|By Glenn Meads|
Superstar blog: Tweetgate
Date: 24 July 2012
To tweet or not to tweet - that is the question. And also what to tweet and what not to tweet? What I am going on about? Well, just when you thought Superstar was becoming boring - it all kicked off. But it left this blogger feeling disappointed and embarrassed.
The show started badly with a group performance of "We Are Young" which was totally unsuitable for the show; it was all over the place and many of the guys were completely out of tune. The Lord mentioned that now it was time to get serious as they "can't cast a one dimensional voice; it's all about character."
The most written about contestant - Nathan (or Satan as he seems to be portrayed) - is up first. He had been all over the tabloids presented as a diva which is never a good sign. After reading the story, it's quite clear someone wants him out of the competition. I looked at bookies' odds on Monday morning before the show started and he was the favourite to win. Hence this tabloid story and what we were about to see. Nathan's song was "Born This Way." The arrangement was not perfect as it was Sister Act meets Gaga and it was suitably bonkers. He pulled it back at the end though and the voice did shine through.
Dawn told him that he was ideal to play Judas - great feedback because that role has already been cast! It felt like a bank-handed compliment. The Lord though, clearly wound up, went for him. He mentioned his arrogance again and then had a rant about his tweeting. "Why do you tweet this nonsense?" He shouted, jabbing his finger. Nathan looked like he was going to cry. It was embarrassing to watch. But then Nathan took to twitter and claimed that Andrew clearly hated him.
There are a few things at fault here. Andrew or one of the producers should have spoken to Nathan days ago rather than attack him on TV. These guys are performing nightly and twitter is their salvation really. But they should have been taught twitter etiquette before the show. Whatever the reason though, this show wanted Nathan off and it was really evident from minute one. Yeah he is cocky - and yep his tweets to the likes of Colleen Nolan saying "Andrew doesn't like me" are needy and unprofessional but watching him being attacked like that was disgraceful. He hadn't killed anybody, after all. And after screening him and seeing his behaviour earlier, why put him through?
The problem is with this piece of drama is that as a viewer, it stayed with you and all of the other performances were a bit of a blur. Poor Roger though - seems to be being used as a "get him through to get rid of Nathan" which is hardly fair, either. His performance of an old Rod Stewart classic was just ok. Not much life in it and quite dull but the judges love it. The Lord swipes at Nathan again by saying to Roger - "You will take direction."
David does a modern song Alex Clare's "Too Close" - clever choice as it brings something contemporary for the role. Still not sure about him taking on the role though. He's good and he can act but I can't help but feel he will seem miscast as soon as he walks out. It's not his fault - I just think he should be in another singing competition. To be honest, he would be great on X Factor and that's not an insult.
Rory does Queen and it's at this point, I realise that he would be wonderful in WWRY. He can sing Queen which is very rare as these are not easy songs to sing. But he makes it look effortless. Like David, I'm not convinced this art is right for him. The level of acting required is too much for him. I worry for anyone who has bought a ticket now because many good actors/singers have left the competition. Andrew never criticises Rory and has some hyperbole ready - "Land of hope and Rory." Tonight is very strange and surreal and mediocre performances seem over praised.
Ben sings "It Must Have Been Love" and delivers humility. Where Nathan has the swagger and the "like me" approach - Ben makes it all seem effortless. You end up liking him naturally because the guy can sing and he can emote also. For me, he is the winner. By default, I might add - as he hasn't always been on the money. But he has no genuine competition, now the path has been cleared for him.
So, a bit of a sorry state of affairs. Elements of this show - the failing sound, the whizzing camera, the confused host and at odds with the audience judges have been very amusing. But tonight, it all got serious and reminded me of Big Brother. Why wasn't there anyone to help a contestant when they had been berated? Why appraise his tweeting and not his performance and why do this on camera? Nathan then jumped to tweet his defence which makes it worse as he then lives up to this image. But social networking has helped this ailing show. You know what this show and situation needs - apart from starting again? Sheila Hancock. She would have sorted this mess out weeks ago, guaranteed. You miss a judge like that on a show like this.
By the way - the bottom two was Roger and Nathan. Many tweeters are asking for the voting statistics now. Did the Lord's attack put viewers off Nathan? I don't think that many people are voting to begin with, considering the viewing figures. The Lord saved Roger again. (see earlier points).
Who do you want to win? After Monday, many of you may be thinking - who cares and I wouldn't blame you - as it's now turning into a plot from the Bible.
- by Glenn Meads
Any opinions expressed above do not represent the view of Whatsonstage.com nor any of its staff or contributors beyond the bylined author.
|Glenn has covered the Manchester theatre scene for Whatsonstage.com since 2001. Since then he has edited whatsonstage.com/manchester and he currently edits the North West site, as well as providing news, reviews, features and competitions.|
|Saw the show last night, Ben was borderline average could not help but think how amazing it woul have been with Nathan in the lead role. - Lara||26 Sep 12|
|I know Andrew Lloyd Webber (or "Webber" as James disrespectfully called him)as an ultimate professional. Lots of people have said he should have tried to sort backstage and not mentioned twittering etc. From the hints about drink and fornication antics backstage I suspect there was a much bigger and potentially damaging reason for his demise and he should be relieved it did not come into the open.Either way, the voice is not the whole picture; his whole personality lets him down and that cannot change. He is arrogant and cocky and loves himself and if the poor production assistant will no doubt agree; he does not care who he stamped on to get what he wanted. I am glad he went; he was unpleasant and uncomfortable to watch and was unintelligent and did not have any musicality just an ability to do covers. - David Hughes||26 Jul 12|
|I agree it was embarrassing to watch that. To me it told more about the judges than it did about Nathan. They proved to be immature, unprofessional and abusive of the power they had in their hands, using it to humiliate the guy live on TV instead of sorting this mess out backstage. I was particularly disappointed with Dawn and Andrew - do the dirty laundry at home please! They keep saying they are looking for professionalism but they didn't show ANY of it themselves. Calling Nathan a Judas pretending it was a compliment was pathetic. And Andrew having a go at him like that was also desperate. If they had a problem with the guy, I agree that they should have sorted it out earlier. Mel C was the only one that showed professionalism and grace and commented on his *performance*, which was what I imagined was important. In a way all this makes you wonder if the people criticising him are just not jealous of his talent and decided to crush him because he didn't show enough humility towards them. As far as I know, him wearing a top hat during Sweet Child of Mine wasn't that great an idea anyway, they should at least have granted him that. That the editing was completely biased was obvious, since they showed everyone on their VTs being either neutral or nice, and Nathan saying "No, I'm not wearing that". I really lost all interest on this show that evening and actually glad I didn't buy a ticket for the tour in advance, because the competition was unfair. I'm also not entirely convinced of how true those statistics were. It was embarrassing seeing Andrew save Roger after Nathan doing much better than him all evening. I don't really care whoever wins now. If Andrew can't handle people's votes then they should just do a traditional private casting instead. But of course, in that case where would all the publicity come from? And it seems that that is what matters in this one. - Carlos||25 Jul 12|
|What a load of rubbish Andrew! Nathan was BORN to play Jesus in an arena production. Sexy, and boy could he sing and he LOOKED like my idea of Jesus-All hair, teeth and eyes.Mmm! Ben to win now please! - Carole Roderick||25 Jul 12|
|A vocal coach for 23 years, Nathan's powerhouse tonsils have exited me from the get-go. His voice is much better than the rest by light-years. But it's his arrogance that confirms his Rock-God destiny. It's his 'X-factor' in fact! The rest of the contestants are worthy West-Enders. His is a stadium talent of a diffirent magnitude. Would be crushed in the confines of stage-musical twee-ness! Starmaker Simon Cowell himself confirmed Nathan's potential. ALW did him a favour. lets him get on with making himself some money...not ALW!!!! - Jay McNulty||25 Jul 12|
|Regardless of whether Nathan was the 'diva' he was portrayed as being or not, the show clearly did their best to see him off. The offending tweets, as has been stated, was no different from any other contestant. David had a photoshop of the judges holding a 'We Are Team Dave' banner, along with others showing him as Jesus. Where was his chastisement? Other, vocally weaker performers receive nothing but praise, where Nathan was hung out to dry. Now, I'm not convinced whether his acting ability would have been strong enough for the role (the format of the show didn't give him a chance to develop them), but my god his vocals certainly were. To my mind, of all the contestants, his voice was best suited to the role.
Those defending ALW's wisdom re: casting the role should remember that it is a show based upon public vote. If it matters that much to 'The Lord' then cast in the traditional manner. - Sarah||24 Jul 12|
|Nathan was head and shoulders above the others. This show is a total joke. I for one won't be watching it again. Fix! - James||24 Jul 12|
|Very interesting article and comments.
I have favoured Nathan from day one purely because I thought he had a fantastic voice and in my opinion would been the best contestant to play the role, which does demand a `rock` voice for some of the songs and a vocal range which he demonstrated. A role which I like many have already paid my £70 for a seat, so I do have a vested interest!
I did feel it has been blatantly obvious that TPAB have wanted his eviction from the beginning. He has been constantly criticised for not showing a softer more emotional side but was not given the songs enabling him to demonstrate this. A case in point being his last performance, as I understand he was to perform a different song but was then given Lady Gaga`s `Born this way`, not an easy song to show tenderness or perform `unconfidently`.
I felt very uncomfortable watching last nights show. Whether he was a `Diva` or not can never excuse the unprofessional and cynical way he was sabotaged by ALW, live television is no place for such a character assassination. The twitter issue, as I understand it the picture which The Lord took such exception to was, apparently, a drawing sent by a fan which Nathan retweeted over a week ago to thank her, if the producers had a problem with this should it not have been dealt with then, and not on live television. I have also heard other contestants have tweeted such images but they appear to go unpunished.
Another aspect I now feel very uncomfortable about is the voting. Ignoring the fact the programme seems to have changed the voting rules and system during the run, there does seem to be some worrying anomalies. Lots of people claiming they found that they were unable to vote for Nathan last night as they could not get through, if the lines were so busy he was surely receiving a lot of votes? I have been following an online poll which supports your point about his being the clear favourite, on the morning of his eviction the results there were Ben in 2nd place with 11% and Nathan with 27%.
I feel that if ALW is not willing to accept the public vote he should not enter into a casting process like this but revert to traditional methods, albeit methods which are far less lucrative. I have always voted on these shows but will not be doing so ever again as I doubt there is any point.
This has destroyed any respect I had for ALW and I feel I will not be alone in feeling this way.
- Julie||24 Jul 12|
|Nathan was by far the best singer despite "his arrogance and tweeting".
Yesterdays show only made it look like a witch hunt with the selected clips on his decline to wear a top hat etc. I don't believe the public voted him in the bottom 2 , despite the shows attempt to give him bad press.Who counts the phone votes??? - Kirsty||24 Jul 12|
|Andrew Lloyd Webber was wrong to evict Nathan. It was his first time in the bottom two, not the case for Roger. Andrew let Nathans over confidence cloud his jusgement. Nathan is indeed a rock star and the next Meatloaf in my opinion. There is still talent left, but in my books Jesus Christ Superstar is going to be very tame and its supposed to be a rock show. NATHAN was what it needs. Andrew was so so wrong. NATHAN should have been Jesus and NATHAN will rise again despite Andrew. - J.Thompson||24 Jul 12|
|It is safe to say that the choice from the panel is Ben and they will do what they can to make sure that he wins. Melanie C has already stated several times she would love him to win and for me that means they will work well together on the actual show and that is what you are paying for a ticket for. Nathan was the most talented rock singer but I agree with the panels concerns that he wasn't going to fit as a team player. Whether the diva stories are true or not, Nathan oozes a level of confidence that leans more towards him being a solo artist - I see him more like Meatloaf - alone on stage, big budget stadium tours and belting out the rock anthems like the rock god he believes he is. He didn't even make it through the first round of The Voice though which is interesting! ALW doesn't like him and it's his show - anyone who wastes their money calling these programmes thinking it makes a difference are deluded. The only one who slipped through Andrew's net was Jody Prenger but the audience called it right on that one and he had to admit in the end she was the right Nancy! - Lynn||24 Jul 12|
|The point is that whoever was in the sing off with Roger - Roger should have gone because it was his 2nd time in the bottom 2. Dirk went on his 2nd, Tim went on his 2nd and so should Roger. It now looks like ALW saved his favourite despite the public opinion and despite the fact Nathan had never been in the bottom 2 and clearly sang much better. All the remaining boys have been tweeting so why pick on the one who looked like he was going to win? - Lindsay||24 Jul 12|
|No matter what happened with the 'tweetgate', and any comments that were said during the show, Nathan was in the bottom two, meaning the public was either beginning to dislike or get bored of him - surely if his supporters were out there, Nathan would have avoided being in that situation? The sing off yesterday (Love Changes Everything) showed Nathan's 'pure' singing voice and his acting ability... - to be honest, it was a nice change considering I was getting bored with Nathan's rocky numbers - Roger has proven his versatility, if Nathan had been more versatile during the competition, and sang/acted like he did in the sing off yesterday, perhaps he'd still be in the competition. - Andy ||24 Jul 12|
|Firstly there is plenty of great stage performers out of work and not given this sort of chance. They are all doing well to get picked and in the end only one can win. ALW got stick yesterday for his comments - the man is a legend and knows what he wants and what the part needs/deserves to not take his comments on board is suicide considering his pull in the West End. All the best to the rest of the contestants although Webber knows what he wants. - Kerry garaway ||24 Jul 12|
-I didn't like Nathan. I thought he was far too indulgent as a performer. ALW was right that he loved himself more than the song. Given that this isn't the first TV talent show he's been on I would suggest that he's more interested in some kind of singing career than an acting one. I'm sure he did want the prize though. Ultimately though he didn't get enough votes to save him which gave ALW the chance to axe him- the nature of the beast.
Secondly- please spellcheck your blog. It makes it hard to read. - tomsmith||24 Jul 12|
|Yes, this was handled poorly - he should have been spoken to ages ago and told to zip it. That said, I hadn't been following the contestants on twitter until last night. After Lord Webber's ill timed outburst I decided to follow Nathan who has obviously not heeded a word of advice. Advice that will no doubt have been passed on to him throughout the course of the programme. Anyone with any sense would not tweet in the way Nathan has. Yes he's young but, at 23 you are old enough to know better. Goodness, I work with people the same age (I am a doctor) who behave with a MUCH higher level of maturity. Unless he learns a certain degree of humility I imagine there a some who would steer clear of working with Nathan - he really should think of the longing term.... - Claire||24 Jul 12|
|The tweeting issue with Nathan I felt was dealt with in a very unprofessional manner. It should have been a discussion with the producer backstage not a public castigation obviously designed to get him off the competition. He also performed pretty well considering the awful song choice. Roger was competant but not inspiring tonight but I'd still feel happier that he is capable of the role more than Rory or David. Why is David still there - he really isn't right for the role and his dancing during the Gary Barlow number only reaffirmed how wrong he would be. Rory is a singer and I always thought you needed an actor who could sing for (or at least a singer who could act) for the role of Jesus. I wouldn't pay to see either David or Rory in the role. Finally Ben, who doesn't seem to have mcuh competition any more - he is the only one left who could truely handle the role - both the singing and acting. But will the audience put thim through. Please note he is the only one left not to have been in the bottom 2! I've stuck with the show but have to say am finding it very tedious. Roll on Wednesday when it's all over. - Helen||24 Jul 12|
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