Well, we're in the middle of the episodes of "I'd Do Anything," and the competition is heating up. Not really. They just try to pretend it is.
Every reality show should film a generic person that could look like any contestant on any show saying, "It is getting really serious now" and then just use that same clip on all the shows. Graham Norton opened the show by asking Andrew Lloyd Webber, "We're a few weeks into the show and there is no front runner. Are you nervous?" Why would he be nervous? The reason there's no front runner is because the judges think almost every performer is amazing. And wouldn't having a frontrunner ruin the tension of wondering who's going to win? It was literally a needless question. Graham should have just said, "Blah blah blah," and it would have been just as informative. The Lord, though, said that he wasworried. "Every time there is a top note, or a money note, the audience applauds. Everybody thinks that's what it's about. It's not. We're talking about an acting role." So…does he want the audience to applaud after an amazing acting choice? Then he said, "I want to hear real performances tonight." I got excited, thinking we'd finally hear some amazing Broadway songs they could act! Of course, he followed it with, "We're hearing pop lyrics tonight." Typical. Then he must have heard what I was thinking because he added, "It doesn't mean they're not great lyrics…they are…" Then he must have seen my facial expression through the TV because he added, "…some of them…"
Niamh said that because her sister visited her last week, she was really "chuffed." Positive? Negative? Chuffed? Isn't that what my thighs were doing when I had that 20-pound weight gain in my adolescence? She then sang a pop song that a. I have never heard before and b. I couldn't understand the title that was announced because of the thick British accent, no matter how many times I rewound. Seriously. Valeries? Batteries? Who knows? Barry Humphries said that Niamh reminded him of Amy Winehouse and that the character of Nancy was like that. I am obsessed with Amy Winehouse's voice/talent, but not her new recent hairdo. Niamh then got a little dished by Denise Van Outen, who said it sounded like she was marking the beginning, and John Barrowman, who said she wasn't telling the story. The story of what? Valeries? Batteries?
Next up was my favorite, Rachel. Every week the judges say that she's the most consistent out of all the Nancys. But then they showed a flashback of the original episodes, and the Lord told her that they were all very unsure whether to send her through. What? How did they not know she was amazing? Then my friend Tim reminded me that Lloyd Webber also preferred Glenn Close in Sunset, and it was suddenly all clear to me. Rachel sang "I'm With You," or as Avril Lavigne sings, "I'm with yow." When Rachel hit the high note, you could tell the audience was nervous to cheer for fear that the Lord would glare at them. After she sang Barry said it was the best performance in the competition so far. Yes! And, the Lord said that money notes have to be real and have to be about acting and that's what she did with them. Brava! Next was Jessie, who's been told that she needs to work on her body awareness. Jessie said that in school she was always cast as a boy. My question is, in what musicals? Drood? Triumph of Love? The musical comedy version of Boys Don't Cry? She worked on her grace throughout the week and said that this week she was gonna perform with some "major lady class." She sang a pop song, and though, yet again, I couldn't understand the title, I thought she sounded fantastic. Unfortunately, all the judges were in agreement that she wasn't herself. Barry Humphries said, "You've got a distinctive quality, don't lose it trying to please everyone." John Barrowman said that she's lost her essence. He also said about the other Nancys, "We're giving the critique and they're fixing it, you're not fixing it." Then, Denise piped up with, "Does this mean she can't take direction well?" Be quiet! She reminded me of an annoying little sister.
FATHER: Son, you're grounded because you stayed out past your curfew.
LITTLE SISTER: What about him borrowing the car without permission?
Next up, Sarah sang "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette. I love her voice. It always sounds comfortable wherever she's singing, and she has a great vibrato. But now let's discuss the song. Maybe I'm behind the times, but has anyone ever acknowledged that the scenarios Alanis writes about in "Ironic" aren't ironic? "Rain on your wedding day," "a traffic jam when you're already late" are not ironic, they're simply unlucky. For it to be ironic, it would have to be a person in the middle of a drought who prays for rain, and then it finally comes…on your wedding day. Or a comedian/musician praying to get another column on Playbill and finally getting one…but realizing that British reality shows don't have commercials so they seem endless, as well as there also being a "results" show you have to sit through after you've watched the whole performance show, so he winds up spending hours each week endlessly watching and writing, watching and writing and praying for a Nancy to be found ASAP. That's called ironic. And devastating.
Keisha, who's been in the bottom two twice, was shown in rehearsal, and the latest bad news for her is that she lost her voice! She pretty much got it back in time for the show and only had a couple of notes that had the essence of Murray Head with a cold. They announced she was going to sing "I'm Out of Love," and I was psyched 'til I realized it wasn't the classic Air Supply song. That's called "I'm All Out of Love." I googled her song and found out it's by Anastacia… a name that only conjures up the animated film with music by Ahrens/Flaherty and Liz Callaway as the title voice. Even though Keisha's voice wasn't up to snuff, Denise said it was her best performance.
Ashley then sang a Barbra song, and I was psyched 'til I realized it was "Evergreen." That's a song that only Barbra has sounded good on for reasons that remain a mystery. I think it's a combination of the fact that Barbra co-wrote it and also the resonance that her 1970's home-perm gave her voice. It was a weird performance for me because "Evergreen" is a love song, but Ashley played it to the entire audience. Afterwards, John said that it was cheesy, Denise also used the word cheese and Barry said that it was nice, polite and a little like she was showing him to the best table in a restaurant. Lloyd Webber though, who's never had a nice word to say about Ashley, said it was the best he's ever heard her!
|photo by © BBC|
The Oliver boy contestants learned stage fighting (supposedly to show if they could stand up to Bill Sykes in Act Two of the show), and Alex became the next boy to make the semi-finals. Then they all sang, "It's the Hard-Knock Life." It was bizarre hearing it sung by British kids because it's the first time I've heard the Ts in "It's easier than puTTing up a fight" or "no one cares if your eyes get weT and weepy." Then for some bizarre reason they add an S to the last word of the song. They literally sing "It's the hard-knock lifeS!" What? Next up was one of my faves, Samantha, singing one of my favorite singer's (Kelly Clarkson) classics, "Since You Been Gone." Thanks to the basso keys that are chosen for this show, she literally sounded like she was talking the beginning of the first verse of the song because it was so low. She was in a tight blue, glitter dress with sexy thigh-high boots. Barry Humphries said, "I couldn't keep my eyes off that performance! (Then turning to the other judges, he reiterated "I said performance!")
Jodie sang "I Have Nothing," which was one of the big songs in the film "The Bodyguard." She made the bold choice of taking a Whitney Houston song and putting it in a key for Bobby Brown. Excellent. Everyone loved it, though. Barry (who's played Fagin on the West End) said, "I'd love to be standing in the wings while you belted out 'As Long As He Needs Me.'" The Lord said, "I am dreading a sing-off with you two. I'd have to resign!" High praise, indeed!
|photo by © BBC|
The results show always has the Nancys doing a task. This week they had two teams of Nancys competing against each other. They rowed boats, and it supposedly taught them about "teamwork," and ate up seven minutes of a half-hour show that has only five minutes of actual content. The girls then sang the Annie Lennox song "Sisters Are Doing for Themselves." They sounded great! Then the audience went crazy at the sight of a big British star. And let me reiterate, British star because I remained blank faced. Her name is Barbara Windsor, and she's one of the stars of "Eastenders." She said that she was good friends with Lionel Bart, who wrote Oliver!. "I did one of his hits, Fings Ain't What They Used to Be, and I was in his biggest flop, which was Twang." She then inhaled like she was going to tell a lengthy story about that show, but was quickly cut off by Graham Norton. I felt bad slash had to rewind it three times. Finally, the bottom two were announced: Keisha and Niamh. The Lord was outraged. He said, "This is a complete and utter travesty. Neither of you should be in the bottom two. It's the first time on any TV show that I've ever been angry."
|photo by © BBC|
He finally decided to save Niamh, and Keisha went home, but while she was singing her exit song ("As Long As He Needs Me"), the cameras showed Lloyd Webber angrily storming off the stage. It was sad for Keisha, but I bet she felt great knowing that The Lord wanted her to stay! OK, everyone, I'll write after the next episode as we get closer to finding out who will be Danny and Sandy…I mean, Oliver and Nancy.