10/07/2012 11:10 | By Stuart Dredge, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Jesus Christ Superstar: app of the day

The official second-screen app for Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber's new ITV show goes live


Jesus Christ Superstar app is rated three stars out of five by MSN Tech & Gadgets (© ITV)

What is it?
An app designed to be used as a "companion" for Superstar, which is Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber's latest primetime reality-show attempt to find a star for one of his musicals.

Coolest feature
If you're a fan, it'll provide links to download songs that are performed on each episode, as they're made available on Apple's iTunes Store.

Platforms
iPhone/iPad - 69p

Review
Second-screen apps are all the rage in the TV industry, as broadcasters and producers catch on to the fact that millions of people have a smartphone or tablet to hand while watching telly.

The theory is that if viewers are so keen to chat about shows on Twitter and Facebook, they'll be even more excited about dedicated apps for their favourite programmes, mixing exclusive content with streams of tweets from other viewers.

The problem with this theory: People using Twitter and Facebook are chatting to their friends about shows, not strangers. Do they really want to be taken out of their general friend-stream and plopped into a whirring feed of strangers tweeting about a specific hashtag? It's a stretch.

Still, here's the latest attempt at a second-screen app, from Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Group. It's designed to be used as a "companion app" for Superstar, his latest attempt to find a star for a revival of one of his musicals. This time round, it's all about finding a Jesus for Jesus Christ Superstar.

What's in it? Tweets hashtagged #superstar, as well as a feed of updates from 'Backstage' listing songs, info about contestants and other commentary. The alternative being to simply save the hashtag as a search in your Twitter app, and follow the @JCSTheMusical account, which is providing its own backchannel commentary during the show.

Still, the app also has (or will have, once they're chosen) profiles of finalists, info on the presenters and judges, and background details on the musical itself and its MARVELLOUS concept-rawk soundtrack album from the original film.

The app also ties into the tour that will follow the TV show, with ticketing and merchandise, cast details (that'll be Chris Moyles, Tim Minchin and Melanie C for now), and the promise of additional location-based features when you actually go to the performances.

Jesus Christ Superstar isn't a bad app, as such: it works as promised. It's just that its most social features are easily replicated with the official Twitter and Facebook apps, and what's left is a mix of simple biographical content, and links selling you stuff.

Expecting voting might be a stretch - the technology needs to be rock-solid, as problems with the in-app voting for Britain's Got Talent earlier this year showed.

But that app's red-button buzzer (and the X Factor app's Tap to Clap feature before it) were first steps along the road to more interesting second-screen apps - apps that feed viewers' views back into the shows themselves in an interesting, real-time way that goes further than pure votes, or individual tweets.

Jesus Christ Superstar does the basics of second-screen well enough, but it could do a lot more to justify taking up a slot on even diehard fans' iPhone or iPad homescreens.

Jesus Christ Superstar app is rated three stars out of five by MSN Tech & Gadgets

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