TODRICK HALL JOINS THE GREATEST DANCER 0 139

American star of stage and screen Todrick Hall joins Cheryl, Matthew Morrison and Oti Mabuse as the new fourth Dance Captain on The Greatest Dancer, which returns to BBC One in early 2020.

Todrick is a choreographer, actor, dancer, singer, songwriter and director, who has choreographed videos for global superstars including Beyoncé, and most recently starred in and co-executive produced the music video to Taylor Swift’s hit single You Need To Calm Down. He is a recurring judge and resident choreographer on RuPaul’s Drag Race in the USA.

Todrick Hall says: “Thrilled does not even begin to explain how excited I am to be joining the cast and crew of The Greatest Dancer. As a performer who has danced my whole life and been a contestant on a reality competition show, it’s wild to see my career come full circle this way. I’m looking forward to working with the upcoming talent and to join the BBC family for the second season of a show that has proven to be a huge, smashing success.”

Joining Todrick will be fellow Dance Captains all returning from series one, multi-platinum-selling singer Cheryl; Broadway and Glee star Matthew Morrison; and Strictly Come Dancing professional and reigning series one champion, Oti Mabuse. Also back for series two are hosts Alesha Dixon and Jordan Banjo.

Taking over reception will be Ballroom and Latin dance champion and Love Island 2019 finalist Curtis Prichard, who will be welcoming hopefuls to The Greatest Dancer studio as they prepare for the biggest audition of their lives.

Cheryl says: “I am so excited to be back, I absolutely loved it last series and this year promises to be even more amazing, especially with the addition of Todrick, who I’m obsessed with!”

Matthew Morrison says: “Season one of The Greatest Dancer was such a rewarding experience to be a part of. Alongside Oti and Cheryl, it was a privilege to help guide the immense talent who showed us all just how inspiring dance can be. I look forward to seeing how we push the boundaries throughout season two in order to crown our next Greatest Dancer!”

Oti Mabuse said: “I cannot wait to get back to work on The Greatest Dancer with this fantastic team, Cheryl, Matthew, Alesha and Jordan and welcoming newest captain Todrick and receptionist Curtis to the family. I’m excited to see the fresh new talented dancers who are auditioning and ready to leave their hearts on the floor and see who the mirror opens for! Plus I can’t wait to see my amazing winner Ellie perform at Strictly Come Dancing, she’s such a superstar and I’m exceptionally proud of her.”

Auditions for The Greatest Dancer, a co-production between creators Thames (part of Fremantle UK), and Syco Entertainment began on Friday 9 August at the ICC in Birmingham with the series due to air in early 2020. Viewers can get ready to see talent from across the world of dance from ballet to jazz, street to ballroom, contemporary to disco and see if they have what it takes to get 75 percent of the audience vote and open the famous The Greatest Dancer mirror.

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STRICTLY 2019: CHRISTMAS STARS REVEALED 0 71

Six of the most-loved Strictly contestants from previous series are returning to the dance floor for an all-star Christmas extravaganza special, coming to BBC One on Christmas Day.

This year the ladies set to sprinkle some Christmas magic on the dancefloor are Chizzy Akudolu, Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson.

Chizzy says: “I am so excited to be coming back to Strictly this year, and being able to get back on the dancefloor once again! I’m still the biggest fan of Strictly so it’s wonderful to be back with old friends, in front of and behind the camera, and hopefully some new ones for Christmas. Bring on the sparkle, and maybe an odd 10 – it is Christmas after all…!”

Debbie says: “I thought all my dreams came true two years ago when I was asked to do the series, but to be one of the rare people to be invited back to do the Christmas Special is the icing on the cake. I can’t wait to be back dancing with my Strictly family”.

Gemma says: “I had the absolute best time on Strictly and it completely changed my life so I am absolutely overjoyed to be returning to the dancefloor this Christmas with a new challenge, and of course to be back with the gang!”

The gentlemen set to rock the dancefloor are Joe Sugg, Mark Wright, and Richard Arnold.

Joe says: “I’m really excited to have a go on the strictly ballroom floor again this Christmas. Strictly feels like a home away from home for me so I will be giving it my best shot and ending the year on a high.”

Mark says: “It’s been a while since I was on the dancefloor but I’m very much looking to forward to dusting off the dance shoes for Christmas! I can’t wait to be back – let’s get going!”

Richard says: “I can’t wait to get back out on the dance floor and throw shapes beneath the glitter ball once again. I just can’t promise you’ll recognise them or that they’ll be in any particular order. What I can promise is that one of us will be a professional.”

Each of the six couples will perform a Christmas inspired routine in a bid to be crowned Christmas champions 2019.

Hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the show wouldn’t be complete without the festive foursome on the judging panel: Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Bruno Tonioli and Head Judge Shirley Ballas.

The judges will be on hand to score each couple and spread some cheerful joy, yet it will be down to the studio audience to vote for which dancing duo will win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2019 and lift the famous Silver Star trophy.

The professional dancers and pairings will be revealed in due course.

WILL BAYLEY LEAVES STRICTLY AFTER INJURY 0 90

Sadly, due to the injury sustained last week, Will Bayley is leaving Strictly Come Dancing.

Executive Producer Sarah James said: “We are so sad that Will is unable to continue on the show. He is an incredible and talented person who has brought us some unforgettable moments this series – in particular his powerful and moving Couple’s Choice routine. He will be greatly missed and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Will Bayley said: “I’m gutted my Strictly journey has had to come to an end. I’ve loved being part of the show, and am so grateful for the phenomenal support we have received. I want to say a special thank you to Janette for believing in me and giving me the confidence to believe in myself. The things we achieved, from our Couple’s Choice dance through to the lifts in our Salsa, will stay with me forever. I’ve had the time of my life.”

Janette Manrara said: “Absolutely devastated that Will and I will not be able to continue dancing. We made some incredible memories that I will never forget, and I am pleased to have shared them with such an inspirational person, whom I can now call a friend for life.”

Will and Janette will be on It Takes Two tonight from 6.30pm on BBC Two.