Very interesting watching Artsville tonight: a behind-the-scenes at the Lexus Songquest documentary. The synopsis promised it would be 'warts and all' but there really wasn't very much trauma. After all, criticism from La Bumbry was part of the deal, and as in the public masterclasses, nothing she said (on camera at least) was unnecessarily harsh. Apparently she did say some rather scary things during singers' interviews with her - but even that was with the purpose of getting more out of them on the night. She's a tough woman, is Grace Ann, but she knows what she's doing. (Obviously.)
But the wondrous Grace aside, it was nice to see some of the singers as themselves. The documentary followed six semi-finalists, two of whom (Matt Landreth and Paloma Bruce) didn't make it to the finals, and four of whom did - Penelope Muir, Madeleine Pierard, Jamie Frater and Allison Cormack. Once we got to the finals, they also focused on Joanna Heslop, but strangely enough Robert Tucker barely appeared at all. I can only imagine - and hope - this was a decision on his part, not a directorial one. It was also a good chance to hear a couple of these singers again too. The clip of Paloma Bruce singing 'Donde lieta usci' sounded infinitely better than it did on radio - good to know - and I fell for Allison Cormack all over again. If she plays her cards right I really do think Allison has a shot at serious stardom. On the other hand I have to confess I was no more impressed by Joanna Heslop than I was on the night. I think there's a lot of potential, yes, but a lot of work to be done. Maybe that's just me.
So anyway, yes, an interesting if not particularly in-depth behind-the-scenes view. What I'd really like of course is something feature-length along the lines of Spellbound. Now that would be brilliant.