How does the Greatest Dancer work?

Another day, another TV contest…what are the rules of this one, then?

The BBC may have lost The Voice UK to ITV, but that doesn’t mean they’re handing over Saturday night primetime to their rival.

BBC One regularly beats ITV in the ratings with Strictly Come Dancing triumphing over The X Factor, so now Simon Cowell has decided if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – launching The Greatest Dancer to go head to head with The Voice UK.

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Find out how the reality TV mogul’s latest show works and what the winners will be taking home.

What is The Greatest Dancer?

Singing shows have been done to death, so Simon Cowell’s latest series sees dancing step into the spotlight instead.

The X Factor boss doesn’t actually appear himself in the show, but the format has his style written all over it.

Auditionees can be any age from seven up, and perform any style of dance they want – it just has to do enough to impress the audience in the early rounds.

You’ll see everything from ballet to street dance, ballroom to freestyle, soloists, duos, groups, and every generation taking part.
How does it work?

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Greatest Dancer Judges - Who are the Dance Captains?

Matthew Morrison - The Greatest Dancer


Cheryl - The Greatest Dancer


Oti Mabuse - The Greatest Dancer


The Greatest Dancer - Presenters

The Show


The first four weeks are the pre-recorded auditions, where hopefuls arrive at the Birmingham studio and are shown into an audition room where they have to perform their routine.

But it’s a dance studio with a difference, as the mirrored wall in front of them conceals the studio audience, who are sitting in a theatre-style set-up with the judges’ panel – made up of Oti Mabuse, Matthew Morrison, and Cheryl – in the middle.

Each audience member has a remote control where they can choose to turn on their seat’s light if they like the dance enough and if 75 per cent or more of the audience turn on their lights, the mirrored wall opens up to let the dancer see the crowd.

It’s kind of like every talent show you’ve ever seen rolled into one, but strangely, it works.

At this point the judges can give feedback, but they can’t vote until the call backs when each of them becomes a dance captain and chooses nine acts each from those who were successful to go with them to the live shows.

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Live Challenge Shows

The Greatest Dancer cast

From week five onwards, we get into the live stages of the contest.

Every week, the acts still in the competition will be set a challenge to work on with their dance captain and they must create a jaw-dropping routine to keep them moving forward to the next round.

But each show will see the least popular acts dropped, so they must give their all to secure viewer votes and be in with a chance of making it to…

The Live Grand Final

Lucky finalist acts will take on the final challenge that could change their lives.

Each remaining act will perform for the judges and the voting public at home, who can call in to vote for who they want to see crowned The Greatest Dancer.

We don’t yet know how many finalists there will be or how many routines they will have to perform, but we do know that the final is in week eight of the series.

What is the prize?

The Greatest Dancer panel

It’s definitely a prize haul worth pulling out all the stops to win, so there should be some tough competition as the show moves along.

The Greatest Dancer, as well as having the glory of being the first act to win that title, will pocket a whopping £50,000 for their efforts.

But the riches don’t stop there, as they’ll also bag a performance slot on the next series of Strictly Come Dancing, which will see them through nicely to the end of the year.

Plus with three famous dance captains from a range of backgrounds, they’re sure to find a mentor to champion their career, whatever style they go for.

The Greatest Dancer continues on Saturday at 8.10pm on BBC One.

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