When the story of 2008 is told, much ink will be spent on this year’s historic presidential campaign, the home-mortgage crisis, the flooding in the Midwest, the devastating earthquake and ensuing Olympic games in China, the box office juggernaut that is The Dark Knight, and that completely insane Wimbledon men’s final. Well, I don’t know about y’all, but I’m personally hoping that some small corner in the annals of history is also reserved for the moment that Cat Deeley, host of So You Think You Can Dance, suddenly became the coolest person on television. Yes, even cooler than Tim Gunn and the entire cast of Mad Men. Yes, I’m not kidding.
In truth, this moment has been in the works for a few weeks now, but I must confess I wasn’t hip to it until colleagues both on EW.com and in EW: The Magazine! took the time to sing Cat’s praises. Perhaps it was the lingering bouquet of sulfur and peppermint left behind by my snark demon, Smirkelstiltskin, after he forsook my shoulder for Cat’s bouffant, but I’d still regarded the leggy Brit as something akin to a Technicolor Chia Pet festooned with rhinestones and a tutu — adorable, harmless, and designed specifically for our mocking amusement. But then Cat’s outfits became increasingly more chic — aside from the occasional nautical number, of course — and, better still, she started talking back to the judges and treating the dancers like an adoring aunt who wears designer frocks and always has gum.
And then, last night, during a show in which guest judge Adam Shankman told Joshua and Chelsie that it was impossible for them to be so insanely good, Cat pulled off the most physically unachievable feat of the entire evening: She went gangsta. And. It. Worked. After Twitch showboated in a solo set to Midnight Touch’s ”Midas Touch” by sporting golden sneakers, golden glasses, and a golden grill (that is what you call those things, right?), Cat called him over to give out his numbers, then slipped on his gold glasses frames. Then Nigel told her to put the teeth/grill/bling on, too, and, shockingly, she obliged: ”Oh, come on, then, hand them over, spit and all.” Twitch looked incredulous. I looked incredulous. Heck, I’m pretty sure I even caught Smirkel behind Cat’s hair looking incredulous. But Cat was determined. In they popped, and before I even had time to wince, this sweet TV presenter from across the pond somehow transubstantiated into a sly and tough gangsta queen, mouthing with a perfect ghetto attitude, ”What? What?” to a hysterical judging panel and audience, but never, not once, crossing over into camp. ”The things we do for art,” Cat said afterward, while ridding her mouth of Twitch spit. ”That was art, ladies and gentlemen, nothing else.” I disagree. It was also cool. Insanely, hilariously cool — so cool, in fact, I now fully expect those corsage pom-poms on Cat’s feet to be the hot item on the Emmys red carpet this September. IV REAL. (Please note: I make no such claims for my own coolness or gangsta-osity. Quite the contrary.)
NEXT: Luck of the draw?