The first of many live episodes to come began tonight in Grease: You’re the One That I Want. Broadway’s new method of casting, via reality show, is seeking to find the leads in a new production of Grease. The show began with one of two group numbers, the first being a rather comical fight between the contestants similar to the opening sequence.
Hosting the show is Billy Bush and Denise Van Outen. Maybe it’s just me, but Billy Bush is on his way to being more annoying than the host of that other reality show. I don’t know what was worse, calling Max Crumm “maxolantern”, referring to Matt Nolan as “man tears Danny”, telling Laura Osnes that she needed to return his yellow short shorts back to his dressing room, or uttering the phrases “Sandy palooza” and “Sandy smackdown”. Take your pick.
Now rather than just refer to each finalist by their name, someone, has decided to nickname each one. Names like Boy Band Danny, Ballerina Sandy, Slacker Danny, Baby Sandy, and Serious Sandy. Each finalist chose a song that reflected their inner Danny or Sandy, and were judged by Jim Jacobs, Kathleen Marshall, David Ian, and the original Sandy herself, Olivia Newton John, the first of many guest judges. In a twist, not only 12 hopefuls would be competing, but two more formally rejected candidates were called back and given a second chance – Matt Nolan and Ashley Anderson.
Here is a run down of what was sung by whom.
Derek – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Austin – Mony Mony
Allie – I Love Rock -n- Roll
Kate – All By Myself
Jason – Faith
Max – Summer of 69′
Matt – Pretty Woman
Ashley Anderson – Still the One
Laura – Why Do Fools Fall in Love
Kathleen – Suddenly I See
Kevin – Walking in Memphis
Chad – Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours
Juliana – The First Cut is the Deepest
Ashley Spencer – It’s In His Kiss
With the exception of a few, most of the contestants look similar and have similar styles and the judges critiques fell in the same line, but in the end each judge had a different favorite at the end of the episode. David Ian liked Derek and Ashley Spencer, while Kathleen Marshall preferred Austin and Allie. Jim Jacob’s favorites were Chad and Kate, and Olivia Newton John, being politically correct, left the decison up to the viewers. Hopefully once the number of contestants shrink more personality and individuality will show.
Next episode, in two weeks, one Sandy and Danny will be eliminated, and the guest judge will be Andrew Lloyd Webber who is fresh off casting a new production of The Sound of Music by reality show.