There is a reason the show is named after the moms.
Partly because there are so many of them, which I really should have considered before I spent three hours writing this.
My ranking is based on the portrayal by the producers- apparently, many of these women are absolute sweethearts in person and knew they were playing antagonists on the show for their paycheques. ‘Dance moms uncovered’ is a fun docuseries on YouTube about what really went down behind the scenes. I know, I can’t believe I watch a dance moms docuseries either. Nevertheless, here is my ranking of the moms from most monstrous upwards.
Kaya ‘Black Patsy’ Wiley- Nicaya’s mom. She was not all that pleasant. She was constantly degrading other people’s children, and not in the fun casual way that the other mothers did. Like, really publicly. It’s quite an achievement to be more public in your criticism than everyone else on an international TV show, but she found her way, from social media to just having a really shouty voice.
Leslie Ackerman- Peyton’s mom. Pushy. Constantly trying to get her daughter on the team without regard for how it disadvantaged Peyton or cost the group its uniformity and team spirit. The biscuit-taker of her low ranking was her physical fight with Christi in New Orleans. Scary.
Yolanda Walmsley- Elliana’s mom. This woman was deranged. She was so full of drama, not only with the moms, but seeming to create a rift between herself and her daughter. And she went off on Lilly and Maesi, some of the youngest cast members, just to get back at their mothers Jaimie and Stacey? Not cool. I did respect her wide-ranging, rather lyrical vocabulary though.
Christy Hunt- Sarah H’s mom. She was a bible-bashing, lunch-crashing, trash-talking whirlwind. Her overprotectiveness seemed to cost Sarah opportunities, and she was consistently on the outs with Abby which again came at a cost to Sarah. She came across as stifling and antagonistic, never managing to rub along well with the other moms.
Jessalyn Siwa- Jessalyn was like a Shakespearean fool. She was a bit of a nightmare, but she had some golden moments where she seemed to be the only level-headed one, with logic-based zingers like ‘Pathetical. Isn’t. A word’. She had a no-nonsense but overall positive relationship with Abby, never taking her too seriously or obeying her thoughtlessly. She instilled self-confidence in her daughter, almost to a fault… and also a personal brand worth millions of dollars, which is kind of cool. However, she comes across as the pettiest woman alive, from her ‘two points above your daughter’ brags to her snide ‘you’re part of the team, aren’t you’ remarks, and she wasn’t above bullying newcomers like Brynn or Payton Evans.
Tami Adamson- Tea’s mom. She was pretty canny, doing her best not to alienate the moms of the select team or the juniors. However, she got into a physical altercation that marred her record on the show. Also, who names their daughter after a beverage? Tami really went too far down the hipster alternative spelling road
Cathy Nesbitt-Stein- Vivi-Anne’s mom. She was so wonderfully awful. She never seemed to know what made her daughter tick, and her self-importance as a fellow dance teacher and coach to Vivi was pretty jarring. But Cathy’s pantomime villainy really carried the show- she was hilarious and very light-hearted. Annoying in the best way. We all have to love Cathy at least a little bit.
Kim Nguyen- ‘new’ Chloe’s mom. Threw a bit of shade towards the moms in a phone call to her old studio, but Kim was a pretty uneventful experience for the ALDC
Cheryl Chapman- Fallon’s mom. She came across as overly emotional, and although she didn’t assert her daughter’s perfection the way some of the other moms did, she couldn’t handle Fallon being criticized. Also, forgot her daughter’s solo costume which was a pretty careless first impression
Sari Lopez- Areana’s mom. did she do anything particularly awful? Not really. Was she really annoying for some intangible reason? Totally.
Jeannie Quinn- Kaylee, Rihanna and Coco’s mom. She left halfway through a week, which showed a lack of team spirit. However, she was right that her oldest daughter Kaylee was way too advanced to be on the mini team. She did try to rationalize the situation and help her kids see the best of it, but ultimately, she left in an unprofessional insurance of her children’s happiness, which you can’t fault necessarily
Ashlee Allen- Brynn’s mom. A complicated woman. She did not have much of a sense of humour and really was not around to make friends. She was supportive and helpful to Abby, but she was a negative presence to most of the mothers. She was brutally honest and not very tactful at the best of times, but it seems like when she was actively rude, it was in retaliation to things that Jill or Jessalyn had said. She and Brynn also had one of the most solidly positive mother-daughter relationships on the show
Jodi Beck- Kamryn’s mom. She kept her head down, remaining painfully neutral and seemed to sing to Abby’s tune in every situation, including when Abby tried to let Kamryn win over Chloe, despite the judges’ assessment. That was not a good moment for Jodi.
Ann Colin- Hannah’s mom. A season eight cast member and therefore subject to the most fabricated scenarios of anyone. Still, Ann was too sensitive for a high pressure environment, and this anxiousness rubbed off on Hannah until her mom did all the talking for her. Ann’s personality seemed to really inhibit her daughter, who never took on the leadership that was expected of her as the eldest.
Tiffanie Oladi- Alexus’s mom. she was always fighting for her daughter… so she was always in a fight.
Jill Vertes- Kendall’s mom. Despite her craziness, Jill was quite funny and endearing. She was always trying to get her daughter on top, and her strategies mostly entailed expensive gifts to the dance teachers, and her refrain of ‘can Kendall have a solo?’. Oh, and berating other people’s children- that too. Still, she managed to rub along nicely with the other moms- she had fun with them and was also quite down with the kids at times. She was lucky that the duo that she was most threatened by and vindictive towards, Ashlee and Brynn, arrived when she was a long-standing, established part of the ALDC family.
Kerri Evans- Payton the mini’s mom. There was always a problem with her, but the drama surrounding Kerri was more insular, and she generally got on well with others rather than taking out her emotions on them as people like Jessalyn often did to her. However, Kerri’s stress levels affected Payton, who was the youngest team member at only 6, and it was something of a vicious cycle since Kerri was always concerned that Peyton was struggling or pressurized. Spoiler alert: she was.
Jo Paoloantonio- GiaNina’s mom. Thought her daughter was the best thing since sliced bread and got into moderate fights to prove it. Facts.
Melissa Gisoni- Maddie and Mackenzie’s mom. Oh, Melissa. Where to begin. Her drive to get the best for her children was admirable, but it lead her to be somewhat spineless, sucking up to Abby and lying constantly to the other mothers. However, she was driven to this closeness with Abby because the other moms alienated her on grounds that weren’t her fault: while she did everything to get her daughters ahead, she couldn’t have created or removed their status as Abby’s favourites; and paying for private lessons is only an advantage over the other children if their mothers neglect the accessible opportunity to do the same thing. A woman full of contradictions, but firmly endeared to me in her guardianship of Kalani when Kalani’s mom Kira had her baby. Really a mother hen moment for Melissa.
Jeannette Cota- Ava’s mom. Jeannette was painted as a ‘stalker’, but she didn’t do anything wrong or even particularly transgressive by taking her daughter and her team to competitions against the ALDC. This supposed burn on Jeannette is really a negative reflection on the ALDC moms for being self-important. Overall, she had an above-average relationship with Ava and created drama more through… existing? than being unkind.
Stacey Ketchman- Lilly’s mom. In season seven, she was cool-headed, funny, and got on well with the other moms. She was usually on the right side of history when it came to the arguments she did get into. Then in season eight, she became totally intolerable, insisting that her daughter was better than everyone else and harping on negligible or imagined disadvantages towards Lilly. Anything to do with the need for an already-established mom to create drama for the producers among the newcomers of season eight? …wow, I guess we’ll never know.
Ashley Hosbach- Pressley’s mom. She started seeming sharp, funny, and basically pretty reasonable when it came to conflict aversion and getting along with the other moms. Then halfway through season eight, she begins finding problems around every corner and picked herself a couple of fights. But something about Ashley commanded respect, and she was judicious and usually in the right when defending Pressley.
Lynn Fay- Kendyl’s mom. she was pretty neutral. Cried a bit too much, perhaps, but she did stick out the high-stress environment for two weeks for her daughter’s sake. It seemed like they left the show for Kendyl’s well-being rather than a selfish reason on Lynn’s part
Mary Owen- Alysa’s mom. I’m surprised I remember who this woman is. The fact that I do is probably a negative reflection on me rather than a positive one on her.
Nancy Dickson- Jane’s mom. Again, very neutral. She navigated her only argument pretty well, coming off as fairly rational and nice, probably because this argument was palpably fake.
Erin Kristich- Savannah’s mom. Looking out for her daughter took priority over everything else, but not insofar as to bring down other moms or their kids. She did have a mild slanging match with Michelle that made her seem a little crazy, but overall, she was pretty chill and reserved. Also, her gloves were very stylish.
Tricia Farrar- Brady’s mom. While we’re talking about style: Tricia’s sunglasses. Immaculate. Tricia put up with a lot of abuse from the moms about whether Brady had special treatment, but similar to Melissa, it wasn’t within Tricia’s influence whether he did or didn’t. She was never malicious to the other mothers, even after this onslaught of comments- the closest she came to retaliation was a whimsical cake-toss.
Kira Gerard- Kalani’s mom. Kira was argumentative, dramatic, and also had a criminal backstory? That, plus the very cute romantic subplot made her ideal TV. She had her moments arguing with the other moms, but generally made positive comments on their children. She had a gravitas that pretty much never necessitated meanness, and she seemed to recognised Kalani’s maturity and her wishes more than the other moms did with their kids.
Michelle Georgiana- Sarah G’s mom. Season eight did Michelle dirty. She was accused of bringing drama to the team’s door with her previous connection to Studio 19, but all she did was notify Abby of their attitude, presumably in a bid not to be another Kim, Cathy or Jeannette, tied to a rival team pursuing the ALDC. Michelle was rational, good-natured, and willing to stay in a tough situation to appease Abby and realise Sarah’s dreams.
Tracey Reasons- Sarah R’s mom. Tracey was quiet but kind of fun. She didn’t do anything to displease any of the moms, and she handled Kira’s insults well, sticking up for herself, and for Sarah when it came to it, but remaining the bigger person. Like Michelle, she stayed in a situation where she had made an enemy, keeping her head down so she could preserve her daughter’s best interests.
Christi Lukasiak- Chloe’s mom. Christi stuck up for her daughter at all times. Like, all times, including when it was a complete overreaction and uncalled for. Her turbulent relationship with Abby really dragged Chloe down, and she was always antagonising Melissa. Frankly, she has no business being this high up, but her witty insults were absolute gold and I just couldn’t mark her down. Also, kind of could bear to separate her from Kelly.
Kelly Hyland- Brooke and Paige’s mom. Kelly was a pretty stellar mom. She put her kids’ happiness above everything else, but sometimes she couldn’t understand their anxiety towards Abby because of her own learned disregard for her old teacher. On the flipside, this attitude did give us the iconic and irreverent ‘stop eating! That’s why you’re fat!’. She often provoked Melissa which caused friction in the group, but she more than pulled her weight as the costume expert and a kind figure to all the girls.
Jaimie Caes- Maesi’s mom. She was determined to support Maesi, but she spurred her daughter on an individual level instead of by shoving her in other people’s faces like a lot of the other mothers did. The closest she came to arguments was the pretty random vendetta Abby had against her and a bit of foul language, but she managed to be on good terms with both factions of moms for much of season 7.
Kristie Ray- Asia’s mom. Unproblematic fave. Did at one point threaten to throw punches but that’s not a real problem, right? She never had any catty drama, and she let Asia’s talent speak for itself. She also retained perspective and had an eye for exciting opportunities for her daughter.
Camille Bridges- Camryn’s mom. Even more unproblematic fave- she was just a nice normal person, so kudos to Camille. Camille was never involved in discourse, partly because she basically did not speak, but her bond with Camryn seemed really close and caring.
Loree Cloud- Jade’s mom. Classy and rational. What’s not to like?
Jackie Lucia- This woman was kind of perfect. She was so nice to everyone, and also managed to create literal Sophia Lucia. Wow. Thank you, Jackie
Fernanda Fletcher- Fernanda treated her daughter basically as an adult. She listened to her feelings and helped Davi act on them constructively. She traversed reality TV with impeccable dignity, leaving the show with grace and a flawless anti-drama track record, and she managed to express her own opinions and have an actual personality without being controversial. Also, fantastic at pep-talks.
Holly Frazier- Nia’s mom. Who could possibly be the best dance mom but Dr Holly. The small nuggets of drama she did have outweigh the unmarked records of some of the other top-ranking moms, because Holly managed to survive all seven original seasons. She was everything good in the world in one person-shaped bundle. Kind. Smart. Unbelievably polite. A good role-model. Stuck up for her principles but always on the considered and considerate side of an argument. And people say she looks like Michelle Obama? Perfection.