All Together Now – Interview with 1 of the 100 – Georg Tormann
All Together Now – Meet Georg Tormann – 1 of the 100 Judges:
All Together Now is the latest singing competition to hit Saturday Night Prime time. This is BBC1’s latest offering and the premise is that the contestant sings to 100 judges. If the judges like what they hear they press their button, stand up and join in! The more that join in the higher the score. The top score each week goes through to the final and then 2nd and 3rd sing off to join them.
Georg Tormann is one of the 100 and in episode 1 we heard a lot from Georg and exactly what he thought of each contestant. I caught up with Georg to find out more about him, the show and of course chat all things musical theatre!
I first of all asked Georg about his background. Viewers will know that he is a teacher a the famous Brit School which schooled stars such as Adele and Amy Winehouse as well as many of our musical theatre stars such as Stuart Matthew Price.
Georg has been teaching at the Brit school since 2001 as well as bring a private singing teacher in London. Prior to his teaching career he did a music degree at Goldsmiths University. He started playing jazz piano in restaurants, touring with opera companies. His opera career started at Holland Park and lead to him touring round the UK and US. He then had children and decided that he didn’t want to tour anymore so started teaching. He put an advert in ‘The Stage’ which was seen by a university friend who called him up and told him that they were looking for singing teachers at the Brit School. The rest, as they say, is history.
His journey to appearing on the TV show started with a text message from an unknown number. It simply said ‘Hi. Would you like to be a judge on a new TV singing show?’ Georg, thinking it was possibly a scam didn’t reply straight away but luckily for him he later replied asking for more information. He then got a call from the same number, still thinking he was going to be scammed, Georg picked up. It was only when they told him that they had seen Georg on the Brit School website that he thought it may be genuine. Following this he got the formal BBC/Endamol branded letter to arrange Georg going to the studios. In his meeting he was asked to critique a few performances from past talent shows and sing himself. Georg’s first song was ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin,’ but he was then asked to sing some opera and he proceeded to sing some Puccini for them (without a warm up!). After nailing the top B flat the casting assistant informed him that it blew her head off!
The first meeting was back in April 2017. He was then asked to film the pilot in Manchester. It was during the shooting of the pilot he was told that he was going to be one of the featured judges along with Doc Voice who taught Sam Smith to sing, Tina T who is a leading Tina Tuner tribute act, Charlie Healy who was in the band ‘The Risk,’ Nathaniel who has just come out of Five Guys Named Moe, and Mr Fabulous who is a choir director and a YouTube star to name a few, overall an eclectic bunch!! After they had finished shooting the pilot Georg waled past a glass room where the executives were, champagne was being drunk and he got a thumbs up from the Producer….a few months later he got an email saying the show had been commissioned!
About 20 of the judges from the pilot returned along with a lot of other big personalities to form the rest of the judges including James Lomas, the original Billy Elliott in the West End and of course Geri Horner. One contestant from the pilot was also brought back as a judge, classical singer Harry Kersley who sang somewhere from West Side Story.
The show was shot in a cold Manchester in November. The coaches left each morning at 7:30am to go 2 blocks as they were not allowed to be seen in their show outfits before the show was aired. Shooting started at 8am until 10:30pm for a week and a half. The opening sequence was shot outside, it was around 1 degree and blankets and hand warmers were supplied so in between takes they would get thrown blankets. Georg’s shot was left right to the end with Simon in his wheelchair and Harry at the front. It was midnight and the general public kept on walking across the bridge, meaning there had to be a lot of takes all in the freezing cold.
In regards to their show outfits for All Together Now, they all had to develop their own look and show their outfit to the wardrobe department to get their approval. Luckily Georg’s professional look, suited and booted, got the thumbs up each time!
The week before the shooting they were given 3 days of rehearsals to learn over 150 songs, or at least 1 minute of it!! Rehearsals were short and tight with around 5 minutes on each song. Eventually with all the musical talent around and everyone adding a harmony line they were told not too add too many harmonies to keep it sounding clean. By day 3 of filming All Together Now, singing songs in the key for the opposite sex and no individual monitors resulted in some tired voices, but as you see in Episode 2 Georg was on had to help warm up the judges.
The judges realised early on that what was most important was if the contestants deserve their vote that they got it. However occasionally the pressing of the button may be delayed until it reaches a point in the song that they are able to join in with (think backing vocals in the chorus).
One criticism that has been levied at All Together Now is that all that matters is song choice. Georg strongly denies this. He says no matter how popular the song is, if it doesn’t suit the contestants voice or they don’t connect with the song, the judges won’t stand up. Georg hopes that this will become more obvious as the weeks go on. In week one Georg said to a contestant that he would love to work with him as a vocal coach, whilst they have not been allowed to contact each other until after the show has aired they have since been in contact and he will be coming to see Georg for some lessons shortly.
Georg was told that his VT at the Brit School would feature in week 1, alongside Nathaniel’s. He watched episode 1 at home with his children and father and the judges have begun to make plans for the last 2. Harry has offered his house (well his mum’s house) up for the 2nd to last episode.
One thing that drew Georg to the show was the fact that musical theatre was actually accepted and the judges enjoyed it as much as pop performances. We spoke about Kerry Ellis on the Voice and how the deciding factor for the 4 judges not turning around was simply the fact that they are not into musical theatre voices. Georg is confident that had she been on All Together Now she would have scored very highly!
I couldn’t let Georg go without a quickfire round on musical theatre:
Favourite musical theatre role played: Joe from Sunset Boulevard
Favourite musical: West Side Story.
Favourite musical theatre song to sing: Wondering from The Bridges of Madison County.
Favourite musical seen recently: Half A Sixpence.
Georg hopes that All Together Now encourages people to sing and that they enjoy doing so. He hopes that it negates the fact that singing has to be about a ruthless competition and focuses on many different opinions. He now has his own You Tube channel which focuses on singing lessons. All lessons are free, with no ads! For all you budding singers out there it is worth checking out and subscribing to!
Musical Theatre Musings would like to thank Georg for giving up his time! Check out All Together Now is on BBC1 on Saturday night at 19:15.