Monday, 11 August 2008

There's No Smoke Without Fire

I was just browsing the usual websites for any news on Rachel and came across this interesting article at ''.

It seems that Cameron Mackintosh was so worried about Jodie Prengers acting skills that he has enrolled her for a crash acting course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

Jodie won BBC talent search, I’d Do Anything in May, but rumours persisted that Mackintosh would rather have had Rachel Tucker for the role.

Jodie admitted to The Sun: “Singing live on Saturday night TV in front of millions of people was not nearly as scary as tackling Shakespeare at RADA.”

Last night, a source said: “Jodie is not a fully-trained actress and Cameron just wanted to make sure she’s up to scratch by the time rehearsals start in October.”

Personally I think it was pretty clear that Cameron would have liked Rachel to play Nancy. You can't blame him for wanting the best person for the role and I think everyone here would agree that person was Rachel.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jodie will do absolutely fine and I wish her every success. However I believe that Rachel would have been the best Nancy ever and I expect that Cameron will be praying that she might still want to take on the role sometime in the future.

Here is a link to the article:

Unreality TV Article Link


Kristin Nicole said...

I saw this article earlier, thank you Google Alerts, and have been thinking about it for a while. I warn you, this comment will be long...borderline epic.

Okay, hopefully I wont get stoned for this but here's my thoughts.

This is where reality shows like this really come back and bite people in the rear end. I think it's unwise to leave choices like this, that effect a multi million dollar production and countless people's well being and income, up to the general public. It never turns out right.

Jodie is great, I'm not denying that. She has a great voice....but that's about where the buck stops. Despite all the weeks on IDA, I feel like she STILL sounds like a Cabaret singer. And, if I'm being perfectly candid, I think she's got the least amount of stage presence while performing than any of the girls on the show. When she's just goofing off and being Jodie she's candid and funny and has great presence, but the SECOND that music came on and she stepped out to perform it was like some light turned off and she lost all of it. I likened it to watching paint dry several times. Yes, she's pleasing to listen to...but I don't feel she's entertaining to watch unless she's just being Jodie (the comedy challenge for example). She was fine in the more humorous challenges (again like the scene in the comedy challenge), but the second you ask her to be dramatic I feel like she loses all realism and credibility. I just don't believe her, and that's not something you want in a leading lady of a show that's more dramatic than anything else.

Am I just saying this because I'm a Rachel fan? No. I'm saying this as someone who's got loads of experience in the theatrical world. Oliver may be sold out through March, but I don't know if it'll go much past that unless RADA makes some vast improvements with Jodie. Not sure if Shakespeare is the way to do that, but hopefully it is. I want her to do well, I want her to succeed. I'd never wish ill will upon anyone in any form of theatrical venture. I want her to surprise me and be fantastic...I just don't think the critics are going to think she is.

I agree that it was (and still is) very clear that Mackintosh wanted Rachel. I don't think he displayed his thoughts/wants in the most ideal or professional manner, but I do think that it's perfectly valid for the producer, who has the most monetary involvement in the show, to voice his opinion and have that opinion be heard.

This is where the "machine" of reality television breaks down, at least in the case of IDA (and probably Any Dream..., and How Do You Solve...). Putting a decision as big as this in the hands of the general public (who are going to have a bias that is more dependent on looks or where someone's from more than if they're actually GOOD or RIGHT for the part) is just a bad idea, and if I was an investor I would have backed out the second it was announced. This isn't American Idol or X Factor. The person that is chosen on these shows is a part of a team, NOT an individual artist who's success or failure doesn't have the same impact on as many people.

In contrast, we recently had a reality show much like IDA here in the US. It was called "Legally Blonde: The Search for the Next Elle Woods". While I don't agree with how the show came out in the end, I think they ran it MUCH better than the IDA/Maria/Dream ventures. The panel was about the same (three to four industry professionals, one being a major casting director Bernie Telsey) and the general concept was the same. They put the girls through the paces in auditions with a dance and vocal audition and the elimination procedure went like an audition, or a callback rather. They were called in, they all performed the SAME prepared song/dance/monologue and were judged as such as to who would be the best Elle.

The big difference? There was no live audience, and the decision on who was the next Elle was left in the hands of capable professionals. Thus, resulting in the girl they felt best fit the Elle role. Did the public agree with them? No, but Legally Blonde is THRIVING on Broadway right now in an economic time in this country where people aren't generally going out to pay for theatre.

I think if this had been the case with IDA, A: Many of the top 12 wouldn't have gotten through (Keisha, Cleo, Amy...Sam...) and B: It would have given a better idea as to who was not only capable of performing the role but who was capable of handling the stress of 8 shows a week better.

Which, might I add, brings me to the fact that I think it's completely ridiculous that Jodie's getting an "out" and only performing 4-5 shows a week. How is that fair? All the girls on the show were signed up for a gig that is 8 shows a week. If she can't hack it, she shouldn't be Nancy.

In regards to your last comment, Andy, (I promise I'm wrapping this up) I for one hope she doesn't take the Nancy role. She's said it's a dream role of hers, and I get that the appeal of doing it on the West End is probably pretty strong. But who would want to step in after Jodie and clean up the mess that will inevitably be left, and, to use what I think may be an only American slang phrase, take her sloppy seconds? I wouldn't want that, and I'm sure Rachel wouldn't either.

She's already a West End star on her own merit with or without Oliver.

...holy SHIT that was a long comment. I apologize! I just had to get it out! I have so much more to say, but I wont spam it in a comment!

Andy said...

If the forthcoming Rachel competition was for the longest comment I think you'd be a certain winner Krissie lol.

I'm off out so this will be a much shorter response but I have to say I agree with almost everything you said.

It's not impossible for shows like IDA to end up with the best person winning but it does make it a lottery and it's a gamble I'm a little surprised producers are willing to take.

I guess the fact that the show might not be as good is offset by full houses due to the extra publicity and fans of the winner wanting to see their favourite perform.

I think Jodie will do fine and as I said I wish her every success but it's a shame they will have to make do with fine when they could have had FANTASTIC had the role gone to Rachel.

I don’t know whether Rachel would consider taking the role in the future but I’m sure Cameron will be hoping that it’s still a dream she wants to fulfil.

Kristin Nicole said...

I really didn't realize how long it was until I hit send! I should learn to edit!

I didn't mean to for it to sound like it's completely impossible for shows like IDA to make the right choice, Connie was obviously the clear choice for Maria and did a great job. I didn't watch any of the Joseph competition so I can't weigh in on that one.

I just think they need to think about how the show breaks down, and I think they realize that the machine really just fell apart this time and they wound up with the wrong people in the finale (I'm not going to single anyone out, but I'm sure you can all guess who I feel was the odd girl out) and it was either shoot themselves in the leg or the foot...and they chose the lesser of the pains.

I think Jodie will do a great job, not spectacular, not an Olivier-Award winning (wow, I'm so used to saying Tony that was weird to say) performance I'm willing to bet...but she'll be great. I think she's a good person, but she just wasn't exactly right. She's almost there...just slightly short of what's desired.

I'm glad people aren't flame-warring me yet, I'm sure there's bound to be someone out there who disagrees with me but I welcome the debate :)

...that being said I really need to learn how to edit. I love run-on sentences and comma splices apparently :)

Who woulda thought such a short article would bring out the fire in me?!

Andy said...

I must just add to my last comment that I love shows like I'd Do Anything. It's only the format that could maybe be changed so as we don't end up with another situation where the best person doesn't even make it to the final.

Having said that, I suppose the beauty of these shows is the unpredictability and it’s true you don’t have to win them to come out as a winner. They’re great way to showcase your talent and Rachel has ended up with a fantastic West End role thanks to IDA despite finishing fourth.

Jill R said...

There was nothing in IDA at all which made me think Cameron Mackintosh wanted Rachel. He wanted Jessie who was by far a worse actress than Jodie, and had two good performances all series, or Sam who had the emotional depth of a block of cheese. Rachel was the fallback, the professional who could be relied upon if the favourite was unpopular with the public. As with Lee in Any Dream Will Do.

Jodie won because she was one of the most consistent, and when a hurdle was put in her way, such as a song choice that was unsuitable, she cleared it. Again like Lee in Any Dream Will Do.

Also I think she's what a lot of people see as Nancy. The warm buxom woman, who can tear up the stage with Oompa Pa, and break you heart with As Long As He Needs Me.

Just as an aside I think Rachel and Sarah were both robbed not to be in the final. Those two and Jodie were my faves.

Oh and apologies for the essay!

Kristin Nicole said...


I hope you didn't take offense to my comments. I do think Jodie is great, and I do think she'll do a good job...but as a Rachel fan I'm obviously going to be incredibly biased.

I have to disagree with you on the buxom Nancy being the view a lot of people have of Nancy, though. I think it's quite the opposite. I feel like, and I know countless others do too, that because Nancy was an urchin and grew up on the streets with Fagin's gang (or as it is so implied) that she's a small, scrappy woman. But maybe this is Jodie's chance to change people's minds.

That being said, still friends? I really didn't mean to offend you if I did! And don't apologize for your essay, I wrote a damn dissertation!

Andy said...

It's funny how everyone sees things differently.

To me it seemed clear that Cameron wanted Rachel for the role; everything from his showdown with Andrew after her elimination to his comments on the show. She was also the first person Cameron offered the role of Nancy understudy.

I guess only Cameron knows the truth.

Anyway it's in the past now. Rachel has secured a fantastic West End role and I have no doubts it will be the first of many.

Katie said...

This article confuses me somewhat. I was always under the impression that Cameron knew Rachel would be the great professional and keep the curtain up but in his heart of hearts he wanted Jessie for her rawness and more Dickens-esque portrayl of Nancy. Either way we will never know and he certainly was annoyed that Rachel left the competition over Sam.

Jill R said...


You maybe right, but I thought John Barrowman had to fight for Rachel to get in the Top 12. But I agree Cameron wanted her in the final. I think they wanted a Rachel/Jodie sing off in the semi final and would justify saving Rachel because of Cabaret.

Kristin Nicole:

No offence taken. In actually find it fascinating that we watch the same show and see vastly different things. I could never see what all the fuss was about with Jessie, she was a good ballad singer, thats all.

holz said...


David said...

Well of course you all knew I couldnt stay away = Im in an internet cafe in France with a lot of wine on board so excuse the spelling etc but my two euros worth is that Rachel was extremely lucky NOT to get the Nancy role _ she has done and will continue to do immesurably better and IDA gave her just the leg up she needed -- Cheers everyone __ Ill be back soon! David

Emilia said...

Yeah trust David, hot and sunny summer holidays and he still has to log on to the blog! while its pouring down here! hahaha

but i agree, 2 euros to read some more about rachel is nothing in my opinion!x

Anonymous said...

This is such a brilliant (and loooong) message to come in on! I'll make mine slightly shorter!

Andrew Lloyd Webber (and Cameron Macintosh) do these shows to uncover new, raw, exciting talent that makes them stand out and 'responsible' for taming and unearthing that talent. I think this was the attraction with Jessie, Sam and Niamh: they were young, fresh, raw and hadn't been tampered with by anyone else.
Therefore the show became more about them than it was finding the person most suited to the role of Nancy. I think Andrew made a mistake by overlooking some of the girls like Rachel, almost sacrificing them for the young and exciting girls like Sam.

In my opinion, Rachel would have been phenomenal as Nancy.. and she'll be sensational as Meat in WWRY as well, but they always described her as the 'comfortable performer' and the one they could rely on for a safe performance (right up until Cabaret!) and therefore she was overlooked and not given the opportunity to play Nancy as she deserved.

I think Jodie will be adequate. I hope she does well, but for me she was one of the girls who made their way quite safely through the competition, never really evoking any emotion in me whatsoever (whereas Rachel and Jessie blew me away/had me in tears/had me up on my feet giving standing ovations in my living room!). She's talented and I really hope she enjoys the role.. but no one can deny just how disappointed Andrew and Cameron were.

How to make shows like IDA better: everyone should only be allowed to vote once from their landline/mobile. therefore, the most nationally popular competitor (not the one with the most loyal fanbase in Blackpool!) will win! Simple!

Apologies for the appalling grammar -- but its kind of too late to care!

David said...

That's a very good comment anonymous -- er who are you exactly? I know you're not Rachel because she's in rehearsals at the moment -- or have you nipped out in your coffee break you rascal?
You're right about the 'Cabaret' moment -- Rachel had been impressive throughout but that performance was a startling shift into turbo mode. The fact that 99% of that night's votes didn't head straight for her makes a mockery of the whole idea of public voting.
Ultimately though Rachel has had the last laugh -- a superb starring role in the West End and even better -- the best and most modest blog in the country!!!!