Tuesday, July 30, 2002

GETTING SWEET FA: The format for Rivals, or Popstars2, has been confirmed now - and it's frightening. Ten girls and ten boys will be whittled down to two bands of five of each by audience votes. The process of choosing and then recording singles is designed to cxlimax on December 16th - thereby allowing the two bands to dominate the battle for the Christmas Number One. Meanwhile, the BBC promise their version of Popstars - Fame Academy - won't merely produce a winner, but will spew singles from acts throughout its planned run. The Spanish version managed to clog up eight of the places in the albums Top Ten one week. The only hope is Bob the Builder might have something coming out to stop the juggernaut.
What's disturbing, though, is that the records created and promoted by the BBC using our money (sure, we all pay our licence fees) is going to be released on Mecury records rather than the BBC's own label. Malcolm Gerrie, chief executive of FA producer Initial, is positively drooling with the news that "we have complete commitment from across all BBC platforms"; Mercury joint MD Steve Lillywhite likewise can barely contain his delight at this "great opportunity to uncover the next level of real talent this country has to offer" - too bloody right it's a great opportunity; Mercury is basically having its A&R work done for it at the BBC's expense, while it'll be receiving the equivalent of millions of pounds worth of free media advertising ("across all BBC platforms") to promote the product produced. That has to be a sweet deal to anyone's ears. Except for licence fee payers, of course.

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