Time has certainly flown by, as we are now watching the Semi Finals. This means the Lord can save a girl for the last time. We have Danielle, Lauren, Sophie and Steph left in the competition and Graham refers to them as “The Fab Four.” What is great about these semi finalists is that they could all bring something different to the role. Sometimes in these competitions, there are two girls who are very smilar. Here, you might love one and hate another. It should be an interesting final.
With votes clearly in decline for these types of shows, many girls have ended up in the bottom two. In fact all of these four have been left singing for their supper. Some, more than once. So, the V.T has to include ‘money shots’ – tear-jerking elements to get you picking up the phone.
Sophie’s V.T shows shots of her chatting to her grandad. He is very proud of her success. She is a dark horse in the competition, as for weeks she simply was on auto-pilot and I expected her to have gone by now. Then last week, I saw something in her eyes – determination and she proved that she had the talent to match.
Steph’s clip plays on the bar maid wanting a part in the West End. We also see shots of the Family Fearon and how much they love and support her. I’m old enough to remember her mother and father singing for a living – so this is clearly in her blood.
Sophie sings “Reflection.” As soon as she opens her mouth, this powerful voice appears from nowhere. Where have you been hiding? Her voice has power and a fragility which would really suit the role of Dorothy. She is a bit stiff performance wise, but there are so many positives here. For the first time, I could see her in the role, featuring in the advertising blurb, doing interviews, etc.
Steph sings Take That’s “Rule The World.” It’s a good performance but at the beginning she does sound like she is gargling with mouthwash. The problem here though is the song. It’s a group song, so it’s hard for one person to do something with it. She does well but I cannot help but think she is at a disadvantage before she even opens her mouth.
Charlotte describes them both as “outstanding vocal performances.” She mentions that “Rule The World” is a “man’s song and it’s hard to being something new to it.” Sheils says Sophie could have had more “puzzlement” and that Steph made the song “mean something.” John describes Sophie’s turn as “her best to date.” He then says that Steph is a “triple threat.” The Lord agrees re Sophie stating that she has “turned a corner.” He then waffles on about how Gary Barlow was found and adds that Steph’s turn “lacked innocence.”
Grandparents are seen as vote winners by the producers, as Lauren is seen visiting her nan and grandad. This shows a softer side to her character and even seeing her hair falling around her face – instead of harshly tied back makes her more appealing. There is a great deal done backstage to get these votes coming in and I’m surprised we have not heard “Grandma, We Love You” by the St Winifred’s School Choir!
Danielle is shown in Manchester and the local baker’s have made a cake featuring her dressed as Dorothy. We see the support from this great city (I live there!) but we do not really see the real Manchester. Clearly this lass does not live in Moston or Salford, so we see a chocolate box version of the place but nonetheless, she has support there – even without a local accent.
Lauren sings Bryan Adams’ “Heaven.” She brings a vulnerability to the song which I have not seen before. She also reins her voice in and this really suits the song. This is one her most likeable performances because less is truly more. Yes, she pulls some faces, whilst trying to bring emotion to the song but TV will always pick this up far more than theatre. Not stunning then, but great to see Lauren doing something less intense and ‘in yer face’ than usual.
Danielle sings “When You Believe” and from the opening note, she acts the song with her eyes. She brings passion to the song, emotion and a wide eyed innocence which is exactly what the part needs. I spend this entire performance seeing her in the role, imagining it and for me – she fits it like a glove. I have no doubts, as she has grown into the role over the weeks. Marvellous performance!
Sheila says Lauren is “quite lovely, fantasic.” She praises Danielle for the simplicity of the performance. John describes this as a battle between the voice and the actress. Hardly fair as they can do both. He calls Danielle’s performance ” a song of two halves” but praises Lauren describing her as “unbeatable.” Charlotte says that Lauren is “incapable of giving a bad performance.” She describes Danielle’s vocal as “spotless.” The lord likes Lauren but was looking for a “touch of sweetness” which I think she had. He then goes on to call Danielle an “extraordinary performer.”
The first two up are Sophie and Steph singing “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair” from South Pacific. Both bring something different to the song. Although, because this is a competition, watching them trying to outdo each other does not suit the song. Steph, for example seems too over the top and it’s because she knows this is a showcase, as opposed to a solo performance. She is being compared immediately, so this is approached more like an acting sing-off. Sophie proves she has the vocal power again although her accent is off.
Lauren and Danielle have a far more suitable song – as they get to deliver “Popular” from Wicked. Their performance is very witty, as we watch as they attempt to push each other out of the way ‘in character.’ The great thing about this performance also is that it gives viewers a choice, as both of them are polished but do offer something distinctly different to the other.
John says if pushed he liked “Danielle.” He describes Steph’s chereography as “polished” but preferred Sophie. Sheila says that Danielle and Lauren had the best song but also says “write a musical for those two.” She also makes a valid point re the VT and says “I don’t care if they have nice grandparents. Judge them on what they have done.” God, how we love Sheila! The Lord then creepliy says that he hoped for a Bollywood ‘wet scene’ refeering to Sophie and Steph. The audience laugh as another tumbleweed moment occurs. Poor Graham, move it on please!
Andrew arrives to see the iconic scene where the line “There’s No Place Like Home” is uttered. Danielle almost makes him cry, Lauren- he calls her accomplished, Steph has heart and Sophie struggles with the accent but he says she would make a “beloved Dorothy.”
“I’m Just A Girl Wh Can’t Say No” shows off the girls’ new accents. Sophie struggles again but has time to perfect it. Lauren and Danielle have stepped it up and Steph is good but slightly overdoes it again. Sheila says that John Thaw gave her the advice of “Don’t demonstrate – be.” She then adds the only person who ‘was’ is Danielle. John praises Lauren as does Charlotte and she also loves Steph.
So, who will go? Hard for me this one, as all of them have stepped it up. But if pushed, I think it’s time for Steph to go. She has done well and deserves a great role. But it’s just not this one. I can imagine producers jumping on the phone, the minute she exits.
Tune in tonight and see who is going through to the final.