Thursday, 1 April 2010

Rainbow, hi!

Auditions 2: 27th March 2010

So! Yesterday we saw auditionees from across the nation hoping to become the Lord's leading lady, and met a brand new panel - even Charlotte Church, when she managed to pull herself away from Loose Women or whatever prior engagement she had that left her too busy to attend the London callbacks - who sent 50 hopefuls to Dorothy Farm, where they were whittled down to 20, who will now compete in tonight's show to become 10. Or 11. But we'll get to that bit presently.

Credits! Is it just me, or do the leering shots of Andrew make it look like his tongue is too large? And really, I don't want to spend any more time thinking about Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's tongue than is strictly necessarily.

Studio! Oh, I'm so glad it's a proper studio show, they're so much quicker to recap than the lengthy narrative-led audition episodes. There's a new set, which is sort of oval and on two levels, and therefore bears a passing resemblance to the USS Enterprise. The 20 remaining Dorothys are scattered about the higher level and the stairs, all wearing blue gingham frocks - I assume they'll be issued individual colours when the finalists have been decided - and they clap to the beat of 'We're Off To See The Wizard' as Graham arrives and waves sunnily to all of us. Andrew looks giddy, not unlike the small children who were sat opposite me on the tube this evening and were consuming Haribo from Bond Street to Waterloo, and thus were practically skimming the ceiling by the time I left them behind.

Graham explains that this is the last leg of the auditions, where 10 confirmed places in the live shows are up for grabs - although once that's all happened, the public will get to vote for an 11th wildcard Dorothy from the remaining 10. I don't know about you guys, but I can feel the power corrupting me already. Graham greets the experts, as well as tonight's special guest West End leading ladies - they're not introduced at this point, but anyone worth their salt can see that it's Ruthie Henshall, Sheridan Smith [both of whom I LOVE - Carrie], Tamzin Outhwaite and Kerry Ellis [both of whom...meh. - Carrie] . Aw, just looking at Ruthie makes me want to scream "SIX!" for no reason whatsoever. Just like she used to.

The final 20 Dorothys now get to sing 'We're Off To See The Wizard', and indulge in some choreography that's clearly supposed to be apposite for a pre-teen farmgirl, but since most of these would-be West End Leading Ladies (WELLs for short) are a good deal older, it does have the unfortunate side effect of making them all look a bit hefty and ungainly. I hope they rethink that before opening night. Still, they sing harmoniously enough, so I approve of that, at least. This is the first sign that the Dorothys may well be the strongest overall group of finalists for any of these shows yet. There's a weird breakdown in the middle where they're all introduced individually, but since they're in the same groups there as they'll be for the rest of the evening, I'll hold on and introduce them all properly in a minute. Well, except for Jenny, who deserves special mention for the part of the choreography where she gives a pirate arm that Saint Jessie Buckley herself would've been proud of.

Graham cracks that there's "not a tablecloth left in the country" and then explains that the Top 20 have been split into five groups, who will each perform a pop and a musical number in the hope of impressing Andrew and the panel enough to make the final cut. Ten will be granted a spot in next week's show by the panel, and then the other ten will sing again to compete for the wildcard vote. Oh, and Jodie Prenger will be back! Graham's going to great pains to pronounce her name with a soft 'g', having presumably got it wrong throughout the entirety of I'd Do Anything.

From there, we're off to discover if the panel will be "friends of Dorothy, or foes". I wondered how long it would take them to bust that old chestnut out. The VT is essentially the same introduction we got yesterday: Sheila has WELL experience, and sees herself as an actor who sings, so she'll be looking for acting potential. John (I've tired of calling him Non-Barrowman already, partly because he does actually seem to be quite an engaging and competent panellist in his own right, and as a result I feel bad for reducing him to a shadow of a man who just used to shout adjectives in triplicate) has been working with Andrew for years, and is looking for a triple-threat [fantastic fantastic fantastic! - Carrie], and Charlotte knows what the girls are going through because she started her career at 12. Oh, Charlotte. I don't think any of these girls know how that feels. I suspect many of them don't know what it feels like to start a career at any age.

There's a guy in the audience who looks like Orlando Bloom. It's not relevant, I just thought I'd mention it. Graham and Charlotte talk about the Top 20, who she considers to be collectively brilliant, and she loves the diversity of the group. From there, we go over to Andrew, who's introduced with the Phantom Chords Of Doom. Graham says he's missed that. Actually, so have I. Once again, we are instructed to eradicate our memories of Judy Garland, and to look for a feisty Dorothy, who is "obviously very young - although we've got some fantastic older girls in our line-up". Way to approach this with an open mind, Your Lordship. Oh, and she needs a keen sense of wanderlust.

Finally time to meet our first group. We start with Sophie, who has red hair and is Welsh, and is the only member of the group I don't really recall seeing much in the first show. She's from a small Welsh village, and is very patriotic. Oh, goody. Jessica, you'll remember, is from a NORMAL family that is NORMAL, while Camille is coming from France but moved to Liverpool to make her musical theatre dreams come true. Ah, yes, Liverpool: the obvious choice. [To be fair, I assume she's studying at LIPA... - Carrie] And then there's Stephanie, who was one of the Scouse Cousins until Gemma got cut, and now she's just Stephanie. She's at theatre school in Liverpool, and is not supposed to audition until the third year, but totally broke those rules when she saw this show was happening. Yeah! Rebellion! Whoooo! She appears to have serious dancing chops, which is probably going to help her out.

The first group sing 'Never Forget You' by the Noisettes, which seems like an odd choice, but it works surprisingly well as a vocal showcase. They're a fairly strong group, actually, although Camille hits an iffy note or two when required to sing and walk at the same time (not horrendously, but just pointing that out in the interest of GREAT JUSTICE), while Sophie looks terrified, and Jessica's tendency to superglue her elbows to her hips while gesturing wildly with her hands kind of bugs. Camille redeems herself by the end, but I think Stephanie is the standout here in terms of consistency of performance.

Graham asks Jessica about nerves, and she babbles incoherently about setting the standard. Sheila opens for the panel, and thinks they all did marvellously. She thinks the four of them illustrate that Dorothy could be anyone. She loves Jessica's gawkiness, Sophie's hair, and Camille and Stephanie's general sense of charm. John was looking for the girl with the biggest personality, and thought Stephanie and Sophie stood out, where Camille and Jessica struggled, though he knows they're strong performers. Charlotte agrees with John, and thinks that Stephanie and Sophie "popped out". Ooer. She did like Camille, but she thinks Jessica will probably be stronger in the second song. Andrew thinks two girls have potential, but refuses to single anyone out right now. He does, however, say that any one of the top four would've made the Top 10 in How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? Hmm. It's not the most ringing of endorsements, is it? But I guess they appreciate the sentiment.

Next! Tasheka from Wolverhampton, who's a support manager by day, and a wife and mother of twins by night. She's excited for her kids to see her on the telly. Sarah is the one who brought a recorder to help with her pitch, and is also "like, passionate about village life in the 1970s", but since there are no reality shows that offer the winner a part in The Archers, she decided to audition for this one instead. She is short and from Derby. Dani is the youngest Dorothy at callbacks, but doesn't think her age shows. Yeah, that's what Arlene Phillips thought too, I'm sure. Philippa was the girl who got through at the expense of her sister Jolene, and has been instructed to smile at all times by her mother. Yikes.

They're singing Taylor Swift's 'Love Story', which they're all singing a bit too sharp except Dani. They're not as harmonious as group one, but I think this is a harder song to make sound pleasant when singing in this particular style. Oh, and special mention must go to the choreography, which is INSANE. I think they were all given about two or three steps of actual routine to learn and then just told to freestyle the rest, and seriously, it's terrifying. Arm waving and kicking and jumping up and down and screaming - they look like a hen party. Dani's really the only one who comes out of the whole thing with her dignity intact, and even then, it's a close-run thing.

Graham asks Sarah what it's been like to work as a group while competing against each other, and she non-answers that they all like each other so much that they don't feel like they're in competition. John thinks Dani has what it takes, and her enjoyment translated into him. He thinks Philippa is beautiful, but too intense. Charlotte agrees with John (I may need to write a macro for this) and thinks Dani was note-perfect, and Philippa is engaging but needs to soften up a bit. Sheila disagrees, and thinks that Tasheka made a good crack at it, and says that she liked what Sarah did - "you weren't happy with that dance, were you?" Hee - +1 awesomeness for Sheila for that burn on the mad choreography. Andrew's still staying on the fence, but loves the variety within the group. This is a good thing for him, because Dorothy was an orphan, so he can go wherever he likes casting-wise. Indeed, you might even say they could REDEFINE THE ROLE OF DOROTHY. Hmm, it's funny how every time I hear those words I get an urge to charge headfirst into a sharp pebbledashed wall.

Group number three involves Steph, who has a heart drawn on her face and has wanted to do "musical fea-ah-ar" since she was an embryo. Sheila Hancock liked her acting at Dorothy Farm. Emma is a singer and Irish dancer, Tegan is the spoilt kid whose parents sold their house to send her to stage school, although she does say her ultimate dream is to be able to pay them back, which is a step in the right direction, and Pirate Arm Jenny, who feels like she's developed a lot since her first audition.

They're singing Pixie Lott's 'Cry Me Out', which presumably makes them all Rock Chicks. They're a better group than the last one, with most of them having rather nice tone - particularly Steph and Emma, and the latter does some excellent face-acting with her first line, which might make her my early favourite. Jenny brings her acting A-game towards the end of the song and basically spits her lines into the camera, which is an impressive devotion to emoting. It beats touching your hair and looking over your shoulder, anyway.

Graham asks Emma how it felt to perform for a live audience, and she's on too much of an adrenaline high to make much sense, bless her. Charlotte thinks they all gave some of the best vocals we've had all night, but she thinks Steph was faultless. Tegan has an impressive instrument, but needs to watch her tuning. Sheila was impressed by the performances, but has a problem with pop music because of the "generalised emotion" - she thought Steph and Jenny were finding "more subtleties in the text" and appreciated the irony. I love that she's delving this deep into a Pixie Lott song. In fact, the brief snatches she sang to make her point weren't really enough - I want Sheila to sing the entire song during the Top 11 Results show, showing us every last bit of subtlety that's concealed within it. Make it happen, TV producers! John was blown away by Jenny, which he wasn't expecting. Emma looks like Dorothy (even though we're not supposed to have preconceived ideas of what she looks like, Mr Partridge), but needs to let go a bit. Andrew? Is remaining unspecific, but thinks that two girls he'd mentally written off prior to this really came through.

Time for a bit of filler, as Graham introduces "five of the hottest [WELLs]" to assist the girls: the four we saw in the studio, plus Melanie C. But they won't actually be joining us until later, so in the meantime we're introduced to... four, including Katie, whose family are involved in theatre, but behind the scenes rather than onstage. She has no backup plan if performing doesn't work out. Bronte Barbe, unfortunate owner of possibly the worst name ever in addition to a rather horsey face, is exactly the kind of dyed-in-the-wool theatre kid this show professes to hate but secretly loves, Claire Harbourne is classically trained but quite shy, and endears herself to me by auditioning with Carrie Underwood's 'Before He Cheats', and finally Lauren, who's just finished playing Wendy in Peter Pan and kind of looks a bit like a less insane version of Helena from How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

They're singing 'Rain On Your Parade' by Duffy, and doing a bit of a sassy routine with retro mic stands, and they've actually got a really nice retro girlband vibe going on. They're aided by some nice, simple choreography which is deceptively effective, and there isn't really a weak link amongst them vocally. There's a lovely harmonised section from them at the very end, and I'm inclined to say they're the strongest group of the four so far.

Quizzed about nerves, Katie kind of overshares and ends up yelling about how you'd have to be a ROBOT not to be nervous (incidentally, sometimes even robots get nervous. I mean, Rachel Stevens looked shaken a couple of times on Strictly) and we move on quickly to the panel's thoughts. Sheila thinks they're a wonderful group, and loves Bronte in particularly for her commitment. She also loves Lauren, but worries she might be overly slick, and advises her not to overdo the teeth, and to go to the centre of what she's performing. John tells them to form a girlband if the Dorothy thing doesn't work out. Charlotte agrees with John (shocker), and thinks Claire really brought it. She loves Bronte too, but advises Lauren not to hold her notes for so long, but to learn to clip them sometimes for a bit of variation. Andrew thinks they're the strongest group so far, and wouldn't be surprised to see two of them in the overall top five.

Final group: Emilie, who has a massive gap in her teeth, and marvelled at the giant D during the auditions. Danielle's audition for this show was her first audition ever, and is outwardly calm but internally crazy. Claire Hillier is RobynSarahDorothy from yesterday, and wants to be all edgy and shit. Amy is very glamorous and doesn't look farmlike, but she thinks she could REDEFINE THE ROLE OF DOROTHY by being glamorous. Or she'll shave her head if they want her to, she says.

They sing 'Take A Bow', the Rihanna/Glee version, which the show has given an odd truncated intro by transitioning immediately from "how 'bout a round of applause?" into "you look so dumb right now", which is kind of jarring for reasons that are entirely beyond Amy's (who drew the short straw of singing that bit) control. Emilie is horrendously out of tune for pretty much every part she sings, Claire cannot dance at all and is singing in the club style, it seems, and Danielle's sort of blandly competent. It's not a vintage group, let's be honest.

Danielle's asked what the atmosphere is like backstage. The answer? "Tense." Now there's a surprise. John was surprised by Danielle, who sang on her "break", which is apparently the point between her head voice and her chest voice, and is apparently very hard to do. I know nothing about this sort of thing, so I'll take his word for it. [True. Takes technique to judge when to push the belt. - Carrie] Sheila is fascinated by the intricacies of the lyric (no, really) and thought there was a bit too much generalising going on again, but that Claire got it better than the others. Charlotte likes that Claire sounds "different" and looks forward to hearing her in the next song. She also likes Emilie, for coming back from the brink after losing it. Andrew reminds us that we're looking for a Dorothy who could believably live on a farm. In other words, tan less, Amy. He then offers some generalised advice for everyone (I'm sure Sheila does not approve of this, but she remains silent), to think about the words and make sure they understand them. He's going to look for performances based on understanding the lyrics when they get to the theatre songs.

Graham reminds us that we're also looking for a Toto, which leads us to a slightly stilted VT from Jodie, who explains that they're looking for a talented dog to star in a one-off gala performance. Good - I did think it was a slightly crazy idea to try and get a domestic dog trained up to West End standard.

Showtunes time! Group one have drawn Ruthie, who's giving them a Chicago-style masterclass. Camille is completely in love with Ruthie, and as a result gives her a 6.0 for a performance that was maybe a 5.0 at best. Oops, wrong show. Ruthie is looking for the actress in each of them, and encourages them all to play the MC, inviting the audience to a show. She wants them all to have a secret in their minds to give to the audience. They perform for Ruthie and she looks on uncomfortably, although I think that might just be how Ruthie looks a lot of the time. Ruthie thinks they all have leading lady potential, but only one is a Dorothy. She doesn't say who, though. You tease, Henshall!

Back in the studio, Graham's talking to Ruthie, and asks her for last minute advice. "Take the pressure off yourself!" she giggles, and reminds them to show the audience why they made it this far in the first place. The girls are singing 'All That Jazz', of course, and again they give a pretty solid performance. Sophie's vamping it up like a good'un, while Camille is very sultry, Jessica is very mannered, and Stephanie probably has the best voice of the four. It's a good performance, although some lighting issues mean that featured performers aren't being shown terribly well - whether that's the actors missing their marks or the lighting people messing up, I don't know.

Charlotte thinks they were all great, and thinks Camille in particular brought something special. Sheila thought Jessica was at home - Sophie less so, but got away with it because she's so sexy. John thinks they were excellent in their choreography, and that Camille and Jessica came back stronger after disappointing first time out. Andrew thinks Sophie is a real talent, but that all four were really good and they may well have a big argument later.

Group #2 draws Melanie C, who's currently playing Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers. She's excited to see the girls, as are they her. Dani can't believe she's talking to a Spice Girl. She sings through 'Tell Me It's Not True' with them and advises them not to overplay it, and to keep it small and subtle instead. That'll be a novelty on this show. Tasheka thinks it's a really emotional song, and Philippa wants them to make everybody cry. Well, they made me cry with laughter during 'Love Story', but that was mainly the dancing.

Obviously Melanie's not in the studio for the recording, but she sends a video message to the girls wishing them luck. BO-RING. Tasheka sounds nice, but rather overacts with her face a little bit. Dani makes me giggle by very clearly enunciating the gap between "it's" and "not", which is what we were all taught to do when we sang this song over and over again with my drama group back when I was a teenager, because we kept singing "it snot" and upsetting our MD, who was a touch highly-strung (this assessment is in no way coloured by bitterness - the fact that he didn't like me and never wanted to cast me in anything is ENTIRELY IRRELEVANT) and like Tasheka, sounds good but may be overplaying it a tad. Sarah sounds a bit harsh and is really playing to the back rows. Philippa looks a bit rigid and doesn't get as much solo time as the others; meanwhile, the song continues forever and ever and is possibly the most boring song ever written. I'd better prepare myself for hate mail from Blood Brothers fans, hadn't I? Hey, maybe it works better in context; I've never seen the show (although I've read the script). Anyway, this group really got the worst deal of the five as far as song choices, the poor mites.

Sheila's asked for feedback on their acting chops, and singles out Tasheka for praise. She says it's hard to emote like that and make it remain attractive to the ear - which Sarah didn't manage to do. John thinks Philippa loosened up, and her voice has a beauty to it. Charlotte loved Tasheka's emotion, and also Dani's performance, but encourages her not to mess up her "e" sounds when she sings. Andrew thinks Dani has got something very special, "something deliciously homespun about you" which really helps him to see her as Dorothy - though he clarifies he's not ruling anyone out at this point. Of course not. The fact that Dani's the only one who gets through is just a coincidence, right? Ooops, spoilers.

Next? Kerry Ellis, and at first I get excited thinking that maybe Group #3 will be doing 'Defying Gravity', but no: they're meeting her at the Dominion Theatre (which is where I first met my boyfriend, fact fans! Outside, I hasten to add - we weren't doing anything foolish like going to see the show) to do a song from We Will Rock You. Lame! Bloody jukebox musicals. [IT'S NOT A MUSICAL. It is Satan's recruitment drive. - Carrie] Jenny is pretty starstruck to meet Kerry. The girls sing 'Somebody To Love', and Kerry encourages them all to really fight-fight-fight-fight fight for this role and show off what they can do. Emma's thrilled to be on a West End stage, which is potentially where they could end up when all this is over. Tegan vows to give it her all. Kerry thinks some of the girls will be very strong, and she could potentially have a Dorothy in her group.

Back in the studio, Kerry advises the girls to believe in what they're saying, to have fun, and "rock it up for me". Hee. I don't really think this song is a fantastic showcase for any of them, but Steph really stands out vocally, and once again, Jenny really is selling it as hard as she can. Tegan looks a little bit desperate, while Emma gets lost in the shuffle a bit.

John says it's a really difficult song to sing and it exposed some of them vocally, but Jenny really brought it home, not just with her vocals but also with her meaningful execution of the choreography. Ctrl+Shift+C CHARLOTTE AGREES WITH JOHN and thought Jenny's performance was effortless. She liked Tegan's incorporation of her soprano-ness. Sheila hates this song (MARRY ME, SHEILA HANCOCK) because everybody sang it at the auditions and drove her nuts, but they made her see it afresh tonight. She like Jenny's wit, and admired Steph's performance, and was also impressed by Tegan. Andrew thinks we have a first on a reality TV competition - contestants who sang "love" and not "lu-hurve". He hates that, especially "lu-hurve changes everything". Hee hee hee. Anyway, he's also on the Jenny lu-hurve train, which she's gleeful about.

Yay! Sheridan Smith! Her intro is rather unfortunately worded, with Graham saying that she's proof that "you don't need years of experience to take on a leading role and receive critical acclaim", which kind of implies that she just somehow fell into the role of Elle Woods and doesn't have a solid musical theatre background in her own right, which she does. [I am hoping it was edited badly and they meant to say that she was 17 when she played the lead in Bugsy Malone in the West End, but fear they did not. Srsly, she's been performing for TWENTY YEARS. How much experience does a West End Leading Lady need? - Carrie] Group 4 run excitedly up to the Savoy Theatre and twitter hopefully about the possibility of meeting the cast: Bronte thinks she might cry if she met Sheridan. (I'm sure she wouldn't thank me for saying this, but I interviewed Sheridan Smith a month or so ago, and she is genuinely one of the nicest people I've ever met, celebrity or otherwise. I was a bit starstruck by her as well.) Sheridan's very excited to meet the girls: "I hope they're excited to meet me," she adds. "They might be like, 'oh, you. We've got you." Bless her heart. Sheridan arrives (with Bruiser under her arm) and greets the girls, who will be singing the title song from the musical.

Brief aside here: I'm a card-carrying Legally Blonde: The Musical fanboy, and I was wondering what song they might be asked to sing, and I did think it might be this one. I was slightly disappointed, because while I think it is a good song, and it works fantastically in the context of the musical, outside of its context it doesn't have quite so much impact. I was secretly hoping they might be singing 'So Much Better', which is not only a livelier song but also a right bitch to sing, and would really have sorted out the chancers from the contenders. Incidentally, I was endlessly amused by a comment I read online from someone who hadn't seen the show but had seen the movie, and couldn't think where the song would fit in the narrative. Sure, because there's never a moment in a chick flick where everything is going horribly for the heroine and she's considering giving everything up. Oh no, wait, that happens in pretty much every chick flick ever, and Legally Blonde is no exception.

Anyway, back to business: for those who don't know it, 'Legally Blonde' is the show's eleven o'clock number, performed by Elle (and joined halfway through by Emmett for a duet) after Callahan hits on her and then fires her when she rejects him, and is all about going back to California to be the girl she was before she went to Harvard. Sheridan encourages them all to visualise what they're singing about and try to forget the audience is there. She promises to be there cheering them on, and the girls are all very inspired by her.

Back in the studio, Sheridan says that all the girls are very talented, but she just wants her group to sing beautifully and enjoy themselves. Bronte sings with a nice clarity, Katie sings with a rather heavy Irish accent [probably Dorothy could be Irish - Carrie], Lauren is still rather exaggerated and mannered in the same way that Helena was all those years ago, and Claire is possibly thinking a bit too much about the emotions which leaves her performance rather lethargic. It's a good performance from the group, but this song definitely just doesn't have the same impact outside of the show - possibly because it's meant to be a duet, and being adapted for four girls all essentially playing the same character just doesn't work as well. Either that, or Sheridan Smith and Alex Gaumond do it so damn well that they've ruined me for all other interpretations of it, which is equally possible.

Charlotte thinks Lauren gave a perfect vocal and took her advice from last time. Sheila loves Lauren and Bronte, and John makes it a hat trick for Lauren, though he thinks that as a group they underperformed it. Hang on, didn't Melanie C say that underperforming was a good thing? Oh, I don't know who to believe! Andrew says that he basically agrees with everyone, that it was a bit of a polite performance, and while they're one of the strongest groups, they underwhelmed him. He likes Bronte and Lauren too, though.

And so by process of elimination, Group #5 get Tamzin Outhwaite, who's currently playing the lead in Sweet Charity. They're all very excited to meet her, and Tamzin says that she's most interested in the acting and the enunciation - she wants them to capture Charity's lust for life. Tamzin says that Andrew definitely has a Dorothy in that group - they could all play the part, but one is perfect.

In the studio, Tamzin confirms that she thinks the winner was in the group, although the quality is so high across the board they could all be leading ladies. The girls sing 'If My Friends Could See Me Now', and Claire starts horribly off-key, and Emilie swallows the "wow!" line which is exactly what Tamzin told her not to do. Tsk. Despite being Entirely Wrong For The Part Of Dorothy, if Andrew is to be believed, Amy is pretty good, as is Danielle.

Sheila thinks they were all terrific, but Emily is the one who stands out as a Dorothy to her. John thinks Amy nailed the choreography and gave it all the razzle dazzle. CHARLOTTE AGREES WITH JOHN that Amy gave the best overall performance, but something still draws her to Claire's voice every time. Is it the fact that, as nice as Claire's voice is when it's on-pitch (which it hasn't really been very often tonight), it's entirely wrong for the part because she doesn't sound like a teenager at all? Just a thought. Graham asks Andrew if he sees any star quality, and Andrew bizarrely takes this as an invitation to give Tamzin a tongue-bath for her own performance in the part (to her credit, Tamzin does just giggle behind her hand at this). He thinks Amy did well, but still doesn't think she could be a Dorothy. Emilie surprised him a lot, too.

Right, that's all the performances over, so the panel and Andrew are excused to go and select the Top 10. Sheila basically can't get out of there fast enough. I love her so much. Graham goes over to the girls to see how they're feeling. He speaks to Camille first about the fact that she's had some good feedback, and asks if she's surprised that no one's commented on her being French. "No, not really," is the answer, but she was very happy to be considered alongside all these English girls. I heart Camille. Tasheka has two children at home, but luckily she has the most supportive husband and family, and thinks that being a mum is no barrier to having a successful career, and cites Charlotte as proof of this theorem. Lauren's asked what would make her a good Dorothy, and she says that she's got attitude and guts, and hopes she has "the full package". Graham asks Amy who her main competition is, and she says that some people have really shone tonight - she thought she had it all pegged, but she doesn't, and there's everything to play for. Graham addresses the interesting point that the panel seemed to have written Jenny off before tonight, and she says that she's surprised, but she hopes she's shown them that she's here to fight for the role.

To fill time while the panel are making their decision, Jodie's here to sing as Nancy for the very last time before handing over the role to Kerry Ellis. Jodie's pulling some slightly alarming faces (probably the result of a year's worth of playing to the back row) and sporting a hilarious Cockerney accent (again, I'm guessing mandated by the production), but I'm actually quite surprised at how much better her voice sounds compared to, say, how she sounded when she performed this song after winning I'd Do Anything. I was a Jodie fan back in the day anyway, but there's definitely been some progress made here. I guess EIGHT SHOWS A WEEK (or however many she ended up doing) has really helped to refine her 'instrument', as Charlotte would call it.

Graham asks if it was everything she expected, and she says it was, and talks about having the time of her life and being in a "wonderful family" at the theatre, and thanks everyone who voted for her. She advises Kerry to have a phenomenal time, which I'm sure Kerry will. Jodie's also very excited to be supervising the search for Toto, although nobody mentions that she's joining the touring cast of Spamalot, so I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people watched this show and basically thought televised dog talent shows were the direction Jodie's career is heading in these days.

The panel have decided! I know that seems like it didn't take long, but this is clearly a pre-recorded show so they could've been gone for hours. They return, and Andrew says it's been very difficult getting it down to 10 - they agreed on five girls almost immediately and argued a lot about the others. He hopes they've got it right, but he's glad the public get to pick a wildcard because he's not sure they have done. Ooh, the tension!

Group #1 is called forward, and informed that three of them have made it into the Top 10. It's down to Andrew to announce the names of the girls who've made it through: Jessica, Stephanie and Sophie. They all look thrilled, and poor Camille looks absolutely crushed, as well she might. She was one of my favourites, too. I'd have picked her over Crazyface Jessica every time. The successful three hug Camille, and there's a bit of confusion over who goes to stand where. Only one of Group #2 has got through to the finals, and it's Dani, obviously, which means that Tasheka, Philippa and Sarah are not safe. Group #3 are called next, and two of them are through. The successful two are Steph and Jenny, who promptly lose their shit, but remember to hug Emma and Tegan. Group #4 also have two through: Bronte and Lauren, so Claire and Katie will have to sing again. This means, of course, that Group #5 also only has two spots for finalists, and those spots go to Amy and Danielle, leaving Claire and Emilie to fight for survival. Amy, bless her, looks as though she can't quite believe what's just happened.

Andrew says that this year's talent has been the best they've ever had, and the remaining 10 girls will be singing 'Over The Rainbow' in the hope of landing that coveted 11th place. They get to sing about one lines each: Katie is a little off, Camille is resigned but professional, Claire Hillier is kind of shrill, Tegan is very deep, Emma is very clean, Emilie is a bit sharp again, Claire Harbourne has one of the hardest parts of the song but does well with it, Sarah is a bit weedy, Philippa sounds shaky but still has a nice tone, and Tasheka is too good to be here, really. Honestly, out of all of them, I think Camille, Emma, Tasheka and possibly Claire Harbourne were robbed, but everyone else kind of deserved to be there.

With that, the lines open, for about 20 minutes or something ridiculous. We'll get to find out which Dorothy made it to that elusive 11th place in the first proper live show, although I hope for her sake that the Dorothy in question finds out considerably before then, or she's going to be really under-rehearsed.

And that's that! Join us back here at the weekend for the first live show!

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