We know how it works – weeks of whittling down some hopefuls until two are left and they get to become the leads in the West End show.
I must admit I’m not generally a fan of reality TV because I think a lot of it is fake reality. We know we are manipulated by the TV company’s set-up. We know we are going to hear some back stories and the moments that are held onto forever until they announce the result. All that talking about triple threats, smashing it, and nailing it. A celebrity appears and they go all OMG goggle-eyed and open-mouthed and ready to swoon. And we are suckers for it all because we like to see people competing – we like to see what might be genuine support for each other or sometimes pretended friendship? It is a competition after all.
I mustn’t get cynical because they all seemed a decent enough bunch of wannabes with bags of enthusiasm. They were a mixture of trained and untrained voices; they could move and some of them can act as well. One contender didn’t look the part as they say but hey, she could sing soulfully, act and dance. Anyway, what is this “looking the part” thing – don’t we live in an age where things can be shaken up a bit? I‘d like to think so but I’m not holding my breath.
And the show reels us in, doesn’t it? We start to follow the journey of each of them and we have our favourites or wonder how some of them came to be there – not so much here though. Some had beautiful voices and could hold our attention on the stage – genuine stage presence.
The backdrops of Corfu and the house were beautiful. The judges knew what they were talking about, and it all seemed fun, sunny, and summery.
When it comes down to it they all have to be able to sing, dance and act and very few performers can do all three equally well. When we saw the girls auditioning with scripts by the seashore you could see who could “own” those words naturally and who wasn’t ready and needed prompting. Becoming the character is harder than it looks.
You can take to the stage and give a song a blast but unless you can take us to the story inside the song and make it seem your story then what have you got? It’s just karaoke. We know the songs; we know the original artists but somehow you must make it yours. Isn’t it strange that the best performers make that look so easy and natural?
I have a theory of my own based on my years of working in this field – the performers who have that special connection with a part and can show us what they feel inside are often the most generous about other performers – they know how hard it is and they know when they are watching it done well because they feel the truth of it.
For once, they have me hooked and I’ll be looking in. I’ll also be rooting for Tobias who occasionally works at Sutton Theatretrain.