Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
UK Popstars 2, Weeks 6-8: The Crying (and Lying) Gameby Phil Lewin -- 10/30/2002
View Printable version of this article
We are now three weeks into the Popstars – The Rivals eliminations. The ten boys and ten girls competing for a place in the final line-ups of the rival bands are being whittled down by a method cribbed without apology from Pop Idol. Each person sings an abridged version (presumably because the show’s producers feel that viewers do not have an attention span of anything longer than two minutes) of a song chosen by their respective manager – Pete Waterman for the boys and Louis Walsh for the girls – in front of the three judges (the aforementioned two plus Geri Halliwell) and a live TV and studio audience. The show’s host, Davina McCall, runs around excitedly offering moral support to the nervous performers. The public then vote for their favourites and the person with the least votes that week is eliminated. The boys and the girls alternate each week until each group is down to the final five.
The boys appeared in the first week. Davina started by asking the judges what qualities they were looking for in the band. Pete favoured great vocals and Geri that ambiguous “star quality”. Louis stated that the key to a successful boy band was that they had to be Irish (so top o’ the morning then to the very Irish N*Sync, Blue, BB Mak, etc.) and, more seriously, had to be a good looker and passionate about their singing. The difference in priorities between Pete and Louis has led to some entertaining spats about Keith, the pub rocker, who is vocally talented but does not have the conventional ‘pretty boy’ look. By the second round of eliminations, when Louis stated that he was worried about Keith’s untypical boy band image, Pete jumped up and yelled that he was not making a boy band but (what is now his series catchphrase), a “vocal harmony group” and, amid much hand-waving, yelled that he had the voice of an angel before trading insults with Louis. Hopefully Keith will not be eliminated just yet as he seems to be the only real catalyst for disagreements between the judges so far.
Geri meanwhile has spent most of her time either babbling meaninglessly or patronising the boys, especially the unfortunate Jamie. “He’s lovely and so cute,” she cooed in the first round of auditions. To add to his embarrassment Davina joined in at the second round. “You look lovely, like my children,” she gushed. Geri stated that she was sure he had lots of young girl fans and Davina interrupted to add that he had older girl fans too. I pity Jamie, this is almost like visiting the relatives.
Anyway, the real business of the show is of course the musical performances. Judging by the first round of auditions, Anton, Daniel, and Peter, aka the ‘Three Tops’ seemed certs for the band plus any two from Jamie, Matt, and Michael (who now seems to have adopted the far more boy band friendly moniker of Mikey). The two standout performances were Daniel’s haunting rendition of ‘Against All Odds,’ which even got the hardbitten Pete standing up and applauding, and Peter’s rich and mature rendition of ‘Since I don’t have you’. “He’s got Irish soul,” gushed Louis, who will soon be turning up in a green suit waving a tricolour if this wave of Celtic patriotism continues. “He’s brought class to the show – any critics cynical about this show should watch this,” added Geri. Poignant words in the light of as yet unforeseen events to come.
After the ten performances and a break of an hour to allow public phone voting, it was time to reveal the unlucky person to be eliminated, via a complex process of shuffling the performers into groups around the stage and Davina then telling the members of each group whether they were safe or not. Eventually Andrew and Chris were told that one of them would have to go. They were also the only two performers to attract any sort of criticism from the judges, which may suggest either an amazing concurrence of opinion between the public and the judges or a viewer readiness to be totally swayed by the judges’ comments. Anyway Andrew was the first of the ten to go and, in an apparent spontaneous gesture, all of the boys came back onto stage to console him amid the first of many big teary group hugs.
The following week was the girls’ turn. Unfortunately my video failed while I was on vacation so I cannot comment on the performances, but Linzi, despite an ambitious attempt at ‘All around the world,’ was the one to go, amid more complaining from Louis, who moaned that the public had made the wrong decision (and she wasn’t even Irish). However, the elimination was overshadowed by a dramatic walkout from the girls’ house earlier in the week by Nicola. She had already been rumoured to be unhappy inside the house because of enforced separation from her fiancée but, on top of that, she cited the staple music industry excuse beloved by recording artists far more established than her – contractual difficulties. “The contract is outrageous. If we win, we have to sign up to an agreement which means ‘they’ own us. They can use our faces on mugs and duvets and God knows what,” she moaned. “And we’ll only get £1,500 (about $2,300) a week for touring while they’re raking it in,” she continued, not apparently considering that most 19-year-olds can only dream of earning that amount of money. “I’m going to concentrate now on getting a solo career and find a company that won’t try to control my entire life,” Nicola vowed before disappearing into oblivion. It is not known what the other girls felt about her departure but Pete was quick to dance on her musical grave. “I met Nicola on Pop Idol and argued with Simon over her,” he said. “She clashed with him straight away and he didn’t want her to continue. I eventually realised that she was just too cocky.” You could argue that anyone who takes on Simon Cowell should be commended, but compared to Hazel, the other premature departee from the girls’ house, Nicola appears far less likely to have the presence or the attitude to make it on her own. For the purposes of the competition, another of the five girls that failed to make the final ten now needed to be reinstated as a replacement and with appropriate symmetry Louis chose the other Nicola. She had only just missed out on getting into the house when Hazel had to leave and naturally she was ecstatic at this belated second chance.1 2 Next-->
View Printable version of this article