Thank the lord (not ALW) that BBC iplayer exists, as I was out reviewing The Osmonds last night and forgot to record the show. So, having had the chance to catch up, it was clear that last night was one of the best shows of the series. Each girl had to raise their game and the performances really show the audience who could cut it and who should leave.
First up was Rachel who had a mammoth task. Andrew is not feeling her performances and she has been in the bottom two twice. So, she had everything to gain with her version of Cabaret. We were shown clips from a summit meeting in which the judges and Cameron (at last!) talked about the girls’ strengths and weaknesses.
They claimed that Rachel lacked heart, Jodie was too cabaret, Sam received praise but lacked emotion, Jessie was talked up via her voice but little else. But with Cameron Mackintosh on board, you feel that this show is entering a new phase. Put it this way, Barry should step aside for him!
Rachel – “Cabaret”
Back to the competition, Rachel was asked to bring individuality to the table and she certainly did that. Her version of “Cabaret” was an absolute show-stopper! She gave the sort of performance that the panel had been looking for. I felt that she connected with the material ten-fold, filling your living room with her personality. She could breathe life into Bill Kenwright’s ropey West End Cabaret. DVO thought it was “Phenomenal” and even Barry was swayed claiming that it was a “star performance.” Cameron said: “By george. She’s got it!”
Jessie- “What I Did For Love”
This clearly left the others with a tough act to follow. Next up was Jessie. John and DVO criticised her in the summit meeting but The Lord talked her up slightly. She sang “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line. Her vocals were sweet and at times powerul but she throws her arms around like a teen having a tantrum. Her hunched shoulders are back too. Many will claim that these areas could be ironed out, but they should have gone ages ago. She is simply not ready for the role.
The judges thought the same on the whole. John said: “Good vocal, but slightly bored me.” Barry gave his usual “It was heartfelt” comment. DVO said it was a “little bit aggressive, good vocals.” Cameron thought it was a “beautiful version but other areas were lacking.” Jessie then pleaded for her life. The Lord said she had “star quality” maybe implying he would save her if she were in the sing off?
DUET No: 1
The first duet followed with Sam and Jodie delivering “Jesus Christ Superstar” (possibly plugging Lloyd Webber’s next search for a star?!). Jodie belts this one out with real passion. Sam ups the sex appeal but Jodie definitely gives the song the gospel feel that it needs.
Next we head off to catch up with the Olivers as we see which three have been chosen. Gwion, Laurence and Harry will grace the West End stage. I, personally would have picked any of the runners up, but not these three. Gwion will struggled with the accent unless they allow to keep the Barry Island twang, but you would hope not!
Samantha – “When You Believe”
Sam was next up with “When You Believe” from The Prince Of Egypt. I associate this song with X Factor though as it was last year’s winning song. This draws other comparisions as I feel Sam would make a great contestant on that show, but somehow, she looks out of place here. The whole arrangement for this song felt like Simon Cowell was waiting in the wings. It was ok, but Sam hit a few bum notes and it felt fairly empty and not the stuff of semi finals.
John said it was a “powerhouse performance.” DVo said that Sam had the likeability factor (did she mean the X Factor?!!!) and Barry said she had a “great connection” with the song. Cameron commented that the delivery was inconsistent. The Lord implied he would help her out stating “When you get through….!”
Jodie – “Out Here On My Own”
Jodie was next up and during the summit the judges all felt the same, it was time for some “real grit” in the words of JB. She sang “Out Here On My Own” which felt really apt as it feels like that at times. She needed this song to convey her vulnerable side. “I may not win but I can’t be thrown” she sang with real conviction. I felt it was nicely understated, not perfect but good enough. DVD cried and called it “so heartfelt.” JB shouted that she “needs to be in the final.” Barry said it was “too restrained.” Cameron called it “Slightly matronly but a great performance.” Andrew praised Jodie saying it was “really on the button.”
DUET No 2
It was duet time with a bit more rivalry highlighted. The song was “Buenos Aires” from Evita and the singers were Rachel and Jessie. Good vocals by both of them but Jessie’s awkward moves are beginning to look so clumsy now that it completely detracts from her singing voice. Rachel is clearly on a roll and is much more showy than ever before.
In terms of the sing-off. Samantha and Jessie need to be in the bottom two based on the performances. But I think the two who will end up there will be Rachel and Jessie. Hopefully, the Lord will send Jessie home but you never quite know how his mind is going to work.
Tune in tonight to find out! The excitement that this show has lacked is clearly in place now!