Nigel Lythgoe Searches for Next Top Choreographer on 'Every Single Step'

Nigel Lythgoe
Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX

Nigel Lythgoe 

If you think this month's Presidential election feels like a reality show, you aren't alone. 

Former American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe recently met with Bill Clinton, who said exactly the same thing.

The former President quipped: "you may have brought us reality television with American Idol, but now we’ve got a reality television election," Lythgoe tells Billboard.

Idol may be over -- for now -- but Lythgoe still has the magic touch in the world of dance with the second season of his latest show, Every Single Step, the choreography competition currently airing on Verizon's go90 video service.

Lythgoe -- also the executive producer of the FOX show So You Think You Can Dance -- has expanded Every Single Step into a long-form series, with episodes extended to 44-minute episodes. 

Each week, ten choreographers compete against each other in a series of themed challenges, with one choreographer winning a $25,000 cash prize.

The idea to create a show to discover choreographers came to Lythgoe when he realized choreographers like Mia Michaels were becoming well-known from exposure on SYTYCD.

"The choreographers became household names," he says. "I think that's the first time ever we saw choreographers becoming celebrities themselves."

To discover the next Michaels, Every Single Step puts the talent to the test with weekly tasks designed to bring out their creativity and inspiration.

The challenges, Lythgoe says, range from creating "a video for a new record that has come out," or "giving them a can of soda" to create a commercial selling the product.

"Show me in your choreography how that inspires you," he explains.

Airing the series on go90 is on an admittedly smaller scale, with no audience participation or live shows. However, the show does not skimp on talent.

"The talent is exactly the same as you would see on broadcast television," he says.

To wit: this season features guest judge Toni Basil, a renowned choreographer, dancer and Emmy Award winner known for her hit, "Mickey." Brian Friedman (America's Got Talent, The X Factor USA) was also tapped as both head judge and mentor, a move Lythgoe said was due.

"He really knows what he is talking about, and if we are going to help these young people become choreographers, you don’t want to bullshit them. And he doesn't," he says.

Joining Friedman are returning judges Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo (So You Think You Can Dance), Tessandra Chavez (Dancing With the Stars), Tyce Diorio (So You Think You Can Dance), Dave Scott (choreographer for the Step Up film franchise), Charm Ladonna, and digital dance influencers Tricia Miranda and Ian Eastwood. U.K. presenter and model Amy Willerton (Miss Universe Great Britain 2013, Skee TV) hosts.

So what makes a great choreographer? Lythgoe says one thing is important.

"For me it is somebody who touches my emotions," he explains. "It either makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you happy to watch it, or  makes you sad to watch it. You come away with an emotional experience, and it's the same thing for a dancer. If you can express yourself through your bodily movement, rather than verbally, it’s a wonderful, wonderful way of communicating."

That said, "You don’t have to be a great dancer to be a great choreographer, but you have to know what the body can do."

"Mia Michaels never got a job as a dancer, and was literally so frustrated that she turned herself into this incredible choreographer," he says. "Sonya Tayeh (SYTYCD) learned from books. She actually learned to dance through reading books. It is remarkable."

Every Single Step is executive produced by Lythgoe, Kristin Campbell-Taylor and Amanda Taylor for izo, and Mark Koops, Jennifer Heftler and Eric Clay for INE/Trium Entertainment. Originally founded as DanceOn, izo is a programming partner for go90. The company is currently producing 25 original series for the platform through 2017, including Dance-Off Juniors, a competition series for kids featuring freestyle and choreography-based challenges.

New episodes of Every Single Step are available each Monday. To access go90, simply download the app via the App Store or Google Play or look online at

Watch a clip below:


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