Every year West End Eurovision is one of the highlights during the run-up to ESC. The unique and spectacular show—the proceeds of which support people living with chronic illnesses—sees the casts of several West End shows perform their own versions of Eurovision Song Contest hits, replete with their own glitzy costumes and choreography. This year’s show took place last Thursday—nearly a week after Eurovision. Even so, the sequins were still blinding and London’s West End stars were totes shining!
The night started at nearly midnight with the cast of WE WILL ROCK YOU performing a medley of British Eurovision hits, complete with an LED screen and cracking costume changes. Along with Strictly Come Dancer and occasional Wizard of Oz Russell Grant, this year’s judging panel also included television personalities Jodie Prenger—winner of BBC 1’s talent search for Oliver’s Nancy—and X Factor finalist and Celebrity Big Brother winner Rylan Clark.
The ten West End shows that participated this year were: SPAMALOT, BILLY ELLIOT, WICKED, ROCK OF AGES, ONCE, VIVA FOREVER, TOP HAT, MAMMA MIA!, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and A CHORUS LINE. Bonnie Langford, who was rumoured to be in the running to represent the U.K. at Eurovision this year, was part of the cast of SPAMALOT, and she brought the house down with her full splits. Here’s the cast performing the 1981 Portuguese entry “Playback”:
West End favourite Richard Gauntlett hosted the show with Sinitta, Christopher Biggins, Kerry Ellis, Ben Richards and Gok Wan. Eurovision commentator Graham Norton was spotted in the stalls, as well as other celebrities and several bloggers from WiwiBloggs.com. It’s great to see such a large turnout for a good cause. Here’s the cast of A CHORUS LINE performing the Buranovskiye Babushki’s “Party for Everybody”:
Other Eurovision songs performed last night included Euphoria (Sweden 2012), Hard Rock Hallelujah (Finland 2006), This Is The Night (Malta 2012), I Can (UK 2011), and Genghis Khan (Germany 1970). The winning entry was All Kinds Of Everything (Ireland, 1970) performed by the cast of Once. They also won the creative award for their staging and presentation. Just like the main contest, there are postcards introducing each entry. It’s worth showing up for those alone! Here’s Mamma Mia’s postcard, my favourite one.
While the votes were being calculated Katrina Leskanich of Katrina and the Waves had the honours of being this year’s interval act. Her rendition of ‘Love Shine A Light’ had over 2000 fans buzzing with pure ESC joy. That she had the power to draw such a big crowd surely had the Make A Difference Trust—the charity that benefits from the evening—‘Walking on Sunshine’!
The night ended with an after party that went on till 6am. This is one Eurovision night not to be missed.