Sunday, 23 May 2010

Hope springs eternal

Finale Results: 22nd May 2010

We're back, and we're live! This makes a nice change - I'm so used to getting the results at around 10.30pm on the Digital Spy forums, I don't quite know what to do with the prospect of actually seeing them announced properly and have it be a surprise. Well, "a surprise". Like Danielle isn't totally winning this thing. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Titles, for the last time ever. No more Andrew gurning terrifyingly into our living rooms every weekend. Unless he happens to pop round for tea and scones at any point, which is unlikely, but not impossible.

Back in the studio, the orchestra plays 'Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead'. Poor Lauren: talk about adding insult to injury. Graham arrives...on a bicycle, being gently lowered from the ceiling on wires. Are we casting for ET: The Musical next? I can't wait for them to shortlist a load of 22-year-olds and then sneer that they're too old to play Gertie. Graham reminds us that Sophie and Danielle are the two girls left standing, and we get a shot of Lauren, who is definitely not the most unpopular girl in the world (she's got to be several hundred places below Heidi Montag on that list, at least). We're reminded of Lauren's exit, and Backstage Lauren says that going out at this point is bittersweet, but she lost to two amazing girls, and the whole experience was amazing and she's going to remember it for the rest of her life. Which probably doesn't amount to much, considering she is SO RIDICULOUSLY OLD, eh Andrew?

Graham reminds us that the phonelines are still open, unless we want to vote for Sophie. The panel are reintroduced, but must share one collective round of applause, rather than getting individual bursts. Andrew's cuckoo-clock theme music plays again to remind us he has lost his power, then we're reminded of the performances from earlier in the evening. Sophie says she feels so much like a Dorothy now that she's going to be Dorothy forever. Or at least for the next 30 minutes. Danielle says that she knows she can do the part justice.

Graham's sitting with the girls, and asks Sophie if she ever expected to make the final. No, she didn't: she came here looking for experience, and she'll be happy whatever the outcome. Danielle says that all the girls are amazing, and she's very proud of everyone. It's so much harder to mock these people when you're basically left with two of the most normal girls in the competition. Curse you, voting public!

From there, we go to their final Dorothy mission, where they must learn to get to grips with Dorothy's most famous scene. Is it not a bit late to be wondering if they can do that bit now? What if neither of them can? I doubt anyone reading this saw any of Legally Blonde: The Search For Elle Woods on MTV in America last year, but in that show the contestants were tasked with the musical's biggest scene (Act One finale 'So Much Better'), on the reasoning that if they couldn't pull that off, it was better to find out sooner rather than later. I think this show could've taken a lesson from that. Anyway, Sophie and Danielle are each armed with a dog, but since DOGS LOVE DANIELLE, I think we know who will emerge triumphant. Sophie's accent is still a little bit peripatetic, whereas Danielle's is, I imagine, full of inner truthy goodness. Danielle says that 'Over The Rainbow', the song is very difficult because of the octave-leap and the fact that it's massively famous. She doesn't think she has to act Dorothy any more, she thinks she can just "be". Someone's been listening to Sheila. Sophie really feels that she is Dorothy, and would be so gutted for it to slip away at this point. Both girls talk bollocks about the Acting Techniques they will use to create Dorothy, and I can't imagine anyone cares so long as they get it together for opening night, am I right? [I don't really care anyway now. I wasn't all that fussed about this show in the first place, and I'm bothered even less now. - Carrie]

Back in the studio, Graham turns to Andrew and asks what we should be looking for in their performances of 'Over The Rainbow'. Andrew tells the girls that they must think why an audience would come to the West End to see them. That's an excellent question.

Sophie goes first, and it's hard to get used to seeing someone singing this song without trying not to cry. Them, I mean, not me. Sophie's voice sounds sweet and clear, and there's a real sense of wonderment and longing in her performance. The audience, goons that they are, cheer and applaud wildly at the key change. As well sung as this performance is, there's still something slightly lacking stage presence-wise with Sophie. She's got better, but I'm still not sure she's quite there yet. Without further ado, Danielle does the same song directly afterwards. Her accent is much more secure than Sophie's, and she's got lovely phrasing. She plays it rather more determined (whereas Sophie's was wistful), and there's an occasional yelly moment, but it's another good performance. There's not a lot to choose between them at this point, to be honest.

Both girls run over to join Graham, who reveals that the winner will be releasing that song as a charity single. Quick, run to iTunes now! Rather than turning to the panel, the girls are instead given a chance to talk directly to the viewers and say why they should be Dorothy. Ooh, it's just like The Apprentice! Bonus points if either of their answers include a variation of "I'm just like you when you were younger, Lord Webber". Sophie goes first, presumably speaking directly to WALES WHERE SHE IS FROM, oggy oggy oggy, and says that she really feels she's grown, and she hopes she's the Dorothy that the public wants - and she really likes wearing gingham. Heh. Danielle can't believe they've been doing this since January, and says that she used to have to search for who and what Dorothy was, but now she feels that it's her.

Now time for the panel's responses: Sheila thought they both captured Dorothy's emotion. John is very proud of Sophie and the way she has blossomed. Yes, yes, John, we've all noticed her rack. He thinks Danielle really is a star. Charlotte thought they both did the song justice, and she thinks the song really suits Sophie's voice, while Danielle has been captivating from the start.

Despite Sheila's protestations last week, it is now time to see who has the nicest grandparents. Sophie's dad is so pleased to see his daughter doing what she loves, while Sophie's mum has 100% faith in her and thinks this is where she's destined to be. Sophie's grandparents think she's always been a little singer even since she was wee. Sophie's mum gets tearful about how Sophie doesn't need their help any more, but it's sweet rather than creepy.

Danielle's nan thinks she's Dorothy because she looks the part. Danielle's mum thinks she deserves to be there. Danielle's nan recalls her singing and dancing as a child. Are we picking up a theme yet? Danielle's mum thinks she's so natural. Danielle's dad thinks the stage will not need lights because Danielle's smile and eyes will light it up by themselves. Aww. Though I suspect he's risking a severe rebellion from theatre technicians at the Palladium with comments like that.

It's time for their final performances: in each case, the girls have picked what they believe was their best performance from the series. Sophie has picked 'Reflection', which I think is the best option she had, though it's a shame she's reprising a performance we only saw last week. That said, the idea that her best performance is her most recent one does fit her "journey" narrative rather nicely. It's a very strong performance again - quite possibly better than last week. It's at this stage I feel slightly saddened that it took Sophie so long to find her mojo, otherwise we really could have had a competition on our hands. Danielle reprises 'Mambo Italiano', despite the unfortunate implications that she peaked halfway through the series. Again, I can understand the choice, because her performances have all been of a fairly consistent standard, but this was probably the most memorable, and at the risk of sounding cynical, it's probably the most obvious vote-getter of the bunch. Again, she does a fine job with it, despite the challenges posed by SINGING AND DANCING AT THE SAME TIME. Continuing my general theme of attempting to re-stage the competition, I wish they'd given Danielle more numbers like this that allowed her to let her hair down, rather than bogging her down with solemn truthy truthy performances, because I like this Danielle much better.

Graham's with the families. He points out that Sophie's mum is her spitting image (and she really is), and Sophie's mum is thrilled at how much she's grown. As a performer, I assume, not in a literal sense. Danielle's nan is reminded that Danielle turned 18 during this competition, so have they seen her grow up? Danielle's nan says that she's seen her grow in confidence (though not BAD CONFIDENCE like Lauren has, I assume).

The lines are now closed! The audience gasps, as though this is some kind of shock. While the votes are counted and verified to make sure Danielle's definitely the winner, we get to recap the series. Huh. Someone really doesn't appreciate all the hard work Carrie and I have been putting in since the end of March. How rude. We begin back at Top 20 (Camille! Yay!) as the Top 10 were selected, and then there was the horror of Emilie being selected as the wildcard. Random performance highlights are recalled, including Jenny's 'So What', Steph's 'It's Oh So Quiet' and Jessica's 'There You'll Be', which was world-class lest we forget. There are also the group performances to recall, and the mash-ups that weren't. Seeing the awesome Gaga medley again is pleasant, seeing the ill-advised mental health medley (and within it, focusing on Emilie's vocals) is not so much. Hey, remember when the missions had winners? Yeah, so do I, distantly. Then came "the ultimate test" - working with animals. Look out for that bus, Jenny! SPLAT! Too late. Also, apparently there was a search for Toto, but only about six people in the entire universe cared, and most of them owned one of the contestants. Then there were singoffs, as we dispatched: *deep breath*: Amy, Bronte, Dani, Emilie, Stephanie, Jenny, Jessica and Steph. And then the sing-out, on the moon. I shall miss that.

Back in the studio, Graham tells us that our votes have raised over £430,000 for the BBC Performing Arts fund. How many years at college will that buy Bryony? Finally, it's time for the results, as Sophie and Danielle are welcomed back to the main stage. Sensibly, they do not at this point ask the panel who should win, having been so roundly embarrassed two years ago when the voting public disagreed with the majority verdict that they'd had to drag CamMac in to secure. Even now I half-expect him to burst through the studio doors screaming "Jessie is Dorothy! Call off the search!" before being bundled into a secure van and driven to the nearest padded room. Both girls look very sombre, and Graham reminds us that they are young, not like that CRONE Lauren. The winner is....


...Danielle, of course. To her credit, she's really not expecting it, judging by the look of absolute horror on her face. Hee. Sophie hugs her and tells her well done, then kisses her on the cheek and attempts to book it off to the sofa - presumably having assumed she was supposed to scarper and give Danielle her moment, but of course Graham wants to talk to her, so he grabs her and pulls her back to take a bow before rejoining her family. Everyone's on their feet and cheering for Danielle. "You're a West End star!" Graham tells her. "I'm not!" she scoffs. Danielle says that she doesn't think "thank you" is enough for everyone who's supported all the girls throughout the competition. It's not the most articulate speech I've seen a reality show winner give, but it's definitely up there with the most gracious ones, so points for that. Andrew's very pleased with the result of course: "the nation has never got it wrong yet", he says, despite the fact that they didn't vote for the Nancy he wanted last time. Still, justice for Jodie is better late than never, I suppose. He tells Danielle that the hard work starts now, but she knows how to act from the soul. Danielle must hand her shoes to the Lion, but gets to replace them immediately with the ruby slippers that have been sitting in Andrew's crystal ball all series. They fit. "CONSPIRACY!" scream a thousand people on the internet. It is quite funny though, as the whole studio looks on anxiously to see if her shoes will fit, and Danielle turns to the audience and confirms "I'm in!" with a look of mock-relief on her face. Bless. There's a shot of Sophie's mum crying, though with pride or sadness I guess we'll never know.

Having been crowned the nation's Dorothy, Danielle gets to sing 'Over The Rainbow' one last time, with all of her truthy truthy truthiness, while looking faintly overwhelmed by the whole situation. Instead of climbing onto a moon this time, however, she's led into a basket filed with balloons, which gradually raises her up as the rest of the contestants flock onto the stage to wave her off. She bottles the final note very slightly, but the look of "OMG!" on her face immediately afterwards as her victory sinks in is brilliant.

So there we have it! Andrew got the Dorothy he wanted, and in all fairness, she probably was the best candidate for the part. Hopefully we'll all be here again next year to sift through a new batch of West End hopefuls (can we have some boys again next time please?) - but whatever happens, we'll be back for The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing in the autumn, so I hope you'll join us then.

6 comments:

  1. Heh - I have only just noticed that the first four contestants were eliminated in alphabetical order. Camille wouldn't have stood a chance past round three anyway, in that case.

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  2. Technically it was just the first three eliminations - they skipped over Danielle in week four and went to Emilie, who was next in line. But yeah, I see what you mean about the signs not looking so good...

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  3. Just to add to the conspiracy theory - Danielle was "Red Dorothy" all along...

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  4. I loved Danielle around the time she did Mambo Italiano to when she did When You Believe (mainly because she managed to make those awful songs sound half decent and did it with a lot of humour and charm) but I felt she lost her sparkle a little towards the end... overall performance-wise she deserved to win, but Sophie emerged as being a real raw talent and finally lived up to her dorothy 'look' in the last couple of shows. I was baffled by the Lauren thing the whole way through - nevermind the arrogance/confidence debate, I thought she had shrill, shouty top notes and was a very transparent, over the top actor. I think if anything her controversial 'bitch' editing helped her reach the top 3.

    Loved the whole series but was greatly improved by the discovery of this blog.

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  5. I didn't even watch the series, and I've loved your recaps!

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