The format of the Ultimate Dance Competition is more like other reality contest shows than Dance Moms, the show that propelled Miller to national prominence.
The 12 contestants, one boy among 11 girls are taught routines and drilled by professional choreographers. They are then dressed in costumes befitting the theme of the routine and perform in front of 2,000 people at a Los Angeles theater with the judges sitting front and center.
Besides Abby Miller the judges are Pussycat Dolls' founder Robin Antin and celebrity choreographer Richy Jackson. Among his credits is that of Visual Director/Choreographer and member of the Lady Ga Ga's Haus of Gaga.
It didn't take long to realize that the two ladies were going for the jugular without any sympathy and Richy tried to play the peacemaker.
Antin is always looking for another Pussycat Doll and isn't afraid to say it, while Miller is easily distracted and pleased by dancers who catch her eye for one reason or another, despite her insistence that she's all about the technique,
Abby's formidable presence and star quality can move contestants' mothers to act like their kids if and when they came face-to-face with their favorite pop star.
One admitted having to restrain herself from rushing up to hug when they met for the first time. That would need to be a really big hug since Miller's size is what one could kindly call plus-size.
On social media site Get Glue, some watching the show commented on how Miller couldn't properly demonstrate the dance moves she wanted the kids perform.
The Ultimate Dance Competition used the first hour of programming to introduce us to 14 kids and mothers with a quick elimination round that sent two home in time for the debut episode of the show.
Viewers got the hang of what mothers would be treacherous and who would be overwhelmed by the process. We also got some insight into how children as young as six years-old ended up on that Los Angeles stage.
One mother said her daughter became a dancer because she, the mother, loves clothes. She saw a tutu and bought it for her little girl, put her in dance school and the rest, as they say, is history.
Another dance mom insisted her daughter had two legs up on the competition because she herself was a dance instructor and it had to help, right?
She was chastised during the rehearsals for trying to out-teach the teacher. Her daughter continually looked to her mother for help rather than the choreographer
standing in front of her.
Contestant Elisabeth, when asked why she wasn't living up to her potential broke down and blamed her parents' divorce for keeping her mind occupied. A brief look at the mother, who had said they would do anything to win the contest, gave viewers the feeling that Elisabeth might have been fibbing.
Abby had previously told Elisabeth that her tall frame and blonde hair helped her.
Technique, technique, technique was stressed by Miller but in the end, the little girl who was sent home didn't project enough to "stand out".
Antin said "Today is about confidence and this one doesn't have it. If you had asked me what number she was in I wouldn't have known. A star is a star."
Abby told Tessa, the unlucky one to go home that despite more skills than the girl standing next to her, she didn't show that she could use them to her benefit. Really?
On her way out, Tessa told the Lifetime cameras. "I'm happy that Tula gets to stay but I don't really understand why because this week's goal was technique and I definitely have more technique than she does." Correct Tessa, you are correct.
What did you think of the judging last night? Fair or unfair?
Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition airs new episodes on Lifetime Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET. Image: Wikipedia