Lee Mead

Lee Mead

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Yet another winner of a reality TV talent show, this time the Andrew Lloyd Webber inspired search for a newcomer to play the lead role in his 2007 West End production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a role made famous in the early '90s by Jason Donovan and Phillip Schofield although the show had been successfully running on and off since the late '60s, mainly as a school production. Lee Mead emerged the outright winner of Any Dream Will Do and began the nightly appearances as Joseph. How could Lee Mead have won over the doubters on his debut self-titled album? If he'd recorded an album of Broadway show favorites, he'd have had people claiming that he was simply a younger version of Michael Ball or Michael Crawford or any number of singers who concentrated on that genre. Instead, he came up with an album that includes a mixture of new songs, "Why Can't We Make Things Work," "You and Me," and "When I Need You the Most," written by a resurgent Gary Barlow, and cover versions ranging from the rocking "Paint It Black," originally by the Rolling Stones (although Mead tones down the snarling Mick Jagger vocals and pares the song back to the sort of music that wouldn't sound out of place in an Indian restaurant), to R&B with "Stronger," originally by the Sugababes, to ballads, "Make It with You" (Bread) and "How Can I Be Sure" (Rascals/Dusty Springfield/David Cassidy). The album closes with the one show business track, the inevitable "Any Dream Will Do." Unfortunately, the album starts out with the weakest track, which sets the scene for the album as a whole, as he attempted to cover "Gonna Make You a Star," a defining moment in the career of David Essex, and how could anybody listen to that song's third verse and not hear the spoken line "I don't fink so" in the broadest of Cockney accents? Even if, in the case of Lee Mead's version, it wasn't there?

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