ML - Vegas Magazine

2013 - Issue 5 - September

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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Page 124 of 163

I f there's one person who truly understands a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week town like Las Vegas, it's Cat Deeley, a woman who barely has time in her schedule to sleep. Between juggling her job as the beloved host of So You Think You Can Dance, serving as a UNICEF ambassador, and finding time to see her new husband, who's based in London, this star could use a holiday. But not today. Today she has to get all her errands done before welcoming her hubby back to town, after which she'll hop on a party bus with a bunch of girlfriends to head to the Beyoncé concert. So, in addition to her Chanel clutch, she's lugging a bunch of eco-friendly sacks for a supermarket run and a garment bag containing a gorgeous Etro dress she found at the outlets in Palm Springs to wear on SYTYCD, so she can stop and pick up jewelry to match. (Naturally, she's her own stylist on the show as well.) Multitasking is the new black for many television personalities, and Deeley handles it with the patience of a Zen master and a cheery-cumlaid-back demeanor. But it's nothing novel for the 36-year-old native of Birmingham, England, who began her career as a model and spent almost a decade as a TV personality on the British variety show CD:UK. "When I was younger, I did a three-hour live show every single week, which was comedy sketches and competitions— and the third hour turned into a music show," she says. "So I'd have bands on, do interviews, and bring 300 kids into the audience. I did that 52 weeks a year for eight years." But there's busy and there's "filming SYTYCD in Vegas" busy, which takes it to a whole different level. For the past nine years, Deeley has traveled to Las Vegas—from Los Angeles or New York or London—for the show's most grueling week. For the contestants, it's one of the most nail-biting parts of their tenure on the series, as the group is whittled down to the final 20, who go on to Hollywood to compete for the title. They have little time to blow off steam—in fact, for some it's the steam that keeps them going, hoofing it from sunrise to sunset. Sometimes even sunrise to sunrise. SYTYCD's Vegas week is so important that the show's permanent judges—Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy—expanded the panel this season with a rotating cast of celebrity guests, who relish handing out dance's equivalent of Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket almost as much as the dancers love being chosen to move on to the next round. "When the kids win a ticket to Vegas, it feels right," Deeley says. "It doesn't feel like, Here's a ticket to Pittsburgh. It's taking people from all over America who maybe have never been to Vegas and making it all part of the experience. The entertainers who perform in the city are world-class, and it brings a level of gravitas to the show, and also to the kids who've made it that far." But the 24-hour-a-day work is not only for the performers; it's equally grueling for the SYTYCD judges and host. So you can imagine what it's like when these big personalities get a rare night off. During the current season's Vegas week, Deeley took everyone to the Prince concert. "I love everything about him," she says. "So I found out he was at the Rio. I got a big table for everybody. We had the best time! Everybody got up on the tables and then onto the stage and danced with him." While fellow reality-competition hosts Carson Daly and Ryan Seacrest may have cornered the market on boyish charm, Deeley is the only hostess out there whom the audience similarly adores. Mention Cat Deeley to most anyone—your best friend, your neighbor, even your super-cranky grandfather who doesn't even watch TV—and he or she will immediately break into a grin. "I love her!" they'll say, before launching into the story of how Deeley once bent down to fix a SYTYCD contestant's shoe after a particularly rigorous dance routine, then immediately popped up and resumed the interview, and did it with grace, humor, and style. "I don't really take myself too seriously, because I can't," Deeley says. "I'm never going to be that sophisticated woman who's so put together that her bra and knickers always match. I've reached the grand old age of 36, and I'm fully embracing the fact that I'm not perfect, I'm a bit klutzy, my nose bends one way, and I don't have any boobs. I'm quite fun to hang out with and to go and have cocktails with—and I think perfection is really boring, actually." Deeley's relatability isn't calculated. She has a self-deprecating charm that comes across as authentic only in someone who genuinely isn't afraid to embarrass herself. "So many women on American TV look the same and have a similar style, but I do my own thing," she says. "I bamboozled people for a little while," she adds, laughing. But it worked. "Now I've kind of grown on them. I know what it takes to listen properly to people, which means quite often before the show, I'll really practice things so I'm not thinking about, Are they in the right spot? What's my next camera? I worked all that out so I can just listen to people and talk to them." "WHEN THE KIDS [ON SYTYCD] WIN A TICKET TO VEGAS, IT FEELS RIGHT." —CAT DEELEY VEGASMAGAZINE.COM 115 112-117_V_FEAT_CoverStory_Sept13.indd 115 8/6/13 4:11 PM

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