YET again, Andrew Lloyd Webber has got the right person for the job after his latest TV search for a West End star.
Understudy Lee Mead was always the leading man among the finalists in BBC1’s Any Dream Will Do.
Like Maria winner Connie Fisher, he had that necessary mix of experience and talent to head the cast of a major stage musical.
And while Lloyd Webber had no casting vote in the final, he had reduced the risks of the wrong man getting the job in earlier rounds.
That left Lee, 25, as a firm favourite to win on Saturday night when a total of three million votes were cast by viewers.
“I feel incredible,” said Lee. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Lewis Bradley, 18, looked shocked to be voted out in third place – but at least got the chance for a final moment in the spotlight via Close Every Door.
That was denied runner-up Keith Jack, 19, who said: “Obviously I’m gutted to come so close, but hopefully this won’t be the last that people will see of me.”
In the end, Lewis and Keith were, perhaps, a little young and inexperienced to make that big step just yet…but both have bright futures.
The far more polished BBC1 show yet again left ITV1’s disappointing Grease Is The Word trailing in the ratings.
An average of 6.6m people watched the main Any Dream show with 7.9m for the results and a peak of 8.5m.
By contrast, ITV1’s rival search for two West End stars averaged just 4m viewers, with a peak of 4.9m.
Lee, who played Pharoah in a previous Joseph production, now starts rehearsals for the musical at London’s Adeplhi Theatre.
Opening night is July 17, but previews begin on July 6 – and I’ve got tickets for one of the first performances.
Having seen previous productions of Any Dream Will Do in both Manchester and the West End, I can’t wait to see Lee taking the lead.
I’ll report back here next month.
*Lee’s version of Any Dream Will Do features on a new charity single in aid of Children In Need.
Also including the finalists singing Close Every Door, it’s available for download from tomorrow (Tue June 12) and in the shops next Monday (June 18).
Click here for more details.
Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat