So You Think You Can Dance has found Nigel Lythgoe’s replacement — and she’s no stranger to the show.
JoJo Siwa will return to the Fox competition series as a judge for Season 18, filling the vacancy left by an embattled Lythgoe, who stepped down earlier this month amid various sexual assault allegations.
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Siwa will judge alongside SYTYCD alum Allison Holker and Dancing With the Stars veteran Maksim Chmerkovskiy. This will be her second consecutive season at the dais, having previously served as a judge during Season 17; during that cycle, Siwa was joined by the late Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Glee alum Matthew Morrison, the latter of whom was replaced by actress Leah Remini after behind-the-scenes misconduct came to light.
Lythgoe, meanwhile, departed So You Think You Can Dance‘s upcoming cycle on Jan. 5, after multiple sexual assault lawsuits were brought against him.
“I have informed the producers of So You Think You Can Dance of my decision to step back from participating in this year’s series,” Lythgoe said in a statement at the time. “I did so with a heavy heart but entirely voluntarily because this great program has always been about dance and dancers, and that’s where its focus needs to remain. In the meantime, I am dedicating myself to clearing my name and restoring my reputation.”
Paula Abdul, who had worked with Lythgoe on So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, first alleged that Lythgoe sexually assaulted her during her tenure judging both shows. In a separate lawsuit, two contestants from the 2003 competition series All American Girl alleged that Lythgoe made sexual advances on them at a house after the show’s wrap party.
“I learned of these claims in the press and I want to be clear: Not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for,” Lythgoe told TMZ one day after Abdul’s lawsuit was filed. “While Paula’s history of erratic behavior is well known, I can’t pretend to understand exactly why she would file a lawsuit that she must know is untrue. But I can promise that I will fight this appalling smear with everything I have.”
So You Think You Can Dance returns for Season 18 on Monday, March 4, at 9/8c on Fox. How do you feel about Siwa’s return to the show?
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