Professional and polished little show with good names and performances coming out for a worthy cause (but not financially I note)
Following the ratings success of last year's Saturday Night Divas, ITV decided to do it again with the imaginatively titled Divas II. The format is essentially the same, with the audience made up of those supporting their charity work fighting breast cancer ordinary people rather than celebrities. As before the line-up is made up of internationally successful female acts (and the Sugababes) who perform between segments of video looking at the achievements of some of those in the audience tonight.
It was not surprise to me that they repeated this idea because it does seem a winner of an idea all round. You have a worthy cause. You have big stars and you have the appeal of filling a weekend evening slot with another musical show so beloved of light entertainment viewers at the moment (hence the dominance of X Factor and all the various variations thereon). OK so it is on a Sunday but it is all the same audience you're after really and it helps not to be too morbid or demanding in this slot. There is no risk of this though because if this were any more cheerful or uplifting it would probably be illegal and it puts on a big cheerful show with lots of names lining up. Holding up this cheer is the effortlessly perky Klass, who is legally the only member of Hear'Say that is allowed out into the community these days (if this sounds unfairly mean to the others, please remember just how rich they all are). Klass is not the most natural personal I've seen presenting but she does fit the bill here and does a good job.
The biggest change from last time is an issue that clearly someone on the inside raised which was the absurd "lots of teeth, lots of hands" dancers that accompanied each act. They are all gone this time and it feels a lot more professional and "proper" as a result. The acts are also mostly very good not only in their names but also in the performances they give. The Sugababes decide to do a dull song in favour of any of their hits; a strange choice perhaps and all it does is make them feel like a warm-up act. Lewis is all a bit plastic to my eye and ear but she is a star and the audience loves her. Anastacia is a nice addition. OK so this is part of her trying a comeback but the fact that the subject means a lot to her stopped even me being cynical. Pink gives a great performance but then blows it at the end; instead of waving of saying thank you, she blows a raspberry and then mouths a complaint about how hot it is what a pro! Cilmi does her pop hit and then leaves, which, in this company is about right nice little tune though. Rihanna is the BIG name of the evening and she does do a good number even if it feels a bit generic I would have liked her to have even said a little bit to bond with her audience and encourage them beyond just being there. Warwick is a class act. Where Shaka Khan didn't do that well last time, Warwick is pure class, on tune, relaxed and a great presence whose only problems is the awkward fade-outs her songs have.
A solid and worthy show all round then. The main weakness from last time (the dancers) have been dropped and the stars are all in attendance while the real people are not lost by way of one or two video sequences. Nothing amazing or earth shattering but a nice little warming piece of Sunday night entertainment. One big negative about it must be said though, and that is the motivation of ITV because it struck me that they were wearing the worthiness of it on their sleeves. As the credits rolled we were told that we could get clips and other exclusive material to our phones by texting a number at several times the normal rate. I waited for the announcer to say how much was going to charity, but she never said. So I rewound to check the small print to find that all of the money would be going to ITV. A simple way for ITV to further their support of the cause and they don't take it a little off putting after being encouraged to do our bit to realise that the makers of this show appear to be doing that as long as they get paid.
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