Nigel Lythgoe , Mary Murphy, Jesse Tyler Ferguson
"I'm celebrating these Emmy nominations by working," says Nigel Lythgoe, whose shows American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance received 18 Emmy nominations between them Thursday morning. "I'm about to go on [television] to talk about National Dance Day. And then tonight there's the taping of So You Think You Can Dance when I crush two dancers' dreams and send them home." Thursday's episode will also include the reveal of which all-stars will be returning to pair up with the remaining Top 10.
2011 Emmy nominees: Mad Men, Modern Family and Boardwalk Empire dominate
"Chelsie Hightower is coming back," Lythgoe says. "We're delighted she's coming back from Dancing with the Stars for us. She'll be going back to them, of course."Among Dance's eight nominations is its first in the reality competition category and one for first-time nominee Cat Deeley for Outstanding Host for a Reality Program. "I'm more elated actually with Cat's nomination," he says. "It's so richly deserved. Cat's certainly been deserving of a nomination for years."
So You Think You Can Dance performance photos
The producer will have a dilemma come Emmy night though: For which of his shows should he root?
"When I heard the Emmy news they said it was 10 nominations for Idol and eight for Dance," Lythgoe says. "And I thought it was Dancing with the Stars, so I thought, 'Oh good, we beat them.' But it means we're up against ourselves. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Every single year Idol gets nominated and every single year we lose out. This year, if we lose, I hope it's to So You Think You Can Dance."
VIDEO: Behind the scenes of the Top 14 Bollywood group dance
So You Think You Can Dance airs on Wednesday and Thursday nights at 8/7c on Fox. The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Jane Lynch, airs Sunday, Sept. 18 at 8/7c on Fox.