During Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance, Lythgoe commented to an effeminate male dancer that he looked "like someone's taken a broomstick and shoved it up where the sun don't shine." Season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance aired its first instance of two males performing ballroom dance together.
His first professional job was in the Corps de Ballet for the National tour of "The Merry Widow." He went on to train in London under Joanne Steuer and Molly Molloy.
Beginning in 1969, Lythgoe performed with the BBC's "Young Generation" dance troupe.
On 4 August 2008, Lythgoe confirmed that he was leaving American Idol and decided to move on with So You Think You Can Dance.
In 2009 Lythgoe and Fuller formed a company called Big Red 2 Entertainment.
continues the return to its roots, bringing back original judge Mary Murphy for the upcoming 14th season this summer.