Reality show/talent contest “So You Think You Can Dance” kicks off its 10th season with a two-part premiere on Fox on May 14, 2013 (at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT) and May 15, 2013 (at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT). “So You Think You Can Dance” longtime judges Nigel Lythgoe (who is one of the show’s executive producers) and Mary Murphy have signed on for this season. And so has Emmy nominee Cat Deeley, the host of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
While other talent shows on Fox (such as “American Idol” and “The X Factor”) have had frequently changing lineups of judges in recent years, the star lineup on “So You Think You Can Dance” has more or less remained steady for the past few years. (Murphy took leave of absence in 2010.) In a recent telephone conference call with reporters, Deely talked about what she thinks doing the show after all these years, what people can expect from her often-talked-about fashion choices, and what she’s most excited about for the show’s 10th season.
What’s the format going to be this year for “So You Think You Can Dance”?
To be honest, I am purely the monkey; you need to be asking the organ grinder. We are definitely going to do a couple of nights for the premiere. Then, I think we’re going to kind of see how it plays out, in all honesty.
When we come to the studio show, there won’t be a results show as in the last season. I think some of them might be two hours long and all those kinds of things. It’s a big moving feast, as they say.
You’ve been through different formats over the years. Which one do you prefer?
I actually think that combining the results and the performance show, I think makes for a better show. I think there’s more jeopardy, because you know who’s in danger and who’s not before they perform. Also, I like the idea that the results are quite a short process rather than being a long drawn-out one, because quite often when we had that hour show for the results show, it could feel as though it was really kind of going so slowly. I know that we have to build the tension and I know it’s obviously, it’s that critical moment when you reveal who’s going home. It’s not that we throw it away, but it just doesn’t feel quite as laborious.
Going in to the 10th season, do you find that you’re not going to be blown away by the performances or do you find that you’ll have favorite again?
I have to be honest, you always go in to a season with a little trepidation because you always think to yourself, are we going to find people with the same incredible talent as last year? Will we be able to find another tWitch, or another Dominic [Sandoval] or another Kathryn [McCormick] or Travis [Wall], whoever it is? Then, you start the season and you suddenly go, actually it’s not about finding another tWitch or another Dominic or another Allison [Holker]. It’s about finding another unique individual with their own creativity, passion, interpretation of music.
I think that’s one thing that I’ve definitely really seen this year is people are getting very, very creative with the different styles and their choices of music. They know now that we are in Season 10, so we’ve seen people run up walls and do back flips. We’ve seen 10 pirouettes all in one go, so they’ve got to do something that’s a little big unique and normally that involves doing something with the music, so say putting a hip-hop routine to a classical piece of music or giving the dance a story. It’s about their own creativity.
Also, the big thing for me that I’ve seen this season is we’ve got lots of newbies. We’ve got lots of people trying out for the very, very first time, which is great. It means that within the dance community, we’re still a relevant show. We’re still a relevant part of their career process, which I think is brilliant.
The thing that I don’t think is so brilliant is when I say to them, a little 18-year-old, and then I turn around and I go, “So why do you want to be on this show?” “Well, I’ve been watching the show since I was 9, and I’ve just been waiting until ….”
I’m like, “Get out. Get out of here. Don’t knock on my door again.” I feel like a dinosaur. It’s kind of nice to see these newbies come through again, you know?
On a personal level, do you think there’s something that you could do in your life that you could challenge someone and say, “So you think you can [fill in the blank]?”
I always think, so you think you can scare yourself? I love it when you do something different. When you take a new challenge, when you do something as an adult that scares you a little bit and takes you back to being 7 and three quarters again. To me, that’s the best thing you can possibly do and it makes you challenge yourself. It takes you out of your comfort zone, and quite often, you discover new things that you love or new things that you’re good at or you’re passionate about.
How much of Gangnam style will we be seeing in the auditions?
I actually don’t think we saw any Gangnam style. I think it’s very much its own entity. I don’t think anybody would rival the main man himself. Do you know what I mean? I don’t think there was any Gangnam style. Maybe Nigel [Lythgoe] will break in to it at some stage or another. Probably, knowing him.
Is there something you can tease about an audition that made you or the judges cry?
There were definitely moments that did. There were. It always tends to be if somebody’s got a story. There’s a really cute moment between a girl and her father, and the father brought the girl up on his own. He was like a total dance dad and followed her around, and then took her to dance lessons and ended up falling in love with her dance instructor and marrying. Now they’re all like one big, giant family, and he takes her everywhere.
In amongst this gaggle of kind of dance moms, stage moms, there was always the dad. He’d sit there and go with his daughter and it was just a lovely. I don’t know, they kind of really stuck together through thick and thin, and then the outcome of it all was so lovely. The whole fact that he got together with her dance teacher was incredible.
What are you thinking this season about your wardrobe, your hair, your makeup? Are you planning anything? Are you doing anything different?
I’m always on the lookout, you know. I’m always, always on the lookout. I get inspiration from all different things. Some of them I probably shouldn’t, in all honesty.
It could be anything from a movie, to a piece of art, to some amazing fashion shoot that I’d seen. I was actually quite inspired the last couple of days by the Met Ball. They’ve gone punk for the Met Ball this year. I’m thinking maybe we should do a bit of a punk-rock type of look.
I mean we’ve gone down the Siouxsie Sioux/Debbie Harry route before, but I’m thinking we could maybe push it a little bit farther. The whole look will carry through. You know what I’m like; I like to really push the boundary, because on this show, you can. You can have fun with it.
I’ve got a few ideas. I started to kind of collect things together. I’ve been to some vintage stores when we’ve been doing all the different audition cities. There will also be a day with hair and makeup where we sit with a whole bunch of magazines and just go through everything with possibly a glass of champagne and do a mood board. That will be a fun day.
Do you have any specific beauty tips or makeup tips or secrets you want to share?
Oh my goodness. You know what? I think it’s about really paying attention to the changes in your skin and also how you feel. I think so often you can get really locked in to a certain beauty regime, but maybe as you get older or if you change location. For me, moving to L.A. after being in England, my skin got really dry, because it’s essentially desert here.
I think it’s the pay attention to the changes in your body, and then change your beauty regime to accommodate it. I’ve started going to an amazing dermatologist called Dr. Lancer. He’s great. He uses light therapies and all those different types of things but he’s also mixes in things like if your skin is super dry, use olive oil. You know, there are different alternatives and I think it’s to be smart with your choices.
If you can think back to when you first became associated with “So You Think You Can Dance,” did you honestly think that this had this much staying power? If you did, why did you think so?
No, of course not. I had no idea. You know, for me it was one of those things where I’d seen the show and I loved it. They’d done Season 1, so I went to see the show and I absolutely loved it. Loved everything about it. Loved the fact it was celebrating the American dream.
I thought the kids were amazing. Loved the whole fact that it was going to be live. Loved it, loved it, loved it. But you just never know. You know? You can only go with your head and your gut.
My head was telling me it was a great show, and my gut was telling me you’re going to love doing it. I kind of packed up my bags and moved over here, so for me it was a really, really big step. Of course I had faith in it and I really hoped it was going to be a success, but you never know. I couldn’t envisage that 10 seasons later, we’d still be going.
Like I said earlier, the great thing about the show is that there are newbies coming to it now as well, like 18-year-olds, which means that we’re still relevant and we’re still very much embraced by the dance community. Then, the people at home that watch the show are so passionate about it. Our show is one of those ones where it doesn’t get the ratings of “American Idol” or “The Voice” or whatever, but it does really, really well; and our audience is a real hard-core passionate audience.
Our show is one of those that if you don’t know it’s on, you probably don’t know it even exists. But if you like it, you love it. That’s the great thing, it’s while people keep watching it, we’ll keep giving it to them. Our core audience has stuck with us and stuck with us and stuck with us.
How are you keeping yourself from not being blasé about it?
That’s a really good question. It’s essentially two parts. Firstly, the adrenaline kicks in. The adrenaline kicks in, somebody performs, and it just—it’s your body kind of pumping this chemical. You know, it’s almost like you’re putting your body in to fight or flight mode where you could really screw up and so what your body does is it’s actually a chemical reaction where it pumps adrenaline to help you cope with the heightened situation you’re about to put yourself in. There’s a chemical reaction that happens by your body, and if you embrace that, you kind of get there anyway.
Actually, it’s really funny. I actually did an interview with U2 and I asked them the very same question. You go touring all the time and you do all these things, and bear in mind they’re playing stadiums so their adrenaline goes through the roof, but even still it must sometimes get [repetitive].
And Bono actually said a really smart thing and he goes, “You know what you do? He says, “You fake it until you make it a little bit.” I go, “What do you mean?” And he said, “Get it going, your adrenaline pumps, you go with it; go with it, go with it. Then you start it and you just get yourself in to the gear of it, get yourself in it.” For him, it’s like, “Hello, Wembley,” or “Hello, London.” Do you know what I mean?
You get yourself there, and then your body takes you to the next place, because actually you’re doing something that you absolutely love that you get so much enjoyment out of. Your body’s helping you out at the same time you get there. It’s the funniest thing. It happens.
It’s like fake it until you make it. You fake it just to start it off, and then your body shifts and you genuinely go in to performance mode and you’re like, I am having a blast. Nobody on this planet loves what they do more than I do. Do you know what I mean?
Do you have another natural beauty tip besides the olive oil?
Another natural one. What else do I do? Well, I guess I use eyelash curlers. Loads of people don’t use them because they look really, really scary. They look almost like old-fashioned torture devices that were kind of back in 16th Century England. But an actual fact, if you can master the art of the eyelash curler, and then put on mascara, you look so much more awake.
If you can just do it, brave it. Do it, go very, very gently first of all. Then just learn how to do it. It’s amazing. I don’t know a makeup artist who doesn’t do it. It doesn’t cost you anything. You just do it really quickly. Put your mascara on and it makes you look so much more awake.
What’s your secret to having good constant overall energy?
I actually take B-12. I take supplements of B-12 because I have quite low levels of B-12 anyway, so if I take them, it gives me plenty of energy. I try and remember as much as possible to drink water. Wherever you can grab a bottle carry it with you, because it’s one of the worst things we can possibly do is dehydrate ourselves. For me, I love doing yoga too.
I like to do just a little bit of exercise every day. Even if it’s just a bit, I can walk. I’m in a canyon, so I just stick on a pair of sneakers, take my dog, walk down to the bottom of the hill, and walk back up again. Put my music on and have a little thing as I go along.
I’m outside and in the sunshine. I’m exercising my dog. It gets all your metabolism up and working, and I do it in about 40 minutes. Then, just jump in the shower.
If you can do a little bit every day, I think it’s so much more beneficial. Not just in terms of keeping you slim and getting your metabolism going but also in terms of keeping you in the right head space, making you breathe, getting the blood pumping, getting everything moving. I think it’s the best thing you can do.
If you can just give yourself 30 minutes. For me, if you can work out the best way to … it in so it is just 30 minutes, 40 minutes. I don’t do anything, I put my hair in a ponytail, and that’s it. I’m down the hill and back up, and then I’m in the shower and I start my day.
Is there anything else coming up for you that you want to mention?
Yes. We’re doing a show on TLC as well called “My Dream Wedding.” I give budget brides the day that they’ve dreamed of, which is kind of amazing. I get to be a fairy godmother for a day, which is lovely.
When does “My Dream Wedding” debut?
It’s going out in the autumn sometime. I haven’t got an actual date yet.
And you’re hosting?
What’s the most challenging part of being involved with “So You Think You Can Dance”?
You know what it is? When we’re live and in the studio, it’s about making decisions live on stage as to what to do next, because so often you know things can get funny. Things can get out of hand on the judges table.
Things can be emotional. People can cry. It’s all these different things that are brilliant for the people at home to see and to watch and to make the show.
You know, the idea behind this show is to surprise, delight, and entertain. That’s what we want to do. As a host, it’s about knowing the timing.
It’s about knowing where to take the show. When to move on. When to change the subject. When to hold on a subject. When to push the clock over.
You have to kind of make those decisions on the spot immediately. That, for me, it’s about making those calls and you’ve got to be in the moment but at the same time, you’ve got to remove yourself slightly from it. Just for an example, say for instance there was a routine and everybody was crying and it was incredibly emotional, undoubtedly, I will feel emotional too, but I can’t fall apart and I can’t allow the moment to just go on and on and on.
I’ve got to be able to rein it in and for it not to feel self indulgent and for us to be able to move on to the next thing. That for me, it’s about being in the moment but also being out of the moment too and being able to look at the show in its entirety. I don’t know if I’ve explained that properly, but I hope I have.
For more info: “So You Think You Can Dance” website
RELATED LINKS ON usedview.com:
Interview with Cat Deeley for “So You Think You Can Dance,” May 2009
Interview with Cat Deeley for “So You Think You Can Dance,” September 2009
Interview with Cat Deeley for “So You Think You Can Dance,” August 2010
“So You Think You Can Dance” interviews (2011 to present)
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