Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 12:13 UK

Niamh's West End dream still alive

Niamh Perry
Bangor schoolgirl Niamh Perry is one of the remaining finalists

A Northern Ireland teenager is clinging onto her West End dream after being dramatically saved from the axe on a BBC talent show.

Bangor girl Niamh Perry finished in the bottom two on the show I'd Do Anything, where contestants are battling it out for the role of Nancy in a new production of Oliver!

But the 17-year-old impressed judge Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber who gave her another chance.

Niamh, one of two would-be Nancy's from Northern Ireland, is classically voice trained, and sang solo at the opening of Belfast's Grand Opera House.

During Saturday night's live BBC show, all eight Nancy finalists had to perform solo renditions of contemporary numbers, chosen to show viewers that they have the skill and charisma for one of the most challenging roles in musical theatre.

Niamh, an A-Level student at Our Lady and St Patrick's College, Knock, performed a rendition of Valerie, the Zutons song made famous by Amy Winehouse.

However, she received less than favourable comments from the panel of judges of John Barrowman, Denise Van Outen and Barry Humphries.

Niamh and follow contestant Keisha Amponsa-Banson got the least number of votes from the public and they went head to head in a sing-off.

Rachel Tucker
Rachel Tucker from Belfast trained at the Royal Academy of Music

But after both performed The Rose by Bette Middler, Lloyd Webber stepped in to save Niamh,

Lloyd Webber said: "First, I am going to say this is a complete and utter travesty, neither of you should be in the bottom two, it's completely wrong.

"Keisha, you did wonderfully tonight. I've been put into a situation that I have never wanted to be in. For the first time on a television show, I am angry.

"But I'm going to have to go with the majority of the panel and I'm going to save Niamh."

The remaining hopefuls now go on to next week's show where they will again perform for the nation.

They include Rachel Tucker, 26, from Belfast, who trained at the Royal Academy of Music and currently works for a company that employs out of work actors.

Rachel is a keen painter and decorator and enjoys sport. Rachel once worked for her brother as a fish fryer but ended up smelling of fish for days after!

Jessie Buckley, 18, from County Kerry in the Republic of Ireland is also among the handful of finalists left in the programme.

She has been performing since she was seven, when she starred in a school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She plays four instruments and is delighted to be in the final.

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13 Mar 08 |  Entertainment
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14 Mar 08 |  Entertainment
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01 Feb 08 |  Entertainment
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21 Dec 07 |  Entertainment


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