As Billboard gears up to honor the one and only Madonna as the 2016 Woman of the Year, Showtime is premiering her new concert film Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour on Friday, Dec. 9, which documents her blockbuster Rebel Heart Tour (which sold more than 1 million tickets and earned her $170 million — no big deal). Ahead of the concert film’s premiere, Billboard is excited to share exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of Madonna’s dancer audition process.
In the clip, which you can watch below, we get a backstage pass to witness quite possibly the hardest working backup dancers in the business as they sweat their asses off to earn a spot on Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour, which boasted some of the Queen of Pop’s most astonishing choreography in years.
“I know I can be difficult and demanding and push you and sometimes my ego is out of control, but I am a Leo,” Madonna tells her dancers in the clip. Case in point: We get to see Madge bluntly reacting to one rehearsal with the simple summation, “That sucked.”
“She wants the best and wants people who work hard. If you get too comfortable or too lazy, you don’t get the spot,” one dancer says. Another says it as directly as Madonna herself might: “She’s hard as fuck to work with.”
Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour solidified her status as one of the biggest touring acts of all time. The pop iconoclast is the highest grossing solo touring artist in Billboard Boxscore history (the archives go back to 1990) with a staggering $1.31 billion in total concert grosses.
Relive Madonna’s triumphant Rebel Heart Tour run on Showtime Dec. 9 at 9 p.m. ET when Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour airs. That same day, Madonna will be honored as Woman of the Year at Billboard’s annual Women In Music event, which airs on Lifetime Dec. 12.