JoJo Siwa replaces Nigel Lythgoe on 'So You Think You Can Dance' following his sexual assault lawsuits

A woman with long blond hair posing in a black dress
JoJo Siwa will return to judge "So You Think You Can Dance," replacing Nigel Lythgoe. (Jordan Strauss / Invision/ AP)

JoJo Siwa will return as a judge for the upcoming season of “So You Think You Can Dance” — replacing former series regular Nigel Lythgoe, who stepped down in early January amid sexual assault allegations.

The “Dance Moms” alum also sat on the judging panel last season.

“We’re doing our happy dance because @itsjojosiwa is back on our judging panel for season 18 of #SYTYCD 🎉 ,” the show announced on X (formerly Twitter) Friday afternoon.

Lythgoe was dropped from the Fox dance competition after Paula Abdul and two former contestants from one of the producer’s shows accused him of sexual assault in separate lawsuits.

Read more: 'So You Think You Can Dance' will go on without Nigel Lythgoe amid sexual assault allegations

The show “will proceed, although without Nigel Lythgoe, to ensure the show remains committed to the contestants, who have worked incredibly hard for the opportunity to compete on our stage,” "SYTYCD's" production companies — 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions — and Fox said in a joint statement in January.

This marks the second consecutive season that “SYTYCD” producers have rejigged the show’s judging panel.

In Season 17, which aired last year, Leah Remini replaced Matthew Morrison after the “Glee” alum failed to follow “competition protocols.”

At the time, it was reported that Morrison had formed “an inappropriate relationship with a female contestant” — a claim he later addressed in a video posted on Instagram.

Read more: Nigel Lythgoe denies Paula Abdul's 'deeply offensive' claims in sexual assault lawsuit

In the video, he recited the direct message that he said had led to his dismissal, which read: “'Hey, it’s Matthew. If you don’t mind, would love to get your number and talk you through some things.'”

“The end,” he said in the video. “I sent this because this dancer and I both share a mutual respect for a choreographer that I’ve known for over 20 years and I was trying to help her get a job as a choreographer on the show.”

In Lythgoe’s case, the alleged harassment occurred outside of the show.

In a lawsuit filed in December by Abdul, the former “American Idol” judge accused Lythgoe, who was a producer on the show at the time, of groping and forcibly kissing her in an elevator at their hotel after a day of filming about 20 years ago.

Lythgoe denied the allegations, saying that he would “fight this appalling smear with everything I have.”

Read more: Internet star JoJo Siwa shuns labels after coming out: 'I'm not ready to say'

“To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement,” he added. “Not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for.”

A second lawsuit followed days later, in which two former contestants on “All American Girl” alleged Lythgoe forcibly tried to kiss them after a wrap party in 2003. Lythgoe has not yet responded to the most recent allegations.

Siwa joins dancer and choreographer Allison Holker — who met her late husband, Stephen "Twitch" Boss, through the show — and "Dancing With the Stars" alum Maks Chmerkovskiy on the judging panel. Cat Deeley will return as host.

Season 18 of “SYTYCD” premieres March 4 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. The new season will continue to feature contestants competing in dance challenges, with weekly eliminations leading to a $100,000 grand prize winner. But, for the first time, it will also include new documentary-style segments chronicling contestants’ time on the show.

Aside from previously serving as a judge on “SYTYCD,” Siwa has also competed on ABC’s "DWTS" — and made history as part of the show’s first same-sex couple in Season 30.

“I think it breaks a wall that’s never been broken down before,” Siwa said of the partnership during a Television Critics Assn. panel in 2021. “It’s normal for a girl to dance with a guy, and I think that that’s really cool, but I think that it’s really special that not only now, do I get to share with the world you get to love who you want to love, but also, you get to dance with who you want to dance with.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.