Ralphie Report: Catching up with Nigel Lythgoe and Brielle Von Hugel
“So You Think You Can Dance” is returning to the 18 to 30 age group for season 14 with an old friend of the show’s back in the mix: Mary Murphy.
“We’re putting people on the Hot Tamale Train!” an exuberant Nigel Lythgoe commented on my radio show.
The show’s co-creator and judge called from Los Angeles in what is now seemingly an annual tradition after the competition’s renewal.
“I’ve got to say, I’ve supported Mary. I’ve got a great chemistry with Mary that I love. She can beat me up and hurt me, and I can be rude to her, and that’s all part of the fun of the show.”
Both Lythgoe and Murphy were in Brooklyn, N.Y., earlier this month for auditions alongside Vanessa Hudgens, the former Disney star who, as of late, starred both on Broadway and in “Grease: Live”.
“She’s just the triple-threat,” gushed Lythgoe about Hudgens. “They can act; they can sing; they can dance. Therefore, for a start, they recognize the amount of work that goes into being a great performer, and number two, the talent that is required.”
The former “American Idol” producer was pleased with the talent he saw in Brooklyn, going as far as to make a rather bold prediction.
“I would suggest, and I’m not going to name names, that one of the kids we saw there is going to be the overall winner,” Lythgoe said. “There was a young man there that was outstanding.”
There have only been two other contestants that made Lythgoe feel that way: Carrie Underwood and Season 11 “Dance” winner Ricky Ubeda. Not a bad group to join.
Speaking of “Idol,” I also recently had season 11 semifinalist Brielle Von Hugel on the show, who told an all-too-familiar tale: two artists collaborating without even meeting, let alone stepping in the same studio.
The Staten Island native has three singles on Spotify with over a million streams: “Naked,” her featured vocals on Nervo’s “Alone,” and the B.o.B-assisted “Stronger.”
Not only has Von Hugel never met the artist, nee Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr., but originally, she didn’t even intend for him to have bars on that particular track.
“I originally wanted B.o.B to be featured on another song that I wrote,” the singer-songwriter revealed during an interview on my show last week. “So my team sent over my music just so he could get a feel of my style; he actually liked ‘Stronger’ better.”
Von Hugel was honored that he wanted to jump on any track, and so she gladly obliged to his request. The B.o.B-version is a Spotify exclusive; a rap-less rendition is available everywhere else.
Also out is her latest, “Naked,” a song that deals with feeling comfortable in your own skin. The track was influenced by the bullying that Von Hugel experienced both as a kid and as she continued her music career, a path that would eventually take her to “American Idol” before becoming a member of Postmodern Jukebox.
Von Hugel just wrapped a U.S. tour with PMJ and now heads to Europe for a four-week jaunt where she’ll tally only three days off. When the artist returns to Staten Island in May, she’ll continue working on new solo material.
Listen to “Ralphie Tonight” weeknights from 7 p.m. to midnight on 97 BHT.