Only two episodes into So You Think You Can Dance Season 9 and already one of my favorite guest judges sat at the table – Jesse Tyler Ferguson. But he’s not the only one I like to see critiquing the dancers alongside Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy.

While the regular choreographers often sit down at the table, I wanted to take a look at some of the other celebrities that judge the dancers.


Ferguson is definitely in my top 5 favorite guest judges on SYTYCD for many reasons, all of which he displayed during the LA auditions. He is funny, he is honest and he isn’t overly trained to the point that non-dancers have no idea what he is talking about. He says what we, the viewers, would say. But usually funnier. At least funnier than me. He is also crazy enough to run up on stage and put dollar bills in a guy’s pants. And who doesn’t love that in a judge?

Along the same ilk as JTF is another three initialed man who is on a sitcom and is incredibly talented… the one and only Neil Patrick Harris. Listen, I’m going to be honest – if I’m making a list, any kind of list really, and there is some sort of way I can get Neil Patrick Harris on it, it will happen. I’m seriously tempted to make a list of lists I could put NPH on. Anyway, like Ferguson, he is quick-witted, appreciative of the talent in front of him and doesn’t just gives generic “oh you did great” kind of remarks. He actually, gets this, judges!

Then there is Kristin Chenoweth. If I could shrink her down just a little bit more (she’s pretty tiny already, after all) I would carry her around in my pocket. I was in hysterics watching her as a judge last season. She knows what it is like to be up on stage singing and dancing, and appreciates how hard these kids work. She also kissed Lil’ C so hard the last time she was on, she literally knocked his glasses sideways. So there is that….

Adam Shankman, a former regular judge and now part of the guest judge rotation, also makes a welcome addition to the table. Often he can be long-winded in his critiques, but the man knows dance. He has choreographed many musicals (including the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode, “Once More With Feeling” – yes this makes all the difference to me). He also has done some great group numbers for this show. I think he brings an energy to the table that is different than most of the other judges and the dancers feed off that.

Last, but certainly not least, is Miss Debbie Allen. She is, without a doubt, a legend. Not only does she offer her gifted insight and wisdom to these dancers and offer support from her place at the table, but she never lets them off lightly. If anyone knows how rough this world can be, it’s her, and she knows a thick skin is needed. To top it off, when Cedric was voted off early in season 3 of SYTYCD, she offered him a full ride at Debbie Allen Dance Academy. How can you not love this lady?

More proof of how great a judge she is can be found next Wednedsday on Fox at 8pm when she is guest judging. Be sure to head back here after the show airs on the West Coast for a full recap. And check out Jessica’s thoughts over at Small Screen Scoop!

Who are some of your favorite guest judges?

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae

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