Lord Lloyd Webber's latest casting-by-reality show has a winner! Or is that, "loser":
After 12 weeks of competition, the future London production of “Oliver!” has found its Nancy. Jodie Prenger, 28, won Britain’s “I’d Do Anything” television talent contest on Saturday night...in a decision determined by public call-in voting, the BBC and The Daily Mail reported. For Ms. Prenger, right, of Blackpool, this is the second television competition victory in two years: she also won the British version of “The Biggest Loser” in 2006.Not enough they're invading the theatre, the "reality shows" are cannibalizing each other!
And lest you think it's still a UK phenomenon, "The Search for Elle Woods" premieres on MTV tonight!
Filmed in New York City, the search will pull back the curtain on the audition process and show you exactly what it takes to become a Broadway star. The 10 lucky finalists will live together in a NYC loft while working their butts off with some of Broadway's biggest names, including choreographer Denis Jones, vocal coach Seth Rudetsky and some of the cast members of Legally Blonde. Plus, they'll be mentored by singer/actress Haylie Duff, who had her own starring role in the Broadway musical, Hairspray.Hey, Hailey Duff!!!
It's going to take a lot of hard work, dedication and determination to be the next blonde on Broadway, and the competing girls will be given a crash course in singing, dancing and acting. Each week, the Elle Woods wannabes will step onstage in front of a panel of judges that includes: Broadway actor Paul Canaan, casting director Bernard Telsey and Legally Blonde: The Musical writer Heather Hach. They'll critique the girls' performances, and each week someone's dreams of becoming a Broadway star will come crashing down. When it's down to the final two, Tony Award winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell will help determine who's got what it takes to be the next Elle Woods. The last girl standing will land the starring role in the blockbuster Broadway musical!
What's this about "hard work," huh?
And do they even know, by the way, that being a "wannabe" is a bad thing?
Okay, well at least they're not leaving it up to viewer call-in's. (Pro's like Jerry Mitchell have obviously learned from the "Grease" fiasco--I'm sorry did I say fiasco? I meant financial juggernaut.) And adopting what's known as the "America's Top Model" model (with a little Real World thrown in) as opposed to the American Idol "amateur hour" template does at least increase the level of the talent pool, theoretically.
You also just gotta admire how the "Legally Blonde" brand has now found its footing thanks to MTV. Last year they got the show broadcast there, reaching a whole new audience of tweeny girls. Now those girls will be hooked on the reality show--those who didn't already audition for it!
What's actually happening is the show is slowly becoming an outright MTV property. Perhaps the only way left to sponsor mega-musicals. Meet the new corporate patrons of Broadway.
(By the way, back to the "Oliver" story, here's an interesting qualification from the actual show's producers: "the winning Nancy is scheduled to perform on Monday and Tuesday evenings, Wednesday matinees and Friday evenings. Until the show opens in December we cannot make a final decision on any additional performances.")