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SYTYCD's Nigel Lythgoe: I'm No Homophobe!

SYTYCD's Nigel Lythgoe: I'm No Homophobe!

Nigel Lythgoe took to his Twitter page to defend controversial comments he made on Thursday night’s premiere of So You Think You Can Dance.

The 59-year-old judge criticized male partners Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel, saying, “I think you will probably alienate a lot of our audience. I mean, we’ve always had the guys dance together on the show, but they’ve never really done it in each other’s arms before. Do you know what? I’d like to see you both dancing with a girl.”

After the show, Nigel blogged, “The same-sex ballroom guys did remind me of Blades of Glory. However, I’m not a fan of Brokeback ballroom… I am very sad the word ‘homophobe’ is being used. That is someone who hates homosexuals. I dislike effeminate dancing! Wake up and listen!”

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Photos: Fayes Vision/WENN
Posted to: Nigel Lythgoe, So You Think You Can Dance

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  • shenanyginz

    i knew people would take his comments the wrong way. I think the problem with this pair in particular is that they switch back and forth between leader and follower, female and male and it made it confusing. they were both excellent technically speaking but something about the dancing was off… if they’d established one would be male and the other female (dancing wise) and/or one would lead and one would follow, I think it would’ve been easier to follow.

  • Ams

    @shenanyginz: Agreed! Well said.

  • LuckyL

    No, you don’t have to -hate- homosexuals to be homophobic. You just have an irrational fear or discrimination again them. Next.

  • Matthew Rettenmund

    If the problem was the switching of the leads, he could have expressed that exactly as you just did. That was not the problem. He expressed his problem very articulately—he hates effeminate men, which is a thinly veiled way of saying he dislikes gay men. If an “effeminate” man makes you uncomfortable, what is at the root of that? Plus, his past comments have been VILE and even more explicit (complaining that a dancer looked like he’d been “…violated” etc.). Don’t cover up for him. He’s a pig.

  • Kaka

    I saw these 2 guys dance – they were horrible. One guy did a lift and dropped the other guy on the floor so hard. Guys are too heavy to be lifted like girls like that. They were really bad – their moves were cheesy!
    I am surprised they let them go to the choreography round and did not eliminate them immediately. If they were MF couple – they would have dumped them immediately. But since they were MM – they wanted to be sensitive to the “situation” and let them try choreography.
    If you saw the show – you would understand what Nigel is trying to say. He is not a hater – he is just bad at expressing the situation and his feelings about it.
    These guys sucked! Gay or straight – they were just not good.

  • LuckyL


    The problem is, he focused too much on their sexuality and what he finds “abnormal” about two men and not enough about the dance. Stop making excuses.

  • h

    LuckyL, he didn’t focus on “their sexuality” cause one of them was straight. did you not watch the show? are you making judgments without having even heard what nigel said with your own ears? thought so.

  • LuckyL

    h @ 05/23/2009 at 9:51 pm

    LuckyL, he didn’t focus on “their sexuality” cause one of them was straight. did you not watch the show? are you making judgments without having even heard what nigel said with your own ears? thought so.

    Yes I did watch it and I know the unbearded blond is straight and simply wanted the chance to continue dancing and did not care if it was a guy or girl. Blah blah blah–I know. I still stand by what I said and you conveniently cut out the second half of my thought. I don’t really care to argue with you, but I did enjoy correcting your assumption.

  • LuckyL

    Please, for your own good, at least take one course in sociology or anthropology and actually comment on the post first become jumping down my damn throat. This isn’t a “user-to-user” comment board.

  • LuckyL


  • ozzy

    Had he criticised the way they dance, I wouldn’t have any problem. But he went out of his way to make comments about their sexuality. Is really funny, but what type of show does he think he’s hosting? What type of audience does he think watches this show? Is not like straight guys switch between ESPN and this lame ass excuse of a summer filler. Thanks for letting your true feelings known, from now on my Tivo will have more space available.

  • John

    still a homophobe

  • h

    correcting my assumption? are you serious? you said “their sexuality”. meaning they shared the same sexuality. i corrected your false statement. there was no assuming involved. the problem came in when you over-generalized in order to prove your (false) point.

    and I have, in fact, studied both sociology and anthropology, though i’m not sure what that has to do with this discussion.

    lastly, there are no rules that say i can’t comment on what a previous poster has said. get a grip. the reason i didn’t “comment on the post first” is because i felt that “shenanyginz” summed it up quite nicely. no need to be redundant.

  • Question mark

    ….I’m more surprised that Nigel isn’t gay. I really thought he was. Oh well, now I just love him less. Sigh, I love gay men. Maybe he secretly does too…

  • lamberto

    He’s not homophobic. Have you forgotten about the myriad gay contestants the show has had the past four seasons? He’s just not a fan of M2M vertical action. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I don’t really think Nigel, who I think is the most sensible (and the best) reality show judge out there, is the type who would revolutionize American TV in that way. I mean, America isn’t ready for that just yet. Look at how Adam Lambert lost AI, although on that matter I prefer him not winning, because he won’t be forced to sing crappy songs in an AI-financed album. Love the Queen idea by the way, I just hope he goes for it, even for a gig or two.

  • mertz

    i was waiting for this posting. thanks jared. i understand the first comment. i also understand what nigel and mary meant, mary expressed herself more articulately because the dance is in her field and she critiqued them mostly on their dancing. i am not gay, i am religious, and i support equal rights for all because i am not caucasian. okay. the problem is that although his intentions may have been good…he could have spent a little bit more time thinking about what he was going to say in his comments, and understand (as he acknowledged that it was a first on the show) that maybe his words would have consequence. instead nigel (oh let me say that before i continue that i respect his career and the purpose of his and simon fuller’s show(s)) was thinking through his words. he should have stopped while he was ahead because i think most of us viewers understood him clearly, and for people who have been watching the show and know him or even any of the other judges (not because they are all homophobic…that can’t be true) would have known what nigel meant and wouldn’t have been surprised. if you watched the contortionists kids do their new style of dancing you would know that most of the judges aren’t really appreciative of something different that isn’t quality…infact they weren’t really adept in crunk dancing, most hiphop (without dan or shane on the show or even tabitha and ceicily), or even locking (like how when the japanese guy came in they new enough about locking to appreciate him even if he didn’t mix his solo with variety). it’s not everyday that a male and male partner up and do a latin style of dance. mostly you’ll see this in when there is a teaching element from instructor or choreographer to student/lead to secondary…and although you might think that it would have been more acceptable had it been two females partnering to dance in the same style and switching from male lead to female lead it would have been just as awkard as these two guys dancing. i mean they didn’t say anything about the two swimming brothers who did the hip hop piece and i don’t think they’ve said anything about two females dancing a piece together either. if you watch the show you would know that even those who get chosen to perform another dance style are partnerd in the traditional male and female stance. that’s just how dance has been taught. that’s the foundation. if anything (even if they are good dancers indiviualy) these too guys are progressive in the dance field (i don’t know if they are the first or if this is groundbreaking) because dance hasn’t progressed enough to allow two same sex partners dance in the traditional male female stance and switch leads…if you’ve seen the show the judges do comment on this a lot (even to the dancers partnerd male and female) because it is just something you don’t do (unless it’s purposely or for emphasis/choreographed). you don’t switch leads when you’re dancing in a couple. so what nigel meant to say wasn’t wrong. his intent. but his words were not well thought out and not articulate enough. as a grown man he should have realized that maybe he wasn’t expressing himself correctly (but as he is a dancer speaking to dancers, he wouldn’t see his words as a problem), and although yes he did go into their sexuality, making jokes, and also trying to further explain himself…i’m not sure if he could have done it any other way in the moment. as in hindsight i can advise (like many others) and say he could have done it better, but it’s in the past. those two guys are good dancers and have good technique and alright feet, but dancing together needs more work and they need to work on their arms. i think the fall/lift also hurt them, but i think that if they had different choreogrpahy and maybe a different lift, maybe there might have been a different response. good on them though for auditioning. this isn’t a sin and shouldn’t be blown out of proportion ala perez hilton. lol. we all watched it and saw the inicident and it wasn’t nigel’s or the show’s shining moment, but there was nothing sinister there. infact it was atypical. i’m not saying it was good…but you have to understand it…then maybe you can try and make a difference by rewritting the entire canon of dance. that’s what these people have been trained on/with…and you can try to change it, but it will take time. these guys should definately comeback next year.

  • mertz

    and really like the last person was saying, look at how adam lambert lost american idol, especially with fox news and other religious fanatics pushing/promoting against him. if people were straight with themself and not looked at style of voice or what voice/musical style they connected with the most (let’s also stay way from appearances or demeanor), adam lambert (even if i connected with the average voice of and attitude of kris) striaght up had the better vocal pipes and is the better vocalist. listen to him. he has better range. he has better projection, and he can hold his notes. i’m not saying kris is unable to do that, but if this was a scorecard on just vocals adam would beat out kris, but not by a longshot. it’s just common sense. there were some people this season who also got shafted that have great voices. i don’t watch american idol because of the gimmick and i frankly am better off for it. it’s a show. i don’t really think people care about the best voice. it’s mostly a demographic thing/personality/look or aesthetics…it’s all bullsh*t.

  • sade

    Gay people need to lighten up! If you want to be accepted then quit making a stink out of everything that anyone says. It gets real old real fast.

  • chanck

    Retire already, oldie!!

  • d

    agree with sade ..seriously .
    leave nigel alone.

  • lyla

    omg you people are stupid, he’s right
    it’s kinda a slap against woman for a man to be playing the female part, he’s not a female, he’s a man, so dance like one.
    and dancing has rules too.
    i’m against effeminate dancing and i certainly have nothing against gays

  • Lenny

    Maybe he can become the next Miss California for gays to have something to bitch about. So tired and really old.

  • essie

    i have to go with nigel on this one… it was their outfits too.. really bad choice…

  • amanda

    I agree with what Nigel said

  • ali3000

    Anyone who employs the phrase “Brokeback ballroom” in that dismissive way is probably homophobic. Plus on the show towards the end of his comments he said, “Try dancing with a girl, you might like it.” I think Nigel is one who is relatively okay with gay men until a gay man does something obviously gay in his presence, like dance with another man. I was very disappointed watching that episode.

    And ozzy #11, I totally agree, the premise of the show in and of itself already alienates the macho guy segment of the American population. Nigel was just using that as an excuse for his own brand of homophobia.

  • LuckyL

    Stop using logic ali, it hurts their heads.

  • nestor

    If so many people here feel the need to nitpick the homophobia category, as it supposedly isn’t ultimately proven that Nigel has problem with homosexuality off-stage (although I agree that his derisive “Brokeback” tweet strongly suggests that he does), we should maybe resort to another, more concise term. What his comments unarguably displayed was a very deep-seated sexism. His nonchalant comment that he’s “certainly one of those people that really like to see guys be guys and girls be girls on stage” and his constant derogatory use of the term “effeminate” are entirely unambiguous in this regard, as only make sense if you assume that there is such a thing as natural gender roles and unnatural deviations from them. Especially in such a liberal arts context as modern dance, this is an absolutely archaic, reactionary attitude to take. All the while, the irony is, of course, that a mulitude of those really ‘manly’ men out there would probably disagree strongly with him on the masculinity of dance he believes to have established in the previous seasons of the show. Joe Schmo most likely still considers all male dancers sissies – including Nigel Lythgoe.

  • Missy

    I really hate having this “gay agenda” forced down our throats. I really hate the “freak show” that the gays have become and besides they weren’t very good.

  • Use2respectNigel

    As a straight man and a fan of SYTYCD, I’ve lost a lot of respect for Nigel, not because of what he “prefers” to see on the ballroom floor, but because of his “Brokeback ballroom” comment. I’ve always thought he was a fairly astute, well-spoken guy, but regardless of what he said or didn’t say (or meant or didn’t mean) on the show, surely if he wanted to seriously clarify his position, he wouldn’t have resorted to making fun of the very issue he is trying to clarify his position on. Brokeback ballroom…really, Nigel? You actually thought that school-yard statement would demonstrate how un-homophobic you are?

  • Shir

    He is DEF a homophobe. Obviously he is suffering from insecurity from being a male dancer. People should dance, act, whatever, in the way that is natural to them. NOT based on social constructs. A-hole.

  • Vestes de Cuisine

    Who is this icky old man?

  • Jay

    An old british retard.. if he has problem being a judge on a dance show, then he should quit.. He must remember that there are dancers who are gay too.. An the post by Missy , listen bitch or asshole…whoever you are, you dont have to accept gay people but we gays are not freaks nor someone who would be be in a freak show..