Sunday, 30 March 2008
Welcome back to Sunday night's results show, which starts with the Nancys singing 'I'd Do Anything' again - and a little "What, fisticuffs?" from Graham Norton. They're not going to sing this every week, are they? It could get tired.
The panel are back, Lord Webber is back - who, we are reminded, will be able to save one Nancy every week. Cue Phantom music - DRINK! Time for a quick recap. Backstage, Jessie emphasises that she "really would do anything" for the role. Get down to ALW's dressing room then, what are you waiting for? [Yes, would she suck, oh never mind.... - Louise] Mini-Nancy Sarah is in tears backstage. We've seen all the rest before.
To fill some time, Graham's chatting to the Nancys. Niamh says it's nice to see their families in the audience because they haven't seen them for two weeks. Francesca says it will be awful for anyone to get voted out, blah blah whatevs.
There's a VT of their first Nancy task of going to work in an East End market, and also eating traditional East End food like jellied eels. Yummy. The stallholders say working in a market is just like being in a theatre, because you're selling yourself as well as your goods. Jessie had a "nice personality", but Fran was shy. They can't help but break into song though. [EastEnders is still far more interesting than watching Nancy wannabes pretend to be real stall holders - watch Bianca's return this week and weep... - Louise]
Back in the studio, ALW is tucking into a bowl of jellied eels. "You know what the Cockney rhyming slang for Lionel Bart is, don't you?" he teases Graham. The Nancys are performing Girls Aloud's 'Sound of the Underground', and Graham asks ALW what he's looking for. "I'm looking for it to start," he replies. The Lord is in a cheeky mood tonight, obviously. John says that he's going to be keeping an eye on Francesca and Samantha. The performance is all so much whatever. [I loved it. I'm so easy to please. - Steve] Mr Webber says all of the Nancys stand out in different ways. Denise "thought Jodie was fantastic" and she "loved Jessie as well", while Samantha caught Barry's eye.
Time for a quick introduction to our first Oliver. Gwion does tap dancing and surfing and he thinks he's tough. Now they're singing 'Bright Eyes', with Gwion singing solo. Out of tune. Yeech. Also, what's with the red lipstick? [Heh, MAC finest, obviously, but he looked like a young TV and it was pretty yuk, tbh - Louise] He'll have to get rid of that Welsh accent.
Graham quickly asks the panel who isn't Nancy. Tara and Amy aren't popular. One Nancy's dream is about to come to an end! So here are the results - in no particular order. Cleo is through. Samantha and Rachel are both through, as are Tara and Keisha. Ashley and Jodie are through. We're down to the final five. Jessie is through - that was a no-brainer. Francesca is in the bottom two. [DO NOT WANT. - Steve] [At least this averts the 'It's a fix!' bullshit for a while.-Joel] Emo Niamh could still be Nancy. So, only one of Amy and Sarah can go through, and it is... Sarah, meaning Francesca and Amy are the least popular. I love how they tell them what the result would be if it all rested on viewer votes - Amy, in this case, or Ugly Nancy, as I like to call her. Is it just me, or does Graham Norton seem to be in a bit of a hurry?
The sing-off song is 'Tell Me on a Sunday', and Amy is singing first. It's a bit of a wobbly start. Francesca's voice is better, but I think Amy has more personality [but did you notice how her mouth did a weird vertical oblong on the long notes? Very distracting - Louise]. They're both acting their little socks off. Down to Lord Webber. Both of the Nancys are crying. It's hard, but he's going to save... Francesca, predictably, because the standard is so high and Amy "bottled out on the intonation and the tuning". She better pull herself together to sing them out. It's a combination of 'Be Back Soon' and 'As Long as He Needs Me'. Amy puts on a good show [apart from the last note - Carrie], and Francesca is still blubbing away.
Thus the devastation begins - join us again next week, when another Nancy's dream will be shattered!
Welcome to our first live show blog! Mr Webber faces his toughest challenge yet! Tonight the Nancys and Olivers sing live for the first time! Whoop! And tomorrow night (don't get me started) one of each will be voted out for good!
Please welcome your host, Graham Norton. He's clearly found his niche, pretending to be nice to performing hopefuls while secretly sneering behind their backs. Anyway, the band is ready, the panel is preened (cue jazz hands from the Barrowman and Denise Van Outen, in their little club as always) [WTF are jazz hands? I've been pondering this for 24 hours! - Louise] [it's when you splay your arms out to the side and wave them - Carrie], and the Lord has returned to his throne (no Phantom music as yet though).
So, as is traditional, to open the show, the Nancys and Olivers perform the title song. There's way really way too much going on to judge any of it. I must say the Nancy dresses are quite hideous - way worse than the Maria ones - and it's a shame they can't have the ritual derobing of the week's loser, because that caused us much amusement during Any Dream Will Do. Or perhaps they have velcro fastenings and the losing Nancy could be stripped down to her Victorian undergarments? Or, you know, in the best Dickens tradition, perhaps she will just be bludgeoned to death. It all works for me.
Graham gets in the first of, doubtless, many puns to do with "Olivers army" and "bunch of Nancys". Start as you mean to go on. The chosen Nancy's life will change 4EVA! Welcome back the panel: John "Captain Jack" Barrowman, [Rancid as he can be, I think Barrowman's time on Broadway and West End roles in Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, Grease, Hair, Sunset Boulevard, Chicago and Phantom qualify him to judge this show rather more than his Captain Jack role.-Joel] West End Leading Lady Denise Van Outen, and this year's new addition, Barry Humphries, aka Dame Edna Everage, and who, for the doubters out there who think he might not be qualified to judge, was in the original production of Oliver! and has played Fagin twice in the West End. So there. He's garishly dressed in a pink jacket. Let's not forget Andrew Lloyd Webber *cue Phantom music* - DRINK! Don't forget it's all down to YOU and YOUR VOTES.
All diff what characteristics? Everyone at home will have a different view about Nancy. Dickens wrote about a woman who stood by her man because she loved him. ALW goes on about Aoife doing Chess, Ben in Hairspray, Daniel in Avenue Q [oh, sure, NOW he's proud of Daniel - Still Bitter Steve] and - exclusive! - Seamus as Che in Evita! Am so booking tickets for that. Go Team Seamus! [Seamus is hot. That is all.-Joel]
Graham explains the plot of Oliver! and how Nancy "perishes for her good deeds at the hands of Eric Sykes - Eric, Bill, whatever." Ha ha. You've ruined the end now!
The first two Nancys to perform are curly-mopped Irish Nancy Jessie and crazy-as-a-loon miracle-dieter Jodie (whose boyfriend is in the audience, presumably on their eighth date). Jessie has been turned down twice for drama school. Her dad's called Tim Buckley. She is from IRELAND - but Ireland won't be able to vote for her, because they can't vote. Ha ha. Jodie lives at home with "a montage of animals", apparently. Oh, she meant "menagerie". She does seem like the crazy spinster type. She's done cabaret and the working men's club circuit, and sings to her animals. She's going to put "everything Nancy needs to be into every performance that I do". Good for her.
Graham tells Mr Webber that viewers can press the red button to go interactive, and ALW asks why it can't be blue to go with his throne. Graham seems as bemused as most of the viewers. On with the show.
Last week, ALW called Jessie a "world-class performer" (that is, he said one of the four girls he called back to sing was world-class, and it was obvious that he meant Jessie), so it's not surprising that she's been selected to open the show. She is wearing green because she is IRISH and from IRELAND. Her dress is Tina Turner-style mini and sparkly, and she does look quite fabulous. She's singing 'River Deep Mountain High', and it's a belting vocal performance.
Jodie's Story is that she has lost eight and a half stone. Also, from what we could tell during the audition shows, she's completely mental. I'm a bit concerned about her dress. Most of the time it gives good cleavage, but sometimes her boobs bulge over the top a bit too much. [I rather think the dress is off-the-peg and though it fits round the waist, she needs a bigger size for her bosom. It's a common problem. - Carrie] She's singing Adele's 'Chasing Pavements'. It lends itself quite well to being sung in a musicals style. (Fact: urbandictionary.com defines 'chasing pavements' as "Slang term used for the act of specifically searching for a partner with whom to engage in either rimming, frosting or other scat-related activities." [Sheesh, I had wondered what that pavement stuff was about but that is TMI - Louise] I'll let you decide for yourselves whether Jodie managed to emote that.) Her boyfriend seems to have enjoyed it.
Jessie says she can't believe she's here, and the last thing she wants to do is get on the flight back to Ireland - "not that there's anything wrong with Ireland", she's quick to backtrack. Don't worry, they can't vote or anything. Jodie is just "so grateful to be here".
John Barrowman gets right of first comment, and sits on the fence: "You are both definitely serious contenders to be Nancy." Yes, well, they wouldn't be in the final 12 if they weren't presumably. Although, having said that, I wouldn't have described most of the final 12 Josephs as "serious contenders". First ridiculous metaphor of the night ahoy! I hope you have your drinks in hand, as John tells Jessie, "You're like a wild Irish pony - but can you be the thoroughbred?" DRINK! That doesn't even make sense. Is this the sort of thing we've got to look forward to for the next few weeks? Barrowman is loving Jodie because she "connected with everybody" and told a story. Denise says that both performances were "vocally fantastic". She tells Jessie to be careful with her posture, but she loved Jodie's vocal because "it's so heartfelt" and she sees Nancy's life experience in her performance. Barry says he wouldn't want to be on stage playing Fagin with either of them because nobody would look at him, and calls their performances "definitive". He tells Jessie she has "vulnerability and a touch of the guttersnipe", which is obviously just what they're looking for, while Jodie was "strong", with "toughness and tenderness".
ALW says that if Jodie lost eight and a half stone, she's lost the entire weight of Jessie. I think he just called her a fat cow - you've lost her weight and you're still twice her size! Jessie looks flattered that he thinks she's only eight and a half stone. He wonders if the viewers will think she's too young, but wants to remind the viewers that Nancy was that young. He says the interesting thing is that these two contrasting girls could both play the role.
Next up are Welsh ex-soap star Tara and Scottish redhead Ashley. Tara's father was a wrestler called, hilariously, El Bandito, but she never thought of becoming a wrestler. She played a "Footballers' Wives-type character" in a Welsh soap. Ashley is from Scotland and Scottish. She has auditioned for a lot of parts but never gets any. I'm saying nothing. Ashley has gone the Alesha route and brought out her nans early (Cecilia and Isabella) - expect them to feature on a weekly basis, should she become a contender. She got sacked from a debt collector's office the day before her Nancy audition, and she is "hungry for it - in fact I'm starving".
Tara is singing 'Suddenly I See'. Her dress is barely covering her pants - let's hope she's wearing some. I've been trying to resist complaining about it, but sorry: WHAT is the point of making people sing pop songs like this? It really gives us NO FUCKING CLUE about how good they would be at playing Nancy. I'm just saying. She's giving it all her Acting, but is slightly slipping on some of the high notes. [Tara, apart from the short dress/commando issue and JB's comments on her legs (like he'd care) , was totally rubbish and is so NOT Nancy - Louise]
Ashley - totally loving her dress, but then it's blue and it has good cleavage... in fact, isn't that Belinda's 'Over the Rainbow' dress? - is singing 'Black Velvet'. I used to like this song, until I heard her singing it. It's all the woa-oah bits I don't like. Too much pointing as well. Frankly, neither of these two performances have the strength of the last two.
Graham asks who would win in a Dickensian brawl. Tara thinks she'd win, as a wrestler's daughter, but Ashley retaliates, "Have you never seen Braveheart?" I agree with Graham - my money's on Ashley.
Denise says they both connected with their songs, but "both of you need to sit back on it a bit, you both went a bit crazy." I thought that was Theatre Acting? Let's ask the Barrowman - after all, he Knows His Craft. Denise thinks Tara was a bit too polished, and Ashley goes "a bit too jazz hands". Barry thinks that Tara is too modern: "It's hard to see you in the 19th century, but you're such a good actress you could probably play a Stone Age girl." Maybe in the new Roland Emmerich film. He thinks Ashley's performance was "passionate and engaging". Typically, John thinks "both of them are leading lady standard", but they need to "rough it up a bit". The Nancys try to mess up their hair a bit. Use your imagination, man. Barrowman uses the excuse of Ashley being Scottish to put on his Scottish accent. ALW agrees with John about "the roughing up", and says that everyone will have a different idea of what Nancy should be like.
Time to take a quick break from the main proceedings to see the Olivers - but frankly, we won't be able to vote, so what's the point? They're singing 'Food Glorious Food', and their acting is better than most of the Nancys so far. Our favourite is still Welsh Oliver. [I'm still utterly Team Chester. - Steve] That little blond one freaks me out though - vote him off! I'm not sure how the panel are going to judge the Olivers on one group performance, but who says this needs to make sense?
Graham asks ALW to explain why they're picking not one but three Olivers - obviously because they have to share the part so they can still go to school. Duh. Later we'll see them performing their first "Oliver task". Woo!
Next up, Amy and Keisha. Amy is from a council estate, and now she's in the "Nancy mansion". She's easily impressed. She played Velma in Scooby Doo, and is worried about being typecast as a kooky comedy sidekick. [As someone who was cast as a kooky comedy sidekick in almost every play I ever did, I take offence to that. It's nice work if you can get it! - Steve] Apparently it's already changed her life. Keisha is studying English, even though she wants to be in the theatre. She says there was pressure from her mum to do something with a job at the end of it. But, to quote Avenue Q, what do you do with a BA in English? [You can set up a blog on teh interweb and bitch about people on the telly. - Carrie] Keisha wants to prove to everyone that she was "meant to be Nancy".
Here's a little tip: if you want to look good on a TV talent show [or EVER - Carrie], don't sing an Aretha Franklin song. You'll just sound lame in comparison. Amy is singing 'Respect', and it's not that great. Also, awful green dress, not flattering in the slightest. She's a bit OTT - bulging eyes are not good. I think this series someone has told ALW to try and look interested during the performances - he usually looks bored when they cut to him, but is doing okay this week. Keisha is singing 'Mad about the Boy', which is much better. She has a much more flattering dress too. Probably one of the strongest vocal performances of the night so far, in my book. [Vocally awesome, and she's hot as. Hello, Joel's favourite Nancy.-Joel]
Graham asks them what gives them the edge. Amy thinks she's "fun, feisty, raw and real", and she wants it more than anyone else. Not convinced. Keisha is "strong-minded and confident ... and built like this". Work it, girl!
John tells Amy that her perfomance was confident and quirky, but "next time I want to see you open up that vocal", while he suspects that Keisha might be "too sophisticated to be Nancy" and wants to see something different next week. [She was ACTING, Barrowman, you stupid fucker. - Carrie] Barry says Keisha's was "the only song I recognise", bless him, and thinks if Bill Sikes tried to hit her, she'd deck him - the racialist. He thinks Amy's would be a great comic performance. Denise says that Amy "gave that song Oom-pah-pah" - DRINK! - and she thought Keisha was "hot - you would send Bill Sikes crazy with desire". Mr Webber says that Keisha has "the touch of a young Shirley Bassey in [her]", and I wish they'd stop going on about Shirley Bassey. Okay, she sang 'As Long as He Needs Me', and she's a feisty character, but that's as far as the Nancy comparisons go, in my opinion. [They wanted to cast Bassey as Nancy in the film, but someone pulled a string to cast Shani Wallis instead. - Carrie] He's just realised that accents might be a problem. He wasn't sure whether Amy showed that she could be Nancy, but was impressed with her voice.
Next up, Francesca, who is Welsh, and Rachel, who is from Northern Ireland, and seems to be in tears every time she's interviewed. Francesca is a professional actress, having already graced the West End stage in the awful Rent Remixed with HRH Denise Van Outen, so she's not exactly raw talent. She says that playing Nancy, it would be "me out there, not pretending to be anyone else". Except Nancy, obv. Francesca has understudied Rachel in the past. Rachel says she's from a "raw, knees-up background", which she's hoping will work in her favour. STOP CRYING DAMMIT!
Francesca is singing Mariah Carey's 'Hero', and I'm not sure her lower register is up to it. Her enunciation isn't very good either. Wearing a curtain probably doesn't help. [I'm having serious misgivings about Francesca being in this show. After seeing her in the theatrical stillbirth that was Rent: Amyl Nitrate Edition, I was all set to be her number one fan, but after her performance this week I'm wondering if perhaps she only looked good in Rent because everyone else was so terrible. I don't want my good memories of her sullied - she really was great as Joanne, she was, she was, SHE WAS. C'mon, Francesca. Justify my love. - Steve]
Rachel is wearing bright yellow, but just about gets away with it. She's singing the Sugababes' 'About You Now', which isn't really the best showcase song, and keeps running around the stage.
Graham's obviously running short of time, because he goes straight to the panel. Denise waffles a bit before saying that based on that performance, Francesca could play Nancy, but she wants to see the tougher side of Nancy next week. She thinks Rachel showed the "rawness and roughness" of Nancy, and thinks she would fit in with her friends in the East End. John thinks Francesca had some pitch problems with her high notes she needs to work on, but "you do deserve to stay in the competition". He says that he stuck his neck out to keep Rachel in the competition, and calls her "fantastic" three times whilst punching the air, to emphasise his point. Yeah, yeah. Barry calls Francesca's performance "classy" and thought Rachel had "the quality of a street urchin - tough and saucy".
ALW says that because they're both professional actresses, they'll have "the biggest mountain to climb" - though not on past experience. He thought Francesca was "a bit wonky", although he's not worried because she sang better in rehearsal [I was actually at the dress rehearsal, and I can back him up on this. - Steve] - excuse me, but aren't we supposed to be judging on the live performance, Mr Webber, sir? - but Rachel was "really fabulous".
Back to "the Oliver situation". Each week they'll get a task to do, on the basis of which ALW and Cameron Mackintosh will vote them into the semi-finals. Cam thinks the boys are of a very high standard. Their first task is to learn sleight-of-hand from a magician, and then demonstrate what they've learned. Some definitely performed better than others [bless Chester and his cape, I really love him - Carrie], and the first boy to go through is IBA favourite Gwion! Whoop! [Whoop! - Carrie] Does that mean he doesn't have to do the other tasks? I'm confused. He says to play Oliver would be an honour for his family "and all of Wales". These youngsters catch on quickly, don't they? [Yeah, except I'm bored already. If we can't vote for them why should we give a toss about them? - Louise]
Four more Nancys to get through, and the penultimate pair are Samantha and Sarah. Samantha says she always had big dreams, but didn't know how to achieve them because she lived on the Isle of Man. Get a boat? Sarah says that to be a leading lady is all she wants. Samantha released an album on the Isle of Man and sold 600 copies. There are no theatres though, and you're not likely to bump into ALW. Sarah has five jobs, including volunteering in a theatre and selling the Evening Standard. She's been in a lot of am-dram, and reckons that despite the baby face, she's perfect for Nancy. [I'm not convinced, but I do think she'd make a great Glinda in Wicked. - Steve]
First up, Samantha singing 'I Love Rock'n'Roll', wearing very little. I'm sure the panel will go on about how raw she is, because that's what they seem to say when people sing rocky stuff. Ooh, unexpected key change! DRINK!
Sarah is singing 'Get Here', which: blah. Her dress is like a teal-coloured version of Ashley's dress. All these Nancys are quite buxom, aren't they? There haven't been any really bad performances yet. Sarah has a great dirty laugh.
Barry says Sarah "brought out the cuddly side of Nancy", while Samantha makes him want to go and live on the Isle of Man. Dirty old perv. John says that to be "that sexy, that talented and that hot at this age", Samantha "might run away with the competition". Steady on! Nancy isn't just about being sexy. He says Sarah is vocally "like" honey, and reminds him of "a young EP - Elaine Paige". [Fuck off, Barrowman, with your fucking idiot name-dropping. - Carrie] Also Sarah played John's daughter in a production once - and there I thought he was still playing men too young to have daughters [or too gay, at least - Steve] - but she definitely has leading lady potential. Denise says that Samantha blew her away, and Sarah's "beautiful vocal" was "effortless", and she does something with her eyes that she calls "the Meryl Streep factor". ALW accuses the band of eyeing up Samantha when they were playing, and then says she was "terrific" and "really rocked it out". Sarah needs to work on her diction, though.
The final two Nancys are Cleo and Niamh. Cleo thinks she's a modern-day Nancy, while Niamh says she could play Nancy although she's only 17. Cleo is working the whole working-class London girl thing, from "not the best of areas". She works with people in the community, but thinks she's a "street girl" like Nancy. She thinks her family will be proud of her if she accomplishes something. Niamh is from Bangor, so she'll be splitting the Welsh vote with Francesca [and Tara! - Carrie]. [Sorry, actually that is Bangor in Northern Ireland - thanks Louise - I didn't even know there was a Bangor in Northern Ireland! So presumably Northern Ireland will be voting for her, and which means all the regions have a representative Nancy. - Georgi] She's postponing her A-levels for the chance of a lifetime.
Cleo's dress looks a bit like it's made from offcuts draped round her, ie pretty shapeless. She's singing Pink's 'Who Knew', which: hate it, but again, it is obviously rocky and raw. I'm not sure it's the best song for her, and the bit where she does the "sincere" Acting into the camera is a bit annoying.
Niamh is singing 'The First Cut is the Deepest', so expect lots of emoting. She doesn't immediately scream "Nancy" to me. Still hating the rush-from-one-side-of-the-stage-to-the-other thing. They all seem to do it. Her vocals are a bit meh. [But she is so pretty. - Carrie] [Although she's ruined it by stealing her haircut from Swimbint out of Hollyoaks. That fringe flatters no one. - Steve]
Graham feels sorry for these two because they've been waiting "longer than a passenger at Terminal 5!" Ha! Topical humour! DRINK! They both think waiting to find out if they got into the final 12 was more nervewracking than performing live, though.
John thinks Cleo has "raw talent" (thank you!) although she's "a bit uncomfortable in [her] skin at times", when she gets nervous, while he "melts" when Niamh sings. Barry thinks Cleo is a wonderful actress and Niamh is going to be famous, but "There's something a bit spooky about you. I can see you in a musical version of The Addams Family." Barry thinks all of the Nancys will go on to great things. Denise says that Niamh looks like "a young Bernadette Peters", which is a reference I'm sure most of the audience won't have got - I know I had to Google her, as Graham suggested. [I am such a musical theatre geek - I nodded wisely and vigorously in agreement when he said that. - Carrie] She thought Cleo was fantastic and "really acted it". Mr Webber is wondering if he can get out of Sunday night's decision because all the ladies are fabulous. He says Niamh "acted well with the song" and she has "come on a huge amount".
So that's your lot - time for a recap. It's hard to tell which way the competition's going to go - I wouldn't even like to guess who's going to get voted out, never mind who might eventually win. Join us again for the results show on Sunday evening *grumble*.
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
Saturday, 22 March 2008
Cut to Van Outen – things are going to get much tougher, and There Will Be Eliminations! As if we couldn't guess. John Barrowman reminds us it's a COMPETITION, for a premier role in the West End no less. The Nancys will have to impress on day 1. [I believe this was the point at which I texted Steve to inform him that Barrowman isn't believable as a human being - even when he's trying to talk normally, it comes across as forced and stilted. At least Van Outen seems reasonably natural. - Carrie]It's straight into class and scales. Jennifer, the 18 year old waitress [if that is indeed what you call people who work behind the counter at Burger King - Georgi] from Liverpool, is off key. Cue tears already. Van Outen gives her a pep talk about emotions going to another level. Essex girl Lucy is having a confidence crisis. Actress Francesca knows van Outen, they worked together in Rent [they were LESBIAN LOVERS OMGZ in Rent. Francesca Jackson is aces. - Carrie]. Denise asks what she's doing there. It's her DREAM ROLE! Quelle surprise. Alisha promises to work her socks off. Van Outen insists Alisha doesn't let her down and warns her about her diction, which has been weak so far. Alisha looks like she's been blubbing in the loos for an hour, her eyes are so red and puffy. Sarah-Jane, the single mum, is terrified of the trained competition. Nancy, the east-end lass with a DEAD DAD, looks confident and chirpy. Norton thinks they look relaxed even though they say they are nerve-wracked. Alisha bottles it. Van Outen gives her a dressing down. Alisha's off though. One down. It's one less competitor for the other Nancys.Cue shots of all the Nancys singing to the panel. They are all GIVING THEIR ALL! Charlotte feels under pressure and hits bum notes galore before forgetting her words and freezing. Cue tears. She's frustrated. So am I. This is all so predictable. I need another drink. It's time to wait and see who's done their best. Jessie thinks she's done badly, cue a hug from Barrowman [ew - Carrie] and a pep talk. The panel start deciding. Fates are being sealed. Katie is out but Keisha is in. Norton consoles Katie. Jennifer, Lucy , Jodie (with lots of tears) and Mandy are all in. Cwoife is out, she's too young, sweet, and innocent. Norton consoles her. Francesca and Jessica are in, and so's Charlotte. Van Outen says Sarah Jane's vocals are tired. She's out. More tears, because she's a SINGLE MUM!Barrowman says they are all through to the next step. Cue hugs, tears, screeches, etc etc. Yawn. Nancy, the east-end girl wiv an 'eart of gold, feels sick. They're getting competitive and here to stay. Keisha looks determined. There Will Be More Eliminations on day 2. No surprises there, then. Cue arrival of Dame Edna to help select the last 12. It's back to the Olivers. Gareth, Jordan and Gwion [love him! - Carrie][also loving his fantastically Welsh name - Georgi] are all through. That's six in and six to go. Is it me or do they all look and sound the same? I'm struggling to tell the difference here.It's back to Nancy school, and time to see them acting rather than singing. Sonia Swaby, who was the last Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh's last production of Oliver! [and is also generally awesome - Carrie], is there to help them through. Cue EVIL ORGAN NOISES, ALW is on his way!
Cue Graham Norton pulling faces at some truly dreadful overacting. [I didn't know Barrowman's acting masterclass was this week. HAHAHA LULZ! - Carrie]
ALW likes Rachel, though, he's tingling. Oo-er missus! He's off. Phew. I was alarmed at the tingling. Francesca is unwell and has to see the doctor. Cue tears. The vocal coach tells her to go home. Barrowman says the others have caught up with Francesca, who has to rest and up her game if she gets fit enough to come back.It's time for the final test – they're all singing It's a Fine Life. They all want to stay, they all have POTENTIAL. Tell us something NEW! It's the moment of truth, says van Outen. Show us your Nancy, says Barrowman (show us yours, JB). Charlotte doesn't want to go home, but she's feeling the pressure. Come off it, they're all feeling the pressure because it's a TV Talent Show! And now it's the moment of truth (again), as they sing As Long As He Needs Me in a group. Barrowman wanders around tapping them on the shoulder if they are OUT. [This is such an unnecessarily cruel way of doing eliminations. Nobody needs the Barrowman creeping up behind them. - Georgi] Jodie looks like she's going to puke. Jennifer the waitress is out. Cue more tears and crying on Norton's jacket. Nancy the east-end girl with a dead dad and a heart of gold is OUT! Shock! She's not the Chosen One, after all. [Dead Dad Nancy was robbed! - Carrie] Van Outen looks tense, Barrowman tells the remaining girls they could be Nancy. Cue yet more hugs, tears, etc. Yawn, this is so predictable. Keisha looks like it's her turn to throw up. Francesca's at home in Wales and Barrowman phones to tell her she's still in with a chance but has to get healthy. Will she recover in time? [Fingers crossed. Also, Barrowman says his own name really weirdly. - Carrie]
Back to the Olivers. Laurence, Jonny and rugby player Harry are all in. Why do they all sound like they ate a kilo of plums? He's a workhouse brat, for God's sake!
There are 18 Nancys left, and one last test (er, didn't they say that 10 minutes ago?). It's an invited audience at a theatre in the east end. The panel is van Outen, Cameron Macintosh, ALW and Barry Humphries. Barrowman is trapped in Cardiff in the time rift, apparently. Cue shot of Babs Windsor telling us how her life was changed by Lionel Bart when he gave her a part in Fings Ain't Wot They Used To Be. Connie Fisher and [West End Leading Man - Carrie] Lee Mead are in the audience too. [Former West End Leading Lady - Steve] Connie says they'll all be nervous. No? Really?Cue a group turn of Om Pah Pah and Fings, plus various pop songs for the individual turns. No one really stands out. Babs says it was all wonderful, she wouldn't have missed it. Lee's enjoying watching rather than auditioning.Cut to the last three Olivers – Sam, Alex and Chester [I LOVE him too. And I'm not speculating or anything, but the kid loves to sing and dance and trampoline, and also wears a hat. I suspect if he were 15 years older, he'd be a good friend of mine. - Carrie]. It's judgement day for the Nancys. Everyone plus the panel heads to ALW's posh country pad for decision time. Barrowman arrives from Cardiff and watches back the VTs to catch up. Cue lots of disagreements on the panel as they look at the polaroids. This is no panel for old men – Humphries is sporting a dodgy Javier Bardem psycho-killer haircut but has little to say. Cleopatra and Helen get called in to sing again. Van Outen looks pleased with Helen, while Barrowman looks bemused at Cleo, who looks terrified. The youngest girls are also asked to sing again – Jessie, Lucy, Samantha and Niamh. ALW does some eyebrow-raising at Jessie. Lucy pulls unattractive faces. She's not going through, anyway, she's the size of a Surrey bungalow. Sam is off-key. They all burst into tears. ALW says there was one World-Class Performer in the four. Van Outen agrees. I think there are several going home.
It's time. Tara tells ALW he has a nice house. [AHAHAH! It's a fucking mansion! It's a fucking country ESTATE! - Carrie] She's in. Cue tears. Kleenex shares quadruple overnight. ALW's unsure about Rachel, but – she's in! OMG! Ashley's in and rings her gran, who yelps ear-piercing screams. Mandy's not right, she's out. And Dolly, who's not Nancy as she's not had enough experience. Jaime says “Nancy's my dream”. Not for ALW, though, who tells her “you're very talented but you're not Nancy, get some experience". Sarah looks eager, she's in! Jessie has been turned down twice by drama school – but she's in! She asks ALW if he's serious. Like, duh... Keisha's in and drops to her knees as if she's about to do the hands in concrete thing on the Hollywood walk of fame. Er, she has a long way to go yet. Samantha's in and hugs Norton. Francesca's in too, despite the health problems. Ginger-haired Amy's in – ALW tells her it's a ghastly moment, so of course we all thought she was going home. Helen the professional actress is told she's not raw enough and too polished. Out. [Apparently having actually attempted to train for a career in musicals is almost as bad as having both parents still alive. - Steve] Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Jodie from Blackpool, who lost 8 stone and drags her bloke to auditions, is in, on condition she can do sad as well as bubbly. She goes blubber-berserk. What IS she like? Totally OTT. I have my doubts about her. Nurse, pass the Prozac. Just two places left and Fat Lucy is going home. No surprise there.The last three get called in to see ALW together. Niamh's through, so is Cleopatra, but Ann's not. Cleo may be about to have a coronary. And now it's all down to you from next week – cue the live shows!
Saturday, 15 March 2008
Welcome, all, to yet another blog. The television schedules are crammed full of light entertainment goodies at the moment, so for your delectation we're set to blog the BBC's latest free publicity vehicle for Andrew Lloyd Webber (like he needs the money...and we're the ones paying for the PR. US. OUR LICENCE FEES), I'd Do Anything.
When this show was first announced, we were promised that Lloyd Webber and his minions would be seeking a Nancy and three Olivers, but now it transpires we're not even going to get to vote on the children and thus send a bunch of pre-pubescent boys into a drink- and drugs-fuelled Mark Lester-esque depression. Still, it might still be a laugh.
Anyway, here we go. Connie bloody Fisher says, "From telesales to West End Leading Lady - who would have thought?" Everyone, you stupid mock-humble bint, you were slated for the part from the very beginning. We see lovely Shani Wallis in the film version of Oliver!; we see bloody John Barrowman doing Acting; we see some stupid woman who claims, "There's a Nancy in me, there really is", which sends me into a fit of teh lulz; teh blah.
Titles! Lots of urchins and prostitutes running around a very clean slum. Oh, that's a disappointment. Throughout HDYSAPLM and ADWD? I kept bursting into the title songs (the mock-operatic bit, mostly). The same will not be happening with this. [You wanna bet? - Louise]
Lots of auditionees. Graham Norton reassures us that we are very powerful as we get to cast Nancy. THOUGH NOT OLIVER. Lloyd Webber says, "We've broken the theatre system." Too fucking right, mate. I am beginning to despair for the future of musical theatre. How about encouraging new writing rather than buying up all the bastard theatres then staging huge productions on them to fill your pockets even further?
ALW reminds us that Connie Fisher and Lee Mead are GRATE. Connie Fisher reminds us that she is GRATE. Lee Mead has a lovely smile. [But is not GRATE, apparently. - Steve] ALW reckons that having TV talent shows has opened the door for young people who would never normally get to see him because of the way the theatre system works. And...the theatre system generally works by audition. The TV system, however, works on back stories (believe me. I've seen the application form). So though having a parent WHO IS DEAD might not get you into the audition room for straight theatre, fret not, you can be humiliated live on television every Saturday night! Norton reminds us that ALW is GRATE. [Not to worry - having a sob story has been proven not to cut much ice with the voters, who seem to be pretty sharp at spotting a lack of talent regardless - Louise][Although apparently the Great British Public do have a soft spot for talentless Scottish twunts who don't want to go back to their *sob* job at *sob* Tesco. - Georgi]
Norton introduces us to Cameron Mackintosh, who has always struck me as a sensible sort of chap. We're then told he hasn't worked with ALW for 21 years, which kind of reinforces my point. EW TOPLESS Lloyd Webber. [MY EYES! - Georgi]
This competition is tougher than ever. Right. The thousands of hopefuls will be whittled down to a smaller group to be seen by the "expert" "panel", and then the pupils of Nancy School will be selected. Then they get to perform on stage (fingers crossed at ALW's PERSONAL THEATRE AT HIS HOUSE), and the ones who are "best" will be served up for our ritual entertainment for the next couple of months.
ALW says that Nancy is "so today...so believable". Cam is badly edited, but is generally excited. Norton tells us how popular Oliver! is. Shani Wallis gives her opinions on who Nancy is (frankly, I'd listen to her, rather than ALW's ill-advised ramblings about "an even younger Amy Winehouse") . Perry Fenwick reckons she is like a Queen Vic barmaid, and speaking of which, they wheel out Barbara Windsor. ZOMG, it's Mark Lester. He looks a bit rakish. That is so wrong. Todd Carty, billed as "Oliver fan". Randoms in the street. For Christ's sake, everyone, she was a PROSTITUTE and a PISSHEAD and a BATTERED WOMAN. She was NICE, admittedly, but really you have to keep those three things at the forefront of your mind, surely? Read the fucking book. Or read the fucking libretto, I don't really care, it says so in BOTH OF THEM. [But that is a bit much for Saturday night telly, so instead they keep going on about how she needs to be "raw" and "a bit rough". - Georgi]
ALW, Cam and Norton are in a pub having a staged discussion about who Nancy should be. ALW says about Winehouse again. SHUT UP. Cam says "early Shirley Bassey", which I can sort of get, with that sense of world-weariness. ALW talks about "heart of gold", and "it's got to be a voice you can believe in", with Cam adding, "if it doesn't sound like it's lived through the gin and the East End, it won't sound right." They are making the right noises, but they so won't stick to this.
Lots of women queuing up and singing; lots of little boys screeching; various voxpops with women explaining their day jobs, like we care. Norton sounds vaguely surprised that people have dressed up, pretending that he doesn't know that it suggested dressing up ON THE FUCKING APPLICATION FORM. Lots of shit Cockney accents. One woman looks a bit like Little Mo.
Jessie is from the west coast of Ireland, and came to the UK to audition for drama school. She didn't get in. She is 18. I don't like her hair. She sings to Renowned Casting Director David Grindrod, who is unimpressed, and shouts advice to her through her performance. She gets better. She gets a callback. She cries. She can't believe it.
I have NO idea how to spell the name of the next woman, perhaps Menal?, but she's 27 and half-Arabic, and anyway if she progresses in the competition they might bother captioning her next time. I don't like her hair either. She has made the considered decision to go for some cleavage in her audition. I don't like her nasal vibrato. RCD David Grindrod judges her acting skills unfavourably, but puts her through anyway. She cries.
Montage. Ooh, now we get to see some shit people. HAHAHA let's laugh at the ugly, the untalented and the stupid. They all cry. RCD David Grindrod hugs some of them. The atmosphere is apparently "scarier than Bill Sikes with a hangover", though I don't notice anyone at the auditions actually BEING MURDERED by the atmosphere.
18-year-old Jennifer FROM LIVERPOOL is crying because she is nervous. They have sent a TV crew back to her house and dance classes and job, so I'm guessing we'll be seeing more of her. And of course we will be, for she has a mum, WHO IS ILL. FUCK'S SAKE. Jennifer thinks she would be good at playing Nancy because "she's had a rough life too". She sings. It's OK. She gets through.
Now we get to see all the irritating little children auditioning for the role of Oliver. Don't fucking care, we don't get to vote, and we don't like stage-school brats. Although I am quite amused by the boy who says, "It would be a dream come true to sing in That West End." [As opposed to...? - Steve] ALW doesn't want a Victorian doll; Cam wants a gutsy boy with the voice of an angel. Clips of children singing, some of whom sing with an American accent, and one of whom sings with a rather cute Welsh accent. Lee Mead goes to join in the workshop, for no reason I can ascertain.
Ebony from Cornwall thinks this will CHANGE HER LIFE because it will be the ONLY OPPORTUNITY she EVER gets to do something like this. There's plinky-plonky piano music, which as we well know means ONLY ONE THING - her NAN AND GRANDAD DIED and SHE HAD TO LOOK AFTER HER MUM. What the fuck, BBC? This is worse than the fucking X-Factor. Anyway, she sings a song from The Little Mermaid, and she has a nice earthy quality to her voice, though not a great deal of melody, but she looks good and she has an ace sob story. RCD David Grindrod tells her to come back in an hour.
Jodie (?) from Blackpool has brought her new boyfriend to the audition with her. Musical theatre is her dream. She used to BE FAT and it has HELD HER BACK. Now she has lost eight and a half stone. RCD coaches her through the song, but doesn't know whether she should go through. He puts her through anyway. She cries. Her new boyfriend is pleased.
Montage of lunatics and cross-dressers. HAHAHAHAH.
Ebony needs some advice from her mum. OH, AND IT IS HER BIRTHDAY TODAY. Ebony sings at her mum. Her mum cries, because that was the song SHE SANG AT HER GRANDPARENTS' FUNERAL. She goes back in to see RCD David Grindrod. Her mum's hands are shaking. RCD David Grindrod tells her that because it is eight shows a week in a West End show, she needs more experience, and so he is not putting her through. Is this the last we see of her?
ALW turns up at the auditions. Lots of women are overwhelmed. One confesses that when she was a teenager, she had a poster of him on her wall. [Which: please, no. - Georgi] ALW decides to give some helpful advice to auditionees, and gurn while they are singing.
Jessica from Bristol is the next one in. She is blonde and reminds me a bit of Emma Chambers. She warbles her way through a dreadful offkey version of Think Twice. RCD David Grindrod tells her to stick out her tongue. There's a stud through it, which should have been removed. ALW says he thinks Nancy would have a tongue piercing, and also tattoos, but tells her not to worry about it. I'd be more worried about the fact that this bird can't hold a bloody tune. ALW chooses not to concern himself about this, then wheels out his now traditional spiel about how he is looking for a New Nancy with x amount of characteristics but they have Not Found Her Yet. He goes to watch the horrible stage-school brats instead. They're no sodding better, singing in a variety of keys and forcing dreadful vibrato. ALW says he saw one Oliver he liked, because he thought "if you said something he didn't like, he'd knee you in the goolies, and I think Oliver's got to be like that from time to time." (As if. Oliver's a total simp. The Artful Dodger would knee you in the balls, fo shizzle.-Joel)
Boarding-schoolgirl Katie sings a vaguely operatic version of All By Myself, and then admits her parents are professional opera singers. She loves musical theatre, and has lots of teeth. Norton gives us a flashback to ALW saying, "This is a girl who's been scrabbling around in the gutter", implying that Katie is therefore unsuitable because SHE IS RICH. Fuck's sake, she might be able to act for all we know; I don't think she should be automatically discounted because she wasn't in fact brought up on the streets. As she walks out of the room, she beams at the camera, and suddenly looks a lot like Sarah Brightman. [For my money, she is way too young and innocent-looking for Nancy. - Georgi]
London girls Nancy (who I really like on sight - she is good and she looks the part) and Cleopatra (comin' atcha) [I really want her to go through to the live shows just because I want to shout that at the TV every week. And possibly Drink! - Georgi] both go through. Nancy cries and then so does RCD David Grindrod. Sarah-Jane is a SINGLE MUM with a RECENT HEALTH SCARE. She lives each day as it comes. I like her voice a lot. She goes through too. She cries. Her son is pleased, if embarrassed.
Montage of squeaky excited women and RCD David Grindrod crying.
London! Drink! 109 Nancys (Nancies?) and 50 Olivers are through to the callbacks. Everyone really wants the part. Yeah, yeah, yeah. "Helping" "us" "choose" "our" "Nancy" are the panel - the ubiquitous West End Leading Man John Barrowman, shit radio DJ and star of Rent: Amyl Nitrate Edition Denise Van Outen, and RCD David Grindrod, because presumably Barry Humphries costs too much to have there prior to the live shows. [And Barry Humphries knows oh so much about musicals, right? WTF experience does he have for judging musical talent when he can't even coordinate his twinset and pearls? - Louise] [To be fair to him, he played Mr Sowerberry in the original West End cast of Oliver!, and has played Fagin in two separate productions. Sounds weird, right? But it's a TRUFACT. - Carrie]
The ladies are doing their vocal warm-ups. Norton is in their midst and sneering. He goes to talk to the panel. Barrowman says Nancy has to be a little "dirty", but then he would say that. Denise says that this year, the winner can't be too polished or too trained. She's making the same mistake as ALW and Norton earlier - just because someone has been trained, it doesn't mean they can't act the street-dwelling whore, does it? In fact, doesn't it make it more likely that they can? [THANK you. I was screaming that at my TV almost constantly. - Steve] Rada-trained Shani Wallis and Laine-trained Olivier-award winner Ruthie Henshall both managed it, to name but two. I'm getting pissed off with this show already, and it's only half an hour in. Barrowman pretends that we actually get to choose who plays Nancy, and that ALW doesn't really get the casting vote.
Callbacks. It is the Toughest Competition Yet, and everyone is Feeling The Pressure. Orla from Derry is first in, and for some reason she gets to sing Crazy For You. Norton makes Madonna jokes. Barrowman says that she is beautiful and polished but they need a rougher edge. GIVE THEM A NANCY SONG TO SING, THEN, AND ASK THEM TO ACT IT. Oh, they do for the next ones. One girl backstage listens to a rejection, then comments, "Well, at least there's one more space for us." Ha! [I loved that. Now THAT's what Nancy would be like. - Steve]
Keisha from London has a deceptively low and powerful voice. RCD David Grindrod coaches her through the song. And She Could Be Nancy. Whoop whoop! They will see her at Nancy School. Sarah-Jane, who is a SINGLE MUM, is advised by Barrowman to focus - "it doesn't have to sound perfect, because Nancy's not perfect." The panel talk as she sings, which is rude. RCD David Grindrod says they have concerns about her voice and her acting, but they are still sending her through because she has a good sob story. They don't say that bit, obviously.
Barrowman tries to help people with their Acting, and seems bewildered when that doesn't work. Never mind, ladies, you'll get him for a whole masterclass in a couple of weeks' time. Oh, Jesus, he's going to be playing Bill Sikes in the workshops, isn't he? NOTE TO ALW - just in case you read this, sir, CAST RICHARD ARMITAGE AS SIKES. He'd be ace.
Norton talks to posh Katie about the fact that some real East End girls have got through - "the kind of girls you'd move away from at a bus stop" - and that she will need to Act if she is going to be successful. Denise asks Katie why she wants to play Nancy, and props to Katie, she refers to the original text and Dickens. I'm not convinced by the literary veracity of her claims, but let's face it, Denise and Barrowman won't know any different. She sings nicely again. Her mum has an ugly scarf. The panel patronise her, then send her through to Nancy School.
For those of us with short-term memory loss, we are given a flashback to Jennifer from Liverpool, who is in the same outfit that she had at the original auditions. She sings I Will Always Love You. Denise talks to her about her job and asks if she will lose it if she takes time off to go to Nancy School. Jennifer cries.
ALW turns up to stick his nose in. "Think street...think streetkid Nancy." He watches auditions on the big monitor with Norton. "Trained voice," he notes. Norton asks, "Would that trained voice immediately rule her out?" Thankfully, he replies, "No." I think we all know the problems that ensue when you stick someone on the West End stage who hasn't had their voice trained properly or who doesn't take care of their voice or who hasn't kept up their practice, don't we? One woman sings Sweet Child O' Mine. Why? Half-Arabic Menal reminds ALW of "a young Shirley Bassey", presumably because she has dark skin and can sing. She is through to Nancy School.
At Nancy School, they will undergo intensive training, including Acting Class with Barrowman. All the girls would Do Anything for the part, including BEGGING and HUMILIATING THEMSELVES on live television. Montage of embarrassment.
Barrowman to one rejected lady: "I'm right on this. I know my craft."
Viewing public: "AHAHAHAHHA!" [He WAS right, though, that time. She was Truly Scrumptious, I mean Truly Awful - Louise] (Beside the point. There is no excuse for saying, 'I know my craft', especially when you're John Barrowman. Unless the craft is, like, making people touch your cock at parties.-Joel)
Jodie from Blackpool has brought her boyfriend with her again. This is their seventh date. Norton says to him, "You must be pretty keen." He is. Bless. Barrowman immediately takes to her. She makes him laugh in ridiculous fashion. Then he starts doing Acting Coaching, which makes him shout, for some reason. Anyway, she is good still, and she goes through to Nancy School. Jodie rings her mum. Her mum is pleased. ALW turns up and kisses Jodie, who rambles in her excitement.
21-year-old Cleopatra lives in north-west London with her mum and brother. She is made to pose by walls and graffiti in an urban fashion. She works on a performing arts project about knife and gun crime. BUT! She has a sore throat! O NOEZ! What will happen? She goes on stage, and Denise says, "Comin' atcha", cos she is on our blog, steelin our jokez. Barrowman stops Cleopatra's audition because he has noticed the rasp at the top end of her voice; Denise tells her she is special; she is going to Nancy School. She hugs her mum.
More about the stage-school brats, who are doing a musical theatre workshop, and then they sing for ALW and Cam, who is singing along, which is quite cute. 11-year-old Alexander is wearing a suit and has shiny hair. They like him. Then they do some Acting. I LOVE the little Welsh lad! Cam and ALW do deliberating. [aka shuffling polaroids around and pretending to Look Very Serious Indeed - is this going to be a looks-based initial selection? - Louise]
Caoife made RCD David Grindrod cry at the auditions, but that seems to have happened quite a lot, to be fair. She and her family walk around the lovely picturesque IRISH countryside in IRELAND, which is where she is from because she is IRISH. She does her audition is a very nervous way. Barrowman points her that she is a "young girl - Nancy is a woman". She tries to argue that she can act any age, and every actress should be able to do that. Whatever. We see lots of other auditions from young people, at which the panel voice their concerns about their lack of life experience. Well, why put them through this far then if you were really that bothered? Anyway, Barrowman is in love with Caoife, and she goes through. [She'd better mug up on her Mocknee if she's going to graduate from Nancy School - Louise]
East End Nancy, whom I love, claims to be a survivor. Her dad introduced her to singing, but he wasn't an actor, just a typical East End bloke. [Ooh, make her sing some Chaz'n'Dave for the auditions! - Georgi] He DIED when she was 10. He went out one night, and didn't come back. Nancy does her housework and sings. Her mum cries because she knows Nancy's dad will be looking over her. Nancy sings As Long As She Needs Me. Everyone cries, including Nancy and Norton. What is point of this competition, please? She is this year's Chosen One. (Well, you'd hope so. She's a bit good. I just hope they let her talent be enough and don't fall back on her dad, who is DEAD.-Joel) Denise tells her she did the East End proud. Obviously she is going to Nancy School.
Montage of Nancy Scholars with no names. ALW and Cam have chosen their Olivers, but we won't find out who they are till next week. Except we do, because they have a montage, and the little Welsh lad is one of them, whoop!
At Nancy School, make-up is forbidden, apparently. They will be Pushed To Their Limits. There will be weeping. There will be Barrowman wandering around in sinister fashion to choose the 12 Nancies for the live shows. Hooray!