The formula brought the viewers but the judges were poor, presentation was poor, concept was an anti-climax and the acts were roundly bland and uninspiring
The bodies of Hear'Say were not even in their shallow (but well paid) graves before the ratings war of Saturday night entertainment meant that the ITV execs frantically continued to cling to a formula that brought them lots of viewers, lots of tabloid headlines and lots of money by returning to the Popstars well. However for some reason they felt that they needed more of a hook this time to up the ante (perhaps after Stars and Idol were already out there). So to add more interest to this series, the gimmick was that two winning groups would come out of the contest part of the show one all male, the other all female. These two would then go head to head for the Christmas number one single.
This hook was not enough to gain my interest but I did dip in and out because it only made sense to me that the boy band would lose while the girls would easily win by playing the sexuality card as heavily as they could. Indeed this is just what happened in the end and I wasn't surprised. I was even less surprised by how quickly One True Voice were removed from view although I was surprised by the decision to give them a sombre "ballad" appearance while the girls stole it with their fun song and sexy delivery. I wasn't surprised by the show which, despite this superficial change, remained remarkably the same. The singers tended to repress character and personality and mostly seemed to aim for the bland characteristics that they knew would make their faces fit. It was surprising how few of them actually had real talent and it was deeply annoying that the one person with a really great voice was removed at the last minute; that person being Javine who made the mistake of being very personable, sexy, talented and black not that I'm suggesting that that latter characteristic had anything to do with her not making it into the chart friendly all-white, all-girl group.
I can't even comment on One True Voice because they were so bland that even their own mothers didn't notice they were on the show. Girls Aloud came out with a fun track that gave them a good enough start so that they haven't run out of steam yet. Of course dropping their clothes for every men's magazine that comes calling probably helps but, hey, we all gotta eat right? The judges are yet again left to inject drama and action into the bland proceedings, although in this series they struggled. Waterman and Walsh banged up against each other and had nicely staged fights and conflicts over who would win they were rubbish but they looked like the equals of Morecambe & Wise when they were compared to the performance of Geri Hailliwell, who bored for England and noticeably has never been reemployed as a judge on any contest anywhere. The whole thing was presented by the gowling and shouting Davina McCall who lacks the charm and charisma of Ant & Dec and didn't help things one bit.
Overall the formula is in place so naturally it drew the viewers but this was a roundly poor series even when compared to the equally soulless Idol and Stars. The acts were routinely bland and the "contest" at the end was just an obvious anti-climax where the doleful ones lost and the ones that were regularly semi-naked won (who'd have thought it). The judges were poor and badly staged their fights while Davina McCall seemed unable to add any value. Saturday night rubbish, but I suppose some people actually like that.
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