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Superstar Update: Monday 16th July 2012

Look, you may or may not be a supporter of ITV’s Superstar Jesus Christ Superstarbut it is happening, so either stop trying to de-rail the bandwagon or get following it!

This type of show will never be to the taste of everyone and I for one don’t really like the process. It is neither trying to get a potential star from unknowns or cast as any other show. It seems to fall somewhere in between.

However, the reality is that within a few weeks Jesus Christ Superstar will take to the road in an Arena Tour and one of these contenders will be the lead role. Trying to get a ‘raw talent’ to take over the role would most likely have meant adding several months to the timescale.

Some people have mentioned that during the initial auditioning process there were many discarded that were stronger than some of those in the remaining top eleven. That said, some of those left out were under contract elsewhere and were not even available.

Out of the eleven that have started the week there must be several in the group that have thought that they haven’t really got a chance of winning the competition but can make the most of the publicity to help their music career. I do think Andrew Lloyd Webber is trying to help ratings when he says that anyone could win Superstar as there seems to be a bit of a divide between the most talented of this group and the weakest.

There are probably only a handful that could sing just about anything (within reason) and find their way through to the next round, but song choice will be crucial for the remaining five. I found it curious when ALW criticised the choice of song for one of the guys saying that it was difficult to do anything with it. If that is the case then why choose that song for them?

I guess at some point they will sing songs from the musical that they are auditioning for, or is that too much to ask? Or maybe they could sing songs from other musicals and not just seemingly random pop-songs. Am I being too suspicious in thinking that ALW uses the choice of songs to eliminate some of the weaker candidates as he will know their vocal range and which songs are likely to get them crucified?

Tonight’s show started with the vote-off from last nights songs. Not overly surprising that Afnan Iftikhar was voted off as I didn’t feel that he had a very good song choice on Sunday. Dirk was also in the bottom two.

For the show tonight there were ‘safe’ song choices for some that should mean a route through to the next round. Some had difficult songs and struggled to show their best with them which will doubtless mean a difficult day tomorrow. To be winning this show I don’t believe you can have ‘pitchy moments’ – you simply have to be at the top of your game, all of the time. In a few weeks time the winner of this competition will have the lead role singing in front of many thousands of people. There can be no ‘off’ nights.

Maybe due to an over-exposure of this type of show, and possibly due to the composition of the judging panel, TV ratings have so far struggled. There is however, sufficient talent from the contenders to ensure that when Jesus Christ Superstar hits the road it will rock!

With the comments made from the judges, and in particular ALW, what the contenders must not do is focus on every single word that ALW comes out with. The problem with someone who has the status of Lord Webber in more ways than one is that when he speaks there is a tendency to want to grasp every word that he says. It is a pivotal role that he plays, and he knows it. His critique, either positive or negative will affect the person addressed and he will doubtless sway voters with his views. Likewise, I don’t think he should be prompted by Amanda Holden asking him who will be in the bottom two on Tuesday. Let the public decide and not be ‘guided’ so openly.

I don’t run the show so am entitled to an opinion and also don’t influence millions! So, from the performances so far my strongest contenders (not in any particular order), are David Hunter, Nathan James, Ben Forster, Rory Taylor and Jeff Anderson.  But what do I know!

Good luck to everyone on Tuesday.

By Neil Cheesman who you can follow on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

Last Updated Tuesday 17th July 2012


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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