Billy Bell’s SYTYCD journey finally ends as Nigel Lythgoe wades into homophobia again

Billy Bell was finally sent home on So You Think You Can Dance after being in the bottom three for five weeks in a row. That ends a journey that began last fall, when he dropped out for mysterious reasons that involved his possible death if he danced. Also eliminated by the judges was Jose Ruiz. Next week, the judges lose their power and viewers pick the final two, and then the winner.

Meanwhile, Nigel Lythgoe is once again defending himself against charges of homophobia because of his comment during the eliminations that viewers might not have liked Billy Bell’s “slightly androgynous style.”

First, Billy isn’t exactly androgynous, he’s rather feminine. You don’t have to look past him nuzzling his nose into Kent’s neck for evidence of that, but there’s plenty of other evidence–not that there’s anything wrong with that. But our culture’s biggest problem with gay people is their failure to conform to traditional gender roles, so Billy not acting like a ball-scratching, horse-straddling man’s man is what makes some people more uncomfortable than what his brain and penis is stimulated by. (A year ago, I discussed this, and Nigel’s ironically feminine hair, in-depth.)

Nigel wrote on Twitter that “describing one’s dance style as androgynous is not homophobic,” and then expressed his desire more masculinity, writing, “It’s an easy label to paste on anybody who strives to have their male dancers be strong and masculine.”

I don’t think Nigel is a bigot or even ignorant like that twit Elisabeth Hasselbeck, but he doesn’t quite understand how criticizing men for not being masculine is at the root of others’ homophobia, and he needs to wise up.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.