JoJo Siwa replaces Nigel Lythgoe on 'So You Think You Can Dance' following his sexual assault lawsuits


JoJo Siwa will return as a judge for the upcoming season of “So You Think You Can Dance” — replacing former series regular Nigel Lythgoe, who stepped down in early January amid sexual assault allegations.

The “Dance Moms” alum previously served as a judge on the show’s Season 17 in 2022.

“We’re doing our happy dance because @itsjojosiwa is back on our judging panel for season 18 of #SYTYCD 🎉 ,” the show announced on X (formerly Twitter) Friday afternoon.

Lythgoe was dropped from the Fox dance competition after Paula Abdul and two former contestants from one of the producer’s shows accused him of sexual assault in separate lawsuits.

The show “will proceed, although without Nigel Lythgoe, to ensure the show remains committed to the contestants, who have worked incredibly hard for the opportunity to compete on our stage,” “SYTYCD’s” production companies — 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions — and Fox said in a joint statement that

This marks the second consecutive season that the “SYTYCD” producers have revised the show’s judging panel.

In Season 17, which aired last year, Leah Remini replaced Matthew Morrison after the “Glee” alum failed to follow “competition protocols.”

At the time, it was reported that Morrison had formed “an inappropriate relationship with a female contestant” — a claim he later addressed in a video posted to Instagram.

In the video, he recited the direct message that had led to his dismissal, which read: “Hey, it’s Matthew. If you don’t mind, would love to get your number and talk you through some things.”

“The end,” he said in the video. “I sent this because this dancer and I both share a mutual respect for a choreographer that I’ve known for over 20 years and I was trying to help her get a job as a choreographer on the show.”

In Lythgoe’s case, the alleged harassment occurred outside of the show.

A first lawsuit was filed in December by Abdul, in which the former “American Idol” judge accused Lythgoe of groping and forcibly kissing her in an elevator about 20 years ago.

Lythgoe denied the allegations, saying that he would “fight this appalling smear with everything I have.”

“To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement,” he added. “Not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for.”

A second lawsuit followed just after the new year, in which two former contestants on “All American Girl” alleged Lythgoe forcibly tried to kiss them after a wrap party in 2003.

Lythgoe has not yet responded to the most recent allegations.

The Season 18 premiere of “SYTYCD” will air March 4 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. The new season will continue to feature contestants competing in dance challenges, with weekly eliminations leading to a $100,000 grand prize winner. But, for the first time, it will also include new documentary-style segments chronicling contestants’ time on the show.

Aside from previously serving as a judge on “SYTYCD,” Siwa has also competed on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” — and made history as part of the show’s first same-sex couple in Season 30.

“I think it breaks a wall that’s never been broken down before,” Siwa said of the partnership during a Television Critics Assn. panel in 2021. “It’s normal for a girl to dance with a guy, and I think that that’s really cool, but I think that it’s really special that not only now, do I get to share with the world you get to love who you want to love, but also, you get to dance with who you want to dance with.”





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