Last Choir Standing, BBC1

Did we like it?
Television not fit for swine.

What was good about it?
• Before they are crushed and mushed by the producers, the choirs do seem to be lovely people following a distant dream. Some of their eyes are ablaze with passion and ambition, but this is extinguished once the by rote dehumanization begins.

What was bad about it?
• The judges – Russell Watson, Sharon D Clarke and Suzi Digby. All of them apparently experts in music, which might be fine but Last Choir Standing has as little to do with music as semaphore.
• In what is a grotesque facsimile of The X-Factor/ Britain’s Got Talent, Last Choir Standing is so inept it can’ even mimic its vulgar progenitors, hiring witless doppelgangers to guilelessly duplicate their putrid paradigms’ corrosive quips. Sharon D Clarke sits in the Amanda Holden role of appropriating tears to express emotions that cannot be spoken with mere words, when in reality it’s a remit for the stupid to stay stupid, wiping away the true impact of tears with cynical attrition.
• Russell Watson, what is the point? While we’re glad he’s back to full health, he mentally staggers all over the place, offering arbitrary, bumbling opinions like a clueless weather vane.
• Suzi Digby, meanwhile, is the supposedly nasty one. Yet although her observations may be acute and perceptive, she has little charisma for the theatrical enunciation of Simon Cowell, the paragon of TV judges whom she has been commandeered to ape, making her a dull silhouette second-guessing his trite insults.
• Nick Knowles, a speck of moon dust orbiting the Earth, a simpering lock-up garage where semantic savages store their most monstrous moronic platitudes. At one point he and Myleene Klass started talking over a singing choir, redolent of that disturbing fashion trailblazed in Nokia Green Room, whereby the banal chattering of sibilant non-entities are considered more life affirming and interesting than the music.
• Myleene Klass possesses the almost unique talent of having pre-programmed sentences into her skull before each show, which the gradually vacuously inflate and fold out over the course of the hour like a life raft. There is never any sense that any word she speaks hasn’t been lined up in a queue for hours before as if in a busy doctors’ surgery. Combined with Knowles, they are the TV equivalent of a three-panel wood door hurriedly marked with a white cross.
• “The wrong song”. We’ve always been suspicious of what this exactly means. In some instances, it’s a cowardly euphemism to abdicate the burden of telling a singer or choir they were rubbish, while in others, judges use it as a facile way to epitomise their perspicacity through an observation that the audience are blind to, simply on the basis that it is a conceited illusion.
• The choirs aren’t regarded as people by the producers; ignore all the sentimentality and faux concern. The choirs are callously looted for all their warmth, humour and dignity; all of which are then slipped into Tupperware containers and vomited onto the Saturday night viewing audience. They become the faint, spectral sketches of people that Jeffrey Archer might pull from between his teeth.
• Each choir goes through a process as manipulative as the weekly victims on 10 Years Younger. Firstly, any small weakness is accentuated and exacerbated into being a flaw as large and fatal as BP drilling for oil in your heart. And then the ‘journey’ of how they surmount this problem swallows up about 85% of their screen time, making do with an iTunes- sized-demo of their actual singing.
• The way in which each choir commentates on their ‘journey’ is equally as appalling. Perhaps we’ve been duped, and the choirs are all made up of cliché-munching fools – “Really gutted”, “I’ll be gutted if we don’t make it”, “I would be over the moon if we go through” – but it’s more likely that the choirs have been instructed to adopt the vocabulary of wilfully thick, it’s only a wonder they didn’t squeeze them into Kasabian T-shirts to denote this policy.
• This presentation further erases the choirs’ identity, moulding them into a shapeless fog of hollering clones malleable to be carved into whatever superficial strand of maudlin stereotypes the producers so desire.
• The shocking artifice endures into the revealing of which choirs have progressed to the next round. For no other reason than as a contemptuous ruse, the main bulk of the choir are dispatched home leaving the choir master to receive the bad/ good news in that patented Pop Stars fashion of an unnecessarily long walk followed by one the judges attempting to pull a bluff: “It’s been a very tough decision, and I’m sorry to tell you… (a pause so long empires have collapsed and fallen in a shorter duration) …And I’m sorry to tell you it’s about to get a lot tougher!”
• What’s worse is that the whole process is repeated when the choir masters return to tell their choirs of the news, replete with a melodramatic style that has obviously been coached into them by a rancorous producer. “Ladies, you sang amazingly…” (Pause just long enough for their hearts to punch through their ribcage like the Alien)… but we didn’t get through.” Cue, dozens of people weeping which ignites the heart of a producer like gold dust once did for prospectors in 19th century California.
• This is no longer television, it’s a surgical procedure, with the only difference is that you feel the need to be cleansed in antiseptic solution after the operation is over.

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6 thoughts on “Last Choir Standing, BBC1

  1. I disagree (surprise!)The BBC make exemplary talent shows. That comment may just have made you choke on your coffee, but let me explain why:– Absence of preliminary auditions where the worst of the worst are paraded for the audience’s pleasure. We first enter at the callback stage, where the good are whittled down to the better.– Absence of unnecessarily harsh comments featuring “the worst…. I have ever seen.” “not in a million years.” and similar when “it’s a no, sorry.” would do.– Absence of THOSE flashing red buzzers.– The so-called “life story” angle is a lesson on how to showcase the contestants’ personalities and drive rather than guilt the audience into voting for the “deserving” one with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer.It’s a formula as old as television. It’s easy to be more cynical about the new, commercial-savvy generation of talent shows, but put your grudge against the corporate head who thinks it all up aside, and there’s still fun to be had watching.From: A custard.tv devotee. (who sometimes disagrees!)

  2. I disagree (surprise!)The BBC make exemplary talent shows. That comment may just have made you choke on your coffee, but let me explain why:– Absence of preliminary auditions where the worst of the worst are paraded for the audience’s pleasure. We first enter at the callback stage, where the good are whittled down to the better.– Absence of unnecessarily harsh comments featuring “the worst…. I have ever seen.” “not in a million years.” and similar when “it’s a no, sorry.” would do.– Absence of THOSE flashing red buzzers.– The so-called “life story” angle is a lesson on how to showcase the contestants’ personalities and drive rather than guilt the audience into voting for the “deserving” one with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer.It’s a formula as old as television. It’s easy to be more cynical about the new, commercial-savvy generation of talent shows, but put your grudge against the corporate head who thinks it all up aside, and there’s still fun to be had watching.From: A custard.tv devotee. (who sometimes disagrees!)

  3. There are many, many comments I disagree with in this review. What makes you think that sending the choirs home was “a contemptuous ruse”? Has it occurred to you that there might have been logisical difficulties in holding 27 choirs of up to 50 people in one place at one time? Think things through before you dismiss everything as television artifice.

  4. There are many, many comments I disagree with in this review. What makes you think that sending the choirs home was “a contemptuous ruse”? Has it occurred to you that there might have been logisical difficulties in holding 27 choirs of up to 50 people in one place at one time? Think things through before you dismiss everything as television artifice.

  5. <><>“the banal chattering of sibilant non-entities”<><>I think that this describes your unnecessarily bilious review perfectly.

  6. <><>“the banal chattering of sibilant non-entities”<><>I think that this describes your unnecessarily bilious review perfectly.

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