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SYTYCD’s new judge is ‘a great admirer of dancers’ and a former DWTS contestant

SYTYCD’s new judge is ‘a great admirer of dancers’ and a former DWTS contestant

A new judge will join Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance as a judge on its 300th episode June 15: Leah Remini, who will be the third member of the panel alongside Stephen “tWitch” Boss and JoJo Siwa.

Remini replaces Matthew Morrison, who was fired for sending unwanted messages to a contestant, which he defended.

For a mid-season replacement, I expected SYTYCD to return to its previous well of judges, perhaps Mary Murphy or Mia Michaels, or even executive producer and co-creator Nigel Lythgoe, who said it was not his choice to leave the series.

Or maybe another past contestant or choreographer. Instead, they went the celebrity route.

Leah Remini will judge ‘as a fan’

Leah Remini, TCA Award 2017
Leah Remini accepts the 2017 TCA Award for outstanding achievement in reality programming. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Remini is a talented actor, anti-Scientology activist, and TV personality; she’s hosted the Emmy- and TCA Award-winning reality show Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

Most recently, she’s hosted GSN’s People Puzzler, and has previously guest judged shows from The Masked Singer to RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Remini danced as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars season 17, but I’m not aware of any other dance experience. Her bio, provided by Fox, below, does not mention either DWTS nor any other dancing experience.

But in the press release, and in a tweet, Remini said she’s joining “as a fan”: “I look forward to guiding these incredibly talented artists through this competition as a fan of the show and a great admirer of dancers. I can’t wait to see the artistry that the contestants bring to the stage!”

Here’s her full bio from Fox:

Leah Remini is an actress, producer, author and activist. She has won two Emmy Awards, co-starred in 12 network and cable television shows, produced two cable TV series and authored a #1 New York Times bestselling book. Remini co-starred in “King of Queens,” which ran for nine seasons and, in 2017, re-joined Kevin James, her “King of Queens” co-star, for the CBS sitcom “Kevin Can Wait.”  Remini co-hosted “The Talk” in its debut season and recently continued her work as a talk show host by guest-hosting more than 20 episodes of the “Wendy Williams Show” in 2021 and 2022. Remini created and executive-produced “It’s All Relative,” her first non-fiction series, which gave viewers a fly-on-the-wall look at Remini’s life; and created, produced and co-hosted “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” which won two Emmy Awards and a NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) Unscripted Breakthrough Award. In 2019, The International Documentary Association awarded Remini its inaugural Truth to Power Award, which recognized “an individual or institution with conspicuous fortitude, tenacity, and resoluteness in holding those in power to account.” In 2020, Remini created and produced her podcast, “Scientology: Fair Game,” which exposes Scientology’s long history of abusive practices. “Scientology: Fair Game” debuted on the iHeart Radio Network, and the podcast has had more than 15 million downloads of its 80 episodes. Remini also is the producer and Daytime Emmy-nominated host of “People Puzzler,” which is in its third season.

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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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