Last week, in the first of two semi-finals, we found the two guys who will be competing for the role of Danny - Anthony and Danny B. Tonight, it was time to find the two final Sandys. The four left in the competition are Alison, Susan, Vicky and Michelle, and while I wouldn’t say that the standard is higher among the ladies than it was among the men that were left at this point, it is certainly more even. Each of them are solid in two of the three areas - dance, vocals and acting - that make up that dreaded ‘triple-threat’, but it seems that the watch-word tonight was definitely ‘acting’. David Ian was at pains to point out, on several occasions, that Sandy only sings one song her own, that it’s the acting that’s really important. With that in mind, each of the girls took part in an acting class with Ben Richards, under the watchful eye of Paul Nicholas. Here’s how they got on…
First to sing was Alison, but first we saw a short clip of that acting class. Her American accent was as good as any of the other girls in the competition, and Ben thought that she’s a great sweet Sandy - but might struggle with her raunchier side. The poor girl - in a night of quite poor uptempo song choices, I reckon - was landed with Better The Devil You Know to try and show off her voice - not an easy thing. Nerves, I think, got the better of her, and it came through her in her voice. David Gest said that it was a poor all-round performance, which seems a little harsh, but you had to agree when all the judges criticised her vocal. David Ian made a good point that Alison may actually be better suited to the quirkier role of Frenchie.
Susan came next, and it was two thumbs up in terms of acting from both Ben and Paul Nicholas. Ben said that she was a great, honest actress, and Paul could see her portraying both sides of Sandy’s character really well. So far so good. Susan got a better song to get her teeth into, I Love Rock and Roll, and she seemed to have fun singing it. It was a polished and assured performance both vocally and in terms of dancing - not spectacular perhaps, but certainly professional. Brian thought that it was a bad song choice for her, but the comments were generally really positive, and David Ian certainly thinks she’s got the perfect look for Sandy.
Third to take to the stage was Vicky, and it was clear from the start that acting is her weak link. Paul said that she has a great physical presence, but Ben was worried that she lacks confidence, and it has to be said that her accent was pretty poor. Boy she can certainly sing though. Vicky may have had a slightly slow start to this performance of Lady Marmalade, but when she lets rip, it’s clear that she’s the best singer in the competition. Tellingly, though, the comments did tend to centre around her acting, despite high praise for her singing, her dancing, and the fact that she has improved consistently throughout the competition.
Last up was Michelle, and she was another great little actress. You’re instantly drawn to her on the stage, and the accent’s great. Ben loved her big brown eyes, and pointed out that her dance training means that she can hold herself and strut really well. She had a tough time of it with the song choice (again!) though, Get The Party Started really isn’t made for a sweet voice like hers, and there were several dodgy notes. But she made as good a job of it as was possible, and Sandy never has to sing a song like that. All of the judges praised Michelle’s acting skills, but had to admit that her vocals aren’t the strongest.
At this point, the judges decided to send Alison home, which was predictable, despite the fact that there wasn’t much between the four girls when you take all three elements into consideration. But in the end, it seems that her voice just isn’t up to the task.
Then it was onto the ballads, and, to be honest, it was just a case of confirming everything we already knew about the remaining contestants: Susan and Michelle put in clean performances, and Vicky absolutely blew the roof off with her rendition of Because of You. But it seems that David Ian’s constant reminders that Sandy needs to able to act more than she needs to be a phenomenal singer paid off, and the viewers decided that Vicky should go home. It seems a shame to lose such a great voice, but in the end the all-rounders have won through, as they perhaps should. Next week, it’s the final: Anthony vs. Danny B, and Susan vs. Michelle.