Monday, April 13, 2009

BBC has Great Chemistry

One of my favorite channels to watch is BBC America. Tonight, I stumbled on to a great program, one that I found more interesting to watch than American Idol (which isn't very hard because I'm not that big a fan of the show), Any Dream Will Do. This past Sunday was the second week of telecast, which is where I jumped in. This show chronicles the search for the next Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End Production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

PLEASE NOTE, if you want to watch the show and the drama unfold, do not, do not, do not go looking for it on the Internet because the show is currently going on in London, which means that the winner is already known on to the local BBC audiences, just not the US viewers, unless you go looking for it. Apparently, the competition actually took place in 2007 in the U.K., which really sucks because this is a really talented bunch of well, men. They have great voices, acting talent and when you add in the drool factor some of them have in spades, it's a can't miss show. I was very impressed by the amount of talent. This is the way it should be for any show. All of the participants had really good voices, so the judging was less on vocals and more on stage presence and acting ability. The point of the song choices was to challenge the singers to find the strongest one.

I don't normally rave online about reality TV because here in the U.S. reality means how much controversy and problems can we create to get people to tune in next week, talent doesn't really matter. I had to rave about this one because it is/was truly about the talent. What I think also helps the show is that there are four other judges besides Andrew Lloyd Webber. The first judge, John Barrowman, is a BBC fan favorite from the series Torchwood, that also has experience in playing lead roles in theater companies. The second judge, Denise Van Outen, is really more of a Londoner, so I can't say too much about her except to say that the public knows and respects her talent. The third judge, Bill Kenwright, is no novice when it comes to successful national theatrical productions of the play and Jesus Christ Superstar, so he knows what he needs to succeed. The fourth judge, Zoe Tyler, is London's premiere vocal coach.

Why is this show great it's got me talking? Well, for starters, I love Graham Norton and try to watch his talk show religiously (yay for the DVR!). Second, all the judges truly work with the talent and try to bring out the best of each contestant, even if it means rearranging a song. The point of this show is not judge bashing or ratings, but honest remarks and constructive criticism design to help each contestant grow not only as a possible Joseph, but as an artist as well and it's clearly evident that the judges want to see these people succeed in the business, even if it isn't with this production, which is why they try to be as honest as possible.

What else makes this show great? Well, at the end of the show, they all sing a song that I think is from the play, but not really sure. I think it gives the performer leaving one last chance to be Joseph, as his coat is removed from him. I did some poking around on the threads for the show and found that many of the contestants have CDs out or in the works. I'll try to locate them for you and put them here somewhere.

I can actually say that I can't wait to see the next installment next week!