A Look Back at the Time Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss Was Starstruck by Will Smith

Stephen 'tWitch' Boss
Q&A
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In light of the recent death of Stephen “tWitch” Boss, we’re looking back at a recent “5 Questions” we did with the So You Think You Can Dance alum months before his tragic passing at the age of 40. At the time, the Ellen star was in the midst of his first season as a judge on the dance competition that made him famous. Read on to learn more about tWitch, from his favorite shows as a kid to a starstruck moment with Will Smith.

When tWitch first auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance in 2007, he didn’t make it to the Top 20. The next year, he tried again and was crowned runner-up. In May, the summer staple returned for its 17th season with tWitch, born Stephen Boss, as the senior dance judge to JoJo Siwa and Leah Remini.

“This is where I got my start,” tWitch says. “And the full circle moment that has happened with me returning to the judges’ panel, especially off the heels of The Ellen Show ending. I met Ellen through So You Think You Can Dance. [The Ellen Show] ends, and I’m coming back. It’s just a very surreal kind of handoff.”

Ellen Degeneres and Stephen 'tWitch' Boss

Coming in second “was actually the biggest blessing, because of the fact that I did not get the money; I’m running through every single open door. It really, really did just work out. So I think that getting runner-up as opposed to winner was probably one of the greatest things that could happen, honestly.”

That word comes up again as he recalls the best advice producer Nigel Lythgoe gave him for judging: “Be honest.” And it’s the same approach he took to our “5 Questions.”

If you were not in show business, what would you be doing?

Probably a history teacher, high school, either American or African American history.

Growing up, what were your favorite shows?

Power Rangers was my show. And I always wanted to be He-Man. Superman is my favorite superhero of all time. I love The Arsenio Hall Show. I loved The Ricki Lake Show, Living Single, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin.

When were you starstruck?

The first time that I met Will Smith. I had heard of people being starstruck before. There’s that starstruck where you literally lose control of how your body is moving. And you’ve got to understand —I’m a fanatic. And when I saw him, I just kind of stuck my hand out. This was before Ellen. Allison [tWitch’s wife] and I were going into a restaurant in Dallas, and as we were going in the door, he and Willow were going out. He was just like, “Yo, what’s up?”

Allison Holker and Stephen "tWitch" Boss

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Have you ever had a ghostly experience?

Yes. But more than those, I’m going to say like spirits, like other beings, kind of let me know what was what. I feel like a lot of my past relatives and ancestors kind of hold me and sometimes kind of give me words of wisdom. I’m not scared of that at all.

If you could have one of those mythical dinner parties where anyone you want — dead or alive — can be there, who’s at the table?

Jay-Z and Beyoncé were there. Jay Shetty is there. Tupac is there. Kobe Bryant is there. Let’s see. The MC KRS-One is there as well. Shaq is there, and Richard Pryor.