Allison Holker Says tWitch Will 'Forever Be an Icon' After Emotional “SYTYCD” Audition Inspired by Loss (Exclusive)

The 'So You Think You Can Dance' judge remembers her late husband in the show's upcoming premiere, saying, "He was truly the best at what he did, but also because he brought out the best in everyone around him"

Allison Holker Boss is remembering her late husband as she steps into a new chapter of her career.

PEOPLE has an exclusive look at So You Think You Can Dance's upcoming season 18 premiere, in which the dancer and judge grows emotional after a contestant brings up Stephen "tWitch" Boss, who died suddenly on Dec. 13, 2022 at age 40.

The clip begins with Jin, a 24-year-old dancer, explaining in her audition that she's going to perform a routine that combines Chinese folk, bone-breaking, and waving. Jin notes that she was influenced to dance by her late father.

The routine receives praise from Allison, 36, and fellow judges Maks Chmerkovskiy and Comfort Fedoke, before Allison says she was left "captivated" by Jin's performance.

Before the judges announce their decision, Jin and Allison have a sweet exchange.

"As someone who lost their father, and watching my mother watch the love of her life transition, I'm grateful that I have this opportunity. Regardless of whether I pass, I really just want to speak directly to you to say I'm really, really inspired by the way you've held yourself and grace, and the way you're holding tWitch's legacy. Thank you for continuing to be a light for us," the dancer tells Allison.

<p>Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage</p> Allison Holker Boss and Stephen "tWitch" Boss

Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Allison Holker Boss and Stephen "tWitch" Boss

Related: Allison Holker Boss and Maks Chmerkovskiy Join Season 18 of So You Think You Can Dance as Judges

Allison gets choked up and looks down for a moment with her hand over her heart before she looks up at Jin and smiles.

"I appreciate you saying that so much. It's not an easy journey for anyone," she says. "Stephen 'tWitch' Boss was, and will forever be, an icon and a legend because he was truly the best at what he did, but also because he brought out the best in everyone around him."

"And to this day right now, for me, my children, and everyone here, he's still doing that," Allison continues. "And how we honor him is by giving that light back. Because that's what he would want too."

After the other judges vote to put Jin through to the next round, Allison confirms through her tears, "It's a yes for me."

In an emotional final moment of the clip, a montage of Stephen's best moments on SYTYCD play before a title card with his name, "1982-2022," and his photo appear on the screen.

Adam Taylor/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Stephen "tWitch" Boss and Allison Holker Boss on 'So You Think You Can Dance'
Adam Taylor/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Stephen "tWitch" Boss and Allison Holker Boss on 'So You Think You Can Dance'

Related: Allison Holker Shares Why She's 'Grateful' Filming So You Think You Can Dance as a New Judge

Stephen and Allison first connected in 2010 when they appeared as all-stars on season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance, but they didn't hit it off until the season wrap party.

"We shared a dance at the wrap party of that season of So You Think You Can Dance and we have been together ever since," Stephen, who also appeared as a judge on the show in seasons 15 and 17, previously told PEOPLE.

"There was no dialogue, there was no conversation or a first hangout. Literally, we danced and we were together holding hands the very next day," Allison added.

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The two got married in December 2013 and share three children: Weslie Renae, 15, Maddox Laurel, 7, and Zaia, 3. In the months following his death, Allison has continued to keep Stephen's legacy alive and often pays tribute to him on social media.

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images</p> Stephen "tWitch" Boss

Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images

Stephen "tWitch" Boss

In December, SYTYCD host Cat Deeley reflected on the one-year anniversary of Stephen's death in an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE.

"It's so important that we remember tWitch and exactly who he was and how he was, and how he had a smile for absolutely everybody," she told PEOPLE, noting that Stephen would  “forever be part of our family”

"He would always come up to me and give me a great big massive hug. And he'd sweat, oh my Lord, like nobody... Buckets. Buckets and buckets," she recalled. "And I'd hug him, and I'd literally just be drenched. And I was like, 'What am I going to do now?' And he'd laugh and laugh and laugh, and we'd laugh about it together... He was just kind and talented, and I miss him very much.”

Season 18 of So You Think You Can Dance premieres Monday, March 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

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