In the first of four live shows, Damien was the first of the six acts to be eliminated as the United Kingdom began in earnest the search for its Eurovision performer.
The show began with a shot of the studio orchestra. Host and new contest commentator, Graham Norton, introduced the six finalists and then an awkward looking Andrew Lloyd Webber. Before singing their own songs, all the finalists teamed up to sing Waterloo. Graham then explained the voting procedure; all the acts would perform, the phone lines would open and the bottom two acts would be in the ‘Dangerzone’, where Andrew Lloyd Webber would save one and the other would leave the show. With him to comment on the songs would be 1969 Eurovision Song Contest winner, Lulu and choreographer, Arlene Phillips, known to UK viewers as one of the judges on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.
Emperors of Soul had drawn the short straw and performed first. They sang Love Train by The O’Jays wearing matching grey suits and black ties, but in different colour shirts. The harmonies were slightly off but the dance routine was slick and they generated a good response from the audience. Andrew said he liked it but was worried that the style of song hadn’t been tested in The Eurovision Song Contest. Arlene thought they were a complete package as an act.
Mark was up next. He sang Your Game by Will Young and gave a very confident performance with a lot of smiles. Andrew thought he was charismatic while Lulu said it was what a performance should be.
The youngest of the acts, Charlotte, bravely sang Kelly Clarkson’s Because of You. Her performance was confident if a little croaky. Her stage presence needs some work. Andrew was pleased she had got this far as it was touch and go before Christmas whether or not she would let nerves get the better of her and drop out.
Damien sang How Am I Supposed To Live Without You? by Michael Bolton. He was very professional and the song gave him a chance to showcase his strong voice. Andrew said he connected with the words and was a safe pair of hands, but lacked a bit of charisma.
The Twins unsurprisingly wore matching dresses. The harmonies were good but their voices were not really tested during their song, James Taylor’s You’ve Got a Friend. Andrew said he thought the public could fall in love with them but questioned if it could work in Moscow. Arlene said their voices are not the strongest but the act works.
Finally, it was jade singing Déjà vu by Beyonce. Her outfit wouldn’t have looked out of place in a swimming pool but she was very confident. Backed by four dancers, she worked the camera well and danced and sang very competently. The one to beat? Andrew said it was the best first performance he has seen in a show of this type while Arlene said she is the new Beyonce. Jade is better than that, surely?
After announcing that the phone lines were open, Graham briefly interviewed the six hopefuls and Andrew. Then, a big announcement. Every song needs a lyric and Andrew broke the news that American songwriter Diane Warren, who has written for many major names, would write the lyrics.
There was a film of the females meeting Andrew so that he could learn more about each of the singers voices for when he writes the song. After this, they went on stage together and performed One Rock ‘n Roll Too Many from Starlight Express. Then it was the turn of the boys to meet Andrew for the voice session. They then returned to the stage to sing No Matter What. Earlier in the week, Andrew and Lulu took the six acts to the O2 Arena to give them experience of a big auditorium. Some coped better than others. The Twins struggled more than anyone.
While the votes were being counted, Lemar entertained the studio audience and the viewers at home with Weight of the World.
Then, the moment of truth. Jade was the first to learn her fate, she was safe. Mark and the Emperors of Soul were then told they were safe. Damien was told he was in the ‘Dangerzone’. Step forward The Twins and Charlotte, Charlotte was told she was joining Damien in the ‘Dangerzone’. Andrew then had to make his difficult decision. Keeping it refreshingly brief for this type of show, he decided to eliminate Damien because he felt Charlotte had come a long way and would learn more as the weeks progress.
Next Saturday will see the dreams of another act vanish.