FOX reported on Tuesday that former So You Think You Can Dance judge and ballroom dancer/choreographer Mary Murphy will be rejoining the judges panel for the show’s upcoming 8th season. The high-pitched judge is best known for her shrill screams and for coining the phrase “hot tamale train.” Murphy gave the following statement: “I am thrilled and already dancing in my seat to be back as a permanent judge this season, which I’m sure will be the best ever.”
Murphy started out on the show as a guest judge and choreographer in season 1 and was promoted to permanent judge for seasons 3 through season 6. For season 7, she was replaced on the panel by longtime So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Mia Michaels, who left in November after just one season as a judge. “Last year when I was sitting on the [judges] panel, I knew it wasn’t the right fit because I felt too glossy sitting on the panel,” Michaels told E! Online in November. “I heard they’re bringing Mary Murphy back and I’m really happy for her. I’ve sat in that chair, but I feel like that was Mary’s chair.”
Personally, I am delighted. Mary may be loud, but she is also fun and so invested in the show and the dancers. Furthermore, her critiques are always on point, constructive, and find the right balance between critical and congratulatory. SYTYCD was lacking her oomph last season. Michaels, though a brilliant choreographer, is a very harsh judge and her talents are better served in the dance studio choreographing brilliant contemporary routines for the contestants.
Co-creator, executive producer, and permanent judge Nigel Lythgoe expressed his content at welcoming Mary back. “I am delighted to have Mary back on the show. Her expertise in dance, coupled with her warmth, compassion and humor, make her an excellent judge and fun to work with,” said Lythgoe.
Rounding out the judges panel is film producer, director, and choreographer Adam Shankman (Step Up franchise, Hairspay, A Walk To Remember) who was promoted from guest judge on the show to permanent judge in 2009.
So You Think You Can Dance will kick off auditions for Season 8 on Feb. 2 in Salt Lake City. The show will also host auditions in Los Angeles and Charlotte, N.C. on Feb. 25 and March 1, respectively.