NBC's 'Grease: You're the One That I Want' adds two more finalists
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/29/2007
The field of hopefuls grew by two on Sunday night's Grease: You're the One That I Want, as the 14 contestants sang and danced during the NBC reality competition series' first live performance episode to determine who will ultimately play the leads of Danny and Sandy in a Broadway production of Grease this summer.
Joining the group of 12 finalists were Matt Nolan, a 22-year-old professional sports publicist from Rockville Centre, NY, and Ashley Anderson, a 21-year-old waitress from Nashville, TN. Both had previously been eliminated during the "Grease Academy" portion of the series, which yielded the original top 12 finalists during last week's broadcast. "Everyone deserves a second chance," David Ian, the theater producer who is producing this summer's Broadway revival and also serving as a judge on the NBC series, said after Anderson and Nolan's return was revealed.
Nolan sang "Pretty Women," and Anderson performed "You're Still the One." While Kathleen Marshall, who is choreographing and directing Grease, told both that they "look great," she added they better be ready to "go for broke" during their performances since they are receiving a second chance.
The other 12 finalists, 6 Dannys and 6 Sandys, also each performed during the two-hour live episode, which featured original Sandy Olivia Newton-John as an advisor for the contestants. Following the episode, America was able to cast votes for their favorite finalists, and the results will be revealed on Sunday, February 11 in another two-hour episode beginning at 7PM ET/PT on NBC (due to next week's Super Bowl broadcast on CBS, Grease's second live episode won't air for two weeks). After the results of America's voting are revealed at the beginning of the episode, the remaining contestants will once again perform.
After the contestants performed, the show revealed that Tony Award winning composer and producer Andrew Lloyd Webber will make a special guest appearance on Grease's second live episode. Webber and Ian have previously worked together on How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, a British reality competition series that served as the basis of NBC's Grease.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? aired on the BBC last summer and documented the search for a musical theatre performer to play the role of Maria von Trapp in their 2006 stage production of The Sound of Music at London's Palladium Theater. Connie Fisher, 23, was chosen as its winner, and the success of the series led to the BBC giving the greenlight to Any Dream Will Do, a search for the entire main cast for an upcoming production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The series is scheduled to air on the BBC this summer.