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‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Host Cat Deeley Says New Format Could Be ‘A Complete Bloodbath’

”There’s a lot at stake,“ she tells TheWrap about Fox reality show’s new stage vs. street approach to competition

Cat Deeley still wants to know if you think you can dance, as her hit summer Fox TV show pirouettes into its 12th season on Monday night.

This time around, popular host Deeley welcomes new judges — Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo — and a new format, pitting classically trained stage dancers against freestyle street hoofers.

“I think viewers will … pick a side,” Deeley told TheWrap of the divisive format, which takes the place of the show’s previous battle of the sexes. “What makes it much more interesting is the fact that we’re not definitely losing a girl or a definitely losing a boy every week.”

Deeley isn’t sure if one concentration will trump the other, but she admitted this of the street dancers being somewhat out of their element: “When they have to attempt to do other things, it could just be a complete bloodbath.”

Ultimately though, “So You Think You Can Dance” comes down to America’s favorite dancer — not necessarily the best one — so the street kids may have better stories of triumph to share, which could be the key to voters’ hearts.

“A lot of the time, the street dancers come from a more, let’s say, ‘economically challenged family’ than those who have been going to dance lessons all their lives and attending studio classes since they were 6,” Deeley said. “So there’s a lot at stake for some of those kids.”

“It’s anyone’s game, really,” Deeley said.

Deely, who also stars on Hulu’s “Deadbeat,” is thrilled to return to live TV tonight and happy to work again with Derulo, who guest-judged on “SYTYCD” last season. Asked what he brings to the table as a full-time cast member, Deeley focused on two little-known facts about the “In My Head” singer: his accomplished tap dance background and awesomely self-deprecating sense of humor.

On Abdul, Deeley gushed about the singer and former Laker Girl, noting her strong work ethic and ability to mentor young acts.

Plus, Deeley said, “She just makes people fall in love with her, wherever she goes — whether it’s man, woman, child, unicorn — it doesn’t really make any difference.”

Beyond those two newbies, Nigel Lythgoe returns this year; though longtime judge Mary Murphy was released from her contract early this year.

Deeley, a Brit who currently calls California home, said she finds American audiences far more interactive than those across the Atlantic. “This is a sweeping generalization, but in England … we can be a little standoffish, we’re a bit reserved, it’s all stiff upper lip and protocol,” she said. “Here in America, you guys don’t have that. You get up, you dance, you whoop, you holler, you shout, you sing, you scream — and I love it. I love the wild abandon of Americans.”

Plus, those rowdy Americans have nearly gotten Deeley four consecutive primetime Emmy nominations.

Speaking of the coming September TV awards event, also on Fox, Deely is pulling for “Empire,” “The Affair” and “Scandal” to grab some wins. And she’s a new fan of fellow Fox show “Wayward Pines” — just don’t spoil an episode for her. You’ve been warned.

“So You Think You Can Dance” premieres Monday at 8 p.m. on Fox.

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