Titan, on 20 January 2012 - 11:14 AM, said:
He said numerous times in interviews that he wanted to create stars that would have long high profile careers (ala Elaine Paige, Michael Ball etc) but that has not happened. He said about Connie (and this was shown in the last episode of the Story of Musicals on BBC4) that he had found real star in Connie, and after the SOM people were less interested. Yes they are having nice careers, but not at the Ball and Paige level. They tried it with Connie and Lee, but after the CD sales didnt set the world alite no further winner has had that.
Arguably just part of the hype. he couldn't very well sell a show as finding a one off winner for the first half of the run of his next musical. The format couldn't find a Michael Ball partly, because , I think, the voters picked who looked most familiar in the roles and mirrored the instinct to go for safety not novelty. The purpose was also to cast for one show - which was credible. It would never have been credible to try and sell whoever won as being bigger and better than everyone else on their show , or everyone else in the running, for a whole range of shows. Some contestants have made it because they have been, or became, great candidates (or better) for some roles, winners risk typecasting more, and might even win because they seem so suited for that one role.
I don't see the argument that its a failure not to be Elaine Paige or Michael Ball, or unknown by most of the population. Most of the population don't know most things - and know less in common now as audiences have declined and diversified, and many fields now produce temporary stars. No one else leading a musical is the equivalent either - even Ramin - a lot of people turning up for Les Mis now are probably surprised its not Alfie still - and have no idea who anyone else on stage is. Many wouldn't know Elaine or Michael either. ALW seems to me to have achieved the possible. He's found new and deveoping talent, some people made for other roles have been spotted at auditions that might have might not been found otherwise, and he's showcased his finalists - some better than others. Some have gone on to be taken up for other major roles, and some of them have been exceptional in them, some are still at drama school.. Its difficult to see how the most successful ones could be much bigger or better - unless he wrote and promoted the equivalent of Memory for them and produced a series of big shows centered around them .
The other objective was stated to be to rise the profile of the West End, and get new custom - that seems to have been a great success anyway.