BBC 1’s new Saturday night talent show, The Greatest Dancer, firmly places the power in the audience’s hands during the audition process.


The initial stages of the new competition to find some of Britain’s best dance talent see hopefuls perform in front of a two-way mirror – which only opens if 75% of the audience vote the act through.

Dance captains Oti Mabuse, Matthew Morrison and Cheryl have no say in who goes through to the show’s Callback stages, and have to agree with the audience’s decision – like it or lump it.

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

But there are some occasions where the audience may have got it wrong – with presenter and Diversity star Jordan Banjo snapping at the Birmingham crowd on last night’s show when street dancer Mind Tricks failed to get the magic 75% with his specialised Strobe Dancing.

“There’s no point shouting bring him back,” he said, “It’s down to you to vote, and you didn’t.”

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Now, Banjo has explained why he got so annoyed.

Speaking to Mollie King on the third episode of BBC Sounds' The Greatest Dancer podcast, the 26-year-old explained, “The moment he walked out and the moment I saw that it was Mind Tricks I was like ‘I know him, I know Mind Tricks, this guy’s dope…’

“I literally nudged Alesha and said ‘wait for the mirror to open’ and I was standing there all cocky thinking I know 100% what’s going to happen. That why I was so shocked because you probably noticed. I got a little bit cheesed off when he didn’t get through… I was quite passionate about that. I was really confused.”

He continued, “What gets me is when people say, 'I just don’t think he’s good'… You know he’s good. You have eyes. He’s obviously good so saying something like I don’t think he’s good is rubbish…That’s what’s hard. Literally sometimes I’ll sit there and say 'have you had a bad day mate? Is that why you voted no? Was it a bad day?' It’s funny because I just don’t know what anyone wants sometimes.”

However, upon watching Mind Tricks back, Banjo added that he does understand why he may not have got through to the second stage of the competition, despite being more than deserving of it.

“Watching it back now, I understand it better why he didn’t get through,” he said. “You have a lot of powerhouse acts. With Mind Tricks it’s a hard one because I appreciate technically what he’s doing and I think everybody sitting there can appreciate the fact that he’s not moving or doing things a normal person can do. It takes years and years to learn what he’s doing.

“But just being technically amazing isn’t enough. You need to connect with the audience and maybe that’s where he went wrong.”

The Greatest Dancer
The Greatest Dancer (BBC)

While Mind Tricks isn’t heading to Callbacks, a variety of world-class dancers headed through to the next stage of the competition, with the audience in awe of deaf dancer Chris Fonseca.


The Greatest Dancer continues Saturdays on BBC 1

Download BBC Sounds to subscribe to The Greatest Dancer Podcast.

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