Not that we would have guessed it, but Mary Murphy has spent part of this season's "So You Think You Can Dance" audition period under a cloud of fear. A survivor of thyroid cancer, the boisterous judge revealed to AARP.com that she has "had more health tests that were not looking good. They thought I had ovarian cancer, and they thought the thyroid cancer had come back."
She described coming in to work between medical appointments. "It looked like for sure I had it after the first test. They were saying you're going to have an operation and blah-blah-blah," she recalled. "Then I got on the internet and read about it...and I thought, 'What am I going to do with my bucket list? I haven't done everything I want to do.'" Eventually, further tests showed that her ovarian cysts are not cancerous. Now, a highly-relieved Murphy plans to be extremely good about keeping tabs on her condition, especially "because that's how it started with my thyroid. At first it was just a tumor that wasn't cancerous, but years later it became malignant. And I hadn't been keeping a close eye on it because I was so busy." Her successful treatment included surgery in 2010.
As for keeping up her sunshiny front on the show these past weeks, the dance champion, choreographer and enthusiastic fan told us it wasn't a front. "One thing that's amazing about dancing -- it transforms you, it transports you to another world. Just seeing that, I don't care what kind of mood you're in or what you're doing. When you see dancing, it's uplifting. With some of the things these kids come up with, you'd have to be a rock not to be moved." Those familiar with the outgoing, high-energy "Queen of Scream," know she means it. She is so excited about the selection of the Season 10 Top 20 finalists - being revealed on this Tuesday's (6/18) two-hour episode - "I get less and less sleep the closer we get. I'm pretty revved up about it."
If you're not already into it, Top 20 night is a perfect time to begin watching the best talent competition show of the summer. The wow factor of the dance numbers, in terms of creativity, execution and range of styles, continues to amaze.
"If anything, you get more excited because you know dancers push themselves more and more," Murphy said. "I feel like they've stepped up the game every year. By now we've had several people tell us they were nine years old when they first saw the show, and decided right then and there that someday they were going to be on 'So You Think You Can Dance.'"