I’d Do Anything – the semi final live show

First of all, let me start by congratulating all 4 of the girls who have made it to the semi-finals. I really think that the overall standard of the contestants in this series has been much higher than in the previous searches for Maria and Joseph, so it is a hugely impressive achievement just getting this far. That will almost certainly come as no consolation to the 3 girls who miss out on the role, but I’m sure that all 4 girls will have a successful West End career ahead of them.

As you’ll have seen if you read my pre-show post yesterday, Rachel was the bookies favourite to leave this week, with Samantha the clear favourite to win the role of Nancy. Read on to find out what happened in the Saturday live show, and whether I still think the bookies are right…

  • Rachel – first up tonight was Rachel, singing a classic musical theatre number, ‘Cabaret’ from the show of the same name (one of my absolute favourites written by the phenomenal Kander & Ebb). Rachel doesn’t seem to have really caught the public’s imagination so far this series, and has found herself in the bottom two a couple of times in recent weeks – probably down to a slight backlash that she’s already a professional, and not helped by the fact that at times, she has come accross as slightly too competitive in the series. Personally, I think it’s just her professionalism shining through – she really wants the part, and is doing her best to get it. Ultimately though, this should be a competition to pick the person who would do the best job as Nancy (not someone who might be talented enough to carry off the role with 6 months of training), and based on this week’s performance, Rachel should be Nancy. Rather startlingly, she got a standing ovation from the judges, led by ALW, and if that wasn’t enough to get her into the final, I don’t know what is. It would be an absolute travesty if she was voted out this week, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the viewing public have voted for her. The most impressive thing for me was how she managed to take a song everyone knows, and put her own stamp on it. I was absolutely mesmerised, and it was undoubtedly one of the performances of the series so far (if not the best). Vocally, Rachel is brilliant, and she is defintiely the complete package. She can dance well, and from what we have seen so far, she is also an excellent actor. I still worry about ALW’s comments that she would be a ‘safe pair of hands’, but whatever happens in the next two weeks, I expect to be paying to watch Rachel on the West End stage very soon.
  • Jessienext up was Jessie, singing a wonderful Marvin Hamlisch song from A Chorus Line, ‘What I did for love’. I am still a big fan of Jessie’s voice, and think she has a serious amount of raw talent, but I’m afraid I agree with John Barrowman 100% on Jessie… after 9 weeks of live shows, she just hasn’t improved that much. Unlike some contestants who have made dramatic strides over the course of the show (e.g. Samantha), Jessie has got less and less exciting to watch as the shows have gone on. Vocal ability is not enough by itself, and her movements and mannerisms have been awkward and repetitive. Coupled with that, she seems to have struggled to take on board the judges’ comments, and there are still worries about her acting ability. I am sure that Jessie is going to be extremely successful, and I found it astonishing that any drama school would have rejected her (let alone two!), but I just don’t think she is ready for this role, and I don’t think she will be ready in 6 months’ time. If she were to get the part, I worry about her being torn apart by critics, and it could definitely do more harm than good. She would be best off getting that training that she has been denied until now, and really focusing on her acting and her movement. I think she would be much better doing that than taking another role too quickly (I’m sure there will be producers looking to cast her, but she should get the training first). Based on tonight’s performance, Jessie should definitely be in the bottom two, and if she is, I would be amazed if ALW kept her.
  • Samantha – Sam sang ‘When You Believe’ and I thought she did a much better job vocally than last week. Given the opportunity to show a more vulnerable side, I thought she did fine without really convincing me (pretty consistent with John’s comments I thought). Having Sir Cameron Mackintosh on the panel this week was very interesting as it gave us a real insight into what he, the producer, wants when casting Nancy. Based on his comments last night, it appears that my suspicions about him wanting one of the younger Nancy’s is true. He reiterated the fact the show will not open until December, which means that whoever wins will have nearly six months to rehearse for the show. That only matters if one of the less experienced girls gets the role, as they’ll have the time to grow into it. This year’s timing is very different from previous years when Connie Fisher and Lee Mead had far less time to prepare for the role. I wonder if the opening date was chosen to avoid the lead not being ready this time around? Either way, the audience will have noticed this, and it can only count in Sam’s favour. Setting aside any question on the judges’ preference, I have been really impressed by Samantha over the competition. I wasn’t convinced by her at the start, but think she has improved massively as the show has gone on. Despite being the youngest competitor in the show, she seems remarkably mature, and I have far less worries about her ability to cope with 8 shows a week than I did with Niamh or Jessie. Vocally she is very good when belting, and she did another good job with this week. My one concern is that she is still not 100% consistent with her vocal – her two weakest performances when she has performed songs from musical theatre classics, and I still think she might be better suited to slightly rockier shows than Oliver. I think she has done enough to make it to the final, but on balance, I would probably like to see her in the sing-off this week to see how she copes under pressure.
  • JodieLast up was Jodie, performing ‘Out Here On My Own’ from Fame. I have been slightly frustrated by some of the judges’ comments about Jodie in recent weeks, especially her being a typical Nancy. I’m really not sure why it makes any difference what Nancy looks like so long as she is good enough to act and sing the role. I have no doubts that Jodie is more than capable of playing the role, and I think she would be brilliant. As with some of the other finalists, I was not convinced by her at the start of the series, and thought she might be a little too ‘cabaret’ to play the part (she reminded me a little of Craig in the last series who I thought was shown up as a cabaret singer as the weeks went on). I can say now that I was absolutely wrong about this. Jodie is incredibly talented, and when she is given serious, moving material to deal with (‘Send in the Clowns’ from A Little Night Music and this week’s performance of ‘Out Here on My Own’ spring to mind), she does a brilliant job. She connects with the music emotionally and has a fantastic, secure voice to back it up. I’m still torn between whether Jodie or Rachel are actually my favourite to win the series, but this week confirmed the fact that Jodie definitely needs to be in next week’s final.

 

The duets
There were also a couple of duets this week – neither of them particularly inspired me but I thought that ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ was abetter song choice for a duet than the Evita choice. Both performances showed that all 4 finalists have serious ability, but they felt a little bit too much like a competition for my liking!

 

The Olivers
The 3 winning Olivers were also chosen this week – I will write more about that in my post-mortem article after tonight’s show, but I was quite surprised by the result. Obviously it’s hard to tell from the little we have seen of the boys, but I thought Chester would be one of the winners. Great to see Gwion winning though – I think he has been fantastic and I’m sure he will make an adorable Oliver, as will the other 2 winners, who I’m sure will do a great job.

 

In conclusion
A great show last night, and such a relief to see the girls singing songs from musicals. I think we can tell much more about their ability to perform on stage when they are singing songs from shows, so I hope the trend continues in next weeks’ final.

Based on this week’s show, I would like to see Jessie and Samantha in the bottom two, and I would like to see Jessie leaving. Rachel was the strongest link this week so defintiely deserves to have the public voting for her!

Enjoy tonight’s show…

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For another view on last night’s show, check out the What’s on Stage blog here

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8 Responses to “I’d Do Anything – the semi final live show”


  1. 1 Lizzie May 25, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I heard that Chester has been offered a job in Les Mis, in which case (if it’s true) yay for him 🙂 I’m much more likely to pay to see Les Mis than Oliver! if I’m completely honest 🙂

    I was disappointed Kwayedza didn’t get one of the roles on offer.

  2. 2 Laura May 26, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    JESSIE ALL THE WAY!! 8 VOTES LAST NIGHT!! xo

    GO JESSIE !! xo<3

    xx

    she’s my nancy!!! x

  3. 3 Laura May 26, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    😀 Jessie!! x

  4. 4 Matt May 26, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Ridiculous, there is no way Andrew should have saved Samantha, personally I believe that Rachel should have won the series, she connected much better than any other Nancy.
    Well done girl, you did amazing!

  5. 5 Muzak June 19, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Muzak!


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