Tuesday, August 12, 2003

ONE BRIGHT SPARK: The bitter men of pop start out early these days, don't they? One True Voice - or One Minor Hit, as they will always be known - are happy to blame everyone except themselves for their shambling failure. Jamie Shaw has been blubbing to the Sun about how unfair everything is:

"We would have stood a chance if Pete had been interested in us. But he did not support us and gave us a horrible Eighties look and sound. He was a great producer ten years ago but he had no idea how to make us work."

Okay... so, if Pete Waterman is old and out of touch (we'll not draw attention to his mathematical howler, putting 'the 80's' ten years ago), why would it have made any difference if he'd been interested in you? Either Waterman was crap, and you were hobbled from the start, or else he's great and didn't give you the - enormous - amount of time it would have taken to Brasso your particular effluents into something that people might want to spend time with. Maybe, though, he didn't give you too much time because he sensed you were an act without an act, a group without chemistry, a cause that was so lost you made Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction seem commonplace?

"The feeling of being voted into the final five was brilliant. But the whole country was obsessed with who would top the charts. Whoever lost that battle was going to be the ultimate loser and that was us. It just went wrong for us. The girls were given great tracks and a trendy image. We got none of that."

Yes, Shaw, the country was obsessed with the battle. The show was called 'The Rivals' - did that not give you a hint of the format? The girls were given an OK-ish track, and dressed like Atomic Kitten, the default setting for girl groups. You were given an OK-ish track and dressed like Westlife, the default setting for boy groups. Maybe Girls Aloud worked harder? Maybe they wanted it more? Maybe they didn't expect to be 'given' everything?

He has also warned new Pop Idol contestants that the show will leave their dreams in tatters. "One or two contestants will do OK but the others will be heartbroken. There can only be one or two winners with the public, the rest will fail."

And here's another shocker: One of the Families on Family Fortunes goes away without winning the competition. And I've heard tell that only one out of all the contestants on Mastermind - just one - is given the title. The rest don't get a fruitbowl and the chance of a seat next to David J Bodycombe on the next series of Puzzle Panel. The whole point of Pop Idol is that the field gets whittled down from thousands to just one. It's a competition. And you know what, Jamie, the success rate is probably a lot higher than for people who try to get through to music sucess in the traditional route. They're an incredible launch pad, these shows, and the people who fail to make the most of it - yes, Sneddon, I'm talking to you, too, here - have only themselves to blame. Of course it'll end in tears for nearly everyone - that's the format, and anyone who enters expecting anything other than painful humiliation and a quick trip back to the day job after two series of Popstars, one of Pop Idol and a Fame Academy is clearly so dim they shouldn't be allowed out on their own anyway.

Shaw said he still wants to succeed in the business. "I can't go and work in a supermarket now."

Yes, we'd heard that Somerfield had gotten tight about keeping jobs open for the six weeks these guys go off and play at musicians.

"That's what's hard, the experience marks you and it's difficult to go back to normality."

Jamie, love, look at your dull little band and it's flat little tune and the depressingly woefull ticketsales for your tour. You never moved beyond normality, honey. Which is exactly why you're not in the top ten anymore.


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