“Tonight Graham I’m Going To Be…”

My mum adored the late Leslie Crowther, which explains why I remember him as the very first host of Stars In Their Eyes. A guilty pleasure of mine and a television institution, it started way back in 1990. Camp (especially during the legendary Matthew Kelly era), glittery and glossy, it’s a simple idea so well executed. Maybe that’s why the BBC has blatantly duplicated it lock, stock and two smoking performances for new Graham Norton vehicle, The One And Only.

Charles Caleb Colton coined the phrase about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and it has never seemed more apt. I thought Auntie Beeb had reached a light entertainment nadir with Just The Two Of Us but they’ve outdone themselves with this hilariously inferior Stars In Their Eyes doppelganger. I was invited to the live Saturday night taping by the fab BBC publicity team and to my absolute amazement, against all the odds, I actually enjoyed the night! It’s akin to snooker; awful to watch on TV, but really fun if you’re participating.

OK you do have to put up with annoying directions by the floor manager to stand up for a song or sway in your chair or cheer the contestants and clap for Graham, but there’s no way I would’ve sat in front of this had I been home; life’s too short.

Elton and Dusty Springfield did their thing and they were OK (if a little too tall in the case of the Elton imitator), but it took a ginger Lionel Richie to really get the party started. There was the picture of white supermarket employee Moni Tivony (great name!) before us and in that instance, a studio audience was thinking as one…how?

And would he be any good? Kudos to the BBC make-up team for attention to detail; they even gave him a peppercorn-looking hairy chest (if you saw John Barnes’ rug on Strictly Come Dancing and you’ll know exactly what I mean). It had me in stitches! Our ginger Lionel Ritchie could’ve stepped into any blaxploitation flick – ya dig? Right on brother! Gimme some skin! He had the audience firmly on his side the minute the transformation was revealed.
Here’s the video of his performance.

At the top, I mentioned two smoking performances – Moni’s was one of them; Graham Norton’s was the other. Even if the BBC are giving him a load of pap to front, the former Father Ted star is utterly professional and extremely likeable. He came down to meet members of the press gathered in one of the BBC green rooms (thanks for the Champers and canapés Auntie; I’ll take that as a personal apology for Davina McCall’s turgid chat show) and chatted with us all for ages.

What’s more, he displayed great enthusiasm about the show (and refreshing honesty about some of the contestants….and no. I’m not telling). Lovely guy.

Showbusiness may be cruel, but if a crueller mechanic exists for booting participants off shows than this one, I’ve yet to see it. The contestants vote for the act they want to save but instead of stopping when Madonna (Evelyne Brink) had clearly won, it carried on. Were it not for Tom Jones (Simon Abbotts), poor Rod Stewart (Greg Dorrell) would’ve been Billy-no-mates, all on his lonesome. His Terrahawks wig and ill-fitting leopard skin was bad enough (borrowed from Corrie’s Bet Lynch perchance?), did the poor bloke really need that additional humiliation?

Can I also say, I see no point in Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue winning a residency in Las Vegas. They may be adored here, but they’re virtually unknown in certain parts of the US.

Today I am mostly lovin’ – Mad Men’s success at the Golden Globes. Can’t wait to see it on BBC Four.

Today I am mostly hatin’ – OK I don’t hate it – but who came up with the name ‘Mandle Candle’? I just can’t take that advert seriously! It’s the naughties equivalent of Ferrero Rocher’s Ambassador’s party ad. Funny!

MSN Editor Coops
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17 Responses to “Tonight Graham I’m Going To Be…”

  1. Aleczandra says:

    I never understood how they went into to smoke and came out dressed so quickly. It was unreal!!!

  2. ..: H e r 0 i n :.. says:

    Ninja Girl, I don\’t mean this as an insult but come on, do you seriously not know how it was done? They film them walking in. Stop the camera while the make over ensues and then start the camera again when the person walks back out. Kind of like when you film someone standing there, stop the camera without moving it while they step out of view and start the camera again so it looks like they just dissapear.

  3. melanie says:

    What an amazing transformation, he was clearly the best one on the show, the voice and look.
    Cher is my second choice, and Dusty 3rd.
    Am looking forward to this weeks show, can\’t wait to see Moni doin his ting.
    I agree with the comments made above he has the potential to be a HUGE STAR, on screen, looks like he could pull off anything.

  4. Aleczandra says:

    But …: H e r 0 in :… they had a LIVE audience THERE! the audience would just have to hang around waiting.I don\’t really like those kind of programs anyway. Besides, I\’m 13 so at my age it dusnt matter.

  5. Caroline says:

    why do you think Evelyne (Madonna) was in the last two – I thought she was fabulous – do you think its a fix?

  6. Unknown says:

    Why does everyone think everything is a fix just cos someone or something didn\’t go the way you wanted??? We are all different people so someone is always going to be upset, just accept it, it\’s life!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Jennifer says:

    To Ninja Girl…feel the shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame!

  8. Aleczandra says:

    Message to Jeni: huh?

  9. Coops - says:

    Jeni, Ninja Girl is only 13. What shame should she feel for being unaware of how certain aspects of television work? In addition, I will have no flaming here…

  10. Judith says:

    Why do the puplic keep voting for the so so creepy Tom Jones looky likey. He is aweful as is the Elton John fella. In fact none of  them are much good at all.

  11. Unknown says:

    They\’ve really scraped the barrel with this one! No talent, no frills, no point!! Tonight Graham, I\’m going to be a talentless, disillusioned poor excuse for an individual in the hopes of getting my sad posterior on tv for 5 minutes! Have you no shame people? Stick to Casualty I say! Its predictable and OTT these days but it gives you far more entertainment!

  12. stewart says:

     it\’s like stars in their eyes meets x-factor meets weakest link. cher is the only one i find consistently good and the lionel richie and elton john are my least liked.

  13. Unknown says:

    To the editor COOPS: When was Graeme Norton in Father Ted?? Are you confusing him with Ardal O\’Hanlon?

  14. Coops - says:

    Hello Dolly (love writing that!). Father Noel Furlong was indeed played by Graham Norton before his ascent to superstardom. He was only in a couple of episodes – but he was hilarious. Check out Graham\’s biog on Wikipedia for more info.

  15. Unknown says:

    are we realy this sad in this great country of ours to watch so much twoddle?

  16. helen says:

    The guy singing as Frank Sinatra is amazing….i dont usually watch this sort of thing, but must say I am hooked..lol Father Ted,,,,wasnt he in the episode where they are on a plane to somewhere…..that was funny…….drink !! Father Jack was amazing

  17. Brian says:

    i have to comment i thought the show was utter trash. i have heard better at my local pub on a saturday night.and forcoops to suggest graham norton is a super star ….more trash.?

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