Over The Rainbow – Danielle, you are Dorothy

Last night’s grand finale of Over The Rainbow on BBC One saw Danielle triumph in the public vote and win the role of Dorothy in the new West End production of The Wizard of Oz. One-year-old Mini Schnauzer Dave pawed the coveted Toto role.

Immediately after landing the role Danielle said: “I really don’t think that thank you is enough, to the crew, everyone backstage, the panel, Andrew, the amazing public, everyone who comes here every week supporting us and the people at home. It really feels like it’s not enough but thanks to the girls, friends for life!”

Legendary composer and producer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, had, for the first time in the series, no say in the choosing of his new leading lady as viewers voted to select their Dorothy. He was thrilled with the public’s choice saying: “I’m really pleased with the result, the nation has never got it wrong and now is where the hard work begins. You acted that part from your very soul, that’s very very special.”

Over the course of a tense and dramatic evening, Danielle performed alongside fellow finalists Lauren and Sophie, who all set out to prove to the public that they had the voice and acting ability to become a West End leading lady.

After an opening performance of the Wizard Of Oz Medley, each finalist performed a solo and a trio performance with the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man. The eight Dorothys no longer in the competition also performed Empire State Of Mind by Alicia Keys.

After performing their songs and receiving the usual round of feedback from Andrew Lloyd Webber and the expert panel of Sheila Hancock, Charlotte Church and John Partridge, the Dorothys faced an anxious wait to find out who was in third place.

At the end of the first live show, Lauren Samuels received the fewest votes, meaning she would not be Dorothy.

On hearing the announcement Lauren said: “I’ve learned so much about myself as a performer and as a person. I’ve made some incredible friends, friends for life. I just want to say a massive thank you to Andrew, the panel and to all the backstage crew, hair, make up, everybody. It’s just been fantastic.”

Andrew commented: “I’d be proud to work with you – you know my number and I know yours, so we’ll be in touch!”

In the second live show of the evening, the two remaining finalists – Sophie Evans and Danielle Hope – both performed Over The Rainbow, as well as their favourite songs of the series – Reflection by Christina Aguilera for Sophie and Mambo Italiano by Rosemary Clooney for Danielle.

It was then time for Graham to announce that Danielle had won the competition and would be taking the lead role in the Wizard Of Oz, leaving Sophie in second place.

Sophie said after the show: “I’m just feeling that ther’’s a future out there for me, Dorothy obviously wasn’t the role for me and I wish Danielle the absolute best of luck in the world. It’s been the best opportunity, the best training and I wouldn’t change it for the world, we are all friends for life, this isn’t the end!”

As well as announcing our winning Dorothy, it was also revealed that Dangerous Dave had won the role of Toto and would be playing him in a one-off gala performance.

Rachel Owen, Dave’s owner, commented on the win: “I am over the moon and so glad he has won. He really deserves it as he is such a little doggie superstar! He’s so laid back, that things don’t tend to get to him, but who knows, if he starts getting a few fans, it may go to his head and he might develop a certain strut to his walk! I think he’ll be very popular on his daily walks.”

Dave added: “Woof”.

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