Over the weekend, at the urging of GLAAD, So You Think You Can Dance executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe issued an apology for his remarks to same-sex ballroom dancing couple Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel. If you missed it, watch the segment from Thursday’s premiere below. Please be sure to open your umbrella because it’s raining men.
Among Lythgoe’s comments to the partners: "I think you probably alienate a lot of our audience" and "I’d like to see you both dancing with a girl." Lythgoe then fueled the fire by reiterating his opinion via his Twitter feed after the premeire aired. "The same sex ballroom guys did remind me of Blades of Glory. However, I’m not a fan of Brokeback Ballroom." Please, universe, a ban on Brokeback Mountain jokes!
Reading through the comments on Adam Vary’s excellent SYTYCD TV Watch, I noticed a few people threatening to stop watching one of their favorite shows because Nigel Lythgoe is homophobic. Really? I don’t appreciate his presumption of how the audience would react — I’m pretty sure we’re all capable of forming an opinion of the couple (mine: "no thanks") all by ourselves. But I don’t think Lythgoe’s comments were overtly homophobic. He is a ballroom traditionalist who didn’t like the performance. And there’s no way I’d deprive myself of a televised dancing competition just because its feathery-haired overlord acted like a relentless nitwit. It certainly isn’t the first time he’s said something stupid on TV. I urge anyone who’s had it with Nigel to simply fast-forward whenever possible. (Conversely, I’ve found it enormously rewarding to employ the slow-motion effect when it’s time for Mia Michaels to cry. I’ll make a video sometime!)
What about you? Did Lythgoe’s comments sour you to So You Think You Can Dance? Or is everyone overreacting?