Good Lord . . . it is Andrew Lloyd Webber - PICTURES

EUROVISION hopefuls Francine and Nicola Gleadall got the surprise of their lives last night when musical superstar Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber turned up on their doorstep in Dronfield.

The identical twins are among the three acts to have made it through to Saturday's final of Your Country Needs You - a nationwide search led by 'The Lord' to find a singer or group to change the UK's fortunes in the Eurovision Song Contest.

And the world famous composer visited the twins in Dronfield as part of a tour of the country, in which he will also meet up with fellow finalists Jade and Mark in their own homes.

The girls said everyone was really excited about the visit and Nicola added: "It's great having Andrew here in Sheffield and all our family and friends are really excited. He's so lovely and has been a great help to us all these weeks, we really feel we've grown as performers. We're so thankful for all the local support we've been receiving and so excited about the final. We're going to give it our best shot"

Speaking to The Star just before his surprise appearance, Lord Lloyd Webber revealed: "I'm visiting all the finalists because I like to see their backgrounds first hand.

"Coming up to the final of the competition, I like to know where they all come from."

He wouldn't be drawn on his favourite act in the competition - but described the 20-year-old twins as "adorable".

Lord Lloyd Webber added: "I think they're lovely."

But the musical theatre legend, who has led TV talent searches for leads in stage shows including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver! and The Sound of Music, said it was important that voting viewers remember Saturday's final was just the start of the European journey.

He said: "This contest is completely different to my other TV shows. What happens on Saturday is not the result - that is what happens in Moscow in May.

"It's not like Oliver or Maria, where it only went as far as Britain - this is about Europe, and who can be a winner there. It's about voting for the act or performer who you think has got the best chance of winning Eurovision.

"Saturday is only the first rung on the ladder."

Francine and Nicola, both English students at Sheffield Hallam University, will perform for the first time Lord Lloyd Webber's song 'My Time' on Saturday.

The track was written with lyricist Diane Warren, who has worked with pop superstars including Celine Dion and Whitney Houston, and Lord Lloyd Webber said they had worked well together to produce a song which can performed either as a ballad or as a dance hit.

He said: "All three finalists will get the chance to sing it on Saturday, they will get their chance to premiere it to the audience in their own way.

"We've not heard any of them sing it before.

It's the moment where the song comes together with the performer that anything can happen."

Lord Lloyd Webber was signed up to lead the nation's search for a 2009 Eurovision star following years of Great Britain crashing out of the competition with terrible scores.

He said he had enjoyed the experience so far - despite the problems that had to be overcome.

"We know that Great Britain hasn't taken the competition very seriously in the past and that has been a problem for us this year," he said.

"We've got a backlog of resentment towards Eurovision which we've been trying to overcome.

"It's not been easy but it's been good fun - and we've ended up with three very intriguing contestants for the final."

Lord Lloyd Webber's next big project is a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera which opens in November in either London or New York. The venue has yet to be confirmed.

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