Yes, well, the Whingers were a bit sniffy about the search for a Joseph. In fact we ignored it altogether. Who cares who plays Joseph? And apparently there was another show where they cast the leads for a West End production of Grease. Who knew?
The stakes were quite high for the original casting-by-couch-potato show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria because stepping into the shoes of Julie Andrews* is much more interesting than stepping into the sandals of Jason Donovan.
But the search for a Nancy is much more up the Whingers’ alley and they find themselves (even Andrew) transfixed to I’d Do Anything of a Saturday evening (so expect them to be late for their own party).
There’s still much whinging of course. The main problem with the show is the concurrent search for Oliver which may be very interesting to the mothers of the Olivers and perhaps to people who find children endearing but as (unless you are very diligent/rich/obsessive) you are only going to see one of three Olivers when you see the show, it’s a bit “so what?”.
Just to make it even less interesting, there’s no public voting. This presumably is to save the feelings of the kids. Hmmm. Well, if they want careers in showbusiness they had better toughen up. This is showbusiness! No place for wimps. It reminds the Whingers of Victoria Wood’s observation that in British schools these days you can’t even hold a skipping race unless everybody gets to win.
The Nancy situation is much better – apart from the ridiculous choice of songs. How can you tell if someone is up to singing show-tunes if all you hear is “Black Velvet”, “I Love Rock n Roll” and a load of middle-of-the-rock ballads. Presumably this is to keep the general public engaged. But the Whingers say: throw some Sondheim at them – that’ll sort the Nancys from the girls.
Best for diction was probably Sarah (although she was the only one whose diction was criticised by ALW so clearly we know nothing about it.)
And another thing: if they have to sing American songs, at least stop them using American pronunciation.
Oh, and a tip for the contestants: You’re pretty much on a hiding to nothing if you sing something that was made famous by someone as distinctive such as Aretha Franklin or Dinah Washington.
In fact, this proved to be the case for Amy who sang “Respect” on Saturday and was kicked off the show on Sunday.
So, full marks to Keisha (right) for impressing Andrew with her rendition of “Mad About The Boy”. A few rough edges, but Andrew was utterly transfixed. Great eyes for musical theatre:
Of course, not everyone is enjoying it. Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey had a bit of a whinge on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning when he said “I felt that was essentially a 13-week promotion for a musical – where’s our 13-week programme?”. Well, he has got a point although 13 weeks of actors auditioning might not generate quite the same interest or revenues. Actually what Spacey wants is the return of Play for Today which is fair enough but presumably it’s within the wherewithall of the BBC to do both? Hands off the Nancys, Kev.
* We notice that Connie Fisher is now presenting the National Lottery draw on Saturday evenings.