Tx: 24th April 2010
Last week there was skirt-swishing and sparkly-moon-flying, now let's cut out some of the dead wood, please. This is Over The Rainbow!
Graham's waistcoat looks like it's on fire; his suit looks like it's made from tarnished sheet copper. He welcomes the audience, the judges and Lloyd Webber, and then introduces the girls singing If I Only Had A Heart, except with lyrics changed to If I Only Had The Part. The ingenuity is astounding. They fling their skirts around a lot again.
Then we're introduced to the judges and the panel again. In case we'd forgotten who they are, perhaps. Lloyd Webber says the competition is wide open and everyone must vote in case we end up with a hung Dorothy. [I bet certain members of the panel would like a hung Dorothy. Fnar. - Steve] He implores us to judge on the group performances as well as the solos. Fortunately we will get the opportunity to do this later when they sing song from Oklahoma! and Calamity Jane. Quick VT of the girls mock-fighting. I hope their acting in the number is better than that.
First up, Jenny, who shares with us the information that when she was in school, she was seriously overweight. Like obese. And she never had the confidence to do anything because she was bullied and feared people would laugh at her. One day she got weighed and realised she had to do something about it, so she lost the weight and now she is happy and healthy. She judges her weight loss to be an impressive achievement, more so than this competition, and she's right. Good for her.
Also, there is Emilie, who was fucking dreadful last week and cried about it. This week Charlotte has been attempting to teach her to sing - "the top can go a bit sharp," says La Church. Yeah; what about the middle and the lower notes? Emilie grins that it is fantastic to work with Charlotte.
Jenny sings 'Warwick Avenue', and vocally this is beautiful. Though her pronunciation and diction is a bit grating in place. Also, her hair looks lovely. But that's about all I have to say about it.
Emilie prances round the stage singing 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun', occasionally straying towards something approaching the right note but never stays there for long. Her arms are all over the place, and even a finger-phone. There's an excruciating bit of business with a hand mirror (not feminist consciousness-raising, thank fuck, just some face-concealment in the line "hide her away from the rest of the world"). This is particularly lame because it's pitched right on her break, so she can't decide between chest and head voice for most of this, and it's a mess. But then it's Emilie, so you'd expect nothing else. [The acting was slightly terrifying - she ended up making Lolly's version look mature and dignified. - Steve]
Graham talks to Jenny about "the curse of the blondes", which is pathetic. [And it sounds increasingly misplaced since last week's eliminee was a brunette. - Steve] Emilie says it was amazing to work with Charlotte - "thank goodness, someone's hearing my voice!" Emilie, that's the fucking problem, we can all hear your voice and it's TERRIBLE. Charlotte says Jenny did quite a good job with a rangy song, but thought it was a bit small and self-contained; and that Emilie was fun and frivolous but missed notes, but her voice's tone is like Judy Garland's (who, I might remind you, we are supposed to be forgetting about) and she would LOVE to hear her sing 'Over The Rainbow'. Ha, oh, Charlotte, so would I! In the results show. This week. Kthxbai. Sheila says Jenny is good at being perky and witty, but not so hot at acting anguish, and that Emilie was cute but not anguished, and if she wants to go into performing she needs to buck up and develop a thicker skin, BITCH. John says that he is losing Jenny a little bit because she was acting on one level despite a great vocal performance, and commends Emilie for her attack. He reminds them they are looking for Dorothy, not an understudy. [Someone tell that to Aoife. And Sarah. - Steve] Lloyd Webber agree with Sheila that it's a tough profession, and if you haven't got the inner strength, then fuck off out of it. His tears were not jerked by Jenny, who then confesses to never seeing Duffy's video for 'Warwick Avenue'. Ouch.
Next, it's Stephanie, who cannot cook, and is mocked by Steph for not being able to butter bread. So Aldo Zilli turns up to teach her to make pasta for the girls. And that is it. [Although there is a moment where she confuses Pesto with Bisto, at which point I decided I can never in good conscience root for Stephanie to win. - Steve] [Oh RIGHT. I get it now. I didn't understand what the fuck she was on about. - Carrie]
Lauren used to have a hearing impairment, so she is NOT CONFIDENT, remember. Her mum cries in the VT. But it has a happy ending because Lauren's hearing improved when she was about 17. Except it's NOT a happy ending because Lauren warns us that it might get worse again. Well, that's a bit of a downer.
Stephanie sings 'Nobody Does It Better' reclining on a perspex chair from the Brian Friedman house of seating. Another really inappropriate song choice there, but it's a lovely performance. I like that her vibrato (that's THE WOBBLY STUFF IN HER VOICE, for the idiots amongst us) is natural and unforced. Also, she totally confuses the cameraman by doing a little kneebend as she hits her money note and dipping out of shot.
Lauren sings 'Nobody Knows', and this is a stand-out show from her. She looks younger and more vulnerable than she has done in previous weeks, and she acts the hell out of it while not letting her vocal slip (and there's a fabulous belt in there).
Stephanie gabbles about ringing Aldo for cooking advice and does a vaguely offensive impression. Lauren gabbles about "double-quilted cotton pads" which I initially think are sanitary towels, but then she explains that she means cotton WOOL pads for taking off eye make-up. Anyway, someone has been nicking them, and she thinks it's Jenny, who has been stuffing them in her sporran. [Are we SURE they're not sanitary towels? - Steve] Hmm...also kinda offensive. And the story goes nowhere. Let's get some comments, shall we? Please? Sheila didn't know what the "it" was that Stephanie's man was doing better, but then neither would Dorothy; and thinks that Lauren has made a huge step forward. John thinks that Stephanie needs to bring a big performance to her smaller numbers, and didn't want Lauren's performance to end. Charlotte thinks Stephanie could have been more exasperated and less "singy", and that Lauren needs to be less slick. Right - so our singing expert wants less singing from the contestants in a singing contest? Lloyd Webber would be happy with either of them as Dorothy, by the way, and makes mention of 'Nobody Does It Scouser'. What? Seriously, what?
Crazy dog interlude as the lovely little doggies and their mad owners go to Sydmonton. But Steve has to recap that in full this week. HAHAHAHAHA! [Oh, raspberries. - Steve]
Sophie was pleased about last week being her best ever, and in order to celebrate her new-found toughness, she goes to train with London Welsh. (They're a rugby team, by the way.) So she tackles and practises line-outs and...how is this going to help? Especially if she breaks a rib? [I did love the incongruity of this VT in what was apparently sob story week. Everyone else cuts their arms open and shows us the blood, while Sophie...goes off to roll around in a muddy field. - Steve]
Jessica is worried that she has been losing the judges' support, and doesn't know what she's going wrong. She wails that she wants to be loved. Charlotte agrees that it must be confusing for her to be getting different advice from different quarters, and basically tells her to just do what she thinks is right. Wow, Charlotte's really earning her money, isn't she?
Sophie sings 'Love Song' and it's fine. She begins by sitting on the stairs and I wonder if the constricted diaphragm is why she seems to be struggling on the lower notes, but then she stands up and is still having the same problem, so it's probably not that. She gets backing singers singing her line in the chorus, which helps her, but that's cheating a bit. She has a few issues going into the key change but quickly gets it back on track.
Jessica is singing 'There You'll Be', and whoa, she really gets some unflattering outfits to wear. This looks like a cut-off batwing jumper and lycra skirt combo circa 1985. She acts this nicely and there's no problem with the notes per se, but her vibrato is just an odd wobble, coming from the throat, which constricts her voice.
Sophie enthuses about her new-found fighting spirit and enjoying being thrown around by big strong men. Jessica tells a pointless anecdote about the Dorothys' curry club, and Steph getting free poppadoms. John tells Sophie that she really has to work harder than the others because she isn't as good, and that Jessica's performance was the most truthful evah. Charlotte says Sophie's song is hard to sing and hence it went "pitchy". Somewhere in the world Randy Jackson is on the phone to Simon Cowell and saying, "See, dawg, I told you it was a word." [*cries* - Steve] She says that Jessica doesn't have enough control in her voice. Sheila thought Sophie was terrific and kept it light, and that Jessica pushed it too hard. John starts talking over her. Rude. That's SHEILA HANCOCK you're talking to, Partridge. Lloyd Webber thinks Jessica could be a world-class star. But you also thought that about Pirate Jessie, didn't you? He suggests she could cut back on the facial expressions. He's one to talk. He prefers Sophie looking less sophisticated, and reminds the viewers to judge on the Dorothys' talking as well as their singing. He also says that Dorothy doesn't have many big notes to sing. He's not got around to writing any new numbers for her yet, has he?
Charlotte goes to a church to sing with the Dorothys. They are all excited. We will see the fruits of that particular endeavour tomorrow.
Danielle had to sing off with her room-mate and best friend Dani last week, which she describes as "horrendous". Then there is some soft-focus montage about Danielle's grandmother and I'm half-expecting them to announce that she DIED this week or something, this show is so fucked this week. But she isn't; she's just proud of her granddaughter.
Yay, montage VT of Steph's family! They are awesome. They all sit downstairs and watch her performances on Sky+ over and over and over again. Baby D is proud, as are Nanu and Nana, Steph's grandparents. Meanwhile, Steph is sitting in her room bellowing, "CAN YOU TURN IT DOWN?" See, if we hadn't been having pointless anecdotes about curry and cotton wool, we could have had more of this kind of stuff, which is what I pay my licence fee for. [Although it did make me worry that the great British voting public would see this as a lack of gratitude in the same way that they didn't quite grasp that Lauren was joking two weeks ago. - Steve]
Danielle descends from the ceiling on a swing singing 'Cry Me A River', and looks ethereally beautiful tonight. She's not a very natural mover but her vocal is pretty.
Steph begins her song lying down for reasons unknown - it didn't do Asbestos Andy any good. And then she sings...and I've forgotten what she sang already. Her voice is beautiful and she is a great performer, but it is not a good song. It's something I know but I don't like. What was it? [It was 'Use Somebody', just in case you weren't kidding. - Steve] [No, I wasn't; I seem to have entirely blocked the song from my memory. - Carrie]
They both wail about having been in the bottom two. Charlotte loved them both; Sheila says they are the best actors, and Danielle will be a big star with her subtlety and gravity. John really outgays himself. Andrew Lloyd Webber thinks they were both fantastic and wishes Danielle a happy 18th birthday for Monday, suggesting they have a whipround to buy her a shandy.
Time for Wild West-themed group number. Lloyd Webber turned up at rehearsal, "just by chance". Jessica, Danielle, Sophie and Steph are singing 'Oklahoma!' and the Lord attempts to give them direction; interestingly he really doesn't seem to be able to sing. Jenny, Lauren, Emilie and Stephanie are singing 'Deadwood Stage', which he informs them is "very American". Steph wishes they'd got that song instead. Heh. Lloyd Webber reminds us to judge on the GROUP NUMBERS. Yeah, all right, your lordship, we've GOT IT.
The Doris Day wannabes go first. Stephanie has some really unflattering trousers on. Emilie opts for sidegob over the right notes. There is a point where I think Lauren's about to do a cartwheel, but she doesn't, fortunately. Also, their combined diction with their newly-assumed accents means you cannot HEAR A FUCKING WORD THEY ARE SINGING.
The Oklahoma! girl are hamstrung by some rubbish sound and a really peculiar arrangement where the key changes prior to the first chorus. Incidentally, Steph would be a fabulous Ado Annie, and Danielle would be a good Laurey. I might go and watch my DVD of the Jackman as Curly in Oklahoma! now. Still, you can hear what they're saying.
All the judges think the Oklahoma! girls were best; Lloyd Webber suggests we stop the competition now and have a job-share between the eight of them. Everyone laughs politely.
And the lines are now open! Time for a recap (see above) and we're out. Join Steve tomorrow for the result. Surely Emilie is going this week. Surely.