Did we like it?
This was ITV’s attempt to recreate the excitement of Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ask your granny), but had all the thrills of a bad night at Butlins.
What was good about it?
• It brought to TV the amazing contortionist Lazaro the Snakeman. Every superlative in the dictionary was thrown out during For One Night Only, yet he was the only act deserving of one.
• Milton Jones wasn’t quite the “wonderful, brilliant comedian” promised by Joan Rivers and she was definitely wrong in calling him “new” as he has been around the comedy block many, many times. But we quite liked his schtick – a more surreal version of Tim Vine – with jokes such as: “My wife. It’s difficult to say what she does. She sells seashells on the seashore.”
What was bad about it?
• After a feebly presented opening act – featuring DJs, skateboarders and acrobatic dancers who struggled on a too-small stage – we got to meet the hosts from hell, Joan Rivers and Vernon Kay, who guaranteed us, over and over, the “feast of entertainment” (pass the sickbag). There’s a massive disparity in their height – and talent – but even the wonderful Rivers was rendered hopeless by having to indulge in banal banter with the Bolton clotheshorse. “I don’t know who the hell you are,” was the only funny thing she said during their excrutiating routines.
• Boyzone never could dance and embarrassed themselves by trying. Hairstyle horrors and voices that sounded like Vic Reeves’ club singer didn’t help.
• Rivers’ panicky monologue, which had to be censored when she resorted to her foulmouthed persona. She messed up one joke so badly that she had to retell it, trying to wriggle out of the blunder after the damage was done.
• The Pussy Cat Girls (according to Rivers) whose sluttish costumes failed to distract us from the off-key caterwauling.
• The Jersey Boys medley of Four Seasons hits which was barely an above average Stars In Their Eyes turn.
• The “unmissable” finale – Razzle Dazzle from Chicago performed incredibly badly by Boyzone’s Ronan and Steven, who strutted along the stage with all the panache of supermarket shelf stackers. Incorporated into the song was an error-strewn magic routine by Rivers and Kay and lots of high kicking.
• Kay had the gall to say: “There’ll be two more very special hosts next week.”