Host Cat Deeley is the only previously announced “So You Think You Can Dance” star set to return for Season 17, as Fox revealed a new cast of judges on Monday: Stephen “Twitch” Boss, “Glee” star Matthew Morrison and dancer/singer JoJo Siwa. The show’s new installment will premiere Wednesday, May 18 at 9 p.m. ET, following the season finale of “The Masked Singer.”
Boss, Morrison and Siwa replace judging panelists Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Laurieann Gibson, who were originally slated to return for the show’s 17th season in 2020. But then came the COVID-19 pandemic — and the show’s producers had to scrap that season over health concerns. Production was officially halted, and in June 2020, Fox confirmed that the show would be put on hold.
It took two years, but last month Fox announced that “So You Think You Can Dance” was finally returning, and auditions had started for “highly skilled dancers between the ages of 18 and 30, showcasing their talents in various dance styles, including contemporary, tap, hip-hop, ballroom, animation, breaking and more.”
But missing from that announcement was any word of Deeley’s return, or if the judges would be back. Deeley had moved back to her U.K. home during the pandemic, and it wasn’t clear if she’d be up for returning to the states for the show.
Lythgoe, meanwhile, wrote on social media in March that he would indeed not be back. “I am so thrilled that America’s young aspiring dance talent will get to work with some of our greatest creative choreographers,” he posted on Twitter. “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.”
Later, when asked about the news, he added, “‘Freshen up’ is basically what @DANCEonFOX hopes to do.”
Deeley has been host of “So You Think You Can Dance” since the show’s second season in 2006. She has received five Emmy Award nominations for outstanding host for a reality or competition program for her hosting role on the show. She alsp won the 2015 and 2012 Critics Choice Award for reality host and is a double BAFTA Award winner.
Boss, a former contestant and later all-star performer and a previous judge (Season 15, in 2018), is back as a judge. Known for his role “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” as dancer, DJ and co-executive producer, he also recently hosted “The Real Dirty Dancing” and “Clash of the Cover Bands.”
Morrison has been nominated for a Tony, Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards; besides “Glee,” he starred in “American Horror Story,” and has appeared on Broadway in “Hairspray,” “The Light In The Piazza,” “South Pacific” and “Finding Neverland.”
Siwa, a singer, television and film star, author and social media sensation, has more than 66 million followers on social media and more than 3.7 billion views on YouTube. She was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2020.
“So You Think You Can Dance” comes from Industrial Media’s 19 Entertainment and MRC, and is executive-produced by co-creator Nigel Lythgoe, Jeff Thacker, Rosie Seitchik, and Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman on behalf of 19 Entertainment. Seitchik will also serve as showrunner.
Over the show’s 16 seasons, “So You Think You Can Dance” has won 17 Emmys, across 71 Emmy nominations, including outstanding choreography, outstanding costumes and outstanding lighting design.