What is The Greatest Dancer? When does it start? What channel is it on?

All you need to know about the return of the dance contest with Cheryl and Oti Mabuse.

By Katie Archer Published: 7 January 2020 - 2.30pm
BBC The Greatest Dancer cast

It's back for a second series, and this time judge Todrick Hall and receptionist Curtis Pritchard are joining the ranks.

The Greatest Dancer capitalises on the BBC’s loyal dance show following to open up the floor to non-celebrities with hopes of becoming the next Darcey Bussell or Diversity.

Read on for all you need to know about The Greatest Dancer series two.

When is The Greatest Dancer on TV?

The Greatest Dancer will be back on BBC One in the New Year, once Strictly season is over and Christmas is out of the way.

In its first run, it started on the first weekend in January 2019, so we're expecting a similar schedule for 2020.

Who are the presenters

Alesha Dixon ITV

Alesha Dixon is returning to the BBC to co-host a second series of The Greatest Dancer.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge, 41, will present the Saturday night dance show with Diversity star Jordan Banjo.

Dixon returned to Saturday nights on BBC One last series for the first time since her stint as a Strictly judge, before she was poached by ITV.

The singer said: "As a massive fan of dance I’m so excited about the prospect of finding amazing new dance talent.”

Banjo, 26, said: “Coming from a talent show myself with Diversity has shown me how much a show like this can change your life, so to be on the other side hosting is going to be an awesome experience.”

Could you take us through the format of how the show works?

Alesha: The contestants have to perform in the dance studio, like a regular audition, in front of a mirror and they need 75 per cent of the audience vote for the mirror to open. Once the mirror opens, hopefully they carry on dancing or they stop and they’re excited, they see their captains, they get their critique and then they’re through to the call backs. And then the captains have to whittle it down to three acts each as only nine acts can go through to the live challenge shows.

What is your dance career highlight to date?

Jordan: My dance career highlight is probably back in 2012, the first time Diversity sold out The O2.

Alesha: Boom! That’s a really hard question to answer, but my dance highlight so far in my career would probably be getting to dance in the N.E.R.D video She Wants To Move. It was an honour to work with Hi-Hat, one of my favourite choreographers. I was super, super nervous but N.E.R.D made me feel very comfortable and I think it’s an incredible video which I’m so proud to be a part of.

What happens in the show?

Are you a classically trained dancer? Or do you live for Saturday nights when you can show off your latest moves on the dancefloor?

Whatever your level of experience, if you think that you have something special when it comes to dancing then you could be in with a shot at winning the TV talent show.

The Greatest Dancer is open to all styles as well as soloists, duos and groups – the only requirements are that you are seven or older, have the right to live and work in the UK, and of course have the wow factor.

BBC One is known for its celebrity dance contest Strictly Come Dancing, but here you don't need to be a famous face or a ballroom pro to take part.

Expect to see all styles represented, from ballet to jazz, Bollywood to hip hop, as the dancers compete to be the best.

What is the prize?

Last series, the dancers were competing to win £50,000 and the chance to perform on this year's Strictly Come Dancing live shows, so we're expecting a similar prize for 2020.

How does the show work?

The first four weeks of shows are the Auditions.

Dancers will perform in the Greatest Dancer studio and need to win over 75% of the audience to open up the 'mirror wall'.

The Dance Captains (aka judges) offer their feedback on all the performers and can choose nine dancers each to take through to the live shows.

The Live Challenge Shows run for three weeks and each week the performers must tackle a routine created by their Dance Captain to impress viewers at home.

In the Live Grand Final, the remaining acts will be performing for the viewers at home. The public phone vote will decide who is crowned The Greatest Dancer.

Who are the judges?

There's a new judge in the house for 2020 - US choreographer, singer, dancer, actor and all-round superstar Todrick Hall, who'll become the fourth Dance Captain.

Todrick first rose to fame as a contestant on American Idol in 2010 and since then has worked with Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Girls Aloud and X Factor popstar Cheryl, Glee star and Broadway performer Matthew Morrison and Strictly Come Dancing's Oti Mabuse are the show's three returning Dance Captains from series one.

Oti is a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing, competing on the most recent series with actor Kelvin Fletcher. Oti is also an eight-time Latin American champion in South Africa.

Matthew is a Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated Broadway legend and star of TV hit Glee.

Cheryl has scored nine No.1 singles in her career to date and is an experienced dancer and performer.

In Their Own Words

The Greatest Dancer Cheryl BBC

What do The Greatest Dancer(s) look like to you?

Cheryl: For me it is somebody who has passion, performance, skill, and enjoys what they’re doing. There’s nothing worse than a dancer that puts every single thing in place but you don’t feel anything. I want to feel like I want to get up, be with them and enjoy it with them. I want to just feel them, more than see them.

The Greatest Dancer Matthew Morrison BBC

What’s been the dance highlight of your career so far?

Matthew: One of the highlights of my dance career was actually while we were doing Glee. It was in one weekend, we went to the White House to sing for the Obamas and then the next day we’re on a flight to Chicago to perform on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and it was like an hour-long show dedicated to Glee.

And I got up there and I did this whole break dancing number. I wanted to highlight the young talent on the show, and I brought out this guy Harry Shum Jnr, and he was just amazing. So I kind of started it and I made it a dance battle and brought him on stage. And yeah, that was pretty much the highlight of my dance career, performing for the Obamas and Oprah on the same weekend.

The Greatest Dancer Oti Mabuse BBC

Who inspired you to get into dance and what was your very first dance memory?

Oti: My family plays a big part in my role as a dancer and my sister (Strictly judge Motsi) was my first trainer. She’s still my role model and inspiration until this day. She was my first trainer, she taught me my first steps. My mum was my first coach, she coached me for my first competition. I’ve literally only looked up to my family, because we are so competitive as a family as well and they always aim to be the best.

My sister is a three-time German Champion, European and World Finalist. She was the first female from South Africa to do that. I mean, you can’t look for a better role model than someone who sleeps in the room next to you, and that has always been in my heart.

If I ever need advice on judging, on dancing, on teaching, on creating, she’s always been the first person that I’ve contacted. And I think maybe the only person whose opinion really, really, really matters to me. So my family, all five of them.

Who is the new receptionist?

We'll see a new face behind the check-in desk this series - and it's certainly a familiar one.

Curtis Pritchard will be sitting on reception, although we're expecting to see the award-winning pro ballroom and Latin dancer get up on his feet a lot to try out some steps with auditionees.


He's the brother of Strictly's AJ Pritchard and has a pro role of his own on the Irish version of the show, Dancing with the Stars, but most viewers will probably be familiar with him as one of this summer's Love Island contestants.

Curtis and AJ have also been signed up as choreographers for RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

He said: "When I got the call (for The Greatest Dancer) I was so honoured to even be considered for this so the fact it’s happening I can’t quite believe! Dance is my passion and I can’t wait to meet all the contestants in the new revamped reception area."

Who won the first series of The Greatest Dancer?

At the beginning of 2019, the show launched for the first time and was won by solo dancer Ellie.

The contemporary dancer from Livingston, Scotland, was coached to her win by Oti, who couldn't be more pleased for her.

Oti said: "I can’t wait to see my amazing winner Ellie perform at Strictly Come Dancing, she’s such a superstar and I’m exceptionally proud of her."

The Greatest Dancer returns to BBC One in the New Year.