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Cat Deeley will return, but SYTYCD 17 is replacing all of its judges

Cat Deeley will return, but SYTYCD 17 is replacing all of its judges
Cat Deeley will return to host SYTYCD season 17. She's pictured here during So You Think You Can Dance 16 in 2019. (Photo by Adam Rose/Fox)

When So You Think You Can Dance returns this summer, on May 18, it will have a brand-new judging panel for the first time in its history, but will have the same host it’s had most of its life: Cat Deeley is returning.

None of So You Think You Can Dance’s judges from any of its previous seasons will return for season 17.

The announcement that the show was returning hinted at that, and co-creator Nigel Lythgoe later confirmed he was not asked to return, and called that “sad.”

Nigel has been the one consistent presence on the judging panel for its preceding 16 seasons.

Mary Murphy, who judged 11 of the show’s 16 seasons, is also not returning.

So You Think You Can Dance 17’s judges

JoJo Siwa as Pennywise the Dancing Clown from "It," dancing with Jenna Johnson, on DWTS 30's Horror Night
JoJo Siwa as Pennywise the Dancing Clown from “It,” dancing with Jenna Johnson, on DWTS 30’s Horror Night (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC)

Judging instead will be:

  1. Stephen “tWitch” Boss, the runner-up on season four of SYTYCD
  2. JoJo Siwa, who got her start on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition and Dance Moms, and most-recently appeared on Dancing with the Stars, including as Pennywise the Dancing Clown
  3. Matthew Morrison, an actor, singer, and dancer best known for playing Will Schuester on Glee

Since tWitch competed on SYTYCD, he has been a consistent presence on TV: On Ellen’s daytime talk show, and then Ellen’s Game of Games.

He also returned to SYTYCD as an all-star (on seasons 7, 8, and 9) and team captain (in season 12).

tWitch most-recently hosted The Real Dirty Dancing on Fox.

Here are the new judges’ bios, from Fox:

Cat Deeley

Cat Deeley is an author and one of the foremost television presenters, both in the United States and the U.K. Deeley has received five Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program for her hosting role on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. Additionally, Deeley won the 2015 and 2012 Critics Choice Award for Best Reality Host for her role on the series. She is a double BAFTA Award winner and published her first book, “The Joy in You,” in 2020.

Stephen “tWitch” Boss

Stephen “tWitch” Boss continues to make a splash in the entertainment world with his multitude of talents. The memorable contestant, All-Star and judge of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is a staple on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” as its resident dancer, DJ and co-executive producer. He most recently was seen as the host of the television series “The Real Dirty Dancing” and “Clash of the Cover Bands.” Boss resides in Los Angeles, with his wife, fellow dance artist and host, Allison, and their three children – Weslie, Maddox, and Zaia. 

Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison is a multi-hyphenate who is recognized for his work on stage and on screen, and has been nominated for a Tony, Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards. Morrison became a true household name when he was cast as a series regular on “Glee,” starring as “Mr. Schuester,” the director of the glee club. He most recently starred in “American Horror Story.” He also has starred on Broadway in hits “Hairspray,” “The Light In The Piazza,” “South Pacific” and “Finding Neverland.” Morrison has toured globally with his vast repertoire of music that encompasses his established career across television, stage and recordings.

JoJo Siwa

JoJo Siwa is a global superstar, singer, television and film star, best-selling author and social media sensation. Siwa has more than 66 million followers on social media and more than 3.7 billion views on YouTube. She was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2020. She recently wrapped her first-ever concert tour with more than 130 shows, selling out arenas and becoming the youngest artist ever to headline and sell out the O2 Arena.  Siwa also served as creative director and executive producer of the reality competition series “Siwa’s Dance Pop Revolution,” on which she discovered the new pop group XOMG Pop! She recently was featured in “Dancing with the Stars,” during which she made history as the first contestant to dance with a same-sex partner and earned a People’s Choice Award for Competition Contestant of 2021.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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Happy discussing!


Sunday 22nd of May 2022

honestly, Jojo needs to stop yelling. tone it down a bit. that's all she needs to do


Friday 8th of April 2022

Definitely won't be watching SYTYCD. No Nigel?? Come ON. I guarantee it won't last.


Thursday 21st of April 2022

@TomBrady, I can't believe SYTYCD won't be loyal to the core audience that built them. Twitch is fine, Matthew is fine, but Mary and Nigel should be mainstays. ALWAYS. Happy the show is finally coming back. Sad that it's without the 2 most important people. Thankful for Cat Deely at least.