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The Future For The Contestants


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#1 Matthew Winn

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 02:59 PM

Last night I was chatting to a couple of actors in a theatre bar before the show and the subject of I'd Do Anything and similar shows came up, and I was presented with two opposing opinions.

One was that the reality TV process is essentially a back door to career advancement, and that this may turn out to be detrimental to the way the participants are perceived in future. Although there's no question that the final twelve have talent, there's also no question that they're now household names and will certainly find it easier to get work in future whether they win or lose: work that they may well have been unable to get if not for the box office advantage of being known to the general public. For a few years at least they'll get something of an easy ride and may well be considered lazy by people who have come to (or who aspire to) lead roles the hard way.

On the other hand, what they're undergoing is a gruelling process far more stressful than the traditional route to employment where you have one chance and you live or die on a single, private opportunity to impress. They have to keep auditioning for nearly three months, knowing that a stumble at any point could knock them out of the running. If they lose they have to suffer the humiliation of being rejected in front of hundreds of thousands of strangers. It's a tougher procedure than most other people have to endure. Consequently there's no shame in putting yourself through it, and those who attempt it deserve respect for taking on such a challenge.

What are people's opinions on how this type of show will affect the perception of the participants in the future? Will others think "damn, you're brave" or "you're just whoring yourself to the public"? Looking at the past two shows I kind of get the impression that Lee Mead is fairly well respected while Connie Fisher's collapsed tour has been greeted with more than a little schadenfreude. What should the contestants do to come out of this with the respect of their peers rather than contempt?
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#2 Change

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 03:16 PM

I don't think that winning or appearing on one of these shows is a guarantee of anything. It seems, so far - at least with Maria and Joseph, not so sure about Grease - that those who were eliminated late in the competition and had some prior theatre experience prior have been able to work semi regularly and I'm sure their "TV visibility" hasn't hurt. It remains to be seen if the public, generally, will be able to accept Connie or Lee as anything other than Maria or Joseph. Ultimately, no matter what, it will always come down to talent and luck in the long term.

#3 divaesqueish

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 03:34 PM

i also think that it depends how the public perceive each person and how they deal with life outside the programme later on.
For instance, I think Lee Mead is seen as someone who quietly got on with his job, took joseph very graciously and then grafted once in the show - the only bits of publicity and "whoring" seem to ave been the things that came with the job and he seems to do them well.
On the other hand, there was a lot of bad feeling/bad press around connie almost from the outgo, what with the disputes about how many performances/her allegedly demanding more performances, the stuff in the papers about her and the stagehand (or whatever all that was about), the bad performance of memory on that big concert, the cancelled concerts etc.
whether she deserves the backlash or not, she isn't going to come out of this smelling quite so pretty as lee, or some of the lesser known maria contenders like aoife.

#4 Haz

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 03:36 PM

I think the difference in opinion with regards Connie/Lee is prompted by views of them personally - Lee has come across as articulate, charming, likeable (if, IMO, a bit boring). Connie, in contrast, has come across as a bit snooty and has had some less than favourable stories about her in the press.

I have no issue whatsoever with the people who apply for these programmes. I hate the fact that they exist, but how many of us can honestly say that if an equivalent concept existed in our own professions, we wouldn't be tempted to give it a go?

I think the Marias have to be considered seperately to the subsequent contestants, in that they were the first (though they still had X Factor et al as a frame of reference). Everyone who's auditioned since then knows the process (and if they don't, they need to do their research better) and what they're getting themselves into.

At the end of the day, in any job/situation, it always comes back to the risk/reward ratio. 99 times out of 100, the bigger the risk, the bigger the potential reward. It's just down to the individual as to whether they have the balls to take the risk that's required to potentially be rewarded by being one of only a handful of MT performers to cross over into the public domain on a significant level.
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#5 M George

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 04:09 PM

QUOTE(Matthew Winn @ Apr 1 2008, 03:59 PM) View Post
What are people's opinions on how this type of show will affect the perception of the participants in the future? Will others think "damn, you're brave" or "you're just whoring yourself to the public"? Looking at the past two shows I kind of get the impression that Lee Mead is fairly well respected while Connie Fisher's collapsed tour has been greeted with more than a little schadenfreude. What should the contestants do to come out of this with the respect of their peers rather than contempt?

Connie had a lot of bad press over a fairly extended peiod of time and, nearly two years on from her win, I just don't think the public are interested in her anymore.  It's a similar case to a lot of the X-factor/pop idol etc winners.  The public moves on and loses interest.

Whilst this may not necessarily happen to Lee, we have to bear in mind that his win is still more recent and there hasn't been another one to overshadow it since.  When that happens people may quickly lose interest leaving him to complete his run in Joseph before fading into the background again.

Either way I thin both these performers were worthy of the roles they won and will be worthy of future lead roles, but I do not think they'll have roles handed to them on a plate.  I think they're going to have to work very hard to win them in a more conventional manner rather than on a blatantly biased TV reality programme.  I suspect Lee may have more success than Connie as he has a lot more experience than her.

The Nancy's will do well initially as have the Josephs and Marias.  The difference this year is that there seems to be more professionals/experienced participants and their appearance on the programme may be beneficial to the continuation of their careers rather than as a jumpstart for a faltering one.
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#6 jaqs

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 04:12 PM

All the Joseph finalists got work afterwards.

Daniel has talked of his career being stalled before the show and its really worked out for him.
He's great in AveQ which will be his calling card more than adwd when he's next looking for a role
as  Hairspray will be for Ben.
Lee has a HUGE fanbase and I'm sure he'll be fine long term(if he ever leaves Joseph).

Half the finalists have found employment with Bill Ks tours, it will be very interesting to see what happens to those guys next.

So far it dosent seem like it was a risk not worth taking for any of them, which is probably why it feels like
there were more professionals spotted auditioning this time round.







#7 Haz

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 04:54 PM

QUOTE(M George @ Apr 1 2008, 05:09 PM) View Post
Connie had a lot of bad press over a fairly extended peiod of time and, nearly two years on from her win, I just don't think the public are interested in her anymore.  It's a similar case to a lot of the X-factor/pop idol etc winners.  The public moves on and loses interest.

Whilst this may not necessarily happen to Lee, we have to bear in mind that his win is still more recent and there hasn't been another one to overshadow it since.  When that happens people may quickly lose interest leaving him to complete his run in Joseph before fading into the background again.


Equally, a genuinely exceptional talent will not only reignite public interest, but sustain it over a substantial period - just look at Leona Lewis compared to the other X Factor winners.

whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should

http://curtain-up.blogspot.com/

#8 M George

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:06 PM

QUOTE(Haz @ Apr 1 2008, 05:54 PM) View Post
Equally, a genuinely exceptional talent will not only reignite public interest, but sustain it over a substantial period - just look at Leona Lewis compared to the other X Factor winners.

True, and that may be a problem as I don't think either Connie or Lee are exceptional talents.  There's no doubt that they have talent, but exceptional talent?  Maybe not.
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#9 emkay

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:36 PM

I wouldn't write off Connie or Lee just yet.  Lee is still in Joseph and we'll have to wait and see what happens when he finishes, and Connie is still working on projects including the second album and the ITV drama for the autumn.  We'll have to see how those do before anyone can say the public has lost interest in her.  

I think Connie has got worse press than Lee for two main reasons--1) She was the first person cast this way and 2) Lee had West End experience while Connie, despite having being fully trained, had not yet.  I think she proved herself well in the show, especially after coming back from the vocal injury and missing few performances thereafter, and I think she will work in the West End again.  Right now she seems to be concentrating on the TV project, but I would not dismiss her as a has-been just because she hasn't gone straight into another musical after leaving SOM.  In my estimation, her tour was cancelled because of poor promotion and mis-handling (they shouldn't have booked large arenas more suited to rock bands, for one thing), not because the public has lost interest--in fact, many of the public didn't even know there was a tour until after it was cancelled.

Time will tell whether Connie and Lee will have lasting success--I think it's way too early to make judgments about that now.  The other contestants on these shows, though, have benefited very well from the exposure they gained on TV.  Many of the former Maria and Joseph candidates have had a lot of jobs since their shows and several (Siobhan, Aoife, Ben, Daniel) are currently in the West End, with another (Leanne) soon to be.  I've heard rumors in a few places that some of the Maria contestants have had a hard time from others in the industry because of the show, but if that's true they've managed to succeed despite it.

I think the current contestants of I'd Do Anything stand to benefit from their exposure on the show.  They may get some ridicule as well, but from what I've seen the benefits of doing a show like this have seemed to outweigh the risks.

#10 M George

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 09:20 AM

QUOTE(emkay @ Apr 1 2008, 08:36 PM) View Post
I wouldn't write off Connie or Lee just yet.  Lee is still in Joseph and we'll have to wait and see what happens when he finishes, and Connie is still working on projects including the second album and the ITV drama for the autumn.  We'll have to see how those do before anyone can say the public has lost interest in her.  

I think Connie has got worse press than Lee for two main reasons--1) She was the first person cast this way and 2) Lee had West End experience while Connie, despite having being fully trained, had not yet.  I think she proved herself well in the show, especially after coming back from the vocal injury and missing few performances thereafter, and I think she will work in the West End again.  Right now she seems to be concentrating on the TV project, but I would not dismiss her as a has-been just because she hasn't gone straight into another musical after leaving SOM.  In my estimation, her tour was cancelled because of poor promotion and mis-handling (they shouldn't have booked large arenas more suited to rock bands, for one thing), not because the public has lost interest--in fact, many of the public didn't even know there was a tour until after it was cancelled.

Time will tell whether Connie and Lee will have lasting success--I think it's way too early to make judgments about that now.  The other contestants on these shows, though, have benefited very well from the exposure they gained on TV.  Many of the former Maria and Joseph candidates have had a lot of jobs since their shows and several (Siobhan, Aoife, Ben, Daniel) are currently in the West End, with another (Leanne) soon to be.  I've heard rumors in a few places that some of the Maria contestants have had a hard time from others in the industry because of the show, but if that's true they've managed to succeed despite it.

I think the current contestants of I'd Do Anything stand to benefit from their exposure on the show.  They may get some ridicule as well, but from what I've seen the benefits of doing a show like this have seemed to outweigh the risks.

We're not writing Connie or Lee off by any means.  Just pointing out that they might have a hard slog in front of them if they are to maintain their high profiles in the theentertainment world.  They have a lot to prove.
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