Can I say, I have not had this good of a laugh in a long time! Humor me as I recount last evening's entertainment....
Thanks to Cyn and the Paulster, the Budman and I have adopted the practice of applying for free tickets to TV shows filmed in and around London...you know, "come and be a part of the studio audience but be sure to wear your TV studio glamour - LOL!". We've been fortunate to catch a few shows and have taken in tapings of Deal or No Deal, Dancing on Ice, Dancing for Sports Relief, and last night, Over the Rainbow.
Granted, it was a cheesy reality show where the premise of the show is to find a "no-name" young talent to star in the upcoming West End production of The Wizard of Oz. The West End impressario himself, Andrew Lloyd Webber, is staging the production, and is also lending his participation to the reality contest each week. The show's premise seeks to eliminate one potential contestant each week for the coveted role of Dorothy. My main reason for wanting to attend was that the show's emcee is Graham Norton, that wacky and highly entertaining UK talk show host. I start giggling just watching him.
Here's the format: 12 girls vie for the Dorothy role, singing and dancing their little hearts out each week. Three judges (Charlotte Church, John Partridge - west end singing star, soap actor, and general know-it-all - never heard of him, and Sheila Hancock, British theatre icon) provide their feedback on each Dorothy's performance and at the end of the show, viewers call in to vote for their favorite. The bottom two contestants then participate in a sing-off and then "the Lord" as he is called on the show, Andrew Lloyd Webber, picks the girl who continues in the contest (goofy touch...every time the cameras pan to ALW, organ music playing the Phantom of the Opera goes into overdrive).
Of course, all the performances are peppered with behind the scenes videos of the girls " going through a grueling week", where they are all "learning so much", "feel honored just to be here", "hope they have done enough to make next week's show", "and will be "just gutted if they go home this week". Yada, yada, yada, we've have heard it all before. Besides all the single performances, the opening group number allows all the "Dorothys" to "Ease on Down, Ease on Down the Road.
This week's show was actually filmed on the same night. that is, both the Saturday live performances, and Sunday sing-off show in one go -round, so we were there about 4 hours total in the studio...sounds boring? Think again....First, there were these HUGE red shoes on stage...MY WORD!
Secondly, all the contestants were dressed in gingham dresses in ANY color other than blue, and had silver sparkly shoes on instead of red shoes. Continuing in the list of funny elements, "the Lord" sits in a BIG gold chair watching over the festivities, with occasional remarks throughout the show before giving his final decision...who "gets voted off the island", or in this case, who gets voted out of Oz. Nice set design touch is that a crystal ball sits in front of Webber with the ruby slippers inside (remember the film) in addition to a HUGE backdrop of the Emerald City behind the band.
When the Lord selects the girl not continuing in the contest, he asks her to remove her sparkly shoes and hand them into him. Pretty high drama stuff as by this time, the Dorothy that just got the "heave-ho" is being serenaded to a chorus of the other Dorothys describing how "she sang so sweetly, but the Lord dumped her completely". Egads!
The piece de resistance is that the rejected Dorothy walks up the staircase, positions herself in a giant crescent moon that will slowly raise her up and across the stage as she sings...yes...you got it....Somewhere Over the Rainbow. In all fairness, the Dorothys all sing pretty well but they are really young...and "gotta lot of livin' to do".
By this time I am crying, not because Dorothy just got the boot, but because I have visions of either a Glee episode or a really bad high school musical. Either way, a perfect entertaining evening.