Mary Murphy is returning to the judges’ table on “So You Think You Can Dance,” Variety has learned. Murphy’s return comes as judges Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo are departing the show.
Season 14 will feature Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and a third judge, who has not been announced yet. Host Cat Deeley will also return.
Murphy was a longtime mainstay on “So You Think You Can Dance.” She was one of the original judges on the Fox dance competition show, which began in 2005, and was a judge through the sixth season. She took a hiatus for the seventh season, and then returned for Season 8 before departing again after Season 11. For Season 12, Abdul and Derulo came on board, and for the most recent season “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation,” which focused on kid contestants, teenage dancer Maddie Ziegler was also a judge.
Murphy, a ballroom dance champion, was known for her loud screaming reactions on the judges’ panel and her signature phrase, the “Hot Tamale Train.”
“I am thrilled that Mary will return to ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and I’m sure the fans will be, as well,” said Lythgoe. “She brings an energy and enthusiasm that’s contagious and I can’t wait for her to join me on the judging panel. I’ve got a pair of earplugs ready, and another for our third resident judge, as well.”
“So You Think You Can Dance” Season 14 airs on Fox this summer.