We’re in major need of our dancing fix in January, after Strictly waltzes off our screens for another year – but fear not: The Greatest Dancer is quickstepping back to blast away any new year blues.


Our dance captains are back, joined by a few new faces and few format twists as the show makes its confident debut for series two.

Here’s your essential refresher on dance captain Cheryl…

When did Cheryl become famous?

Cheryl first blasted onto our screens in Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, winning a place in girl band Girls Aloud.

Having secured Christmas number one with Sound of The Underground, Girls Aloud became one of the defining pop bands of the early 21st century, having achieved a string of 20 consecutive top 10 hits, including four number ones, and being nominated for five Brit Awards.

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The group officially disbanded in March 2013 after their tour Ten: The Hits.

How long was Cheryl an X Factor judge for?

Simon Cowell and Cheryl at X Factor Judges Houses

Cheryl first appeared as an X Factor judge in 2008, mentoring two of the show’s winners – Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry in series five and six respectively.

She briefly returned to judge the 11th and 12th series of the show in 2014 and 2015.

When was Cheryl on American X Factor?

In 2011, Cheryl was a judge on the American version of The X Factor, but controversially found herself sacked after just two rounds of auditions.

Explaining his decision to give Cheryl the boot, Simon Cowell explained to Radio Times magazine: “When I saw her I didn't recognise her. Literally. The hair and outfit were crazy. Just totally crazy.

“I asked her manager, 'What's she wearing, what's happened to her hair?' He was defensive about it. I haven't a clue why she turned up like that.

"She'd put on a bit of weight, but not loads. That wasn't the issue. The only way I can describe it is that it wasn't Cheryl sitting in that seat. She'd lost her confidence."

Cheryl herself told Elle magazine in 2014: “Simon was right to get rid of me. I wasn't well in the head when that was going on, so it wasn't going to work. But he wasn't right not to tell me to my face.”

What’s Cheryl’s dance experience?

While we may best know her for her singing now, Cheryl as ample dance experience too, having learned sequence dancing aged four, and danced at the Royal Ballet’s Summer School aged nine.

However, Cheryl is open about the fact she’s a novice compared to her fellow dance captains.

Speaking last year, Cheryl explained: “They’ve had really long careers in dance and in performing arts.

“Mentoring other people one-on-one like I did on X Factor might help me with the mentality of how things go. But in terms of knowledge and stuff, they’re more than qualified.”

What has Cheryl said about The Greatest Dancer?

Cheryl feels her experience as an X Factor judge does help her get the most out of her dance squad.

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


The Greatest Dancer returns for a second series in January 2020