The Random Thoughts of a Forty-Something. Films, Restaurants, Theatre, Concerts, World Events and (Mostly) Nice People.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Rachel Tucker and Talent Show Shams
Belfast lass Rachel Tucker was voted off 'I'd Do Anything' tonight, finishing in an ill-deserved fourth place.
I have to confess to having a small personal interest in Rachel, as my daughter was one of The Munchkins when Rachel played Dorothy in 'The Wizard Of Oz' last Christmas. By all accounts she is a lovely person and in my opinion, an extremely impressive actress and singer. Rachel even received a ringing endorsement from Liam Neeson, who saw her in the production in Belfast's Lyric Theatre.
Rachel was, in a way, on a hiding to nothing by entering the 'Nancy' contest in the first place. As the 'professional' actress, if she'd won, some would have cried fix, by losing, others might say she was beaten by amateurs. From a promotional viewpoint however, the show was absolutely invaluable.
In the event, her performances on the show ranged from solid to phenomenal. Her rendition of the Sugababes 'About You Know' was little short of awesome, and her 'Cabaret' simply blew the other three girls off the stage and even got a standing ovation from the panel, and more importantly, Andrew Lloyd-Webber himself. typically, the public reacted by voting her into the singoff, putting ALW in an impossible position. Had Rachel been tied with Jodie, I think the conclusion would have been obvious, but Samantha had garnered much praise from the panel and had not finished in the bottom two before. Andrew's decision, whilst harsh, was perhaps understandable in the circumstances.
It's true that, being a Belfast girl, Rachel came across as slightly reserved, less likely to garner the sympathy vote, but throughout the contest, her grit and professionalism shone through. Without a doubt, she deserved the part.
But this is TV land. And as the Welshman Rydian recently discovered, talent often isn't enough. Of the three finalists, Samantha and Jessie come across as being plucky, but young and inexperienced, while Jodie comes across as the big-hearted northern lass who just might shade it at the end.
None can compete with Rachel in the vocal or acting stakes, but hey, this is showbiz. Anyone observing the music industry knows that a great voice and great songwriting can easily lose out to manufactured looks and a few gimmicks.
So if I were Rachel, I wouldn't feel too bad. Fourth out of twelve is no disgrace, and if the job offers don't come rolling in, I'll employ her myself. As to whoever wins next Saturday, all I can say is good luck on trying to fill Rachel's shoes.
A final word for Richard Croxford, manager of Belfast's Lyric Theatre, who campaigned tirelessly for Rachel. He emailed and phoned all the Munchkins families, drummed up countless votes, and organised a great afternoon for all the kids to publicise Rachel's heroic efforts.
Rachel's early exit was a travesty, but I've no doubt her career will benefit and her talent will be appreciated by directors with their heads on their shoulders rather than in the clouds.