SYTYCD’s Nigel Lythgoe Reacts to Being Fired

Nigel Lythgoe

Getty Nigel Lythgoe

FOX announced in early March that “So You Think You Can Dance” is returning for its 17th season in summer 2022 — but it won’t have the judges fans know and love. Here is what we know so far and how Nigel Lythgoe reacted to being fired from the show he co-created and where he was the only judge to be there for all 16 seasons.

‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Is Returning Without Nigel, Cat Deeley or Mary Murphy

FOX announced the “So You Think You Can Dance” renewal in a press release that touted “an all-new season of the multi-Emmy Award-winning dance competition series ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ will premiere this summer on FOX.”

But the press release made no mention of judge Nigel Lythgoe other than to cite him as one of the co-creators of the show. Nigel is the only judge who was there from the very beginning.

The press release also did not mention Mary Murphy, who joined Nigel on the judges’ panel in season three (though she was not a part of seasons seven, 12, or 13), or Cat Deeley, who hosted every season of the show except the first one.

Nigel then confirmed he was fired in a tweet, writing, “I am so thrilled that America’s young aspiring dance talent will get to work with some of our greatest creative choreographers. On a personally sad note, I have not been asked to be on the judging panel this season. I don’t know who will be saying ‘Cue Music’ but I wish them well.”

In the replies, one viewer compared Nigel’s firing to the “Dancing With the Stars” shake-up that saw Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews fired as the hosts, writing, “Reminds me of the revamp of DWTS, didn’t make that show better when they did it, I predict the same here. It won’t be the same without you Nigel.”

Several other commenters expressed the feeling that “So You Think You Can Dance” will not be the same without Nigel.

Neither Mary nor Cat have said anything on social media as of yet about the “So You Think You Can Dance” renewal.

What’s odd is that FOX actually picked up the show for a 17th season two years ago, in February 2020, and at the time, FOX said that Cat, Nigel, and Mary were all returning alongside Laurianne Gibson, according to TVLine. Laurieann was a judge on season 16.
But then the pandemic shut everything down and FOX canceled the renewal in June 2020, according to TVLine.

This new renewal is the first anybody has heard about “So You Think You Can Dance” since the cancellation in June 2020. FOX has not said anything about what changed in regards to Nigel between the 2020 renewal and now; we reached out for comment and FOX said they have no comment at this time.

Auditions Start In March 2022

The FOX press release teases that the upcoming season of “So You Think You Can Dance” will “feature highly skilled dancers between the ages of 18 and 30, showcasing their talents in various dance styles, including contemporary, tap, hip-hop, ballroom, animation, breaking and more.” It also said that auditions are starting immediately.

The press release reads:

Auditions for “So You Think You Can Dance” kick off in March. Dancers can submit online by registering and providing a link to a video of their performance. Please check or for audition deadlines, full eligibility requirements, official rules and additional details. Selected dancers will be invited to attend auditions in New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans. From those auditions, the dancers selected will be invited to Los Angeles to perform for the judges and try to win a spot as one of the final contestants. Additional eligibility requirements and terms and conditions may apply.

Those who are selected to move on to the SYTYCD studio will work with world-renowned choreographers and compete each week in a variety of styles, with brand-new twists and turns introduced into the competition. Additional details to be announced.

“So You Think You Can Dance” has been quite the pipeline for professional dancers on “Dancing With the Stars” over the years. Current pros Artem Chigvintsev, Witney Carson, Lindsay Arnold, Jenna Johnson, and Alan Bersten are all alumni of “So You Think You Can Dance,” plus former pros/troupe members Dmitry Chaplin, Allison Holker, Lacey Schwimmer, Chelsie Hightower, Hayley Erbert, Britt Cherry, J.T. Church, and Jake Monreal also all got their start on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

There is no word yet as to when “So You Think You Can Dance” is returning in the summer of 2022.

“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been picked up for season 31. If it does get renewed, it should premiere in September 2022.

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