fairyd123: (Cartoon Jack)
[personal profile] fairyd123

Another short and sweet recording this time around with lots of JB singing, the re-appearance of two people from the Pilot episode that they filmed and again sadly no Stage Fright section. I think we're only going to get 3 Stage Fright's - the fire twirling (against Gethin Jones), karate (against Denise Lewis) and the footie in the first episode aired.

And of course JB won each challenge!

The Stage Fright sections seem to have been taken up by VT of the Doctor Who monster costumes for the competition they're running, none of which we got to see. It feels odd that I know the name of the monster that won (think a guy who created one of the monsters (Dvorak?) was sitting behind us) but haven't actually seen any of the video clips yet! I suspect this will make the whole thing look incredibly anti-climatic on screen unless they slot in some of the generic audience reaction shots which they film at the beginning of each taping as the audience hasn't seen any of the costumes so can't react to anything.

The first performer this week was a young 19 year old Irish girl who was in remission from cancer. She loved her Irish Dancing and it gave her something to aim for when she was sick - she wanted to get better so she could dance again. John surprised her in a shopping centre by calling her name over the tannoy and having a group of Irish dancers appear out of nowhere. He then invited her to come on the show and perform with the cast of Lord of the Dance.

Which she did and its a testament to her that it took me most of the song to work out which one she was (she was in green, everyone else was in red -I'm really not too bright sometimes!). She was great and as I love Irish Dancing (my granny was a champion Irish Dancer in her day) it was very enjoyable to watch. They also played her a video message from Michael Flateley who was very sweet and basically suggested that she come and audition for one of his shows. Very nice start to the show.

[livejournal.com profile] kingbantam and I had great seats - right at the front of the block we were on which meant that John spent a lot of time about 2 inches away from us in between takes. He was wearing his very shiny silver suit (which has black sparkly buttons on the jacket), pink cufflinks, pink belt that he wore at the Priscilla premiere (possibly made by Julia something that I didn't catch who was in the audience and who John gave a shout out to and Stuart the warm up guy tried to blag belts from her at "mates rates") and a black shirt. Up close the amount of make up is very disconcerting but he is a handsome devil and the bling is very pretty. Even more disconcerting was when he was facing away from us and decided to hitch his trousers up and stick out his backside which did rather naturally catch the eye of [livejournal.com profile] kingbantam and I! We had a chat in between takes and got berated for not recognising his shirt from the concert tour (I wore it on the tour... you've forgotten already!) - honey a black shirt is a black shirt! Later when his mike wire started trailing down he had to readjust and we found out that his shirt has a small pocket sewn into the back to house his radio mike. Very nifty! Also he apparently has 19 of those shirts. 19!

There was a hell of a big queue today though to get in - I wouldn't be surprised if not everyone did - there were a lot of people on standby tickets.

Main performance of the night was a young 17 year old lad called Lewis who sang with Russel Watson. Lewis' best friend Kyle had died at the age of 15 from a brain haemmorhage and Lewis had sang at his funeral and been a pillar of strength for Kyle's parents visiting them everyday and making sure that they were OK which they just thought was extraordinary that a 15 year old would take the time to do that. Kyles parents set up a charity doing something similar to Tonight's the Night - giving youngsters access to resources so they can follow their performance arts dreams and Lewis was heavily involved with that. John surprised him by phoning him and asking him to come and sing at the studio with Russell, who of course suffered with a brain tumour himself.

I will admit that I did tear up during the VT - it was very emotional.

Lewis and Russell then sang You Raise Me Up and the poor boy was so nervous he was shaking like an absolute leaf on stage - you could see the hand he was holding the mike in shaking like crazy. I will be honest I have never especially rated Russel Watson as a singer, I just don't get the love - he's bland and power wise not as impressive as John but he came across as a genuine guy. The kid Lewis also had a really great voice.

You know you've been to too many tapings when you can instantly tell whether something needs to be re-done and it did but it was a very nice duet.

This week we also got all 4 of the "workplace wonders" performing in the semi-final - the paramedics (who performed Valerie), Firefighters (who sang That's Life while John barely restrained himself from joining in - he was even doing all his moves (he ended his concert tour last year with this song)along with it, the plumbers (who sang Burning Love) and the Waitresses (who looked gorgeous in torquoise sequinned dresses and sang Promise). I thought that it would be firefighters v paramedics and waitresses v plumbers with the 2 winners going into the final. And if that had been the case I would have voted for the firemen and the waitresses. But you could only pick one winner and the audience picked the waitresses (who are very very good) and the plumbers (who really really aren't and were objectively the worst group up there) to go through to the final.

Drummer from the plumbers has 2 cute little kids who were drumming up support for them so I suspect they'll win but they don't deserve too. Next week I'll be Go Team Waitresses all the way. I mean voting off two bands who work in the emergency services!

For shame audience, for shame.

This show also saw the return of two people who were in the Pilot episode which was filmed but won't be transmitted.

I was really delighted to see that they decided to bring back Bradley the copper from the Pilot because he was so brilliant, had a great story (seriously to decide to run a Community Idol contest and get sponsorship for it, do all the advertising, never mind getting young kids in the community who wouldn't ordinarily be interested in anything to do with the police to actually take part and to do all this while his dad was dying was amazing) and he had fantastic stage presence and a brilliant voice. He sang Sway and was completely amazing - I'm thrilled he gets his chance to be on tv.

They also bought back Dominga who cropped up in the naff game that they run in the Pilot. Dominga is a super bubbly Durecell bunny of a woman who was surprised by John in the audience and got to do a cowboy routine (she loves country and western and to line dance apparently!). As "surprises" go? Well she was in the pilot so I guess they just contrived a way for her to come back because they knew she'd be brilliant (and she was - she reduced John to hysterics although I think by the end he was rather glad to get her off stage!) She didn't even remotely manage to do any of the cowboy moves she needed to win the prizes (although they gave them to her anyway) but her real prize was that they'd flown her sister over from Oklahoma to be with her (there was a funny bit when they pretended that she was talking to Dominga on a satellite link up).

And we got lots and lots of singing from John this week. He started the show with Rhythm of the Night which was done in a Bollywood style fashion with 16 dancers behind him - the J8's (or J7's now as one of the dancers Layla was leaving for another job) and 8 others. It was a great song - loved the interpretation although the pastel yellows worn by the dancers offended my fashion sensibilities!

In between takes he sang bits of songs with members of the audience (Sun and Moon from Miss Saigon and Anything Goes - bet that's the very last time he agrees to do that or he'll have everyone asking him all the time!) and sang the whole of All I Ask of You with Claire Moore who is amazing and the vocal coach for the show. I never thought I'd get to hear him sing anything from Phantom live and would gladly have paid to hear him sing with Claire Moore so I was completely and totally delighted to hear him sing All I Ask of You. It really really made my night. He's promised he'll duet with the warm up guy next week!!

Because the show was so swift John didn't embarrass any family members or friends this week (Scott was there yawning away in between takes! Hee!) by getting them to sing and despite Stuart having an autographed cue card to give away I don't think it went to anyone.

John ended by singing Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder complete with some very very fancy choreography while the audience got drowned in a ridiculous amount of multi coloured confetti!

Rather sad that next week is the last week! It's been such an amazing show to watch being recorded. I know that from what I've been reading on JB's forums that an awful lot of people weren't very keen on the aired show (I've seen it called cheesy, schmaltzy and embarrassing with people particularly seeming to dislike the Stage Fright section). And yes it is cheesy and cheerfully old fashioned in a cosy early Saturday evening family viewing way. It is sort of a throw back to the sort of variety shows you used to see in the 70's and 80's but there is nothing wrong with that. And John is so so passionate about the show. It's his show, his baby and very much him through and through. So whilst I have no doubt that the press will slaughter it (The Mirror have apparently already dismissed it as pathetic) I do hope that ratings wise it does well for him and that people give it another chance because I really want it to do well simply because he loves it so much and he's put so much of his heart and soul into it.

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