Check out AfterElton’s revealing interview with Nigel. Michael Jensen, the interviewer, didn’t hold back:
AfterElton.com: What’s your response to the criticism that neither American Idol nor So You Think You Can Dance has ever included any out gay contestants?
Nigel Lythgoe: You mean homosexual guys who have come out? We’ve never thought about it, to be honest. I don’t actually go around and say, “Excuse me are you gay or are you straight?” It isn’t a question that we ask.
AE But it would come up.
NL: No it wouldn’t. I’m never worried if anybody’s gay. What I don’t like on the dance show, to be frank, is effeminate boys that mince around the stage. I don’t care if they’re gay or straight. That’s got nothing to do with it for me.
AE: Why don’t you like the effeminate [dancers]?
NL: Because they need to be very strong. . . You need to look stronger than the girl you’re dancing with. . .So if you mince about the stage, you’re not doing what the choreographer is asking you to do.
Michael Jensen’s take: “[D]espite Nigel’s belief that a contestant’s sexuality doesn’t come up on his shows, us gay folks know that of course it comes up all the time. It’s just that with straight people, they don’t realize they are doing it. It’s called heterosexual privilege and any time we point it out, we’re being ‘difficult’ and ‘politically correct.'”
Jensen is right, of course, but SYTYCD strenuously avoids telling us about the personal lives of its contestants. What’s more irritating, to me, is Nigel’s anti-effeminate stance, which smacks of deeply entrenched homophobia.