So You Think You Can Dance Undergoes A Major Shakeup

It's hard to believe that Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" has been off air for almost three years. The dance competition show, which focuses on finding America's best dancer, was canceled in 2020 because of "COVID-19 restrictions," per TVLine. At the time, a Fox representative said producers could not "meet the standards we've set for viewers and contestants" because of the show's format, which requires choreographers and dancers to rehearse in close proximity. However, as COVID-19 restrictions have eased up in recent months, Fox has greenlighted the competition's long-awaited 17th season.

On March 2, Fox announced that "SYTYCD" will return to television screens later this summer. As per Deadline, Season 17 will feature dancers between the ages 18 to 30 who are skilled in various genres of dance, such as ballet, tap, hip-hop, breaking, contemporary, and more. While the format remains largely unchanged, the judging panel has undergone a major shakeup.

SYTYCD Season 17 will be without one of its longest-running judges

"So You Think You Can Dance" may be keeping its television run alive, but the person who has been on the show since its inception will not be back for Season 17. Two days after Fox's announcement, Nigel Lythgoe — who served as judge for the past 16 seasons and serves as series co-creator and executive producer — announced on Twitter that he has not been "invited" to return for the upcoming season.

"I am so thrilled that America's young aspiring dance talent will get to work with some of our greatest creative choreographers," the British television personality wrote. "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 did not take kindly to the news and expressed their frustrations on Twitter. One user responded to Lythgoe, writing, "Big mistake on producers' part. Longtime viewers will miss you." Another wrote, "I just can't picture this show without you."

It remains unclear if any other "SYTYCD" regulars like host Cat Deeley and judge Mary Murphy will return, but Lythgoe has had a complicated relationship with Fox in the past. He was fired from his role as executive producer on "American Idol" in 2013 after being in the position for over a decade, according to Today. He later called his firing "embarrassing" and said that the judges on the singing competition at the time lacked chemistry, per E! News.