Oti Mabuse was so determined to get the acts she wanted in The Greatest Dancer she went into “full meltdown”.
Rival dance captain Cheryl Tweedy said the Strictly Come Dancing star had played “dirty” when it came to securing the performers she wanted for her team.
“There were some rows,” Cheryl admitted. “Oti tries to hide the photos of some people so you’d forget about them. She’s a dirty player – I’m just being honest.
“Oti went into full meltdown. She was melting down.
“She was going through it. We had to stop production for a while and pick her off the ground. It was a very serious situation. In comparison, the rest of us all had an easy time.”
For the second series of the BBC1 show, the team captains have been joined by US performer and YouTuber Todrick Hall. Completing the panel is returning Glee star Matthew Morrison, 41.
Hall, 34, agreed that Oti – who won last year’s debut series with Scottish youngster Ellie Fergusson – went all out to get what she wanted.
During the negotiations over who got who, he said Oti’s tactic was to remove photographs of the people she wanted. “It was an odd negotiation process, that’s for sure. Oti was stealing all the headshots.”
He added: “It was very stressful. Oti was acting like Mufasa just died in The Lion King. Twice.”
But Oti, who earlier this month triumphed on Strictly with Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher, insisted she had loved recording the show.
“This is better than season one,” Oti, 29, declared. “I feel very privileged.”
And despite her extreme competitiveness Hall, who found fame after appearing on American Idol, said he’d also loved being involved. “I really am so excited to be on this show. When I was offered it I was blown away. I’ve mostly made a name for myself on social media, so I’m so grateful the BBC has trusted me.”
He said that working in the UK had left its mark on him. “I’m learning lots of cool lingo already. You’ll hear those in action as the season progresses. I’ve been saying ‘innit’ and ‘you get me’.”
This year’s programme is again fronted by Alesha Dixon and Ashley Banjo.
But there is a new receptionist – in the form of Love Island hunk Curtis Pritchard, who is the brother of Strictly’s AJ.
He said he’d enjoyed helping to ease the performers onto the stage. He said: “I talk to them for about half an hour in the reception. Some of the stories of why people dance, it’s incredible.
“So many different emotions came in. People were literally shaking, some were excited, some were silent. It was a barrel of emotions. They were all nervous.”
Tweedy, 36, said the new series had a far wider range of dance styles than Strictly does. “Strictly is Latin and ballroom while our show is very much focused on variety. From tiny little kids to a 98-year-old. It’s the variety and the genres that set our show apart and the fact that the audience gets to choose if they go through the audition process.
“I just feel warm and happy when I watch it. It’s a good family Saturday night show. There is something for everyone.”
* The Greatest Dancer is back on January 4 at 7pm on BBC One.