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Fox keeps her on her toes -- hosting

She may not know any fancy moves, but Cat Deeley of `So You Think You Can Dance' scores with personality.

May 23, 2007|Greg Braxton | Times Staff Writer

Cat Deeley, the relentlessly upbeat host of Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," would be the first to admit it: She's out of step with her own show.

Or, to put it more bluntly, Cat can't dance.

"Oh, I'm absolutely terrible," Deeley said gleefully in a heavy British accent when asked about her own dancing skills.

"I'm really awful -- I don't have control over my flaming limbs. They're going all over the place. I've never been graceful. The only time I can really look good is when I'm next to my father, and I just move side to side."

Luckily for Deeley, being a decent hoofer is not required to host "So You Think You Can Dance," which returns Thursday at 8 p.m. for its third season. The series, which is the dance version of "American Idol," pits amateur dancers against each other in a competition to be named America's favorite dancer.

"Dance" and "Idol" were both created by veteran producer Simon Fuller, and the top contestants from both series perform in touring companies that have drawn sold-out crowds.

Armed with a peppy personality and eye-catching wardrobe, Deeley, 30, says one of her principal tasks is "making the dancers look good, since I can't dance myself."

She says she is thrilled "by the energy and unpredictable nature of live television. American audiences are so fab, screaming and going crazy. In Britain, it takes a lot just to get an audience to nod their heads and clap along."

Producers for "So You Think You Can Dance" were impressed with Deeley's background in live television in Britain, which included hosting several awards and variety shows.

In recent years, she's been an entertainment correspondent for "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and has appeared on "Good Morning America" and Fox's live New Year's Eve coverage from Times Square.

But don't call Deeley the female Ryan Seacrest. Although she respects the "American Idol" host, she really craves to be the next Diane Sawyer.

"I just love everything she does," Deeley said of the "Good Morning America" anchor. "Her career is just brilliant."

greg.braxton@latimes.com

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