So you think you can dance (SYTYCD to fans) returns this May for season 17 after being absent for three years.
That Fox show last hit screens in 2019, when Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Laurieann Gibson and Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval made up the judging panel. None of them will return for the 2022 season. Cat Deeley, however, will return as host.
Among this year’s SYTYCD judges are a returning judge from the 2018 season, as well as two people who are brand new to judging (though not new to judging dance competitions).
Stephen “tWitch” Boss, JoJo Siwa and Matthew Morrison are the new So you think you can dance judges. Read on to find out what you need to know about them – and why the Fox show has changed its judges.
The only judge to have appeared on the before SYTYCD Jury starred alongside Lythgoe, Murphy and Vanessa Hudgens on Twitch for the show’s 15th season. He is also the host of Fox’s The real dirty dancing.
His So you think you can dance However, the connection predates his tenure as a judge. In the 2008 season, the freestyle hip-hop dancer took second place behind Joshua Allen. He’s also married to season 2 contestant Allison Holker — the couple even married at Lythgoe’s California winery.
Before the show he was a dancer in films like hairspray and Blades of Glory. After his performance, he starred in the racy Magic Mike XXLthree climb up films and became a DJ turned co-host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He was also a host Disney fairy tale weddings with his wife.
With ellen comes to an end, he returns to the show that gave his career a huge boost.
Viewers have watched Siwa dance since she was 10 when she was a contestant on the Lifetime dance series Abby’s ultimate dance competition (SYTYCD Fans may argue if this show really can be considered the “ultimate” dance competition…)
After becoming a breakout star on that show, she joined the reality show Dancing Moms before becoming a recording artist. Though Gen-Z had known who Siwa was for nearly a decade, she gained greater attention after finishing runner-up in the 2021 season Dancing with the stars. After judging the Peacock series Siwa’s dance-pop revolution she agrees So you think you can dance Panel with only 18 years.
Amazingly, that doesn’t make her the show’s youngest judge — that was Maddie Ziegler, just 13, when she judged in 2016.
Morrison is probably better known as a singer than a dancer thanks to his role as Will Schuester joy– not to say that Herr Schue didn’t love a bit of soft shoes from time to time…
As a Broadway star, however, Morrison has had to show off his dance moves on a number of occasions, particularly when he was part of the cast of the original Broadway version of hairspray in 2002. More recently he was Spoilsport in NBC’s live musical nightmare fuel version of the story.
Despite having less experience dancing Twitch or Siwa, Morrison has actually spent the longest time as a dance show judge. That joy Star spent two years judging British shows The greatest dancer in 2019 and 2020.
Lythgoe tweeted that he has not been asked by Fox to return to the show – despite being the show’s executive producer.
He wrote: “Personally sad I was not asked to sit on the judging panel this season. I don’t know who’s going to say ‘Cue Music’ but I wish them the best of luck.” Gibson, meanwhile, is busy developing a new talent format called symbol.
It seems Fox has taken the show’s three-year absence from screens as an opportunity to give it a soft reboot to attract a younger audience. This is reflected in the age of the judges. The new panel has an average age of 33, with the oldest judge being 43-year-old Morrison. The median age of the previous panel was 52, with Lythgoe 69 at the time the last season aired.
So you think you can dance Season 17 airs Wednesdays at 9pm EDT / 8pm CDT on Fox.