‘So You Think You Can Dance’ host Cat Deeley talks new season, punk rock

As the hostess of “So You Think You Can Dance,” Cat Deeley never expected the show (which she joined in season two) to last a whopping ten seasons. But now it’s back, returning with a two-night premiere on Tues. May 14 (8:00 – 9:00 p.m.) and Wed. May 15 (9:00 – 10:00 p.m.). Deeley spoke to reporters about what’s ahead in a conference call. Here’s what she had to say about the show’s previously “laborious” format, why she’s not looking for the next Kathryn or tWitch, and why she might be experimenting with a punk rock look next time we see her. 

So, what’s the format in season 10 going to be? We have a two-night premiere, but does that mean there’s going to be a results show again?

To be honest, I am purely the monkey and you need to be watching the organ grinder. We’re gonna see how it plays out. With the studio show there won’t be a results show, as in last season, but some might be two hours long. It’s a big moving feast, as they say. 

What format do you prefer? Do you miss the results show?

I actually think that combining the results [with the rest of the program] makes for a better show. There’s more jeopardy because you know who’s in danger and who’s not before they perform, and it’s quite a short process. Sometimes the results show could feel it was going so slowly. I know we needed to build the tension… it’s not that we throw it away, but it doesn’t feel quite as laborious.

Are you still as blown away by the dancers after so many years? 

You always go in with a little trepidation. Are we going to be able to find another tWitch or Kathryn or whoever it is? And we realize it’s not about finding another tWitch or Kathryn, it’s about finding a unique individual… [This season] people are getting very creative with the different styles and the choices of music. They know we’re in season 10, so they’ve got to do something a little bit unique, and normally that involves doing something with the music. We might see a hip hop routine set to classical music… we’ve got lots of newbies, lots of people trying out for the very first time… It means we’re still a relevant part of their career process. When I say to a little 18 year old, why do you want to be on the show, and [she says] oh, I’ve been watching since I was 9, I’m waiting for the day when I say go away, get off the stage. I feel like a dinosaur. But it’s kind of nice to see these newbies come through again. 

Any Gangnam style auditions this year? 

I don’t think we saw any. I think it’s very much its own entity. No one can match the man himself. Maybe Nigel will break into it at some stage or another.

Sometimes there are touching stories behind the performances. Can you tease anything? 

There were definitely moments. It always tends to be if somebody’s got a story… there’s a cute moment between a girl and her father. He brought her up on his own, was a total dance dad, and took her to dance lessons, and ended up falling in love with her dance instructor, and they…. got married. So in this gaggle of dance moms there was always this dad. They were lovely. They stuck together through thick and thin. 

Any ideas of what you’re going to wear this year? 

I was inspired a bit by the [Gala benefitting the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art]. It had a punk rock theme… [so I was thinking] maybe we should do a kind of a punk rock look. We’ve gone down the Siouxie Sioux/Debbie Harry route, but maybe we could push it a bit. So I’ve got a few ideas. I’ve started to collect things, I’ve been to some vintage stores when we went to the audition cities. 

When you signed on for this show, did you ever think you’d still be doing it all these years later? 

I had no idea. To me, it was one of those things, I’d seen the show and I loved it. Loved everything about it, loved that it was celebrating the American dream, loved that it was live, loved it. But you just never know. You can only go with your head and your gut… [so] I packed up my bags and moved over here. For me, it was a really big step. I really hoped it was going to be a success. But you never know. The great thing about the show is there are newbies coming to it, 18 year olds, which means we’re still relevant. It doesn’t get the ratings of “American Idol” or “The Voice” but it does really, really well and our audience is a hardcore audience. If you don’t know it’s on you don’t know it even exists but if you watch it you love it. 

What’s next for you?

We’re doing a show on TLC as well called “My Dream Wedding.” I give budget brides the wedding they always dreamed of. I get to be a fairy godmother a bit. It goes out in the autumn sometime. 

What’s the most challenging part of being involved with “So You Think You Can Dance”?

You know what it is? It’s about making decisions. When we’re live, it’s making decisions live on stage about what to do next. So often things can get funny or out of hand, things can get emotional, people can cry, it’s all these things that are brilliant for the people at home to see and watch. It’s our goal to surprise delight and entertain, but as the host it’s about timing, knowing when to move on, when to hold… when to push the clock over, and you have to make those decision on the spot. You’ve got to be in the moment, but you’ve got to remove yourself slightly from it.