In honor of executive producer and resident judge Nigel Lythgoe’s **th birthday on July 9, we would like to honor his contributions to dance and reminisce about some of his best SYTYCD moments and quotes.
Let's start with our Top 3 Nigel fun facts:
1. Dancing won out over boxing at the age of 11. A true life Billy Elliot, dance has been a huge part of his life ever since.
2. Starting out as a dancer and transitioning into the world of choreography, he’s worked for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse. Yet, he sites his choreographic fame to his experience with The Muppets.
3. He’s done so much for the world of dance, from reality TV shows, to his dance/health campaigns such as National Dance Day, Dance 4 Your Life, and the Dizzy Feet Foundation, which he hopes will support the dance stars of tomorrow.
Here are our favorite on-camera moments, which make him simply unforgettable:
It’s a recent event, and already at the top of our list, last week’s smooch-a-roo with SYTYCD’s resident Hot Tamale Train, aka Mary Murphy. After a passionate onstage kiss between Season 8 contestants, Melanie Moore and Marko Germar, the judges went into a kissing frenzy. Initiated by Nigel, the Britt pounced an unsuspecting Mary, as she was mid-critique. Cat Deeley exclaimed, “That’s like walking in on mom and dad!” Nigel, you rascal, you!
Nigel on Tap
Our second favorite moment happened in Season 4 when Nigel dusted off his tap shoes and tapped his little heart out on the SYTYCD stage. He danced alongside a gaggle of little kiddies to Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland.” Get it, Nigel!
And let's not forget about some of the memorable things that have escaped Nigel’s mouth. He doesn’t always feel the need for a filter:
"Chris [Jarosz], my GRANNY is more gangster than you! That was so sad! It was weak! You got this where you are supposed to grab it [Nigel grabs ‘it’ and starts to walk like a gangster]. It’s like this, it’s like that! It was like … mama I wanna pee pee!” – Season 4
"It seems like every contemporary routine ends with someone walking away … I'd just like all contemporary choreographers to know that some relationships DO work out!” – Season 8
"Be good. If you're coming to audition this year, don't expect us to be nice and sweet, you know, we can't all be Paula Abduls. If you can't dance, I'm going to tell you, you can't dance.”
“I'm going to use the F word ... That was so much FUN!” – Nigel to Shauna Nolan and Jimmy Arguello in Season 3
"I don't really know what it is really … it's a mixture of krumping and tapping … does that make it Krap-ing?”
And last but not least, our favorite: why Nigel keeps going it year after year.
“There’s something sexy about dance, something sensual that draws us together as human beings. Everyone’s got it in them, but with dance, when somebody is really good, it is a thing of beauty that you can admire.”
Well, we admire you, Nigel Lythoge. Happy **th Birthday!