May 27th, 2010
02:32 PM ET

'SYTYCD': Mamma Mia is back

Mia Michaels may not scream higher than a dog whistle or book dancers on the hot-tamale train, but if someone had to fill Mary Murphy’s seat at the judges table this season, I’m glad it’s her. And so is she.

Michaels said she can’t wait to bring a unique point of view to the table this season, which will also seat executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman - who Michaels said will focus more on the commercial aspects of the dancing.

“I’ll be the really artsy one in the middle,” she said during a press call. For her, it’s all about “the artistry and the commitment and the work ethic and the craft.”

And, of course, the choreography. Michaels said she will gladly step down from the judges table every so often if it means choreographing a duet - and she will definitely be choreographing group routines throughout the season.

Michaels was absent from "So You Think You Can Dance" last season for both professional and personal reasons; her mom, who had been battling cancer, died last month, she said. She also used her time off to develop a few projects of her own, including a Bravo show to air in the fall.

But if she had been around during season 6, she would have loved to get her hands on Jakob, who’s “perfection,” Ellenore, who Michaels called “a very unique little bird,” and Legacy, the b-boy.

And as for the choreographer’s trademark tough love: “People say, ‘Do you beat them with things? Why are they so afraid of you?’ ” she said. “I don’t take any crap from the dancers because I’m kind of old school like that.”

Michaels said it stems from being trained to respect her peers, directors and choreographers.

“I don’t look for perfection. I really don’t,” she said. “It’s more about the whole package.”

In other words, work hard and she won’t tell you you’re awful. “Unless it’s really awful,” she said laughing.

Tune in for the season premiere of “So You Think You Can Dance” Thursday on Fox.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Mona

    I'll miss Mary lots this season. Her shrilly "hot tamale" scream & her fairness is a wonderful treat. Mia is best
    suited for choreography than judging....she sez she's not mean, but she can be, we've all heard her!
    Nonetheless, I'll still miss Mary this season & I hope Mia can tone down a wee bit.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michele

    I LOVE MIa Michaels! She is an amazing choreographer with a strong knowledge of dance and a professionalism about the industry. I don't find her mean at all and I think the dancers truly respect her. Criticism can be tough to take but in the dance world it's a constant. At least her compliments mean something.
    Mary Murphy is fun and will be missed but The screaming takes away from being able to take her seriously. Which is sad because she also knows her stuff. I wish we could have them both!

    May 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tom

    What happened to Mary?? She's been there every year...didn't hear a thing about this. I know she drove a lot of people crazy but I loved her screaming self....yes I did.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. moon627

    I'm sorry she lost her mom but i wasnt sorry to see her missing from the show last season . i dont much care for her mean and nasty critiques – she says she's not out for perfection but thats B.S. if you've ever watched her before. 🙁

    I will miss Mary ! Even her screaming the Hot Tamale Train ! She's been a good judge but i can understand why she'd want to step out and do some choreography and dancing herself. 🙂

    May 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |

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