Dance | News | Nigel Lythgoe | Reality TV

Same-Sex Ballroom Gets 2nd Chance on So You Think You Can Dance


You may remember an episode of last year's So You think You Can Dance in which two male ballroom dancers auditioned together. Producer and Judge Nigel Lythgoe angered many people with his remarks.

Lythgoe Said Lythgoe: "I think you'd probably alienate a lot of our audience.  We've always had the guys dance together on the show but they've never really done it in each other's arms before. I'm really one of those people that like to see guys be guys and girls be girls on stage. I don't think I liked it, to be frank."

He later fueled the anger with a Twitter defense of his dislike of "Brokeback Ballroom". And eventually, was issued an apology after being hammered on blogs and receiving some words from GLAAD.

Last night, another same-sex ballroom couple, Willem DeVries and Jacob Jason, auditioned.

Lythgoe treads carefully this year: "Thank you for showing me that same-sex ballroom dancing can be very strong, and very good."

GLAAD praised the judges, one of whom, Mia Michael, was moved to tears: "We are pleased with the overall tone of the comments and that Lythgoe and the judges responded favorably to GLAAD’s outreach. This outreach will affect how millions of everyday Americans will experience the show. "

Watch Willem and Jacob's audition, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Check out their other vids on Youtube. They are really good dancers.

    Posted by: davepinsent | Sep 17, 2009 8:05:12 AM

  2. I think the big difference was the fact that these two guys were much better than last season's couple. Better credentials, stronger choreography, and a better presence. I was a bit miffed that they had to do the choreography round "to see if they could dance with girls", but I guess getting them to Vegas and maybe into the Top 20 is more important than the judges making sure they can partner with the ladies as strong male leads. And having seen the choreography round, these guys were FANTASTIC both times. I'm glad the show didn't treat them like a joke this season.

    Posted by: DR | Sep 17, 2009 8:42:06 AM

  3. these guys knew how to dance..unlike last years "gaycard" players....

    Posted by: alan brickma | Sep 17, 2009 9:13:09 AM

  4. I believe Willem DeVries is a former ballroom champion.

    Posted by: MT | Sep 17, 2009 9:51:25 AM

  5. Shouldn't this be a singles competition? What's next, square dance routines?

    Posted by: anon | Sep 17, 2009 10:32:37 AM

  6. "these guys knew how to dance..unlike last years "gaycard" players...."

    True, but I wouldn't surprise me if the guys last year were put forward BECAUSE they couldn't dance. It made it much easier to make fun of them and, eventually, send them home. Does anyone really believe they were the only ss dancers to try out?

    The guys this year were most likley specifically recruited to make amends because the backlash was so ferocious. This is reality television. Nothing happens by chance.

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 17, 2009 11:51:08 AM

  7. Bullshit, I love the show, but they were completely pandering and condescending. I don't believe Nigel believed one word of what he said last night. They produce every part of these shows and that was a total set up for them to try and fix his ignorance from last season. It's totally fine not to like two guys dancing together but than don't put them on the show for clear comedy which is what they were trying to do last year.

    Posted by: matttnyc | Sep 17, 2009 11:54:01 AM

  8. Willem and Jacob are also in a series of videos on's Show & Tell feature giving dance lessons to Chad Allen, Robert Gant and Candace Cayne.

    Posted by: RJ | Sep 17, 2009 12:07:53 PM

  9. @MATTNYC - While I totally agree it was manufactured, I appreciate the fact that they DID manufacture something -- and the fact that he DID try to fix his ignorance is what counts! Also, both of these guys can dance, have looks, and look like they have real potential amid this season's Tap-a-palooza.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Sep 17, 2009 12:46:19 PM

  10. Very sweet and beautiful lines altough one is a bit to affeminate...Love the song ,does anyone knows who is it by?

    Posted by: biatch | Sep 17, 2009 1:06:24 PM

  11. @Biatch The song is by Adele, "Make you feel my love"

    Posted by: Kevin | Sep 17, 2009 1:31:04 PM

  12. One of the nicest performances I have seen on that show ever! This is the kind of dance that I want to learn one day. The music is "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele.

    Posted by: Matteo | Sep 17, 2009 1:35:26 PM

  13. OMG Willem! How cool...

    Posted by: Critifur | Sep 17, 2009 3:02:59 PM

  14. For non-viewers, when people say "last year" or "last season", it was just 4 months ago. the summer season ran from May-August. So, what happened? Did they make it to Las Vegas? If not, this was all for pandering and make-up purposes and nothing more. I keep forgetting the show is on.

    Posted by: B | Sep 17, 2009 5:05:51 PM

  15. sooo did they make it thru to vegas or not?

    Posted by: Robbie | Sep 17, 2009 5:20:37 PM

  16. Willem and Jason both made it through to Vegas.

    Posted by: crissy | Sep 17, 2009 5:44:09 PM

  17. Yeah this felt staged for sure. Mia's reaction felt sincere but I lost respect for Nigel awhile ago. He constantly chastises the male dancers for dancing too effeminate.

    It's like snatching a doll from a boy and telling him he should be playing with trucks and toy guns instead. Dance is a form of self expression. If dancing more effeminate feels natural/comfortable for them, it's a horrible act to tell them it's wrong.

    But whatever, I do enjoy the show because of the dancers and choreography. I just zone out when Nigel starts talking. Willem and Jacob put on a great performance. And yes, they made it to Vegas!

    Posted by: daws | Sep 17, 2009 6:03:39 PM

  18. Any time such beautiful positive image of gay romance can reach a mainstream audience its better for all of us.

    Posted by: jaragon | Sep 17, 2009 8:48:51 PM

  19. Willem and Jacob have a ballroom studio in West Hollywood called Balliamos. Check them out!!!

    Posted by: invisiboy | Sep 18, 2009 12:24:51 PM

  20. The guy on the right is a total hottie.

    Posted by: Sarah | Sep 18, 2009 12:34:07 PM

  21. "Years on years they worked their way through the high meadows and the mountain drainages".

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 22, 2009 12:30:34 PM

  22. Did everyone see how "serious" the faces of the judges were? It was like they were terrified of looking like bigots or expressing the "wrong" emotion. It was sooo fake. Compare that to how happy they were of some of the other performances of a similar nature. Ugh, I'll never watch this pathetic show again.

    Posted by: Warmsunshine | Sep 23, 2009 1:11:07 AM

  23. I somehow read the title of this post as "Same-stall bathroom sex gets you 2nd chance on So You Think You Can Dance." I was more interested then.

    Posted by: barto | Oct 24, 2009 2:27:13 PM

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