When So You Think You Can Dance premieres its seventh season on Thursday (8/7c on Fox), viewers will notice some major changes. Choreographer Mia Michaels will be a permanent judge — taking Mary Murphy's place — and the 10 finalists will pair up with previous all-star contestants, resulting in only one eliminated dancer per week. Both the performance and results show will air live. As host Cat Deeley puts it, "Anything can happen — and it will." TVGuide.com spoke to Deeley about what advice the all-stars will have for the newbies, why she calls Michaels "bonkers," and how her wardrobe on the show has inspired her to create a jewelry line.
TVGuide.com: What do you think about Mia Michaels becoming a permanent judge?
Cat Deeley: I love it. I love Mary Murphy too. She's still going to be part of the family, still going to do choreography for us, but Mia is held is such high esteem by the dance world. She's a genius in terms of her choreography and I can't wait to see her on the panel. The dancers really want to hear what she's got to say. They really respect her opinions and she very rarely sugarcoats them. She's very honest and even if she criticizes, it's constructive criticism. I love the fact that she's a little bit bonkers. Let's face facts: She would be the first person to turn around and go, "I am." I love that whole element, somebody who's a genius from the dancer's respect, who can relate to the audience, and is a little crazy.
TVGuide.com: Are you excited to have all-stars?
Deeley: Can't wait. Seeing them all again, it's like having all my babies back. It'll be great to see them all again just in terms of finding out what they're doing and how they are, but I also think the top 10 this year will really be able to learn so much from them. I don't think anybody at all, no matter how much you empathize, fully understands this process as much as the people who have been through it themselves. Quite often what were essentially doing is taking ordinary people and putting them in the most extraordinary situation. It's tough both mentally, emotionally and physically and I think that the advice that the all-stars will be able to give our top 10 this year will be absolutely invaluable to them.
TVGuide.com: What kind of advice do you think the all-stars will give them?
Deeley: Having hindsight is an incredible thing and at the end of it, they always go, "I just wish I had enjoyed that bit a little more or not worry so much about that," because there can only be one winner. If there can only be one winner, does that mean the other previous seasons' 19 people were losers? It's all about having a life experience and you get elevated into a national stage here in America and all these opportunities become available to you. You get to work with some of the best choreographers in the whole world and dancers develop relationships they will have forever.
TVGuide.com: What else is in store for the new season?
Deeley: Before we would prerecord the performance show and then go live on the results show, but this year we're actually going live with both shows. Basically anything can happen and it will. Just from experience there's always going to be those moments where something's going to go wrong or a piece of scenery is going to come down. No matter what happens, mistakes can happen, accidents, but whatever happens as long as you deal with it in the right way, the audience will love to see it. It feels as though they're part of the gang; it makes it very real.
TVGuide.com: So is this the year you'll be nominated for the reality hosting Emmy?
Deeley: I don't know; please campaign for me. I would absolutely love one. I presented it last year and I went backstage and there was literally an entire table full of them. I said, it's a good thing there are no pockets in this dress, otherwise one of those would have gone missing. [Jeff Probst] is great, but everything he does I do in high heels and a minidress.
TVGuide.com: How has your style on the show led you to creating your own jewelry line?
Deeley: I dress myself on the show and I wear everything from High Street designers to vintage. My friends say, "How did you find that; where did you get it?" So I started doing a vintage-inspired jewelry line on QVC. The way quite a few women feel about vintage is, we see it in magazines and we see people wearing it, but lots of people don't have the time or the inclination or the know-how to shop. It's a way for the normal American woman to be able to get that vintage-inspired look, and it's so diverse. I can give my jewelry to my goddaughter, my mom or to my grandmother, and they would all interpret it slightly different, but it's absolutely wearable for women of all ages.