Graham makes his entrance to Follow the Yellow Brick Road – he’s a good choice for these shows, genuine enthusiasm with a healthy dose of ireverence – the final twenty are wearing gingham smocks - “not a tablecloth left in the country” he quips!
Andrew sets out who he’s looking for; it seems the older girls will have to really shine to stand a chance. The girls are split into five groups of four, first group: Stephanie, Camille, Jess and Sophie singing Never Forget You, a terrific start, setting the standard, Sophie got stronger, Jess stood out for me with Camille the weakest vocally, Stephanie solid; Sheila loved them all, John says Stephanie and Sophie, Charlotte agrees with John, Sir Andrew says any of them would have made the Maria Top 10.
Group 2 - Dani, Philippa, Sarah and Tasheka next with Love story and collectively it’s a terrific performance, Philippa possibly just sneaking it for me. Sarah thanks whoever put them together, it was a great team performance. John loved Dani, Philippa needs to loosen up; Charlotte agrees with John, Sheila thought Tasheka – Sarah, the weakest vocally, making an impression.
Group 3 - Emma, Tegan, Jenny and Steph with my current fave Cry Me Out and my fave group so far, brilliant, if I was forced to choose, probably Steph. Charlotte – they were all superb, Steph faultless; Sheila has a problem with pop music but thought Steph and Jenny; Jenny blew John away; Andrew says two he’d slightly written off came through!
Group 4 – Lauren, Claire Harbourne, Katie, Bronte with Rain on Your Parade and again these are all so good, really they put the X-factor final 12’s to shame, another strong combination, power and precision vocals. Sheila convinced by them all, particularly Bronte and Lauren; Charlotte says it’s a complete performance by all, singles out Claire and Bronte; John says they could give Girls Aloud a run for their money; Andrews says at least could be Top 5.
Group 5 – Claire Hillier, Danielle, Amy, Emilie have Take a Bow, nerves get to Emilie, a bit shaky, Danielle totally stood out for me, strong vocal from Amy. John commended Danielle, singing on the break; Claire surprised Sheila; Charlotte loved Claire’s voice; Andrew says the need to think of the words more.
Back to the start – this time with West End leading ladies mentoring. Ruthie Henshall has Group One with All that Jazz and they’re all very impressive – sticking my neck out as to who I think could be Dorothy, I’d go for Jess and Sophie.
Mel C with group 2 and Tell Me It’s Not True from Blood Brothers, strong vocals again, but taking into account an overall Dorothy, I’m not so sure about any of them. Sheila liked Tasheka; John said Philippa; Charlotte says Tasheka and Dani. Andrew says it’s very interesting and likes Dani.
Group 3 with Kerry Ellis have Somebody to Love and they really rock it out, Steph (again, she’s consistent!) and Jenny could be Dorothy for me. Andrew very proud of them singing ‘love’ and not ‘lurve’ and surprised by Jenny. John said Jenny is bringing it home; Charlotte – Jenny, effortless, also Tegan; Sheila says Jenny has wit, and Steph, Tegan surpised her.
Sheridan Smith with Group 4 with Legally Blonde and I can see all four of these making it through. Fantastic. Bronte really making her mark, visually she’s quirky, Lauren has the most beautiful voice. Charlotte says Lauren, so too Sheila, along with Bronte, John says Lauren a little too safe; Andrew a little underwhelmed – because they’re all so good they were expecting more. Considering I don’t know the song, I loved it.
Group 5 with Tamzin Outhwaite and If My Friends Could See Me Now and Tamzin says the perfect Dorothy is in this group! Again it’s Danielle for me, and I do like Emilie too. Sheila - all terrific, but Emilie is the only own who could play Dorothy, John loved Amy, Charlotte – Amy pretty slick, Andrew surprised by Emilie.
The panel set off to deliberate, they must have a good idea of who they want because they don't have long. Jodie Prenger performs As Long As He Needs Me for the final time (a little bit manically, if I’m honest!) Mad about dogs, she’s involved in the search for Toto.
The result is in! 5 were agreed on immediately, the other 5 caused arguments! The Top Ten are: From Group 1: Jessica, Stephanie and Sophie; Group 2: Dani; Group 3: Steph and Jenny; Group 4: Bronte, Lauren and finally from Group 5: Amy and Danielle (Amy completely shocked)
The wild cards: Camille, Tasheka, Philippa, Sarah, Tegan, Emma, Katie, Claire Harbourne, Emilie and Claire Hillier. It was between Katie, Tegan, Claire Harborne and Tasheka for my vote, which went to Claire Harbourne. The wildcard will be announced in next week’s live show.
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