"So You Think You Can Dance" (Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET on Fox) might only be airing one night a week this season, instead of the usual two nights, but that's not such a bad thing.
I caught up with judge Mary Murphy and Emmy-nominated host Cat Deeley to talk about Season 9, their early favorites and their plans come Emmy night (the show is also nominated for the second year in a row for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program), including the surprising fellow nominee that Deeley thinks might have a streaking streak in them.
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I feel like the pressure's on this season because you only have one night a week now to watch these dancers, and to let America get to know them.
Murphy: "But we're getting another opportunity to see them dance again, which is really the most important thing. The very first cut before [we switched to one night a week] was even harsher because we'd only seen them dance one time, and then we ask them to dance for their life, then they're gone. Now they actually had the Top 20, then they had the performance, then they had to dance one more time, so we actually got to see them dance for three weeks, which was, for me as a judge, extremely helpful."
Deeley: "There is definitely pressure, but I also think that the judges and Nigel [Lythgoe] have been really, really smart this year by making them such an eclectic bunch, and really picking them out. Different personalities, different styles ... it makes it more interesting for the audience, and it makes it easier to get to know them."
Do you have any favorites already?
Murphy: "I don't, to be honest with you. I really don't. Last year, I was very honest that I thought Melanie Moore would be a frontrunner, and obviously she was and went on to win. Every week, she never let us down. None of these kids have really let anybody down yet, but we need a little bit more of a rollercoaster. Some of them have been very lucky and have drawn their styles -- we've seen some of them in their styles for three weeks -- and I'm ready to see them be challenged by doing something else. They're so talented that even the choreographers that are choreographing at the highest level, pulling out all the tricks, everything you can possibly imagine making them do for five hours, and it's not phasing them. I'm sure it was difficult, but watching them, they don't look like they've moved one finger wrong. It's very difficult to judge -- they look so brilliant."
Deeley: "I think there are definitely people who stand out right now. There's Matthew, who's like the Ryan Gosling beauty who Adam said the other week, 'It's yours to lose.' There's Cyrus, the animator, who kind of blows my mind. You watch him and you go, 'OK, I see what he's doing with my eyes, but my brain can't compute it.' He looks like a flip book -- it's weird. There's Cole and then there's Witney ... there are definitely people who stand out, but the one thing I always say is there are always dark horses that hurtle through at the end."
Obviously everyone on the show should be proud of the Emmy nomination, but in the hosting category, I think it's Cat's to lose!
Murphy: "I think she is the best host on television right now -- she's adorable and fun and she has a genuine care about how she's handling our contestants."
Deeley: "I actually think it's Seacrest's -- I really do. Listen, I think that it's about time he got it. He has to! He does an impeccable job, he makes it look easy, it's smooth as all hell, he does live shows and it's the biggest TV show on the planet. Ryan and I exchanged emails [the day of nominations]; Tom Bergeron and I, we're so cheeky together, it's just delicious. You know when you describe someone as 'twinkly'? He's got like a bit of twinkle to him. We have a bit of Twitter banter going on, because he also shared my award at the Critics Choice."
You and Seacrest and twinkly Bergeron need to plan something cute as hosts when your category is announced.
Deeley: "I hadn't even thought about that, but we should! Let's do it ... "
You can all bum rush the stage, streak ...
Deeley: "Listen, you're going to have to hold down Betty White -- she's a definite contender for streaking, that one. Big old slutbag! [Laughs.]"
Tell us: What do you think of this season of "So You Think You Can Dance" so far? And does Cat deserve the Emmy?
"So You Think You Can Dance" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. Read Katelyn Mullen's recap of the most recent episode here.