Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Having finally run out of failed pop stars who wish to humiliate themselves on national television in a desperate attempt to grasp hold of five more minutes of fame, Hit Me Baby One More Time aired it's final heat on Saturday night, and what a glittering array of talent it wasn't. Had the show continued any longer, the contestants on BBC1's Strictly Dance Fever would likely be more famous than those suffering the ignomy of having Vernon Kay fawn all over them. But while the final is next week, there was still one place waiting to be filled by a face from yesteryear. Who took it? Let's find out shall we.

First to take on the difficult task of warming up the audience for Celebrity Wrestling were 911, a band who, as is obvious by their name, wanted desperately to be seen as a cool American boyband, but were always hampered by the fact that they a bunch of shortarses from the UK. Oh, and the fact they weren't exactly blessed in either the talent or the looks department didn't really help their case either. Still, Bodyshakin', which they performed for the evening, is a great bit of bass-heavy boy band pop, and so it bloody well should be given that it rips off about a million other songs. Coverwise they went for S Club 7's Don't Stop Moving, a somewhat ironic choice given that Lee had fractured his ankle prior to the performance and was balanced on a crutch for the duration of the show, but he did make an impressive effort at dancing with it, even if we feel it's unlikely to catch on in any cool trendy nightclubs. Or any nightclubs full stop, for that matter. It's also worth pointing out that one of them is now bald, and while his more hirsute partner chose to wear a baseball cap during Don't Stop Moving, he opted to let his shiny dome stand proud and remain uncovered. This may not have impressed the lighting chappy.

911 Fact: Jimmy's idol when he was younger was Shakin' Stevens!

The next act wasn't heavy, he was in Brother Beyond. Nathan Moore, who now seems to be managing Andy Scott-Lee and is somehow proud of this, recreated his glory days, for want of a better term, by giving us The Harder I Try, though the rendition he gave was more soulful and less pop than the original version. Despite the fact that he's about as culturally relevant today as a trio of flying duck wall ornaments, Elton John was Nathan's choice for a cover. He did a stringed up version of Are You Ready For Love? which, while being pleasant enough, lacked the oomph of the remix. The ending was quite good though, and not just in a "because it ended" kinda way.

Nathan Moore Fact: Nathan is a huge Spurs fan and owns a season ticket

Princess was up next, and this wasn't a surprise return to public life for Diana, Princess of Wales, the woman who died in much the same way she lived her life; a car-crash, but was in fact a dance type artist who we can just about remember if we really strain our brain cells. She did Say I'm Your Number One, something which we feel the viewing public would have been quite unlikely to be doing. She had a nice soulful voice, but the backing was entirely soulless and completely brought down the whole performance. Initially she did appear to have set the stage on fire, however, but this turned out just to be the result of an overactive smoke machine. She covered Kylie Minogue's Slow, and took her inspiration for the recreation from the sort of crappy remixes that record companies commission to pad out CD2 of single releases in a bid to trick people into thinking they're getting value for money. As such, it removed all the sultry elements which made the original good in the first place. What a waste of time.

Princess Fact: Princess used to live in London, but now lives in America!

Kenny Thomas, who is remembered by absolutely no-one, not even his mum at Christmas time, was up next doing Thinking About Your Love. Despite having the name of a Country singer, Kenny instead peddles white funk of exactly the same quality as Hue and Cry, which is a bit like peddling chocolate ice-cream, unpleasant enough in itself, of exactly the same quality as dogshit, only that's a slightly more palatable concept. Cover wise he did Norah Jones' I Don't Know Why, and neither did we.

Kenny Thomas Fact: Kenny's dog is called Pip and he's 7 months old!

Last up was Ultra Nate who was the second dancey type to appear on the show doing a song about being free. Ultra now has hair, thus losing the only thing that would make anyone outside of her family able to pick her out of an identity parade. Free, which was a good song at the time, just sounds incredibly dated these days. Fortunately for her, it was released before the Starbucks revolution happened in this country, thus meaning she never had to endure lots of 'hilarious' comedians could make jokes about her name sounding a bit like a kind of coffee. We don't think she'll need to be prepared for that happening now as this is likely to be her only appearance in the public domain until the next nineties revival. She took Rachel Stevens' Some Girls and rocked it up for her cover and, in doing so, managed to make that excellent tune merely alright. Oh well.

Ultra Nate Fact: Ultra is having a baby boy, but she doesn't know what she's going to call it yet!

And with a selection like that, the voting public must have found it hard to choose their favourite. We surprised ourselves by backing 911 who, despite being a bit rubbish in general, where actually really good on the night. The studio audience disagreed with us, plumping for Nathan Moore, but when it came down to it, the people at home followed our lead and went for Spike, Lee and Jimmy, a decision that went down quite badly with the audience who were actually there, the news being greeted with a tirade of boos and hisses, presumably from angry Nathan Moore fans. Or, more likely, Lisa Scott-Lee, angry that her latest attempt to be famous by association has once more bitten the dust.

Next week is the grand final and, due to it clashing with Eurovision, we might not be able to report on what happens, depending on whether we can sort out video recorders and such like. Naturally we'll be backing the ginger candidate in the shape of Tiffany, but if you're thinking about putting a bet on, we'd advise you to go for Shakin' Stevens instead. Not because we reckon he's going to suddenly become good, or at least listenable to, by Saturday - we don't believe in miracles - but because for reasons which we fail to understand, and are also a mystery to specialists in mental illness, Shakey does seem to have a well mobilised, or at least a well Motability Scootered, fanbase. But while it might be a foregone conclusion, at least Tiff might have had time to learn the words to Love Machine properly this time around, so there'll be something to watch out for.