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UK Popstars 2, Week 13: No Talent Aloudby Phil Lewin -- 12/05/2002
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It’s taken eight long weeks for the ten boys and ten girls that made the final stages of Popstars – The Rivals to be reduced down to the final five apiece, but at last the end is in sight. One more girl would go this week and then we will know the line-up of both the boy and girl bands. About time too as the behaviour of our host Davina McCall and the three judges seems to be becoming increasingly deranged. “The girls are set to begin their genius new life as popstars,” Davina gushed in starting the show. Eh? Since when have the words ‘genius’ and ‘popstars’ ever appeared in the same sentence? I don’t believe that Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison were ever in boy bands.
Geri Halliwell added to the overkill when comparing the birth of the new girl band to her own experiences. “The beginning of the Spice Girls was a special precious time,” she stated. “Make the most of it.” Yes, do, before the egos clash, ferocious rows begin, and people start walking out of the band, mentioning no names, Geri. Pete Waterman also appeared in need of help. “I’ve had some time off on my own this week – lonely Pete,” he mumbled self-piteously. Earlier in the week Pete had threatened to commit suicide if Louis Walsh’s girls beat his boy band to the number one slot. I think there is a definite cry for help here.
After this cringeworthy opening, at last the six girls appeared on stage for their ensemble opening number. Following the almost surreal boys’ performance of ‘Hotel California’ last week, the girls also attempted a quite bizarre song choice – the B52s’ ‘Love Shack’, which sounded very like an eighties Bananarama number (in the days when they were produced by Pete Waterman). “Bang, bang, bang, on the door,” Davina then started to yell continuously. The door to the clinic if Davina carries on at this rate.
If viewers hadn’t started to throw heavy objects at their TV sets by now, many undoubtedly would at the sight of this week’s manipulative girls’ publicity stunt – oops, charity event – a visit with Geri to a childrens’ cancer hospital. The girls were seen dressed up as angels talking to sick kids in an event that was so genuinely low-key that there were about a dozen photographers gathered outside the hospital upon their arrival. Even by the standards of Halliwellian hyperbabble, Geri then excelled herself while describing her altruistic motivation. “It’s a gift that comes with being famous – you can brighten up someone’s day.” Altogether now – “AAAAAAAAARGH!” Cue mass vomiting.
Let’s get onto the performances quickly. It was Sarah’s turn to go first this week. She has been getting better week by week and shows a definite affinity towards the big-voiced songs, so Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding out for a hero’ was a suitable choice. The judges all agreed. “She gave it 140 per cent when 100 per cent would have been good enough,” said Pete incomprehensibly. “You’re sexy and a girls’ girl – I’d put you in the band,” stated Geri. Louis was so impressed that he said “Fantastic,” twice! “I want her in the band – vote for her,” he added.
Nadine followed. Unlike Sarah, ballads have proved to be her strength, so her rendition of the uptempo ‘I wanna dance with somebody,’ was not her greatest performance, though she managed some impressive long notes and even some body movement, which had not been her strong point up until now. “Great job – there was a bit of a wiggle – let go and do your own thing,” advised Geri. Louis thumped the tub, “This band will be the start of a long career for Nadine Coyle.” Oh Louis, are you implying that one day Nadine will go solo and this band will not be staying together forever? Shame on you! Pete seemed in a world of his own. “I’ve had problems with the choreography – fabulous.”
Appropriately enough, Nadine was followed by her new best friend in the band, Kimberley, who sang an average rendition of ‘Chain Reaction.’ It has always been evident that she is not the best vocalist out of the finalists, but any friend of Nadine is obviously welcome in Louis’s house. “Fantastic performance – great – they’re best friends – well done,” he wittered. Both Geri and Louis were concerned about some negative press coverage Kimberley had received earlier in the week which implied that the band’s management did not want her in the final line-up because of attitude problems. “The press is wrong – she is not a diva,” exclaimed Geri (who should know). Louis couldn’t resist a crack at his rival. “Pete’s the only diva that I know,” he quipped unamusingly. Geri continued, “Kimberley is not the strongest vocally but the band needs characters – she’s got the J-Lo thing.” So that definitely doesn’t make her a diva then. Davina was more preoccupied with another area of comparison between the two, “She’s got the bottom,” she yelled excitedly (presumably ‘ass’ is not felt to be a suitable prime-time TV word). After last week’s gropings of some of the boys’ posteriors, Davina seems to be developing a quite alarming fixation on this part of the anatomy. Pete realised that he had nothing to add to this bizarre discussion and wisely stayed silent.
Nicola was up next and belted out ‘I’m so excited,’ in an appropriately joyful manner. Pete was still not quite of this earth. “A 17-year-old kid should not be singing a song for a 37-old-woman (perhaps failing to notice that all of the previous songs were also originally recorded by equally mature women) – but you walked it.” Geri was more concerned with Nicola’s image. “You’re dressing too old – dress in funky street clothes like trainers and jeans.” “It’s too early in the evening,” protested Davina, who has a strange idea of streetwear (unless she was confusing it with streetwalker wear). “She’ll make the band,” Louis added (again).
It was now time for the band’s other obvious real talent (along with Nadine), Javine. Tonight’s song was ‘I’m every woman,’ and as always she gave a strong and classy vocal performance. The judges were awed. “So impressive,” said Geri. “She’s got soul – great performer – has to make the band,” enthused Louis. “She’s in the band – no question,” Pete stated confidently, before strangely adding, “Wonderful backing vocals,” referring to Cheryl, Kimberley, and Nadine’s support. What does this mean? Did he see Javine as the frontperson of the band (in much the same way that Louis is reputed to favour Nadine?) We may never know.
And at long last, the dubious honour of the last song of the last audition of the series went to Cheryl, who appropriately enough sang ‘Right here waiting’ (for it all to end). Even the judges appeared to have had enough by now and kept their comments short. “Vote for her,” said Louis simply. “Gorgeous, photogenic and emotional,” said Geri. “She’s one of the nicest kids in the competition and I felt for her,” wittered Pete, perhaps acknowledging that she was at high risk of going out.1 2 Next-->
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