After Cancer Scare, Mary Murphy's Hot Tamale Train Keeps Chuggin' Along

Given “So You Think You Can Dance’s" record-setting ratings in its Season Eight bow, we’re pretty sure you were thrilled that Mary Murphy’s Hot Tamale Train is back on track.

“I'm at the top of my energy,” says (but not quite shrieks) Murphy, who returned to the judging panel after a season-long hiatus that was due partly to her choreographing demands away from the show and partly to surgery for thyroid cancer that threatened – but failed – to rob her of her signature whoops.

“It's the reason why I didn't come back to the panel, or to choreographing in the summertime,” Murphy explains. Though she did pop in for guest shots and had planned on putting together some dance routines for Season Seven, her schedule and her need for medical attention kept her train in the station.

“I was actually planning on choreographing; as you know, I was in several shows,” she says. “By the time summertime came along and with the schedule that I already had, I started to get more tired, I started to lose my voice, I started to have a hard time swallowing. And I knew something was up and then I went to the doctor finally.  So my friends convinced me to get back in there.  Thank God they did.”

Murphy says after treatment she finally got the all-clear notice just as she was evaluating a surprisingly deep roster of ‘SYTYCD” hopefuls in Atlanta alongside fellow judges Nigel Lythgoe and Lil’ C. “I was told I was cancer free. I had my final PET scan right before Atlanta and I was on top of the world by the time we started airing and taping that show that day.”

She hasn’t regained her previous squeal-power just yet.

“My vocal chords still seem to be quite irritated.  If I talk all day I still kind of lose my voice – but I'm just so grateful I have one,” she says. “It definitely won't affect the Hot Tamale Train.  If I did give a shout out and a wahoo after that, I'm not sure yet if I'm completely up to par.”

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