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Dance Moms had me in tears with the Zieglers' emotional exit

Passionate about dance, Stephanie's love of reality television and celebrity entertainment began with "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance." She has since discovered the wonders of the "Real Housewives," the Kardashia...

Dance Moms just won't be the same without Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler

The Ziegler girls' eventual Dance Moms departure has felt inevitable for some time, and yet, until tonight, it was impossible to imagine the show without these two integral ALDC members. The bad news didn't even fully hit home last month, when Maddie Ziegler made the official announcement. That all changed during tonight's episode, with Melissa Gisoni finally admitting what we all knew and didn't care to admit to ourselves: The Zieglers are finished with the ALDC.

More: Dance Moms star joins So You Think You Can Dance as judge

This moment has been a long time in the making, but I still wasn't prepared. No more weekly Maddie solos? No more comments about eating chips from Mackenzie? I'm just getting over Chloe Lukasiak's exit and now it's time to say goodbye to another two of the original girls.

Dance Moms just won't be the same without Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler
Image: Lifetime

This marks the end of an era for the family that has been instrumental in putting Dance Moms on the map. Yes, Lukasiak and the Hyland sisters — and even Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her daughter Vivi-Anne — also played a vital role, but ultimately, there's only one Maddie Ziegler.

More: 5 signs Maddie Ziegler has already checked out of Dance Moms

The best word to describe tonight's emotional episode of Dance Moms is bittersweet. Yes, the Ziegler girls have a great future ahead of them, but they are also leaving behind their best friends and biggest mentor. Their departure is also a poignant reminder that, outside of Nia Frazier (and, according to the delusional Jill Vertes, Kendall), all of the original girls of Dance Moms are gone. The show has already felt incomplete without the antics of best buds Chloe Lukasiak, and Brooke and Paige Hyland, and now, there are another two pairs of dance shoes Lifetime must fill.

Dance Moms just won't be the same without Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler
Image: Lifetime

More: Trashing Dance Moms' Kendall Vertes is not OK

The Twitterverse is usually a cesspool of drama after each week's Dance Moms episode, but this week, everybody (even those who used to complain endlessly about Miller's favoritism) was very emotional about the Zieglers' departure.

With the Zieglers basically out of the picture, the big question is, what's next? The obvious path for Lifetime is a battle to become the next Maddie. But that plot has already been explored at length. Perhaps the mini team will be featured more prominently? Or, perhaps, Miller will quit, as she's been threatening to do for some time. Only time will tell, and only time will enable Dance Moms fanatics to get over the Zieglers' exit.

Are you sad about Maddie and Mackenzie Zieglers' Dance Moms departure? Or does the show need some new dancers to shake things up?

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

Dance Moms just won't be the same without Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler
Image: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN
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