Growing up in the 90s, I loved Stars In Their Eyes.
Maybe it was something to do with living in 'Granadaland' itself or maybe it was having been brought up in a community where a social club, with its veteran singers, was still a valid form of entertainment, but there was nothing bigger than a new series of Stars In Their Eyes and the live final was second only to the Eurovision Song Contest for event TV. I vividly remember Granada Reports and local radio constantly hyping us to the final and just like those Peter Kay sketches, they really did announce the winner in the bingo halls and pubs of the North West.
Yes, it was a big deal and I never understood why ITV axed it in the early 00s. Well, I do really. The show died when Matthew Kelly left it ("Tonight Catt, I'm going to be...." just didn't have the same ring to it) and it started attracting contestants who didn't even try to imitate the stars, it seemed they'd failed the auditions for Pop Idol and found this to be the next best thing.
Tonight saw a revival of the show, fronted by Harry Hill and even now, a couple of hours since it ended, I still can't get my head around what the hell it was I had watched.
I actually don't mind Harry Hill but it's safe to say his brand of humour and the formula for Stars In Their Eyes really does not mix. It's actually staggering to think that ITV seems to only understand two presenting types for their light entertainment shows; they either have to be fronted by Simon Cowell or by jokey types who they believe are subverting the traditional light ent format in an ironic way, like Keith Lemon. Ugh.
I felt most for the contestants. It must be hard enough as it is for them to step out of their real lives and perform as the multi million single selling performing artistes they admire, to expect them to then perform as Harry's comedy sidekicks really is a bridge too far. The whole thing felt stilted, embarrassing and incredibly cringeworthy. Worse, Hill's schtick meant that these average joe's stepping into the shoes of their heroes took a decidedly second place position and robbed them of their legitimate moment in the spotlight.
Next week Harry, I'm going to be.... watching The Voice instead.
Speaking of which, the BBC's search for a star talent show returned for a fourth series despite the elephant in the room - no one yet has had anything approaching a career after winning the competition - and the loss of last year's star signing; Kylie Minogue. But where Stars In Their Eyes so resolutely failed, The Voice succeeded. It stuck to its original formula and introduced the new ingredients with surprisingly little fanfare and, when the new ingredient in question proved to be the utterly charming Rita Ora, was clearly the winner in these schedule battle.