I don't like that casting a musical has become some sort of elaborate farce, American Idol knock off, reality show spectacular. American's would probably know what I'm talking of best from You're the One That I Want, a televised casting for a Broadway revival of Grease in early 2007 (I believe). England has been doing this as well, with Andrew Lloyd Webber. They cast the lead role of Maria for Sound of Music (a feature that Canada has since copied for a Toronto production). Today I caught Any Dream Will Do (also from 2007), a reality casting show for the lead role of Joseph for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (there was another of these last year for Oliver).
Webber himself is one of the judges of this thing. The man looks like a colossal joke sitting up there, a spotlight shining on him as the Phantom theme plays as his personal introduction and the lights flash behind him. I have a lot of respect for this man; he's written and produced some truly amazing works. But he's just this sort of commercialized clown.
As for what he's judging.... The way these things work, is they have open casting calls, take oh...50 or so of them to a "training camp," whittle that down a few times, and bring 12 of them onto the actual show when it premiers. Then they take turns performing throughout the weeks, rocks ballads, pop songs, things like that, and occasionally an actual show tune. Very much like American Idol. Where I was watching it today, they were down to 8. Maybe 2-3 of these guys could pull the role off in any satisfactory capacity. The rest can't sing for crap. Though they did keep repeating on the show that they were looking for presence, attitude and character over vocal talent. But you still need a voice that won't grate on the ears of your audience!
I don't know why they're always making these people butcher perfectly fine pop and rocks songs by turning them into show tunes, when they could just be singing SHOW TUNES. There are plenty that are appropriate, I promise. It's Webber. He writes rock operas. It's not hard to find music like that. If you can sing one song from the show, you can sing them all, because all the songs from a single show will all feel the same.
Although...here's one singing a rather lackluster performance of "This is the Moment" from Jekyll and Hyde so...maybe it wouldn't help them.
One of these guys is...I don't know a construction worker or something. His entire shtick, and he really says this in every episode after his performance, is that he's a rough new singer and can be trained, and that he doesn't have any bad habits to get rid of. Let me tell you right now - he's not very good. His voice is far too small. This other fellow, Daniel I think, they keep telling him he needs to sing songs with a different feel to show versatility because he keeps showing the same side of himself over and over again, which is this really sweet, nice boy routine, but Joseph has to be arrogant, etc. I saw a couple of his performances...the judges said it was "totally different." It wasn't. Decent voice, though. Another guy was told he was a good performer. He had zero stage presence. So yeah, I don't know what those judges were smoking.
The highlight of the show (well, one of the episodes I caught) was watching these kids make complete asses of themselves in front of professional West End performers. They sent these 8 guys to the Les Miserables set, where they were charged with performing on the Barricade set, singing the "When Tomorrow Comes" end bit from "Do You Hear the People Sing," and waving the big red flag around at the same time. They failed hysterically and miserably. The main cast (Val Jean, Enjolras, and I think Marius) stood there shaking their heads, clearly disappointed in their abilities and in the way they weren't really taking it seriously. Only 2 of them managed to pull it off in any acceptable capacity, and the rest were a joke (and not a "haha" funny one).
Also Meat Loaf. Meat Loaf performed a song there at the end. I'm not really a fan of his music, but I am a fan of him; I know that seems odd. I don't really enjoy the kind of music he performs, but the man himself is freakin' awesome.
Hell, they even turned getting kicked off the show into a staged production, having the cast sing "Close Every Door" from the actual show as the rejected Joseph takes off his colored jacket and leaves the stage. The three finalists...well...two of them I never would have let make it that far. I do think there is a level of viewer voting participation, but I'm not sure how it works or how much they rely on it. The guy that wins, I think is one of the fellows I thought was alright (he did have the look, too). So that makes me feel a little bit better.
I'm sorry; this has nothing to do with anime or whatever. I just get really frustrated by these ridiculous things. So why watch? Well, there was nothing else on TV while I was eating dinner. Also, it's that whole "train wreck" scenario thing. And I guess I kind of hope that one of them will maybe, MAYBE wow me, impress me, blow me away. It never happens, though. :(