We’re now used to Ed Sheeran as the biggest star on the planet, but at one point he was a fresh-faced hopeful who was doing his best just to get a break. At age 16 Ed tried out for Britannia High, a UK TV musical drama, and the judges recognized his talent immediately. However, rather shockingly, he did not make the cut for the three roles on offer due to his awkward performance in the dancing section.
No doubt the judges would come to regret that decision in later years. Ed appears first up, singing and playing acoustic and his instantly recognizable voice is all there, even at age 16. As you can see in the video below, one of the judges observed “his voice is what Britannia High is all about.”
In the following dancing section, we begin to see why young Ed didn’t make the cut. He performs an adorably awkward dance routine, looking for all the world like he’s never seen the inside of a dance studio in his life. The judges quickly pick up on this, with one icily stating later that he was “not even an option. Eventually, we’re gonna have to find some people that dance.”
Despite his inability to cut mad shapes, young Ed did progress in the first round of auditions when the judges cut the field of 140 down to 40. We get to see Ed scream in delight with one of the other selections, and say he was “very surprised actually, because I can’t dance.” This wasn’t the only recording Ed made at age 16, as in the video below we can see him skillfully singing and playing an acoustic ballad at home.
Later in the audition process, we see Ed in a dance studio, raising his hand to indicate he has some dance experience. It’s obvious that this experience didn’t do him a whole lot of good, as in the following shots Ed fumbles about as he tries to keep up with some basic moves.
The instructor observes that “Ed hasn’t a clue what he’s doing, but he’s trying.” Sheeran readily admits this, saying “I’m just trying to get it really in my head. I think I messed up as well – I got kicked in the face by accident.” The other judges were nonetheless in awe at his musical skills, saying “he’s the real thing.” However, this wasn’t enough to get Ed through and he was eliminated following the workshop phase.