Friday, 1 May 2009

Rachel Does Eurovision

Does she ever stop? The answer to that question is no.

One thing Rachel doesn't like to do is stand still, so having just completed 'So Jest End', she performed 'Love Shine A Light' at the West End Eurovision Contest in Piccadilly last night. The event was held in aid of the charity TheatreMAD and was compered by Arlene Phillips in the absence of Graham Norton.

The WWRY cast took on their counterparts La Cage Aux Folles, Mamma Mia, Billy Elliot, Wicked, Dirty Dancing, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera, with each cast performing a past Eurovision hit.

The Mamma Mia cast triumphed with the song 'Las Vegas' but it was fairly obvious who was best -- it's only fair that 'Mamma Mia' were able to win something lol.

Mamma Mia!'s song selection, Las Vegas, didn't prove that popular in 2005, when Sweden's Martin Stenmarck finished 19th, but picked up the most votes from a panel of their colleagues, the audience, and a judging jury comprising Toby Anstis, Sally Ann Triplett, Arlene Phillips (a late replacement for the injured Graham Norton) and 1997 Eurovision winner Katrina Leskanich.

Full review (note Katrina of Katrina & The Waves comment):

''The second annual West End Eurovision took place in the heart of Theatreland, London last night as the casts of some of the world's leading musicals turned their hand to Eurovision and raised a staggering amount of money for a truly worthy cause.
Eight shows took part in the competition with the cast of Grease providing the introduction. The casts of Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, We will rock you, Mama Mia, Wicked, La cage aux folles, Billy Elliott and Dirty dancing, along with their companies in the audience produced a truly unforgetable night of fun filled entertainment, generating an atmosphere that can only be compared to... the Eurovision Song Contest.

The full line-up:

Phantom of the opera - Take me to your heaven
Dirty Dancing - Volare
Mamma mia -Las vegas
Wicked- Touch my fire
Billy Elliott - Never giving up
We will rock you - Love shine a light
Lion king- Wild dances
La cage aux folles - Diva
As each act took to the stage, their companies in the audience went bananas, cheering, waving flags and supporting their own team. Those not from a specific show were able to select their favourites, but in true Eurovision style, the support that each group gave to the other acts was incredible. The night even came complete with a block vote, as the two shows from Victoria (separated from the main West End) swapped their top marks with each other.

A celebrity panel comprising Sally Ann Triplett (Bardo), Toby Anstis (Heart Radio) Arlene Phillips (Celebrity come dancing and Celebrity dancing on ice) Katrina Leskanich, the last United Kingdom winner, gave their frank and honest opinions (often hillarious) and Nicki French provided the interval act with a performance of her 2000 entry.

Last year's winning act, Wicked (who won the first annual event with their performance of Gina G's (Ooh Ahh) Just a little bit couldn't repeat the feat this time as Mama Mia stole the show with their performance of Martin Stenmark's Swedish entry from 2005, Las Vegas - compete with sequin ballroom gowns and matching hats containing pyrotechnic explosions and a lead singer that slipped into an Elvis suit half way through the performance.

We will rock you were hotly tipped in the interval after a performance of Katrina's 1997 winner, Love shine a light, which Katrina stated was undoubtedly the best performance of the song that she would ever here.

The performance of Javine's Touch my fire came complete with a sample of Beyonce's Put a ring on it, volare was performed with some extra dirty dancing by the erm... Dirty Dancing performers and there were many highlights, not least the efforts each company put into making their own postcard introduction videos.

There was of course a scoreboard hitch, with 10 points going missing, but it could not change the outcome as Mama Mia, a show bourne from the Eurovision Song Contest success of ABBA took the crown for the first time. They also won the award for Best Costumes and the cast of Phantom won an award for the best introduction postcard.

A staggering amount of more than £25,000 was raised on the night for the TheatreMAD charity which works tirelessly to raise money and awareness to help people living with HIV, AIDS or other long-term conditions. More information about the charity, how to get involved and their events can be found at would like to pass on our congratulations to the TheatreMAD team and to all of the performers, musical directors and orchestra for what was one of the most entertaining nights in London and we look forward to supporting the Third Annual West End Eurovision in 2010.''

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