Nigel Lythgoe’s Mid-Season Reflections

Nigel Lythgoe
So You Think You Can Dance judge and Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe gave us his mid-season Dance reflections on a press call this week. With eight dancers remaining and two weeks left in the competition, Nigel assured us that the race to crown America’s Favorite Dancer will be an exciting one.

Nigel said that this season of Dance has had many surprises. “Russell, the Krumper from Boston, is an enormous surprise. I don’t know where he’s getting his lines from and he does a pas de deux, which is just tremendous, and doing pressage lifts and everything else.” In addition, Nigel has been surprised with Legacy Perez’s growth, saying that “Legacy has grown far more than I thought he would. I didn’t think that the boy had any musicality; when I first saw him he was just a tricker.” Nigel also mentioned that Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello surprised him – “The two ballroom kids are just tremendous.” These aren’t the only surprises of the season. Nigel commented on all of the finalists, “It is always a pleasure to see them be like sponges and try and soak up everything that they can from the choreographers and from the dancers that they’re working with. They truly do, unlike most other programs like this, help each other tremendously with learning and with providing knowledge.”

For the first time in So You Think You Can Dance history, a married couple made the show and both Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello are still vying for the title of America’s Favorite Dancer in the penultimate week of the show. Nigel said that having a married couple on the show hasn’t been an issue. “Ashleigh and Jakob formed a relationship for pure dance and respect for each other,” Nigel stated. “At the end of the day she’s in competition with her husband and her husband’s in competition with her. They’re extremely professional about it and both of them, I think, have been two of the major dancers that have grown in this production and this season so far. They’re a joy to watch at the moment.”

During last week’s Top 10 performance show, the judges went wild over Jakob Karr and Ellenore Scott’s mastery of Sonya Tayeh’s contemporary choreography. Nigel said that was possibly one of the best routines from this season. He was excited to see Ellenore and Sonya, who “both come from the same planet and probably speak the same language,” bring Jakob down into their world.

One year ago, Nigel stepped down from his position as Executive Producer at American Idol in order to spend more time on Dance. Now, Nigel and company are launching So You Think You Can Dance in the U.K. so he is flying back and forth to work on both shows, all the while running the Dizzy Feet Foundation.

Nigel is excited for the next two weeks that lie ahead. “I think this season has had the most diverse dancers on it. It looks to me, especially after [the Top 10 performance] show, that we’re going in the right direction to produce a really good champion.”

Nigel opened up about Season 6 on a press call just before the season started. Read it.


32 comments on “Nigel Lythgoe’s Mid-Season Reflections“

  1. Tweets that mention So You Think You Can Dance - Nigel Lythgoe’s Mid-Season Reflections -- - wrote:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Think Dance, SYTYCDtweets. SYTYCDtweets said: Nigel Lythgoe’s Mid-Season Reflections: So You Think You Can Dance judge and Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe ga… [...]

    12/4/2009 8:50 PM UTC

  2. Virginia - wrote:

    I along with many other viewers will not be watching when you air your show featuring Adam Lambert…..he is not the kind of rude, “thinks he’s better than everyone” kind of rold model I want my children watching. He was such a turn-off to watch on Idol and everyone made such a big deal out of him and how they were upset that he didn’t win…but he definitely was not my Idol. He was condesending and arrogant the entire show and can’t belive how people like him!!!! I thought your show was better than that….

    12/7/2009 11:53 AM UTC

  3. Jason - wrote:

    Nigel should really read the rest of this website. He shouldn’t be so surprised by Russell since his bio states that he had 5 years of formal dance training at Boston Art Academy High School.

    12/7/2009 12:03 PM UTC

  4. Carrie - wrote:

    Nigel, Nigel ,Nigel, please go back to the old stage!! There has not been one single dance this year that I can remember that I felt like I was drawn into. Remembering seasons past almost immediately there were numbers that I was taken in by and this season I can not recall one. I don’t think it is the dancers fault, it is the stage! I hated it for the season 5 finale and remember thinking I could not wait for them to go back to the regular stage, but that never happened. I have watched every single show since season 1 and honestly don’t really care anymore if I watch it or not, because the magic is gone. Please anyone who feels the same speak up and maybe the producers will see the error of their ways.

    12/7/2009 6:55 PM UTC

  5. Ren - wrote:

    I, on the other hand, WILL be watching the finale with Adam Lambert! I find him to be kind and compassionate beyond his years – the other Idol contestants turned to him for counsel in hard times, according to Idol winner Kris Allen, in a televised interview. I think he’s growing into his sudden stardom with a lot of graciousness, while balancing it out with his explorations into his rocker image. And that voice! It’ll be interesting to see how the dancers step up to match his intensity.

    12/7/2009 9:33 PM UTC

  6. Karen - wrote:

    I couldn’t agree more with Carrie! The stage is a disaster and has taken away the intimacy of the previous seasons. Thank goodness you turned off most to the lighting and videos behind them. It was so dreadfully distracting. Love the dancers, love the show, loved the old stage.

    12/7/2009 10:11 PM UTC

  7. Maya - wrote:

    I to cannot stand the new stage. Why do they have to chow the dancers fron the back1Dances are coreographed to be seen from the center of the audience. Not the side, not the back, and most definitly not swirling around and around. I get nauseous every time they do that.
    We also don’t get to see facial expressions un less the camera os zoomed in on just the face, and then we can’t see the foot work.
    This whole set-up is wrong for this kind of show.
    The new stage dosn’t even work well for the group routines. Adam Shankman is a movie director. Maybe everyone needs to post messages directly to him!

    12/8/2009 2:29 PM UTC

  8. Melissa - wrote:

    I love the show and the dancers. It’s disrespectful to the audience which view the show w/their families to allow Adam Lambert to sing. He screams and he has no respect for the viewers. After the AMA performance, he should be ban from prime time. this has nothing to do w/ his sexual preference but with his taste during his performance. Again, my family and I love the show.

    12/9/2009 12:58 PM UTC

  9. Christina - wrote:

    I am a bit disappointed with this season along with others. But I don’t blame the dancers or the stage. I basically think its the choreography; to me it just has not been up to par. The dancers can only do so much. They have started working with a lot of new choreographers who just have not been producing the awesome routines that we have seen in the past. By the way where the heck is Mia Michaels????

    12/9/2009 1:13 PM UTC

  10. Kim - wrote:

    I have a totally different request, I want to know if there can be a spot in next season with the behind the scenes of how So You Think You Can Dance? Who decides on the costumes? the dancers?, just curious cause some are really good and some are really bad. Do the choreographers have all of these dances planned for months, or do they create the dances a week before or the week of? How long does each dancer get to practice each dance? I guess all of the interesting ins and outs of how the show becomes what it is each week!

    12/9/2009 6:27 PM UTC

  11. Sal - wrote:

    “So You Think You Can Dance?” well after what I just witnesser the show’s name should be
    “So You got To Be Kidding Me”
    Ryan over Legacy?
    Ashley doesn’t even dance and gets more votes then Molly, Kathryn and Eleanor?
    Are the vote counts posted? If yes where? If not, why not?

    I think this a well thought out calculated risk from the producers to have a husband and wife team dance in the finale. I am going to play back this episode and write each and every one of your sponsors to show us how many votes each dancer received.

    On second thought you should change the name of your show to
    “So I Think You Just Lost a Viewer!”

    12/9/2009 7:50 PM UTC

  12. Sal - wrote:

    So You Think You Can Dance?” well after what I just witnessed the show’s name should be
    “So You got To Be Kidding Me”
    Ryan over Legacy?
    Ashley doesn’t even dance and gets more votes then Molly, Kathryn and Eleanor?
    Are the vote counts posted? If yes where? If not, why not?

    I think this a well thought out calculated risk from the producers to have a husband and wife team dance in the finale. I am going to play back this episode and write each and every one of your sponsors to show us how many votes each dancer received.

    On second thought you should change the name of your show to
    “So I Think You Just Lost a Viewer!”

    12/9/2009 7:51 PM UTC

  13. Brian - wrote:

    Nigel, your the one in charge of the show. Why would you allow Ryan to give a cheap plug for his wife to get her into the finale. Legacy should not have gone. You should have not allowed him to play up that it would be a husband wife in the finale.

    12/9/2009 9:27 PM UTC

  14. Anna - wrote:

    I hate the stage as well, I really do. In fact, I hate most of the changes from this season. What is up with the finale being the top 6? I’m very confused about that. I did really like that the first show wasn’t voted on and it gave people a chance to get a feel for their talent and their personalities. But the top 6 being in the finale? I’m baffled.

    To be honest, I don’t think they should be messing with a good thing.

    12/9/2009 9:32 PM UTC

  15. Michael J. - wrote:

    I’m also disappointed with this season along with others. I too am not happy with the stage layout showing off how much was spent showing off with lighting and videos taking from the performance and dancers. Definitely a differently steered direction for this season. Is “so you think you can dance” trying to please themselves and the money backer or bring America the best dancers ever?
    In the past seasons I too was also immediately taken in by many memorable performances; even can remember names , songs, and types of dance. Look at all the award -winning dances. As for this season, I can recall only how the judges over-steered the audience, planted seeds more in this season than all in the past, total. Before the top 20 dancers were picked, all my coworkers and family agreed this had the making of one of the best talent ever. Then some of the best dancers did not even make the top 20. Instead I believed the judges and the producers picked only off of what was best to pay for the expensive sets hoping to lure high dollar advertisers and most of all a new, more diverse audience. Picking not one but three tapers knowing they would not make the grand finale but would add a new group of viewers, husband and wife team where the wife cheated her way into the grand finale (like she would have ever kept up with Russell) with a husband making a statement to plead for votes (he should have been disqualified and microphone shut off immediately, but as the judges steered, “would it not be great to have a husband and wife in the grand finale” (grovel ed and pity pushes out Molly, a much more versatile dancer). ALL the ladies should have been judged on their past then an also not danced, a “B boy” that should have never made it to the top 10, if all paid attention to the statements made by ALL choreographers, they used his tricks, but what did we get? DUMBED DOWN performance and his partners had to perform harder, did not have the support of the top dancer to in the that partners performance and while Legacy just did his tricks, walked around and even out of site until next trick. Since when is “so you thank you can dance” altering a performance to a dancer’s style, not having a dance to prove he or she can perform that style, then steer the audience on his style and level of difficulty not how well he did that style. From try outs and even before, Legacy’s performance the judges were one sided and backing him, there had to be something going on behind the scenes.
    Unlike past seasons my wife and I, plus only one person, is left watching the show this year, everyone else no longer watches, past seasons everyone at work was involved with who was the best and would be the winner. We have not connected with any dancers this season and last night was the first night I cared to vote. My main goal was to vote off Ashliegh, she would have bombed both dances, but that did not work between the extra time and promotion the show gave that was given to her unfair to the other ladies, the backing of the judges, the extra time of groveling of her husband (if they were not married this would have never happened), and choreography; new ones that just are not a Mia Michael or our own starting off Travis which has been awesome.

    So the recap the producers and judges:
    1) Were they telling the choreographers get “B Boy” in the top four and make sure to dumb down each dance to fit him and the judges will not judge off of the syle of the dance but how he performed his tricks not realizing they were restricting their partner. How many good dancers have we lost to keep him?
    2) Put the youngest dancer without past experience, Nathan, with the other younger dancer Molly, that did have past experience holding her back. Promoters and judges surprised once Molly was given equals she grew. Suprised the judge, but their steering was too late.
    3) Giving the hurt dancer extra time to promote herself when she should have been disqualified or no voting for ladies this week and two eliminated next week.
    4) Amazing on how the favors got dancers closer to their style.
    5) I would like to see in the grand finale where all the dancers have to dance the same style with the same song. Put into a hat only one of each the style of dances each of the dances are not their style and let them pick and the majority of the style of dance they all will have to dance. This way we see how each would do.

    I’m not sure I will continue to watch if you can dance like many of my co-workers.
    I can handle the heavy steering, but cheating is out. Amazing how well Ashliegh looked tonight – NO ARM SLING & CAST tonight. I don’t think she could dance the styles last night! PITY & GROVEL got her what her, her husband, the judges, and promoters wanted -a husband and wife in the grand finales! Great advertising campaign. The audience went for it.

    12/9/2009 11:38 PM UTC

  16. Katy - wrote:

    Can’t believed Ellenore and Molle were in the bottom 2. There must be something wrong with the show…Ashley won the vote over Ellenore and Molle ??? Are u kidding me?? ohh common she didn’t even dance!!! Ellenore and Molle could have been America’s favorite dancer. They both are talented and have a very good personality to win the vote…

    Ashley is soo lucky!!! At least the judges should let Ashley dance for her life. It’s not fair for others female dancers!!! If I were Mollee will definitley feel like i was cheated. How come you sent someone who don’t even dance to the finale just because she got injured. Can anyone tell me wasn’t that make sense??? Remember Jamie unlucky girl from season3. She have been flawless every single week but she got injured and the judges sent her home though the doctor said she can continue dancing in the show. It seems to me not only to me but everyone like everything has been set up. The judges want to see the married couple dance together so they keeping these 2 in the finale but let me tell you something Ryan and Ashley are a good dancers but they don’t have the personality or the charismatic to be America’s favorite dancers!! Normally, these kind of dancers who dance well but no personality should be gone since top 10 or 8!!!

    By the way, the new stage is a big trouble for this seasson. The entrie season lost the charm because of the stage. Nigel plz fix it or do something!!!

    12/10/2009 6:56 AM UTC

  17. Zooey - wrote:

    Ohh my god!! Despite having an injury, Ashleigh was voted into the final week of the competition!! Are you serious?? There must be something going on behind the scenes. The judges backing the married couples!!! Clearly, this was too set up, you just can’t fool the viewers. So this all about the judge’s favorite dancer not Americas??

    12/10/2009 7:23 AM UTC

  18. Janet Mary - wrote:

    Please, tell us sometime where people are: Justin, Twitch, Brandon, Jeanine (sp?) – for example. And also, could you sometime do a show that demonstrates the errors that you see, but we don’t recognize.

    ANd what will Legacy and Mollee do now? They are both so absolutely talented. Let us know about your past dancers.

    12/10/2009 1:04 PM UTC

  19. Janet Mary - wrote:

    Moderation in what way?

    12/10/2009 1:05 PM UTC

  20. B. Fern - wrote:

    I generally love this show….BUT, and this is a HUGE BUT……this show has not been the same since the start of season 5. the previous seasons all had amazing music and choreography. The dancers were INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!

    But season and 5 and 6 have left me yawning and waiting for the return to great choreography. I mean, what happened?????

    I can think back to seasons 1-4 and go on and on about all the AMAZING and vastly memorable dance routines. I still can’t recall a single one in season 5 or 6 though.

    Long gone, so it seems, are the days of teary-eyed applause and cheers for dances I’ll never forget. Apparently, the newest trend here is boring dances, boring dancers, and choreographers all asleep at the wheel.

    That said, I still LOVE the judges. They are by far, bar none, the BEST and most interesting judges I’ve ever seen on any competition show. I love how they view the dancers as peers they respect, as opposed to American Idol, which treats the contestants in a very condescending manner. They talk down to the singers ALL the time, and it’s sickening. They should, in fact, be taking notes from Nigel, Mary, and all the other judges on SOYTCD!

    Here’s hoping season 7 will bring back the good ole’ days of me watching with hunger……for, sadly, I’ve stopped watching because frankly, I can’t tolerate the quality of dance I’ve seen in seasons 5-6.

    12/12/2009 1:49 PM UTC

  21. CBudkow - wrote:

    I would love to see Jakob star in the story of James Cagney’s life and times. He would do a fabulous job even at the age of 19. Yes, I do see Joel Gray in him, but I’d rather see him sore with James Cagney:)

    12/13/2009 2:52 PM UTC

  22. Summer - wrote:

    I really do hope that somebody with influence reads these blogs. I think they might, considering Paula never came on after LOADS of people threatened to never watch the show if she came on. Despite threats, I’ve watched the show, but I have lost so much faith in this show.
    Ever since Season 2 I would watch this show with my mom and we’d squeal over Benji and Travis…two AMAZING dancers. But this season has made me wonder if I’d get turned off of it, just like I stopped watching Lost after the 2nd season.
    This season is the season that shouldn’t of been. This show works as a Summer show, not a Fall show. Too many other events forced it to be cut short and be compromised. Also, six 1 hour audition shows, 2 Vegas shows and 1 “Get to Know the Dancers” shows poor schedule planning. If they had cut the “meet the Dancers”, we’d of had the proper “Top 4″ of yester seasons. I can’t emphasize enough….”if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”.
    SYTYCD producers and Nigel need to simply admit the mistake and revert back to Season 5-2 (I never watched season 1). With good reason too, I couldn’t stand the first host. For all Cat haters, I for one hope Cat Deeley NEVER goes away…she brings so much life to the show!

    And if anybody from the show is reading this, why aren’t there dvds of past seasons???? Please release them, I’d buy them.

    12/13/2009 5:09 PM UTC

  23. wolfemangarcia - wrote:

    Bigger is not always better and you can see that in the too large stage, put up some curtains or something to make it smaller if you can’t get back to the old stage. Trying to use all the stage with just two dancers leads to too much running just to get in position vs. dancing and leads to the complaints about boring routines.
    It has been obvious for sometime now that the fix was in for the married couple. This season just had too many wonderful dancers for them to get to the finale without cheating the other dancers and the viewers. In another thread there is the question about the mix of types of dance, well, less ballroom would be welcomed. The ballroom dance forms are hardly recognizable anymore and most go for too much graphic sex as does hip hop. The wrong way to go if you want to promote the arts and certainly not needed on primetime TV.
    If Mollee is not on tomorrow night’s show then goodbye to your dishonest and unfair show. May a camel spit in your soup. Your father was a hamster and your mother smells of elderberries. Go away or I will taunt you a second time.

    12/14/2009 9:33 AM UTC

  24. Beth - wrote:

    I was wondering if anyone knew are they having a tour for this season and if not, why?

    12/15/2009 6:18 AM UTC

  25. summerrain - wrote:

    I know when a person’s favorite dancer doesn’t win the show, and mine didn’t, they are bound to be disappointed. But I invest a lot of time in this show, and a lot of time voting, and after this season I am going to become a much more passive watcher. I think Russell is a good dancer, but nothing near the caliber of some of the other contestants. The judges make so much fuss over a dancers growth, that the blood, sweat and commitment of the more accomplished dancer’s work gets overshadowed. At the end of the day it is these more accomplished dancers that make the show exciting, yet season after season I watch them loose. I Really can’t stomach it much more.

    12/16/2009 8:47 PM UTC

  26. Ronnie - wrote:

    Ok so is it just me or is there anyone else that finds it interesting that Russell was apparently in so much pain cause he hurt his knee oh i mean leg that he was crying before the eliminated the first person. After that point he had to sit on a stool that is until the final two he rested enough to be able to stand and then when the winner is announced God himself must have made an appearance as Russell was able to walk around and even drop to his knees and bring himslef up on his own on the “Bad” knee sorry leg…..I must say that I really used to enjoy the show but as Nigel has said in the past it becomes a who has the most fans not who is the best dancer show… we all know Jakob should have won.. Its ok I am sure Jakob will go on to do wonderful things and Russell well he will blow through the money and be back to Krumping on the streets by next year…

    12/16/2009 11:45 PM UTC

  27. JLW - wrote:

    Thanks for NOTHING Fox!!!!! After watching the show for 1 HR 55 MIN. you lose feed & I have to hunt the winner down online. But even after hunting down the results I’m NOT surprised by the outcome. That’s the problem with shows like this…people ALWAYS vote for the underdogs. You’re an exceptional dancer Jakob…you so deserved to win!!! Another live show disappointment.

    12/16/2009 11:46 PM UTC

  28. Porfirio Dolle - wrote:

    been following your blog for 3 days now and i really am enjoying reading them. is there a way

    6/2/2010 7:31 PM UTC

  29. june - wrote:

    Nigel – I hope you are reading the community and blog on the new judges. As someone who enjoyed this show from season 1 – I will watch no longer – MIA is the worst thing to happen to this show.

    She has issues and needs to return to her niche.. not judging. Her approach to your feedback and the dancersd is disgusting and makes the audience uncomfortable……BIG MISTAKE HAVING HER AS A JUDGE!!!!!!

    Read the blogs on the judges and the community for additional feedback..

    On a 100% night – I left my room to go to my hot office to send my comments after last night’s show.. just terrible..

    Past Fan!

    7/8/2010 6:17 AM UTC

  30. T. Hooks - wrote:

    Nigel, I love SYTYCD and have been a big fan since the beginning. I have always appreciated how you judge and use positive words to help lesser dancers soar. Keep up the good work. Trying to get used to new format, but on some occasions it seems the focus is on the All Stars and I feel that is what happened to Adicheke in some of routines he’s had. Other than that keep up the good work and if the old format is not broken, it needs not be fixed.

    Much love to you, I think you are wonderful.

    7/9/2010 7:27 AM UTC

  31. nikki - wrote:

    i watched tonight an you made a nasty comment bout michael jackson you need not compare a brilliant person with this show. mj was a great dancer entertainer singer an human so think twice before you speak

    7/15/2010 7:25 PM UTC

  32. Cindy Hartman - wrote:

    Watched you tonight on So You Think You Can Dance, You are the most caring,funny, handsome,person I’ve seen . It is such a pleasure to watch you with the people.Keep up the good work.I love your show.

    5/24/2012 6:11 PM UTC

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