Multi-talented US megastar Todrick Hall on taking the UK by storm - and being BFFs with his fellow dance captain Cheryl...
With his flamboyant fashion choices, big personality and sassy critiques, it’s little wonder that US star Todrick Hall hs proved an instant hit as the new dance captain on BBC1’s The Greatest Dancer.
Since his big break on American Idol a decade ago, Todrick has gone on to become something of a performance powerhouse, with actor, dancer, singer, songwriter and YouTube sensation all now strings to his bow.
Here Todrick Hall, 34, chats to us about mentoring the next generation of dancers and vows that he WILL have this year’s winning act…
What’s it like being a dance captain – and what are you looking for at the auditions?
Todrick Hall: “It feels so awesome to join The Greatest Dancer team. To mentor people and help them avoid all the pitfalls that I went through in my career, I’m really stoked to be a part of it. I’m looking for dancers who create a spark in me – people who inspire me and who I feel are close to reaching their full potential but just need a little guidance.”
What’s it like working alongside your fellow dance captains, Oti Mabuse, Matthew Morrison and Cheryl?
TH: “I knew Matthew a little bit before the show but now I feel like I’ve made a friend for life. I love Oti, her energy is so infectious, and she’s like the sister I never had. Cheryl and I are going to get married – we’re just trying to figure out which one of us is going to wear the dress!”
We saw you choose your ‘Greatest Dancer of the Day’ last week. Was that a difficult decision?
TH: “It was very stressful. Coming from a talent show myself, I realise what a life-changing experience this is, so I tried to make a decision that I felt would be the strongest one; I thought about their story and about what I would be thinking if I were sitting at home watching. This show has been a rollercoaster of crying, then laughing, then crying some more. Before doing this, I’d forgotten I even had tear ducts! But Oti cries the most. When she chose her act, it was like Mufasa from The Lion King had just died again! By comparison, I think the rest of us had an easy time.”
You’ve been a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race USA – how does judging dance acts on this show compare?
TH: “I love being able to critique and help mentor dancers because I’ve been dancing since I was eight years old. I’ve done commercial work, I’ve been a ballet-trained dancer, I’ve worked on Broadway and a lot of these people are aspiring to do those things, so I’m so grateful I’m in a position to be able to help them. While I love judging drag queens, I like working with the dancers a bit more. They’re a bit less diva!”
Will your own experience on American Idol inform how you mentor your final three acts for the live challenge shows?
TH: “Absolutely! As we’ve seen with shows like American Idol or The X Factor, sometimes the people who win are not necessarily the people who make the biggest splash in the industry. As dance captains, the best thing we can do is give these dancers the tools they need to be successful and to realise how much of a star they are no matter what happens in the show. If they can come from this experience having learned about the industry and about who they are as a dancer then we will, as dance captains, have done our job.”
How much do you want to win, though?
“Oh, I’m definitely in it to win it. I don’t do anything if I’m not going to do it 1,000 percent. Because I’ve mostly made a name and a presence for myself on social media, I feel like it’s a huge honour and privilege for me to be able to come to the UK and mentor these dancers, so I definitely don’t want to not make a huge lasting impression. I plan on winning the entire thing!”
The Greatest Dancer, with Todrick Hall, continues Saturdays at 6.30pm on BBC1.