Cat Deeley Talks SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


May 21, 2009 by  

Cat Deeley - So You Think You Can Dance

Cat Deeley - So You Think You Can Dance

The beautiful and talented Cat Deeley is by far my favorite host on television. Her sweet and loving nature paired with her biting humor is a big reason why fans tune in each week.  To the contestants, she’s more than someone who just emcees the show; she’s a the mother/sister/wannabe girlfriend that helps the contestants stay positive despite the physical and emotional strains of the show.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a press call where Cat answered reporters questions on the new season, what it’s like to be the host and how she is personally involved in her always stunning wardrobe.

Tune in to see Cat as Season 5 of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE kicks off tonight at 8/7c on Fox.  We’ll be convering the show in depth this summer on GMMR so I hope you’ll join us!

Does that kind of surprise you, how diverse the dancers are in style and type and so forth?

Cat Deely: Actually, that’s the very nature of the show, and that’s what we like to celebrate. We like to celebrate people from all different races, religions, backgrounds, colors, creeds. You know, that’s the whole idea of the show, is that anybody from any background at all with any training can come on the show, and as long as they’ve got the talent and passion and they’re prepared to work hard, and also show their personality, of course, they are more than welcome to be on the show. We’re looking for stars. We’re not necessarily looking for a certain body type or a certain style or anything like that. We’re looking for America’s favorite dancer, which doesn’t necessarily mean the best. I’m certainly not asking people to fit in certain boxes. We’re not asking people to fit in certain molds. We’re kind of all-encompassing. We want people who the American public are going to identify with and are going to pick up the phone and vote for, and that’s what’s so special about our show.

What dance style took you by surprise when you saw it on the show?

C. Deeley You know what got me the very, very first time I saw it was Crumping. Lil C came on to our show, who’s a choreographer, and did Crumping for the first time, and it was absolutely incredible. It’s almost like fighting and sparring, and there’s so much kind of pent-up aggression to it, but it’s in the form of dance, which I just think is incredible, you know, that real energy.

So, since then, we’ve had other people on the show perform the dance by themselves, and I remember from last season, it was Twitch and Kherington. They did an amazing routine, and it was so different. I mean, Kherington was kind of a contemporary dancer, and normally it’s all about lines and elegance and flowing, and this was hard-hitting and tough and street, and it’s great to see people take on different styles like that and really own them. I think that’s what’s so interesting about our show, you know, we do take a street dancer or a breaker and we go what you do is absolutely amazing, your specialty is incredible, but now we’re going to put you in a sparkly shirt and some tight, black pants, and you’re going to have to perform a salsa.

I mean, it’s interesting to watch, because some really step up to the plate and really go for it and kind of slick back their hair. I talk to them at the end of it, and they go, “I would never in a million years have thought I could do a waltz or a salsa or a Paso Doble, but I bloody enjoyed it,” you know? So, that’s the really interesting developments in the show.

Tabitha and Napoleon and Sonya were just some of the really great new choreographers last season. Will we see any new choreographers this season, perhaps some of the old dancers coming back, like Dmitry and Benji have in the past?

C. Deeley You know what? I think quite possibly they’ll all be. We haven’t confirmed any choreographers yet for the show, because … our schedules and their schedules, and also getting the right balance of all different styles every week. It’s a bit of a juggling act that we have to do, so we haven’t confirmed anybody yet, but you know our whole mission on the show is to entertain, surprise, and delight. So, the people that you mentioned like Tabitha, Napoleon, and also Sonya will definitely be back.

We’d also like to see some old faces that are back on the show, because the whole idea of the show is that it is a family and it very much is. We don’t fake that for the screen. That’s what happens. All the dancers know each other. On the Fourth of July, the dancers from the previous season come around to my house for a barbecue, and that’s what we do and we capitalize on that. It is a family atmosphere. There are a lot of friends there, and like I said before, friends for life. So, absolutely. We’d love to see some of the old contestants back.

One of the highlights from last year was seeing Joshua do the Bollywood routine. Is there a chance to putting more of an international flavor on the show?

C. Deeley Actually, we’d like to embrace all different types of choreography and styles and nationalities. To be honest, the Bollywood choreography was such a huge success, and actually what we … kind of a universal world at the moment, we do have all these different cultures available to us and all these different art forms and we absolutely should embrace it. I know that Nigel is very adamant that we should bring these new styles to the show and put them in people’s homes where they wouldn’t normally have their eyes opened up to it. So, to give them something new, whether they’d like it or whether they’d hate it is great, just to have people slightly educated and to have an opinion about it is brilliant.

During the audition process, did you notice that one city produces better dancers overall?

C. Deeley You know what, it’s not that they produced better dancers, but definitely some cities produced more dancers, you know? It’s more of the numbers, really, and it tends to always be on the east coast and on the west coast, because naturally that’s where dancers that are professionally trained, they always kind of gravitate to those areas because that’s where they go for work and for jobs and Broadway and all those kinds of things. So, we always tend to pick up quite a few people in New York or around there and also LA., but the other cities that we visit, it’s amazing when you just get this real kind of gem that just shines from out of everybody else, in places like Utah, in Salt Lake City. They really produce some great dancers, too. So, I would say the only real difference is the numbers.

Would you every consider being a judge?

C. Deeley Oh God, no. I have absolutely no kind of technical training whatsoever. I mean, I can see people’s star potential, you know? You can’t describe that and you can’t describe what makes somebody a star, but it’s that certain special quality, that certain je ne sais quoi, that X factor that you can’t quite put your finger, and quite often I can identify that. I can see somebody walk onto the stage, and you don’t know why but you just can’t take your eyes off them. I can definitely tell that. Also, if there’s a particular dance or a particular piece of choreography that moves me, I can appreciate it. I can’t tell you the technicalities of it. I can’t tell you was that … done exactly … I can’t tell you any of that, but I can tell you that some of the routines that we’ve had on the show choreographed by the likes of Mia Michaels or Wade Robson literally gives me chills. I mean, the hairs on my arms stand on end. So, I can tell when something’s magical and wonderful, but I can’t tell you why. So absolutely not, I’m definitely not the person to make comments.

Have you seen any reaction or response or you felt any difference in the auditions this year because of the success that Chelsea Hightower had on Dancing with The Stars this year?

C. Deeley Do you know what? I think just in general every year it seems to get bigger and better. Everybody always says to me, “What’s different about the show this year? What’s different?” And I’m always kind of like it’s the same show you know and love, but back bigger and better. The stunts are bigger. The choreography is more impressive. But all these different things happen in the show, and that’s great, and I think that’s what people really appreciate. Therefore, because the show comes back bigger every single year, the dancers are elevated to an even higher position once the show finishes, you know.

It’s not just people who were on TV that are on, say, Dancing with The Stars. I mean, on Dancing with the Stars we’ve had Lacey and Dmitry and Chelsea, there is a career after the show, I think, which is what people are really, really seeing now. Even if it’s not on another TV show, it could be that somebody like Mariah Carey rings up or Avril Lavigne, and goes, “Okay, we’d love you to come on tour. We’d love you to be a featured dancer.” Some of them even become backing vocalists as well, and it’s kind of that real sense of adventure and this could lead anywhere. The world is my oyster.

So, I don’t think it’s just down to the one particular show. I don’t think it’s just down to Chelsea or just down to Dancing with The Stars, but as So You Think You Can Dance gets bigger, I think people realize that the opportunities grow, too, and they’re opportunities that don’t very often come along for them. But like I said before, normally they’re backup guys, they’re the team players that aren’t necessarily in the spotlight themselves, so if we can elevate them to that position and they can go on to have a phenomenal career after this, that’s amazing. It’s genie-in-the-lamp time.

What’s the most challenging part of being the host of the show is?

C. Deeley The most challenging part without a shadow of a doubt is Thursdays and saying goodbye to people. I hate it, because my whole thing with the show is that I get so close to the dancers. I see them every single week. I see how they grow. I go through rehearsals with them. I see things that even the audience at home don’t get to see, you know, I see when they’re really tired. I see something’s going on with their family. I see if they’ve got some kind of injury. I’m also part of their journeys right from the very start. Like I said before, as they’re lining up outside the theater to do their auditions and nervous and they’re scared, I see them then. I see them grow to be the stars that they are and performing in the way that they do. I also see how the audience in the studio react to them and this amazing buzz they get.

So, to me, to say goodbye to one of them every single Thursday is just a nightmare. My makeup artist is always like, “Okay, the waterproof mascara is going on today, and, by the way, do not cry, girl, because if you come off looking like a member of KISS, I am going to kick your ass.” So, that’s always, always, always my hardest thing.

Is there a lot of behind-the-scenes drama?

C. Deeley You know what, there’s always drama, because what we’re putting them through is so difficult, doing two shows a week, at certain points in the show they’re learning two different routines, they’re being paired with different people every week, which just in terms of trust issues and … spin them around above their heads. I’m always incredibly in awe of how trusting and they have to form this chemistry together almost instantaneously. So, you do see things that go on. I’m just left incredibly in awe.

I have to say, when I first started the show, I thought it would be incredibly competitive between all the dancers, particularly when they’re lining up to do their auditions or whatever, I thought it would be really kind of cutthroat and highly competitive, but in actual fact there is a complete sense of camaraderie between them all, because in actual fact, when we get to the studio, nobody understands what they’re going through, the emotional and physical pressures on them as much as they do each other. So, they can tell their families, they can tell their friends, they can try and express how they’re feeling. When they have to see someone go home every week, it’s not the nicest feeling in the world, because they automatically become so attached to each other. They’re taking ordinary people and putting them in this extraordinary situation.

So, it’s definitely difficult for them, but you know what, they’re team players, and that’s what we see behind the scenes. You see the friendships that are formed., and all I see is friendships that are formed for life, because it’s like a pressure cooker, what we put them through. We put them into the studio with lights and cameras and it’s live and it’s different routines every week and someone has to go home every week and it’s like a pressure cooker. So, I think they have these relationships that will be with them for life.

Do you choose you choose your wardrobe yourself or do you have someone that does that for you?

C. Deeley I have had a wardrobe person, but I also get very heavily involved myself. Like, I love vintage clothes, so I often go to flea markets or vintage shops and find things and change them or take straps or raise the hem or put a belt around. I’m very, very involved, and this season, I’m going to be doing it all myself, because actually it works better like that, I think. I love the fact that people wait to see what I’m wearing. I know sometimes it is silly and sometimes it’s extreme and sometimes it’s completely out there, but I would much rather people either love it or hate it, but have an opinion about it, rather than just saying, “Oh yeah, I don’t really care.” You know? I would much rather people either love it or hate it and sit there and wait to see what I come out in.

I also think it would be ridiculous if I was in a vest and jeans, I would just look ridiculous next to some of the costumes that the dancers have to wear. Sometimes they’re dressed as matadors or angels and devils or clowns or whatever it is. So, it would just look like the weirdest thing when they have to come over to me and I kind of put my arm around them and we go to the judges. So, I embrace the silliness and the joy and the fashion and all that kind of stuff. So, I hope the people at home do, too. Love it or hate it, at least I make you have an opinion about it.

What advice can you give to those who would like to come and audition for the show. Any tidbits that help?

C. Deeley Yes. You know what my advice would be? It would be yes, prepare your audition, and yes, be great at what you do and have confidence and all those kinds of things, but I think also a really, really important thing, and I think actually now we’re about to embark on Season 5, we’re heading into Season 6, I think the dancers have realized as well that they have to bring their personality.

With our show, dance is the narrative that runs through the show, but the thing that all the audience connect with is the human element to the show. They want to know people’s stories. They want to know people’s trials and tribulations and successes and failures, because that’s what people really identify with. If you’re a funny guy, bring your humor, you know? If you’ve got an incredibly courageous story, then tell us about it. Don’t hold back. We want to know everything about you.

We don’t want to do a thing where all of a sudden you turn around and you suddenly give us your personality when we’re six weeks into the show, and by that point the audience has identified with certain characters and not with others and you’ve kind of missed the boat because people aren’t voting for you. It’s all about making yourself as accessible to the American public as possible, because they’re the guys who are going to get off their sofas and pick up the phone and vote for you. That’s what the judges are looking for. They’re looking for that star quality. They’re looking for the personality. They’re looking for people who can be stars, so don’t hide it. Bring it and show us the all, you know?


3 Responses to “Cat Deeley Talks SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE”

  1. Cat Deeley Talks SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE | Joe Hosting on May 21st, 2009 4:01 pm

    […] the whole story on Give Me My Remote Share and […]

  2. Sarah on May 21st, 2009 5:38 pm

    I have just got to say that I am SO EXCITED for the premier of SYTYCD tonight! It is my favorite reality show by far. And I agree with you, Cat is the best host on TV and seems like an all around lovely person.

  3. Toast with JAM on May 23rd, 2009 2:00 am

    The personality of Kherrington didn’t really come through for me last season. She wasn’t as invested into the characters of her dances as someone like Katee or Courtney. I really enjoyed the guy Cherizio or whatever his name was. I was comparing him to Twitch, but I could see Napoleon chomping at the bit to get ahold of him! He wanted that guys ability paired up with his and Tabitha’s choreography. Can’t wait til next week!

    Glad to see Natalie highlighted. Too bad that she didn’t make it through last season when Jessica probably should have been cut (since everyone hated her). Maybe Natalie would have been a better partner for Will?