Cat Deeley talks about 'So You Think You Can Dance's fall season
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/03/2009
Cat Deeley claims she has mixed emotions about So You Think You Can Dance's sixth season airing this fall -- representing the first time the reality dance competition has left its annual summer timeslot.
"We are definitely meeting the audience demand and it is great that Fox has shown this level of confidence in promoting the show again and doing the next season straight off the back [of its recently-concluded fifth season this summer]," Deeley told reporters during a Thursday conference call.
"But if I'm being very, very honest, I am approaching it with a little bit of trepidation. You just don't know if it's all a bit too much too soon. But I have to say after going out on the road and meeting the new contestants that we've got coming through, I have to say that the standard of dancing is higher than ever and also characters are better than ever before too."
So You Think You Can Dance's sixth edition will premiere Wednesday, September 9 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox and will eventually have some stiff competition from other shows that air during the fall primetime programming season.
"It's much more competitive in the fall," Deeley told reporters. "But it's done so well so far, you can only go into it doing everything that we do and bring back the same show that people know and love -- but bigger and better. That's what we intend to do."
So You Think You Can Dance executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and former professional dancer Mary Murphy will both reprise their roles as regulars on the show's judging panel -- which will feature a series of guest judges filling in the panel's third seat, similar to the way it has been in past seasons.
However Deeley said she hasn't heard whether newly departed American Idol judge Paula Abdul has decided to accept Lythgoe's public offer to serve as one of So You Think You Can Dance's sixth-season guest judges.
"I have to say I don't know anymore about it," Deeley told Reality TV World.
"I know both Paula and Nigel are very good friends and I know that prior to even Paula leaving Idol I know that they talked about it a little bit -- because obviously she's a world-renowned choreographer and dancer. That's a talent that's not really exposed on American Idol and I think it would actually fit very well on So You Think You Can Dance."
Regardless of what role Abdul would undertake on the show, Deeley said she would welcome her aboard with open arms.
"I don't know what capacity she'd be involved in, but I have to say I'd love to see her on the [judging] panel," Deeley told Reality TV World. "It's just somebody who brings something else to the panel. They become almost like a catalyst for new ideas and new ways of thinking. So I think I would love to see her on... She really cares about the kids and her background is absolutely flawless. I think she'd be an incredible asset to the show."
Deeley also confirmed So You Think You Can Dance recently wrapped the first portion of its "Vegas Week" audition round and narrowed the season's hopefuls down to roughly 38 semifinalists -- from which the Top 10 guys and Top 10 girls will be chosen.
"We're looking for people that the American public can identify with and really connect with," she said about the hopefuls. "I think it's going to be a great season."
While she declined to provide specifics on who makes it through and who doesn't, Deeley did tease some of the styles that were brought to the table during auditions.
"I know that we have -- not that they've been picked into our Top 10 [guys and girls] yet -- but we have the most incredible crumper, which would be amazing for us," she explained. "Also, we've had lots of tappers audition this year. So I think you might even see like a full Broadway number with a group of tappers, which would be insane."
In addition, Deeley confirmed that Ryan Kasprzak -- the brother of fifth-season finalist Evan Kasprzak -- did return to audition for the show's sixth season and "did very, very well."
"His audition just blew everybody away," said Deeley. "So when you have that moment where they have to dance for their lives, he did the audition again, and it literally makes the hairs on your arm stand on end and you get chills. He was amazing during Vegas Week, but you're going to have to watch to find out [if he makes it]."
Deeley explained that she thinks the popularity of the show in recent years stems from a "familiarity" that viewers now have with it.
"I think it's definitely a case of that everyone knows the format now and everybody knows how the show works. They seem very comfortable with the format and they know exactly what's going to happen every week," she said. "Then there's just so many characters with different personalities and different strengths and weaknesses and I think that's what people find intriguing."
In addition to the audience being comfortable with the format, Deeley said those involved with the show have also come to know what to expect.
"We know what works. We know how to get the best out of the dancers and also to get the best from their personalities," she explained. "So I think it's kind of an amalgamation of all those things that have reached this point and I think the audience is just connected with us."
Deeley failed to receive a nod in the Emmy's Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program category, which will be awarded later this month to The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi and co-host Tom Colicchio, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron, Project Runway host Heidi Klum, or Survivor host Jeff Probst.
Deeley said the Emmy snub didn't really have an impact on her.
"To be honest, I hadn't even thought about it. I really hadn't," she told Reality TV World.
"I don't think I've been around long enough in America to really justify it and to be part of people's consciousness. I think, to be perfectly honest, it's going to take a couple more years before I even get a nod. I'm more than happy doing my thing and I love the show, and hopefully that's what comes across. I don't necessarily think I need awards to do that. I think viewers see how much I love the show and how much I enjoy my job. That's more than enough for me."
Since she's not competing in the category, Deeley offered her support to Seacrest.
"I think he does a great job. I don't know a man who works harder. He's unflappable that man. Literally a machine," she said. "He does it so impeccably, beautifully well. I think he's a bit of a genius."