Kian Egan talks to TV Times magazine about his tour of the West End biggest shows and interviewing Simon Cowell for a special This Morning tribute to musicals…
You’re going to be reporting for This Morning on some of the biggest musicals in the West End next week and even performing for the public. What’s the experience been like?
“I’ve got to do some incredible things. I’ve had all the training you need for roles in these shows, so it now feels like I’ve been in every one – except I’ve never actually been in a proper musical.”
Have you always been a fan of musicals?
“I’ve pretty much seen most of the musicals that are around these days.”
You start by visiting The Lion King…
“The Lion King’s the longest running show in the West End (it opened on 19 October 1999 at the Lyceum Theatre) and there’s a reason why. I’ve recently been watching the 1994 film version with my two-and-a half year old son Koa, who’s lion crazy! And as simple as the story may be, it’s a fantastic one. The way they’ve adapted the movie to the stage is incredible.”
What did you get up to when you visited the musical?
“I tried on Scar the evil lion’s costume. When Scar gets angry, a mask comes down over his face, which I got to test. For an actor to deliver his lines plus move all these mechanicals must be very difficult. I also learnt how to dance like a hyena – which was mad! – and to walk like a giraffe. They put you six foot up in the air ont o two big stilts and you have to try to balance yourself on all fours!”
You also visit The Commitments where you had just one day to get yourself ready to go on stage in front of a packed audience at the Palace Theatre. What was that like?
“I was a Swing, which is the term for someone who plays different parts throughout the show. I had to hang out in the pub whilst a scene was going on and in the rafters during one of the songs. I also got to deliver a line – I was trying to become a member of the band, but not taking ‘No’ for an answer.”
Had you had any experience of being in musicals before?
“I was in musicals as a kid, but I haven’t been an actor as it were for a long time. So it was quite nerve wrecking trying to keep that line in my head. When I walked on stage, I almost blacked out. But luckily, my brain found the line somewhere in there and threw it out of my mouth.”
You also are presenting a segment on I Can’t Sing!, the Harry Hill comedy production about The X Factor. What was it like interviewing Nigel Harman and Simon Cowell?
“I’ve known Simon since I was 17, when he signed me as a member of Westlife. For an hour before the interview, the three of us were hanging out, just chatting. So by the time Simon was in front of the camera, he was relaxed and I didn’t have the anticipation of: ‘Oh my God, I’m interviewing Simon Cowell!'”
Having been interviewed so many times over the years, is it strange to now be the one grilling people?
“Funnily, that’s exactly what Simon asked me, too. When he was our record label boss, he was the one asking us questions. He found it funny that our roles were reversed. I love presenting – TV is such a fun world. At the end of our interview, Simon said: ‘What’s next for you Kian, a chat show?’ I was flattered. He said to me a few times afterwards, ‘Honestly, that was really good, well done’. A chat show would be amazing.”
How do you feel winning I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! has affected your career?
“It’s incredible what has happened since. I was chased down by a record label to do a solo album [Home, which was released on 17 March] and I’ve had presenting jobs coming at me left, right and centre. After Westlife [the group broke up in June 2012], I thought that would probably be it for me. I’d had an amazing 14 years at the top and I couldn’t really ask for any more. So I went into the jungle just for fun and for a cool life experience. The plan was to go back to normality. However, it’s done the complete opposite and launched me into this whole new world. I have no idea how long it’s going to last – it could all be over in a month’s time. But right now, I’m just rolling with it.”