KF: I read somewhere that there might be a So You Think You Can Dance–inspired bit. Can you tell us if that's true?
NPH: Confirmed. I'm a big fan of live variety, especially live on stage. Award shows, you know, are big stage shows. And my mind goes to magic or circus or whatever, so some sort of movement element is effective if it's done right. Really, if it's done right, because it's sort of exactly like Shakespeare—if it's mediocre, it's almost worse. If you see a very boring and average version of Henry V, it makes you want to drive stakes through your eyes. But if you see something that's really great, it's revelatory. I think So You Think You Can Dance...those people are at the top of their game. [Hip-hop choreographers] Tabitha and Napoleon are on board.
KF: So will it be a circus/hip-hop number of sorts?
NPH: Honestly, I respect them so much that I'm not meddling, and I'm encouraging others not to. We gave them sort of an idea of what we want to do—a point of view that we wanted to have—and a sort of purpose to the...I won't even say dance number because it's not going to be that long. The whole show is really short versed, but I want it to be more on the intense and explosive side, than on the melancholy side of dance. I'm thinking more of like those dance crew shows, [those] kind of vibes. ... When they're done really well, it's almost like watching circus people. The things that they can do with their bodies are remarkable.
KF: Now at the Tony Awards, you sang a, may I say, legendary closing number. Will you be singing at the Emmys, or is dancing more the focus?
NPH: I suspect you won't see me dancing very much. That's not my forte. But yeah, I might throw some sort of singing into it. I haven't quite decided. I sort of feel like the Emmys are so classy and glamorous and black tie, the host really needs to respect his job title. I think too much "Look at me! Look at me!" as the host of a show that big is counterproductive. So long as I make you feel confident that you're in good hands with me as the host, then it's my real responsibility to introduce you to a lot of other people and elements—other presenters who are then going to talk to you or other introductions of next sections. That's my role. It's not really to be a song-and-dance man.
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