He'll be having a Ball

LONDON-BASED singer Michael Ball has that special something which makes his female English fans fly halfway around the world to see him on stage.

The hard bit is working out exactly what that something is.

Could it be his baby face? The dimples? His infectious laugh? Or maybe his vocal talents?

"I'm lucky (to have) fans who come to all the shows and follow me out," Ball admitted.

"It's always nice to know you have got people on the inside (because) I truly don't know what to expect from the (Australian) audience."

Up to 70 of his English fans are expected to fly to Australia to watch Ball on stage during his March tour.

Ball will begin his first Australian tour in Wollongong on Friday night and, as he does his round of media interviews, is nervously preparing for his five concert dates.

"Because this is my first time performing properly here I'm going to try things out, see what a typical Australian audience likes - and I hope that they do like it," he said.

"It's nerve-racking. But that's why I'm doing it, I like the challenge. I have been touring for the past 12 years in the UK , so I know what I'm doing there but here it's a completely unknown factor."

The 40-year-old has attracted acclaim for his roles in musical theatre, including his role as Alex in both London and New York productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love, Marius in Les Miserables and most recently as Caracticus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Ball also has released 11 solo albums including his hit debut self-titled album, which featured One Step Out of Time.

The song was his entry in Great Britain 's Eurovision Song Contest in 1992, where he placed second.

But these successes will mean little as he takes the stage at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

"I'm trying to hit a balance in a show, just taking an audience on a journey, entertaining them and making them happy," he said.

Ball , who trained as an actor, will sing a mix of musical hits and other songs.

"You try to give an audience what they want and surprise them as well. Give them something extra," he said.

"The interesting thing is to take a song that's well known and do something with it."

Ball said he loves exploring a song and he is not afraid to interpret a "girly" ballad .

"A lot of the best numbers are written for women and it really hacks me off," he said, laughing.

"I sing I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables.

"That's associated with Fantine but I have had my heart broken and have been led up the garden path before."
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