Cheryl on judging The Greatest Dancer compared to X Factor: “Dance creates a different vibe”

As a mentor on BBC 1’s new Saturday night show, Cheryl admits having no on-screen Simon Cowell gives the panel a very different dynamic

The Greatest Dancer

Having sat on the panel for both X Factor and The Greatest Dancer, Cheryl has plenty of experience at being a talent show judge – and a highly successful one at that.


The 35-year-old’s original three-year stint on ITV’s The X Factor alongside Simon Cowell saw her win the show twice in a row – with Alexandra Burke in 2008 and Joe McElderry in 2009.

She also had a hand in shaping the careers of Rebecca Fergurson and Cher Lloyd, who starred in her category in 2010, one of the biggest years ever for X Factor.

After a brief return to the show in 2016, Cheryl is now on a new judging panel, alongside Strictly star Oti Mabuse and Glee’s Matthew Morrison, as a mentor on BBC 1’s Simon Cowell-produced show, The Greatest Dancer.

But the Call My Name singer has explained that her new role as a mentor means the show is far less competitive than the X Factor.

“I always felt like I was a mentor to my acts anyway, on the X Factor,” Cheryl explained to and other publications at The Greatest Dancer press day. “I was definitely more than a mentor as a judge.

“But [on the X Factor] there was definitely more of a competitive nature among us as judges. Probably because Simon was sat there.”

Cheryl added the huge prize at stake on the X Factor is what piled on the pressure on making sure her acts got to the final.

As opposed to the million pound record deal the X Factor winner lands, The Greatest Dancer prize is a little more understated: £50,000 and an opportunity to perform one night on Strictly.

“In the end, someone was winning like a massive contract and you felt responsible for their career,” she continued. “This show, you’re helping them to win £50,000, which is awesome, and to perform on Strictly. You’re giving and giving and giving, you’re not trying to create a career out of it. Hopefully a platform, but not a career. It just feels different.

“It’s a different vibe. Dance creates a different vibe.”

The Greatest Dancer: Oti Mabuse, Matthew Morrison, Cheryl
The Greatest Dancer: Oti Mabuse, Matthew Morrison, Cheryl (BBC/Syco/Thames)

There’s a definite chemistry between Cheryl, Mabuse and Morrison, who jokingly referred to themselves as “the sisterhood” throughout the interview.

But in spite of there being less of a competitive element, each mentor is equally passionate about the acts that appear on the show, with Morrison “arguing” with Cheryl.

“You and I, Cheryl, we were fighting a lot,” he said. “I think we really believe in our acts.”


The Greatest Dancer starts Saturday 5th January at 8pm on BBC 1

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