘Dance Moms: The Reunion’

Noticeably absent from the special are sisters Kenzie and Maddie Ziegler. The latter has been very vocal about her distain for Abbey and how painful it has been for her to look back on her past.

“I had more stress [on the show] than I did once I left. I have dissociated so much from that time,” Maddie Ziegler, who starred on the Lifetime reality TV show from 2011 until 2016, told Cosmopolitan in June 2022. “It’s weird because there were really amazing times, but there were also a lot of things that were really, really not great for us kids.”

Arguably, Maddie and JoJo Siwa have been the biggest success stories to come out of the franchise. While JoJo showed some compassion for Abbey, she has less understanding for the girls who skipped the reunion.

In fact, she directly called out the absent dancers: “Them not being here is kind of like, ‘Let me erase my past, pretend it never happened, shove it down the drain.’ When it’s like, that’s why you are who you are,” she said. 

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