Monday, 27 December 2010

R.I.P Teena Marie: Long Live the Ivory Queen of Soul

I wasn't expecting my first post on this blog in over a month to be such a sad one.

Regretfully it is - Teena Marie, aka Lady T aka The Ivory Queen of Soul and aged just 54, was found dead by her daughter on Saturday night. No cause is as yet known, possibly a heart attack; Teena was also reportedly recovering from a Grand Mal seizure she had last week.

Teena's music first came to my attention in 1980, when Behind the Groove completely sold me on her unique style. I sought out the album, Lady T, and then her previous, first album, Wild and Peaceful, produced by mentor Rick James, also sadly no longer with us. With beautiful ballads and infectiously catchy dance rhythms, I was hooked. Her following Motown albums - Irons in the Fire and It Must Be Magic cemented my appreciation of her soulful yet jazzy, powerful yet gentle, pure and classy angelic vocal.

I'll admit she lost me when she went a bit rocky and the Motown years remained with me as the Epic years passed me by. I was fortunate enough though, and eternally grateful now, that I made the trip to Indigo2 earlier this year to see and hear Teena live: Incredible doesn't cover it. She knew her audience; it was made up mostly of people like me, those who had switched onto her during her early Motown years. Whilst the latest album Congo Square did hark back to her earlier, soulful roots, she concentrated on giving us everything she had on those songs most synonymous with her: Fire and Desire; Portuguese Love; I Need Your Lovin' to name just a few. And her voice was just as stunning live, thirty years later.

I'm not particularly religious, but Teena was devout - so God Bless you Teena, and your family, and may you rest in peace, forever missed but leaving us all the richer for having shared your beautiful music.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

McLaren Watch!

A terrific 2nd and 3rd place in the final race in Abu Dhabi for Lewis and Jenson respectively wasn't enough to lift them into the top 3 overall, although it gave McLaren 2nd in the constructors championship. Vettel took the win (and will have the mickey taken out of him till the day he dies, for his emotional reaction!) and the title, as Alonso, unable to get past Petrov to mount a challenge, finished in 7th place on the day and 2nd in the championship. Mark Webber took 8th on the day, enough to secure 2nd place overall.

Final leadboard:
Sebastian 256; Fernando 252; Mark 242; Lewis 240; Jenson 214

Red Bull 498
McLaren 454
Ferrari 396

Watch the GP in 90 seconds!

Monday, 8 November 2010

McLaren Watch

It's all over for Jenson unfortunately, even with a storming 5th place finish from 11th on the grid, the 1-2-3 for Vettel, Webber and Alonso takes them out of his reach. Lewis was 4th but is also out, bar a miracle (but we know they can happen one in a million! I mean, there's always the first corner, right?) he'd have to win and the other three not finish to take the title.

A shame, but at least they were there or thereabouts. And we can't be greedy, can we? Let Mark Webber borrow it for a year. At least, given the choice from those three, I'd like to see Mark take it!

Leaderboard: Fernando 246, Mark 238, Seb 231, Lewis 222, Jenson 199

In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull are confirmed as the winners, with 469 points. McLaren currently second on 421, with Ferrari on 389.

See the race in 90 seconds!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

McLaren Watch

OK, I admit - I forgot the last one! Second place for Lewis in a rain hit and therefore event filled Korea race, in which neither Red Bull finished, put him back in touch for the championship; Jenson, finishing 12th, will unfortunately need to win as well as others not finishing. Likely as not, he'll be wing man for Lewis in Brazil (unofficially of course). Fernando took another win.

The leaderboard then: Fernando on 231; Mark 220; Lewis 210; Seb 206; Jenson 189.

Constructors: Red Bull 426 McLaren 399 Ferrari 374

See the race in 90 seconds!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

McLaren Watch - a bit late, sorry!

But brings you up to date before next week!

Vettel emphatically wins in Japan, team-mate Mark Webber is 2nd and Alonso 3rd - Jenson comes home in 4th, Lewis recovers from writing off his car in practice to bring it home in 5th. It looks like it's slipping away, with only three race left, the championship stands as follows:

Mark - 220; Seb & Fernando both on 206; Lewis on 192 and Jenson on 189. It is going to be tough. McLaren are also dropping back in the constructor's title: Red Bull on 426, McLaren 381, still ahead of Ferrari on 334.

See the race in 90 seconds!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

McLaren Watch

Not such a good weekend for Lewis again, as his overtaking manouvere on Webber just failed him, and though Jenson still picked up much needed points, he's now exactly one win behind leader Mark Webber, with those 25 points covering the top 5 drivers. Alonso is the form man as we enter the last few races.

The race finished: Alonso; Vettel; Webber; Button; Hamilton dnf. The standings now: Webber 202 - Alonso 191 - Hamilton 182 - Vettel 181 - Button 177. See the race in 90 seconds!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The things they say ...

Sadly, we were watching Eastenders (Matt, for some inexplicable reason, is a fan) and Stacey tells baby Lily that she's the most important thing that's ever happened to her; Matt pipes up: "What's the most important thing that's ever happened to you?"

So I say (naturally): "Why, having you and your brother, of course!"

And he replies: "Well, no - you being born is the most important otherwise you couldn't have had us!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Flash Fiction Friday: Counting Song

I challenged my writers' group by email on Tuesday night, after being sent this press release by a friend. Come up with something, not necessarily a poem, that has the same first and last line, with the last line of each paragraph/verse being the first line of the next. I wanted results at Wednesday's coffee morning - and promptly forgot to actually write anything myself! Until the coffee was served and Peter was tapping away, making me feel guilty. So I took inspiration from something I think I'd heard on CBBC the day before and wrote this in a couple of minutes! And why am I pleased about this? Because it's the first piece of fiction I've been inspired to write in ages, having been so busy with Rochester People!

Counting Song

One, two, three, four, five
Once I caught a man alive.

Once I caught the man alive
The poor lad had no idea
What he was in for.

What he was in for
Was a major dissecting.
Of the visceral kind.
He looked scared.

He looked scared
So I gave him five seconds
To run away.

One ... Two ... Three ... Four ... Five.

Monday, 13 September 2010

McLaren Watch

A turnaround for the McLaren boys this week, as Lewis crashes out but Jenson purrs away at the start; unfortunately he's overtaken by Alonso during the pit stops but still finishes in second place - with damage to the car!

Luckily, the Red Bulls didn't take full advantage - see the race in 90 seconds here! It's still anyone's title:

Mark 187 points
Lewis 182
Fernando 165
Jenson 166
Sebastian 163

Sunday, 29 August 2010

McLaren Watch!

Whoop whoop - the return of F1 after the break finds a resurgent McLaren and victory for Lewis Hamilton ahead of Mark Webber at the Belgian GP.

An excellent start for Lewis and a shocking one for Mark saw Lewis take the lead and apart from a little foray, he stayed out of trouble to the flag.

Sebastian Vettel is becoming countryman Michael Schumacher ... at his worst, being responsible for booting various other drivers off track, including our very own Jenson *boo hiss* I wonder if he'll be penalised for it next week, I'm pretty sure the 'new' drivers would be.

So it's a return to the top of the leaderboard for Lewis: he's on 182; Mark 179; Sebastian 151; Jenson 147; Fernando on 141. McLaren are now just 1 point behind Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Your Age in Chocolate!

It works, honestly, it really works!

Work this out as you read ...Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

3. Add 5

4. Multiply it by 50

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1760 ...If you haven't, add 1759.

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born. You should have a three digit number

The first digit of this was your original number(i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).

The next two numbers are ... YOUR AGE! This is the only year (2010) it will ever work, so tell your friends while it lasts!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

European Swimming Championships

Great Britain's swimmers returned from Hungary with their best ever medal haul from these championships - 18 in total!

There were 6 Golds:
Hannah Miley, 400m IM
Lizzie Simmonds, 200m backstroke
Fran Halsall, 100m freestyle
Gemma Spofforth, 100m backstroke
Rebecca Adlington, 400m freestyle
Womens 4x1 medley relay

6 Silvers:
Womens 4x100m freestyle relay
Gemma Spofforth, 200m backstroke
Lizzie Simmonds, 100m backstroke
Liam Tancock, 50m backstroke
Fran Halsall, 100m butterfly
Kate Haywood, 50m breaststroke

and 6 Bronze:
Liam Tancock, 100m backstroke
Womens 4x200m freestyle relay
Ellen Gandy, 200m butterfly
Fran Halsall, 50m freestyle
Joe Roebuck, 200m IM
Hannah Miley, 200m IM

For the day by day countdown and quotes, check out the BBC website here.

Sunday, 15 August 2010


Andy Murray followed his victory over Rafa Nadal to retain his Rogers Cup title in Toronto - with a win over Roger Federer.

A Gold and two Silvers in the World Field Archery championships, as Alan Wills headed a GB one-two in the recurve. And our paralympian archers have won 10 medals, including four golds at the Para-archery European championships in France.

In Equestrian, Emily Parker was a double champion, winning the individual title as well as GB taking the team title at the Young Rider European Championships. And there was a third place finish for Team GB in the Nations Cup series.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Celebrating Team GB's best European Athletics Championships ever!

The heady days of Split in 1990 have been eclipsed, with Team GB bringing home 19 medals from Barcelona and finishing third in the medal table, behind Russia and France.

Although we won 9 golds back in Spilt, the overall total is encouraging as we head towards London 2012, especially as some of our key athletes are currently sidelined by injury.

The six gold medallists are: Mo Farah (5,000m and 10,000m double); Phillips Idowu (Triple Jump); Andy Turner (110m hurdles); Jessica Ennis (Heptathlon); Dai Greene (400m hurdles);

There were silvers for: Chris Thompson (10,000m); Mark Lewis-Francis (100m); Michael Bingham (400m); Christian Malcolm (200m); Rhys Williams (40m hurdles); Michael Rimmer (800m); Mens 4x400m;

And bronze medals to: Martyn Bernard (High Jump); Martyn Rooney (400m); Perri Shakes-Drayton (400m hurdles); Jenny Meadows (800m); Womens 4x400m; Chris Tomlinson (Long Jump)

And here's what they said afterwards!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A day well spent ...

Hubby received a Red Letter Day gift and, as is usually the case, it ended up costing us a small fortune!

An Indian Cookery demonstration awaited us at the Zaika restaurant in London’s Kensington High Street and naturally, we didn’t want to travel up during the rush hour for the 10am start time. A bit of searching on-line found us a great deal at the Ashburn Hotel though, which was lovely and also well located, so we could leisurely make our way up town the night before.

Knowing we’d be eating a four course Indian the next day, we settled for a light bite *coughs* at the Garfunkels along the road (there’s a blast from the past!) That's just the starter ...

... oh, well, we did enjoy it! We walked a bit of it off on our way to Zaika the next morning, including a short stroll through Kensington Palace Gardens – an unexpected pleasure, right opposite the restaurant.

Chef Sanjay Dwivedi is so passionate about food – I had the grace to avert my eyes when he ranted about Microwaveable packets of rice – and every morsel he dished up to us was perfect! I’m just waiting to print off the recipe cards now, so hubby can crack on with dinner ...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

McLaren Watch

It's all change at the top, unfortunately. Lewis looked set to gain another podium when transmission problems hit and with Jenson back down the field, the race belonged again to Mark Webber.

It should have belonged to Sebastian Vettel - and he didn't half get the hump when it all went pear-shaped following the safety car! Shades of another racing driver's arrogance creeping into him and Oh! talking of the other racing driver, Old Schuey nearly killed Rubens Barrichello because he didn't like being overtaken! *Tuts* Shades of Australia '94 there, methinks! Only no title up for grabs this time!

Mark Webber is now on 161; Lewis on 157; Sebastian on 151; Jenson on 147; Fernando on 141.Here's a rundown of the race, including the errant tyre!

Constructors wise, Red Bull take over on 312, McLaren on 304. They're off now for a month, let's hope McLaren come back re-charged!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

McLaren Watch

A low key race for Lewis and Jenson, as they again pulled in a bunch of points in 4th and 5th places respectively. However, a resurgent Ferrari bagged a controversial one-two, taking points from Red Bull, as Vettel and Webber finished in 3rd and 6th.

Talking point was the alleged Ferrari team orders (again!) as Massa's race engineer advised him that 'Fernando is faster than you' and 'can you confirm you understood that message?' followed by 'Sorry' as Massa then slowed to allow his team mate through. None of which I remotely give a flying er, fig for, but it did give us the chance to see the lovely Rob Smedley again ...

The standings then:
Lewis on 157; Jenson 143; Mark 136; Sebastian 136; Felippe Massa jumps up to 123 in 5th. McLaren are still ahead in the constructors though, on 300 to Red Bull's 272, with Ferrari on 208.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Why do all my nights out happen in the last week of the month?

I'm cruising along quite happily, bang up straight on everything and then, wham! Piles of paperwork and ironing to sort through today!

That's because I finally saw Les Miserables on Monday - which I've wanted to see since I first heard Susan Boyle sing I Dreamed A Dream on Britain's Got Talent (I wonder how many other viewers were inspired to check it out?) I did see the Through The Barricade show in a local theatre a little while after, but Cameron Mackintosh's production at The Queens Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue took my breath away. Jean Valjean and Javert were incredible, whilst Lucie Jones (remember her from X-Factor?) and Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers acquitted themselves very well. It's so moving and powerful and while you may think the subject matter a little depressing, the comic relief in the shape of the Innkeepers is brilliant - honestly, the wife could easily be Kathy Burke in character as Waynetta Slob, she was hysterical. GO SEE IT!

Not just nights out either, on Tuesday morning I was attending the How To Do Your Self Assessment On-Line course (I never said it was all exciting stuff) before enjoying a very nice Nibble.101 at a local Chinese buffet - and collaring the teenager to take me there and back (which obviously cost me petrol. But it was nice to have some Tia Maria, I've missed it so ...)

The MumUltrapreneur radio show I was interviewed for was aired on Thursday afternoon and then it was onto the girls-night-in-although-we're-actually-out fun night of the Mums in Biz meeting in the evening. A couple of exciting opportunities arose there, which I'll be exploring further!

Finally, last night was the preview of an exhibition in our local art gallery - local artists creating pictures of each other, which took so many forms it was completely inspiring! Plasticine, film, paint, spam ... yes, spam!

I feel like I'm beginning to catch up - two blogs down, website and one blog to go!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

McLaren Watch

And what an eventful first lap for the British Grand Prix! Mark Webber aced the start; Vettel and Hamilton lightly touched, but it was enough to send Vettel off the track after suffering a puncture, effectively putting him into last place. The safety car gave him the opportunity to close up though, and he rescued a 7th place finish.

Lewis held onto second throughout, unable to catch a seriously motivated Mark Webber (after Red Bull pinched the nose cone from his car on Saturday to replace Vettel's damaged one). He ended the race with a "Not bad for your number 2 driver" barb at the the team, live on the team radio - don't you just love the Aussies!

Meanwhile, from a dreadful 14th position on the grid, Jenson stayed out of trouble and cruised around and up to a fourth place finish, a charge for third hampered by having to conserve fuel. What a guy! It leaves the standings as follows:

Lewis on 145 points
Jenson on 133
Mark on 128
Seb on 121

Teamwise, McLaren maintain their lead over Red Bull, 278 points to 249 points.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


So we didn't win the football or the tennis - there's a lot more to British sport and we know it, even if Mr and Mrs Average Joe Public don't! And did I say we didn't win the tennis - it's GB versus GB in the Boys Doubles today! Lewis Burton and George Morgan play Liam Broadby and Tom Farquharson in the first ever all British boys doubles final.

Here's a headline you won't see often - since it's about squash and not football: "England Dominate World Rankings."

Oh, and look here - more World Number One status for Britain - oh, hang on, still not football. No, this time it's Taekwondo, sorry ...

Have I mentioned that we beat the Aussies in cricket? Again.

Archery: Silver and Bronze for Nicky Hunt and Simon Terry at the World Cup in Croatia.

Athletics: Team GB second in the European Team Championships - beating Germany into third place. Well, fancy that! There were victories over their closest rivals in the European Championships for Dwain Chambers, David Greene, Martyn Rooney, Andy Turner and Mo Farah.

Rowing: Six Golds in Bled; another five Golds in Munich, plus sundry others - only missing a medal in two events!

Sailing: Sarah Ayton and Saskia Clark win World Cup Gold.

Cycling: Emma Pooley is the first British cyclist to win the prestigious Tour de l’Aude in France.

Paralympic sport: New world record for Shelly Woods! Hannah Cockroft sets four! Danny Greaves gets in on the act too, in the discus.

Triathlon: Chrissie Wellington wins, Tim Don also wins, the juniors picked up European Team Silver and the Paratriathletes won too!

Golf: Graeme McDowell wins the US Open! The US Open ... I know, who? He's from Northern Ireland.

Equestrian: Sharon Hunt wins the Classics event in Germany.

And it might not be a world victory but it means as much to handball as world glory to us in football (Ok, more than that!) Well done! Onwards and upwards!

Canoeing: Rachel Cawthorn won two gold and a bronze at the Canoe Sprint World Cup in Germany; Liam Heath and Jonathan Schofield took World Cup Gold in the Kayak double in Hungary, with Ed McKeever taking Gold in the Kayak singles at the same event; Liam and Jonathan followed with a repeat result in Germany, although a bronze this time for Ed. Fiona Pennie has taken silver and bronze in recent Slalom World Cup events.

We're just so terrible at sport, aren't we ;-)

Sunday, 27 June 2010

McLaren Watch

Ok, so, technically it's 2-0 to the Germans today, as Vettel won the European Grand Prix as well as his compatriots proving what we all knew in our hearts - the current England footballers are not as good as the industry would have us believe: The Golden whatevers? Who termed them that, their agents? Give 'em the Golden Boot is all I can say!

Anyway, Lewis survived an early scare to drive to second and Jenson was third, so they maintain their lead at the top of the driver standings, although Vettel has jumped up to third. Webber proved that Red Bull really do have wings - the re-tweeted joke doing the rounds, following his massive accident; how he walked away a testament to the toughness of these cars. Do check the on-board camera!

Lewis is on 127, Jenson 121, Vettel 115, Webber 103, Alonso on 98. McLaren still at the top on 248, Red Bull 218 and Ferrari a distant third on 165.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The things they say ...

Matt was feeling a little poorly the other day, so along we went to the local surgery. He nudged me once there and said, pointing to the electronic notice board: "He's gonna be a lot later than that, mum, don't they know he's stuck in a box?"

Monday, 21 June 2010

Why we won't win the football ...

... although, as an Englishwoman, it goes without saying I hope I'm proven wrong.

The distinct lack of heart within the team against Algeria, combined with Rooney's little tirade set me thinking as to why the national football team appear to suffer a lack of motivation. And I'm probably being mean, but I think it comes down to need.

English Premiership players enjoy an extraordinary lifestyle, with money and riches that far outstrip any of our other professional sportsmen and women, many of whom consistently deliver the results at World level: Our triathletes, rowers, swimmers, sailors, cyclists and so on - you know who they are if you're a regular reader of this blog. Even our rugby and cricket teams, vilified if they lose, have both delivered world titles in the past seven years - and seriously, who expects them to win every time out? Except the media, obviously. But the players know they have to deliver consistently or they're out, there's always someone new waiting to take their spot. Where's that strength in depth in football? It's the single biggest sport in this country isn't it? (Apart from fishing and martial arts I believe - and competitors in both deliver on the world stage).

So why? As I say, I think it's need: Individuals in the so-called "unfashionable" sports have to deliver and keep on delivering, to retain funding or attract sponsorship and to keep their place in the squad. Steve Redgrave, from my distant memory, didn't have regular sponsorship until after his third Olympic Gold. His third, for goodness sake! They have to deliver, again and again, to be able to compete at the same level. But our professional footballers don't need to, do they? They've got their £100k a week contract, irrespective of injury or loss of form and seem to retain their place in the national side even if suffering from both. Is there any strength in depth? (My teen son said he'll play for England for nothing, he can at least control the ball! Meiow!) Ian Botham said just pulling on the England shirt was motivation enough.

From being able to name the whole Ashes 2005 side, I'm struggling now to name any (just too busy to keep up, sorry lads!) Likewise the rugby team has changed majorly since the 2003 World victory. But the football team? I reeled off who the squad was likely to be and yet I take less notice of football than I do anything else. So does it come down to media pressure, building them all up so much it gives us false hopes or a management too scared to try anyone new? Everyone has an off day - but the whole team practically at the same time? Something seriously lacking, isn't there? Pride? Desire? Need? We'll see on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The things they say ...

I bought a new air freshener for the car. And the one I bought was red, to match the car, because I'm very sad like that. But it was called 'Passion' and promised an exotic aroma, musky, enticing.

Matt opened the door this morning and said: "Phew, smells like my old nursery ..."

Unfortunately, I have to agree - I may as well have hung a kitchen wipe off the mirror.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

McLaren Watch

Wow - who'd a thought it! I mean, I did, when Lewis stormed to pole position yesterday, but when he lost the lead today and off went Webber again, I doubted! So I watched - and the boys brought home a one-two result again! Fab-u-lous!

Strategy and luck with regard to tyres played their part in a brilliant result for McLaren - a backmarker gave Jenson the opportunity for a cheeky little pass on Alonso - watch the highlights here. It sees the leaderboard with just 15 points now covering the top 4 drivers.

1. Lewis 109

2. Jenson 106

3. Mark Webber 103

4. Fernando Alonso 94

And at the head of the constructors table, McLaren extend their lead over Red Bull and Ferrari. And I'd tell you by how many points but neither the BBC website nor Teletext have updated the tables yet. I'm assuming Jake is too busy celebrating with McLaren ...

Monday, 7 June 2010


Last weekend was certainly a great one for our motorsport boys - as well as the McLaren result, we had a one-two in the Indycar 500, with Dario Francitti and Dan Wheldon. Sending best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mike Conway too, following his spectacular crash in the same race. (And to Valentino Rossi - I know, he's not British but we love him!)

Danny Greaves and Heather Cockroft both set new world records in their respective paralympic sports, Greaves in the Paralympic World Cup. In the same championships, Jason Smyth won 100m and 200m Gold, visually impaired sprinter Libby Clegg won 100m, Tracey Hinton the 200m and Stephen Miller won the club event. The GB football team secured a bronze - our basketball team won Gold! Poolside, Ellie Simmonds broke the World Record.

In the rowing World Cup, another one-two for GB, as paralympian Tom Aggar clinched Gold ahead of Andy Houghton in the men's single scull, with victory for the mixed adaptive coxed four of Kelsie Gibson, James Roe, Naomi Riches, Ryan Chamberlain and cox Rhiannon Jones. The rest of the squad aren't doing too badly either - nine golds, six silvers and a bronze!

World champion Alistair Brownlee picked up where he left off, storming to Triathlon victory in Madrid upon his return from injury. Helen Jenkins took third place in the World Championship in Madrid, while Chrissie Wellington hit the winning trail again.

Sailing - World Cup Gold for Ed Wright, European Silvers for him and Lucy MacGregor's crew. And World Cup Gold for Nic Asher and Elliot Willis, plus silvers for Nick Dempsey and another for Lucy MacGregor's crew, with bronzes for Bryony Shaw and Helena Lucas.

In fencing, Richard Kruse took World Cup Silver, as GB also took Bronze with Laurence Halstead in the Tokyo Grand Prix and Chrystall Nicol in the World Cup in Germany.

Modern Pentathlon European Junior Championships saw an individual silver for Katy Burke, contributing to overall team Gold for GB.

And at the Taekwondo European Championship, Aaron Cooke and Sarah Stevenson both won Gold.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

McLaren Watch

Yee-Haa! Another one-two for the boys in Turkey, this time Lewis taking his first win of the season – not that Jenson let him have it easy!

Even with the Red Bulls coming out ahead of the McLarens after the pit-stop, the speed of the silver cars continued to pile on the pressure until Vettel, overtaking his team-mate Webber, appeared to misjudge how far ahead he was and pulled across, banging his right rear tyre into Webber’s chassis. Or Webber didn’t move across like the team would have preferred. Or Vettel is an over-excited idiot. Or Webber is nuts. Only Christian Horner will ever know for sure!

Anyhoo, it meant that the McLaren boys went steaming ahead and would maintain position to the flag. Or not, as they resorted to giving the fans a real treat of actual racing, as in, wheel to wheel, swapping the lead-type racing – McLaren told them they needed to conserve fuel so they backed off, leaving Lewis ahead. Which seems fair, he qualified higher and stayed ahead in the race – perhaps they need prior agreement that the highest place qualifier or quickest on the day takes it, so we’re spared the anguish of them doing a Red Bull!

Leaderboard then: Webber on 93, Jenson back up to second on 88, Lewis a huge leap to third on 84. Alonso is in fourth on 79, as Vettel slips to fifth on 78. In the constructors, McLaren leapfrog Red Bull by a massive, one point! 172 plays 171, with Ferrari in third on 146.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

I just bought a loaf from Sainsburys ...

... but it is no ordinary loaf: One half is sliced, one half isn’t. One half is brown, one half is white. One half is thick sliced, one half is thin sliced. And another half is medium sliced. Which is strange in itself.

It is a very peculiar loaf. And all I want is my lunch.

I begin to think that maybe I’m dreaming, that, maybe, I haven’t really been shopping at all. But the crumbs are all over the worktop, there’s American mustard staining my top, Branston pickle has dribbled down my jeans and the ham has just taken off out the back door after next door’s b*****d cat, who’s now being subjected to death by breadcrumbed, honey mustard glazing suffocation.

“Good” says the Devil in me.

Ok, so now you’re all thinking I’ve completely lost it, I’ll let you know the reason for such randomness: Sally Walker – it’s her fault, she started it! But the proof is in the **bread pudding - #loaf trended on Twitter!

** See what I did there?

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Over The Rainbow: The Final

Wizard of Oz medley to begin, full production job with all the former Dorothys, the Lion, the witch and the ward ... oops, I mean the Lion, theTin Man and the Scarecrow, a lovely bright start to the show.

Andrew has chosen their opening songs, so we can blame him if our favourite has a duff'un. He says all three are fantastic, he'd be proud to present any of them at the Palladium and he reminds us what we're looking for.

Sophie sings Tomorrow, from Annie, it's touching, emotive (John's getting quite carried away - I thought it's a thing for Sophie, but he's like it all night, with all of them) Sophie has really come through this last couple of weeks. Mentor Ruthie Henshall so proud, watched her blossom. Sheila says she delivered, has true glamour, an old fashioned allure as opposed to the WAG type, amazing transformation, lived that song beautifully; John calls her charismatic, has an open and honest quality, he's very proud, Wales has a winner in her; Charlotte tells her she's taken the biggest journey, always want to believe in her. Andrew agrees she did it beautifully, Wales proud - will have to work at dance (my one concern with Sophie).

Lauren and I Could Have Danced All Night, from My Fair Lady, a lovely performance, as always, very slick, personally I thought there was a teensy slight little wobble on that top note but since I'm not an expert, I'll shut up. Mentor Sheridan Smith is excited for her, you have star quality, knock 'em dead. John tells her she's a leading lady, a producer's dream, sensational. Charlotte says she's undoubtedly flawless, top note gorgeous, unbelievable. Sheila admits that she thought Lauren was eyes, tits and teeth at first "the show's finished now, they can't sack me" LOL but she showed she as better than that, the last note pure joy. Andrew says it's the first top B flat we've ever heard on a reality show, proved he was right with the song, fantastic.

Danielle - liking her attitude but ...76 Trombones? Really? Interesting choice, I can see what Andrew wants to do, showing off her skills but I think it's risky. She delivers though, no doubt. Mentor Tamsin Outhwaite is excited and proud, always thought she'd make the perfect Dorothy. John tells her she never disappoints, was sensational and is a star; Sheila says she's wonderful, great skill, revelation at the workshop, grateful the public has seen what they've seen. Andrew says she conveyed the wittiness even while dancing, a worthy follower of the greats, Minnelli and Garland. I've voted for her twice, because she's worth it.

Side by side with the Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow for If I Only Had A Heart, all are great. Sheila says Lauren fantastic, related beautifully; Charlotte tells Danielle she's one of the most remarkable performers to come out of these shows; John reminds Sophie how unsure of herself she was at first, struggling in those shoes, now dancing around, did really great. Andrew is purring away - all three are extraordinary and could be Dorothy.

Toto is ... all have impressed, Andrew made the call ... oh, come on, who is it? Enter Jodie with ...Dangerous Dave! Why? Because he's consistent and how can you not love a face like that?

Oooh, frozen lines, no warning! Sheila treats all the former Dorothys to a night out at Sister Act and introduces them to former Nancys, who the show helped, opening doors. They all perform Empire State of Mind, lovely when in harmony together, a couple showing they went out at the right time.

This is it moment #1 ... Danielle safely through, woohoo, Graham straight out with it, no messing. Who's joining her for the final sing off? Sophie! Thought that might happen, Lauren third, just too slick. Standing ovation though, and fully deserved. She'll be a star, no doubt. Lauren not too shocked, Andrew not too surprised, the audience went for the younger two. He's got her number. Sophie's confidence just shot through the roof. Lauren's pure voice does Over The Rainbow justice.

Graham starts the final segment descending on the flying bicycle "they couldn't afford a monkey"! Danielle and Sophie will both sing Over The Rainbow, plus their favourite from the series. Before that, we see their final task, rehearsing that iconic scene where Dorothy sings it.

Sophie does it wonderfully well, gorgeous voice; Danielle next and, to me, she is Dorothy, that earnestness that Sheila talked of reminds me of Judy Garland. Sheila said they both captured Dorothy's emotion; John tells Sophie he's bursting with pride, tells Danielle she's a star; Charlotte pronounces that was the best we've heard Sophie, Danielle just captivating. Run nearest and dearest VT ...

Their fave songs, Sophie with Reflection, excellent choice, easily her strongest, John completely under her spell. Gorgeous. Danielle with Mambo Italiano - absolutely fantastic, what a performance, incredbily strong vocally considering the movement. John just can't hide his excitement, great to see the panel relish it so much.

This is it moment #2 ... lines are closed! Oooooh, go the audience, me included! Trip down memory lane while we wait, remembering all the fabulous performances, the tasks, the Totos and the farewells. £430k was raised for the Performing Arts fund.

It's ... Danielle! One happy Lord tonight, says the public never fail to get it right. Danielle didn't bother waiting for him to present the shoes, lol, she just took 'em, far too excited! She sings us out in the ruby slippers and away she goes in the hot air balloon!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

England Win 20/20 Cricket World Cup!

By slaughtering the Aussies, Oh, Yes! With 7 wickets and 3 overs remaining - our first one day title in 35 years! Kevin Pietersen *swoon* (and congratulations to him and Jessica on the birth of their baby son) won Player of the Tournament, with Craig Kieswetter Man of the Match.

Full details on the BBC Sport website.

Over The Rainbow Result Show

The usual reprise: As Graham says, it's going to be emotional! Sheila says she's been wrong about the bottom two every week, John says anyone of the four left could be Dorothy, Charlotte praises them all - they're glad it's not them choosing tonight.

Last mash-up medley of the series: Singing In The Rain - Umbrella - I think Andrew's a bit choked at the prospect of having to choose. A quick visit to the Live events with Bronte, Dani, Amy, Emilie and Jodie Prenger, a good time had by one and all.

Sierra Boggess from Love Never Dies imparts some advice: "Play the part as if your life depended on it" then performs the title song and epitomises the whole keepin' it real ethos: beautifully done, simple yet powerful.

Toto's task - his big scene, pulling back the curtain to reveal the Wizard of Oz! Eddie, Spider and Dave nearly got it; Troy and Missy did it, the Lord picks Troy as Star Dog, the panel choose Eddie.

Just moments away *eek* The girls big themselves up, the panel all agree that on this week's performance, Steph is not Dorothy. I thought they'd abstain from that but no. Perhaps it'll make it an easier decision for Andrew if she's in the bottom two.

Safe: Danielle! Lauren - bottom two; Safe - Sophie! Viewer vote would have put her straight out. I'm not going to say it ... who am I kidding - I said pop songs would do for them, didn't I? Not a foregone conclusion, Lauren the star vocalist but sometimes too slick versus Steph the all round triple threat. He tells them to think vulnerability in the Tim Rice written Evita song Another Suitcase in Another Home. Lauren gets his vote, Steph already resigned after the panel's comments. Andrew reiterates that she'll go far.

So now we know: Danielle v Lauren v Sophie for the final. All totally different but equally talented. And it's all up to us!

McLaren Watch

Well it's all gone a bit t*ts up hasn't it, with Jenson out and Lewis finishing in 5th. I told you I shouldn't watch live, didn't I? I'm consoled myself with a Penguin.

So Jenson is dumped down to 4th in the championship, on 70 pts, below new championship leader Webber on 78 pts, same as team-mate Vettel in 2nd, but one more win puts him ahead. Alonso is on 73 in 3rd, Massa in 5th on 61 and Kubica given 6th ahead of Lewis, both on 59 pts.

Red Bull (156) and Ferrari (134) both leap frog McLaren (129) in the Constructors championship.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Over The Rainbow: Semi Final

Kicking us off with Together Wherever We Go; Andrew will make his last save of the series this weekend. They all sound terrific there, anyone standing out? Pep talk from Andrew - for the audience - look for the girl who goes on a journey, who keeps it real.

Sophie sings Reflection from Mulan and it's beautiful - well done Sophie, she's stepped up again this week and really brought herself into contention. Nailed it. Steph has Rule The World and, much as I love both her and this song, I'm not so keen on this performance. Round one to Sophie.

Charlotte says they were two outstanding vocals; Sheila tells Sophie it's a big leap forward for her and Steph made the pop song sound like it meant something; John tells Steph she's the one out of the four who's the triple threat and it's Sophie's best performance to date. Andrew says Steph did very well with a difficult song and Sophie turned the corner tonight: "Bravo You" he tells her.

Lauren has Heaven, I'm thinking pop songs at this stage, however well sung, is not doing them any favours - I felt she had to work hard there, although still vocally wonderful. Danielle sings When You Believe from Prince of Egypt and, as in the first two, the musical theatre song gets my vote, she was able to put so much more into it, the full package. Sheila says they were two cracking performances, Lauren showed the wonderment of love, Danielle did it brilliantly, simple and beautiful; John called it The Voice v The Actress, if we could mix you both up, you'd be the perfect Dorothy; Charlotte thinks Lauren is incapable of giving a bad performance and Danielle spotless vocally, a performance of substance. Andrew believes Lauren will always give her best - and of Danielle, he says: "Some actresses rely on the truth within themselves - that's you."

Duets: Every girl for themselves! Sophie and Steph first with I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair from South Pacific Ha, great fun. Even Stevens too, Sophie the vocal, Steph the attitude, but they both came through strongly.

Danielle and Lauren next with Popular from Wicked, it's quirky and fun - and Danielle took it hands down, total presence, comedy, acting, vocal, ease of movement.

John says Lauren and Danielle the best - chose Danielle if pushed; Steph polished choreographically; Sophie so strong tonight; Charlotte picks out Steph but overall Lauren and Danielle outstanding; Sheila says Lauren and Danielle fabulous, but had the slightly wittier and funny song. Andrew's worried that the Wicked producers might pinch them out from under his nose!

They have vocal coaching in how to do a Kansas accent "Ma nayem is Darathy an' ar hayev a dawg colled Todo." That might be Texan but hey ho. Playing the going home scene with the good witch of the North, Andrew almost had a tear in his eye when Danielle was saying goodbye to the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion (Me too - she might well have won it with that.) Lauren so professional, Steph so consistent, Sophie could nick this from all of them.

Sheila can't be bothered with the accent - don't demonstrate just be, was John Thaw's mantra - Danielle has got it. John says all four have developed but Lauren has his vote; Steph stood out for Charlotte, Lauren brilliant. Andrew says they've all upped their game, all have the accent, not going to lead the audience, we've got to make up our own minds who would make the best Dorothy. Tonight, for me, it's Danielle.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


In Boxing, John Murray added the European Flyweight title to his British belt.

Continuing the excellent gymnastic European Championships, Daniel Keating and Louis Smith took Gold and Silver in the Pommel Horse, with Beth Tweddle becoming double Gold medallist on the floor and uneven bars.

Three Golds and a Silver at the sailing World Cup, for windsurfer Bryony Shaw, 49ers Brotherton and Asquith and Paul Goodison in the Laser class; Charlotte Dobson with the silver in the Laser Radial.

Fencer Richard Kruse retains Copenhagen World Cup title; World Cup bronze for Chrystall Nicoll.

Karina Bryant and Euan Burton win bronze in the European Judo Championships.

Over The Rainbow Result Show

Which of the final five will escape the sing off ... again! Graham hopes the mash up will be a spudwehopeulike *Groans* we'll wait and see.

What do the girls need? Andrew says they have to respond to the comedians in the show; Sheila's glad it's us who decide, everybody left has something special; John believes it's anybody's game and it's incredibly important they hold their nerve; Charlotte says it was the right time for Jenny to leave, she couldn't match the others this week.

Joint task this week for the girls and the would be Totos, loving Graham's Miss World commentary as he introduces the dogs, and it's left to them to choose a Dorothy - Jenny still in at this moment means a Dorothy misses out - and it's Lauren. Not only dogs to contend with but kids too, as each partnership takes to the Richmond Theatre stage in front of an audience. Missy and Eddie perform, Troy wanders, Dave's yawning and Spider joins in with the song. Spider gets the panel's vote, Dave wins the kids.

The mash up is almost a mash up, they almost had it, finishing on I Gotta Feeling. Steph and Jessica look the better dancers.

The panel muse on the girls: Danielle really strong, unique quality, a consummate actress; Sophie so beautiful, so natural, nearly there, too sensible but has it in her for the role; Lauren a bit too glib, transformed by bottom two appearance, most professional, delivered week on week, phenomenal vocal range; Jess the obvious choice at first, now not so sure, must be careful not to be labelled the kooky one all the time, Charlotte loves her, the overt features; Steph has blown them away every week, an all rounder who comes up with the goods but needs to keep it up.

A night out at Sweet Charity for the Dorothy's leads into Tamzin Outhwaite performing If My Friends Could See Me Now and if this is live, it's fantastic - it seems to good to be true, with all the choreography, her vocal is faultless.

The girls say why they should be in the semi - and it's time to find out: Safe: Sophie! Danielle, bottom two; Lauren and Steph both safe, it's Jessica versus Danielle - ooh, toughie for the Lord, a dreadful dilemma he calls it. Singing Take That Look of Your Face they both do all they can and Andrew bases his decision on who he feels would be the better Dorothy: Danielle. But he tells Jessica he sees her in a role like Sweet Charity or Funny Girl, she gives an impassioned, positive speech, she's off to train in September unless something comes up. The quirkiest, happiest Over the Rainbow we've heard.

McLaren Watch

A Spanish GP qualifying dominated by the Red Bulls left our boys in 3rd (Lewis) and 5th (Jenson) but another fine drive from Lewis saw him in 2nd place on the penultimate lap, when unfortunately a left front puncture hoofed him off track and left him pointless. This did do Jenson a favour in moving him up from 6th to 5th though, after trailing Michael Schumacher following his pit stop. The Championship looks like this:

1. JB 70pts
2. Alonso 67
3. Vettel 60
4. Webber 53
5. Rosberg 50
6. Lewis 49
7. Massa 49

1. McLaren 119
2. Ferrari 116
3. Red Bull 113

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Over The Rainbow: Double Elimination

The remaining six Dorothys open with Defying Gravity, the fine vocals can't hide the tension of the night as Graham tells us there'll be a sing off tonight with one to go!

It's Musical Theatre songs tonight and someone might pay for having a relatively unknown number - I hope it isn't Danielle, with On My Own, which sounds only vaguely familiar. She's strong vocally and delivered it passionately, but I'm concerned. Jessica on the other hand, is let loose with Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious - how can you not be smiling at that? Wonderful performance, ran out of steam a little towards the end, and why not?

Charlotte really enjoyed Danielle's emotive performance and called Jessica extravagant and fun; Sheila predicts the West End for both of them, though felt Jess could have relished the word more, while Danielle has star quality; John says Danielle performed with grace and sensivity and is right for Dorothy but Jessica is his Marmite Dorothy, sometimes it's a little bit cheesy. Andrew calls them both fantastic, Jessica never ceases to make him smile and he chose that song for Danielle as a complete contrast to Mambo Italiano.

Steph gets the emotional biggie of the night, Somewhere and does it justice, you can see the tear tracks on her face at the end, a moving, real performance. Jenny has Send In The Clowns and it doesn't compare to Jodie's version in the Nancy show, my mind wandered a bit, not her strongest performance.

Sheila says Steph was absolutely wonderful, beautiful, while Jenny had a difficult song, needed more colour, went for sad instead of ironic; John loves Jenny's uptempo stuff but this needed the acting skill and it was half baked. He tells Steph there's a place for her, back here next week, truth and beauty in her performance; Charlotte thought Jenny had moments of real magic and Steph is just special, superb. Andrew says they both did well, Steph got the meaning of the words.

Sophie puts in a good performance on one of those quaint old numbers I Enjoy Being A Girl, strong vocally, a lot of choreography and acting to cope with and seems more relaxed with it, after the judges recent comments I suspect she's letting go and making the most of it possibly being her final week. Lauren, as ever, faultless vocally in another unknown-to-me-song called Being Alive and I don't understand why I don't vote for her.

John says Sophie has an openess and naturalness about her, but it's a TV not a stage performance. Lauren has the best voice in the competition; Charlotte thought Sophie was great , laid it on the line, she tells Lauren "I've got stop fawning over you, it's becoming embarassing" and praised her phrasing; Sheila felt that Lauren needed to cherish the lyrics more and Sophie needed to send her song up more, tells her "learn to make a fool of yourself and you'll be terrific"; Andrew agreed with Sheila.

So the lines are open - voted twice each for Danielle, Steph and Jessica. And while we're doing that, we see the girls' mission - commanding Bobby the Westie as well as the stage, in the emotional scene where Dorothy thinks she's lost Toto but he comes back and they decide to leave. Glad to report my three seemed to do well, plus Lauren was very convincing.

Back to the singing - If I Could Talk To The Animals - and my mum phones in the middle to say that she can't get through, it's telling her the voting line has closed. I quickly ascertain it's because she's dialling 08 at the end for Lauren - and there's only six in it, mum! They're scrolling the numbers across the screen and she's swearing blind it's an 8 when it's a 6 ...

Pep talk to the voters from Andrew "Remember all the performances and tasks to decide on your Dorothy"; A glimpse of tomorrow's Toto Task; A glimpse into the BBC Performing Arts Fund. And the lines are closed!

Charlotte performs solo for the first time in four years, The Actress. Can't honestly say I liked it much, was like she couldn't make up her mind what key to sing in. Just goes to show ...

Who do the girls think will not be Dorothy? Danielle and Jenny say Steph; Jessica reckons Danielle; Lauren thinks Sophie; Sophie and Steph choose Jenny. The panel are split, Sheila and John say Sophie; Charlotte plumps for Jenny.

Safe: Steph! Danielle! Jessica! *Whoop* Jenny in the bottom two, joined by Lauren, Sophie shocked but safe! I begin to wonder if my mum got through ... viewer vote would have put Lauren out! Gasps of shock erupt in the studio! But she'll be safe, The Lord won't keep Jenny instead of her. They sing Bridge Over Troubled Water and Lauren totally outsings Jenny, who has finally succumbed to the pressure, she prepares for the worst and Andrew makes it quick, so he can follow with words of encouragement. Here come the tears but she pulls it together for Over The Rainbow.

But we're not finished yet! The remaining five sing again for our votes, a Wizard of Oz line up; Jessica and Lauren stand out. Andrew and John advise us to pick our Dorothy; Charlotte doesn't want to lose Lauren; Sheila says we only need someone who can sing, dance, act, do pathos and comedy, balance a football on her head and hoover. Simultaneously.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The things they say ...

We were discussing how some unemployed people may have to resort to that soul-destroying art of telemarketing, you know, the cold-calling, straight out of telephone book to make double-glazing appointments (been there, done that, lived to tell the tale, managed one appointment in four weeks) and Matt pipes up:

"But selling tellys can get you loads of money, they must be able to get at least £300 for each one ..."

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Over The Rainbow Result Show

Reprise of Don't Rain on My Parade and the panel are all in agreement, anyone's game, only confirmed by the medley (they've cottoned on at last!) of What A Swell Party and Get The Party Started, there are no weaknesses, any of them could be Dorothy.

The Toto's Task in Legally Blonde, Missy and Spider the only two to master their script, Missy is top dog, Spider gave everyone a scare, skidding to the edge of the stage in his excitement!

The girls mission - into the Haunted Forest alone, except for mini Graham, the flying monkey. And their mums. Danielle feels sick but 18 now so going in; Steph says it's horrible; Stephanie is praying; Sophie taking on the challenge; Laurens' hearing noises; they're all jumping. If they chose to go 'home' they found their mum, as Jenny, Steph and Lauren did; Sophie, Danielle and Stephanie bravely went on to Oz; Jessica excused due to her throat.

Group number The Happening was excellent, but showed off the stronger dancers; Jessica, Danielle, Steph. The panel again all in agreement - Danielle stood out. The girls are asked who they think would struggle in the West End: Danielle, Stephanie and Jess reckon Jenny; Jenny, Lauren and Sophie say Stephanie; Steph plumps for Jess on account of her voice problems this week.

Sheila and John say, with regret, that Stephanie isn't Dorothy; Charlotte regrettably says Sophie.

Safe: Danielle; Jessica, Lauren, Jenny, Sophie. It's Steph (dammit) versus Stephanie (noooooo!) and there's going to a lot of upset people who forgot to vote, or thought they didn't need to yet! Had it been down to viewer vote, Stephanie would be gone. Singing Tell Me on a Sunday, both terrific, forced to choose I'd save Steph, her overall star quality and all performances. Yes, she's safe, but sad that Stephanie goes just because of one dodgy performance of a difficult song - remember, little Sarah, another favourite, went out of I'd Do Anything singing the very same song!

I blame myself for forgetting to vote for Steph. Stephanie's overcome, the girls pick up the chorus for her. And OMG, there's two to go next week!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Over The Rainbow: Big Band Diva Night

It’s Big Band Night! The girls ask us not to rain of their parade and they all have their moments, very strong.

Steph sings Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend with gusto, strong performing element again, really gels with the dancers, though I felt this compromised her vocal, maybe would’ve been better a tad slower. Jenny with Feelin’ Good and another strong vocal but no interaction with the dancers, could’ve played up to them for a bit more substance.

John says it’s a cracking opening, Steph’s best friends are the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, Jenny got her mojo back; Sheila thinks Jenny could’ve used the lyrics more, Steph could’ve stretched a little further; Charlotte called Steph a diminutive diva and Jenny pulled it out of the bag. Andrew tells us Steph saved the show last week but didn’t elaborate and Jenny did well.

Sophie sings What A Wonderful World and it’s her best performance by far, I found it very emotive, a little nervy which added a vulnerability to a cracking vocal. Charlotte agrees on the gorgeous vocal but says she could’ve pushed it more, a lot more to give; Sheila says it’s a viable interpretation, nerves pull her back; John wished he could’ve seen the colours and felt the sun; Andrew agreed with the panel but believes in her.

Danielle goes for it with Mambo Italiano and it’s fantastic, vocally fabulous, the acting, movement, interaction with the dancers, a brilliant, complete performance. Lauren has The Man That Got Away and with this she has to live up to Jessie’s performance in the Nancy series. Exceptional vocal as ever, possibly a little too slick again compared to Jessie’s rawness and I found it a little overacted.

Sheila calls them two absolutely knockout performances, both girls assume a character and live the roles, loved Danielle, Lauren moved her deeply; John calls Danielle truly sensational, Lauren absolutely fantastic, committed, measured. Charlotte believes Danielle has grown the most, on fire, brilliant and Lauren’s was one of the best performances she’s ever seen. Andrew says two fantastic performances, Danielle full of humour and fun, Lauren made it her own.

Stephanie sings Mr Bojangles, an understated performance with a kick, different interpretation well done, but not my favourite of hers. Jessica has Cabaret and she’s in her element, brilliant vocal considering she’s had a bad throat, full of va va voom, her favourite song, she lives it.

John didn’t like Stephanie’s but that’s what he’s been waiting for from Jess; Charlotte disagrees with John over Stephanie, she likes the interpretation and says all the girls have stepped it up tonight, Jessica’s best vocal, owned the stage; Sheila says Jessica got the context, overall colour bright, would’ve liked Stephanie to have told the story better; Andrew says they both had difficult songs and did very well, Jess got the acting side right.

The Lord isn’t discounting anyone and it’s even harder to choose after the second group number of The Trolley Song, they’re all fabulous again. Wide open tonight – and I forgot to vote! I can’t believe I forgot to vote! If I had it would’ve been Steph, Danielle and Jessica, with an honorary mention for Sophie – I’m not sure whether she can cope with a full on part due to the nerves so far. I’ll be gutted if two of them end up in the bottom two. ‘Til tomorrow then ...

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Over The Rainbow Result Show

Good showing again from all eight Dorothys in the reprise of "If I Only Had The Part" followed by the recap, after which Andrew tells us there are eight front runners! Then changes his mind and says six, but won't be drawn as to who they are.

John says some of the girls are where they should be, others aren't; it's clearer to Sheila who can deliver in the role - three of them now, the others eventually. Charlotte stays tight lipped other than to reiterate that she'll be singing No More Tears with them.

The Medley is A Fine Romance - Bad Romance - Just Dance - and another Lady Ga Ga song I can't remember the title of: Steph and Stephanie stood out for me.

Toto Time - eleven down to five! And they are: Dave; Eddie; Missy; Spider; Troy. Wish they'd show us a bit more of them though, maybe next week. Especially Eddie in the cinema seat, lol!

The girls' mission, which they chose to accept, although mostly terrified: singing with Charlotte. She's looking for tone, pitch, hitting the note bang on and emotion. She works them all individually and is impressed with all - although says there are four who could be Dorothy.

No More Tears is a Wow - they all stepped up there, Charlotte had clearly filled them with confidence - and a great performance full of attitude from her too. She makes their night, telling them it was a privilege to work with them.

And who do the girls think the viewers favourite is? Emilie & Sophie say Stephanie; Jenny & Stephanie plump for Emilie; Steph says Jess; Danielle and Jess reckon Sophie; Lauren picks Jenny.

The panel are unanimous that Emilie is NOT Dorothy - who's right, them or Jenny & Stephanie? Safe: Steph; Jessica; Stephanie; Lauren; Jenny; they left Danielle till last after telling her she might be in the sing-off - how cruel is that?

It's Emilie versus Sophie, singing I Know Him So Well, The Lord wants to see acting, I want to see Sophie make it through. She does. I said that Cyndi Lauper song would do for Emilie, didn't I? Apart from the slight glitch at the end, Over the Rainbow is Emilie's best solo performance to date. The weakest singer is out - Game On!


Cycling news - David McCann wins Tour of Philippines; a one-two for Pooley and Cooke in the Fleche Wallonne.

Team GB took the junior gold at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships to retain their position at the top of the European rankings, whilst the Senior Men win Silver in the team event in the Eurpean Championships, a historic first medal for them. And lifted directly from BBC's Ollie Williams Twitter: "GB juniors finish Euros with FIVE gold medals. Team gold, all-around gold (Sam Oldham), floor & pommel (Max Whitlock) and high bar (Oldham)" - he's blogging tomorrow, I'll try to remember to link it. This was shortly followed by "Bronze for Britain's Daniel Purvis in floor event at men's Euros. That's one of the two medals GB coach Paul Hall wanted. Pommel horse next" - excellent service, Ollie! Latest: "Dan Keatings beats Louis Smith on pommel horse - Euro gold and silver respectively. Report appearing on BBC site imminently. Action ongoing!" How fantastic is that!?

A seventh major medal for Karina Bryant, at the European Judo Championships, bagging a bronze, with Euan Burton also securing bronze at the same event.

Wrestler Yana Stadnik took Silver in the European Championships.

Over The Rainbow: Interaction Motivation

The Dorothys sing a re-written version of the Scarecrow’s “If I Only Had a Heart” – “If I Only Had The Part!” Neat. Sophie and Emilie surprising me there, sounding very strong. The Lord quips about the all the audience voting to avoid a hung Dorothy and moved on - we’re looking for interaction tonight, the girls will be split into two groups later.

Jenny out first with Warwick Avenue and it’s another strong, engaging performance, acting skills coming through, controlled. Emilie has Girls Just Want To Have Fun and whoever chose this for her must want her out badly – nobody has ever pulled this off in a reality show. Even if she was a strong, confident singer she’d have struggled with this. As it is, I’m finding it hard to watch.

Charlotte says Jenny did a good job, got every big note, bit self contained and Emilie was fun and frivolous, but control still an issue; Sheila said she didn’t see anguish with Jenny and Emilie was cute but needed to grow more; John felt Jenny’s vocal was great but needed to push the acting more. The Lord says the panel are spot on, particularly Sheila’s comments to Emilie about being able to take criticism and his tears weren’t as jerked by Jenny as they should have been.

Stephanie and Nobody Does It Better, loved this interpretation, she’s so likeable and so consistent, no matter what type of song, really good job. Lauren with Nobody Knows, the first complete performance of the night, fantastic vocal, emotive, really felt the song.

Sheila is convinced by both, Stephanie needs to act more, Lauren superb at the end, a huge step forward; John wants Stephanie to bring her up-tempo performance skills to the slow stuff and didn’t want Lauren to stop; Charlotte says Stephanie could sing the phone book and Lauren was vulnerable, broken and beautiful. The Lord says they’re both incredibly talented, be happy to see either as Dorothy.

Sophie, with London Welsh, lucky girl. Ouch! Love Song was a strange song, didn’t show off her vocal as much as I’d have liked, bit in and out. Jessica does it her way for There’ll You’ll Be, stayed put, relied on the emotion, one of her best performances.

John tells Sophie she’s going to have to work twice as hard as everyone else, a little understated but Jessica’s was her most truthful, honest performance to date, what he’s been looking for. Charlotte said Sophie had a hard song, struggled a bit, it wasn’t what she did in the masterclass; Jess was magic from the last chorus out; Sheila thought Sophie was terrific and Jessica overacted up till the end when she really felt it. The Lord says there are times in Jessica’s performance when he’s watching a world class performer and Sophie is a talented girl, asks the audience not to punish her for a bad song.

Danielle sings Cry Me A River, great entrance, lowered on a swing – I’m not a fan of the vamp look I have to say, interesting arrangement, all round performance again, still more to come I think. Steph is gaining in confidence every week and delivers again with Use Somebody, she’s one of the most versatile.

Charlotte says they’re both exceptional, Steph sang beautifully, so at home on stage, while Danielle was sultry and vocally perfect; Sheila says these two have the best interpretations, Danielle has a subtlety and gravity, Steph beautifully done; John says Steph was fierce, Danielle so consistent - both girls should make the final! The Lord agrees with John - incredibly strong contenders.

The group songs – the Deadwood Dames (Emilie, Jenny, Lauren, Stephanie) with The Deadwood Stage are all very strong – Emilie again, much stronger than when she’s alone. It’s a shame the mics weren’t working at the start of the Oklahoma Outlaws (Sophie, Danielle, Jessica, Steph) but they got it sorted – but Oklahoma only has one catchy line so they were never going to get the panels’ vote, which goes to the Deadwood Dames. I couldn’t pick anyone out as being less interactive than the others - The Lord says that he wants to cancel the competition and give them all one performance a week!

I voted based on who I don’t want to lose: Steph, Stephanie, Jessica, Danielle. As for the sing off, no-one is safe. Till the morrow ...

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Over The Rainbow Result Show

A night out at the O2 for the live Dancing on Ice show means this is a little late, apologies for that - but a rundown on the DOI show will shortly appear over on the dance blog, so it's all good!

A reprise of Ease On Down The Road confirms my initial thoughts that Emilie and Sophie aren't the best dancers, nowhere near as fluid as the others. Andrew says the field is wide open, unsure who'll he'll be choosing from in the bottom two; Sheila says the amount they do reveals their stamina; John says he's picked four contenders as Dorothy; Charlotte doubts she'd cope with the amount of routines they're learning - she needs a couple of drinks before she'll dance, lol. I love that fact that she's well aware of her reputation and goes for it before the press do!

The mash-up is still a medley, moving from Losing My Mind to Crazy in Love to Crazy and back to Crazy in Love again - please can someone advise: You have to re-write and mix two songs together, sometimes individual lines with the same backing track to make a mash up. See this, the example I previously gave. And if you're not watching Glee yet, why not? Anyway, back to Dorothy ... I thought Jessica and Danielle both did well there.

The search for Toto promised to be emotional and it is, very much so, for dog loving Jodie. Maybe I'm hard, but get a grip, really, they're well trained dogs. Although I did adore the Great Dane, Strider, thought he was gorgeous. They've whittled down to ten, we'll see them perform for the Lord next week.

Dancing in high heels - John shows how it's done! Adding to the pressure, The Lord turns up with Arlene Phillips in tow. Stephanie's awareness and Danielle's taking on a role to do it impress John most.

The Dorothys perform Buenos Aires from Evita and collectively, they're fabulous. The Lord is very impressed by all.

Who will they miss most? Danielle and Jessica don't want to lose Dani; Emilie would be gutted if Stephanie went and Stephanie reciprocates; Dani would miss Steph; Jenny and Lauren, roomies, want each other to stay; Likewise Steph and Sophie are mates;

Who's not the panel's Dorothy? Sheila - Jessica; John - Emilie; Charlotte - Jenny

Safe: Emilie; Stephanie; Jenny; Steph; Lauren; Jessica; Sophie. It's Dani v Danielle in the sing off and I confess to being a little shocked - Dani's best was least popular; Danielle proves how one slightly off week can have such an impact. They sing Maybe This Time and I've got my fingers crossed for Danielle - Dani is more passionate but Danielle is the overall package and she takes The Lord's decision.

Dani sings us out beautifully, saving her best performance for Over The Rainbow.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

McLaren Watch

I told you, didn't I - a one-two when I wasn't watching means I can't watch again now. But hubby getting up early meant two hours snore-free sleep for me that I simply had to take advantage of.

So, another good call for tyres saw Jenson nab victory in another rain hit race, while Lewis stormed through the field - even with 4 pit stops and a reprimand - in another fantastic drive to grab second place!

Jenson now leads the championship by 10 points from Nico Rosberg (still beating team-mate Michael Schumacher) 60 points to 50, with Lewis in 4th, tied on 49 pts with Alonso in 3rd, due to Alonso's one win.

McLaren are now clear leaders in the Constructors Championship, 109 points to Ferrari's 90.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Over The Rainbow: Dancing Night

And they're out for a group number to Ease on Down The Road, from the all-black version, The Wiz (of which I have the album, up in the loft - it's fabulous!) And for me, on dance night, I didn't think Emilie and Sophie were as comfortable as the others in that.

Andrew tells us that Bronte has a place in stage school and should get a part from one of the two auditions she attended this week, yay for Bronte!

Dani sings One Night Only, another strong vocal, a bit in and out, no dancing, very confident performance though. Liking the male dancers, lol. Sheila thought she was great but didn't quite get the song; John says she sold it; Charlotte felt she gave it everything; Andrew sensed that she doesn't feel the music so much.

Sophie sings I'm With You and it's her best to date, really connected with the song, again no dancing but well done. John says she could still be Dorothy; Charlotte got all the emotion; Sheila says it's a real breakthrough for her; Andrew says she has music within her.

Lauren has Sway and I admit, I'm comparing her performance to Samantha in the Nancy show, and I don't find it as good. Lots of dancing meant her vocal suffered for the first time - and I felt her dancing was very much learned-by-numbers, it didn't capture the spirit of the song. Finished strongly. Charlotte said she smouldered her way through; Sheila, very tellingly, says it was 'elegant' - should Sway be elegant? John said it's ok to be confident and you're a great dancer; Andrew thought it her best yet. Hm, I really didn't think so, this seems a concerted effort to convince the public.

Emilie has Moon River and she's a little shaky in places, still nowhere good enough vocally to carry a stage show. Sheila says she's great but not enough understanding of the song; John didn't get it at all (but the choreography is hardly her fault) Charlotte says she found her vocal control; Andrew says she's vocally not secure but possibly the best mover.

Stephanie blasts them all offstage with
Let's Get Loud, full of energy, attitude, musicality, out of time slightly on one small bit but brilliant performance. Sheila says she was wonderful, moved like a dream; John says she's a firecracker, solid, sensational; Charlotte says she's awesome; Andrew says extraordinary.

Steph is Phil Fearon's daughter! Ah, Galaxy - Dancing Tight. Yes, it's in the loft. Singing
Out Here on My Own, it's a moving performance and held the intensity all the way. John is dazzled by her acting; Charlotte says she's a triple threat, acting, singing, dancing; Sheila says it was beautiful; Andrew says she's immensley talented but not sure if this role is right for her.

Jenny has Why Do Fools Fall in Love and she does it again, the most consistent all round performer, strong vocal, confident, great movement. John says he's beginning to think she's faking it???!! Charlotte thought pretty good, overall. Sheila tells her to have more fun with the choreography; Andrew says it was a tricky song.

Jessica sings Crazy Little Thing Called Love and this is a fab performance, she looks daintier alone with the male dancers, she's so much taller than the other girls. The vocal went a little during the jive - terrific kicks though, great fun, full of personality and brought the vocal back. Great stuff. Charlotte said she owned the stage; John wanted to love it but found the choreography laboured??? Sheila threw me because she called her Steph; Andrew said if he was casting Funny Girl she'd be high on the list (a compliment) she works both the live audience and the TV.

Danielle out last with Could It Be Magic, it's Manilow meets musical theatre, her weakest vocally, but still stronger than most. Charlotte says it's a complete performance; Sheila tells her to regard the camera as a friend; John loved the performance but wants to see her take a risk and do something different; Andrew says she's a remarkable performer, he can't wait to work with both her and Jessica himself.

The group performance of America will show us who the strongest dancers are, but we don't see enough of each of them. So I have to say that overall, the one I feel who isn't Dorothy, is Emilie.

Back tomorrow!