So You Think You Can Dance co-creator and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has announced he won't be sitting on the judging panel when the series returns with its seventeenth season this summer.

Fox announced last week it's bringing So You Think You Can Dance back after a three-year hiatus in Summer 2022, and fans naturally assumed Nigel -- who has served as a judge since Season 1 -- would reprise his role.

But Nigel took to Twitter on March 4 and wrote, "I am so thrilled that America's young aspiring dance talent will get to work with some of our greatest creative choreographers."

"On a personally sad note," he continued, "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."

The following day, Nigel also tweeted, "Yes, 'Freshen up' is basically what @DANCEonFOX hopes to do. RT @Lucky14Films: @dizzyfeet I get it that many networks want to 'freshen up' a show, because they think it will keep it relevant, but that doesn't apply here!"

Nigel clearly seems upset about the direction casting has chosen to take, and it appears to be a departure from what Fox had decided in 2020 when Season 17 was initially supposed to air.

Fox had originally announced in February 2020 that So You Think You Can Dance's seventeenth season -- which was supposed to premiere in Summer 2020 until it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic -- would feature Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Laurieann Gibson as judges.

The show also revealed at the time Cat Deeley would once again host the show.

But when Fox announced last week So You Think You Can Dance would finally be coming back this year, the network declined to confirm its Season 17 judging panel and host.

As for Mary and Laurieann, they both have yet to publicly comment on their status as judges of the reality dancing competition.

The show's sixteenth season premiered in June 2019, with the winner, Bailey Munoz, being crowned champion in September of that year. Nigel, Mary, Laurieann, and Dominic Sandoval had served as the judges.

Fox had no plans to resume taping the show until now, and production is already underway with auditions being held in New York City, Los Angeles and New Orleans this month.

This year, So You Think You Can Dance is looking for "highly skilled dancers between the ages of 18 and 30" who can showcase their abilities in various dance styles -- including contemporary, tap, hip-hop, ballroom, animation, breaking and more.
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The selected dancers will move on to the So You Think You Can Dance studio, where they will work with world-renowned choreographers and compete each week in a variety of styles.

Fox has teased that "brand-new twists and turns" will be introduced into the Season 17 competition when it comes back this summer.

Additional details, including the official premiere date and the seventeenth-season cast, will be announced at a later date.

Over the course of its 16 seasons, So You Think You Can Dance has received 71 Emmy Award nominations and garnered 17 Emmy Award wins -- including Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Costumes, as well as awards in Outstanding Lighting Design.

So You Think You Can Dance is produced by Industrial Media's 19 Entertainment and MRC with Nigel, Jeff Thacker, Rosie Seitchik, Eli Holzman, and Aaron Saidman serving as executive producers.

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.