'Starstruck' star Sheridan Smith: 'I’m not used to being a judge and got really nervous!'

Sheridan Smith is one of the four judges on ITV's new talent show 'Starstruck'.
Sheridan Smith is one of the four judges on ITV's new talent show 'Starstruck'. (Image credit: ITV)

Sheridan Smith has been starring in some tough-watch dramas of late including Four Lives, The Teacher, and No Return. But in ITV's Starstruck she'll definitely be having much more fun. 

Starstruck is an eight-part talent show that starts on Saturday, Feb. 15 2022 at 8.30 pm on ITV. It's pretty similar to Stars In Their Eyes but with a twist. Each week four teams made up of three ordinary members of the public get a superstar makeover and transform into their idols to perform as a group - this first week includes Team Freddie Mercury, Team Marvin Gaye, Team Lady Gaga, and Team Ariana Grande.

Olly Murs hosts while Sheridan sits alongside fellow judges comedian Jason Manford, stage and pop star Beverley Knight, and current Queen frontman Adam Lambert.

"It’s the perfect Saturday night show," says Sheridan, who's starred in plenty of West End stage musicals including Legally Blonde and Funny Girl, not to mention playing Cilla Black in ITV's biopic Cilla

"I grew up with all the variety shows so I think it’s been a while since we’ve had something like this. There are lots of talent shows but this is pretty special in that it’s members of the public, not celebrities, dressing up as their icons and not just one, but three of them!

"This show is scary for me because I’m not used to being a judge and got really nervous and I think most actors do when it comes to being themselves. I hosted another show Pooch Perfect but that was not filmed like this, it was very casual and you're there all day surrounded by dogs which is my biggest love after my son. It’s very different from being sat on a panel with all that glam and the production. Hopefully, I will be the eyes of the public and just say it how I see it!"

'Will Sheridan Smith be 'Starstruck' with Team Ariana Grande (here with host Olly Murs).

'Will Sheridan Smith be 'Starstruck' with Team Ariana Grande (here with host Olly Murs)? (Image credit: ITV)

Sheridan Smith on what kind of judge she is going to be on 'Starstruck'

Sheridan Smith says: "I think I'm the easily pleased judge if I'm honest. I take my hat off to all of them, I’m nervous just sitting in the chair and the stage is epic. These are people who are a mechanic by day and Elton John by night, to me, it’s mind-blowing that they can do that, so I'm in awe of them. Their families must be so proud, I’m just on my feet, I’m almost like a proud mum. I am so behind them all and I want them to do well, I know what a big thing it is to step out on the stage, in front of the nation as well. I guess as the actress, who has played roles like Cilla, I’m looking for more mannerisms and embodying the character, not just sounding alike. A lot of people can do caricatures of people whereas I’m kind of more about the little details and that’s kind of my role.

"I play a lot of real-life people, and I obsess about them and research them a lot. So what I’m really looking for are all those mannerisms and whether the contestants have studied the artist. It’s incredible because, although all the teams come out as all the same person, there will be different looks or they’ll be performing as the artist at different stages of that person’s career. So there will be a 1970s Lionel Ritchie, a 1990s Lionel Ritchie and then a modern-day Lionel Ritchie. It’s really fun to see that and what choices people make! 

"The other judges are great. Jason Manford is a comedian so he’s all about entertainment, Adam Lambert is like the best singer in the world and knows all about the kind of voice and the sound of the voice as does Beverley Knight. Beverley and Adam give amazing critiques."

Sheridan Smith with host Olly Murs and the other 'Starstruck' judges.

Sheridan Smith with host Olly Murs and the other 'Starstruck' judges. (Image credit: ITV)

Sheridan Smith on the talent in 'Starstruck'

Sheridan says: "It’s really hard as a judge because they are all so brilliant and it’s just so hard to choose between them. I just wish I had a golden buzzer or a wild card because there are so many that you don’t want to go home. It’s a hard competition but they are the best of the best. I think there is going to be some amazing surprises for the public."

"What I’ve seen so far is just nerves of steel. What’s lovely for me personally is to see them living their dream! It’s so lovely to see the transformations. To see someone who maybe comes across as really shy in their VT and they are playing a character that’s an extrovert or it’s the other way around and they are quite bubbly playing someone really introverted - that’s why I’m fascinated by the acting side of things. 

"It’s not just a singing contest, it’s way more, there’s no record deal at the end but it’s about them becoming their idol and you can tell they’ve studied them. I’m honestly blown away by every show by what they do so I don’t think I could give them any advice other than that they are brilliant - I’d like them to give me advice on my next role!"

The Freddie Mercury performers from episode one of ITV's 'Starstruck'.

The Freddie Mercury performers from episode one of ITV's 'Starstruck'. (Image credit: ITV)

And who would Sheridan transform into for 'Starstruck'?

Sheridan says: "It would be Dolly Parton without a shadow of a doubt. I am obsessed with her. My mum and mad were a country and western duo so I grew up with country music. A pair of fake boobs and a big blonde wig. I’d have to practice the voice but she is my idol so that’s who I would want to be."

Dolly Parton.

Sheridan Smith says she'd love to transform into Dolly Parton on 'Starstruck'. (Image credit: BBC)

Take a look at Sheridan in the Starstruck trailer below...

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.