Superstar: Meet the final ten contestants! Who will become Jesus?

Superstar

The Superstar finalists have been revealed, and from tomorrow they'll be singing LIVE for your votes in a bid to become Jesus.

The rock singers are all fighting it out to play the lead role in an Arena adaption of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar musical.

Meet the lucky 10 below!

Ben Foster

Ben grew up in Sunderland with his family in the 80’s; it was a mining town that was hit hard economically so times were tough growing up. At school Ben remembers his music teacher Mrs Bennett who was a real inspiration to him. She realised Ben’s potential and encouraged him to perform; she introduced him to The National Youth Theatre and eventually the Italia Conti stage school. Stage school gave Ben the opportunity to get his first West End gig - performing in Le Cava and also as Doody in Grease a few years later. A short stint on a cruise ship and back-to-back gigs helped build Ben’s confidence. Ben then appeared on The X Factor in 2009 making it through to Boot Camp but that’s where that journey ended. He was making money from performing and so decided to turn his hand to property. He bought his first flat and renovated it himself, knocking down walls and designing plans.

Jeff Anderson

Born and bred in Newtonards, a town about 10 miles from Belfast, Jeff still lives with his parents. Both parents enjoy singing and Jeff remembers many occasions listening to his Dad sing /playing the guitar whilst his mum harmonised to the songs.
From a young age Jeff’s two biggest loves in life have been music and rugby. He used to travel to London to hang around the stage door at Les Miserables in the hope of seeing the cast while also having trials for the Irish rugby teams. By the time Jeff was 19 he had dislocated the same shoulder 22 times playing rugby and it was then that he realised he would never pursue a career in the sport, so he had to put the dream to bed, but luckily this allowed him to concentrate on music.
Jeff had always sung and taught himself to play the guitar when he was just 11. After finishing school, Jeff formed a band ‘Wanted Alive’, the boys’ practise three times a week and play a mix of hard rock and pop rock. Jeff starred as Jean Val Jean in a student production of Les Miserables and then in 2011 he joined a local Operatic Society where he took on the title role in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar and it was there that he fell in love with the music.

Nathan James

Nathan grew up in Reading with his parents and four siblings and has always been the only one in the family to show an interest in performing. Nathan admits he was never really academic and his real passion was with performing, he joined a boy’s choir and then a local theatre group where at the age of 16 he played Simon in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar and this was the first time he heard the soundtrack which he fell in love with.

He enrolled in a Performing Arts course at college, and at 17 he left college and got a job working as a Blue Coat in a holiday park in Devon. From here he got a job singing in bars in Tenerife, which then lead on to singing on a cruise ship for 6 months. On returning from the cruise ship, Nathan got a job on a UK rock tour of a show called Route 66 and toured for two months singing Aerosmith and Bon Jovi songs. Nathan’s next big gig was getting a part in the UK tour of Thriller Live, the Michael Jackson tribute show. He loved singing to crowded theatres night after night and since the tour finished last year he has been constantly busy with solo gigs and performances in the UK and abroad with The Rock Tenors and West End star Kerry Ellis.

Niall Sheehy

Niall grew up in a small sea-side town called Bray just outside of Dublin where he lived with his Mum, Dad and two sisters. They are a close knit family and he describes his father as “the funniest man in the world” and his mum as “pure entertainment.” Niall now lives in London but goes back home as often as he can. At school, Niall was told he always talked too much. He was always singing and entertaining in the house and was entered into his first vocal competition at the age of 7. In 2007 Niall auditioned for the TV show Any Dream Will Do. David Grindrod told him to go away and get some training. So aged 26, Niall applied for Mount View College in London and secured a place where he studied for a year but it took a while to land his first West End gig. He was living in London on a budget, juggling part time jobs in various bars as it was proving difficult to break into the industry. He had auditioned for Wicked three times before he was given the opportunity to cover the main male lead. From here Niall got a role in the UK tour of Spamalot and then he saw the advert for Superstar. On getting through the first round, Niall decided he would have to take a gamble and leave Spamalot for an uncertain opportunity

Afnan Iftikhar

Afnan was born in Lahore, Pakistan where he lived with his parents and sister until he was 9 years old, he then moved with his family to Newcastle. His main hobby as a child was cricket – he played for many teams and imagined he’d be a professional cricketer when he was older. In high school he and his friends started a band and played a few gigs. The band fizzled out but Afnan discovered that he was happiest when he was performing. He loved the thrill of singing for a crowd so applied to Northumbria University where he studied performance in acting, singing and dancing. He taught himself to play the guitar and drums and joined another band called Back Seat Angel. His love of rock music grew – influenced by bands such as Led Zeppelin, Audioslave and Muse. It wasn’t until university that Afnan discovered musical theatre, his mentor gave him a couple of CD’s to listen to and one of them was Steve Balsamo’s version of Gethsemane. On hearing the song for the first time knew he wanted to play that role.

Simon Gordon

Trying to break into the West End has been a difficult decision for Dundee law student Simon Gordon, 21. ‘If I win, my studies will be put to one side because I want a career in music. But my dad, who’s a businessman, thinks it’s a distraction,’ he says quietly. ‘He wants to make sure I have a bit of security.’ The part-time wedding singer has performed in musical theatre since he was five and knows this is a big opportunity that also carries risks. ‘If you do something wrong it could have a big effect on the rest of your career – and mine hasn’t even started yet!’

David Hunter

David is originally from Warrington in Cheshire. His Dad was in a ‘Dad Band’ and his sister is a dance teacher, David claims she inspired him to be what he is today.
David remembers being shy at school and even nicknamed his group of friends “the drama geeks.” But he came to life in drama lessons because this was where he was most confident. David left Warrington at the age of 18 to attend performing arts school LIPA. He came straight out of there and joined a Manchester based band called Reemer. With David as the lead singer, the band toured the UK with McFly, The Feeling and Scouting For Girls, playing to arenas of 20,000 people. Sadly, the other boys in the group decided the rock and roll life style wasn’t for them and the group disbanded and David was left to fend for himself. He went away and wrote his own music and set up his own Open Mike night in a bar in Warrington. Despite his stint in a band, David actually considers acting to be his first profession. After the band broke up, he took time to concentrate on his acting and won various roles including a stint in the West End’s One Man, Two Guvnors

Adam Weldon

Performance is in the blood of 44-year-old Adam Weldon from Stourbridge in the West Midlands. His parents, Michel Henri and Carol Anne, are ex-world pair ice-skating champions who performed in America for much of his childhood. But a car crash when he was eight dashed his hopes of following in his parents’ footsteps. ‘I was in plaster up to my thigh for nine months,’ Adam says, ‘so I decided to learn the guitar.’

Adam’s interest in music continued into adulthood. He won an episode of talent show New Faces in 1986 and performed as a cruise singer for two decades. But three years ago he lost the ability to sing, and doctors found a large lump on his vocal cords. ‘I knew it could be cancerous,’ he says. ‘When the doctors decided they had to operate, I was told I might lose my voice for good.’ Fortunately, that didn’t happen and after taking 18 months to gain the confidence to sing again, Adam performed for the first time in front of Andrew for his first Jesus audition. ‘It was life-changing,’ he admits. ‘Andrew has been very nurturing with me.’

Dirk Johnston

Dirk is an actor and singer based in Berlin. He was born to Scottish parents in Germany, where he spent most of his childhood years along with his two brothers and sister. As a child his family moved around frequently for his parents work; moving to Bath, Stirling and then to Munich all in the space of 3 years as a young teen. As a consequence of moving around Dirk had to be the ‘new boy’ at school more often than not, which made it difficult to settle, but Dirk feels Scottish at heart and thinks of Scotland as his home - his parents live in Crieff.

Dirk was always very energetic at school and his teachers pushed him to channel his energy into performing. He was cast as one of the brothers in Joseph, he performed in Guys & Dolls as Nicely-Nicely Johnson and was cast as the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, for which he received rave reviews. Dirk was even awarded for his contributions to theatre by his school, receiving a school honours tie normally reserved for sporting achievements.

Roger Wright

Roger is a born and bred East Londoner, and has always had a creative streak, even from a young age. Roger grew up performing at school, singing and listening to music and knew early on that he wanted to do something creative with his life. After leaving school Roger won a modelling competition hosted by Just17 magazine and was quickly picked up by international modelling agency ‘Models1’. Roger enjoyed success internationally as a model; and did film shoots for music videos, TV commercials and graced the catwalk in fashion shows.

During his modelling career, Roger harboured a desire to become a successful recording artist, so he formed a pop group with his brother called Fresh. They signed a recording contract with 'East West' records and released two singles 'Feel My Rhythm' and 'Did I say Ti Amo.'. He then ended up back in modelling and on a casting session walked into the wrong room where they were casting for a new musical called Hot Stuff and won the lead role. Other musicals followed and he then landed his biggest role as Simba in the first tour of

Rory Taylor

Rory grew up with his Mum, Dad and three brothers in Liverpool. From a young age Rory remembers listening to Elton John, Queen and Genesis cassettes in his parent’s car and believes this is where his love for music began. Rory spent much of his early teenage life in and out of bands. As a kid Rory and his three brothers would jam at home, one on guitar, piano and the other on drums. They soon realised they could make a nice sound so a string of different bands were formed with his brothers.

Rory is the lead singer in a band called 54321. He sings with his cousin and three brothers. They are a resident band at The Cavern Club in Liverpool where they perform every Sunday. They are unsigned, so record and produce all of their own music in their self-built studio in their parent’s back garden. Rory took time to discover the world of musical theatre and joined a theatre group. He was often cast in lead roles these included; the Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz and Seymour in Little Shop Of Horrors.

Tim Prottey-Jones

Tim lives in the heart of Birmingham with his wife of two years and their cat called Sausage. He started piano lessons at the age of 7 and would get frustrated that he had to learn “boring classical songs” when all he wanted to do was play cool pop songs like Queen or make up his own. When asked to sing in his piano lessons, Tim refused realising he had a real phobia about singing in public. A friend played him Steve Balsamo’s version of Gethsemane and having heard it once, Tim took the CD and locked himself in his room to learn it. He had often worried about his voice because it was high and a bit “abnormal.” But hearing Steve Balsamo his opinion changed

He works as a co-ordinator for a children’s music charity called ‘Sounded Out.’ where he runs projects for young people organising fund raising, working with schools, young offenders and in local communities.

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