Mary Murphy Returning to So You Think You Can Dance

SYTYCD: Mary Murphy Returning as Judge for 'Back to Basics' Season 14

So You Think You Can Dance fans, dust off those earplugs.

Fox announced Thursday that fan fave Mary Murphy — who last season was replaced on the judging panel by Paula Abdul — will be returning for the recently-ordered Season 14. Additionally, the network confirms that Cat Deeley will officially be back as host, and exec producer Nigel Lythgoe will continue as judge. An announcement about the third judging slot is expected soon.

“I am thrilled that Mary will return to So You Think You Can Dance and I’m sure the fans will be, as well,” Lythgoe enthused in a statement. “She brings an energy and enthusiasm that’s contagious and I can’t wait for her to join me on the judging panel.”

SYTYCD diehards were shocked back in January 2015 when Murphy confirmed that she had been “released” from her contract. “I’m very grateful and proud to have been part of such an extraordinary television show,” she added at the time. “I’m sure there wasn’t a person watching that didn’t know I loved what I did.” Soon after, Abdul was announced as her successor.

For Season 14, Fox is putting last season’s ill-conceived miniature reboot behind it and going ack to its original formula of featuring dancers between the ages of 18-30, with the Top 10 ultimately being paired up with All-Stars.

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  1. ceebee says:

    Yay!! They are going in the right direction!!

    • Lola says:

      Praise. All I request is no Jason Derulo. God he was awful!

      • Ray says:

        Yes and yes! Finally, a step in the right direction. Who would have thought the executive producers had a lick of sense?

        Quit watching last season but if they retool the show and cut Derulo I may return.

  2. maregolden says:

    If they could get Adam Shankman to judge, that would be great. I may be back this year. Haven’t watched since they dumped Mary and put Paula Abdul on the panel.

    • Matthew Zamora says:

      Agreed Adam would be great! Haven’t watched for two seasons now… They messed with the format way too much for me and I don’t care for Jason Derulo… They may have me back this year though with format going back to normal and Mary back… I miss seeing Cat Deeley

  3. Van says:

    Thank god, now get rid of jason douchebag and we’re good

  4. al says:

    at least producers are acknowledging their mistakes last season

  5. mabesny says:

    Whoo hoo! Can’t wait for the new season to start!

  6. jonshaas says:

    About time! SYTYCD was a great show until they narrowed it’s scope by first doing “Street vs Ballroom”, then about killed it either minis. We’ll be happy to see it go back to the origin format.

  7. Joyce Miller says:

    So happy. No Mary, no adult dancers = no me. Now I can watch my former favorite show again.

    • teacherbarb says:

      Agree completely! Mary’s Hot Tamale train squeal got to me sometimes, but overall, I liked her. Judges need to know dance well, not just be celebrities! Kids are cute, but how can they have a sensual dance with kids?? So thankful they are back to the original format!!!

      • Jessica says:

        Couldn’t stand that. It drove me nuts every time. I sometimes think I was the only one to see her go. Was wishing DWTS had gotten rid of Carrie-Ann too. Both act too hysterical. Paula actually gave constructive criticism a lot. Especially in the beginning before she went the way of dumb judges and went more emotional. Seems to be a trend the longer you are a judge.

        So very happy to get back to the original format though. Jason better be gone. He was a creep.

  8. Nan says:

    THANK GOSH THEY ARE BRING MARY MURPHY BACK!!!! She was the best thing about the show. I used to love the show. The one previous year she wasn’t on I could barely watch and last year when it was announced she was released I knew the season was domed and it was. Though I occasionally like to see talented young dancers and did enjoyed the tryouts, I thought the concept was horrible and once it went to the live shows I never watched againl I loved Paula on American Idol and X Factor but not here. This show NEEDS Mary Murphy!!! It isn’t good without her enthusiasm and love of dance and her wonderful, happy, caring personality.

    • Jessica says:

      Hated her and her hysteria. I loved Paula. She gave actual constructive criticism a lot.

      They better have dumped Jason. He was horrible. I can’t believe they had him on for the kids edition after he was so creepy with the stage v street kids.

      That said super happy we have the 18+ people back. Feel bad for those who may have aged out last year but at least those who turned 18 only had to wait one extra year instead of being SoL if they had continued with the little kids

  9. Pegalicious says:

    Hooray! The last couple of seasons have been dreadful; Mary’s knowledge and love of dance shine through. If she’s back, I’m back.

  10. Gemma says:

    With Mary back and no more kids, I’m actually excited to watch again after I skipped the last season.

  11. Melissa says:

    Now bring back Mia Michaels and I’m in.

  12. yay! I missed this show last summer! So glad they are going back to something I can enjoy watching!

  13. Arlene says:

    Yay. Now just bring back Broadway and ballet, and I will revert to watching.

  14. Shar says:

    I think rotating guest judges may be the way to go so the trio doesn’t get stale. There have been lots of good one in the past. My biggest disappointment was that they never had Debbie Reynolds on.

  15. houstonchick says:

    THANK GOD! This show is finally getting back to its roots.

  16. Dev says:

    I’d much rather have Mia than Mary but she’s never coming back. Mary was never a fave of mine but thank GOD they are not trying the kid thing again. This is one of my favorite shows so I’m just stoked to see it renewed for another season.

  17. Paul says:

    Excellent news! Can’t wait to jump back on the Hot Tamale Train!

  18. MariaD says:

    If they got rid of Lythgoe and his inappropriate comments and obvious favoring of certain young female dancers, I would be even happier. But hey, for sure, bringing back Mary Murphy and hopefully returning to the original format that made this show so great is a step in the right direction. Like many who have commented here, I left for the past two seasons. It was unwatchable. Get rid of Abdul and Derulo, neither who contribute anything. I wouldn’t mind the rotating judge format. I loved having Misty Copeland, for example, and Neil Patrick Harris, as well as Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Adam Shankman was terrific and yes, I would love to see Mia Michaels come back (more so as a choreographer).

    Thanks for the update. I am actually looking forward to this next season for the first time in a long time.

  19. Aeol says:

    Great news! Mary can be grating sometimes but she loves what she does and she’s good at it. And please no more dancer gimmicks!

  20. Liz says:

    Good. As long as it is the good Mary who actually says useful things instead of the one who just screams.

  21. Shawn Tully says:

    Mary! Mary! Mary! Yes, its about time they brought her back.

  22. Charissa29 says:

    Thank goodness! Couldn’t stand last season and so I stopped watching it!

  23. AngD says:


  24. emmyloser says:

    It’s coming! Can you hear that, Michael? I said, CAN YOU HEAR THAT, MICHAEL!!! The HOT TAMALE TRAIN!!! WOOOOOOO WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    I’m a little excited.

  25. Kerri says:

    This is fantastic! I can’t wait!! Now they need Mia Michael’s back to accent Nigel and Mary.

  26. Lydia Green says:

    I am so happy and look forward that Mary Murphy will be returning.

  27. Lydia Green says:

    uloGreat no Jason Deulo

  28. Temperance says:

    With the old format and Mary returning, I’ll be back every week!

  29. kevstar69 says:

    Don’t have it on Monday nights and we’re good. How about bringing it back to Thursday?

  30. Jimmy says:


  31. GrumpyMittens says:

    Well, finally! Now I can’t wait for the season to start <3

  32. Best news I have heard about SYTYCD in over two years. I’m hoping on board the Hot Tamale Train!!!! Whoooooooooo Whoooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. christopher bee says:

    And please bring back Sonya Tayeh too.

  34. Eurydice says:

    Well, that’s a relief. I didn’t mind the past 2 seasons, but they weren’t magical. I think they should keep the 3rd judge’s seat for the rotating cast of of characters we’ve seen in the past – those who really love dance and really love the show. Jason always looked bored and vaguely annoyed that he had to be there.

  35. Mike says:

    Such great news about Mary, on top of bringing back the adults. Now, once we get confirmation about Jason Derulo moving on…

  36. Ray says:

    To the FOX/SYTYCD execs: please, no more gimmicky themes like “stage vs street” and “teenybopper edition.”

  37. LolaHaze says:

    So excited that this show is returning to basics. After not watching the last two seasons I will definitely be back!

  38. BlittleU says:

    Yes! I actually thought Paul Abdul was fine on the show, it was Jason Derulo who sucked…hard. They should have never let Mary go, but I will give the series credit for admitting the mistake by bringing her back. I didn’t watch one episode of the the ridiculous kiddie fiasco, but I will most definitely be back for the new season.

  39. This isn’t going to help. The show is failing in viewership because there isn’t any ‘new blood’ being pumped into it. I wish they’d take Nigel off as a judge. He’s too old and stuck in his ways…some of his comments even begin to sound the same. And I appreciate the old format but how about more viewer interaction a la DWTS…I like that season where we got to save one of the bottom three via twitter. Say it with me everybody, “Change is good”…
    PS. Can we please stop hating on Season 13? I actually watched it and those kids were beyond talented. There were some really good routines on there too.
    PSS. Adam Shankman and Wade Robson as Judges please???

  40. Barry B. says:

    THANK GOD! I missed Mary and hopefully returning to the original format will give SYTYCD better ratings. But I hate to be the sore grapes here, but it may be too late. However, I didn’t watch last year at all. I’m sure the kids were talented, but I couldn’t bear to watch. A 3rd rotating judge would probably best like Misty Copeland or Debbie Allen. And definitely bring back, Ms. Sonya Tayeh!

  41. Val says:

    So excited about Mary returning to SYTYCD. the show is great but is awesome with her.. .i can hardly wait…it will be a great season….let’s get it started……

  42. Kathy Wagstaff says:

    What date will SYTYCD return?

  43. Kathy Wagstaff says:

    What date will SYTYCD return? It is my favorite show!!!!

  44. Kathy Wagstaff says:

    I liked Jason Durelo ok but he just didn’t seem to have the professional touch the others did

  45. Cleve says:

    Praise the Lord!!! this is a very good new. LOVVVVVVEEE Mary

  46. Jane Reid says:

    Last season with the children was a wonderful treat!!!!! The writer’s comment was ill-conceived.

  47. What great news this is. Happy to see the network has some common sense left. This is truly one of the most entertaining programs.

  48. Jan Blair says:

    Glad to hear Mary is back and they are going back to original format. Last year was good with the kids but not always. Can’t wait for it to start. Have watched this show from the start. Enjoyed the dancers transition to “Dancing with the stars”.