The Real Reason Matthew Morrison Is Abruptly Leaving So You Think You Can Dance

Matthew Morrison's time on "So You Think You Can Dance," has come to an abrupt end. The Emmy-nominated actor, who starred as Will Schuester on "Glee" for six seasons, joined the dance competition for Season 17. The show returned to Fox on May 18 after the COVID-19 pandemic paused production in 2020 — this time with a new cast of judges. Rounding out the judging panel for the new season was former "SYTYCD" contestant Stephen "tWitch" Boss, and YouTube personality, JoJo Siwa. 

"Thrilled to be heading back to my dance roots as I join the 'SYTYCD' family! Join me for the fresh-new season of [So You Think You Can Dance] May 18," Morrison tweeted in April. Morrison's announcement received a lot of praise on social media, as fans congratulated the Broadway alum on the new gig. "I'm full of Glee for your panel membership," one user cleverly wrote.

And while fans (and Morrison himself) were excited to see the former "Hairspray" star dish out criticism to aspiring performers, his time with the show has already ended.

Matthew Morrison exits after not following 'protocols'

Actor Matthew Morrison has exited "So You Think You Can Dance" after only a few months with the popular show. The Tony-nominated performer joined the popular show for Season 17 — which is currently airing on Fox — but has just announced his departure.

"Having the opportunity to be a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance" was an incredible honor for me," Morrison said in a statement to PEOPLE. "Therefore, it is my deepest regret to inform you that I will be leaving the show." He further added, "After filming the audition rounds for the show and completing the selection of the 12 finalists, I did not follow competition production protocols, preventing me from being able to judge the competition fairly."

At this time, there have been few details shared about the nature of Morrison's infraction; however, a source revealed to Us Weekly that it was not a major incident. Internet sleuths have also begun to speculate about what could have caused the sudden exit and their theories are wild. "His statement (compromised ability to judge it fairly) makes it seem like he was in contact with a contestant outside the show," one person tweeted. While another wrote, "So he didn't get vaccinated?" Without a fan-favorite in the mix, criticism of another judge popped up shortly after Morrison's announcement.

JoJo Siwa speaks out against trolls amid Matthew Morrison's announcement

Fellow judge and young dance queen JoJo Siwa naturally got swept in on the announcement of Matthew Morrison's departure from "So You Think You Can Dance," but not in the way you would expect. Unfortunately, Siwa's response was primarily dealing with an online troll. One critic of the former "Dance Moms" star tweeted, "I saw the headline 'Judge Leaves #sytycd' and got all excited. Yes! [JoJo Siwa] was out! But, nope. It was Matthew Morrison." Ouch. The person continued, "I thought [Morrison] brought the broadway perspective to the show. Maybe not an expert on dance, but on showmanship. Still won't watch."

Siwa is no stranger to online hate, but rather than let this one slide, she responded with her own credentials. "18 Years of Dance Knowledge, 4 Major dance TV shows, I've hired over 1000 dancers, 16 Dance music videos," the singer wrote on Twitter the following day. "If you don't like me that's okay ... but if you think I don't know about dance ya just sound silly." It looks like this judge isn't going anywhere.

When "SYTYCD" was announced for its return, Siwa was thrilled to join the panel of the long-running show. In 2021, she was the runner-up on "Dancing with the Stars," per Today, marking a huge milestone in her career as a contestant, but like her dance resume shows, the former Nickelodeon star is ready to share feedback with dancers, with or without Morrison behind the desk.

Was Matthew Morrison being 'flirty' with a contestant?

Following Matthew Morrison's unexpected exit from "So You Think You Can Dance" just as Season 17 wrapped up the auditions and finalist selection, more details started to come about regarding the "competition production protocols" he did not adhere to. A source linked to the Fox series shared with People that the judge was released "after he had an inappropriate relationship with a female contestant."

The source claimed, "They didn't have sex, but he reached out to her through flirty direct messages on social media ... She felt uncomfortable with his line of comments and went to producers, who then got Fox involved. He was fired after they did their own investigation."

Morrison, who shares two children with wife Renee Puente, per Us Weekly, had not responded to these details at the time of this writing. He ended his original statement of his departure, "I cannot apologize enough to all involved and I will be watching alongside you all on what I know will be one of the best seasons yet." Hopefully the next selected judge will be able to go the distance for the entire season without incident.