Tonight Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search for a Superstar stepped up a gear as yet another hopeful was axed from the heavenly line-up.
Niall Sheehy became the latest contestant to be dropped from the show by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as the competition to find the perfect person to play Jesus in a new rock arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar continued.
The 31-year-old Irish hopeful went up against 24-year-old singer Rory Taylor in the sing-off, after the boys got the lowest number of votes from the public.
They tackled Alyssa Reid’s hit Alone before waiting for the all-important feedback from the man who could make or break their dreams of playing Jesus in the new touring production.
When it came down to it, Rory was the performer Andrew had mercy on and Niall was sent packing, becoming the fourth person to be sent home.
Speaking of his decision, Andrew told host Amanda Holden: “Amanda I’m not going to do some corny reality show moment where we wait for a tense pause, because obviously I’m going to save Rory.”
However he had some words of encouragement for County Wicklow lad, adding: “I want to say something to Niall. This is very, very true. A very well known West End producer called me this morning in my hotel and said he’d seen a completely new Niall.
“I know there are roles for you in the West End. I think you could be a wonderful Marius in Les Miserables or a wonderful Raoul in Phantom of the Opera. I think you are going to have a long West End career – good luck!”
His departure leaves just seven remaining hopefuls in the running for the dream role: Ben Forster, Jeff Anderson, Nathan James, David Hunter, Roger Wright, Rory Taylor and Jon Moses.
Earlier in the night, the eight hopefuls had all taken to the stage for the last time as a group, singing the rather appropriate Bon Jovi hit Living On a Prayer.
Then it was time of the Jesus wannabes to take to the stage one-by-one. Kicking off the solo performances was Jeff Anderson, who sang (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
He was given the thumbs-up for his vocal performance, but the judges wanted to see a bit more of the Jagger swagger on stage.
Melanie C said: “That was brilliant, I really enjoyed it and I’m seeing a new inner confidence in you and I like it.”
Andrew added: “I feel that the energy was coming more from the dancers and not yourself, I feel you lacked a bit of the Jagger energy.”
Second on stage was David Hunter who sang Sinead O’Connor’s classic hit Nothing Compares To You.
Once again David gave a stellar performance, with Andrew telling him: “I know you’re going to go a long way, you were so vulnerable in that performance.”
Jason Donovan also gave him positive feedback, commenting: “I can’t fault that performance it was a great song choice and you’re a master at connecting with the audience, the only criticism I can say is that I can see your acting whilst singing, I’d like to see more of ‘you’.”
Rory Taylor was third up and he opted for Coldplay’s Fix You for his solo performance. It was the first ballad the lad from the Wirral has performed on the live shows, and it worked wonders with the judges.
Jason Donovan told him: “That was a defining moment in Coldplay’s career and a great on in yours, it’s a tough song to sing. I think we’ve found shades of acting in you but you do need to work on the acting, but, I can’t fault that performance.”
Andrew was also a big fan, adding: “I got more and more thrilled as I listened to you, I made a new word – Rory-arena-bility and if there is such a word, you’re a testament to it.”
Fourth on stage was rock god Nathan James who sang Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers. And it was a brilliant choice for his voice as the judges pointed out.
Jason said: “When you engage in the words and you keep them simple, absolute magic happens. I do worry about the vocal gymnastics, but that was another outstanding performance from you.”
Dawn French added: “Another controlled performance, you are a force of nature, I feel there’s a fight between your confidence and your ego and I don’t want your ego to win it.”
Following Nathan was Ben Forster who performed Tracy Chapman’s hit Fast Car, and it was a performance that was given a resounding thumbs-up from the judges.
Melanie gave Ben the ultimate praise, telling him: “You have a wonderful singing style, I wish you played it a bit more spoken, it was wonderful, I would relish the opportunity to play opposite you.”
And Dawn added: “Great storytelling, you can act, it was very seductive and you’re a very smart performer, I really want you to stay.”
Then it was time for Niall to give his solo performance of the night, Wherever You Will Go by The Calling.
Unfortunately the judges, while giving Niall some positive feedback, on the whole agreed that he had slightly lost his way during the performance.
Mel told him: “I’m not sure about tonight, I really enjoyed the acting side but vocally I think you’re falling behind the rest of the pack.”
Jason agreed, adding: “You’ve got a lovely smile, you’ve got the Irish charm, but you have to be a little bit more consistent, the performance was good but you need to be outstanding, night after night.”
Following Niall was former ‘reserve’ Jon Moses, who sang Feel by Robbie Williams.
Again he got mixed praise from the judges, with Andrew telling him: “I think we went back to cabaret tonight and what did worry me is that there’s a slightly uncomfortable break in your voice but I do think you’ve made a fantastic journey.”
Melanie added: “You’ve come such a long way, the majority of the song was great, there was tricky notes. I think we need to see something a bit more up tempo.”
Concluding the solo performances for the night was Roger Wright who gave a rousing rendition of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep.
He was another act who got mixed feedback, but overall Roger got praise for his silky, soulful vocals.
Dawn praised his ability to act as did Jason, who said: “I was a little bit worried for you in the verses as there were a few tuning issues, there’s a new confidence in you and we’re starting to see the actor in you.”
Andrew also liked Roger's performance – but told him he was slightly worried about his physical fitness, commenting: “Yes you could play the part, but you were a bit out of puff and I’m worried that you need to be fitter to play this role. But it was a great performance.”
Following the contestants’ solo songs, the Scissor Sisters sang their new hit Baby Come Home, as the finalists nervously waited backstage for the result of the public vote.
Then it was time of the sing-off between Niall and Rory, with Andrew opting to save Rory, who will now have the chance to perform again tomorrow night.
He will join the other six remaining hopefuls, as the men return tomorrow night for another live show and the chance to win the dream role of a lifetime.
Superstar returns tomorrow (July 20) at 9pm on STV and ITV – don’t miss it!
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