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Superstar blog: Opening show auditions

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So, the search for Jesus - the lead role in JCS has begun. Well, it started a while back but it is now being televised.

The first show was a bit of a rushed job which was quite difficult to get involved with emotionally, as the 'narrative' never lingered on anything/anyone in particular. There were times when it resembled a trailer for a bigger/better show. But if you are looking for familiar 'characters' from previous talent shows, you are in the right place.

There's a builder declaring that he "has the raw talent." This is reminscent of Any Dream Will Do with Rob the builder. There's also a young John Barrowman lookalike. Unlike The Voice and other BBC talent shows, as this is ITV, we do get to see many of the bad singers as well as the good. The show revels in the paint stripping singers, as this is the home to X Factor after all.

The Judges for the pre-recorded auditions are Melanie C (honest but plays the "He's hot" card every five minutes), Jason Donovan (an intense judge but again tells it like it is) and casting director David Grindrod (acting like The Lord's spy). For a first show, this is the most surprising element as these three work very well together. Although I am longing to see an section whereby Jason Donovan tells someone their voice is reedy. Oh the irony!

Andrew Lloyd Webber sits backstage with headphones own looking at a monitor and frowning a great deal - giving way to many unintentionally funny moments, as you try and decode his facial expressions. Does he like this one, detest this one, or is he dying to go to the loo?

Every show needs a villain and former G4 star and 'the man' on a recent tour of Whistle Down the Wind - Jonathan Ansell suits the role that ITV have given him. To be a moustache twirling villain in a talent show like this on ITV - it helps if you are posh, tick. It also helps if you have lied or withheld information from the judges. Tick.

Whizzing through the auditions at light speed means that we at home feel slightly disconnected from the proceedings. Even the future host of the show - Amanda Holden is only heard and not seen. She acts as a link woman at this stage and I'm sure the show will improve when it's live - but for the moment it's all a bit cliched and washes over you.

There's the odd surprise though. As soon as someone is introduced as a holiday entertainer - you may as well cue the canned laughter. But here John Moses does a very good job of delivering "Empty Chairs, Empty Tables" from Les Mis and brings genuine emotion.

A former Voice contestant Nathan James pops up and mentions that he has "good hair." If this were a Loreal ad, he'd get the job right there as I'm sure he's worth it. But in this show, he's entered as part of a band The Rock Tenors. So, you know the aim will be to split them up. And sure enough, one goes home - the cocky one.

Fans of Alex Gaumond and Whatsonstage Northwest regular Stephen Fletcher may have caught a blink and you'll miss 'em clip of them. But they have either been edited out or may pop up in future episodes. I hope so, as it's always nice to see performers you have paid to see being told they don't have what it takes, even though they have been on stage for years.

Tomorrow we go to Superstar Island. Considering there are 40 Jesus Christs, methinks they'll need a bigger boat.


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