Matthew Morrison: Meeting Oti Mabuse on new TV show was my greatest joy

The Glee star and his new colleagues have also aired their frustration over the audience in the early stages of the new series.

Glee star Matthew Morrison has said that meeting Oti Mabuse on The Greatest Dancer has been the “greatest joy” for him, and that she is on her way to “real greatness”.

The American actor appears as a dance captain alongside Strictly Come Dancing professional Mabuse and singer Cheryl in the new BBC One primetime talent series, which puts a variety of dancers to the test in a bid to be named the greatest dancer.

Asked about working with his new co-stars on the programme, Morrison said: “Meeting Oti in the process of The Greatest Dancer has been, I think, the greatest joy for me.

The Greatest Dancer
Oti Mabuse, Matthew Morrison and Cheryl on The Greatest Dancer (Tom Dymond/Syco/BBC)

“She is the most incredibly… oh God, I can’t even think of the words for her! She’s just so genuine and so enthusiastic about everything and we were just like, somebody must have like just put a Duracell battery in her because she was just on all of the time and so fired up about all the dancers.

“That is such a great attribute to what she has and the energy she carries across. And I think she’s going to be a huge star.”

He added: “I think she’s on her way to real greatness.”

The new series sees Cheryl, Morrison and Mabuse mentor a number of dancers of different backgrounds and styles.

However, the hopefuls first have to compete in the audition stage of the show, where they must perform in front of a mirror hiding the audience and the dance captains.

The Greatest Dancer
Oti Mabuse (David Ellis/BBC/Syco/Thames/)

At least 75% of the audience must vote for an act through the secret mirror in order for them to progress to the next stage, and the dance captains have admitted to being somewhat disappointed by some of the choices made.

Cheryl said: “One of the most memorable acts was a locker and popper. It’s a shame because despite his amazing technique, I don’t think the performance resonated with the audience.

“It was frustrating because all the dance captains thought it was a really strong performance, but the audience didn’t press their buttons. The mirror didn’t open and that was one moment when I was like, ‘come on guys press your buttons, seriously you don’t know what we’re losing out on here’.”

Morrison said there were some instances when “the mirror opened for awful acts”.

He added: “There was this one woman who wasn’t even dancing, she was just putting on a smile and doing her thing, and this one guy who had tape on his glasses, he had this ridiculous outfit on, he was trying to do the cha-cha or something I think.

“He had ribbons, I don’t know if he was dancing or auditioning for the rhythmic gymnastics Olympics team. It was just all over the place. But on the other side of that there were some amazing dancers that the mirror didn’t open up for.”

The Greatest Dancer
Cheryl (David Ellis/BBC/Syco/Thames/)

Mabuse agreed that she had been “disappointed by the audience” a number of times for not putting some dancers through.

Following the audition stage, the three dance captains will then whittle the contestants down to just nine acts, who they will mentor through live shows.

The winner, voted for by viewers, will win a £50,000 prize and the opportunity to perform as a guest on Strictly later in the year.

The programme, which will see a range of styles from ballet to jazz and hip hop to Bollywood, is hosted by former Strictly champion Alesha Dixon and Diversity dancer Jordan Banjo.

– The Greatest Dancer begins on Saturday January 5 at 8pm on BBC One.

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