The Stage

Blogs

TV Today

I’d Do Anything, week 12: the final

And so we reach the final week. Cue lots of tears in VT packages from Samantha, Jessie and Jodie. Anybody would think the Josephs were in the house. Oh, lots of them were — I spotted Ben, Chris Crosby and Lewis in the audience but there were doubtless more.

The opening number was, of course, I’d Do Anything, reuniting all twelve Olivers and all twelve Nancies. Oh Fran, oh Sarah, how we’ve missed you. Oh Amy, oh Cleo, how we’d like to have seen more of you — you went too soon. Oh Tara — you didn’t…

The first round of solo performances was designed to evoke an emotional response. First up, Jodie sang Son of a Preacher Man. A song retelling the experiences with a past love, it requires the singer to literally tell a story, rather than some of the songs in this series where the narrative element has been far more implicit. And Jodie delivered an excellent rendition — powerful, but controlled and melodic.

Samantha followed with Anyone Who had a Heart. The theme of the song is a wronged woman conflicted about her lover’s betrayal. Thematically, it’s the closest of the three songs to Nancy’s relationship with Bill in Oliver!. It was a strong performance, although the subtleties of the song — shifting from love to anger and back, often within a single line — suffered from a delivery that went a bit too far in both directions.

Finally in this round, Jessie sang The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Rather sensibly, given the problems she’s often displayed in her movement, she spent the entire song sitting on a stool — which also meant she could leave her hands by her side or in her lap, and thus avoid the temptation to run them through her hair. All this meant she could concentrate on the vocal side of her performance which, as we’ve seen in previous weeks, is peerless.

So at the end of the first round, for me the leader was Jodie, closely followed by Jessie and Samantha.


The next round saw each of the Nancies team up with one of the three winning Olivers. Nominally, the Olivers had ‘chosen’ a Nancy to perform with, although I doubt things were that simple — what if two boys had selected the same actress?

Anyway, Laurence and Jodie kicked off the duets with Getting to Know You from The King And I. The two showed great chemistry together, combining a good vocal performance with some deceptively simple choreography. In terms of how Nancy would work with Oliver and the rest of Fagin’s gang, it was a confident display of ability.

Next up, Harry and Samantha sang Singin’ in the Rain. Now, I think this suffered from not being a natural song to perform as a duet, and being the only song not to have been written with child performers in mind. Also, their voices didn’t gel, either in terms of vocal quality but also tuning — but the struggling performer on that front was Harry rather than Sam. The choreography meant that both performers were playing to the audience more than they were to each other. And that was a shame, as when the had they opportunity they showed that they could work well together.

Bringing up the rear, Gwion and Jessie duetted Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The couple benefitted from the song that was the lightest and most suitable for the young lead. The relationship between the two was highly effective, and in parts Jessie showed that she can, indeed, move effectively when choreographed correctly. Extending their relationship to the rest of Fagin’s gang, I get the impression that Jessie’s Nancy would be more of a mischievous big sister than the maternal figure we normally associate with the role — butthat’s no bad thing.

In this round, I’d say that Jessie came top, marginally having the edge over Jodie, with Samantha again beaten into third place.


To finish off the first round, the three Nancies were to perform Maybe This Time as a trio — with a masterclass from none other than Liza Minnelli. My God, could this show get any more gay?

The performance itself was interesting. Samantha looked the most comfortable on stage, Jodie the least — especially in the sequences where the three were given the same choreography to perform. Vocally, Jessie gave far and away the best performance, but again visually her enactment of her emotions let her down a little.

While the votes for third place were counted, last year’s winner Lee Mead put in an appearance, singing Any Dream Will Do with the twelve Olivers as his backing choir. Now, I’m on record as not particularly liking Joseph as a musical, but it’s a role that Lee inhabits completely and improves without measure. His performance was far more assured than any he gave during the run of Any Dream Will Do — it’s amazing how much he’s developed as a performer over the past year.

As the first programme drew to an end, the finalist in third place was revealed to be Samantha. It’s been a close call, but I think it was the right decision to leave Jodie and Jessie to fight it out for the role of Nancy.


In the final show, just two more songs stood between the girls and their dream role. First, both girls had to perform As Long As He Needs Me. We’ve seen ten performances of the same song up to now, as one by one the Nancies have felt the stage, and most of them have varied from very good to excellent. Here, both Jodie and Jessie were at the very top end of that scale. The huskiness of Jodie’s voice for me suits the song better, while the purity of Jessie’s belt is truly phenomenal. As Andrew pointed out, it’s unlikely that Jessie would be able to deliver a performance of the same quality night after night, describing Jodie’s delivery as “solid” and “safe”. Neither of which are bad qualities when casting a long term leading lady.

As the final performance of the nine Olivers and ten Nancies that didn’t quite make it to the final selection, the choice of Take That’s Never Forget was a perfect match. It’s a pop song with a narrative drive; it (just about) qualifies as a musical theatre crossover, now that the musical of the same name is playing at the Savoy Theatre; it has clear parts for the Olivers to shine as a choir; and the lyric is particularly appropriate for the performers as a whole. Some of the flaws which led them to not make the cut were still visible (a couple of the boys have never looked comfortable on stage, and one or two of the Nancies had tuning problems). But we know from the experience of the last two years that participation in a show such as this can help propel many of them to the next stage in their career, and there are plenty of people in this year’s group who deserve every success.

Back to the main competition, though, and the final performance from both actresses was to be their personal choice of all the songs they have sung throughout the series. Jodie chose I Have Nothing from week 7 (those sites which only count the live shows count it as week 5, remember). Personally I would have selected her rendition of Send in the Clowns, but this was probably the best choice to show off her vocal talents to the full. It was phenomenal the first time round, and even better this time.

Whereas Jodie had a few songs to choose from for her best song of the series, there was only really one choice for Jessie, who reprised The Man That Got Away from week 8. I was conflicted with this performance, to be honest. Vocally, it was an improvement on her previous, superlative rendition. I still remain unconvinced by her posture and visual performance, though. The last time she performed it, she was so impressive vocally that it was easy to overlook her weaknesses. At this final stage of the competition, though, however good her voice is one had to look at the whole package.

As the pair stood for the final vote, the panel had to give their votes for who they thought was Nancy. In the end, Denise and John both plumped for Jodie, while Barry, Cameron and Andrew all put their weight behind Jessie. It wasn’t their decision to make, though, as the public decided that Jodie Prenger was their choice to play Nancy. Of the final two, she was my choice too.

Andrew and Cameron may have started out by saying that they wanted a rawer, rougher edge to Nancy. They have ended up with an actress who fits a much more traditional idea of the musical role. But nobody has really lost here — the Theatre Royal Drury Lane has a great leading lady for their production, and musical theatre in general has benefited from some great exposure in Saturday night primetime. If the BBC decide to do a fourth series in the same vein, you can bet I’ll be watching.

47 Comments

Hi Scott,

Good review, I agee with you the best girl won. I have always worried about Jessies stage grace and her lack of improvment over the last few months. She did a very good performance for the final tho so there is no taking away from her that she is talented.

But the night belonged to Jodie, she has been an amazing ambassadore for this type of program and Im sure will bring more people to MT. You forgot to mention that Lee also supported Jodie. Well its over now and she got the prize, Im sure she will be an amazing Leading Lady and cant wait to hear the reviews on the night.

Good Luck Jodie.

"Oh Fran, oh Sarah, how we’ve missed you. Oh Amy, oh Cleo, how we’d like to have seen more of you — you went too soon. Oh Tara — you didn’t…"

Oh Scott how I love you for that!


From the final two, the best one did win, I 100% agree with you there however Jessie did grow on me a fair bit in her last two performances.

Is it true that the winning Nancy will only do 4 of the 8 shows a week as previously announced or do we not know yet?

Your review was spot on for me. I've never been a Jessie fan but conceded that her performance in "Truly Scrumptious" was spot on. Jodie was always my choice tho- you just have to love her, whereas Jessie had too many niggles- particularly her physical movement. Jodie deserved to win, and it was interesting that although Andrew and Cameron clearly favoured Jessie, the two leading men on the programme- John and Lee- backed Jodie to win.

And a quick bit of conspiracy theory or just plain weirdness for you: Graham's suit was purple and his shirt was green- Jodie and Jessie's colours. No blue for Sam in there- was he influencing our vote? And in the great rendition of "Maybe this time" both Sam and Jessie (in that order) sang the line "Everybody loves a winner, so no body loves me" but Jodie didn't. I am not saying there's anything in it, but it was interesting to note.

Well done Jodie- you deserve to be the winner and I'm so glad the voting public got it right again!

You make it sound so dull. Sorry! The result was a foregone conclusion though wasn't it, We British are very predictable. Still I made 20 quid on the win so it's not all whatever

Good review Scott, but i do feel that Jessie would have brought a different edge to the role and quite clearly Cameron and Andrew wanted her, however I am sure she will go on to great things as she has an amazing voice. Jodie will be great in the role and she certainly was very reliable, which you need for 8 shows a week. My only other comment is that everyone keeps mentioning Jessie lacked grace, but Nancy won't have had grace at all - so dont see what the problem was there.

I actually thought Jessie should have won. I admit that Jodie is a great talent (I picked out the only 3 performers good enough for West End careers after the first live show as being Jessie, Jodie and Sam - and I stand by that) but across the whole series I think that Jessie edged it. I think she gave the best performance for more weeks than anyone else, although Jodie gave the performance of the series (and possibly of all 3 series) with "Send in the Clowns".

I feel that John Barrowman, for some reason, really didn't want Jessie to win and while I am not sure that effected the result at all, it really annoys me that he is left feeling even smugger than usual.

By the way it has been announced that Jodie will do 6 shows a week. She isn't going to do Wednesday or Thursday evening (no refunds or exchanges to those who already have tickets) - showing what we all knew that when ALW kept going on about the winner doung 8 shows a week it was rubbish. If Connie couldn't manage it there is no way they should have even pretended that the winner of this show would even attempt it. The official line is that Jodie may still do all 8 once the show opens but that is very unlikely I think.

This notice has just appeared on the official Oliver show website:

'Sickness and holiday permitting, we have decided that Jodie Prenger is scheduled to perform on Monday and Tuesday evenings, Wednesday matinees, Friday evenings and both performances on Saturday. Until the show opens in December we cannot make a final decision on any additional performances.'

I'm sorry, but frankly I think it is a bit of a farce to make such a big deal of 8 shows a week when actually it turns out that the winner is only allowed to do 4! And surely doesn't this also make a complete mockery of the whole premise of the programme that 'the public decides' - sounds more like a case of 'you can choose any colour, as long as it's black'.

Obviously most if not all of the final 12 Nancies will deservedly go on to greater things but I do think this notice completely undermines the programme, not to mention being a bit of a kick in the teeth for Jodie, whom i think will be fantastic in the role - for 8 shows a week.

I make that six performances a week, not four. Mind you, prior to the final result, the website was committing to four specific performances each week where the main Nancy would be definitely performing, so already they have increased the number of performances at which Jodie will be appearing.

Up until this point, neither the director, choreographer nor the musical director have worked with Jodie, and I think it's reasonable that they err on the side of caution at this point. I wouldn't read too much else into the way they've chosen to work.

Jessie is a star - you have to question why it is the girl who was the better on the night of the final, didn't walk away with the part. We've seen a million Nancy's like (the lovely bubbly) Jodie - but not the young Irish diamon in the rough found in Jessie. Her 'As Long as he needs me' was EPIC and blew Jodie's away.

I think we've been denied a very very special experience of seeing this young star shine in this role by the public plumping for 'a safe pair of hands'. Rowan Atkinson as Fagin...this show needs fresh and new. All the best to Jodie, am sure she'll do a good job, but what a terrible shame we don't get to experience the heights Jessie could clearly have taken it too under the guidance of Cameron Macintosh

I hoped that Jodie would win - and immediately bought tickets to see the show when she did. Her "Send in the Clowns" was majestic.

One thing that struck me was CM's mealy-mouthed reaction to the result. Having said that Jodie could make "a Nancy" ("but hopefully not mine" was unsaid but implicit), he said, at the end, "I've very pleased for Jodie". He's had millions of pounds of ticket revenue on the back of this show. The price he pays for that is that the public gets to choose the actress they want to play the part. I hope, for the sake of the production, and for Jodie's peace of mind, that he backs her wholeheartedly henceforth. After all, he can have Rachel and Jessie, and anyone else he wants, frankly, to play the part from January 2010.

I agree entirely with the previous comments by HS. I fear its not just the Eurovision song contest that suffers from geographical voting - how many voted for Jodie just because she's "a Northern lass" - and the good people of County Kerry weren't allowed to vote. Jessie outperformed and outsang the other two on Saturday. That hasn't always been the case - she did have a couple of poor performances along the way, but then so did Jodie and Sam. I agree her rendition of 'As long as he needs me' was in a class of its own, and I also thought her duet with Gwion was head and shoulders above the other two. (Sorry Scott, I didn't see as much connection between Jodie and Laurence as you did - it was competent but that was all.)

Her reprise of 'The man that got away' was as good if not better than the first - its always a gamble to redo a spectacular performance in case it doesn't match up. Such is the power and intensity of her singing that whatever was lacking in other performance areas just paled into the background.

I don't want to detract from Jodie in any way. She has a lovely warm personality and I'm sure will give the public the sort of safe performance they are looking for and I wish her well. But she will know in her heart that she wasn't the best performer last Saturday, and that she wasn't CM's and ALW's first choice. I wonder if ALW and CM will look to change the future format of such programs after this result. In the previous two a clear front runner emerged that they wanted and so were happy with the result. But this time they have been given their second choice peformer, and I'm sure CM will create a great show with her, but what a shame that geographical voting has deprived us of seeing the role re-defining performance that Jessie would have given. The public seem to vote for what they know - Connie was the nearest thing to Julie Andrews - rather than dare to try something a little different.

Jodie is indeed 'the people's Nancy' but the star of the series was Jessie. It was very apropriate that the song that took her away above the rest of the competition was from 'A Star is Born' because that is exactly what happened.

Very disappointed Jessie didn't win, she was by far the best on the night in the solos and duets and the group number but I'm sure she'll have the better career in the long run. Jodie was my no 2 of the final 12 but a long way behind Jessie(my first was Nancy Nancy but of course we didn't have the benefit of seeing how she would have shaped up. I cant wait to see her in Les Mis)). I so agree with HS in that Jodie is the safe bet, like a million other Nancies. For me too, she isn't vulnerable enough and she's too big - I dont believe her to be a victim. Looking at the you-tubes of her when she won the weight loss competition she has put an awful lot of it back on again which is a shame. Jessie has that indefinable something, the X-Factor if you like and would have been a true star with 6 months helping hand to iron out the rough edges. She at least has the comfort of knowing that both Cameron and ALW wanted her. I thought John B's remarks about her in recent weeks were quite nasty at times but hopefully it will have made her stronger. I do feel sorry for Jodie though knowing that CM & ALW wanted Jessie - their 'congratulatory' words were very carefully chosen and spoke volumes. Not sure there was a great deal of general rejoicing in the studio either apart from her family and John & Denise. I had already booked the show prior to knowing the outcome and its a Tuesday in March so it will be Jodie but I dont feel that excited about it now. If Jessie gets no better offers, which I doubt - I cant see ALW or CM let alone Bill Kenwright who was also there, let her be the one that 'got away' - and gets to play it sometime I would make a special effort to go again just to see her.
Presumably ALW will concentrate on Phantom2 next year as he has intimated and take stock as to whether he wants to do another of these shows now that the people's choice was not his this time. I think after the first 2 shows when we were all so spoilt with Connie and Lee its been somewhat of a reality check for him. Jessie has the true star quality, not Jodie in my view.

I agree Jessie is a star! She was my favourite from the beginning and has been the only one to move me to tears with some of her performances. I would definately have gone to see the show if she had been Nancy, but will not bother as she did not win. I will wait and see what part she gets, and I am sure she will, then go and see that.

I thought her performance with Gwione was fabulous and he was not one of my favourite 'Olivers'

My trouble with Jodie is that I think she is a good singer etc. but to me would have been better in another role. She does not have the vulnerability that Nancy needs and looks as though she is more than capable of looking after herself. If, as is rumoured Burn Gorman is to play Bill Sykes, he is quite a slight man.

I think that if Jessie had won, in six months she would have been fabulous. However she was always at a disadvantage because her home town etc. could not vote for her. Also Jodie was already known by a lot of the public after her win in 'Britains Greatest Loser' which I personally did not watch.

Sorry Andrew but I think Jodie was the right one to win the part. You can't blame the public for going with what they feel to be the look and the character of Nancy. If the producers were so keen to redefine the role then casting it by public vote was always a fool's errand.

I agree, Jessie performed well in the final. But part of the problem I had with her was the fact that the parameters of the show were redrawn several times to accommodate Jessie as the producer's favourite. First off we have a few weeks where accent training is given priority - the work with Barbara Windsor, selling goods on an East End market stall. Yet when it's abundantly clear Jessie's East End accent makes Dick Van Dyke sound authentic, ALW comes up with some nonsense about the number of Irish immigrants in Lodon at the time and, hey, an Irish Nancy is just fine. Or early on we're told that acting is crucial. Again, when Jessie's acting is revealed to amount to a head toss here or a clenched fist there, the acting tasks are relegated to two minutes on the results show.

As an all-rounder, Jodie was better than Jessie and deserved to win. Was she the best from the whole of the final 12? Probably not. From the final 2, the right decision was made.

This is the vote from the Norwegian jury:

The final:

The opening song with all the Nancys and all the Olivers was great. Lovely to see them all again together.

Jodie: Jodie can take any song and make it great! Her voice suits almost anything.

Samantha: There is something unfinished about Sam. Her voice is good, but it is as if she sometimes forgets to act, then remembers, makes a grimace and gets into the song with her feelings.

Jessie: Now she is so different from Sam. She goes straight in to the song: her heart is in her face and her voice. Beautiful! (ALW was crying!)

Jodie and Laurence: It’s so lovely to two great actors enjoying singing together! They have such rapport with each other.

Samantha and Harry : It was good, but Sam lacks Jodie’s warmth.

Jessie and Gwion: The two cheeky ones. A perfect match!

Jodie, Samantha and Jessie: What a belter ! Jessie was best here.

LEE MEAD We voted right last year, no doubt about it. He is just gorgeous, again and again ( and in his tighty , whities too)! He’s going for Jodie. The boy has taste. See you next Saturday, Lee!

Jodie and Jessie are through! Hip Hip Hip HURRAYYYYYY

THE RESULT SHOW

As Long as he needs me:
Jodie: As usual she sings to perfection.
Jessie: She is so full of passion!

I have voted for Jodie twice now, because I think she has been so persistently good.
To see all the Nancys now was a revelation. I have already forgotten some of their names!

Jodie singing I Have Nothing: This song really shows off the range of her voice. It is beautiful.

Jessie singing The Man Who Got Away: The build up of the song is perfect. She is a STAR !!

It is Jodie !!! I voted with my brain instead of my heart, but I think it was right.

Andrew2,
I seem to recall that in the acting 'Nancy Mission' in the Queen Vic, it was Jessie's performance that moved Barbara and Denise to tears. However, I agree that it would be good to see more of contestants acting. The trouble is that in the TV show we only get the carefully selected snippets. And many of the songs chosen for the girls to perform don't actually give much opportunity for acting during them. Likewise to be able to judge how well they are following choreography we would need to see much longer shots rather than the jumping around from one camers to another we got on this series. It makes it very hard to judge how well a performance would go down on a stage.

I also think the schedule of "Nancy Missions" was planned out well in advance of the series and wasn't quite the machiavellian plot you seem to see!

I wish we had seen more of the acting tasks so we could have seen who was the better actress! instead of having (biased?) reports from the judges.

I am glad jodie had won beacuse this is the role for her and her performances have been great all through the show. However i do think it was her personality that won me over first.

I don't doubt that Jessie is very talented, but she will have many more opertunities in the future. She would be great in Les mis or a musical that could show of her singing abilities rather than focusing on acting or dancing.

Glad to see Sam go, i just don't think she is musical theather material - too chessy and lacking emotion. People go on about Jodie's previous weight loss programme, but Sam has already been a pop star and acording to the bbc's website supported the sugarbabes on tour!

I felt that Jessie really did raise the bar for the final but it was too little too late as the public had allreday decided on Jodie.

It must be horrible for jodie to know that Cameron didn't want her, i don't think he should have been a judge. And his comments about jodie weight earlier in the week were ridiculous, however this backfired on him beacuse this probably gained jodie sympathy from the public and more votes.

Hi Scott, nice review of the night. It certainly was a great show but left me a bit disappointed with Jodie's win. I could see she has talent but I never saw her as what Nancy is to me, a young girl and a vulnerable one at that.

Absolutely adored Sam's solo performance of Anyone who had a heart, it wasn't vocally perfect but it was so believable and heartfelt.
When it came to the second show the performance with all the Nancy's and the Olivers was fantastic. Made me quite emotional actually, seeing them all back together, I just reminded me how far they had all come.

Sad to see it end

Really enjoyed I'd do anything just as I did with the previous searches for Maria and Joseph. It's a great way to both search for new talent and for attracting the public to the theatre.

My main criticism is that we saw relatively little of the Nancy candidates acting. Although Oliver is a musical there is a lot of acting involved and we only got glimpses of the girl’s acting abilities and that after the voting had taken place each week, we were then expected to remember accurately who did well or otherwise for a whole week!

I liked Jessie from the start, and wasn't bothered by her lack of graceful movements or deportment, in another role it might matter a lot but not in the role of Nancy. The character of Nancy in the Dickens novel would not necessarily have been very graceful. She was one of Fagin's street orphans and would not have learnt anything about deportment or elegance. Nancy is a prostitute who drinks rather a lot. She loves Bill because only he in her young and rough life has given her what she considers to be affection. It’s hard to imagine that Jodie would have the naivety of Nancy in mistaking intimacy for love

Having said that Jodie fits Dickens’s description of Nancy better than Jessie, which is as follows:
"A couple of young ladies called to see the young gentlemen; one of whom was named Bet, and the other Nancy. They wore a good deal of hair, not very neatly turned up behind, and were rather untidy about the shoes and stockings. They were not exactly pretty, perhaps; but they had a great deal of colour in their faces, and looked quite stout and hearty." Well, without risking offending Jodie I must say that with the right make up and outfit she will match that description far better than the slight and pert Jessie. Jodie also has the warmth and strength of character needed for the compassionate Nancy and a rich smooth voice.

So to sum up both Jodie and Jessie have qualities that would make them a good Nancy.

We picked Jodie from the start. We liked her voice and her passion and her emotion. Jessie will be a huge star and it is a privilege to see the start of her career. If she gets more training and experience she could match Barbra Streisand, but her Cockney accent was ludicrous and it Wonderful to see Lee. It always shocks me, just how good he is.

I agree with all the comments about Jessie being the one who should have won. Dont get me wrong, Jodie is great, but Jessie was that little bit different and there was something about her that made me sit up every week from the start and love her. I really hope she goes on to do wonderful things and I will be there to watch them. Best of luck to jodie as well... nothing against her, just preferred Jessie... Good luck to you jessie... you were fantastic on Saturday night and I know you will be a star of the west end very soon.

ooh and was glad to see Lee back... ahhh i was happy when he won last year!!

I'm sure most of you are massively more than aware of what constitutes a good actor. I really cannot believe that those finalists were the best Nancys out of everyone who auditioned, as I don't think any one of us can truthfully say that those final three are brilliant actors. Anyone agree?

For me, the poorest out of the three series. What a shame for such a wonderful musical.

I agree with Scott that Jodie was the right winner of the final three...

Whilst Jessie is undoubtedly hugely talented, she has inconsistent over the series, and her problems with choreography and acting suggest she is not quite ready to play the role.

Jodie is ready now - who cares if she doesn't 'redefine' the role...

To be honest, brilliant though Jessie is, I think she would have been a disaster in this role. She needs to refine her skills and so much more; like John, Lee, Rachel, Denise and the professionals have said Jodie is the total package. I think it was interesting too that Liza Minelli very clearly thought Jodie was the best of the three, and I actually think that ALW thinks so too, but was under orders from Cameron to say Jessie. ALW looked happy and relieved. I think he knows Jessie could not have done it; if you think about it all his compliments were followed up by a but. He knows in his heart that now is not Jessie's time. In a year or so she will fly, but not yet. I love Jodie to bits, and I sincerely hope Cameron gives her the support she deserves and that following on from Nancy she gets other roles as well, as I think she has fantastic potential.Besides, I want to see her with John Barrowman as her leading man.

Has everyone forgotten what bad performances Jessie was giving, and bad comments she was getting from the judges until last week? Her singing is far and away hte best when she nails it, but her acting was wooden as was her dancing! Also how the judges esp ALW were raving about Samantha? Sam just lost out because they were so desperate to keep Jodie out of the top spot.

Andrew and Cameron had seen Sam come bottom in the vote last week (affected or not by problems with phone calls from the Isle of Man) and the betting/comments all week and had obviously taken the decision that she was least popular with the public. They therefore decided to ditch Sam and push Jessie as hard as they could in a desperate bid to prevent Jodie winning. Why else was Sam given such a bad 'solo' song, and Jessie given such a 'Jessie suited' one? Jessie also got the best Oliver and the easiest song to make twee and fun - Sam got the worst of both (as someone else has already mentioned)!! And suddenly they both think Jessie COULD be Nancy after all - despite all their many many comments to the contrary on previous shows!!

I was rather glad that Jodie won in the end, just to spite them!

i was so happy jodie won, jessie just wasn't as consistant and while she has amazing potential she just didnt have the right personality or quality to her voice to be 'my kind of nancy' because yes they needed something new and raw but not something so new and raw it ruined which many people loved most about nancys character her warm, caring motherly side which i think at 18 is too difficult to portray and jessie always seemed a little too'fake' to me when acting with the younger boys but thats only my opinion. I think jessie would be really suited to parts which require less 'life experience' until she's abit older. I can see sam becoming and amazing elphaba at some point, and i think sarah would make a brilliant galinda! I can see ashley in we will rock you as meat, and fran making a good audrey in little shop of horrors. Niamhe would make a cute penny in hairspray, i think rachel would be good in a mary poppins type role :) anyway just my thoughts! x

Well it seems that some people must have been watching a different programme to me. I thought that Jessie was the person with the most to give, ok not a total package yet but there is still 6 months before the show starts.

When ALW and the director CM both say they want Jessie as Nancy, that has to tell you something. It looks as if the people who voted Jodie in don't really know what they were looking for or understand who really has a gift.

Jessie may have come second, but I think she will land a better role and become a far greater star than Jodie.

Well done Jessie.

My view; best performance of the night was by Gwion and Jessie. I think what made it special was Gwion, he seemed to act more that the other 2 Olivers. Also, as you said Scott, it was the most suitable song. I've supported Jessie from the start, for her voice and freshness. BUT Jodie has always been the Nancy for me. Alright it will mean Nancy will not be 'new' and 'different', but she will deliver consistently, not a word that can be used for Jessie's performances over the weeks.

Of course my favourite song was Any Dream Will Do, what a star.

I think this focus on inconsistency is a little strange because, apart from the two songs that Jodie and Jessie were able to reprise in the final, we didn't get a chance to see any of the girls give the same performance two weeks in a row. Each week was something different to show a different side of their performance repertoire. So rather than accusing her of inconsistency, what Jessie's detractors are really pointing out is that she doesn't yet have quite the full range of skills. But don't forget all the others had weakesses pointed out to them as well and 10 of them left because of them.

The question is does Jessie have the ability to play nancy in 6 months time, after further coaching to improve the weaker areas, and would she give that performance consistently night after night. I think the answer to both of these is a most definite yes.

I have been involved in the theater and music for over 25 years. I have never seen anyone like Jessie in all that time. There is no doubt in my mind that she was coming second was the best thing that could have happened to her - she will not now be encumbered by the Nancy contract, but will be free to consider all of the offers that I believe will already be coming her way. I also anticipate it won't be long before a record company offers her a contract. Watch out for her....oh and by the way, I think Cleo should have made the final.. I think there was a racist vote at work affecting both her and Keisha - and maybe Jessie to some extent in the final.


Jessie bored me. Predictable mannerisms. The constant begging to be kept in. Telling us how 'raw' she is. {Pinched Sam's line there for the final show} Isn't Nancy supposed to be a woman of 'experience'? I've never seen the show, but in the book isn't Nancy a prostitute? Wouldn't a few rounds with Bill Sykes knock the rawness out of Nancy even if the inner spirit remains. Sorry, but if so then Jessie in no way cut the mustard based on what I saw. Does Jessie understand the deeper meaning of raw? A reasonable voice but special? Not to me. At times quite unintelligible. I fail to see what the fuss is about. It was again pointed out at the beginning of the final that the show is a casting exercise not a talent contest. I picked Jodie out in week 1 as the probable winner. I didn't vote, but I wish her every success in the role. I am sure Jessie will find her spot. Nancy simply wasn't it.

Rachel was the best so the final was an empty event. But it was clear always clear who was going to be win since the majority of viewers are fat northerners.

I'm sorry Bill, but your final comment there is highly insulting. Jodie won because of her ability to not just sing the songs but to understand and interpret the lyrics thereby giving her performances life and emotion through and through. Just because she is not a skinny, slip of a girl and she has a big personality, why should that indicate that only "fat northerners" would like her?

I, like others, found that Rachel lacked emotion in her eyes when performing on IDA - rather the same as Keith in ADWD last year. Nothing at all wrong with the voice, just didn't quite have the spark to connect with the television audience and, given that this was an audition by television, she suffered for it.

Jessie has a fantastic voice, but awkward mannerisms. She certainly seemed most at home with the Garland/Minnelli song-style and I'm sure she will be taken on and nurtured, as she deserves.

But Jodie, for me, had the more natural rapport with the Olivers and the audience and I think she will make an excellent Nancy.

Great to see Lee and how much he has come on since this time last year.

Bill - you're out of order.

Hi Scott.....Having read over 30 comments,it is intresting to see that Jodie was not the universal favourite,indeed on the night Jessie was the better singer and her duet with Gwion would have put a smile on anyone's face.CM and ALW clearly wanted Jessie to win through,but the people voted and made their choice.Just a thought,but what if Jessie where to understudy Jodie,and play the role twice a week,holidays etc, which nights would the public choose to buy tickets for?

What a fantastic series thanks all those at the Beeb! The Judges were great, ALW, John and Denise often visibly moved and gave standing applause when it was justified. What a fantastic platform for all of the 12 finalists. They all had a story and a reason to be there and I wish everyone of them all the luck in the world because they gave it their all and had the balls to audition in the first place. Jodie you were a star and when you faced the camera to speak to your public it sealed my vote. Jessie, Samantha, Niamah, as youngsters in this competition what bright futures you have and I look forward to seeing all your names in lights. Loved Francessa and Sarah too but felt Jodie was our girl. Lee Mead captivating! Look forward to watching his career too. Sometimes I deplore reality shows like X Factor where it all seems to be about the judges rather than the contestants. Graham Norton as always so hysterical but with just the right amount of humour! What a fantastic platform for all 12 finalists makes me proud to know that we have all this amazing talent. It seemed that every single one of them give their best performance as they left and sung "As long as he needs me".......... as though to say "don't forget me". Well we won't girls. Carry on with your dream and we all look forward to being wowed by you.

Bill - I agree with you that the final was an empty event.

FionaJ - Yes, it's a television audience but this is a theatrical production at the end of it. Not television. Two completely different forms of theatre. Rachel's voice was maybe not the strongest, but Nancy spends an equal amount of time onstage acting and singing. Rachel was clearly the strongest actor - she didn't act - she WAS. Which is what it's meant to be.

So when everything's weighed up I am extremely disappointed in what the nation regards as a strong singer AND actor.

***Gary Mathews - I can't believe I've found someone who agrees with me about Cleo! Why did she go when she wasn't the weakest the week she went? I believe ALW wanted her out the competition.

Great final.

Sad about the result - all the best to Jodie - but for me, Jessie was unforgettable and then one that 'held my eye'. What a wonderful voice. Can't believe she is only 18.

Sam so very professional. Hope we see more of both girls

Michael - I don't doubt Rachel's acting credentials at all and I daresay that she would perhaps have been the best choice for the role. Unfortunately, given the format that these series seem to like to follow, there weren't nearly enough MT songs for the girls to really showcase their talent for acting as well as singing. If there had been (and we'd been able to see more of their missions), then I think we might have had more of a front-runner (like Connie and Lee) and it would have been a different line-up for the final of IDA. After all, they're looking for a stage, not pop, career.

ALW had his chance to engineer Rachel out of the running to give Jessie a clear run in the final and if he and CM had been slightly less effusive about Jessie then they might have got her, but they just served to bolster Jodie's support. Last year, he was far more balanced in his appraisals of Lee and Keith, even though Lee was the clear front-runner. Having said all this, I do like Jodie - there's just something about her, for me.

If they're thinking of doing any more of these searches (although they could be at risk of doing it to death), then if they want to make sure they get the right sort of person through to the end, they need to focus on MT. After all, isn't this about getting more people interested in MT, what better way than exposing them to MT songs/music?

Report this comment

I am amazed that the british public could not see the star that shone throughout and who was the perfect Nancy was Jessie. Given some of the awful material she had to perform, she fell below her incredibly high standard. But her performance was outstanding. She IS Nancy. Raw, young, fresh and talented to breathtaking levels. A travesty. Jodie was nice, sweet and should play Nancy's Mum! I would not cross the road to see the show with jodie in it, but will queue on the rain for Jessie, when she is playing.
Trisha G
Brighton

I agree Jessie is a fantastic vocalist and moving to watch, but I firmly believe that she wouldn't have been right for the role of Nancy. Performing on tv to a camera and a small studio audience is a world away from being in a theatre in front of over a thousand people. It's easy to see the nuances of her performance when she has a camera zoomed right in on her face...but I'm not sure she could have come across on a stage in the same way - all the way through the series I enjoyed her performances but then forgot all about her when she left the screen. Whoever plays Nancy must have a presence big enough to fill a theatre, and I don't believe Jessie has yet - she'd be lost on that stage. I also don't believe she'd be convincing as a woman who has had a hard life and been round the block a few times (and she would also have had to sort out that terrible cockney accent!). I'm not sure 6 months would have been enough.

Jessie's young and at 18 her voice won't yet be fully developed for a few more years - so imaginge how much better she will be in a year or two. I really think she needs time to develop and learn to overcome awkwardness in her movement and to get a bit of life experience so that she is more confident in herself. Don't forget that she had a serious dip in the middle of the show's run, which signalled she maybe isn't emotionally mature or strong enough yet to cope with the responsibility of such a major role.

I agree she's raw and that's something all the judges wanted from their new Nancy - but I'm not sure she's raw in quite the right way. Jodie maybe isn't going to redefine the role either - but ultimately she's a fantastic singer, a great actress and someone who is so much more believeable as Nancy than Jessie. An all-rounder and a safe bet. She was also popular with the voting public and ultimately, Cameron's a businessman who has to keep one eye on the bottom line - Jodie will pull in audiences because you can guarantee she will deliver time after time. I'm not sure I'd be confident that Jessie would be value for money in the same way. Jodie's also a fast learner, can take direction well and everytime she's given notes to improve, she does so. I'm sure that she'll be able to do whatever is necessary to adjust her performance to win over Cameron and Andrew.

The Great British Public has rightly picked two winners so far in Connie and Lee - I'm sure they've picked right again.

I'm pleased the see the voices of reason in this blog; obviously not everybody worships Jodie. I found her an average performer, who did not move me (with the exception of maybe, 'chasing pavements' which I felt she really did justice to). I did find her quite scary looking at times, and I'm surprised that nobody has commented on her rather 'mad' eyes, particularly since a number of people said this sort of thing about Rachel (a far superior performer I felt). The weight issue has gotten boring. I wonder if one of the things that CM and ALW were worried about was the fact that she has put so much weight back on since the reality TV show she did. Looking at that she went down to about a size 10 (if not smaller) and within a fairly short time she has put quite a bit back on. I don't think there is anything wrong with a bigger girl playing Nancy (afterall she is described as a bit 'stout' in the novel), but I wonder if the concern is with Jodie's discipline and fitness - rather than her 'look' so to speak. Anyway, I hope that people don't get too hot under the collar about me mentioning this. The DS forum is filled with lunatics who rabidly attack anyone who doesn't fancy Jodie as their Nancy. I did go to see SOM and Joseph, but despite loving the film version, I will probably give this a miss. With Jodie and Mr. Bean, it sounds a mite too pantomime for me.

It's interesting to look back over the week's comments to see quite a great deal of agreement on many points, regardless of which girl the contributer thought should have won. Most seem agreed that Jessie has a fantastic voice and a fantastic future. Most seem agreed that Jodie will do good performance as Nancy, if not a role re-defining one. Most are looking forward to going to see Jessie at some stage in the future, even those who feel she's not ready yet and quite a few predict she will eventually be a star (though quite a few of us reckon she's pretty much there already.) But there are also quite strongly held opposing views as to which girl was right for the part of Nancy at this time, and it's interesting that there has been this strong sense from many people that Jessie should have won - I don't recall quite such a strong similar reaction after HDYSAPLM and ADWD.

And no-one can deny that Jodie is "the people's Nancy". But I take that thought, along with the comment by FionaJ that these series should be encouraging MT and by Jaime that the "Great British Public" rightly picked two winners in Connie and Lee. Well, maybe - there is certainly no doubt that both Connie and Lee have given performances that have brought great pleasure to many people, but I just have this feeling at the back of my mind that what the great British public have done is stay in their comfort zone. They voted for what they are familiar with. Connie was the closest to Julie Andrews who they reckoned would give a performance as close to what they had seen in the film because I'd bet good money that the vast majority who voted had never seen SOM on stage. Likewise I think the majority who voted for Jodie will not have seen Oliver on stage, but will just be remembering the film. So does this really contribute to any attempt to move a MT production forward to try, even just slightly, a different approach. The great British public will just keep on voting for someone they think will safely give them what they expect to see and things will just stay the same. So, yes we have someone who will fill seats for a while but what then? Lee is still doing Joseph but I will watch with interest to see how Connie's career progresses from here. Mary Poppins?

Does this process really find a long term star? Will Connie, Lee and Jodie still be top of the bill, drawing in large audiences in ten years time? I think the exposure that all the contestants get can be a big step forward for them eg Leanne Dobinson who was in HDYSAPLM, made a huge impact, but clearly wasn't quite ready then, is now about to take on Cosette in Les Mis. Will Jodie still be playing leading ladies in ten years time? I tend to think probably not. Will Jessie still be a star in ten years time? Most people seem to think yes. But will CM and ALW allow the "great British public" to have quite the same freedom to cast a future show - hm, I think maybe not!

Jessie was outstanding. On opening night she could well have been a phenomenal Nancy. She could also have been a complete disaster. Nancy may not need to be a graceful character who moves well, but in reality any MT performer must move well- if only to then consciously accentuate awkward movement in the character requires it. She seemed to fluctuate between crises of self-belief and peaks of confidence that bordered on arrogance. Her acting performances varied wildly (from the 20 seconds we saw. . .). Her cockney accent was poor. I don't believe the excuse- she has 6 months to improve- is valid, any one of the final 12 with 6 months one to one coaching would come on leap and bounds! We can't pick the less consistent performer and 'hope' she makes it!
Jodie was solid, a hard worker and a traditional nancy. She had a personnality that the public found easy to love. She was mysteriously referred to a lot as having had 'a tough life' (hinting at more than just weight loss to tempt the public's imagination no doubt). She will be fine. Her opening night will be great. Maybe fantastic.
In a few years time Jessie's opening night will be awe-inspiring. But had she been opening in 6 months she might have ruined her career for good. Connie opened to rave reviews almost without fail, but it didn't take long for the critics to attack when she later stumbled. A bad first night after a reality tv show would have been an public execution.

Rachel was my favourite from the beginning..I have always thought that Nancy is a stand-out female role in musical theatre because it is more reliant on the acting side of the role, and I thought Rachel was the whole package. I really hope she gets a fantastic role sometime soon to show what she can do.

I'm very pleased to see that other people were so taken with Jessie's performance. She moved me to tears with Killing Me Softly, the final ALAHNM and her duet of Truly Scrumptious with Gwion was a delight.

She was, undoubtedly, the real star of this show. She may not yet be quite ready but one day I think she will stun not just the West End stage but the world stage.

Jessie put me in mind of the young and gauche Norma Jean Baker who of course became the iconic Marilyn Monroe. She had star quality, charisma and sex appeal in spades and Jessie has it too. I think she could be amazing and it is not just her lovely voice that will take her to the top.

I'm sure as others have already said Jodie will deliver a good performance of the traditional Nancy. I don't think she will set the world on fire though and I think Jessie just might!

Obviously from my previous comments I agree totally with what Anna says. I also agree with quite a lot of what ej says about Rachel. Rachel was the most accomplished actress. She was the only one to get all the judges on their feet as far as we were shown. (Mind you, I think any of the girls left in at that stage would probably have achieved a similar result had they been given that particular song.) That's all fairly onjective analysis. What is completely subjective is the effect she had on me as a person, and I'm afraid she just didn't connect with me at all (except briefly for a few bars at the start of one song.) The fact that she was in three singoffs shows that perhaps I wasn't alone in not feeling that connection.

My head finds it hard to disagree with Nix, but my heart says "What have we been deprived of seeing here?" I do agree with all the points about the danger of an opening night failure. But against that I have to balance the opinions of several people far more experienced and discerning than me. Firstly, don't forget David Grindrod was involved in a lot of the initial auditions and first saw Jessie. He clearly felt that all the girls who got through had some potential and deserved a chance to show what they could do. Then in the final, the three judges who chose Jessie were the most experienced. CM in particular made it extremely clear that Jessie was the one he wanted - "Jessie is Nancy". Now I have never cast a West End show nor produced one, so when someone who has, (and very successfully at that!), gives as definite a verdict as this then I take notice. He will know all about the dangers of pushing an inexperienced actress forward too far too fast but he clearly felt that in Jessie he had found someone who he felt could do something quite exceptional with that role. That is not something he would do lightly as his whole professional reputation is on the line here.

But now we will never know. By the time Jessie gets to play Nancy at some time in the future, she will no longer be the raw smouldering talent we've seen on our screens. She will be older and maybe a little wiser, she will have had further training and be a more polished performer with many other concerts and performances under her belt Her Nancy will probably be even more spectacular than it would have been now, but I for one would dearly have loved to have seen what CM would have brought out of her right now.

Loading
Subscribe to The Stage Podcast (iTunes edition) Square Eyes: Twice weekly TV previews Turn off the TV: TV Today's radio picks

Recent Comments

Andrew on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
Obviously from my previous comments I ag...
Anna on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
I'm very pleased to see that other peopl...
ej on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
Rachel was my favourite from the beginni...
Nix on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
Jessie was outstanding. On opening nigh...
Andrew on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
It's interesting to look back over the w...
Heather on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
I'm pleased the see the voices of reason...
Jaime on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
I agree Jessie is a fantastic vocalist a...
Trish Glassey on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
I am amazed that the british public coul...
FionaJ on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
Michael - I don't doubt Rachel's acting ...
Caroline on I'd Do Anything, week 12: the final
Great final. Sad about the result - all...

Content is copyright © 2012 The Stage Media Company Limited unless otherwise stated.

All RSS feeds are published for personal, non-commercial use. (What’s RSS?)