Results show: Week Three
Entering to the strains of 'Consider Yourself', Graham's changed his suit from "yesterday", though it's now a scarlet suit with red piping with a purple shirt, which isn't that much of an improvement, but all change is good, as the checkout operator at Tesco once told me. Graham reminds us that in half an hour's time one girl will be considering herself unequivocally at home when she leaves the competition, and that's the cue for the remaining Nancys to introduce themselves with a reprise of 'It's A Fine Life'. Tara is at the front of the gaggle for the most part, possibly because she's doomed so they might as well give her what she wants while there's still time to do it. Francesca's bosom is still as impressive as it was during the main show. And that's all there is to say, really. [Again, HATE the group sings.-Joel]
Graham finds about six ways to tell us that nobody wants to go home, which I'm fairly certain we could have figured out without any help, before telling us that we'll be seeing more of the Olivers later, as well as seeing the Nancys' latest challenge, which appears to involve snogging Ben James-Ellis, of Any Dream Will Do and Hairspray fame. Definitely an upgrade from Barrowman, I'd say. And "reviewing the Nancy situation" (you used that joke "last night", Graham) are the panel: John Barrowman, Denise Van Outen, Barry Humphries, and the Lord.
Time for a visual recap with Extra! Backstage! Footage!: Rachel did her best with a song which is neither a particularly brilliant vocal showcase nor an actual song from a musical, and got great reviews from the panel. Sarah knocked 'Maybe This Time' out of the park, but was criticised as being "Country Life Nancy" by Denise. (And it's a shame Dianne Pilkington has just extended her contract because although Sarah's probably not going to be Nancy, I think she'd make a fantastic Glinda. Still, maybe next time, eh?) John told her to dye her hair for next week because he thinks the blonde is confusing Denise and Barry. Francesca was kind of off-key during '(I've Had) The Time Of My Life', as much as it pains me as a paid-up member of Team Francesca to admit that, though Denise thought her rawness was very Nancy-like. The Lord fretted over her pitch, though. Backstage, a slightly tearful Francesca says that she's going to work on that, but she's not really sure how. Why, with vocal coach Zoe Tyler, surely? Oh, my mistake: they didn't bother to put a vocal coach on the judging panel this year, thinking it'd be better to run with Denise, who served her purpose far better as a human hormone on Any Dream Will Do, and Barry who never says much of anything and gives me the heebie-jeebies. [And Barrowman, whom I believe - I BELIEVE - has worked in the West End. - Carrie] [In all fairness, I give Barrowman a pass because he's been on the panel since How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? He's got tenure. - Steve] Keisha's 'The Lady is a Tramp' was not enjoyed much by John or Denise, but Andrew found it charming in an "of the period" way. The Olivers, led by Arthur, sang 'Teamwork' from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Ashley sang 'The Winner Takes It All' and the Lord worried her voice would become boring. Jodie owned everyone in sight with a superlative rendition of 'Send in the Clowns' while perched precariously on a stool. Backstage, a gleeful Jodie confesses, "I'm speechless! And that's saying a lot!" Heh. You can't say she isn't self-aware, can you? Niamh and her fringe sang 'Moon River', a song which has officially lost all meaning to me, but might redefine the role of Nancy with her fragility, if Barrowman is to be believed. Pirate Jessie butchered 'One Night Only' from Dreamgirls, but the panel's collective woody for her continued unabated. Backstage, Jessie says "I feel like the luckiest girl in the actual world, I actually do." Oh, go actually away, Jessie. The Jolly Roger won't actually hoist itself, you actually know. Poor Tara continued to be utterly out of her depth throughout 'Let's Hear It For The Boy' and was called on it by the panel, and Samantha's 'Somewhere' felt like faked emotion to Denise, but was liked by Barry and The Lord.
Graham's sitting with Andrew and the Nancys. Graham reminds us that this year it is not just a singing competition because whoever gets the role really needs to be able to act. Yes, that's why it's called musical theatre, you clod. Although I might as well laugh at the retrospective burn on Connie Fisher and Lee Mead, I suppose. Andrew says that the second act is particularly tough, adding to the girls, "I think you've read it now". Well, one would hope. Ideally they would have read it before auditioning, but what do I know? [My eyebrows practically communed with the ceiling at this point. I would have expected teh Nancys not only to have read the script before auditioning but also the original Dickens novel. Just as a bit of background research, yanno. Otherwise they might as well be applying for the X Factor... - Louise] Graham asks the girls how much pressure they feel on their missions, and Jodie says that they always feel pressure, because they're aware that anything could be taken into account should they land in the sing-off. Ashley agrees and says that they've all tried to rise to the challenges. Graham tells us that Nancy is an outgoing character, so they called on former Joseph Ben James-Ellis to help the girls lose their ambitions.
They'll be performing Hairspray's love scene with Ben, but not before we see footage of Ben being a bit rubbish on Any Dream Will Do last year. (Although I will concede he's great in Hairspray.) The girls meet Olivier Award winner Leanne Jones, who plays Tracy Turnblad, for advice. Leanne says that it's very important for a leading lady to be versatile and able to do whatever the director needs them to do, including kissing someone they've only just met, however weird that might be. The girls get practising: Ashley kisses her own hand and Keisha worries about her onion breath. Heh. The Disembodied Voice of Graham informs us that there's a twist waiting in the wings - their dads will be watching them do the scene. Oh, snap. Although I'm not quite sure this is as bad as when they made the Josephs strip down to their loincloths in front of their mums. Or when they made the Marias make out with Barrowman, full stop. Samantha's dad Richard says that there comes a day where every dad has to watch their actress daughter do a kissing scene, although surely that only applies to the dads who actually have actress daughters? I mean, mine doesn't, so he got away with it. He did have an aspiring actor son at one point, and therefore had to watch me simulate sex with a dude in a scene from The Rocky Horror Show, but I digress. [I'm pretty sure my father never saw my début on-stage kiss at 14, when I played Widow Corney in a school production of Oliver! and had to snog Mr Bumble. And it was an all-girls school. But I digress, too. - Louise]
Prince's 'Kiss' kicks up on the soundtrack as Sarah says that the kissing doesn't sound so bad. She does well in her scene with Ben, though we don't see the kiss itself. Actual Pirate Jessie fucks up her lines, which does not go unnoticed by Ben. Take that, Chosen One! Niamh's dad Liam looks away for her kiss, and Ben says that Keisha was "seamless". Keisha very sensibly interviews that as an actor you've just got to be able to do it, pressure or not pressure [indeed, but you still need to convince the nation you are Nancy, love - Louise]. Ben says that Samantha's effort "felt real", which means she totally slipped him the tongue. "And cut!" says Samantha's dad Richard. Francesca's love scene looks good (she's probably relieved to be doing a love scene with someone who isn't Denise, I should think), and the soundtrack changes to Nelly Furtado's 'Maneater' for Jodie's typically OTT kiss. Hee. Leanne says that she's scared, because that was really good. Ashley also tries to devour Ben whole, but he says that he thought she did really well because she was in character from the moment she walked on. Rachel was also in character the whole time, says Ben. With one girl left, Ben admits he's terrified of kissing Tara in front of her dad who, lest we forget, is a professional wrestler. Wild West showdown music plays and the whole thing goes sepia for a second. Tara kisses Ben, El Bandito mimes breaking his neck, Ben wigs and Tara laughs. Backstage, she says "note to self: don't kiss boys in front of Dad." Hee. She seems like such a nice girl; it's a shame she can't sing. Ben's favourite kissers were Jodie, Keisha and Tara, who "left their own issues at the door". He declares it "not a bad day in the office".
Back in the studio, Graham segues to the Nancys performing 'Good Morning Baltimore' from Hairspray, with some horrendous choreography that makes Actual Pirate Jessie look even more ridiculous than usual. There's a bit in the second half of the first verse where one of the girls totally fucks up and starts doing the "I promise Baltimore" line instead of another "Good morning Baltimore", but I can't tell who it is. The performances are uniformly acceptable, but unsurprisingly, only Jodie actually makes any effort to play it as Tracy Turnblad. Graham asks Andrew for his feedback, and he singles out Samantha as being "absolutely wonderful", and said that Jodie really stood out. John thought Samantha was the best too. Barry liked Actual Pirate Jessie and Niamh. Denise thought Niamh was outstanding (indeed, she was, but she had the perhaps unfair advantage of getting to do the giant glory note in the "won't someone invite me before I drop dead?" line) and that Sarah was sassy. My God, John praised Samantha and Denise praised Sarah? It's like Opposite Day!
Graham reminds us that three Olivers are also being cast, as though anyone really cares, and we get a clip of Arthur making it through to the semi-finals from "yesterday"'s show. Backstage Arthur says he felt amazing when the crowd was cheering for him. We get a VT of Arthur's home life, and he tells us about how he enjoys martial arts, playing the saxophone, and fashion [and has a Scissor Sisters song playing as his backing track - Carrie]. Do I even need to make the joke? I thought not. He loves skinny jeans and purple. Oh God, I just can't. For the High School Musical fans amongst you, he is also Wearing a Hat, which should tell you everything you need to know. Arthur says that to win would be amazing. Indeed, you might even say it would be fabulous.
And now the Olivers are performing 'A Whole New World' from Aladdin, though of course the Katie Price/Peter Andre version will remain the definitive rendition. Gwion and Chester, as the other semi-finalists, also get solo lines, and I still think Chester is the absolute shiznit. If he makes the three who get into the show proper, I will so be going to see it, regardless of who gets to be Nancy. Is that wrong? [No, sweetie, but I'm not sure you'll be able to pick and choose which Oliver you get to see, unfortunately. Although we can try. - Carrie]
Graham tells us that we'll find out the next Oliver to go through next week, but first we must find out which Nancy is leaving us tonight. He goes to the panel for their opinions, and John names Tara, citing her lack of stamina and vocal ability to do eight shows a week. He is booed. Denise names Keisha for not acting or connecting with her song. Barry names Tara, because her work is "too modern". Hee! I don't know why that made me laugh, but it really did.
It's time for Graham to announce the results in no particular order. Keisha's name is read out first and she is in the sing-off. As Chris texted me to point out, her reaction is amazing: she starts to do the stagey open-mouthed "oh, I'm so relieved to be safe!" reaction for a second or two before it kicks in that she's not safe and she quickly puts her lips back together and puffs loudly. I hope someone puts that on YouTube, for it is to be treasured. [It was BRILLIANT. I almost felt bad for her, but then I decided to laugh instead. - Carrie] [Ha! That was a priceless moment. The shock on her face when she twigged that she was dangling on ALW's whim AGAIN was a TV classic. How I laughed - Louise] [Is this where I say RACIST BRITISH PUBLIC? Yes?-Joel]Keisha hangs her head and walks to the front of the stage as a deathly hush falls upon the studio: there's no murmur of surprise, no booing, no nothing. It's very unsettling, actually. Samantha could still be Nancy. So could Sarah and Jodie. Francesca is also safe and looks relieved/surprised. Rachel and Actual Pirate Jessie could still be Nancy too, as could Niamh, which leaves Ashley and Tara standing on the stairs. Graham invites them to step down, and reveals that Tara is in the bottom two, while Ashley could still be Nancy and is safe.
Graham informs us that if it were down to viewer votes alone, Keisha would be the one to leave. There are murmurs of discontent from the audience this time, and Keisha shrugs, while Graham reminds her that there is hope because The Lord might yet save her. Keisha and Tara will be singing 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow', and it's really weird to hear the original Judy Garland version rather than the Eva Cassidy or Israel Kamakawiwo'ole versions in this day and age that it almost sounds completely wrong. Keisha's first notes are a little scratchy, while Tara actually sounds good [except she has this weird startled expression on her face throughout the entire song, as if someone just jabbed her in the arse with a very large pin - Louise]. To be honest, if I were Tara, I'd spend more time practising the sing-off song than the main performance song too. Might as well play the odds, right? Actually, they both wind up sounding pretty good; infinitely better than the hot mess that Keisha and Cleo made of 'I Know Him So Well' last week.
Graham punts the decision over to Andrew. Andrew says that once again it's a very difficult decision, as usual, but he's got to think about the eight shows a week aspect and the connection to the song, so he saves Keisha. Keisha shakes it all out, and Tara takes it on the chin. Andrew calls her "the lovely, cheeky, poppy Tara", which I'm sure counts as a diss from musical theatre folk, and says that he agrees with the panel over the question over her ability to do eight shows a week at this stage [wait - they need to do EIGHT SHOWS A WEEK? Why has nobody mentioned this? - Carrie], and it wouldn't be fair on her, but wishes her the best of luck. [Notably, he doesn't mention anything about him being sure she'll have a huge career somewhere else in musical theatre, as he usually does to people with singing ability. - Carrie]
Tara tells Graham that the other girls are all fantastic and says that she's had an amazing experience. She thanks everyone who voted for her and says something in Welsh [because she is WELSH and from WALES - Carrie] before wishing luck to all the remaining girls. And with that it's time for the signature 'Be Back Soon'/'As Long As He Needs Me' send-off. Tara's take on the song is contained very much in her eyebrows, and Keisha (apparently the Helena/Lewis figure of this show now) strips Tara of her locket. Tara takes to the steps and proceeds to finish the song in a Cockney accent even more ill-advised than Actual Pirate Jessie's, but she just about hits all the right notes for the first and last time on the show, and I'm glad she got to do that at least once. Hawddamor, Tara!