I'm Nigel Lythgoe, the creator and judge of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE.

The season premiere of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is tomorrow at 8/7 central on FOX.

I'm here to take your questions along with Victoria, so ask me anything!



Thank you very much for all of your questions!

Comments: 175 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

frodolapshame18 karma

  • Which audition was the most memorable for you?
  • Did any auditions or routines make you cry?
  • Which dancers made you happy when they came back for another audition after being rejected?

NigelLythgoe37 karma

Which audition was the most memorable for you?

SEX, New York.

Did any auditions or routines make you cry?

The breast cancer routine by Tyce D Orio brought me to tears.

Which dancers made you happy when they came back for another audition after being rejected?

Twitch! Came back three times. And I was delighted to see him every time. And now of course, I'm so proud that he is at the top of his trade and one of the main commercial dancers in this country.

worldracer13 karma

Nigel, it appears that the contestants are told not to speak too much and sometimes it's tough to get a handle on their true personalities. Do you edit out some of their comments to keep the competition based solely on their dancing ability? A follow up: What is your most memorable thing edited out of the show?

NigelLythgoe35 karma

Absolutely not. Most of the contestants that have won SYTYCD do so not just on dance ability, but also on personality. We encourage them to be charismatic. And the most memorable thing that was edited out? Probably the number of breasts popping out. For the auditions mainly. It's whatever they've come in.

lurk_in_progress13 karma


NigelLythgoe12 karma

Yes, I was staging the actual video and the young lady that should have been in Johnny Logan's arms was getting made up, and so while we rehearsed it, I ended up being the young lady in Johnny Logan's arms.

jmay31512 karma

Is Kat that nice in person?

NigelLythgoe22 karma

Cat is even BETTER in person. The great thing about her is that she is interested in you, and rarely thinks about herself.

eddiemarquez8812 karma

What do you think the people could do (aside from watch SYTYCD) to make sure we get more quality SYTYCD instead of other talent less reality show trash?

NigelLythgoe15 karma

Tune in and watch SYTYCD! The more the ratings are high, obviously Fox will keep it on the air. At the end of the day, success breeds success for everybody. Fox needs the commercials to make money to pay for the program, and that's the fact of life, I'm afraid. Ratings mean the success or the failure of any program.

altruistical1211 karma

Thank you SO much for SYTYCD! Can't express how much I love seeing dance in the average home!

How do you go about choosing guest judges? Do you approach people you think would be good or do they contact you wanting to be on the show?

NigelLythgoe7 karma

We approach people that we think will be good. We approach people that we think the audience would like to see. And at times, people contact me as well.

sals_wrecking_co11 karma

can we expect some more twitch appearances this season? or cyrus for that matter?

NigelLythgoe17 karma

Yes, keep watching, they are both in the audition shows!

MollyMorons11 karma

What's your favorite style of dance? Mine is Lindy Hop!

NigelLythgoe15 karma

I suppose, this is a tough one. I love all forms of dance is my initial response. There's something to be said for each different genre. I've got to say ballet again, really. I love tap to death, again I can watch any majors. It's a really difficult question. I love all forms of dance. GOOD dancing. Ballroom, everything.

Kknowsbest10 karma


NigelLythgoe30 karma

Justin Timberlake.

dkitch10 karma

I notice nobody has asked yet about the charity you co-founded, the Dizzy Feet Foundation. What made you decide to get involved in this way, and what are some of the success stories you have seen from this organization?

NigelLythgoe14 karma

I saw so many richly talented kids that we couldn't use for SYTYCD that i wanted to try and help. Since arts in the curriculum for education is no longer there, and they don't get a great deal of time to show their talents, not everybody is great at tests, so I wanted to try to find a way of helping them. So we got scholarships together for them, and with the Dizzy Feet foundation as well, we got community projects where we try to help out local community dance projects and get them the money. We've just taken 200 pairs of tap shoes to a school in New Orleans, and given another 100 pairs of tap shoes to a place called Home here in Los Angeles which deals with kids and after school projects.

dkitch5 karma

Thank you for answering, and thanks for your work supporting the arts in communities and schools!

NigelLythgoe7 karma

I believe that arts & education is exceptionally important. Every civilization is known for its arts and its wars. I think it's very important that we are remembered for our arts.

pippi29 karma

Will SYTYCD be available to stream this season? I'm a huge fan and would gladly pay to stream or download since we don't use cable anymore.

NigelLythgoe16 karma

I don't know, to be honest with you. I know everybody asks me for DVDs, and I'm told it's just too expensive to clear the music, which is why we never see a SYTYCD DVD. It's a great show.

pippi26 karma

Thank you for your answer :) It's a fantastic show and so uplifting/positive. I truly love watching and am grateful to you for making it.

NigelLythgoe7 karma

You are very kind.

dayna79 karma

IM SO EXCITED FOR SYTYCD do you have a favourite season?

NigelLythgoe15 karma

Season 4 will always be remembered, because of the characters who were involved in it, Twitch and Joshua and so on.

president_of_derp9 karma

How did you manage to quit smoking 60 cigarettes a day? Cold turkey?

NigelLythgoe31 karma

I had a heart attack. I can recommend a heart attack to anybody who wants to give up cigarettes. As long as you survive the heart attack, you can give up cigarettes.

president_of_derp8 karma

Do you still own your vineyard? What made you decide to purchase one?

NigelLythgoe16 karma

It was a romantic dream. I still own it, I'm sorry. It was a romantic dream, I came from a poor background in Liverpool and all we had was a small backyard, and to own a vineyard is something very, very special to me.

president_of_derp7 karma

What did being an EP on American Idol entail?

NigelLythgoe14 karma

The choice of songs, the choice of contestants to be put through to see the judges, the choice of genres, the budget, the musical director, the employment of staff, really, you know, it was the show runner.

jmay3157 karma

Do you still keep up with past contestants?

NigelLythgoe22 karma

Only when I see them in shows and performances. It's really important that the judges do not become dear friends with contestants. We are not allowed to see them when we are not judging them. A number of them have joined the Dizzy Feet foundation, and we are colleagues in that.

cerseilannisters7 karma

What's your favorite part about doing the show?

NigelLythgoe11 karma

The audition process. Seeing new talent, what's out there, and going 'round the country. And then watching somebody in the top 20 grow, and just get better before my very eyes.

okeydokeyartichokey46 karma

So you think you can dance... As well as the contestants?

NigelLythgoe15 karma

I've answered this, in no way, shape or form. Not now, not back in the day, never.

avilang6 karma


NigelLythgoe8 karma

I no longer think I can dance. I remember rushing to see Rudolph Nureyev doing four or five pirouettes and being totally shocked by it. Now everybody can do between 10-12 pirouettes. It's amazing how dance has changed over the years.

cerseilannisters6 karma

Are England going to win the World Cup? :P

NigelLythgoe5 karma

I'm in the car with my son here, so I'm going to get a reply from him on this one too - not in my lifetime! Hahaha! And he's a young man, and not in my son's lifetime either!

jjlinder6 karma

What do you plan to do beyond SYTYCD in the future?

NigelLythgoe12 karma

I would like to do a documentary on Nureyev. I would like to do FAME, bring back the series of FAME. And I would like to do some broadway shows.

libgirl106 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, Nigel. Who would you say is your favorite dancer to compete on SYTYCD?

NigelLythgoe13 karma

That changes every year. I'll only say from last season, and it was Fiction. He was so creative in what he did. I was never, ever expecting him to point his toes, but he continued to surprise me with his solos and his own interpretation of the music. But I loved Cyrus, I loved Twitch, I loved the invention of these characters rather than having formal training. They pushed themselves through these obstacles. I'm very proud of their creativity.

president_of_derp5 karma

I am a huge car fanatic.

What is the fastest car you've ever owned? What was your opinion of it?

NigelLythgoe5 karma

I suppose it was an S Type Jaguar. Smooth and fast.

president_of_derp-1 karma

Oh Nigel, as a car person I have to say I'm disappointed.

If Jaguar is your cup of tea, may I interest you in an F-type?

Or, if that's a bit too much flash, try a rapid but comfortable XFR.

NigelLythgoe11 karma

I'm very happy with the car I have at the moment, which is a Rolls Royce.

jonyne5 karma

What was the worst incident you saw where someone was injured in your whole time in SYTYCD?

NigelLythgoe7 karma

I didn't actually see it, but I think it was a young man called Emilio last year, he was accepted into the top 20, and on the first day got kicked in the face, and his nose was shattered. And he was replaced by Aaron, who did so well.

femmeslash5 karma

What do you think the future of tap holds? Are there any new styles of dance that fuse tap and another style that we should be on the lookout for?

NigelLythgoe11 karma

It's actually international tap dance week, this week. Tap dancing, I think, has become popular again, certainly now there's a lot of musicals that are including it. There's Newsies on Broadway, another show called After Midnight on Broadway, there's some great exponents of tap now, so I don't think we are going to lose it in any way, shape or form. I think it's becoming more popular. Obviously there's irish dance, which Michael Flatley brought to the fore with Riverdance, which was thrilling to watch.

heyywazzupp5 karma

What inspired you to create your show,and how did you pick your judges?

NigelLythgoe9 karma

We pick our judges by people that we believe our audience would like to see. Christina Applegate, for example, Tara Lipinski, Misty Copeland, Paula Abdul, I mean tons of them, really.

str8sweatin4 karma

What was the transition like between American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance? Was it pretty much the same judging or did you have to have a whole new perspective?

NigelLythgoe22 karma

I think we had a whole new perspective, because as I previously mentioned, dancers are so passionate about what they do, and they have to dedicate so much of their live to dance. So I don't think you can dismiss them as easily as you can somebody who is totally tuneless, tone-deaf, and you certainly can't make fun of them. We try so hard to give constructive critiques, and not put downs. However sometimes people deserve a put down when they get too arrogant or too rude.

str8sweatin6 karma

IHowever sometimes people deserve a put down when they get too arrogant or too rude.

That is wonderful to hear!

NigelLythgoe5 karma


president_of_derp4 karma

Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?

NigelLythgoe12 karma

It depends if the duck's name is Donald.

NigelLythgoe8 karma

Fight a duck?! A giant duck?!?

triit3 karma

How's the wine business going?

NigelLythgoe18 karma

It could be a lot better! Really. But we have just completed building the actual winery. And Twitch and Allison got married at the vineyard.

eddiemarquez882 karma

Do you like your gig? I mean do you like your job? do you like being the head judge on SYTYCD?

NigelLythgoe6 karma

I don't look on it as a job, and that's why I love it so much.

ben56472 karma

Do you keep in contact with some of the dancers that performed on this show?

NigelLythgoe4 karma

I only keep in contact when I see them at performances. I don't have personal contact with them.

ben56472 karma

There are some very talented dancers out there. Another question: What do you like to do for fun?

NigelLythgoe3 karma

Go and watch soccer, baseball, and play golf.

cerseilannisters2 karma

I'm a Liverpool FC fan as well. What did you think of their performance this season?

NigelLythgoe4 karma

I thought Liverpool's performance was absolutely brilliant this season. I think if we improve our defense, we stand a very good chance of winning next year.

dkitch2 karma

Do you feel that shows like Dancing With The Stars or Strictly Come Dancing more help or hurt the art of dance? Why do you feel that way?

NigelLythgoe8 karma

I think any dance shows that celebrate dance are good for dance. Because they present additional opportunities for dance to be seen.

raffobaghdo2 karma

Be nice for a famous person to respond to my ama lol. Like your show! What made you decide to create it?

NigelLythgoe7 karma

We had been successful with singing, and American Idol. And Simon Fuller suggested that we do something similar with dancing. I didn't believe we would be as successful as we have been. However, I'm thrilled. At the time that I created it, dance was not happening with America. DWTS was not there, there wasn't a single dancing program on the networks, so I was not sure it would be successful. I think what people saw in it was how athletic you have to be in order to dance nowadays, how dancers are so passionate, and how creative the choreographers are.

donmccaskill2 karma

Other than judging, do you watch over the editing of the audition shows? Or do you leave that to other producers?

NigelLythgoe13 karma

I watch the direction of it, I've got monitors by my side in every city that we go to. And then I go into the edit, and watch it being cut, yes. And then I cut out all of the times I look stupid.

lovebug202 karma

What has been your favorite dance ever on SYTYCD

NigelLythgoe10 karma

That is too tough a question! I have so many favourites. I think Mia Michael's Bench Routine, Tyce D Orio's breast cancer routine, Chris Scott's sand routine, Nappy Tab's Putting on the Ritz single camera routine were all outstanding. And I'm sure I've forgotten many more that I absolutely loved.

queen_poser2 karma

What is your guilty pleasure? Can't wait for SYTYCD! I've loved every season!

NigelLythgoe4 karma

I suppose it's Liverpool Football Club. And the Dodgers. Which is where I'm going now.

currentchris2 karma


NigelLythgoe14 karma

How much dancing do yo do regularly?

Very little.

How much training / working out do you do regularly, including things like yoga, stretching, core work (abs), etc?

I'm swimming, and golf, and pilates.

Who would you like to dance with (dead, hypothetically and alive) that you have never danced with ever?

Rita Hayworth!

What kind of dancing do you do for fun?

Old man's drunken dance.

Have you learned any new styles of dance recently that you're enjoying or finding challenging?

I've enjoyed watching puppetry, which you can see on this season's SYTYCD, a new form of dance, and I love animation.

What is currently your favorite dance piece to watch, either specific piece or type of dance?

I suppose it's ballet, to be honest.

Who is your current favorite dancer and choreographer to watch?

My favourite dancers are Fred Astaire, and Michael Jackson. And favourite choreographer, I suppose, would be Jerome Robbins.

Is there any choreographer you wish you had worked with?

Bob Fosse.

president_of_derp2 karma

What is your personal favorite style of dance?

NigelLythgoe6 karma


president_of_derp2 karma

What is Victoria from Reddit like? She seems to handle a lot of this sort of business.

NigelLythgoe5 karma

She's brilliant, thank goodness for her.

TryNstopME0241 karma

How well do you think you can Dance compared to the people on stage?

NigelLythgoe5 karma

I don't. The people on the stage are far better dancers than I am now, or ever was.

cheesyplease1 karma

Do you wear earplugs? Sitting next to the shrieking woman can't be good for your hearing!

NigelLythgoe15 karma

No I don't. She rarely screams nowadays, only when she sees something really fabulous. And then I'm happy for her.

Frajer1 karma

What is your favorite dance/dance song?

NigelLythgoe8 karma

I think right now it's Happy by Pharrell, and Blurred Lines.

A_Wild_Flygon1 karma

What is your favorite song to dance to?

NigelLythgoe7 karma

Blurred Lines.

placeholder1 karma

Hey! My family are huge fans!

No question; just send a shoutout to my wife, /user/gingertiger?

NigelLythgoe4 karma

Hi /u/gingertiger! I hope you're going to watch our premiere tomorrow night at eight o'clock on Fox!

gingertiger4 karma

I will TOTALLY watch! I always do! The incredible athleticism of the men and women that are chosen for S.Y.T.Y.C.D. is something that inspires me, and makes me believe that anything is possible with enough effort. :)

NigelLythgoe5 karma


RobertPaulsen39-11 karma

How in the world are you able to sit next to that crazy lady that screams and yells all the time? I would want to shove a sock in her mouth. Is she paid extra to act like that?

NigelLythgoe20 karma

She speaks from the heart, her emotions she wears them on her sleeve, and she cares a great deal and is passionate about the dancers. That matters to me a great deal. I will put up with people yelling in my ear, if they care as much as Mary Murphy.