This is a search for someone to play the role of Jesus in an Arena Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar and above all else whoever wins this competition MUST have a strong voice and a good vocal range otherwise Andrew Lloyd Webber will have problems.
They must also have the ability to gain positive comments from the judges and more importantly win the support of the voting public.
I have to say that I was very surprised tonight as I had believed that the judges’ comments would sway a significant number of votes. If that were the case then how on earth did Rory Taylor get into the bottom two as he has had positive comments from the judges after virtually every performance this week. This is a bit of a worry as if the fickle finger of the public puts two of the stronger performers in the bottom two tomorrow then this will create somewhat of a dilemma for ALW.
Hopefully this was not due to the mix up at the start of the programme by Amanda Holden (probably from an autocue), not giving out Rory’s name but Roger’s when reading out the voting phone numbers relating to each performer. This was subsequently amended with the numbers read out correctly but someone somewhere needs a severe slap on the wrist.
As I have mentioned before, there is no room for ‘pitchy’ moments or just about any other significant failings in performances, not at this stage of the competition. Once again some of the guys had problems with pitch and likewise a couple stayed too much within their comfort zone with their chosen songs, something they wouldn’t be able to do in Jesus Christ Superstar.
The stand-out performances for me tonight were David Hunter with Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares to you and Nathan James with Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine. Both were superb.
The choice of song for Ben was Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car and although he sang it very well and got positive comments from the judges I don’t think it was the best song choice at this stage of the competition. The song for Rory was Fix You by Coldplay and again I wasn’t keen on the song choice and neither were the voting public.
Jon was a little too safe with Robbie Williams’ Feel, and I have yet to hear anyone that can sing an Adele song without me wishing it was Adele singing it, and Roger had that unenviable task with Rolling in the Deep. He did okay.
Jeff’s song was Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones and he added his style to the song resulting in a fair performance.
The Calling’s Wherever You Will Go was the choice for Niall and the voting public didn’t rate his performance to be strong enough and placed him alongside Rory in the bottom two. Niall then gave one of his more dyanmic performances for the sing-off with Rory, by which time it was too late and Rory was saved by ALW.
I gather that Niall has not been well for a few days and a shame that this wasn’t mentioned by the judges. However, ALW did comment that he could see a future for Niall playing in the West End as maybe Marius in Les Miserables or Raoul in Phantom of The Opera, although both of those roles are taken! To his credit, Killian Donnelly, who currently plays the role of Raoul, tweeted “Love to @niallsheehy. Constantly giving 100% & working his ass off. Love you mate. Doors are wide open & you would make a great Raoul x”
I did mention a top five earlier this week and I don’t see any reason to go beyond that. The one to beat is Nathan James who has a fabulous voice AND he would get people along to see the show, and as they say “put bums on seats” – and probably more so than anyone else in the competition.
Ben and Rory are also stand-out performers and David kept himself within that category tonight. An outsider would be Jeff and sorry to say but I don’t think the role is for Roger or Jon.
Depending on who the public votes for tomorrow night – with two being voted off – I wonder if ALW might again change the format – maybe make a bottom three sing-off and then save one. My choice to win is still Nathan who would grow into the role of Jesus, including showing that he can demonstrate the humble aspects of the character. I don’t think Nathan is as confident as some think he is, and I do wish the judges would stop knocking him for being over-confident, as he doesn’t portray this. For the rest, there will be a queue of jobs starting to build for them.
Voting will close AFTER the final songs Friday evening.
By Neil Cheesman who you can follow on Twitter @LondonTheatre1
Celebrating 40 years since it first opened in London’s West End, the Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Tour kicks off this September.
Friday 20th July, 2012