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Last Updated: Monday, 7 August 2006, 00:15 GMT 01:15 UK
Sound of Music finalists revealed
Graham Norton and the finalists
The finalists will sing live in the show, hosted by Graham Norton
The 10 singers who will compete for the lead role in a West End production of The Sound of Music, via a BBC talent show, have been revealed.

The contestants on How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? will include police intelligence officer Laura Sicurello, 26, and waitress Helena Blackman, 23.

But Emilie Alford, 22, who made the final 10 on Saturday night's show, has withdrawn from the competition.

The finalists will compete for public votes in a live weekly show on BBC One.

Fashion student Siobhan Dillon, 21, will take the place vacated by Ms Alford, who decided she did not want to be a stage singer.

Professionals and amateurs

A mixture of classically trained performers and amateurs have made it through to the last stages of the competition.

Both Aoife Mulholland, 28, from Ireland and Abi Finley, 23, are studying for an MA in Acting and Musical Theatre at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

They are joined by Turkish-Cypriot student Meliz Serman, 23, who had never before auditioned for a West End show, and Leanne Dobinson, 20, who taught herself to sing in four foreign languages by borrowing CDs from her local library.

Julie Andrews on the set of The Sound of Music
The role of Maria was made famous by Julie Andrews
Other contestants include voice coach Belinda Evans, 28, classically trained call centre operator Connie Fisher, 23, and Romanian actress Simona Armstrong, 28.

The 10 finalists were chosen through a series of open auditions, judged by Lord Lloyd Webber and a panel of experts.

They will now sing live - and face a public vote - every Saturday in the BBC talent competition, hosted by Graham Norton.

The eventual winner will star in a new West End production of the Sound Of Music, which debuts at the London Palladium on 3 November 2006. The role of Maria von Trapp was made famous by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film version of The Sound of Music.

Based on a musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, it won five Oscars including best picture.


SEE ALSO
Johansson denies West End demands
27 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
Norton leads TV search for Maria
03 Apr 06 |  Entertainment

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