So You Think You Can Dance judge Nigel Lythgoe

So You Think You Can Dance’s Nigel Lythgoe has apologised for comments he made after an audition by two male dancers for the show.

Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel’s routine featured the two men dancing together; a twist on traditional ballroom dancing that Lythgoe was not impressed with.

“I think you probably alienate a lot of our audience. I mean, we’ve always had the guys dance together on this show, but they’ve never really done it in each other’s arms before. I’m certainly one of those people that really like to see guys be guys and girls be girls on the stage. I don’t think I liked it,” he commented after their performance.

The sequence included shots of Lythgoe covering his eyes in embarrassment as the two men danced. He also said that he’d like to see the two men dancing with women, adding: “You never know, you might enjoy that, too.”

Lythgoe, who is a judge and producer of the popular dance talent show, made the statement in the broadcast of the premiere of the fifth season on Thursday in the US.

Responding to criticism on the internet about his comments, Lythgoe used Twitter to defend himself. “The same sex ballroom guys did remind me of ‘Blades of Glory.’ However, I’m not a fan of ‘Brokeback’ Ballroom”, he wrote.

This led to further outrage and a “call to action” by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation urging fans to call Fox Entertainment to express their anger about Lythgoe’s stance; the organisation describing it as “a promotion of homophobia by a top-rated network reality-show judge.”

Over the weekend, Lythgoe finally acknowledged that his comments were out of line and issued a statement apologising:

“I sincerely regret the fact that I have upset people with the poor word choices and comments I made both during the taping of the ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ audition and on my personal status update. I am not homophobic and it was extremely upsetting for me to be classed as such.

“I have been forthright and consistent with my opinion, as a judge, that professional male dancers should move with strength and agility – like Gene Kelly and Rudolph Nureyev. I now realize how this could be misconstrued.

Dancers Mitchel Kibel and Misha Belfer

“I have been a dancer, and involved in the dance world, for nearly 50 years. Professionally and personally, I believe the sexual orientation of an auditioner or contestant is irrelevant. All that said, the fact that I have unintentionally upset people is distressing to me and it is obvious I have made mistakes that I must learn from. I trust that my humor will be more sensitive and mindful moving forward.”

Speaking to, dancer Misha Belfer – who is openly gay – added more details on the incident:

“It was more offensive than what they showed. Nigel said that he’s not sure that the fathers watching this at home would be encouraged to take their sons to allow them to learn to dance. Nigel told me that they [the show] has spent all these seasons trying to build up the idea that a male can dance and make it more acceptable, and we didn’t really help the cause.

“I told him that I have a father, too, and I went through that. I told him that the country is already going through a lot of changes and could handle some more. Nigel didn’t say anything to that.”

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Latest Comments
  1. Q
    Reply -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend