U.K's "Over the Rainbow" Selects Ten Finalists for Dorothy in New Stage Wizard of Oz

News   U.K's "Over the Rainbow" Selects Ten Finalists for Dorothy in New Stage Wizard of Oz
 
The launch of BBC1's latest reality TV casting program "Over the Rainbow" — to select a performer to play the role of Dorothy in a new West End stage version of The Wizard of Oz — has seen the 110 performers originally selected from open auditions reduced to a final 10 by the judging panel.

One extra candidate – a "wild card" – from the final 20 is open to public vote, the result of which will be announced during the first live public show airing April 3.

The panel, which comprises producer Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sheila Hancock, Charlotte Church and John Partridge, selected Bronte Barbe, Stephanie Davies, Amy Diamond, Jenny Douglas, Sophie Evans, Steph Fearon, Danielle Hope, Dani Rayner, Jessica Robinson and Lauren Samuels.

These candidates, plus the 11th one selected by the public, will go head-to-head in a weekly live TV show, broadcast every Saturday starting April 3. One contestant will be voted off each week. The panel will be invited to give their comments, then the phone lines are opened so that viewers can phone in to vote for the performer that they would like to remain in the competition.

In the opening salvo, broadcast March 27, the final 20, performing in groups of four, had to sing one pop song and one song from a West End musical before the panel gave their feedback and made their deliberations. In a press statement, Andrew Lloyd Webber said it was a "really hard decision" and that even though there were "five girls we all agreed on immediately, we argued quite a lot about the others." He admitted that it's been "tough" and that "he is really glad the public have got a chance to vote for another one."

The "Over The Rainbow" results show will transmit on Sundays following the live show on Saturday nights. The first Sunday show will go out on April 4 at 6:20 PM. It will be recorded after the live show on Saturday nights. As well as the search for Dorothy, Lloyd Webber will also be on the hunt for a Toto for a one-off gala performance. Working alongside Lloyd Webber will be Jodie Prenger, the winner of "I'd Do Anything," who is currently playing Nancy in the West End production of Oliver! as a result. Joining her are two dog experts: animal trainer to the stars Gerry Cott and animal behavior expert Sarah Fisher. Viewers will not be able to vote for Toto, but will be decided by a panel of experts based on the dogs' performances throughout the series. The winning dog will be announced in the final show.

One contestant will be voted off each week. The panel give their comments, then the phone lines are opened so that viewers can phone in to vote for the girl they'd like to remain in the competition.

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