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Dub Dorothy into Over The Rainbow final

DUBLINER Emma Warren has secured a place in the final of Over The Rainbow, Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest search for a star.

Emma (20) has taken time out from her music studies at Dublin Institute of Technology to take part in the talent search for the lead role of Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz.

The Irish dancer, who has been performing since the age of three, has already travelled the world with a traditional cabaret tour and her claim to fame is that she once sang Top Of The World with Richard Carpenter from The Carpenters.

Emma said she wanted to portray her Dorothy as a "determined but likeable character", and that she would combine powerful performances with a gentle touch and lots of charm.

Tonight, after last night's opening show, she and 19 other hopefuls will be seen going through their paces -- with only half making it through to the next stage.

They include a mum of twins, a glamour girl who had a role in BBC1's Hustle, a finalist from the 2005 series of Britain's Next Top Model and a French contestant who moved to Britain with the hope of finding West End success.

Over The Rainbow follows other TV talent searches by Lloyd Webber such as I'd Do Anything and Any Dream Will Do. Graham Norton will again be hosting the show, while the judging panel is made up of Sheila Hancock, Charlotte Church and EastEnders star John Partridge. The panel will choose 10 of the contestants to continue on to the first live show next Saturday, but the public will vote to save one reject.