I’d Do Anything – The Final & The Winner

So, after 10 live shows, the hunt for Nancy is over – Jodie Prenger will be playing Nancy in the West End when it opens in December, and I am delighted for her. I thought last night’s final was excellent, and once again, the public have succeeded in picking a winner who will shine when she opens in the role.

Was Jodie a worthy winner?
Yes, absolutely. Jodie once again showed that she is a fantastic performer, built primarily on a highly secure, beautiful voice. She will do an excellent job as Nancy, and she has proved throughout this series that she is very, very popular with the public. It’s interesting that neither of the finalists has found themselves in the bottom two at any stage this series – I wonder if they would have made it to the final if they had faced the sing-off?

I am very excited about seeing her perform in the show. I know that she’ll be brilliant with the kids, and I’m also extremely confident about her ability to cope with 8 performances a week.

She might not ‘redefine’ the role of Nancy, and she is no Amy Winehouse, but it seems like the public has shown ALW and Cameron Mackintosh that they don’t care – they wanted the best girl for the job, and they think that Jodie is it…


Should Jessie have won?
If you had tuned into the show for the first time during last night’s final, I suspect you would have been rooting for Jessie. She did a fantastic job on the night with each of her performances, and based on those performances alone, I absolutely believed she could be Nancy. As Cameron and ALW noted, she demonstrated real star quality that few performers ever achieve.

Despite that, I still think it was the right result overall. Jessie might have started the competition brilliantly, but she wasn’t able to keep it going. We have seen in recent weeks that her movement can be very awkward at times, her posture needs work, she has struggled to take direction and her acting is still unproven (although this may be down to her current inability to put on a cockney accent). John Barrowman was spot on in his comments – she might be brilliant, but her inconsistency still made her a risk

When Jessie stands still and sings without moving (as she was able to do in her solos last night), she is exceptional – ‘The Man That Got Away’ was tremendous again. I am still confident that Jessie will be a star though – to be honest, when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh are backing you to win, you can be pretty confident that the work will come in! I’ll look forward to seeing her on stage, but hopefully in a year’s time when she’s had a chance to get at least some training!


What about Samantha?
After being saved in the sing-off against Rachel last week, it looked unlikely that Samantha had sufficient support to win the part, and that’s how it turned out. She gave a decent solo performance of ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’, helped by the fact that it gave her a good opportunity to show emotion (clenched fists, serious look…), and was fine in her duet of ‘Singing in the Rain’, but overall, she didn’t do anything to suggest that she could beat Jodie and Jessie.

The judges quite rightly pointed out that Samantha’s ‘journey’ was the biggest during the course of the series, and I think that’s absolutely fair. Earlier on in the series, John said that “there was nothing behind the eyes”, so it was a pretty dramatic turnaround to make it this far.

For someone so young, I think she has demonstrated huge maturity and poise throughout the series. She has taken on criticism and improved because of it, and that will stand her in good stead when she does invariably make it to the West End stage.

As with Jessie, I’m excited about the idea of seeing her in the West End soon – a little more work on her vocal consistency will help her, but I don’t think it will be too long before we see posters of her up around London. Something rockier and edgier will suit her well.


But was it the right result overall?
As I’ve said before, I was supporting Jodie last night, so I was really happy when the result was announced.

But I still haven’t forgotten that there was 2 other girls who didn’t make it to the final who I wanted to see there – Rachel and Sarah. It’s difficult to say whether either of them deserved to beat Jodie to the role, but both of them left the competition far earlier than they should have done.

I am sure that both of them will have hugely successful West End careers ahead of them, and I’m hoping to hear casting announcements very soon!


To finish…
The series has finished and a thoroughly-deserved winner has been chosen. I am pretty confident that we’ll be hearing far more about plenty of 11 runners-up, and I look forward to following their progress in the coming months.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing about this show in the last few months, but it’s not quite over. I’m planning some further post-match analysis over the course of the week, including some of the reactions to the result, and my thoughts on how to make next series (if there is one) even better.

And as ever, I am still writing about things other than ‘I’d Do Anything’ so if you have enjoyed reading my thoughts, do keep reading now that the show is over. You can subscribe to a feed, or just bookmark the site, so you don’t forget where to find me!

Have a good day!



If you’d like to read another reaction to last night’s show, check out the What’s on Stage blog here

There’s also some reaction on the official BBC site here or you see the plethora of news stories about the result on the Google search results here.


15 Responses to “I’d Do Anything – The Final & The Winner”

  1. 1 nikki martin June 1, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    i thought last night was one of the best things i have saw in my life.

    i thought jodie was great i thought all the nancys was great and i thought that Ashley was the best singer out of the nancys.

    but Jodie ure also an amazing singer keep it up am coming down to london to come and sea you even tho i live 7 hours away from you.

    cant wait to come and sea you 😀

    please can jodie leave me an email on

    heartsno2fan@hotmail.co.uk or

    if on doesny work try the other.

    thanks you so much for giving me show to rember caus ei dont usually watch they kind off shows but i was awsome.


    nikki martin xx

  2. 2 Robert June 2, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I really enjoyed Sat’s show. I thought Jessie really pulled out all the stops and although I have been more or less impartial throughout the series (I also liked Sarah and Rachel) I found myself rooting for Jessie to win. It wasn’t just that she outperformed Jodie on every count on Saturday ultimately I felt she would have made for a much more interesting Nancy. Jodie is more than capable and she will be a safe pair of hands (which Rachel could have been-and then some!) though I can picture exactly what she will do with the role, and it will be good. However after Jessie’s courageous and exciting performance on Saturday and with six months intensive preparation it makes me think that Oliver with her in would have been unmissable, really exciting. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

    I see a lot of theatre-mainly straight plays- so perhaps I’m different to others in the sense that when I go to the theatre I maybe watch with a different, maybe more critical approach and always hope to be suprised as well as entertained, rather than the standard once-a-year musical types who don’t look for someone to redefine their expectations simply to be diverted for a couple of hours. There’s nothing wrong with that of course and I’m don’t think I’m being a theatre snob, but my impression is that that could be part of the distinction between those who wanted Jessie to win and those who were rooting for Jodie.

  3. 3 julie June 2, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Robert you do sound a bit of a snob I’m afraid, and the reason people wanted Jodie to win out of the final 3 was because they knew ALW and CM thought they could manipulate the audience by cruelly overpraising a young girl and raising her expectations to fever pitch. The whole thing left a really bad taste, first I felt for Jodie being picked for the part when ALW and CM so obviously didn’t want her, and then I felt for poor old Jessie really believing that she’s better than Judy and Liza put together, when the clip of her ‘acting’ in the pub was quite frankly embarrassing. Like many I personally thought Rachel was robbed but you know they’re all going to do well out of it. I just hope CM remembers that going on about weight issues didn’t really help Judy Garland though.

  4. 4 Lizzie June 2, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    The competition has been amazing and Jodie was fantastic throughout. The whole concept needs to be reviewed. Andrew Lloyd Webber contradicted himself so much. We saw it first with Ashley, not rating her voice and then saving her in the sing off on the same night. The semi-final outcome for Rachel was criminal. How could he be on camera, seen by millions giving her a rapturous standing ovation for that brilliant performance of Cabaret, and then not save her in the sing off? Interesting too that the panel, particularly Andrew, repeatedly questioned the age and staying power of both Niamh and Samantha, but not so much Jessie. Both he and Cameron Mackintosh should be more guarded in their comments. Cameron was outspoken in the finals about Jodie, knowing that she was in the final two and could well become his leading lady. Both men then damned Jodie and further raised Jessie hopes after the final voting closed. Andrew no longer followed all that he had previously said about Jodie. Did he have to be seen to be agreeing with Cameron? I just hope they both eat their words and realise what fools they made of themselves. If there is a future show to hunt for a West End potential star, the producers / directors should not be asked their opinion on a live show. Well done John and Denise You were both SO right! You show them Jodie You are everybody’s Nancy and deserve it. You have all the qualities needed for this demanding role!

  5. 5 Katie June 3, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Whilst I congratulate Jodie who has a warm and friendly personality and a strong voice, and will do a traditional and excellent job of playing Nancy, I think Jessie would have made a great Nancy, a different Nancy, a vulnerable, young, strong, and heart breaking Nancy, she would have you on the edge of your seat rooting for her. Her youthful interaction with Oliver in ‘Truly Scrumptious’ was a delight to see.

    We all have our favourites, and Jessie was mine. Can you imagine entering a competition which is judged through a public vote and not having your home town or country able to vote for you, and still coming runner up? This I feel sums up how much support she really has in this country.
    On the issue of her Irish accent and not being able to cope with a cockney accent, she could have been an Irish Nancy, and if the criteria for Nancy was to acquire a cockney accent then why put Jessie through in the first place if they thought she was not capable of learning the accent? They knew she was capable of doing it, she would have had six months to learn it.

    How I disagree that John Barrowman and Denise Van Outen were right in their joint constant criticism of Jessie, and their unprofessional behavour when the results were announced, these two did not want Jessie to be Nancy, with JB’s remark of ‘a fish out of water’ and how Samantha was ‘like a shark going for the role of Nancy’. DVO’s repeated remarks of inconsistancy, unfeminine, clumsy, awkward, and the rest, really got to Jessie, but she got on with it and fought her way through to the end.
    In recent weeks Rachel too fought back all her criticism and gave the performance of her life in the ‘Caberet’ performance to prove she s a great professional. In the final Jodie was up against the thought that Cameron, Andrew and Barry thought Jessie was their Nancy, but Jodie had JB and DVO on her side, she was wise and knew the public loved her and she was going for it anyway.

    I am sure Jessie’s time will come, I will look out for you Jessie. all the public who voted for you throughout this competition and got you to the final hope we can see you as a leading lady in the West End someday.
    All I can say is thank goodness for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Cameron Mackintosh and Barry Humphries who know a star when they see one, .
    Andrew Lloyd Webber said ‘Jessie will break your heart’ he was right, she would have, and she has.
    Good luck Jodie.

  6. 6 John June 3, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Jessie could still be Nancy who knows?

  7. 7 Jennell Hartmann Sierakowiak June 3, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Actually, I supported Jessie to start with along with Sarah and Rachel. But I was a bit disappointed with her and ended up by hoping she didn’t win. She did not improve as much as others during the shows despite, as confirmed elsewhere, having extra training. She needs to go to drama school and learn a lot more now, I think. It is worrying too that despite performing since the age of 7 she was turned down by two drama schools one after the other.

    I think she would make a great solo singer, to be honest. She could be a success there doing solo shows just singing. I am sure people would buy albums made by her, and her slightly clumsy movements would not matter. She could be a fantastic star in this respect. Nancy is not the main role in Oliver anyhow.

    I think Jessie needs a manager. She could make an album and do a solo tour, with some guest stars. I am sure many folk would come to see her.

    As for Sam, I thought she seemed very nervous on Saturday which had a detrimental effect on her performance. However, she is very young and talented and her time will come if she gets the right advice.

    Jodie wasn’t my favorite for the role and I didn’t vote for her but I think she has a lot of talent and will get, in the words of someone else, bums on seats. She seems like a hard worker and will work very hard to do a good job in the role. I wish her every success for the future.

  8. 8 Joanna June 3, 2008 at 1:58 pm


    Your post sums it all up for me. When Jessie sang Killing Me Softly near the beginning of the competition and ALAHNM in the final she really moved me and that is something that none of the other performers did. Although they were all good and some were very good.

    Whatever it is that Jessie has cannot be acquired or learnt, she has charisma and star quality. I too am looking forward to seeing where her career takes her. She is one of the most exciting performers I have seen for a long time.

    Congratulations to Jodie – I’m sure she will be a good Nancy.

  9. 9 Alan June 3, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    My wife and I rooted for Jessie from the first show and agreed with the three on the panel who thought she was the winner. Most weeks here performances were terrific and we we too thought comments like ‘a fish out of water’ were wrong and cruel.
    While wishing Jodie every success – which we think she will be – we will be on the qui vive for news of when and where we can see Jessie. If I had the money, I would stage my own musical “Below Stairs” (which benefits only Cancer Research, not me!) as I know she would be terrific as ladies maid Lucy, even though that would mean learning a French accent as well!

  10. 10 cam22 June 3, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    I think it was the right result just because viewers were not manipulated by ALW and CM, having realised in the semi finals that they were backing the wrong girl in Samantha. Their sudden change in direction was so obvious in that the final show was orchestrated for Jessie to walk away winner.
    I think DVO and JB got it right in their comments every week. They clearly liked Sam but ultimately realised that Jodie was the peoples idea of what Nancy should be and did not try to sway voters. Consistent comments do not go unnoticed, perhaps a tip for other panelists.
    Jessie has a good voice but her total inability to take direction and constructive criticism really bothered me at the end. She showed herself to be really immature believing the hype that ALW and CM had attached to her. She was a sore loser unlike Samantha who showed maturity beyond her years in every instance. Sam’s final performance was outstanding, it is just a pity that the emotion came too late.
    I am pleased for Jodie. I did not vote but feel I should support her just because CM has stated she is not what he wanted. Perhaps he should not have asked for public opinion if he wanted the part to take a completely different approach. He can’t be too sore though, at least they’ll make a bomb on ticket sales thanks to tax payers money funding the show on the bbc in the first place.

  11. 11 Erin June 6, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    I have heard that Jessie has recently been nominated for an All Irish Musical Award for her performance in ‘Carousel’ with Killarney Musical Society. For those of you out there who claimed she couldn’t act, the nomination is for the ‘Best Actress’ award.

  12. 12 Joanna June 7, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I really don’t know where people get the idea that Jessie was a sore loser. It is totally wrong and they should go and watch her exit interview on the BBC site. Her admiration for Jodie seems genuine and she is looking forward to applauding her on her opening night as Nancy.

    The Saturday night final was extremely emotional and a few tears are understandable. Jessie’s were not the only tears.

  13. 13 Sarah June 21, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I absolutely disagree.
    I think the public got it so wrong its hard to believe. I think Jodie got the sympathy vote in the final. Considering how absolutely and extraordinarily outsung and outperformed she was by both Jessie (who was outstanding and really rose to the occasion) and Samantha it is an absolute travesty that she won. Her voice is not on the same level as the others and in all honesty she should have gone home in week seven instead of Sarah Lark.

    Jodie was also a terribly ungracious winner. Jessie’s first action was to congratulate Jodie – which was completely ignored, I would even go as far as to say snubbed. What a total contrast to Lee Mead last year when his first thought was to commiserate the runner up.

    i will not be going to see her as Nancy, her singing gives me a headache and I find her acting wooden and false. You couldnt pay me to watch her for two hours.

  14. 14 Sophie July 17, 2008 at 2:10 pm


  1. 1 I’d Do Anything - Jessie or Jodie for Nancy? « David Knight’s Blog Trackback on June 1, 2008 at 10:42 pm

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