Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Sunday, April 03, 2005

We Think She's, Err, Won Now 

Having decided that the public has clearly had it's fill of pop talent shows where the contestants are destined to become forgotten has-beens within weeks of the contest ending, ITV1 has decided to break the creative mould and has come up with a new pop talent show where the contestants are already forgotten has-beens, thus cutting out the middle man. So it is with the clumsily titled new show, Hit Me Baby One More Time which is not to be considered in any way a cheap rip off of Pop Idol involving slightly more recognisable faces, although clearly the branding experts are a bit worried about people making that mistake, given that the name of the show is plastered across the set more thoroughly than a girl band is plastered with fake tan. In it various failed popstars are given a second chance to be a one-hit wonder by performing their classic - and in some cases only - hit and a cover of a modern song, hoping to win over the audience and get a chance to release a record once again. Given that most of the acts are from the eighties and nineties, for most of us this show is a bit of a nostalgia trip, for host Vernon Kay, however, a man who appears to believe it's still 1975, it's a chance to hear crazy futuristic music of the like he's never heard before. As we have about as many original ideas as the executives in charge of Saturday night telly programming, we'll be keeping you up to date each week on the goings on in the show, so here's this week's report.

First up was Gloria Gaynor who, seeing as this was going to be on the telly, decided to get dressed up as a sofa. She did I Will Survive with all the interest and enthusiasm of someone who has no doubt performed it every single sodding night of their lives since 1979 and now hates the song with far more passion than she's ever sung it with. Her choice of cover was far better, taking Christina Aguilera's Beautiful and turning it from a heartfelt ballad into a disco stomper which was surprisingly excellent. Also, thanks to a pointless VT before her cover about what she's been up to since her heyday, we learnt the fascinating fact that "Gloria loves Times Square and tries to go there ever week". All the acts had similarly interesting facts revealed about them, and as they're so inherently exciting, we'll be recording them here for posterity.

Howard Jones, who's biopic Howard the Duck was a disappointing flop in the nation's cinemas, did What is Love? with, yes!, a Keytar strapped to his body, which almost made up for the fact that his interpretive dance blokey wasn't on-stage. You could tell he was from the eighties as the person playing what was almost a guitar was wearing a leather kilt. For his cover he did Dido's White Flag with just piano and acoustic guitar, which succeeded mainly in making his version ever duller than the original, which is some feat. Howard Jones Fact: He has 10 O Levels and 2 A Levels.

Despite the fact that it was a hit for Kajagoogoo and not for him as a solo artist, Lihmal, now sporting marginally more sensible hair, opted to perform Too Shy as his hit. His performance, however, made him look more like the lead singer of an underrehearsed 80's tribute band on the pub circuit, rather than the bloke who sang it in the first place. Hush, hush, indeed. He chose to do Maroon 5's This Love for his cover, which is exactly the sort of song you'd expect someone who's not entirely in touch with the current music scene to pick, thinking that it would make him look like he was down with the kids. Lihmal Fact: Lihmal is an anagram of his surname Hamill.

Has anyone really been crying out for a Honeyz reunion? Certainly English teachers around the land would despair if they came back, given their slapdash approach to pluralisation. They did Finally Found in a slightly out of tune, but still utterly unmemorable way, before deciding that it would be a really good idea to cover Nickelback's How You Remind Me. This was crap, but then what do you expect if you do a cover of Nickelback's How You Remind Me. Honeyz Fact: They love pub quizzes, and their best subject is music. Not on tonight's evidence it's not.

Finally, we come to Tiffany, the proto-Nicola. I Think We're Alone Now is still a fantastic pop song, even if it's somewhat dubious having a woman in her thirties singing a song about being a teenager in love and dealing with disapproving parents. Showing that she still has a respect for modern pop music she chose to cover Girls Aloud's Love Machine, although that respect didn't extend to actually bothering to learn the words for the track, unless "mumblemumblemumble cause I like the way it mumbles" is the lyric. Still, she gave it a slightly more countrified edge and performed it with a great sense of sassyness and energy. It also makes history as being the most camera time a ginger girl has ever received while performing a GA track. Tiffany Fact: She trains at least 4 times a week.

And so, episode one was all over bar the shouting, although with Vernon Kay hosting you can be sure that shouting is never too far away. Once the votes were counted and verified it was revealed, via a rising platform, that Tiffany was this weeks winner. Hooray! Not only did that mean that she was in the final, but it also meant that she got a second chance to try and remember all the words for Love Machine, which she very nearly managed. She did apologise for cocking it up, however, so aww, bless.