So You Think You Can Dance returns on Thursday, May 26 for its eighth season. And everybody’s favorite ear-splitting judge, Mary Murphy, will be back too. In anticipation of the season 8 premiere, the hot tamale-loving dance star talked with reporters about the dance contestants, her own return to the show and even Kirstie Alley’s SYTYCD chances.

As fans of the show know, Mary Murphy missed season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance. While reports blamed the judge’s health for the absence, Murphy actually planned to step aside and focus on choreography for the year. A diagnosis of cancer and subsequent treatment reduced her participation in the show further. Now, however, Mary Murphy is back and ready to shriek happy praise and a new crop of dancing hopefuls.

Murphy touched on plenty of SYTYCD-related topics. Here are some of the highlights:

On whether her voice can take the hot-tamale train stress:
“My vocal cords seem to be quite irritated. If I talk all day, I tend to lose my voice.”

“When I tried to talk louder, it didn’t come out, and it was really upsetting to me.”


“Definitely won’t affect the hot-tamale train!”

On the dancers at the Atlanta auditions (airing Thursday, May 26):
“Atlanta, there were so many amazing dancers, we couldn’t believe it.”

“In Atlanta, it was just overwhelming overkill of excitement.”

On what she loves about So You Think You Can Dance:
“The best part is watching people grow right in front of you and transform.”

On what we can expect this season:
“We have invested a lot this season in hip-hop dancers, street dancers, who have never been trained.”

“This season, we’re going to have a much wider variety of dancers. And I think it’s going to give the show a lot more flavor.”

“There are more street dancers this season than in any other season that are probably going to make the top 20.”

“Once we pick the top 10, we’re going to match the All-Star to fit that person better [than in past SYTYCD seasons].”

On why dancers are drawn to So You Think You Can Dance:
“It is about the dancers, and they can tell that we honestly care.”

On missing a season of So You Think You Can Dance:
“It was incredibly difficult, I must say. I missed out on people having that magical moment. That’s the most fun thing for me, the icing on the cake.”

On returning to So You Think You Can Dance after a season away:
“It was just like going back home again. Me and Nigel are like an old married couple now.”

On Dancing with the Stars‘ Kirstie Alley:
“She could never, unfortunately, make it on So You Think You Can Dance.”

(Murphy pointed out that this was not a criticism, since the SYTYCD competitors are “real, professional dancers, and they’re extraordinary throughout the world.”)

Want more So You Think You Can Dance scoop? Check out our SYTYCD Insider page on Facebook.

Are you looking forward to the return of So You Think You Can Dance? How about the return of Mary Murphy? Let us know in the comments section below!

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.