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By Suzanne

Mary Murphy

Interview with Mary Murphy of "So You Think You Can Dance" on FOX  5/24/11.

FBC PUBLICITY: Mary Murphy So You Think You Can Dance Conference
May 24, 2011/9:00 a.m. PDT
Mary Murphy – Judge, So You Think You Can Dance
Michael Roach - Host


Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Mary Murphy So You Think You Can Dance conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Michael Roach. Please go ahead.

M. Roach Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us on this conference call today on behalf of the season eight premiere of So You Think You Can Dance with Judge Mary Murphy who's back as a resident judge this season. And just as a reminder, So You Think You Can Dance premieres this Thursday, May 26 at 8 p.m., 7:00 central on FOX and airs over the summer on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

And, Greg, that's about it for me. Thanks. We're ready to start with Mary Murphy.

Moderator Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, one moment please for the first question. Your first question comes from the line of Daedrian McNaughton from Premier Guide Media. Please go ahead.

D. McNaughton Hello, Mary. Thanks for taking the call today. How are you?

M. Murphy I'm doing really good. Thank you.

D. McNaughton So since you're a ballroom dance champion and a judge, how would you judge the dancing efforts of Kirstie Alley on Dancing With the Stars and would she have made it on So You Think You Can Dance?

M. Murphy Well, honestly, they're two completely different things. What Kirstie Alley has done, she's done a really good job but she could never, unfortunately, make it on So You Think You Can Dance.

So You Think You Can Dance is about people that, I want to say, they're real professional dancers and they're extraordinary throughout the world in what they do. So, unfortunately, as good as some of the dancers get on Dancing With the Stars, the celebrities would never make it on So You Think You Can Dance. It's just not the same thing at all.

D. McNaughton A little bit about your background. The president just reconnected with his Irish roots. Do you think you maybe distant cousins?

M. Murphy You never know. You know the Irish. We're always related to somebody. I haven't been back over there yet. I hope to. I still have relatives there actually. My mom was from Dublin and I had one brother that was born in England. Unfortunately, I didn't get my mother's English accent. I've got my father's West Virginia one. Darn it.

D. McNaughton Well thank you so much, Mary, and all the best. We'll be watching.

M. Murphy Okay. Thank you.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Mike Hughes with TV America. Please go ahead.

M. Hughes Hey Mary. I didn't know what order they actually did it in. What we see at first is the Atlanta session which is just fantastic, it's just great dancer after great dancer on the first day. Was that actually your first day of judging?
M. Murphy That was not my first day. I actually did New York before I had my surgery and everything. But I will say that I was told I was cancer free. I had my final PET scan right before Atlanta and I was on top of the world by the time we started airing and taping that show that day.

M. Hughes And then all those great dancers in a row. So that must have just been a super day for you, then.

M. Murphy It was like a party. Me and Nigel were looking at each other because this typically does not happen to us. Normally, we get that kind of reaction in New York and we didn't have that this year. And then at Atlanta there were so many amazing dancers. I mean, we couldn't even believe it, it was like two days of not even working at all because, usually, honestly during auditions we go for several hours and then we get an extraordinary dancer.

And then we go for several hours and then that dancer really peps us up for the next few hours to come. But in Atlanta, it was like just overwhelming, over kill of excitement, because we were just like left and right, handing tickets out to Las Vegas and looking at each other almost giddy-like by the end of the day. It was like, wow, that was so exciting. It didn't even seem like 15 hours just went by.

M. Hughes That's great. And I just wanted to ask one other thing. Unfortunately, some of the coverage, they’ll talk about you weren't here last year and they'll also talk about your recent surgery. And people will get it confused and think you missed last year because of illness. But that wasn't actually the case, right?

M. Murphy No, that wasn't the case. I was actually planning on choreographing; as you know, I was in several shows. By the time summertime came along and with the schedule that I already had I started to get more tired, I started to lose my voice, I started to have a hard time swallowing. And I knew something was up and then I went to the doctor finally. So, Herb and my friends convinced me to get back in there. Thank God they did.

M. Hughes Okay. So the illness wasn't the reason you weren't a regular last year, but it was the reason we didn’t see you.

M. Murphy It's the reason why I didn't come back to the panel, or to choreographing in the summertime.

M. Hughes Okay, so now it must feel great to be top of your energy. Are you at the top of your energy right now?

M. Murphy Yes. I'm at the top of my energy. As you can hear in my voice, it doesn't take much right now. My vocal chords still seem to be quite irritated. If I talk all day I still kind of lose my voice. But I'm just so grateful I have one.

M. Hughes That's great. You sound good. Thanks a lot.

M. Murphy Thanks.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Colleen Pinto from Please go ahead.

C. Pinto Hi, Mary. Thanks for taking the call.

M. Murphy Hi. How are you?

C. Pinto Doing well. How are you?

M. Murphy Good.

C. Pinto I'm wondering is the effect of your surgery, is it going to affect your hot tamale train this year?

M. Murphy Well, it definitely won't affect the hot tamale train. If I did give a shout out and a wahoo after that, I'm not sure yet if I'm completely up to par. I've recently was at a baseball game where a couple came out that I thought were kind of medium level and I thought, wow that was good. But I did notice that when I was in Atlanta and L.A. auditions that when I tried to talk one time and got louder that it didn't come out and it really was kind of quite upsetting to me. But I'm sure it made Nigel happy.

C. Pinto Yes and my main question is there's been lots of shows sort of like So You Think You Can Dance, you know Paula Abdul just did one. And MTV has the one America's Best Dance Crew. But there's never been the one quite the same as So You Think You Can Dance. Do have any ideas of why do you think it just such a?

M. Murphy Well, I think we've just got a fantastic format and I think, too, people are worried I would think to copy something completely identical. America's Favorite Dance Crew is completely a different show and I think that's why it works. And you know we do seem to have built a great reputation so that the real fabulous dancers do audition for the show because it is about the dancers and they can tell that we do honestly care about what's happening and we care about raising dance level around the world.

And that's what we're participating in and the fact that you get to see these dancers have their magical moments, it definitely makes the show different because they have to grow another style.

There's nothing like it out there and it is extremely difficult. I never really thought it would work myself years ago when they told me the format of the show. I was thinking, oh my God, a hip hop dancer doing quick stop are you crazy? It's never going to happen.

But the fact is, you know, we did find extraordinary people that can cross over into another style. It's incredibly, incredibly difficult. I've tried it before myself and I haven't been outside my style in years. You know, it's so tough. I felt like a two-year-old doing something.

C. Pinto Yes. And one last thing really quickly, every year So You Think You Can Dance focuses on something one year it was Dizzy Feet Foundation and then it was the National Dance Day. Is there going to be anything else like that this year?

M. Murphy Honestly, I really don't know about any of the plans for something like that. I do know, of course, Dizzy Feet is still in full effect and I'm sure there's always something that we're going to be connected to.

C. Pinto Okay, well thank you so much and looking forward to seeing you.

M. Murphy Thank you so much.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Ingrid Sheaffer from US Weekly. Please go ahead.

I. Sheaffer Hi, Mary.

M. Murphy Hi, Ingrid.

I. Sheaffer How are you?

M. Murphy I'm doing good. How are you doing?

I. Sheaffer I'm doing great. Well we're so happy that you'll be back on the panel every week this season.

M. Murphy Thank you so much.

I. Sheaffer Yes and I just wanted to know what did you miss the most about not being there every week?

M. Murphy Well, you know, it was incredibly difficult I must say. What I missed is I missed out on people having the magical moment. I think that's the most fun thing for me. That's like the icing on the cake.

I was still extremely busy. I did watch a couple of shows and when I had severe disagreements at home with certain things that were being said, I just couldn't watch it after that. So I missed a lot of that last season. But I did get the opportunity to tell a lot of the dancers exactly how I felt when I was at the finale. So I made sure I made it over to them and gave them a couple and let them know what I thought of a certain dance that they did.

I. Sheaffer What are you looking forward to the most this season?

M. Murphy Well the best part is watching people grow right in front of you and transform. And we have invested a lot this season with hip hop dancers, with street dancers that have never been trained. So it's in the hopes that they're going to grow as they move along the season. Now, maybe me and Nigel maybe wrong and we may have a lot of train wrecks.

But we have a lot of confidence and these kids have so much heart and soul. You know last season we had seven out of the ten were contemporary dancers, so very well technical trained dancers. So this season, we're going to have a much wider variety of dancers. And I think it's going to give the show a lot more flavor, actually, to tell you the truth.

I. Sheaffer Well, I'm really looking forward to seeing it. Thank you so much, Mary.

M. Murphy Thank you.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Lindsay Dreyer from Wetpaint. Please go ahead.

L. Dreyer Hi, Mary.

M. Murphy Hey, Lindsay.

L. Dreyer How are you?

M. Murphy I'm doing super.

L. Dreyer Great. So we know that Adam Shankman's chair will be a revolving seat now that he is busy directing Rock of Ages. So can you tell us what guest judge might be filling that seat?

M. Murphy Well, I don't know. There's going to be a lot of our regulars as far as Tyce Diorio will certainly be coming in, Little C, probably Debbie Allen is back. She was at the Las Vegas week. Here, Nigel is very interested in having from the Black Eyed Peas. So I'm very excited about that. He's a very interesting guy, knows a lot about music, knows a lot about dance.

So, yes, I hope we have some exciting guest judges. It makes it interesting for me and keeps you on your toes when you don't know. You kind of get used to the person beside you and it throws you off. It's a good throwing you off, if you know what I mean. So it's building excitement for myself to see what they're going to say.

L. Dreyer And if you could bring back any contestant as an all-star who would you choose?

M. Murphy Oh, my goodness. I mean for sure I think Alex W

ong would be one at the top of my list, Danny Tidwell. We haven't seen Artem from season one, the ballroom dancer. He would be fantastic. Kayla, I just adored Kayal. Brandon, I would love to see Brandon as an all-star.

L. Dreyer Will you be back on So You Think You Can Dance stage as either a performer or a choreographer this season?

M. Murphy You know you don't know. I would like to. I am still navigating through some health things right now and trying to get my hormones straight and everything. So, if I could feel like I could get myself back in shape I would certainly perform maybe one last time.

L. Dreyer And who's your dream choreographer to have on the show?
M. Murphy Dream choreographer, my goodness. I think we have them all.

L. Dreyer Okay thank you so much. We are so excited to see this season.

M. Murphy Me, too.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Mara Levinsky from Soap Opera Weekly. Please go ahead.

M. Levinsky Hi, Mary, how are you?

M. Murphy Good. How are you doing?

M. Levinsky I'm great. I'm so excited that the show is back and you're back with it.

M. Murphy Thank you. Me, too.

M. Levinsky My question to you is about the all-star format. I think it was a great success last season. What is your opinion of it?

M. Murphy Well yes, I think it definitely elevates dance to another level for sure. But I have to say, I'm really excited that they're doing 50/50 and doing the best of both worlds. I did miss part of the old format.

I love the fact that you didn't know what dancer they were going to get to dance with, what dance they were going to do. No guarantee of having someone in the partnership that knew it at all because that left me on the side of my seat wondering, oh my God, are they going to be able to do it? They shouldn't be able to do it and then when they do it, you generally are serious fired up about it.

So, it's going to bring part of that excitement back and then, of course, you know I think we’re going to see some different all-stars. And then also this season, once we pick the top ten we're going to match the all-star to fit that person better, too, so height-wise, look-wise and dance-wise. So it's going to be a little more tailor made this season. So I think it's going to provide extra exciting dancing towards the end.

M. Levinsky Thank you so much. I can't wait for it.

M. Murphy I know. Me, too. Thank you.

Moderator Next we'll go to the line of Mike Hughes from TV America. Please go ahead.

M. Hughes Hi. I just wanted to ask you to follow-up a little bit. When you talk about the notion of hip hop dancer doing quick step and so forth, it seems like we've seen that it works better in some ways than others. Contemporary dancers seem to be able to pick up the other things, hip hop dancers seem to be able to pick up a lot of things. But the ballroom dancers have had trouble. They've never gotten - not very many of them have gotten far in the other forms. And the tap dancers last year were just eliminated.

M. Murphy Well, yes, especially last year, but not that it hasn't happened before. I mean season two had five ballroom dancers on it that did amazing. Dmitry did amazing, Pasha and Anya went all the way to the top six. So we just lately haven't had that ballroom dancer that's going to make it all the way through the different dance genres.

So you're right about that. I don't know that it's going to happen this season as well. I have to see. We haven't picked the top 20 yet, but we're close. We all know what we want, but that's going to happen this coming Sunday we filmed the drop from 30 to 20.

M. Hughes But just, in general, probably the contemporary dancers because they are so well trained they seem to jump into a new style pretty quickly and the hip hop dancers, just because they're so athletic, they seem to be able to get a lot of styles. Don't they?

M. Murphy No. Not necessarily.

M. Hughes Okay.

M. Murphy There's been some hip hop dancers that could really hardly do anything else. You know every single person is just so different. We've had ballroom dancers that went all the way to win this competition. We've had a hip hop dancer win this competition. We've had a contemporary dancer win this competition. So, it just depends on the dancer themselves and some of the hip hop kids have had other training.

But now, I don't honestly think the one style has it over. I will say that at least a contemporary ballet dancer that trains and spins at least understand what tone is and we need that in ballroom dancing, too. But a lot of times a lot of the contemporary dancers just look terrible doing a fox trot. It just depends on the person, honestly.

M. Hughes Sure. Okay. Thanks.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Colleen Pinto from the voice of Please go ahead.

C. Pinto Hi again.

M. Murphy Hey, Colleen.

C. Pinto I know last year, I think he was Jose, he was the street dancer from Miami.

M. Murphy Right. He was the break dancer. Yes.

C. Pinto Yes. He was sort of like the big surprise of the season. Have you seen anyone who you think could sort of be like him this year?

M. Murphy Absolutely. There are more street dancers this season than any other season that are probably going to make it in the top 20. We haven't choosen that top 20 yet. It happens this Sunday. But definitely yes.

C. Pinto Awesome. And last year, the judges went to the contestant’s house to tell them whether they made it or not. Is that going to be the same again this year?

M. Murphy That is not going to happen. Did you like that?

C. Pinto Man, I loved that. That was my favorite part.

M. Murphy Did you? Well I liked it when I had to say yes. But let me tell you about it, it traumatized me when I had to say no. I would have to go in and look at grandma, grandpa, the whole family, brothers and sisters, relatives and tell them that their child didn't make it. It was awful. I went home and went to bed the rest of the day. I was so upset.

C. Pinto Oh, that's sad. I like the angst.

M. Murphy But when I had to say yes it was a thrill.

C. Pinto Last year Lauren won and then Kent was like the runner up. Do you know what they've been doing or anyone else what they're up to?

M. Murphy Well I see them all the time. I just can't, I'm thinking about where did I just see them? Well they just danced at the Upfront's in New York but I didn't get an opportunity to talk to them. But I'm sure they're doing very well. Everywhere I go, I see So You Think You Can Dance dancers on that stage, back up dancers to the biggest celebrity vocalists all over the world. It's everywhere I go. Anything that has to do with dance there’s one of the So You Think You Can Dance dancers there, in the movie, in a video, they're everywhere.

C. Pinto That's awesome. Well thanks again for the call.

M. Murphy Yes, thank you.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Lindsay Dreyer from Wetpaint. Please go ahead.

L. Dreyer Hey again, Mary.

M. Murphy Hi.

L. Dreyer So we've heard a lot about more hip hop and street dance and I was just wondering if you're at all concerned that maybe some of the fans who keep coming back for the contemporary and the ballroom might be a little --

M. Murphy Well the thing is that they're going to be plenty of ballroom. So you don't have to worry about that. There just might not be an actual ballroom dancer doing it. But remember when we do get to the all-stars there will be a ballroom specialist there to help that contestant out. But certainly that will be the main thing. But just because they're so many hip hop or contemporary doesn't mean that they're going to get to do their style. They'll actually force them into more other styles and to challenge them.

L. Dreyer Okay. So are you nervous about returning to the judges’ table at all?

M. Murphy No, not at all. It's just like walking in. It's only been from August and then I did my first audition in September. It was just like going back home again.

L. Dreyer Like riding your bike.

M. Murphy Me and Nigel are like an old married couple now.

L. Dreyer And what advice do you have for season eight contestants.

M. Murphy These kids know what it takes. The main thing is I hope is that they do take it seriously because you know they get so fired up. They're away from home, most of them for the very first time in their life, and they might get carried away in Los Angeles.

But really, what their bodies are going to go through, they need their sleep. I know they've got a lot of press to do everyday and a lot of things, in costumes and this and that and make-up. But they need their sleep.

L. Dreyer And after what happened to Alex Wong is there going to be more emphasis on injury prevention?

M. Murphy Of course they're always is. That's kind of a rarity in his warm up. That can happen to any dancer at any time and does. It's unfortunate because I think he was so well loved.

L. Dreyer Yes definitely. And I know fans really want to know if he'll be coming back this season and we read on his Twitter page that he has just flown out to L.A. So there's a lot of speculation. Can you give us any information?

M. Murphy No. I'd probably be killed by the network wouldn't I?

L. Dreyer Probably. Alright, thank you so much.

M. Murphy Okay.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Laura Martin from Please go ahead.

M. Murphy Hey, Laura.

L. Martin Hi. Thanks so much for talking to us. You were talking quite a lot about the talent and the various different types of dance styles we're going to see this season. Would you say, in general, that the talents getting better every year that you've--

M. Murphy I think for sure that talent gets better every year and the main reason why is now we're in the eighth season. We have kids that have been working on nothing but this day. The day they turn eighteen. The day that they can try out for the show. The fact that they know what it's all about. The fact that they're taking more than one style to prepare themselves. And in fact, doing that takes it to another level.

People that are now starting to take gymnastics because they need that extra tool in their solo to bring the house down. We do still get people that could never afford to take any or they live in such a remote place that are still amazing dancers and did it mostly out of their bedroom. That still happens. That's extraordinary, though. It's rare. But it does happen. But a lot of people are coming very prepared. We're starting to deal with, I would call, a warrior level type dancer, you know?

L. Martin That must be making it more difficult then.

M. Murphy Super dancers. We're creating super dancers.

L. Martin It must have made it so much more difficult when you've got to do the cuts like in Las Vegas or next weekend.

M. Murphy Oh my gosh, yes, it's agonizing for us as judges. It's just absolutely agonizing.

L. Martin It's been the eighth season now, do you think kind of the future for the show, it could pretty much just go on for ages, really?

M. Murphy Yes it really could because you know what makes it exciting is the cast that gets loaded in every season, that's really the majority of the show, isn't it? And that's really me and Nigel's job and the guest judge to pick correctly and I think we did a really good job this season.

L. Martin I absolutely can't wait to see.

M. Murphy Thank you.

Moderator And at this time there are no further questions.

M. Murphy Okay. Thank you.

M. Roach Thank you, everybody, for participating in this conference call. And thanks a lot, Mary, for doing this as well. And just as a reminder So You Think You Can Dance premieres this Thursday, May 26 at 8 p.m., 7:00 central on FOX. Thanks everyone.

M. Murphy Thank you.

Moderator Ladies and gentlemen this conference will be available for replay after noon pacific time today through May 31st. That does conclude your conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive Teleconference. You may now disconnect.

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