Nigel Lythgoe talks about RI dancer on ‘SYTYCD’

“The Rhode Show” caught up with Nigel Lythgoe – creator, executive producer, and judge for “So You Think You Can Dance” – on Wednesday morning.

The Emmy winner talked about the current season of the hit FOX show, including Rhode Island dancer, Emily James.

Emily, a North Kingstown native, is among 16 finalists to take the stage on Wednesday night.

Viewers can watch Emily perform at 8 p.m. on FOX Providence.

Vote for Emily after the two-hour show on

Learn more about Nigel Lythgoe

Nigel Lythgoe was born in St. Helen’s, Lancashire, England on July 9, 1949. He and his family moved to Liverpool, where he began tap dancing at 11 years of age. He became the only person to dance in, choreograph, direct and produce the Royal Variety Performance for Her Majesty the Queen of England.

From a young age, Lythgoe has worked and danced with stars such as Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Cyd Charisse, Chita Rivera, Shirley Bassey and, most prestigiously, he choreographed the Muppets in the 70’s.

Lythgoe has been a pioneer in reality television and a driving force in the world of performing arts.  Currently Lythgoe serves as the CEO of Nigel Lythgoe Productions, and previously he worked as president of 19 Television. Prior to his tenure there, he was controller of entertainment and comedy at London Weekend Television, supplying more than 240 hours of broadcast television per year.  Under Lythgoe’s direction as the executive producer of the TV juggernaut AMERICAN IDOL until 2013, the show was nominated for nearly 70 Emmy Awards.

Additionally, Lythgoe serves as the co-creator, executive producer and judge on the global hit program SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, which has won 11 Emmy Awardsand Lythgoe was recently awarded the International Emmy Founders Award, presented to him in New York by Lady Gaga, recognizing him for “his indelible imprint on the TV industry and body of work that crosses cultural boundaries and speaks to our common humanity.”

Lythgoe produced the charity spin-off “Idol Gives Back,” which raised more than $170 million. In 2007, it received the prestigious Governors Award, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ highest honor. In 2009, the U.K.’s University of Bedfordshire awarded Dr. Lythgoe with an honorary Doctor of Arts for his outstanding contribution to the performing arts in television. In the same year, Lythgoe helped to establish the Dizzy Feet Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to support, improve, and increase access to dance education in the United States.

In 2010, Lythgoe introduced the idea of a National Dance Day to the American Congress in Washington DC in order to promote dance as part of a healthy, active lifestyle.  After testifying before Congress, National Dance Day was adopted by Congress and now occurs annually in America on the last Saturday in July.

As the Chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Los Angeles, Lythgoe hosted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the “Brits to Watch” event in 2011.  During Lythgoe’s two year tenure as Chairman, he sought to give back to the wider community – creating activities for the public and for young people in particular, with the creation of the ‘Shakespeare in the Hood’ program which channeled member’s dramatic expertise into a high school drama workshop in one of LA’s most troubled neighborhoods.

Lythgoe currently resides in Los Angeles with his two rescue dogs, Bonnie and Clyde.

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