Kalani Hilliker’s first appearance on Dance Moms was during one of the most tumultuous episodes of the series. Abby Lee Miller managed to cause drama amongst the moms by entering Hilliker into the competition in the final hour. Hilliker competed a duet with Maddie Ziegler entitled “Two Sapphires” against “Wishbone” which Miller choreographed for Chloé Lukasiak and Paige Hyland. And when Miller threatened to replace Brooke Hyland in the group dance with Hilliker, all hell broke loose.
Kalani Hilliker made waves with her first ‘Dance Moms’ duet performance
After the physical altercation between Miller and Kelly Hyland left Miller down two dancers, there was suddenly a spot for Hilliker. Miller was quick to share that she was considering Hilliker as a permanent replacement for the Hyland sisters. Funnily enough, the dancer shared that initially she was only supposed to be featured on one episode of Dance Moms.
“I was never supposed to be on Dance Moms beyond that one performance,” Hilliker said of “Two Sapphires” while speaking with Dance Spirit. “It was my first time, but not my last time, causing drama.” Hilliker seemed to cause a bit of drama when she and her mother, Kira Girard, abruptly left the show in Season 4 after only 10 episodes.
Kira Girard explains the real reason that she and her daughter left the show in season 4
“Notice that Kalani is not with us,” Miller shared, citing Hilliker’s absence after the mid-season break. “I certainly don’t want a kid whose mother chooses her boyfriend over her own child.” But it turns out that Hilliker and Girard actually left the show for contractual reasons. The Dance Moms producers wanted Hilliker and her mom to sign a seven-year contract in order to stay on the show in season 4. Ultimately, Girard decided that the commitment wasn’t right for her family.
“I have a 6-year-old little boy that I [had] to leave for four months and yes, my boyfriend, as well,” Girard shared with IBTimes. “My son needs his mom just as much as Kalani does. I’m more about raising kids, not about being famous. Kalani has the rest of her life to become a star if that is where her life takes her. I had to make a decision based on what’s best for our family and Kalani. It was a hard decision, but I stand by it and am very happy with it.”
Hilliker and her mom returned to ‘Dance Moms’ in Season 5
Of course, Hilliker and Girard would both return to Dance Moms in Season 5. Replacing Lukasiak, who exited in Season 4, Hilliker became a permanent member of the ALDC Junior Elite Competition Team. The mother-daughter duo would stick around until the end of Season 7 when the show went on hiatus. However, it’s probably safe to assume that neither Hilliker nor Girard signed a seven-year contract since neither of them returned for season 8.