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Stephen 'tWitch' Boss: Facts Only True Fans Know About Ellen's Former DJ

It's never easy to lose a loved one, and when the world loses a beloved performer, there is a profound sense of communal mourning across the industry and audiences who shared in the experienced of that newly-lost magic.

When news broke on December 14, 2022 that actor-producer-dancer Stephen 'tWitch' Boss had died the night before, shock and tributes poured onto social media in equal measure from fans and celebrities alike. Without fail, they praised tWitch's easy radiance and the way he always lit up a room with his love and light. Boss, who most recently was named a permanent judge on "So You Think You Can Dance," the show that launched him to stardom, was perhaps most well-known as the in-house DJ on "Ellen" from 2014 until it went off the air in May, 2022.

These two series are touchstones in a life filled with and driven by dance — dance as celebration, as personal expression, as braggadocio, and as purpose. Stephen Boss was born to dance, and with dance he entered hearts and lifted spirits. Below, a celebration of tWitch's life and love of dance.

Boss made a name for himself

Despite lots of apocryphal stories out there (including on the "So You Think You Can Dance" Wiki) about how tWitch got his name, claiming it was because he never sat still as a kid, Boss himself told AL.com in 2013 that he gave himself the name, after a car he owned that "would accelerate on its own sometimes." According to him, he would come up with a lot of his choreography while he was on the road to different performances and teaching dance around the state of Alabama, where he grew up. "I was about 20 years old ... when I first started dancing, going places and teaching dance," he said.

In that same interview, Boss revealed that if he hadn't made it onto "So You Think You Can Dance," he would've joined the Navy, saying "everything I'm experiencing now is because of the show."

So You Think You Can Dance wasn't his first talent competition

Before garnering a coveted spot on the star-making show often referred to by its initials "SYTYCD," Stephen 'tWitch' Boss actually competed in — and nearly won — two other dance-related talent competitions.

Early in his dance career, tWitch competed on the ubiquitous celebrity-magnet talent show "Star Search." Rebooted from the original Ed McMahon juggernaut in 2003, "Star Search" came back on the air to CBS with host Arsenio Hall. It only lasted a year, but in that time tWitch not only made it on, he was runner-up.

Also in 2003, tWitch competed on MTV's "The Wade Robson Project," where dancers would battle against each other for a grand prize of $100,000, making it to the semifinals. Unfortunately for fans, there only seem to be very low-res recordings of tWitch's performances from those shows; Boss clearly remained a fan of the legendary dancer and choreographer in the years since, as he performed at least two solos to Robson's music during his time on "SYTYCD."

He had to audition for SYTYCD more than once

It's not easy to get on "So You Think You Can Dance." First come auditions in cities around the country for anyone and everyone who thinks they can dance (if you haven't studied dance for years, chances are you can't). A panel of judges, generally made up of executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and a selection of acclaimed industry professionals, oversee the process and either give the contestant a pass straight on to the next round in Las Vegas, or asks them to come back later that day for some structured choreography for a second chance. 

Las Vegas Week is grueling, as everyday dancers are charged with learning a routine from a star choreographer in a different genre of dance, from hip-hop to jazz to ballroom to contemporary; only those who pass that entire week will be up for consideration to compete on the live shows.

Stephen "tWitch" Boss auditioned in Season 3 but didn't make the cut. He was undeterred, however, and in Season 4 he came back and not only made it to the Top 20, but was still standing in the finale, finishing second to Joshua Allen. (Katee Shean was the female winner that year.) 

Since then, he returned to "SYTYCD" multiple times, performing as a special guest or all-star many times, and was part of dozens of unforgettable routines, one of which even caught the eye of a certain Ellen Degeneres, leading to a new opportunity.

His fairytale romance with wife Allison Holker also started on SYTYCD

In 2010, Fox aired Season 7 of the popular dance competition "So You Think You Can Dance," a show with a flippant title but consummate artists at work. The seventh season was the first to feature All-Stars, in which popular contestants from previous seasons would pair with the new dancers competing for the current title. It was here that Boss, a contestant and runner-up from Season 4, met Allison Holker, a standout talent from Season 2.

Allison was instantly attracted to Stephen, as she insisted on calling him, and made the first move, as she told Jennifer Hudson on the latter's daytime talk show. Boss eventually "locked it down," though, and the couple married in 2013 at "SYTYCD" creator and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe's home. Since then, their fairytale marriage has been followed by millions of fans on TikTok and Instagram, has produced two children (in addition to the one Holker had with a previous partner, Weslie, whom Boss officially adopted as his own), and even got them a hosting gig on "Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings," showcasing mega Disney fans getting married at one of the resort's many properties.

Upon announcing her husband's death, Holker promised to "always save the last dance for you."

He appeared as a dancer in several movies before Magic Mike XXL

Before his revealing role in "Magic Mike XXL" as a male exotic dancer in a ladies' club, Stephen "tWitch" Boss racked up several dance credits in films over the years.

It all started in 2006, when he had a small, uncredited role as "flamboyant dancer" in "Blades of Glory." Following that, tWitch appeared as one of Mama Maybelle's dancers in the Adam Shankman musical reboot of "Hairspray." Rounding out his resumé with "Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming" and installments three, four, and five of the "Step Up" franchise (namely "3D," "Revolution," and "All In"), tWitch built a steady  career out of and about dance.

Even in his cameo role on the TV series "Bones," he appeared as a street performer, dancing for the passersby and hoping for a few bucks in his proffered hat.

His personal life was all about dance too

Stephen Boss was a man meant to dance, and when he met Allison Holker they seemed to speak in a language of dance all their own. He proposed to her through dance. They announced their first pregnancy together through dance. They performed together on "Dancing with the Stars" when Allison worked there as one of the pros. They celebrated Allison's ninth month of pregnancy with their second baby via a motivating dance, and they warmed the hearts of followers with family and friend dances on TikTok.

It's not often that a celebrity can reach so many people and resonate so strongly with their best dreams and hopes for the world, but Stephen "tWitch" Boss was one of those men. He will be missed in every community that treasured his unique combination of dance, laughter, and warmth.

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