'So You Think You Can Dance' Judge Nigel Lythgoe Says He Wasn't 'Asked' to Return for New Season

"I don't know who will be saying 'Cue Music' but I wish them well," Nigel Lythgoe said

Nigel Lythgoe
Photo: fox/getty

So You Think You Can Dance will continue without longtime judge Nigel Lythgoe.

Ahead of its 17th season, the 72-year-old TV personality announced his departure from the FOX hit on Twitter Friday.

"I am so thrilled that America's young aspiring dance talent will get to work with some of our greatest creative choreographers," he began. "On a personally sad note, I have not been asked to be on the judging panel this season."

Added Lythgoe, "I don't know who will be saying 'Cue Music' but I wish them well."

FOX declined to comment when reached by PEOPLE.

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Lythgoe had been the only permanent judge to appear on all 16 seasons of the series, which premiered in 2005. Other stars to appear alongside him on the panel include Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman, Vanessa Hudgens, Maddie Ziegler, Jason Derulo and Paula Abdul.

Lythgoe co-created the show alongside Simon Fuller and served as one of its executive producers. It's uncertain whether Lythgoe will remain in his executive producer role or whether longtime host Cat Deeley is coming back.

News of Lythgoe's exit comes after the network announced So You Think You Can Dance's long-awaited return on Wednesday. The competition show was originally supposed to return in 2020 after season 16 concluded the year prior, but it faced a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So You Think You Can Dance will return this summer.

"Get ready, #SYTYCD is BACK! An all-new season starts this summer on @FOXtv," the show shared on its official Twitter page, adding that auditions will take place in New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans later this month.

Nigel Lythgoe

Last month, Lythgoe spoke about the show's future amid its continued hiatus period.

"I believe it's going to come back this year. No one has really contacted me yet, but there's rumors that it's going to come back," he said during an On Air with Ryan Seacrest appearance.

"Obviously, during the COVID period, it was really difficult to create a bubble because we had so many different choreographers coming in and you were swapping partners. It wasn't as though you were staying with your one partner," he continued. "So it's very difficult to do it during this terrible sort of pandemic but hopefully, we'll come into the end of it now and it will come back."

So You Think You Can Dance is slated to return this summer.

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