Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has admitted his bewilderment at the public's voting patterns on BBC1's I'd Do Anything.

The new talent show sees 12 hopefuls vying to win the part of Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh's revival of Oliver! while three young actors will take the title role.

But while the three boys selected to play Oliver will be chosen by the judging panel and Sir Andrew - so as to spare the young contestants from the pressure of a public vote - the eventual Nancy will be picked by the public, just as Lee Mead and Connie Fisher were chosen to play Joseph and Maria after BBC1 talent shows Any Dream Will Do and How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

And according to West End legend Sir Andrew, he has been mystified by the public's lack of support for Keisha Amponsa-Banson, who he has saved from elimination for two weeks running after she was voted into the bottom two.

Amponsa-Banson, 23, was saved on Sunday night's show, with 24-year-old Tara Bethan becoming the third contestant to see her dreams of playing Nancy dashed and Sir Andrew has said providing a casting vote is becoming increasingly stressful.

Writing on, he explained: "When it comes to the bottom two the best job in show business turns into one of the biggest nightmares.

"It really takes so much out of me. I don't get Keisha being in the bottom. I don't understand that. It seemed to me, when I saw the recording when I got home, she was using her eyes wonderfully."

Amponsa-Banson's rendition of The Lady is a Tramp on the Saturday night show saw her come in for criticism from judges John Barrowman and Denise Van Outen and Sir Andrew believes the Harrow native's song choice could prove crucial to her future on the show.

"We're going to have to find a song for her next week that's really going to change everybody's minds, or else I don't know really that she will go that much further.

"I can't go on fighting a corner, but at the same time I think it's a corner that has got to be fought one week more."

14/04/2008 16:02:14