I'm sorry, but I can see no redeeming features whatsoever in this programme. The music is bland, the singers are putty, the pundits are smug, the steady drip of 'news' is too carefully co-ordinated, and the Christmas number 1 is going to be soul-less drivel. I even met the producer of the TV show the other weekend. Admittedly only the producer of the ITV2 show, but even he couldn't convince me of the programme's worth. In fact he seemed a little put-out when I said I'd never voted for any of the contestants on the show. I had hoped I didn't look that vacant in public.
What worries me most about the whole Pop Stars / Fame Academy phenomenon is the prominence now being given by the music industry to young, supposedly good-looking singers, pre-packaged and manufactured, endlessly murdering cover versions of sub-karaoke classics. Even when someone does come up with an 'original' song it still just sounds like something Gary Barlow or Shania Twain would have knocked up on an off-day. Whatever happened to music with soul, music with a cutting edge, music with just a spark of originality? I could go to a wedding reception and hear something more exciting than this.
Now, I will confess that I think Hear'Say's Pure and Simple was a classic record, and that Darius's Colourblind was unexpectedly good, but most of the turgid pap being produced by these manufactured artists is insipid, uninspired and over-safe. I have a nasty suspicion that the musical tastes of 17-year-olds and 70-year-olds are rapidly converging.
Fifty years since the pop charts began, we're in danger of returning to the age of the big crooning ballad. I blame Robson and Jerome for starting the revival myself, with Simon Cowell as puppeteer. Now Gareth Gates is surely the anti-christ of original music, Westlife are the kings of musical saccharine, and even Robbie Williams is selling out to American tastes. Thankfully there are still some artists out there who can put a musical tingle down my spine, but it sure as hell isn't this lot.
One True Voice: Oh, very clever. Don't know if you've noticed, but this group's name appears to have been chosen because it shortens to 1TV. Is ITV so concerned about its ratings slide that it needs to resort to this kind of subliminal advertising?
Girls Aloud: Would have been much more appropriate for the girls' band to be called Girls Banned, I reckon.