Friday, August 28, 2009

Madness, Mayhem, Murder and Mystery

Well, Simon Cowell is back with a vengeance along with his buddies, Cheryl Cole, Danii Minogue and Louis Walsh. So far I've seen two or three 'brilliants' but I still don't understand these people who think they're fantastic and are worse at singing than me ... and that's pretty bad. It wouldn't be so bad if they'd take the boos from the audience and the negative feedback from the judges with relative good grace but, instead, they hurl abuse at the poor judges and tell them they're not qualified to judge them anyway. Erm, excuse me but am I missing something here? Simon and Louis have a whole host of successful stars under their management and both the girls are in the music industry themselves and presumably all the applicants have actually seen the show before and have seen the way the programme operates.

The prospective stars that get my goat are the cocky ones who claim they're the best ever but thankfully the majority of these smart arses are knocked back to size, but the quieter, less confident ones are those with most talent. So one lesson to be learned here if you're planning to join the X Factor factory next season, try to be humble and smile a lot - you're bound to get through to the final, but don't overdo it. I'm instantly turned off by those who weep and wail and say that they have no option but to win in order to pay for the dog to have his claws trimmed or to buy their half a dozen kids (born of an equal number of different partners!) the latest football boots or designer dresses.

I've also been keeping a very close eye on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing which I believe starts in September. Having checked the BBC website I didn't actually recognise anyone other than Lynda Bellingham (I'm old enough to remember her from All Creatures Great & Small from the 1970s.1980s), one of the actors from Coronation Street and Phil Tufnell, the cricket player. I'm afraid the remainder don't register on my Richter scale at all but I'm hoping that once I see them in the flesh so to speak, something might actually trigger the old memory.

For those of you Brits who watch Strictly, you probably know that Arlene Phillips has been given the heave-ho in place of Alesha Dixon who won the show a couple of years ago. Alesha's a lovely bubbly girl but I'm not entirely convinced she's experienced enough to judge potential ballroom dancers! I've seen that Darcey Bussell, a fantastic British ballet dancer, is going to be involved somewhere along the line. Surely she would be better placed to judge than Alesha. I have to admit I'd be rather annoyed to be judged by a part time inexperienced dancer. I know that there are a good number of 'old faithfuls' who have been watching the show since its inception that are planning to boycott the new series but then Alesha's only one judge out of four, and as I record it anyway, I'll just fast forward through her comments and listen to the remaining three!

Going back to actors from Coronation Street; I'd totally lost interest - what with love-sick Kevin and Molly; Steve slobbering over Becky; Fiz fawning over John, etc I'd just had a gut full of it, but things are really hotting up again now. I'm wondering what's happening here with David Platt and his evil intents. Will Bill and Pam finally get it together? Will Emily and Norris's brother tie the knot? And what about Maria and Tony? Will their relationship survive the wagging tongues on the Street, will it founder once Maria realises that Tony's a complete control freak? Will Eileen be able to compete for attention with Jesse's parrot? And when will Claire realise that Ashley hasn't actually gone through with the promised vasectomy. Such gripping stuff!!!!! At the moment there seem to be no murders in the offing but one never knows - perhaps Deirdre or Ken will finally do for Blanche and feed her in bite size chunks to Eccles the dog or Jack Duckworth's pigeons, or maybe Rita will beat Norris to death with the latest Woman's Weekly!!

And talking of murders, I've been watching the latest Midsomer Murders. I know it's a standing joke over here in the UK that Midsomer would be one of the worst counties to live in but has anyone noticed that Tom Barnaby's missus, Joyce, always seems to be tied up in the evil deeds somewhere along the line? I'm amazed that she gets invited onto so many committees. If I was a member of the local Womens Institute or Mothers Union she'd definitely be bottom of the list for election onto the committee. The woman exudes murder and misery!!!

From misery, let's move to mystery. I've never been one much for believing in those people who claim they can 'speak to dead people'!! I abhorred Derek Acorah but his shows are now being rerun on Sky Three so I thought I'd record them during the afternoon and then I've got something to watch that's not too taxing for my poor old brain after work. I've got to admit that he's just so spot on with his information. I've listened to his questioning of those people the spirits have come to visit and I just can't see he's leading any of them.

Now this weekend I'm in for a treat I think - a new version of Wuthering Heights is to be shown on ITV and as I love any 'classics' or period dramas it's bound to be a winner. I suspect it's going to be the highlight of my weekend.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

America's Got Talent

I've just caught up with last week's AGT. What a mixed bag - from the sublime to the ridiculous. Having skipped hurriedly through the sublimes, of particular note were the burlesque dancers Slippery Kittens - sound seedy but the girls were extremely talented.

Another act that sounded a bit odd but was actually very entertaining was a young guy called Johnathan Burkin. He'd been called every name under the sun because he had a rather 'girlie' obsession with baton twirling! Hmmm, I thought, sounds extremely dodgy but this young man was, in effect, an extremely dextrous fire juggler who was an equally dextrous dancer. Nothing girlie about him at all. Once again, goes to prove you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.

However, the highlight of the night was a 32 year old, Neal Boyd who claimed to be an insurance salesman by day. He didn't look particularly confident, he went on stage and informed everyone that he'd loved opera from an early age and he was going to sing. Once again, I judged the book by it's cover and instantly wrote him off. He seemed such a nice unassuming sort of a guy and I hoped for his sake that he didn't get boo-ed off stage as so many acts this week seemed to have been. But he was gobsmackingly good. He sang out Nessun Dorma as if he'd been an opera singer all his life.

I'm interested to see how the series pans out but, to date, these are three acts - all completely different - that would win my vote. All three of the above can be viewed on Youtube.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Crazy About Criminals

Surely I can't be alone in my obsession. I've never been one much for American criminal programmes but I'm becoming addicted to CSI in any way, shape or form, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist and Dexter.

Five USA are currently running a whole load of CSIs every night so I record every single one of them onto our hard drive and then Adam and I spend three or four hours a night trying to catch up. Add to that two Criminal Minds a week plus The Mentalist and I'm overloaded with criminal programmes. Thank heavens Dexter's just finished - we'd be running out of room on the hard drive!

I've always had a fascination for forensic science and these programmes seem to fit the bill nicely. The programmes seem to be totally believable - no shouting and swearing unnecessarily or 'mutiny' in the teams. They all work so well together and seem to treat orders as orders rather than question everything and go into a sulk on a whim. The drama and the blood and gore are interspersed with little bouts of humour which. all combined, make a really watchable package.

I'm also finding American Idol gripping at the moment. I always thought these types of reality programmes were complete dross but each week I'm finding myself getting more and more involved. My faves for the final? Adam and Danny.

Fortunately when American Idol finishes I've still got Britain's Got Talent to watch. I know there are some really atrocious acts out there but there's loads of talent out there too. Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan often come in for a fair amount of criticism on the way they treat the contestants, but I have to admit that if I had to sit day in and day out listening to people who thought they were the next Pavarotti caterwauling their way through Nessun Dorma I'd probably get despondent. Last week's programme must have had one of the weirdest acts yet - three old age pensioners sitting on the stage teaching people how to 'finger knit'! I'm just wondering why these ladies thought that HRH Queen Elizabeth would want to see this at the forthcoming Royal Variety Performance. Perhaps it was a hint that she should retire and take up this genteel hobby, leaving Prince Charles to take up the throne??