Nigel Lythgoe Teases “So You Think You Can Dance” Live Shows – Exclusive Q&A

Pictured L-R: Jason Derulo, Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe at the New York City auditions for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: THE NEXT GENERATION ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Adam Rose/FOX
Pictured L-R: Jason Derulo, Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe at the New York City auditions for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: THE NEXT GENERATION  ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Adam Rose/FOX
Pictured L-R: Jason Derulo, Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe at the New York City auditions for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: THE NEXT GENERATION ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Adam Rose/FOX

We are so excited for the live show premiere of So You Think You Can Dance tonight!

Celeb Secrets had the opportunity to catch up with executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe to get a taste of what’s to come this season. In our interview, Lythgoe talks about what inspired the series’ new format, what makes it so successful, and what its really like behind the scenes during the live show.

The new season features a younger generation of dancers between the ages of 8-13, who are skilled in various dance styles, such as contemporary, tap, hip-hop, ballroom, animation or breaking. The young, talented dancers selected during auditions by judges Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo moved on to battle it out at “The Academy” in Los Angeles.  During “The Academy,” the SYTYCD AllStars met the young dancers and decided which 10 contestants would earn a spot to be their partner.

This season’s Top 10 finalists, chosen by their SYTYCD All-Star partners are Tahani Anderson, Daniela Avanzini, Kida Burns, Ruby Castro, J.T. Church, Sheaden Gabriel, Emma Hellenkamp, Tate McRae, Jake Monreal, and Jordan Wandick.

The All-Star dancers will partner and perform with the 10 young contestants for the first time for America’s vote on the upcoming live shows, and Maddie Ziegler joins Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo at the judging table. Beginning the following week, Monday, July 18th, one dancer will be eliminated each week leading up to the season finale, when America’s Favorite Dancer will be named.

Tune in LIVE tonight, July 11th @ 8PM ET/PT on FOX to see your favorite dancer perform!

Celeb Secrets: So You Think You Can Dance is returning for live shows tonight in a new format — what inspired the younger competitors?

Nigel Lythgoe: “The inspiration came from Little Phoenix and Cyrus’ performance during the finale last year. I was quite impressed with Little Phoenix’s dancing, and I remember telling FOX that we should do a kids’ version of So You Think You Can Dance. I didn’t think that they would approve it, so it was really FOX who brought this to life. I was a little hesitant when we started because I didn’t know what the talent would be like out there, but I’ve been absolutely dumbfounded because its been ridiculous how great the talent is and how high the standards are. These kids weren’t even born when the show started, and I love the idea of them dancing with the all-stars. I haven’t seen anything from tonight’s show yet, but after what Cyrus and Little Phoenix did last year, I’ve got a feeling that its going to be really, really good.”

Celeb Secrets: So You Think You Can Dance is now in its 13th season — congratulations on all the success. What do you think makes SYTYCD so special that keeps viewers tuning in every week for over ten years?

Nigel Lythgoe: “The talent. I think rather like DWTS or America’s best Dance Crew, its brought back into the public domain where it is now ok to talk about it again. Dads come up to me all the time and say that they’ve always wanted their sons in sports but they really love dancing. They realize how athletic dancing is and are thrilled that he’s doing that. I also believe that the way the dancers express so many emotions The fact that these kids are so stunning and that we bring up such dark topics like addiction and cancer are turning out these incredible routines that last for about a minute and a half to two minutes yet express so many emotions within that, and I think that’s what keeps bringing in the audience.

Celeb Secrets: Have you secured any guest judges or performances this season?

Nigel Lythgoe: “No, not at all. This is purely, simply, and hopefully will be about the talent that we’ve got. If we can get Misty Copeland to come on and show us something, that would be amazing, however, I’m not sure that we will have time this season because the results show is within the program.”

Celeb Secrets: Since we are Celeb Secrets, what’s a behind-the-scenes secret from So You Think You Can Dance that people wouldn’t know when they are watching each week?

Nigel Lythgoe: “I think a secret is how frightened all of the judges are each show. We are talking off the top of our heads and are desperately not trying to be rude to anyone. We want to be as helpful as possible. We’re constantly nervous because our brains are going twice as fast as our mouths and sometimes aren’t sure what our mouths are saying. I know Paula and I are extremely nervous each live show. I’m not sure about Jason. I can’t speak for him, although I am sure that with live television it is nerve wracking for him as well.”

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Written by Juliet Schroder

Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the latest fashion trends.

Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.

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