The Greatest Dancer is the BBC’s latest foray into the talent contest genre, with the dance show looking to rival ITV’s The Voice in the Saturday night ratings war.
The premise is simple enough: hopefuls from a variety of different dance backgrounds audition with the aim of being crowned The Greatest Dancer, bagging a £50,000 prize and a coveted spot performing on Strictly Come Dancing.
But now the initial rounds are over, the Dance Captains have deliberated, bickered and done deals with one another to whittle the Callback acts down to just three for each of their teams.
Here’s who’s going through to the live shows and will be performing with Oti, Matthew and Cheryl for a shot at being crowned The Greatest Dancer…
Team Oti Mabuse
Strictly star and Latin American champion Oti has one Latin-based act on her team, but for the other two she’s gone for a more modern feel…
Dance style: Contemporary
What did the judges have to say?Oti praised teenager Ellie on how beautiful her solo routine was, and was keen to sign her up to her team.
“I love how emotional that was,” she said, wiping her eyes. “I’d love to work with you because we could take it up a notch.”
Shy teenager Ellie seemed stunned when the mirror opened during her beautiful performance – but, along with the audience, Oti clearly saw something special in her.
Dance style: Latin Formation
What did the judges have to say? Naturally, as a Latin and Ballroom champion, Oti was thrilled to see the all-girl group go through, even heading up on stage to have a little dance with them.
“I was so happy!” she said. “You did a cha cha, you did a jive, and you kept us all entertained.”
Welsh dance group KLA were also fan favourites on Twitter, with viewers loving the young girls’ smiling faces as they took to the floor.
The Globe Girls
Dance Style: Commercial
What did the judges have to say? The Globe Girls brought lashings of sass for their fun and feisty performance – which included dance captain Cheryl.
“I am so thankful you included me in your performance!” she laughed. “You were fab.”
But in the end it was Oti who pipped Cheryl to it and claimed the Globe Girls for her team.
Team Matthew Morrison
He may be best-known as Mr Schue from Glee, but Matthew first made a name for himself by starring in a series of Broadway productions – learning a range of different street and contemporary dances.
The 40-year-old should be in his element mentoring two group acts, Company Jinks and Prospects Fraternity, but also has something a bit different in young duo James & Oliver, whose performance moved him to tears.
Dance style: Commercial
What did the judges have to say? Easily scoring the magic 75%, Oti called their dancing “mind-blowing and crisp”, while Cheryl praised them for been “clean” in their movements.
“You’ve set the bar in the competition, and I want you in my final three,” she said. Sorry Cheryl, Matthew clearly had other ideas…
James & Oliver
Dance style: contemporary with classical elements
What did the judges have to say? Cheryl liked 16- and 11-year-old duo Oliver and James, although she felt they needed to work on controlling their facial expressions.
But Matthew adored them and was moved to tears by their performance.
“I found myself really, really moved by the camaraderie you have with each other,” he said. “It was so beautiful to watch and, honestly, I loved the stumble that you had because it made you human, and it gave you room to grow…”
Dance style: Street dance
What did the judges have to say? All three judges loved the ten- to 17-year-old group, with Cheryl even predicting she would be mentoring them.
“We’ll get acquainted later on but it’s nice to meet you I’m Cheryl and I’m your Dance Captain,” she said.
But it was Matthew who claimed Prospects in the end, saying at the time “Somebody call the fire brigade ’cause that was smoking!” and revealing he had been especially impressed by a move in which one dancer catapulted themselves off another’s upturned feet. “Oh my gosh!” he exclaimed, “I’ve never seen that move before!”
As well as being 1/5th of Girls Aloud and a successful soloist in her own right, Cheryl has been a dancer since the age of 4, specialising in sequence dancing and training at the Royal Ballet at the tender age of nine.
The 35-year-old has chosen street quartet Frobacks, the first act to appear on the show, Harry and Eleyiah – who she loved when they made it through to the Callback stage but said she would like to make “more vulnerable” – and newly formed, all-female jazz dancers Dane Bates Collective.
Dance style: Street
What did the judges have to say? Matthew was hugely impressed, asking to be their dance captain from the get go. “I want to win you that £50,000,” he said.
Described on their website as a “flash mob comedy act”, the Frobacks got everyone hot under the collar when their saucy routine saw them bare their chiselled torsos, leading host Alesha Dixon to say to Oti, “If we weren’t black, we’d be red right now.”
Harry and Eleiyah
Dance style: Contemporary
What did the judges have to say? The threesome were hugely impressed with the dance partners and best of friends.
“Absolutely stunning,” said Cheryl. “The synchronicity between you was like… yes! I didn’t want it to end.
“One critique: I would have had you more vulnerable, less make-up, hair down.”
Dane Bates Collective
Dance style: Contemporary Jazz
What did the judges have to say? After hearing that the group of teenage girls only got together one a month, the dance captains were initially wary that their jazz-style dancing would be a bit messy.
“At the beginning I was thinking, yikes, so be able to put on a show like that was incredible, I loved it,” said Cheryl.
“People don’t quite understand the difficulty of the routine. It was so beautiful to see,” added Matthew.