JoJo Siwa Replaces Nigel Lythgoe on 'So You Think You Can Dance' Amid Producer's Legal Troubles

Siwa, who also served as a judge in 2022, will replace Lythgoe for the upcoming 18th season.

JoJo Siwa is back on So You Think You Can Dance after it was announced that she's replacing Nigel Lythgoe as a judge amid his mounting legal troubles.

Siwa will join Allison Holker and former Dancing With the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy as judges for the upcoming 18th season, which premieres March 4 on FOX. Siwa, 20, previously served as a judge during season 17 in 2022. Following the announcement, Siwa took to her Instagram Story and posted a video expressing excitement about her return to the "iconic" dance competition series.

"I am beyond excited and beyond grateful," she said. "The talent is actually insane and I cannot wait for everyone to see them. I can't wait to see how this season pans out. I am very interested and excited myself. It's gonna be tough. It's gonna be a long process, but it's gonna be so good. And I'm so excited, and also to be with Allison and Maks. Couldn't have asked for anything better."

The news comes just weeks after Lythgoe, the co-creator of the show, exited the series following multiple accusations of sexual assault, including from Paula Abdul. She sued him in late December, claiming he sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions.

Abdul claimed the first alleged incident happened in an elevator when he "shoved [her] against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts and began shoving his tongue down her throat" during one of American Idol's "initial seasons." She claimed she "attempted to push Lythgoe away from her and let him know that his behavior was not acceptable." Abdul claimed that the second alleged assault happened at his home.

The TV producer was sued again just days later by two women who claimed they were contestants on the short-lived ABC reality competition show All American Girl back in 2003. The women claimed in their lawsuit that the English producer and TV personality, now 74, drove them to a house in Los Angeles after filming wrapped -- instead of to a studio to meet with others, as they say had been planned -- and then Lythgoe allegedly attempted to forcibly kiss them, despite protestations.

He is also accused of groping and smacking the contestant's buttocks on set during filming.

As for Siwa, she recalled in 2022 the unfair hate she got serving as a judge on SYTYCD amid Matthew Morrison being forced out following "uncomfortable" messages he allegedly sent to a contestant.

An online troll had tweeted, "Dammit. I saw the headline 'Judge Leaves #sytycd' and got all excited. Yes! @itsjojosiwa was out! But, nope. It was Matthew Morrison. Dammit! I thought he brought the broadway perspective to the show. Maybe not an expert on dance, but on showmanship. Still won't watch."

In her response, Siwa listed her long list of accolades as an accomplished dancer in an attempt to prove she has, in fact, earned her stripes to be a judge on the show.

"Listen, I'm the first one to hate on myself," she told ET in 2022. "Like, you cannot tell me anything that I haven't already told myself. However, when you are saying something about me that is blatantly not true, that drives me mad."

"I grew up in a dance studio," Siwa continued. "Literally from the time I was two I did my first solo, then I went to be on Dancing With the Stars, now I'm a judge on So You Think You Can Dance. I could tell you about every dance style. Am I the smartest dancer in the world? By no means. Am I the most knowledgeable dancer in the world? By no means. But I am smart enough to be a judge on So You Think You Can Dance, absolutely."