Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Frost Report: Day 10 

Hooray! Jenny Frost actually got to do something notable in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here today! After a week and a half of sitting around, looking at her nails and wondering whether any new flavours of Pringles had come on to the market since she'd been away from civiliazation, she was finally picked to do a Bushtucker Trial, one going by the name of Panic Station. Unfortunately for us, if not for her, it turned out to be one of the dullest non-events in the show's history.

As she walked down towards the trial clearing, she confided that she was nervous, particularly because in previous trials she had lent an angel to the other girls for luck, but now it was time for her own piece of the action the thing had gone missing. Not to worry though, as she had an angel tatooed on her foot, which was apparently an adequate substitute. Hopefully in the future she will cut off her foot to alllow others to carry it and share in her good fortune, though given that no matter how you look at it, she's still Jenny Frost from Atomic Kitten, and that can hardly be considered to be fortunate.

After telling us that she was "Scared of everything, it's official", and less convincingly declaring that she loved all animals, she arrived to meet Ant and Dec. "How are you?", they asked, "Smelly, I think", replied our classy heroine. Dec, a braver man than us, took a sniff of her. "Yeah, you are", he confirmed. He then asked her what was going through her head, not a wise question really, unless you want to hear the answer "The wind".

The trial itself was essentially a more bug-ridden version of a Krypton Factor puzzle, involving using differently sized discs to block up various holes, out of which poured various nasty creatures, even if the nastiest thing in there was the girl attempting to solve this conundrum. In a vague bid to add some tension to this, the ceiling moved up and down, but at least Jenny didn't have to worry about suffering any damage should she bang her head against it. Despite a somewhat stumbling start where she failed the simple task of successfully picking up her first disc, Jenny did excellently, putting her head down, getting on with it, and generally treating the whole experience like something unpleasant that she had to be getting on with if she wanted to get her money, much like how she treated recording the vocals for Atomic Kitten's last album. In the end she got all nine stars and was very pleased with herself, "That calls for a gear stick maneouvre!", she exclaimed after leaving the booth, before performing a bizzarre set of moves that can only lead us to conclude that her car, whatever make or model it might be, is broken.

Having now had some experience dealing with strange, weird looking creatures, Jenny decided to continue with that theme by helping Evil Jimmy Osmond build a snowman. The fact that they were in the middle of a rainforest in the middle of summer was not seen as a drawback to them, as they decided to make the snowman out of rocks instead. It was named "Rocky the Snowman", a simple enough name you would have thought, but that didn't stop Miss Frost coming into the Bush Telegraph to explain to us why it was called Rocky, rather than the more traditional 'Frosty': "We can't call him Frosty coz someone might say Frosty and we wouldn't know if they were talking to me or the snowman, or vice versa". We don't think there'd have been any confusion ourselves, if anyone was talking to Frosty, they'd obviously be going for the one most likely to hold an intelligent conversation, so Jen should just assume they're chatting to the pile of rocks.

Earlier in the day Sid 'Sid' Owen picked Antony and Jenny to be the camp entertainers as he thought they were "The singers". Bless. This eventually culminated in the pair of them acting out David 'Cuprinol Man' Dickinson refusing to be Jimmy's deputy. Jenny played the role of David, presumably because it was the more masculine of the two roles. Her acting ability is akin to that of her singing.

Against both the odds and general common sense, Jenny Frost is remarkably still in the jungle. If you wish to maintain this state of affairs either dial 09011 32 32 04 or text JENNY to 63334.

10 Things We State About... 

Madonna is currently topping both the album and single charts for the second week running. Hopefully the extra cash that this success will have brought in will allow her to buy some clothes and save her from having to run around in her knickers like a drunken old bag lady. To celebrate this feat we proudly present ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nation's favourite scary looking crone (after Sharon Osbourne):-
  1. The least commonly used phrase in the English language is "It's a shame that Madonna hasn't done more movies, isn't it?"
  2. The second most commonly used phrase is "Hey DJ! Can you play Madonna's cover of American Pie? It's brilliant!"
  3. Don't try and judge her age by looking at recent pictures of her, Madonna is actually a lot younger than you'd think.
  4. Having Ali G in the video for Music was a bad idea. Hell, even having Ali G in the video for the Ali G single was a bad idea.
  5. Madonna is the most successful female chart act of all time, having just edged ahead of Billie with her most recent release.
  6. The Groove is a somewhat provincial nightclub in Bradford. If you wish to get into the groove then don't turn up wearing jeans or trainers.
  7. The only thing less erotic than the single Erotica or her book, Sex, is dropping a sledgehammer on your own foot, though Hanky Panky comes close.
  8. If Madonna really is a Material Girl, then the material in question is sackcloth; rough.
  9. Since living in the UK, Madonna has taken on some quaint English habits, such as playing polo, enjoying afternoon tea and thinking that Guy Ritchie is a talented director.
  10. Dear Jessie is vastly underrated.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Frost Report: Day 9 

We might be fed up with Jenny Frost's lack of involvement in this year's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, but our frustration is nothing compared to that of Jenny herself. "I'm bored out of me brain", she petulantly moaned, though we're surprised that it took this long for that to happen, "I've done nothing, I've done fuck all". What caused her rather foul mouthed outburst was the fact that she was specifically prohibited from doing today's Bushtucker Trial due to health reasons, which relate to her having blacked out a few years ago after "a three day bender". As the trial involved the rather foolish task of jumping out of a helicopter into a lake, we feel that going on a three day bender would make you the ideal candidate for such an escapade but never mind. Perhaps she was lucky not to have been picked, howver, as Kimberly 'Blonde' Davies took on the mantle instead, and promptly found herself being carted off to hospital with a cracked rib. In the show's defence, the injury seemed to stem from her failure to follow instructions and deviating from what she was told to do, so Jenny would probably have been safe. She never deviated from what she was told during her time in Atomic Kitten and she's not going to start now.

Despite having a bit of a cry later on about her failure to make her mark, even considering walking at one point, Jenny did have one task to do today, being sent on a Celebrity Chest quest with Carol 'Not as Evil as Expected' Thatcher and a very hungover Antony 'From Blue' Costa. Given that yesterday Antony was expressing his fondness for Jenny and was drunkenly flirting with the Thatcher child, this must have been a dream come true for him, especially when the task was revealed to be a variaton on the game of Twister. This culminated in him being the meat in a swimwear wearing Jenny and Carol sandwich, a position which few men would want to be in. "Admit it, Antony", cried Jenny from atop the pile of sweaty flesh, "you're turned on, aren't you". "That was the weirdest threesome I never thought of having", said Antony, unconvincingly, before heading back to camp to spend an abnormally long time in the camera free toilet area, doing some 'thinking'.

Jenny has also been turning her attentions towards Bobby 'Cannon and' Ball. Bobby was a bit upset because his 'comedy' partner Tommy had been kicked out of the show that morning, so Jenny tried to make him feel a bit better, tucking him in at night and saying, "I'll be your Tommy while he's not here". Similarly, we hope that Tommy is planning on being our Jenny while she's still in the camp. He'd probably have a bit more pop success, and we imagine that his FHM cover shoot would sell significantly more than hers.

If you're riveted to your screen watching Jenny's antics and can't bear the thought of her leaving then dial 01202 481114. That's not her voting number, by the way, that's the number of a psychiatrist. If you want to vote then dial 09011 32 32 04 or text JENNY to 63334.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Frost Report: Day 8 

If Britney Spears wasn't too busy doing important motherly type stuff such as organising a nanny and deciding what make-up best acheieves the natural look for a happily family magazine photoshoot, we'd sure she'd be able to offer Jenny Frost some advice on how to achieve success in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here. "Why don't you do suh-in", being the pearl of wisdom most likely to be offered. Again it was a day of non-event for our 'favourite' Atomic Kitten 'singer', though she does have one fan at least, in the shape of Antony 'From Blue' Costa, who confided that he wouldn't be able to cope without having her around. His single minded support for Jenny seemed somewhat in doubt, however, when a few glasses of wine made their way into his bloodstream and he found himself unable to go five minutes without engaging Carol Thatcher in conversation. "You look fit", he confided to her, before staggering off to bed to sleep the heavy slumbers of the drunk.

Jenny was also appealing - in the pleading sense, rather than the physical one, naturally - trying to get the public to vote for her; "I'd like to stay here as long as possible", and who can blame her? After all, each day spent in the jungle is one more day she doesn't have to worry about the red phone bill waiting on her kitchen counter back home. "I want to see how long I can last before I have a complete emotional breakdown", she continued. If she wants to speed things along in that area, she'd do well just to sit down and have a think about all she achieved during her time with the Kittens.

Finally, Jen, Kimberly and Sheree went down to the pool to wash themselves. While the others modestly wore smocks, Jen was showing herself off in a bikini. Perhaps jungle fever is beginning to get to them, but Kim and Sheree found themselves admiring Jenny's figure. "If I had your body I'd be wearing a bikini too", said Sheree, while Kimberly went one step further and suggested that if she had Jen's body she'd be walking down the street dressed like that. If we had Jenny's body we'd be phoning up all our local theatres, enquiring about whether any of them were planning on putting on a production of Frankenstein in the near future.

If you want to keep Jenny on our screens in the vague hope that the law of averages means she'll find herself doing something entertaining, then you can either dial 09011 32 32 04 or you can text JENNY to 63334.

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Monday! And yes, we are aware that all we're contributing to the site right now can essentially be summed up as writing about what we've seen on the telly. This pretty much makes us the blogging equivalent of Garry Bushell, though without the casual homophobia, misogyny and general bigotory that such an epithet implies. There will be more variety next month, promise, but until then here's what we learnt from last night's Top of the Pops:-

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Frost Report: Day 7 

Day 7 of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here and Jenny Frost is finally getting involved! Not only was she Deputy Leader for the day, but she also found herself being sent out to find the Celebrity Chest with David 'Cuprinal Man' Dickinson. Last time she went on one of these, all she had to do was hang around until Cannon and Ball arrived, so it was fortunate that she had a bit more to actually do this time around. Their task, which Jen quickly took charge of, was to arrange a series of pipes to channel water into a barrel, which would then float up a key for them. Despite this being the sort of task which would normally be solved within a minute or so on the Crystal Maze, it caused Jenny and David some consternation. Eventually they gave up on the idea of doing it properly, and decided to do a bodge job, each of them desperately holding up pipes while the water flowed all over them. Perhaps for Jenny the water flowing through her fingers reminded her of the opportunities which had slipped through her grasp previously, such as that job on the tills in her local tesco, but no matter, a bodged job it may have been, but success came to them and they successfully brought the chest back to camp.

This high didn't last too long though, as Some Footballer's Wife and Jen both found themselves being sent to the Jungle Jail as punishment for the other celebrities' rule breaking, something which they considered to be quite unfair, though in Jen's case she has been involved with a number of criminal records so she can hardly complain about finally being brought to justice. At first they found the idea of being sent to jail hilarious, but once they were actually there, things didn't seem quite as funny. With no fire, basic rations and hammocks to sleep on - which Jenny promptly fell off - the jail was even less luxurious than the main campsite. With no light, the pair of them went to bed early, or at least tried to, anyway. Sheree found the whole experience incredibly frightening, even screaming every time Jenny moved, something which has never happened before, not even at Atomic Kitten concerts. Sheree ended up crying through most of the night, with Jen attempting to reasure her by hugging her every now and again, something which we imagine would be an even scarier experience. Eventurally they were released and allowed to return to camp who, with the exception of Antony who found it all quite upsetting, seemed to find their predicament quite funny. And quite right too.

They got back in time to find out the results of the last Bushtucker trial voted for by the public. Unfortunately Jenny didn't get picked, though given that the trial in question involved singing while hoardes of creepy crawlies are dumped on top of you, it was perhaps wise that she didn't get chosen. Jenny singing... *shudders* Who'd want to see that?

If you want Jenny to win the whole thing - Well, you might! - then you can either dial 09011 32 32 04 or text JENNY to 63334.

Conways Ow-wow-wow-out 

It's week 7 of X Factor and we have bird flu. Well, it might just be a cold, but you can never be too careful. We reckon that bird flu is the noughties equivalent of mad cow disease and, should we wake up tomorrow morning to discover that we've turned into a crazy chick, at least we'll have been right about something. Anyway, the upshot of mentioning this isn't to try and elicit some sympathy, though that would be nice, but to point out that right now we're struggling to appreciate anything that doesn't come in a packet with the Lemsip logo prominently displayed, so this week the contestants are really going to have to do something special if they want to gain our approval. Which, of course, they're all desperate to do.

With the 'controversy' regarding Louis's decision to concoct a publicity stunt surrounding him possibly leaving the contest still in the air, Kate Thornton opened the show milking this for all it was worth. Dressed in an open blouse, black trousers and a belt borrowed from a World Wrestling Federation champion, she oohed and aahed over whether the Irish Slug would actually turn up. Simon came on first, followed by Sharon, but would Louis join them? You cout cut the tension in the air with a knife. Or a spoon. Or any other utensil which can move through not particularly thick substances. Surprise surprise, Louis turned up, saying that the pressure just got too much for him and he had to step out of it for a while. "It was not a publicity stunt", he lied. Indeed, lying seemed to be something of a theme this evening as shortly afterwards Sharon joined him in the telling of untruths, "You look hot tonight", she said to Kate.

First up, presumably to get the horror out of the way as soon as possible, was Chico. For him, last week was "the first time I felt I had every right to be on that stage", showing that while he may lack any discernable talent, his skills in self delusion are more than impressive. Looking a mess - well, more of a mess - in a suit teamed with a vest, Chico decided that the best way to show off his limited vocal range was to struggle his way through Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. "I reckon I was 20% as good as Michael", he rather generously, and unjustifiably proudly, reviewed himself. Once again for this he was joined by a dancing child, leading us to beleive that this desperately cynical tactic is going to be repeated every week from now until he eventually gets booted out of the show, unless someone goes out there and breaks the legs of every child in the country. It might seem cruel, but it'd be for everyone's benefit in the long run, especially the child. We can only imagine what sort of emotional scarring will be caused in later life by the knowledge you had a part in helping Chico become a success.

Next up were the constantly struggling Conway Sisters. "I wasn't even sure if they'd turn up or not", mused Simon, who has now presumbly given up all pretence at being their mentor and is just letting them get on with it. Not to worry though, while Simon might not go so far as to actually give a shit about them, their Dad has a lot of faith in them. So much faith, in fact, that he goes so far as to threaten Louis Walsh with menaces should his girls fail to make it through, if Holy Moly is to be believed, that is. He was in the audience last night, so we were happily imagining him shaking his fist towards Louis every time the camera wasn't on him, but then, since his Maria decision, we spend a lot of time now happily imagining Louis being threatened. We probably need to get a hobby. Anyway, the girls did Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop us Now, changing the lyrics from "If this world runs out of lovers" to "If this world runs out of loving", presumably to avoid the incestuous lesbiotic connotations that it might otherwise imply. It was an OK performance, but nothing likely to raise the roof or even vaguely shake the suporting walls. Louis loved it, smiling his way through the perfomance while whispering "not the face, not the face" under his breath throughout. Simon looked bored, declared it a good choice of song but reckoned it wasn't good enough for them to stay in. Sharon, in a safe and predictable way, declared it to be "Safe and predictable. The Conway's seemed less than impressed with this, but showing the sort of imagination that comes across in their performances, Blonde-way appealed for votes by telling the public that they "really want this so much". In response a million viewers reach for their phones, and promptly dialed for a pizza instead.

"I don't want my dad to be a binman", stated one of Andy's kids during his intro section, despite the fact that being a binman is a far less embarassing occupation than being the X Factor winner. Andy gave us I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston and, despite a false start - which we missed as out cat was distracting us - he injected his performance with a bit of emotion, albeit the sort of emotion normally displayed by rubbish Eastenders actors, and gave what we thought was probably his best performance of the series. "I don't think it was your best performance", said Simon.

The reason Louis returned was not down to the fact he was contractually obliged to. Oh no. In fact, it was because Shayne, his one remaining act, is such a great talent that he didn't want to let him down. Some would argue that by simply being his mentor, Louis lets him down every week, but we digress. As Shayne recounted his reaction to Louis' decision to 'quit' he took the opportunity to indulge in the sort of acting skills which may well be mediocre enough to get him a job on Hollyoaks, should this whole music thing fall through. Also, his mum is called Philomena, which is quite, quite fantastic. Presumably to show off his falsetto, Shayne this week gave us a run through of The Darkness' I Believe in a Thing Called Love. It wasn't a good idea. Despite the fact that we consider The Darkness to be one of the worst acts currently in existence, we do think that that single is really, really good and it just manages to just straddle the line between fantastic overblown ridculousness and being plain laughable. Shayne, a man for whom rock is nothing more than a four letter word, much like shit, was just laughable in this, and the changes between the falsetto and normal bits were just awkward and embarassing. Simon, once again, disagreed with us - "You pulled it off, it should have been a disaster" - but what does he know? Oh.

Next up was Brenda, and a copy of Whitney Houston's Greatest Hits has clearly been doing the rounds in the X Factor offices as she gave us I Will Always Love You, though she had slightly more claim to this as apparently it is her and her husband's 'song'. Despite the fact this should clearly have been a vomit inducing spectacle, it was something really rather special. It started with a beautifully sparse introduction and, had it continued in this vein, it would probably have been the performance of the series. Unfortunately the cheap as backing track brought it down a few notches, but it was still pretty amazing. Simon predicted that she'd be in the final because of this, while Louis was similarly impressed. "You've got some balls", declared Sharon, showing a failure to grasp the fundamentals of human anatomy.

Last, but not least - that honour goes to Chico - were Journey South, men so for real they'd wear jeans to a funeral. Their VT revealed that they'd made their "Mam and Dad" proud of them, though if we were related to them, we'd be ashamed, particularly with them embarrassing us on national TV each week. They also turned on their local Christmas lights, presumbably because the local weather presenter had a previous engagement. They continued to work their way through their pub band repertoire with U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Robson is clearly just miming his guitar now, at one point impressively still strumming away despite the guitar part having dropped out. "You get on with the job", said Simon. He intended this as a compliment, but he managed to sum up the entire problem with the act. They're workmanlike, they treat this like they'd treat any other job, head down, solidly working through it until it's time to clock off, with absolutely no passion, creativity or fire whatsoever. They might as well be up there sorting out the lights, it'd be equally as entertaining. Possibly more so, as there'd always be the hope that one of them might get electrocuted.

So, with all the acts having sang, if not necesarily entertained, it's results time, and Kate excitedly tells us that this is the last sing off of the series. Thank god for that, though it's a bit too late really. Predictably Chico and The Conway Sisters found themselves in the last two, which meant that once again we had to endure his 'unique' approach to singing in tune. He was up at first and reprised the whole performance, including the dancing kid who should really have been in bed by now, while during the Conway's second shot, the judges could be seen arguing away, rather than actually listening to the song. Sharon, unsurprisingly, sent the Conways home, while Simon, both surprisingly and unsurprisingly, did exactly the same thing. There were tears from Blonde-way, before she briefly, and somewhat irrelevantly, ranted "I love Ireland, it's the number one country in the world", before going on to thank Louis for being their true mentor throughout the contest.

Should the Conways have gone? Yes and no. Simon was right when he said they had no chance of winning the contest, they're neither the best singers, nor the best looking girls in the world, and the world of pop hardly feels like a worse place without them, but is there really any point in Chico remaining there? Love him or hate him, and we dunno if you've noticed, but we're not exactly fond of him, he no longer needs to be in the show. He's going to have a career after this, whether we like it or not, and the sooner he leaves and makes a start on it, the sooner he'll vanish into the obscurity from whence he came. At least the Conways were pleasant to look at. Oh well, let's see what happens next week once something slightly more approximating democracy enters the fold.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Frost Report: Day 6 

Jenny Frost's grumpy side continued to show itself on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, as she started off another eventful day - well, it is compared to her normal day to day life of watching Trisha and eating crisps - by having a vague barney with Bobby Ball. Bobby was picked as camp leader for the day and was attempting to stamp his authority on the camp, meeting with as much success as was garnered by Plaza Patrol, Cannon and Ball's sitcom about security guards in a shopping centre. "You've only just got here!", yelled Jen, ladylike as ever, "we've been here a week so shurrup man!". Later she expanded on this theme, summing up all her anger reserves and declaring Bobby to be a "Bossy Bum", a hurtful insult indeed, though not as bad as "Nuggin", which she applied to both Antony 'From Blue' Costas and Sid 'Sid' Owen, due to their inability to remember which one of them had given a certain quote during an interview.

She calmed down a tad later on, finding time to both make some demands in the Bush Telegraph - "Chocolate. Chocolate, chocolate chocolate" - and give her learned opinion on Some Footballer's Wife's Bushtucker trial, and who on earth would have suspected that Jenny would turn out to be an expert on being covered in a sticky substance? "Oh, bless her", she said, in a Scouse accent, "She was covered in goo. Have you seen Ghostbusters? It was like ectoplasm. It was just the gooiest gooey goo in the whole of goosville".

With her mood changing more frequently than the clothes at an Atomic Kitten photo shoot, it's perhaps no surprise that she's beginning to show the first signs of being dangerously psychotic. While stomping around the camp in the evening time with her big manly feet, Jenny kicked a cricket. "Oh, I've killed it!", she exclaimed, while laughing uncontrollably. Indeed, some might say hysterically. However, despite her fears it turned out not to actually be dead, simply playing dead as a defence mechanism. There a less damaged person might have left it, but then, egged on by Sheree - whose chants of "Kill it! Kill it" were genuinely disturbing - she eventually kicked the poor, innocent creature into the fire, before crossing herself and giving it the last rites. We're rather scared of her now.

Jenny nearly found herself doing a Bushtucker trial, but sadly was just beaten by her new nemesis, Bobby Ball. We were so close, though! To give her that final push into the agonising experience which is having to make small talk with Ant and Dec, phone 09011 32 32 04 or text JENNY to 63334.

Take This 

Put on your devil's horns and find yourself a pair of trousers which lack coverage, if not support, in the buttock area, Take That are going back out on tour! The dates:Tickets are priced at a frankly wallet busting £25 to £35 each and are availiable from the usual outlets at 9am on Friday, December 2. The cost might seem steep, but given that they're reportedly getting over a million quid each for the tour, they've got to cover their overheads somehow, and it's just not feasible to expect to sell that many flashing deely-boppers on the night. And at least it'll save Jason from hanging around on street corners, asking passers by to lend him the cost of a cup of Special Brew tea. Oh, and no, Robbie won't be there, but who cares? Besides, with an ego his size, there's not a stage in the world that would manage to fit both that and four other people on at the same time.

Frost Report: Day 5 

Cannon and Ball have entered I'm a Celebrity...! Cannon and Ball! Despite the fact that she now has the best eighties comic double act since, ooh, Little and Large to entertain her, Jenny Frost is not a happy bunny. Perhaps it was because they didn't have a clue who she was - "Hello Jan", smiled Tommy as they were introduced - or perhaps, and indeed slightly more likely given that Jenny should be more than used to people not knowing who she was, what caused her to get upset and throw a bit of a strop was the fact that their arrival meant that the sleeping situation needed to undergo a bit of a reassessment and our Jen was about to get lumbered with the wet and uncomfortable looking hammock. We're not entirely sure how all this resolved itself as, somewhat annoyingly - and this is probably the only time we'd call missing out on seeing an Atomic Kitten member annoying - given it was the only involvement she had in the show, our TV reception decided to start playing silly buggers at this point so our understanding of events was somewhat piecemeal. Much like Jenny's, in fact.

To make Jenny even more miserable and upset, why not nominate her for a Bushtucker Trial. Either phone 09011 32 32 04 or text JENNY to 63334.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Frost Report: Day 4 

What a dog!

A not exactly unexpected exclamation when confronted with Jenny Frost, but this time there's more justification than normal as Jenny spent some time this afternoon enlightening her fellow I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here contestants about her pet pooch, George Michael. This dog, presumably named for his fondness of sniffing around where other dogs go to the toilet, is a chocolate tan miniature dachshund and is clearly some sort of baby substitute for Miss Frost. Either that or she never really grew out of Barbie dolls and the poor beast is like a living version of it. We learnt that he owns a Parker jacket, but wasn't keen on his burberry jumper - clearly a dog with taste - and also possesses a diamante collar spelling out the word "Spoiled". We'd mock at this point, but given that our cat will be spending this Christmas wearing a pink collar with the word "PURR" spelt out in rhinestones, we feel that the windows of our glass house are a bit too fragile to be throwing any stones. "I was thinking of getting him some boots", she pondered. "Stilettos?", suggested Carol Thatcher, "No!", cried Jenny, aghast, "He's a boy dog! He doesn't want to wear heels!".

As if all that wasn't bad enough, she also waxed rhapsodically on the subject of 'Doggles', goggles designed to protect your precious pooch from dirt and dust while it's sticking it's head out of the window. Fortunately for George, Jen has decided not to get them for him, as "He'd look stupid". Not because of the simple fact he'd be wearing bloody glasses when he's a dog, but because "he's too short! He'd look stupid in front of all his doggy friends wearing doggles when he doesn't need them". Quite.

Earlier things took a somewhat corpophiliac turn, with the campers discussing each their toilet habits. "Jenny's definitely done a number 2", stated Some Footballer's Wife, confidently. Jenny agreed, but with a caveat: "It's making me all bunged up, this rice and beans. I've only been once since I've been here and I'm normally once a day". Funny, we heard earlier in the week that she was a six times a night girl.

In a rare moment of self-awareness, Jenny informed the Bush Telegraph that "I know I look rough, might as well embrace the roughness", something which we thought she'd been doing since she first burst on to the scene. If she was actually trying to look good then the mind boggles. "It's bad enough with these bloody curls in", she continued, "I look like an eighties footballer, I look like Kevin Keegan". Which is fair enough, though we reckon that he'll still rank above her in the next list of FHM's 100 Sexiest women.

But despite her slight depression over her appearance, things might be looking up for Jenny, as Sid Owen has promised to take her to a strip bar once they both get out of the jungle, presumably with the intention of getting her a job there.

Finally, in a bid to make more of an impression on the watching audience, she decided to make with the shocking revelations in a bid to get some press coverage. Once the rain began lashing down, she went into the Bush Telegraph and revealed, "This is ridiculous! I only came here to get a tan. It's like being at Glastonbury last year, only without the alcohol on tap.". Atomic Kitten have been to Glastonbury?! Blimey!

To make Jenny experience the most uncomfortable experience of her life since attempting to hit the high notes on the few occasions Atomic Kitten sang live, phone 09011 32 32 04 or text JENNY to 63334.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Frost Report: Day 3 

Continuing the same sort of lifestyle she had before she entered I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Jenny Frost did the sum total of bugger all today. In fact, our copious notes reveal that her entire contribution to the show consisted of the following:-
If you want to vote for Jenny to take part in a Bushtucker Trial then you can phone 09011 32 32 04 or text JENNY to 63334. Go on, not only will it give some money to charity, but it'll also give us something to actually write about.

10 Things We State About... 

Will Young's new album is out this week. We've not actually got our copy of it yet, but based on little more than expectations, we imagine that it will be rather good indeed. To celebrate here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nation's favourite Pop Idol:-
  1. Before winning Pop Idol, Will earned a living by lying on his back in Covent Garden and allowing his chin to be used as a unique form of sundial.
  2. Will is so posh that he only ever buys food from the Marks and Spencers Food Hall and only ever drinks Champagne or Champagne like substances (Pomagne, Appeltize, etc).
  3. Your Game was inspired by childhood misery caused by constantly losing at Ker-Plunk.
  4. Will has released a book containing a selection of Polaroid pictures he's taken since his career took off. Pop Idol rival Gareth Gates lives in daily fear of Jordan doing something similar.
  5. Will once saved a man from suffocating by grabbing him firmly by the lapels, giving him a shake and saying "Look! I think you'd better breathe right now!"
  6. His twin brother is called Rupert. Despite this, Will is the gay one.
  7. Neil Young is Will's dad.
  8. Will was the first person to notice some potentially homoerotic undercurrents to the defiantly heterosexual movie, Top Gun.
  9. Will is currently appearing in a movie alongside Dame Judi Dench. This fact is currently appearing in the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary as part of the definition for the word 'inevitable'.
  10. Evergreen really was rubbish, wasn't it?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Frost Report: Day 2 

Showing the sort of personality, individuality and ability to stand out from the crowd that made Atomic Kitten the band they were, Jenny Frost has continued to spend much of her time in the jungle attempting to blend in with the foliage, even contributing nothing to a conversation that Evil Jimmy Osmond and Antony 'From Blue' Costas had about vocal acrobatics. Though perhaps it's understandable that Jenny felt it wise to avoid contributing to any sort of discussion about singing, having had little experience of that activity.

Despite the crosses which may have blighted her school work during her early years, it was ticks that found our heroine getting most animated today, albeit ticks of the nasty, blood-sucking horribleness kind. It was Jimmy who was first to discover he was affected, though Jenny herself was fine, being entirely bloodless. That didn't stop her getting involved though, as being part of the music industry, she must have had plenty of experience of dealing with that sort of creature, so was quick to put herself on "Tick patrol, big time", and went around checking her fellow campers to make sure they too hadn't been affected. "We're like monkeys!", she declared, excitedly. Nearly Jenny... but despite what you may have been led to believe, a chump isn't actually a kind of monkey.

Girlish excitement also took over when she went to the Bush Telegraph to discover that they'd been gifted with a pair of baby emus to look after. Despite the fact that baby emus are one of earth's more ugly creatures, Jenny cooed over them with delight. "Oh, they're beautiful, gorgeous!", she lied as she looked deep into their cruel, beady eyes, "So cute!". The ease in which she found the animals', ahem, inner beauty was clearly honed from her years of experience in looking at mirrors and seeing her bandmates reflected back at her.

When Carol Thatcher and Jilly Goolden were declared leaders, Jenny - who, we've just realised, looks exactly like a younger version of Jilly - was quick
to volunteer for that night's cooking duties. Once teatime came around, however, she seemed to have no involvement whatsoever, presumably because the others felt that with her water container/toilet confusion of yesterday, letting her anywhere near the food preparation area was not exactly a good idea.

Finally, with Carol clearly being drunk enough to think that trying to persuade Antony, who earlier happily informed us that he considers Bryan Adams to be a genius, to sing a song was a good idea, Jenny did not do what any sane person would do and either tell her what a bad idea that was or get hold of some industrial strength earplugs, but instead began a chant of "Tony, Tony, Tony", in what we can only assume was intended as a gesture of encouragement, rather than the harpy's screech it became. Antony, unfortunately did sing. Jenny, fortunately, did not.

If you want to subject Jenny to an experience as painful as that of listening to her records, then you can vote by dialing 09011 32 32 04 or by texting FROST to 63334. Thanks.

Kirst Almighty 

Do you remember Kirsty Crawford? Of course you don't! She was first out of series 2 of Pop Idol and wasn't even allowed to go on the tour, such was the surplus to requirements nature of her act. Well, allowing for the fact that there wasn't really a there for her to go back to, she's back! No, we couldn't believe it either. Well, we couldn't once we eventually managed to work out who she was. We were lucky enough to catch her doing a gig at Glasgow's Walkabout on Sunday - and yes, as some of you may realise, that does mean we went to see Dr Karl Kennedy from Neighbours do a gig, but hey! Don't judge us! You've probably been to see Kylie perform and it's pretty much the same thing, only with less feathers - where she demonstrated the sort of vague prettyness, half-way there charisma and ability to stay in tune that got her to where she is today.

We were treated, in much the same way as a severe burns victim is treated, to five songs, two originals - one of which was called Hate Myself for Loving You, and the other we forget, the title that is, but both of the actual songs were about as memorable as an ITV continuity announcement - and three covers: Charlotte Church's Crazy Chick, the craziness in question presumably being that of massive self delusion; Kelly Clarkson's Since You've Been Gone, and given the rammed nature of the gig - for Karl rather than Kirsty we feel - breathing at all, let alone for the first time, was a concept we could only dream about; before closing with Aretha Franklin's Respect, showing a fine understanding of irony as, for the audience, chatting and drinking was given a far higher priority than showing Miss Crawford any respect or, indeed, attention.

If you are interested in finding out more, then firstly we'd like to suggest you find yourself some sort of hobby to occupy your time, but if that's not enough, you can also find her official - as if there'd be any other kind - website at http://www.kirstycrawford.com. We discovered this thanks to an excitable Kirsty fan in front of us in the queue who proudly showed us his Make Poverty History style wristband bearing the URL. We had suspected she might have been a charity case, but we didn't realise things were that bad.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Frost Report: Day 1 

And it's quite an inauspicious start for the Frost Report, as Jenny has kept quite a low profile for her first day on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, perhaps because she's still in shock at being one of the most famous people in the group. Arriving to meet her fellow celebs for the first time, she eschewed the more practical outfits worn by the others and chose to make her entrance in a rolling stones t-shirt, denim hotpants and boots, accessorised with the sort of shades that are normally seen retailing in novelty stores in Blackpool for a couple of quid. Despite the fact that her hair looked like it hadn't seen product for weeks, we were happily informed that her luxury item for the fortnight is hair conditioner, which perhaps shows that it's a luxury item for her in real life as well.

"I'm not really a slumming it kind of girl", she informed us via the medium of voiceover, while her ex-bandmates - or friends, as the caption decided to style them - suggested that "2 weeks in the jungle without being pampered and she'll go absolutely mental", giving the audience an insight into her hitherto unknown incontinence problem.

But! All this schmoozing has to come to an end, and it's time for Jenny and friends to enter the jungle for the first time. They're split into two groups and, after sneezing in a fashion identical to that of a pig, Jenny's lot are packed off into their helicopter for a short journey. Initially she's full of high spirits, or possibly actual spirits, joking about whether her seat reclines, but a few minutes into the journey and the expression on her face indicates that vomiting is not too far away, an expression which mirrors that of most people who've found themselves listening to recent Atomic Kitten material.

Upon landing in a clearing, Jenny's survival instincts instantly leapt into play and she was the first to discover a map pinned to the side of a tree. Fortunately for the others in her group, said instincts were strong enough for her not to worry her pretty little head head over it and actually try and understand it herself, and she promptly handed it to Kimberly Davies, who seemed to posses something of a clue, though given that she promptly led them to a high wire act above a massive ravine, this conclusion is open to question.

Second to cross, despite chucking a few mild hissy fits in the direction of Antony Costa, who was leading the group across the wire thanks to his experience with wearing safety harnesses during Blue stage shows, Jenny made it safely over and was soon joined by Little Jimmy Osmond, a man who scares us in ways we never thought possible. Trouble was to come though, with Some Girl From Eastenders having problems and needing to get helped across. Jenny took this in her stride, happily shouting vague words of encouragement to her, unlike Kimberly, who was following behind. She took the role of a mother who blames her children for cutting short her youth and was as unsympathetic as a hungry shark. Eventually, however, they all made it across and they quickly finished their trek into camp.

As the first to arrive, the five of them had a few tasks to do before the others arrived. Once again our Jen took control here and read out the welcome letter: "Put the Hessian screen around the toilet". She paused and looked around for said device. "Is that it there?", she pondered, gesturing towards the camp's water container. We hope and pray that everyone involved in the show understands the importance of boiling drinking water.

Little Jimmy Osmond proved, as we suspect, that he is entirely evil by smuggling in some contraband salt and pepper into the camp via the stuffing of his teddy bear. Jenny, already bikinied up, was quick to avail herself of this black market condiment, despite the fact that she'd only been without 'proper' food for upwards of 12 hours. Apparently she "knew that bear was up to no good", her time in Atomic Kitten having rendered her skilled in the act of reading the thoughts and emotions of inanimate objects.

Jenny's not up for tonight's Bushtucker Trial, the audience sending Carol Thatcher on the Highway to Hell, no doubt as the closest they'll get to making her mother do it, but if you would like her to suffer some pain and humiliation in the future - don't worry, it won't affect her too much, she's used to suffering pain and humiliation from her time in Atomic Kitten - then you can either phone 09011 32 32 04 or text FROST to 63334, and we strongly urge you to so at the next available opportunity.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Nicho-Last Chance to See 

Week 6 of X Factor and frankly we're still shocked by the events of the previous Saturday. The repercussions of Maria's dismissal are still being felt, and unfortunately it's also caused the good people at The Bitch Factor to give up writing their site in sheer disgust. Here at Talent in a Previous life, however, we've taken a different route and have simply gone into denial. As far as we're concerned the events of last week simply did not happen. Maria is still in the competition, she will be singing tonight, and she certainly won't be getting voted off, that's for sure. So, Kate is ready to introduce the acts, dressed in a shapeless red dress and taking fashion tips from Nicholas by having a massive rhinestone encrusted brooch in her general cleavage area, so let's see what they all, including Maria, have in store for us tonight:

Up first are The Conway Sisters. "Not a lot of pressure on them tonight, then", said Simon to introduce them, with a sly smile playing on his lips. Clearly he just wants to wash his hands of them now, even saying in the VT that he wasn't sure he made the right decision last week, and once again letting the girls pick their own song. Referring to the chorus of boo's which - if last week's show had actually happened which, of course, it didn't - greeted their success, the Conway's moaned "Why did we deserve that reaction?", showing a lack of self-awareness which would make an invisible man ashamed. Hoping that sentiment over performance would once again push them through, they went for Whitney Houston's One Moment in Time, but made it their own by adding some dodgy harmonising and painful vocal wobbles. As they stepped out from behind their microphones, they put us in mind of Vicky Pollard's gang from Little Britain and, given the safe, boring, predictable nature of that particular show, it's a comparison that suits them well. The crowd gave the girls a standing ovation, but as they seemed to give everything a standing ovation, including ad breaks, it's probably not that relevant. Sharon asked Louis, "Can you imagine Maria up there? Who do you think would have done that better?". Louis, in response, simply appealed to the audience, going "Well they loved it, didn't they". The audience, proving themselves to be somewhat fickle, happily cheered Louis' deference to them. While this was going on, we were treated to a number of shots of Maria in the audience, looking pensive. But that was probably because she was worrying about her performance later which will, of course, definitely be happening.

"I'm not changing", declared Andy in his intro footage, which is a bit odd, as surely you'd have thought a former bin man would be more aware than anyone of the importance of regularly washing your clothes. He crooned his way through Billy Paul's Me and Mrs Jones, though he neglected to mention how Tom might feel about this, and is now just one step away from performing wearing an untied bow tie. Instead he wore a Saville Row suit in a rather uninspiring shade of grey. Very appropriate. "You sound like the sort of singer we saw 30, 40 years ago" suggested Simon, presumably forgetting that the contest is supposed to be finding new, exciting talent and not just adding a few noughts to his bank balance.

Louis' introduction - "He's a young guy, he's called Nicholas" - showed an almost impressive lack of enthusiasm, which shows that Louis does at least mirror public opinion on occasion. "I'm just fading into the background", said a wall during Nicholas' intro footage before a bored looking audience watched him half-heartedly lurch through East 17's If You Ever. Both Sharon and Simon commented on the flat nature of his performance, fortunately Louis was their to protect his young charge though: "A lot of it was in tune!", he declared enthusiastically, but as curate eggs go, we've rarely seen one so unappetising.

Ah, and now it's time for Maria to shine. Dressed to kill in boots, short black skirt and a sparkly basque, she strides on to the stage, determined to make up whatever ground she may have lost after last weeks events which, lest we forget, Did. Not. Happen. "I love myself", she purrs, "I want you to love me", as she launched into The Divinyls' I Touch Myself. Sexy, but with a knowing, tongue in cheek quality, Maria storms it once again, proving that she needs to have first refusal on all songs which are written from now on. The crowd go wild, with security struggling to stop them from storming the stage to get closer to this magnificent minx, as Kate regains control, she asks the judges for their comments. Sharon is up first, describing it as "fabulous" and, despite the fact that no-one asked her to, telling us that whenever she thinks of Shayne, she touches herself. Simon is, for the first time in his life, entirely speechless, and just sits their with a big, idiot grin on his face as he once again inwardly curses the fact she's not in his group. Louis says nothing and just munches on a lettuce leaf, being, as he is, nothing more than a gigantic slug.

Robson from Journey South still has his bloody guitar - which we're convinced he's just miming with - as the pair of them step out for a performance of Bloody Angels, complete with dodgy handclaps and dancing akin to that of a child in need of a nappy change. "A lazy choice", suggested Louis and, for once in his life, he was actually right. Doing Angel's on a show like this is a bit like going to a prostitute for sex. We imagine. Sure, you'll get the result you're wanting, but you're going to feel very sordid and cheap afterwards. Again, we imagine. After Louis suggested this, both Sharon and Simon laid into him. Louis, unsurprisingly surprised at this venom, suggested that Sharon might have taken some of Ozzy's drugs. Angered by this, Sharon promptly through two glasses of water over Louis, despite the fact that if she really wanted to get rid of him, some salt would do the job far better. "That was fantastic!", said Simon, though it was unclear if he was referring to the water throwing or the Journey South performance. If it was the latter, he was lying.

By some kind of miracle, underneath a glitter ball - well, standing in front of a projection of one anyway - was Brenda, who went all disco-tastic on us with Donna Summer's Last Dance. As she talked about Simon's negative comments from last week in her intro sequence, she began crying, though we were surprised that they weren't white, giving that she seemed to be milking it quite desperately. It was a little bit throaty in places, and she did dance like a chicken, but overall she shone, and her boob shaking at the end helped seal the deal.

We didn't really pay much attention to Shayne's intro piece, as we were more fascinated by the fact that Louis appeared to have a split lip. We can only imagine how he might have received that and, indeed, such imaginings are going to keep us very happy for a long time to come. We did notice that there were a couple of gratuitous shots of Shayne with his shirt off, but as that's what most of his fanbase want from him, it's hardly a surprise. Take That's A Million Love Songs was his song of choice, and while he sang it well, personality wise he's not exactly a Robbie Williams or a Mark Owen. Hell, he's barely even a Howard, but this hasn't stopped the judges, or the audience for that matter, raving about him. They're still wrong, though.

We didn't think there could be many things in the world than Fucking Chico performing godawful covers of various pop tracks. How wrong we were, we didn't even begin to comprehend the horror of the concept of him doing an original track. Unfortunately that abhorrent idea was thrust straight in our faces last night as we were 'treated' to the world premier of It's Chico Time. Oh dear. Less a song, more the theme to a crap mid nineties chatshow, this featured such lyrics as "You can get delirious, you take life too serious" and, quite embarrassingly, "Go Chico, go Chico, go", though to be fair, we were thinking something similar, only with more emphasis on the 'Go' part. It also featured dancing children, dressed in a 'street' style who, we later found out, were called "The Chico's and the Chicette's" and, as we hit the "It's Chico time!" chorus, the screens featured a bouncing, grinning Chico face with watch hands spinning around over it. If anyone knows anything more cringeworthy than those three minutes then please, keep it to yourself. We're all cringed out and can cringe no more. "Horribly fantastic", declared Simon, who was half right.

So, results time, and there were no real surprises here as The Conway Sisters and Nicholas were left to fight it out for Sharon's love. Blondie Conway started crying, while Nicholas declared that he "was never shocked", which we can believe as the whole concept of human emotion does appear to be alien to him. When asked to give advice Sharon said "I've been there, I know how it feels", which is what we believe is known in the trade as a lie. She hasn't been there, her acts have, sure, but she's going to get paid the same whether her acts stay or go, for the people up there this is a once in a lifetime chance to sell a huge amount of singles before vanishing into obscurity, so there's a lot more emotions running through their heads than there are through hers. There's also a lot more thoughts as well, but that pretty much goes without saying. Neither act really managed to raise their game second time around and, despite Louis briefly looking like he might save the Conways above his own act, it was left down to Sharon to decide who gets to take the long walk home. Perhaps she was tempted to go for the Conways in an act of revenge for last week's events but, realising that they were just a mass hallucination and did not actually happen, she sent home Nicholas, and quite right too. We really don't need a rubbish Craig David, the real one's already more than rubbish enough.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Frost Report 

If you've been looking forward all year for your chance to watch a bunch of top quality celebrities humiliate themselves in the Australian outback then, well, you've still got a bit of a wait ahead of you, as this year's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here contestants make last year's selection look like the Hollywood A list. But! In amongst this collection of non-entities whose own mothers would struggle to recognise them is none other than Jenny Frost, formerly of Atomic Kitten and, if releasing one flop single counts as a solo career, formerly of that as well.

Of course, she's not the first ex-Kitten to try her hand at jungle survival. Kerry Katona McFadden Katona took part a couple of years ago and, after actually winning the bloody thing, suddenly found a whole new treasure chest of career opportunities ahead of her. So who can blame Jenny for wanting to give it a shot as well, after all, the prospect of appearing on Loose Women every now and then and getting a deal to appear in a selection of 'hilarious' ads for a cheap frozen food store are now as attractive to her as glittering airplane wreckage is to a magpie, though the latter does stand slightly more chance of getting of the ground.

Anyway, as our Kenzie Watch feature was such a success at the start of the year, and because we haven't had an original idea since then, starting from Monday we'll be bringing you the Frost Report, keeping you up to date with all of Jen's antics in the jungle. We're hoping for excitement and fireworks, but given her past history, banality and a desire to wear as few clothes as possible seem most likely. At least she won't be too squeamish about having to put bugs in her mouth; it's unlikely to be the first time she'll have swallowed something unpleasant to get ahead in her chosen career.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

10 Things We State About... 

Take That are back! For good! Well, for 90 minutes, including adverts, at any rate. Yes, tonight ITV1 is broadcasting Take That... For The Record, a reunion of sorts - Robbie's there on screen, but his 'there' happens to be LA, as opposed to the cold, wet and rainy British 'there' which Mark, Jason, Gary and The Other One have to contend with on a daily basis - to allow them to look back over their career and cover what's happened since - in short, unless you're Robbie, not a lot - and should hopefully include both happy memories and some serious bitching. If not, we'll be demanding a refund on our license fee, regardless of the fact that this programme has nothing to do with the BBC. Anyway, to commemorate this momentous televisual event, we proudly present ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the best boy band of all time, ever (Phixx at the time of Hold on Me notwithstanding):-
  1. The jelly-tastic video for Do What You Like is something that not a single member looks back upon with a sense of shame and humiliation.
  2. As well as dancing and singing, Gary Barlow was also the songwriter in the band. The idea of boy bands having a member who actually writes the song has now gone the way of other modern day anachronisms such as outdoor toilets, witchfinders and Lisa Scott-Lee.
  3. After hearing Back for Good, environmental health officers immediately rushed to shut down the greasy spoon cafe the band ran as part of a convoluted tax dodge. A number of cosmetic stained mugs were later used as evidence against them.
  4. Howard Donald has two first names! Much to the chagrin of his brother, Smith Jones.
  5. Take That are great people to ask for directions home, as not only are they charm personified and always happy to help out a lost soul, they also never forget where you're coming from.
  6. Mark Owen once saw a pigeon the size of his own head. It was a very small pigeon.
  7. It only takes a minute, reckoned the boys, to fall in love. Other things which take a minute include fast forwarding through Lulu's bits on Relight My Fire, listening to the only tolerable parts of Gary's solo career and for anyone with even half a heart to shed a tear upon hearing their cover of How Deep is your Love.
  8. Jason Orange, of course, has the same name as a fruit: The Granny Jason apple.
  9. When they split up, a special phone line was set up so that distraught fans could speak to trained counselor's. When Westlife split up, plans are afoot to set up a special hotline to Threshers, so that music fans all around the country can instantly order vast quantities of champagne to celebrate that glorious news.
  10. Whatever we did, whatever we said, we didn't mean it. We just want them back for good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Tuesday! And if you haven't already, you should really be rushing down to your local record shop to get hold of both the new Girls Aloud and Will Young singles as they're both really good and quite possibly the best thing either of them have ever done. We'll have more on this later in the week - though our usual laziness caveat applies - but until then, here's what we learnt from Sunday night's Top of the Pops:-

Monday, November 14, 2005

Maria: Gone Kid 

So, it's Week 5 of X Factor and Kate Thornton has decided this week to rock an outfit which involves a cummerbund, an item of clothing rarely seen on a female - outside of Victor/Victoria productions that is - so she deserves praise for her individuality, if not necessarily her fashion sense. Still, nice hair. But Kate's sartorial appearance wasn't the only shocking incident of the night, of which more later, but first, let's see what our eight all singing, all dancing and, in the case of Journey South, all weather contestants did to entertain us:-

Shayne expressed concern that he may have peaked too early, which we find hard to believe given that in terms of highs he's not exactly been scaling Mount Everest, more lazily making his way to the top of an escalator at his local shopping centre. But! (And the only sentence that we thought would be less likely to pass our lips than this is "Have you heard the new Freefaller single? It really does break the mould of modern pop") His performance of Cry Me a River was actually pretty damned good. The git. How dare he shatter our preconceptions by actually demonstrating a smattering of talent. He's no Justin, but then, other than the bloke who played Screech in Saved by the Bell, few people are, and for the first time he actually looked convincing as a pop star and not just as a talent show contestant. Simon was even more impressed than we were, gushing uncontrollably in the manner of a firehose filled with love: "You've got the potential to be the most successful male solo artist in the country", which would presumably make him Robbie Williams which, as ambitions go, is a bit like saying you've got the potential to be an absolute cock. Which, on reflection, we have to agree with him about. Sharon also revealed exactly what the "warm, furry, nice smelling" thing she wanted to show Shayne was: one of her horrible, manky looking dogs.

Ah, Maria, star of the competition, smart and sassy, sexy and soulful, and... sweet Jesus, why the hell are you singing that? The 'that' in question being Rolling Stones' Brown Sugar, a song described as being "leftfield" by Sharon Osbourne, presumably labouring under the delusion that this was, in fact, the fifties. We guess that the intention was to show that Maria could perform a variety of songs, and she did give this a damned good performance, even if it was pretty obvious that she wasn't entirely comfortable with the song choice, but still, surely a better idea would be a song that showed off her talents as much as possible and that, frankly, just wasn't it. We've already had to suffer her being wasted upon James Blunt, so we're at a loss as to why Sharon seems intent on seeing whether she can still shine even when given remarkably inappropriate songs. Next week we'll no doubt see her embarrassedly working her way through Bros's Drop the Boy, while still easily outshining everyone else in the competition.

Understandably feeling "betrayed" and a bit pissed off with the fact that Simon, their mentor and supposed cheerleader, has been treating them with the sort of disdain normally reserved for either something Sharon's dog might leave behind on the carpet or Darius, The Conway Sisters decided to ditch Simon for a week and go their own way. And while they didn't go for the Fleetwood Mac track of that name, they did take similar inspiration for their song choice and decided to render Wilson Phillips' Hold On for our entertainment, what with its themes of standing up for yourself, not giving up, and having invasive surgery live on the internet. Blondie Conway played piano for this, or at least sat down in front of one, and they were really good, albeit in a pub sing-a-long kinda way, which is not in itself a bad thing, unless we happen to be involved that is, and as we're not, as far as we're aware, a Conway sister, it was all good. Hooray!

Andy, a man for whom going down the shops for a pint of milk counts as an exciting part of his day, gave us Boyz II Men's I'll Make Love To You. "I'll make love to you, like you want me to", he crooned, hugely unconvincingly unless the object of his affections is quite conventional in her tastes and wants the missionary position and nothing else. There's no denying that he's good at what he does, but he's just so bland and middle of the road that he should really be wearing a tie with white stripes down the middle. Sharon suggested that it was "good to hear him do something that's really current", adding further weight to our theory that she genuinely believes that we're in the past.

Journey South, a band so for real that they refuse to even acknowledge the existence of cartoons, decided, perhaps inevitably, that the time was right to give us a bit of Bon Jovi, despite the fact that the time is never right to give us a bit of Bon Jovi. Their version of Living on a Prayer came complete with an awful acapella opening, embarrassing fist pumping for the "We'll give it a shot" line and, as Robson went into the guitar solo, Jerome stomping around the stage like a slightly retarded child pretending to be The Thing from the Fantastic Four movie, only a lot uglier. Once again the judges lauded them for their risk taking, despite the fact that, as risks go, it's on a par with crossing the road when the lollipop man isn't around.

"Oh Dear, Oh Dear... It's Chico Time", said Sharon, echoing our own thoughts as she introduced the interminable waste of space that is that particular irritant. In a stage swathed with dry ice and a wind machine in full effect - giving the impression that he was reshooting the opening sequence for Quantum Leap - Chico decided to try and "prove to the country I can sing" by performing Enrique Inglesias's Hero and, as experiences go, it was far less painful than his previous 'zany' attempts. Though it must be stressed that this is all relative and, while it's less painful than watching him mug his way through a Ricky Martin, it was still more painful than most other experiences you could care to mention, especially really painful ones. "Verging on a disaster" was Simon's considered verdict, which immediately prompted Chico to go back into Annoying Git mode and start dancing around like someone who really should not be allowed anywhere near sugar. During this he stomped on Kate's foot with, if her facial expression was to be believed, some force. We can only admire her for being professional enough not to swear. Not because of he stood on her foot though, just because we don't think we'd be able to stand next to Chico for more than five seconds without telling him to fuck off so we don't know how she manages it week after week.

Perhaps feeling confident that we might all know his name by now, even if his position in last week's bottom two might cast doubt upon that, Nicholas left his rhinestone covered belt which he's been using in lieu of a personality behind in the dressing room this week. More startled rabbit than popstar, he ran through a by the numbers version of R Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly, any attempt at stamping his own personality on the song being limited to one entirely unnecessary "Woo!" halfway through. Despite having no right to do so, he still looked incredibly pleased with himself once his performance had finished, proving that reality is no match whatsoever for self belief.

Finally, Brenda was great, doing a soulful shimmy through Dionne Warwick's Heartbreaker and looking classy in a simple black dress. Simon, however, was less impressed, moaning that "while you'll have a career in the West End, I'm not sure you're a recording artist". Simon, it's worth remembering, chose both Steve Brookstein and Rowetta for last year's contest, neither of whom have exactly set the charts on fire with their debut collections. Sharon, unimpressed by this, did what Kate managed to avoid doing earlier and swore at Simon, so the list of things she's unaware of - a long list which includes "the current date" and "the sheer awfulness of Chico" - has now had "the 9PM watershed" and "the fact that swearing is neither big nor clever" added to it. Swearing really isn't big and clever by the way, and anyone that says it is is a fucking idiot.

So, the voting. We didn't watch this episode live, as we were out and about on Saturday night, but we did receive an ominous text at 9.43PM saying "I'm guessing this isn't the happiest night for you", which came as a bit of a surprise to us as, at the time, we were having a very good night, thank you very much. It was only later that the true horror of what that message implied came to light. Despite the fact that Nicholas was there, despite the fact that Journey South were there, despite the fact that even Fucking Chico was there, the hive mind of the British public decided that the two acts least deserving of a place in next week show were The Conway Sisters and Maria. Yes, that's right, Maria. Maria who, despite our initial unenthusiasm, has quickly proven herself to be the one act on a show who's a genuine pop star, the one act who outperformed everyone else on that stage, week after week, despite being given some shonky songs, and the one act who we really quite fancy, blonde Conway notwithstanding. You, the British public, are bad people. Bad people! But it's OK, we thought to ourselves, while we're fond of the Conway's, they're not really in the same league as Maria, so we'll just see this as a chance to watch her perform again as, after all, the judges won't be daft enough to vote her off, will they? Will they...? Unfortunately, while we expect the British public to be idiots, after all, these are the people who consistently give Westlife the Record of the Year prize, we had entirely forgotten that Louis Walsh, too, is an idiot, and given that it was him who had to make the final choice, we should perhaps have given that fact a bit more thought as, to a chorus of boos and catcalls from the audience, Louis decided to keep the Conway Sisters and send Maria packing. This is the sort of decision that's so wrong we can't even begin to comprehend the thought processes behind it. Actually, that's not true, we're pretty sure it went something like this:

"I'm Irish... and they're Irish too... and Maria's not Irish... I'll send her home then... I wonder if there's any cake in my dressing room".

"This is a travesty", declared Sharon, and we can only agree with her, something which we never thought would happen, but then, we never thought that Maria being sent home would happen this early either, so clearly our world, with all it's received wisdom and general expectations has collapsed around our ears. What we do now know for a fact is the following:-Oh well, guess we're backing Brenda now then, so you may wish to put a bet on her being voted out on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

10 Things We State About... 

The top of the album and single charts, not normally a place to look for hope and optimism, is currently reaching new depths of despair as sitting astride the pair of them like a Top Shop suited behemoth are Westlife, demonstrating comfortably that some people's brains switch off the minute they enter a record shop. If you've studied your Revelations - which we haven't, though we have seen some dodgy heavy metal cover art - then you'll be aware that this event is one of the first signifiers of the impending apocalypse and we should all start looking busy as the second coming is on it's way, though quite why a Stone Roses tribute band should inspire such fervour is a debate for another time. Until then, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the short, stocky, Shrek-like troubadours:-
  1. Westlife firmly believe that they can fly without wings. We're keen to put this hypothesis to the test by booting them out of a plane and seeing what happens.
  2. Dolls of the band are available under the Mr Potato Head brand name.
  3. Despite claiming he left of his own volition, Bryan was actually asked to leave after his desperate attempts to find out What Makes a Man took a macabre turn.
  4. Westlife gigs are dangerous, exciting experiences! For example, once Kian stood up from his stool a bit too quickly, felt a bit dizzy and had to sit back down again until the next key change came along.
  5. Indeed, such is their Pavlovian reaction to key changes that all the members of the band find themselves automatically standing up the minute they here one, which is why they've all been banned from listening to their iPod's while on public transport.
  6. The original demo of their debut single consisted simply of Roy 'Unfunny racist misogynistic fuckwit' Brown saying "Bollocks. That's 'Bollocks'", and while the released version of Swear it Again may have sounded quite different, it still maintained that original sentiment.
  7. Due to lack of experience, Westlife do not understand the concept of a coloured wash.
  8. Not even all five four members of Westlife can name all five four members of Westlife.
  9. They've had 13 number ones, which is initially quite a depressing figure, but less so when you realise that at least Bop Bop Baby wasn't among them.
  10. When You're Looking Like That was quite good, mind.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Chenai's Closed 

Week four of X Factor and with 9 acts remaining we're exactly at the stage last year's series started at. Weren't those three extra weeks worth having? (Answer: No) But still, we're here now and we only have two more godawful months to trawl through until we finally get a winner. This week Kate Thornton's dress seemed to come from the underused "Only One Left in the Shop the Night Before Prom" school of design, so we will draw a veil over that and see what the acts themselves got up to this week.

Brenda kicked off proceedings and gave us the news that since the show started she's lost one and a half stones, perhaps angling for future career as the Weightwatcher's Dieter of the Year. As the name suggests, this role generally gets the person 12 months of work, so would have the advantage of giving her a longer career than whoever wins the real contest. "I have to hold a note for 11 seconds", she nervously confided in the millions watching, "and I don't think my lungs are that big", perhaps regretting her weight loss already. She needn't have worried though, as not only did she manage to hold the note - though her relief immediately afterwards was written all over her face - but her version of Jocelyn Brown's Somebody Else's Guy, was all kinda of aceness from start to finish, though we could probably have done without the throaty growls in the intro, and she fully deserved all the lovely positive things the judges had to say about her.

In what was an irritating theme throughout most of the acts introductory films, Nicholas's baby photos came to light, along with the revelation that as a kid he "practically wore out a karaoke machine", which was when he realised that "this was what I was destined to do". Of course, we can think of many people who have worn out karaoke machines who aren't destined to become popstars. Indeed, the vast majority of people who overuse their karaoke machines are not only not destined to be popstars, but should also be prevented by any means necessary from ever becoming popstars. No matter, here Nicholas complimented his rhinestone name belt with a pair of rhinestone earrings and a t-shirt with a big rhinestone V on it. By the end of the series we fully expect him to be entirely bedecked in Rhinestones, riding a mechanical bull and performing a popular Glen Campbell hit. Alas, here we had to make do with him doing a competent but dull version of the Jackson 5's I Want You Back with all the magnetism of a lump of plastic. While receiving his comments from the judges he looked the very image of a schoolboy who's been forced to stand at the front of the class while a teacher goes over his work. In short, not exactly pop star material.

It what seemed to be somewhat playing for sympathy, Andy's intro segment focused mainly on the fact that he's had to cope with the death of his mum this week. Now, while we're not ones to mock personal tragedy, unless said tragedy is being a member of the Noise Next Door, we don't really think that this had any real place on the show. Either give him a by to the next round or allow us to judge his performance without feeling we should be letting him off a few vocal wobbles because he's had a hard time. Whether intentional or not, and we're going to err on the side of humanity and assume not, covering this in that way just made everyone look a bit grubby. As it was he did a decent enough version of Can't Take My Eyes Off of You, though he did dance exactly like you'd expect a bin man to dance - well, a binman who's not in any way associated with Stomp that is.

Chenai, who seems to have more teeth than is traditional, gave us Always on my Mind, following on from Andy's choice, this lead us briefly to hope that the production team judges have been perusing the Pet Shop Boys' greatest hits for inspiration and we could be about to see someone attempt to cover I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing, one of the greatest songs ever written. Unfortunately we were wrong, and Chenai's interpretation owed more to Willie Nelson's than the Neil and Chris's more sparkly rendition. We weren't particularly convinced by her bolero jacket, either. Simon unflatteringly compared her to a Chinese meal, while Louis, in what was the weakest defense since Ross Kemp attempted to avoid a fat lip - satire - told her not to worry as the public will "like her". Sure, we might like her, but loving her? It seems unlikely.

Oh God. It's Fucking Chico time. Again. Nicola Roberts, a singer in a pop group we're vaguely aware of, said this week: "I don't think the talent is that good this time round. Seriously, if that's what Britain has got then we're dying on our arses! I mean, look at Chico - what is that? That's what you get when you try and make good TV rather than a talent show,", and to think people wonder why we love her. Anyway, this week he did Kiss, and once again we can't really fault the song choice, although we can fault the performance, particularly the first verse which was sung, for we neither no nor care, in a falsetto, which set our cat off on a pitiful display of wailing in response. And if anyone would like to explain exactly what the Riverdance-esque moves that turned up towards the end were then please, don't. We really do have better things to be doing with our lives. In the introductory segment Sharon asked, apparently rhetorically, "If you were going out for a night of live entertainment, you'd get a ticket for Chico, wouldn't you?". We care not for rhetoricalism, and would like to say "No, clearly not". Even if we had to go out to see some live entertainment and the only other available show was the Live Boiling Oil and Salted Wounds Entertainment Experience, we'd still get a ticket for the latter and have a less painful experience to boot.

According to Simon, keen to push them ahead in the competition, Journey South have so far seemed to him to be "in the middle of the pack", while to us they've more been positioned in the middle of the road. They, it was proudly announced in the most hideous two word phrase in the English language - for future reference the most hideous three word phrase in the English language is "It's Chico Time" - were going to be "Performing acoustically", which they did, doing a bland, emotionless and awful trudge through Roberta Flack's The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face. Despite this being one of the dullest things we've ever seen, and we've seen Almost Famous, this was hailed by the judges as a brilliant example of risk taking. If they'd said piss taking, however, they might have been a bit closer to the truth.

Ah Maria, you've got to see her. Especially this week where she was looking fantastic in a bustiere and multi-length ra-ra esque skirt. We'd describe her as being dressed to kill, but we're not sure the outfit would be all that practical for such an endeavour. Now, last week she was urged to do something a bit more contemporary by the judges and we couldn't help but agree. A bit of Sugababes would go down a storm, we thought to ourselves, or maybe Rachel's I Said Never Again (But Here We Are), so you can imagine, then, our horror, when we realised that contemporary to them meant little more than finding out whose sold the most records this year and getting her to do that. So it was that we were treated to the horror of the fantastically ace Maria forcing her tonsils around the fantastically shit James Blunt 'song' You're Beautiful. A marriage made in hell if ever we saw one. Yes, she managed to imbue the chorus lines with a sense of genuine emotion compared to James' own lifeless efforts, but still! James Blunt! Though we guess we should be glad that they didn't see fit to foist the Crazy Frog upon her. While judging Maria, Simon made reference to Nicola's comments about the show, suggesting to Louis in a snide way that they should perform live on the show next week, seemingly forgetting that the band were formed via a similar show and have already proved their ability to sing live on TV every Saturday night for a couple of months.

"I think he's got something different", said Louis, introducing Shayne. Yes, an apparent inability to use a razor properly and the amazing power to turn any song into a pointless yawnathon. Here he did The Stylistics' You Make Me Feel Brand New, which made us feel like going to sleep, and continued happily in his attempt to be a complete non-event for his entire time on the show. Can you lot please stop voting for him? Thanks.

Finally, The Conway Sisters, who Simon still seems to be taking great pleasure in being less than glowing over during his comments. He gave them One Voice to sing which, if our book of hit singles is to be trusted, and it is, was last covered by Bill Tarmey in 1993. Yes, the one from Coronation Street. With that sort of pedigree it would be hard put for anyone to put a good spin on it, but they managed it, even if it did descend into a confusing mess of vaguely harmonised "ba-ba"s in the middle. The choir seemed somewhat pointless as well, unless they actually all were members of the Conway family, in which case we'll let them off.

So, 9 acts sang, but only 8 can go through in this high budget game of musical chairs, and Kate just can't wait to see how long she can stretch it out before telling us who's going to face each other in the final sing off. After all the safe names are read out - with Simon somewhat interestingly telling Journey South after they were confirmed to be returning: "Come on lads, smile, be happy" - we were left with just Chenai and Nicholas to fight it out for the final spot. As always seems to be the case, both performed better second time around, with Mylene Klass seen enjoying Nicholas' singing, though it's not like she's got anything better to do with her time these days. Chenai's singing couldn't exactly be described as perfect this time around, but she did manage to add a tender vulnerability to her voice which more than made up for it, even if she did look emotionally drained the minute the song was over. With both acts being mentored by Louis, Sharon and Simon were asked to make their choices first and, sending home Nicholas and Chenai respectively - no doubt deliberately taking one each - Louis was left with the final choice. To his credit he didn't faff around and make a song and dance about it like some judges - *cough*Sharon*cough* - would have done, but instead pointed out that it was a hard decision, before belying that statement and swiftly giving Chenai the boot. "I get to come home!" she yelled excitedly, before failing to burst into tears as we expected. Oh well. We'd have rather seen Nicholas get the boot, mainly because Chenai is prettier and we can be very shallow at times.