Report: SYTYCD Eyeing Paula Abdul to Replace Mary Murphy

So You Think You Can Dance Abdul

The Hot Tamale train may be leaving the station. And if so, Paula Abdul could prove to be forever Fox’s girl.

Our sister site Deadline is reporting that So You Think You Can Dance may give the judges’ dais a facelift for the coming Season 12, with original arbiter Mary Murphy rumored to be parting ways with the competition series.

If Murphy does bow out, Fox is said to be eyeing American Idol alum/choreographer/sometime singer Paula Abdul to fill the void. Abdul has guest-judged on Fox’s SYTYCD on three occasions, as well as sat on the dais for the most recent cycle of So You Think You Can Dance Australia, Mate.

It’s still early days, however, with regards to any change, as a source tells Deadline that formal talks with Abdul have not taken place.

Already, SYTYCD announced a Season 12 format change that will maintain an even mix of stage versus street dancers throughout most of the cycle.

Abdul also has judged for Fox’s The X Factor and shepherded her own short-lived competition series, Live to Dance.

Would you welcome Paula and/or miss Mary?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. behzadbyhimself says:

    They’re well on their way to making the mistake every reality competition makes. Focus on your contestants, not judges!

  2. Jason Paul says:

    I love Mary, would be sad to see her go.

  3. Jen says:

    I would definitely miss Mary!

  4. Drew says:

    They should let the familiar choreographers take turns judging, while allowing new people to choreograph the dances. I’ve always said that the choreography should be a contest of its own.

  5. It’s obvious that the show is toning down the emphasis on ballroom. They have been since Season 8 and Season 12 will be the complete death of it if Mary goes. Nigel said that the “Street” and “Stage” categories include ballroom, but I won’t be surprised if we get all of 2 or 3 ballroom dancers. Which is a shame really, since their most enigmatic performers of the last few seasons have been ballroom dancers… (DWTS Pros Witney Carson, Lindsay Arnold, Jenna Johnson & Serge Onik and Ed Sheeran’s backup dancers Brittany Cherry and Paul Karmiryan)

    • Temperance says:

      I literally loathe the format change. The need LESS street and MORE trained dancers, not the other way around. The hip-hop and street dancers already get features in while movie series.

    • BabyFirefly says:

      That’s the first thing I thought of when I heard this… While Mary does have that insanely annoying screech, she also really knows her ballroom. I looked to Mary for the “real critique” of the ballroom dances, knowing her feedback would be based on years and years of ballroom experience. I could deal with the stunt casting of judges, knowing that there were 2 other qualified judges in Mary and Nigel. Unfortunately Nigel seems to judge ballroom women on their hotness, and men on how masculine they dance.

  6. Danielle a says:

    yes to Paula being a judge but come onnnn! Mary means too much to the show :'(

  7. Nunaya_Bidness says:

    I won’t complain about seeing Mary go. I loved her in seasons 1,2 and 3 but her OTT antics have gotten stale and annoying. Debbie Allen needs to take over that second chair. Her critiques are always balanced with advice on how to get better. The dancetestants could really benefit from her I think.

  8. Shar says:

    Just no. Rather have Debbie Allen

    • big cheddar says:

      Gosh, I wish we could get Debbie Allen back on the panel (or even Alan Shankman), but I think she probably has too many personal ties to the competitors via her dance school. It’s like I’ve always wondered why Denise Walls (Travis & Danny’s mom) has never been a guest judge. Given the phenomenal talents she has trained through her dance academy, unless she’s really camera shy, I’m assuming she’d be a great judge. But I doubt she’d ever get to do it because of the perceived bias.

  9. I don’t want Mary to leave, I love her. She and Nigel are funny together. If she does leave, then Jenna Elfman should replace Mary.

  10. Jo Dewhirst says:

    I’ll miss Mary’s energy and enthusiasm. I think SYTYCD is a great TV reality talent competition and it is my favorite. It is a great mix of dancers and choreographers!
    Love it and I am 73 years old!!!

  11. Mark says:

    Omg!!!! Nooooo! She is an idiot. Her critiques make no sense. Christina Applegate would be so much better choice. Very intelligent and knowledgeable.

  12. J says:

    Oh, hell no!

  13. big cheddar says:

    Aww – I actually like Mary Murphy and I hope that the decision to leave is her own and not Nigel’s attempt to revamp the panel. If anything, I think it’s time for his pervy self to step down, because is comments are getting worse each year. Regardless, I kinda feel like Paula Abdul is a bit of a letdown. She just didnt impress me when she finally made it to the dais. Now if the could get Misty Copland to take a permanent seat on the panel, that would impress me. She was the best guest judge they’ve had on the show in awhile. Personally, I’d love to see a former contestant (similar to tWitch) join the panel.

  14. Stacey says:

    Ugghhh…I can’t stand Paula Abdul! I really hope they don’t make her a permanent judge, it’s bad enough when she guest Jude’s.

  15. James says:

    At least its not Mia Michaels…she annoys the heck out of me.

  16. Ronnie says:

    I love Mary! As much as I hate to say it, if Paula was a new judge I would probably tune out. Her babble is exhausting.

  17. CB2 says:

    I hope Mary is not out for The next season. She’s too much a part of the show. However of she does go I don’t think they should hire Abdul. Not the right fit for the show IMO. Can Misty be a permanent judge?

  18. lecia reives says:

    I think mary should stay and they should add Misty Copeland or Debbie Allen. They really know all about dance. Not feeling Paula. I think that would be a mistake.

  19. ED says:

    What a big mistake. She the only judge that keeps the show alive and interesting. Paula
    was the worst guest judge they’ve every had on the show. This is really really sad.

  20. Dana says:

    Please no! Paula Abdul never seemed to contribute anything constructive or useful on American Idol. I would much rather see Adam Shankman or a choreographer like Mia Michaels on the panel. Or keep Mary- while the screaming is a little annoying, she offers some constructive comments.

    • S. says:

      Paula Abdul’s a choreographer. Two time Emmy award-winning, in fact. She’s got more credibility as a judge of dance than a judge of singing.

  21. Heidi says:

    Please not PA.

  22. Melissa says:

    Noooooooooooooo! Mary can’t leave and dear God, DO NOT BRING IN PAULA ABDUL!! Bring back Mia Michaels or Debbie Allen or Adam Shankman! I’d be happy with Christina Applegate or Jesse Tyler Ferguson too but not Paula!

  23. PFitzDc says:

    She’s been a HORRIBLE guest judge!

  24. dee123 says:

    “Mate”? Are you still in the 80’s?

  25. Maia says:


  26. tjj50 says:

    NO…just…!!! I know Mary annoys some, but she’s just as much part of the show as Nigel.I wasn’t feeling Paula at all when she guest judged. I wouldn’t mind seeing Debbie Allen and her awesome stank face more often too.

  27. Mike says:

    No way! Paula can hardly put a sentence together. Mary adds fun to the competition. I didn’t like her at all at first, but she grows on you.

  28. TinLV says:

    Mary is the reason I stopped watching. Her shrill voice and personality just irritates me like nails raking on a chalkboard. I will start watching again when she is gone. I love the idea of bringing on Paula Abdul. She should be judging dance competitions. I never understood why she would be judging singing contestants..her own voice is nothing special and she wasn’t very good at it.. The appeal was mostly due to the sniping and feuding between her and Simon, that’s what people tuned in to see.. But Paula knows dancing and I think she’d be a great judge on this show.

  29. Jan says:

    Hate to see Mary go (would rather “lose” Nigel). A definite “NO!” to Paula; would rather see Debbie Allen.

  30. Amanda Blum says:

    why would they replace one horribly annoying woman with another? Last seasons serious guest judges made clear that we’d much rather have qualified, non screaming or babbling critique.

  31. Brock says:

    Mary! Mary! Mary!

  32. Mike says:

    I would HATE to see Mary Murphy leave. Her input and expertise, especially on ball room dancing, is needed. I love her emotional connection she makes with the dances and the dancers. I would hate even more if Paula came. She is not very articulate, and knows little about ball room dancing. I hope all of Mary Murphy’s fans express their disappointment in her leaving. yes to Mary staying and NO to Paula.

  33. KevyB says:

    Wow, this show is jumping shark after shark after shark!

  34. Pavanne says:

    No. No no no no no.

  35. Lana says:

    My very favorite show is slowly going to turn into my least favorite!! I’m not crazy about the new format as I find street dance being done by 10 people a bit boring but if you take Mary away then it’s going to be a very boring show. Not crazy about Paula though I did love her on AI but not to take over for Mary. Misty was good with critiques but she was not entertaining, her personality too serious for a show so I would prefer Christina or Jesse as they not only knew about the dancing but were very funny. I’m sorry I like my judges to have loads of personality and wonderful humor and Paula and Misty do not.

  36. MabesNY says:

    No! Say it ain’t so. Doesn’t anyone remember what a train wreck Paula was on American Idol??

  37. Jessica says:

    The wealth of dance knowledge and experience Mary brings to the show is irreplaceable. She is the only judge that knows what she’s talking about. Another reality show trying to focus on judges to increase ratings… Well Fox you’ve lost me if Mary isn’t coming back.

  38. Kevin bellman says:

    I miss Paula. Paula is a great judge and if any show needs a judge, grab her she is the best.

  39. Dave says:

    I happen to really like Mary…she brings life to the panel. IF we had to replace her…giveme Christina Applegate!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. june baht says:


  41. Mary Murphy is an asset to “So You Think You Can Dance.” I have witnessed Paul Abdul and her antics on “American Idol,” where she repeatedly embarrassed herself. Mary Murphy, on the other hand, has remained steadfastly professional, knowledgeable, and uplifting. Do not replace Mary Murphy with Paul Abdul.

  42. Do not replace Mary Murphy with Paul Abdul. Big mistake. Mary does a great job!

  43. Carolyn Gewin says:

    Will miss Mary very much! Not only is she knowledgeable of the dance, but so personable adding that special spark and excitement to the program. What about her and Nygel?

  44. Dance Fan says:

    Seriously…..Jenna Elfman, Christina Applegate, Debbie Allen…..anyone but Paula Abdul.
    I mean no disrespect, but Ms. Abdul can rarely express any constructive or understandable critiques. These other ladies are far more entertaining…..just saying

  45. I Hansell says:

    Bring back Mary Murphy
    Paula Abdul is soooooo boring