Scripted or not? That's the question tons of fans of the hit Lifetime reality TV show Dance Moms want to know. The series — which debuted in 2011 and has had seven seasons so far — follows the ALDC elite junior team and their ultra-stage mom parents as the team rehearses intense choreography, travels across the country to compete against other teams, and sometimes, each other. Though the reality show thrives on drama and has launched the careers of famous dancers like Maddie Ziegler, Mackenzie Ziegler, Jojo Siwa, and Chloe Lukasiak, viewers are still itching to know: Is it all for show or is this dance drama the real deal?
One of the more famous names from the show is Maddie Ziegler, 14, who has since left Lifetime to pursue other projects. In her post-Dance Moms days, Maddie has guest starred on Pretty Little Liars, has gotten into voice work for animation, and has ultimately become the face of Sia's music career, starring in many of her music videos including "The Greatest," "Elastic Heart," and most famously, "Chandelier." Now that Maddie, her younger sister Mackenzie, 13, and their mother Melissa Gisoni departed from Dance Moms, Maddie is unabashed in blowing up Abby Lee Miller's spot. One of the things she's dishing on? The realness — or rather, fakeness — of the show.
Now departed Abby Lee Miller poses with the OG cast of Dance Moms.
"It’s hard to do a reality show when there’s so much crying and drama. The producers set it up to make us all yell at each other," Maddie told USA Today.
There you have it, folks — the mystery of whether or not Dance Moms showcases manufactured drama, debunked. It's TV, so it's kinda, sorta fake. But it's not just the young dancers who are encouraged to argue and get emotional. According to Sia's dancing prodigy, the mothers on the show are also instigated.
"You know how I said that moms do fight? The moms have to fake a fight sometimes,” she revealed. "Afterward they just start talking and laugh about it."
But despite intensely emotional and argumentative scenes being instigated or staged by producers, Maddie maintains that all the drama revolving around competitions is 100% genuine. "It is really real. We do have a really crazy competition life," she continued.
A younger Chloe Lukasiak and Maddie Ziegler from an earlier season of Dance Moms.
At the end of the day, these girls are friends. No matter who takes whose spot on the competition floor or whose mother yelled at the other's, the Dance Moms cast gets along just great.
"All of the girls on the show, they're my best friends,” she said of her on-screen relationships. "I [had] so much fun getting to work with my friends and my teachers and dance."
Loving Dance Moms after all these years? New episodes, in which Dancing With the Stars alum Cheryl Burke steps in for Abby Lee Miller, air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime.