The fate of So You Think You Can Dance was up in the air after Season 17, particularly after Stephen Boss — better known to his fans as tWitch — tragically died by suicide at the age of 40. The contestant-turned-judge was considered by many to be the lifeblood of the dance competition last season, and fans like myself wondered if the show would go on without him. It turns out it will indeed, as Fox announced that SYTYCD will return with a new format in March, and I think they’ve chosen the perfect panel of judges to honor tWitch.
Allison Holker will join So You Think You Can Dance when Season 18 premieres on March 4, and I can’t think of a better person to help shape up-and-coming dancers than tWitch’s wife of nine years. Like her late husband, Holker was a contestant on the show, returning as an All-Star in several seasons after she initially competed in Season 2.
The dancer — who also partnered with celebrities on four seasons of Dancing with the Stars — took a break from dancing following Stephen Boss’ death, before making an emotional return to social media in August, and I can only imagine how meaningful this season of SYTYCD will be for her.
Season 18 will also see the return of Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer and co-creator of So You Think You Can Dance. The dance enthusiast had served on the judging panel every season until Season 17, when he was sidelined in favor of tWitch, JoJo Siwa and Matthew Morrison (who was later replaced by Leah Remini amidst allegations of “inappropriate behavior”). I, for one, am very happy that Lythgoe will be back in his rightful place to “Cue music!”
Rounding out the judges’ table will be two other additions that I’m excited about. SYTYCD alum Comfort Fedoke and Dancing with the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy will serve as judges for the first time. Comfort competed on Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance — the same season in which tWitch placed second — and has since gone on to work and perform with artists including H.E.R., Harry Styles, Chaka Khan, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Missy Elliott and many more.
Meanwhile, Maksim Chmerkovskiy has been on 17 seasons of Dancing with the Stars, where he won one Mirrorball trophy. The dancer and choreographer’s resume also includes Broadway and a number of television series.
So You Think You Can Dance is revamping its format this season, aiming to reflect the authentic experience of building a successful career in the dance industry. Contestants will compete in intense dance challenges like performing in a music video or football halftime show, with the judges deciding who moves on in weekly eliminations.
In addition to the big dance numbers that have always been a part of the competition series, Season 18 will follow its contestants through the competition documentary-style, showing their daily struggles, new relationships and personality clashes.
It definitely sounds like SYTYCD fans are in for something new and exciting when the series returns, and I think the inclusion of Allison Holker on the judging panel is not only a great get for the series, but an appropriate way to honor tWitch. Tune in for the Season 18 premiere on Monday, March 4 on Fox, and check out our 2024 TV schedule to see what else is coming in the new year.