DWTS Fans Unload on SYTYCD Judge Casting

ABC JoJo Siwa

“Dancing With the Stars” fans are not happy with the recently announced judges’ panel for the upcoming 17th season of “So You Think You Can Dance.” The show did not ask any of its former judges to return and instead replaced them with pop star JoJo Siwa, who finished runner-up on “Dancing With the Stars” season 30, actor Matthew Morrison of “Glee” fame and Broadway, and Stephen “tWitch” Boss, who is a two-time “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant and former guest judge for NBC’s “World of Dance.”

Here is what fans are saying.

Fans Are Dismayed There’s No Ballroom Expert on the Panel

While fans admit that the new “So You Think You Can Dance” judges are “impressive” because of their talent, many think that they are inexperienced and they’re disappointed there is no ballroom dancing expert on the panel.

In a Reddit thread, a poster wrote, “This is an impressive judging panel! They are missing only a ballroom specialist. It would be really interesting if they invite a seasoned DWTS pro to be a guest judge, someone with a strong ballroom knowledge, like Cheryl [Burke], Gleb [Savchenko], Artem [Chigvintsev] or Val [Chmerkovskiy].”

To this, a commenter replied, “Not having a ballroom judge is whack. List the most notable names from recent SYTYCD seasons and you’ll find most of them who are still in dance are working in ballroom.”

Another wrote, “It sucks they don’t have a ballroom specialist. I feel like in shows like this where the dance styles are diverse, u need judge[s] that reflects each style that is showcase[d] the most.”

“I just really wanted a ballroom judge!” wrote another commenter, adding that it doesn’t have to be someone from “Dancing With the Stars” or “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Indeed, “So You Think You Can Dance” has been somewhat of a pipeline for “Dancing With the Stars” professionals over the years. Current pros Artem, Witney Carson, Lindsay Arnold, Jenna Johnson, and Alan Bersten are all alumni of the show, plus former pro dancers or troupe members Dmitry Chaplin, Allison Holker, Lacey Schwimmer, Chelsie Hightower, Hayley Erbert, Britt Cherry, J.T. Church, and Jake Monreal also all competed on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Additionally, among the former judges on the show, Mary Murphy, who judged for almost all of the original 16 seasons, is a ballroom dancing champion who ran her own academy for ballroom dancing in the 1990s.

But Murphy was not asked back, nor was longtime judge and co-creator Nigel Lythgoe, who said it was “sad” not to be included.

Fans Also Think The Judges Are Too Inexperienced

In the thread, one fan wrote that JoJo seems like she’s not experienced enough to be a judge, with another one adding that it isn’t her age that is the issue, but her lack of experience being in a role like this.

One commenter wrote that people are “struggling” with the fact that JoJo went from being an “amateur” to being a professional judge “rather quick.”

One commenter said that they think JoJo was “primarily chosen for her platform,” i.e. the huge fanbase she has.

“She’ll attract a younger audience and she’ll promote the show on her social media. She will probably be the judge to offer more praise than criticism/critic. I doubt they picked her to offer technical critic, but rather to give positive feedback to the contestants and bring in viewers,” wrote the fan.

To this, a commenter replied that they’ll get a wake-up call similar to what happened on “Dancing With the Stars.”

“I feel like they’ll realize social media doesn’t translate to real life views,” wrote the fan. “DWTS ratings went down 25 percent from s29 to s30 and that’s with her actually dancing. Obviously, there’s a lot of factors in that, not just her, but still. In reality, her fans aren’t gonna tune in to watch her be on screen for like 5 minutes total speaking lol.”

A few commenters think Morrison is an odd choice too, but other commenters pointed out that he judged a British dancing program called “The Greatest Dancer,” plus he has extensive performance experience on Broadway.

The only judge people seem to be on board with — or at least, weren’t complaining about — is Boss, who is a former contestant and who also sat on the judges’ panel during season 15.

“So You Think You Can Dance” has started the audition process; online registration is now closed. Ir premieres Wednesday, May 18 following the season finale of “The Masked Singer.”

“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been renewed for season 31. If it is renewed, it will return in September 2022.

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