So You Think You Can Dance Shocker: Nigel Lythgoe Will Not Return as a Judge

On Friday, March 4, So You Think You Can Dance co-creator Nigel Lythgoe revealed that he wasn’t invited back for season 17. See his statement here.

By Alyssa Ray Mar 04, 2022 8:22 PMTags

Cue the exit music.

On Friday, March 4, So You Think You Can Dance longtime judge Nigel Lythgoe stunned fans by announcing that he would not be a part of the upcoming 17th season. This is certainly surprising as Lythgoe, who created the series alongside Simon Fuller, has claimed a spot at the table alongside the likes of Mary Murphy and other judges for the past 16 iterations.  

So, why is he MIA this time around? According to a tweet by Lythgoe, he wasn't invited back to the panel for the new season.

"I am so thrilled that America's young aspiring dance talent will get to work with some of our greatest creative choreographers," he wrote in full. "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."

Unsurprisingly, fans have since voiced their surprise and disappointment on Twitter. One follower responded to Lythgoe, "The show will not be the same without you and your technical expertise!!" Another sounded off, "It doesn't feel right for you not to be a judge."

2022 TV Premiere Dates

FOX did not immediately responded to E! News' request for comment.

This update comes two days after FOX announced that the long-awaited season 17, which was postponed for several years due to COVID-19, would debut in the summer

Yet, their announcement didn't specify whether any of the SYTYCD constants, including host Cat Deeley, would be a part of this new iteration. What they did share is that season 17 will feature dancers ages 18 to 30 that are skilled in several genres of dance.


Dancers have been encouraged to submit video auditions. And, from that pool of auditionees, in-person auditions will take place in New York City, Los Angeles and New Orleans. From there, selected dancers will be invited to perform for the unannounced judges in Los Angeles.

For any and all updates for season 17 of SYTYCD, click here.

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