Tuesday, 23 February 2010


A little late, I know, sorry!

The big BIG news of course is Amy Williams storming to Olympic Gold in the Skeleton! Yay, way to go Amy!

The BBC are making a movie charting the rivalry between Seb Coe and Steve Ovett, possibly being released before th 2012 Olympics. I knew someone would beat me to it, my screenplay is still up here *taps temple* waiting for a chance to be written.

In Boxing, Nathan Cleverly won the European Light Heavyweight title ... Peter Norfolk is still World Number One in Wheelchair tennis ... Greg Harlow won the World Indoor Bowls title, with Stewart Anderson and runner-up. In women's bowls, Debbie Stavrou beat Alison Merrien in the World Matchplay Championship final.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

PopStar To OperaStar: The Final!

Bernie versus Darius, two solos, two duets and a group number! She looks amazing in dangerous red; he, dashing in uniform!

Darius out first, a quick recap reminding us what a fabulous performer he is; he's chosen Non Piu Andrai - the one where he falls in love with his hand (anyone see TV Burp, lol!) He does even better this time, interacting well with the supporting cast, great timing! Loved it! Afterwards he said: “I wanted to see if I could get through this performance with my flies up, I did ask if I could wear a kilt but that’s not very Italian. It’s been such an honour to perform with the orchestra and I just want to thank everyone who’s voted for me.”

Katherine said: “The song was in good hands. When you came in you had the heart of a tenor and when you sang that song for the first time you settled much more into a baritone. You always come out and deliver a great performance, it was brilliant.”

Laurence said: “l loved the singing very much. It was very cheeky, very sexy, very Darius.”

A Bernie recap of her chacka chacka performances, the stunning vocal gymnastics. Les Fille De Cadiz her choice, full of character, very cheeky. Even stevens so far! Afterwards she said: “I had such fun singing the original, I really enjoyed it. I loved singing in French and all those things made me choose the song. I had a high note which I hoped would give me a ‘chaka chaka’ from Rolando.”

Rolando said: “I am very happy Bernie changed the choreography so that she stayed still and it allowed her to have a great vocal performance, it’s not a chaka chaka, it’s a chaka chaka plus.”

Meat Loaf said: “I want you to know, you’re hot.”

Laurence said: “You more than anyone bring a new audience to opera. You’re making opera the new rock and roll.”

Katherine said: “I’m really pleased and really proud of you, you created a real performance.”

Darius duets with Rolando on The Impossible Dream and I have to see past the cheesy Elvis impersonators I always imagine when I hear this song. And see past it I did, impressive. Bernie with Katherine sing Somewhere, which I also love, goosebumps on that, so Bernie just sneaks ahead for me, she threw everything into that. Afterwards Darius said: “I just found out that ten years ago in this studio I did my first final in Pop Stars, then two years later I was in the final of Pop Idol, tonight, to be here with my family, means so much, thank you so so much.” Bernie said: “I enjoyed every single moment, I loved it.”

Then the group song, all four of them with Brindisi - loving the banter beforehand, thoroughly enjoyable, excellent performance, it must be very hard to concentrate where you are when surrounded by all those powerful voices.

My heart still lies with Bernie, but, I was out and therefore couldn't vote (watching on ITV player!) The recap shows how Rolando has really stolen the whole show! It's an incredibly close vote, so now I feel really guilty as the winner is announced: It's Darius! Sorry, Bernie! She said: “Everyone has been amazing, thank you everyone.” Darius sings us out with his solo, which I think is probably what won it for him.

A lovely show, will they do another next year? I hope so!

Friday, 12 February 2010

PopStar To OperaStar

Semi final night and Marcella's wearing a red waterfall - wardrobe have had a lot of fun on this series. Mylene's the opposite extreme in black leather mini-dress. Meanwhile, Meat Loaf is doing his now usual, now embarrassing boycott of Alan, by appearing to urinate at the back of the panel's box.

Only two going through to the final! But public vote only, no judges decision. Who's it gonna be?

Kym out first, with little Gwion from the Oliver show accompanying her for Pie Jesu. Beautiful, she does bring so much heart and warmth to it, even if the vocal isn't completely perfect, she sells it.

Afterwards Katherine Jenkins said: “I was worrying all week that it might fall flat but that is best you have sang it, well done to you. I think you are right, I don’t think you have strongest voice but you sing from the heart.”

Meat Loaf said: “It was a really tough song because it was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber about the death of his father so imagine how he must have been feeling at the time and I thought that you did really well.”

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen said: “That’s the kind of song where there’s nowhere to hide, it’s very very difficult but you got right more than you got wrong.”

Rolando said: “Overall it was a good performance.”

Darius was a naughty boy and didn't learn the aria they gave him, Fin Ch’han Dal Vino (Champagne Aria) before finally deciding he would and so not having as much practice as he should, tut tut. But you wouldn't know it - if you're a layman like me - so confident a performer is he, if maybe not as vocally spot on as it should've been. Afterwards he said: “I have to admit I can’t thank the judges enough for giving me the biggest challenge of my vocal career and when you stand up to it you learn more and whether I made it or not is up to the viewers at home.”

Rolando said: “The good news is you managed to sing all of it, with almost all the words, and you were giving a performance, you’re a very good actor, but the bad news is, not always kept operatic voice and at the end you made a little mistake but probably nobody noticed.”

Asked by Alan if he thought the performance was a success, Meat Loaf said: “He had eight women on stage with him with low cut dresses and managed to keep my attention away from them, so yes.”

Laurence said: “I think we saw the best of you last week, this week that sounded to me like badly done, hastily done, handed in late, homework.”

Marcella and another assured, fantastic vocal, interacting well with the cast, lighter than some of the other arias, this one Mein Herr Marquis (The Laughing Song) from the operetta ‘Die Fledermaus’ composed by Strauss. Afterwards she said: “I was nervous but also excited and wanted to enjoy it and I kept telling myself, ‘Enjoy it, enjoy it,’ And push through all the cr*p in my head.”

Katherine said: “It was completely different to last week and it was so nice to see you do something happy and fun and get the opportunity to act and move around the stage. I really enjoyed it and it was great to see those vocal gymnastics again.”

Meat Loaf said: “If you weren’t married I would take you home. The high notes were fantastic, if you were nervous, I didn’t know it and if some guy had their head in my breast I would knock him to the floor.”

Rolando said: “You really had fun with it, obviously the audience had fun, the high notes were great, overall much more happy then last week.”

Bernie and I'm lol-ing at the 'Look of Love' between her and Rolando. She really is just the business - vocally she's as hot as Marcella but also sings with the heart and soul of Kym, she's awesome. Honestly, it's not because of the name, really. I voted three times for her. And I'd like Kym to go through too. Afterwards the preformance of Je Veux Vivre Dans Ce Reve (Juliet’s Waltz) from the opera ‘Romeo and Juliet’ she said: “I just felt so nervous and was determined not to be nervous then when it started I felt so much love for the song I wanted to scream I was so excited.”

Rolando said: “This was a hard one, the hardest aria you had to sing, lots of high notes. The good news is it was really well performed, the bad news is I don’t have my phone or I would vote.”

Laurence said: “You never ever disappoint, every week your performance grows and grows. Whatever is thrown at you, you deliver and that was marvellous crescendo.”

Katherine said: “I can tell you’re not completely happy with that but that for you, Bernie, is eight out of 10 but for me it was the performance of the night.”

Meat Loaf said: “If you’re not in the finals, no disrespect to the other contestants, but if you’re not in the final it’s a crime.”

Vote lines are open!

Meat Loaf does Bat Out of Hell and not being a fan, I'm completely distracted trying to see if that's Tommy Blaize backing, as in, nose against the telly, but every time the camera goes near, it veers away again at the critical moment - that's Dave Arch on piano isn't it? Worst vocal of the night far as I'm concerned - Meat, not Tommy. Didn't think their voices married together at all well. Horrible.

Votes are in! First through - Bernie! Yay - longest scream ever! (Her not me!) And Darius with her! Aw, bye to Kym, really enjoyed her performances. Incredible Marcella will keep singing, Alan won't let her stop.

On hearing the news, Kym said: “I can’t wait to see my kids. I will listen to opera now but I don’t think I’ll sing it again.” Marcella said: “I’m a little bit disappointed but I’m ok.”

Final next week! Who's your favourite or are you waiting till the night?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The things they say ...

In the car, on the way home from school, Matt says:

"We're holding the funeral for the teacher's monkey on Friday."

Oh! Really - the teacher's monkey?

"Yes. It's a big chocolate one she got for Christmas and it's going to be eaten on Friday. She's going to chop the head off and pour contented milk in it ..."

I'll be honest, it took me a minute...

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Rochester Local People

If you read the Daily Scatter, you'll have seen my exciting news. Not so exciting for you, I know, but for me, I'm thrilled! I always hoped that the blogging would pay off and that someone would come along and decide I was good enough to write for them - and the lovely www.localpeople.co.uk have done just that! I'm now the Community Publisher for www.rochesterpeople.co.uk so do please come along and visit me there - if you are a local, register and join in. If you're not, you can still register and join in! You might be planning a trip to one of our many festivals or coming to Medway for some of the sporting events due here in the run up to 2012 - so visit the site and make the most of the local knowledge! Write a review of a local business or restaurant and we'll even give you a £10 M&S voucher!

It's only just gone live and I've been neglecting the blogs - but now I'm getting into the swing of it, normal service will be resumed shortly!

Friday, 5 February 2010

PopStar To OperaStar

Finally - I'm in! The blog threw me out last night and it just didn't want to know again until now! Anyway, here we go ...

Tussling tenors, bruised baritones and scrapping sopranos was how they billed it, and they weren't wrong - what a tough choice! Observation: Is Darius actually a giant or are the rest particularly small?

Bernie out first with Les Filles de Cadix - she's loving being the flirty vamp with the sexy male dancers, she can barely keep the grin off her face. Another storming performance, she's fantastic.

Referring to her stunning final note Rolando said “That C sharp was fantastic.” And Meat Loaf said “She came bursting through those doors like The Terminator. You owned that stage.”

Danny has Funiculi Funicula which I adore. LOL at the McFly guy having a go, next year, sonny, next year! And then Rolando and Katherine doing the Macarena! There's even a hokey cokey air about it - Pavarotti meets the Tiller Girls says Alan. Danny's best yet, slight wobble but great stuff, huge fun.

Katherine said “It was a really good performance. I agreed when I watched it (your performance) last week it was not good. But I kept you in because I could see the potential in you and I’m so glad I did.” Laurence said ”The worse thing you can do is take it too seriously and you turned it into a football chant. And that’s great.” “Absolutely” agreed Meat Loaf. And Rolando said “He had fun with the piece. It was yabba dabba doo!”

Kym with Nella Fantasia and they don't tell us exactly why but it's very emotional for her. Beautiful song, beautifully sung; she's got everyone sobbing now. I'm voting for everyone so far ...

Laurence said “That was terribly moving.” Katherine said “I know what you’ve been going through and you held it together and I’m so proud of you for doing that.” Meat Loaf said “I just love it when people just feel songs so much and you did and you’re making me cry and I loved it.“ Rolando said “You started flat but the emotion and the breathing but I have to say you put everything together.”

Darius' poor kid brother, how underwhelmed is he? Darius completely at home on the stage again, even makes a chair a good foil, loved the falestto bit, singing to his hand! His kid bro still not looking happy, leave him alone Darius! Cracking performance of Non Pui Andrai, but his flies are undone - the cameraman a lot more discreet than Meatloaf!

Rolando said “That’s where your voice should be singing. I appreciate you create a performance and you gave a very good performance. Really good. Congratulations.”
Meat Loaf said “3 out or 4 weeks you’ve got the character.” Katherine said “Now I know why you were looking. I really enjoyed it. When you’re singing in the right register it’s so lovely. Well done. It’s brilliant.”

Marcella sings Ave Maria, it's all about the voice, nothing but her and the harp. No tricks, just quality and simplicity - I do find the constant quivering a little off putting, I find her less watchable than the others.

Meat Loaf said “That was a really hard song but Katherine said it’s all about the note and I said no it’s about the emotion and you’d the notes and the emotion.” Katherine said “I think your worry was there weren’t the fireworks to show your voice off but you didn’t need that. You wouldn’t have been able to sing this in week one.” Laurence said “It’s a terribly minimalist piece I liked the way you did that. It was soulful and quite earthy.” And Rolando said “I have to say physically she was very quiet and she had to control her voice. It was a tremendous performance.”

Mika and Danielle (not sure we need to see her tonsils, Mr. Cameraman) perform - Popstar and Operstar, don't know the song - sounds familiar of course, but very enjoyable.

First through: Kym! Bernie! (I restricted myself to just Bernie, bearing in mind you don't actually have time to vote for any more!) Last place: Darius! I think it's bye bye Danny in that case. A shame but going on a high ... oh, but hang on, based on tonight Rolando and Laurence have gone for Danny ... 2 votes each - Katherine clearly struggling to decide and sends it back to the public. Good call, fairest way - Marcella is safe! Danny joked “I’m going to have a holiday!”

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Teena Marie - Indigo2

My favourite singer and I'd never seen her live before Saturday night! That's an outrageous admittance isn't it! Not my fault though, the last time she appeared here I was either heavily pregnant with the Hobbit, or had just had him - approximately 18 years ago. So to say I was looking forward to this was a bit of an understatement.

There was a DJ warming up and he played to the crowd - the eighties throwbacks, mainly, much like myself! He said there was an after show party till 2am; dammit, I thought, we've only paid for parking till midnight! There was a lot of grooving in the seats to In and Out, Circles, You Know How To Love Me ...we knew we'd ache next day!

The Lady Tee didn't disappoint; in fact, she was even better than I thought she could be live - amazing, her vocal is incredible, each song delivered with the sweetness and purity I fell in love with back in 1979 - and what a trip down memory lane it was, with songs from that classic '79 album, Wild and Peaceful - I'm Just A Sucker For Your Love and De Ja Vu, plus a Rick James tribute (of course!), I Need Your Lovin', Square Biz, Behind the Groove - she did Milk and Honey (her daughters joined her on stage) and You Baby off Congo Square, every uptempo song had the audience on it's feet, the ballads offering the chance to savour every note of that awesome voice. Two words: Portuguese Love.

I've never seen a star involve a band so much - and the backing singers (including her nephew) weren't just that, they had a share of the stage with Teena accompanying them - on percussion; such is her talent she frequently had guitar in hand too.

I've only one criticism - and that's not of the Lady - but some of her noisy, fidgety "fans", who I can only assume just wanted to be able to say "I was there" since they didn't shut up or keep still, they were driving me nuts! I'm pretty sure they were the same ones who didn't take their seats until she was well into her second song! They'd have been chucked out back in the day ...

It didn't detract from a blinding show - no fancy costumes or dance troupes, no flashy lighting, no pretence - just the stage with the band, the singers and the Lady herself in complete harmony. In the last few months we've seen 'Mimegate' a number of times in relation to so-called stars: Teena Marie puts them to shame. She's coming back in the summer; I'll keep you posted. To see more rave reviews, log in to Facebook if you can and join the group 'Get Teena Marie in London' or just follow the links from each of those Youtube clips (in all honesty, the quality of the uploads from the Indigo2 don't do her justice) and hear more - enjoy!

PS - must say a big THANK YOU to the lovely man who gave me change for the car park and thus helped me avoid a tutting queue!