It’s now nearly a week since the final of I’d Do Anything, so the dust has started to settle. Having blogged about the show throughout the series, I still had some opinions that I wanted to share… So in the first of my last few posts about ‘I’d Do Anything’, here’s my rundown on each of the 12 finalists, with my predictions on where their career will go next. They are in order of their position in the show (12 = the 1st person to have been voted out of the competition)…
Read on to find out what I think – I’d also love to know if you have any other ideas, or have heard gossip or rumours!
1. Jodie Prenger
There’s not much to say about Jodie, as we know exactly what she’s going to be doing for the foreseeable future. Whilst she’s officially only contracted for an initial 6-month period, I’d be pretty amazed if she didn’t end up staying for at least a year. If ticket sales are anything like as successful as Joseph, she’s in for the long-haul, whatever Bill Kenwright’s reservations might have been…
My prediction: She won’t just be a one-hit wonder! I think that Jodie will remain a West End star, even after her time in Oliver finishes…
2. Jessie Buckley
Jessie was hugely popular over this series, and despite the doubts expressed by judges John Barrowman and Denise Van Outen about her readiness for the role, she made it all the way to the final, narrowly missing out to Jodie Prenger. I have absolutely no doubt that Jessie will be a big star – she has a fantastic voice, and real charisma. As with some of the other, less-experienced finalists, she could still do with some training – in particular, her acting and movement leave something to be desired. Once she’s done that though, she’ll unquestionably be on the West End stage.
My prediction: As the preferred choice of both ALW and Cameron Mackintosh, she is almost certainly guaranteed to make it. At her best with songs that require a big voice, but barely any movement, it’s difficult to know where Jessie is going to get her break. Presumably a part that has more singing than acting? Of the shows currently on in the West End, how about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s own show, Joseph?
3. Samantha Barks
Samantha had the biggest ‘journey’ during the competition, and has a big career ahead of her. Her voice is very powerful, although occasional tuning issues in more demanding numbers point to a need for some further training. She is also appears to have been one of the stronger dancers in the competition.
My prediction: she’s too young for Cabaret or Chicago, but perfect for something slightly rockier. From what I know of the show, she’d be suited to something like Spring Awakening, which is coming to the Lyric Hammersmith later this year. Alternatively, a role in Mamma Mia, Grease or We will Rock You might be a good bet.
4. Rachel Tucker
Rachel was probably my overall favourite in the competition. With formal training behind her, she is a very assured performer with fantastic acting ability. She could definitely hold her own on the West End stage today, so I doubt it will be long until we hear a casting announcement.
My prediction: Rachel’s acting is a major strength, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in a show that demands those acting skills – an upcoming Sondheim at the Menier perhaps? Alternatively, her semi-final performance of ‘Cabaret’ was tremendous so maybe we’ll see in a Kander & Ebb show – perhaps joining the casts of Chicago, now that Cabaret has posted closing notices? Alternatively, how about her joining the cast of Hairspray?
5. Niamh Perry
As you’ll know if you have been reading my blog, I have never been Niamh’s biggest fan. I think she was massively over-rated by the judges, and frankly, I find her voice quite unpleasant. She is too inexperienced and raw to deserve a West End role in my eyes, but then, I’m not a producer!
My prediction: the rumours have already started and apparently Niamh is going to join the cast of Sound of Music as Lisel – makes sense I suppose, given that ALW is the co-producer and seems to love her. If not that, who knows? Perhaps something in Grease?
6. Ashley Russell
One of my early favourites in this competition, I thought Ashley will treated quite unfairly by ALW. He didn’t rate her voice and his criticism was over-the-top some weeks. I took a different view – her performance ‘The Winner Takes It All’ was brilliant, and she demonstrated a fantastic ability to vary the style of her voice. She’s already got excellent professional training, and seems like a strong actor.
My prediction: Its difficult to know where Ashley will end up going next. She didn’t look to be the best dancer, which might limit her slightly. Something like Blood Brothers perhaps? Alternatively, she always seemed to have a good sense of humour – how about Spamalot?
7. Sarah Lark
Sarah was one my favourites (if not my favourite) and I couldn’t believe that she went so early. She might still look young, but her acting got better and better over the weeks. She also has one huge strength – a truly phenomenal voice is which is both beautiful and 100% secure at all times.
My prediction: I would love to see her on stage, and can’t believe I will have to wait long. Glinda in Wicked would probably suit her? Or how about the next Maria in the Sound of Music? Either way, it should be straight to the West End.
8. Keisha Amponsa-Banson
ALW was a big fan of Keisha, and was particularly grumpy in the week that he had to let her go in order to save Niamh. As John Barrowman noted when he was on the Jonathan Ross show last week, the upper end of her voice is not strong at all, which will limit the number of parts that she is right for.
My prediction: ALW offered to do everything he can to help Keisha so I think we can be confident that she’ll be cast in something soon. Like some of the girls though, I think she would benefit from some training first, particularly vocally. After that, perhaps a role in one of Bill Kenright’s touring productions rather than jumping straight to the West End?
9. Francesca Jackson
Of all the candidates, Francesca probably had most to lose coming into this competition, as she was already performing in the West End, most recently in Rent: Remixed with Denise Van Outen. I didn’t think she exactly covered herself with glory over the competition, and she seemed to have tuning issues more often that one would expect of a professional.
My prediction: This won’t have ruined her career, but I doubt whether it has done her any favours as directors might be more attuned to potential voice issues. Having said that, I expect that she will resume her West End career, without making it to leading lady status… Her voice seems to suit the rockier numbers better, so perhaps a role in We Will Rock You, Dirty Dancing or Mamma Mia will follow?
10. Tara Bethan
Tara seemed pretty good in week one when she sung ‘Suddenly I See’, but it was very quickly downhill from there for me. She had major voice issuesa and I just don’t know if she is good enough to make it to the West End. For some reason, Zoe Tyler (former ‘Any Dream will do’ judge, thinks she’d be good in Grease.
My prediction: Remarkably, Tara has already been cast in a decision that smacks of crude commercial focus by Bill Kenright. She is playing the narrator in his touring production of Joseph, a role which I don’t believe she is up to vocally. But I guess she will help sell tickets. I can’t help feeling that there are plenty of more talented girls who aren’t getting the chance – but then, they haven’t been on TV.
11. Cleopatra Royer
As the 2nd contestant to leave the show, we didn’t have much chance to get to know Cleo, and from what I saw, I would have liked to see her stay slightly longer. Untrained, and still slightly rough around the edges, she seemed to have something worth developing.
My prediction: Of all the girls, Cleo seemed slightly less sure about wanting a West End career than the others (even if she did want the role of Nancy). I wouldn’t necessarily expect to see her on stage anytime soon, but could easily believe that she will go and get some formal training before trying again.
12. Amy Booth-Steel
Amy left the competition, despite what seemed a decent performance, so its almost impossible to pass judgement on her overall ability.
My prediction: As with Tara, Amy has already been cast. She’s already scheduled to be in the cast of a new musical, All Bob’s Women. She is also rumoured to be in the running for a part in The Sound of Music as the governess. Presumably she must be quite good as I can’t imagine she’s much of a draw commercially after only 1 week in the show!