Sunday, 28 March 2010

McLaren Watch

Victory for Jenson Button at the Australian Grand Prix! After slipping from fourth in a rain hit start, he gambled with an early tyre change to slicks and it paid off! Way to go, JB! Lewis Hamilton had another, er, memorable Aussie weekend and would have possibly made the podium too if not for a pit stop he was unhappy about, not seeing the need. Being hit up the backside by Webber didn't help his cause either, but he still managed a points finish, coming home in 6th.

The result puts McLaren 2nd in the Constructors Championship, with Jenson in 3rd on 31 points in the driver standings, and Lewis in 4th on 23.

Over The Rainbow: Whittling Down to Ten

Graham makes his entrance to Follow the Yellow Brick Road – he’s a good choice for these shows, genuine enthusiasm with a healthy dose of ireverence – the final twenty are wearing gingham smocks - “not a tablecloth left in the country” he quips!

Andrew sets out who he’s looking for; it seems the older girls will have to really shine to stand a chance. The girls are split into five groups of four, first group: Stephanie, Camille, Jess and Sophie singing Never Forget You, a terrific start, setting the standard, Sophie got stronger, Jess stood out for me with Camille the weakest vocally, Stephanie solid; Sheila loved them all, John says Stephanie and Sophie, Charlotte agrees with John, Sir Andrew says any of them would have made the Maria Top 10.

Group 2 - Dani, Philippa, Sarah and Tasheka next with Love story and collectively it’s a terrific performance, Philippa possibly just sneaking it for me. Sarah thanks whoever put them together, it was a great team performance. John loved Dani, Philippa needs to loosen up; Charlotte agrees with John, Sheila thought Tasheka – Sarah, the weakest vocally, making an impression.

Group 3 - Emma, Tegan, Jenny and Steph with my current fave Cry Me Out and my fave group so far, brilliant, if I was forced to choose, probably Steph. Charlotte – they were all superb, Steph faultless; Sheila has a problem with pop music but thought Steph and Jenny; Jenny blew John away; Andrew says two he’d slightly written off came through!

Group 4 – Lauren, Claire Harbourne, Katie, Bronte with Rain on Your Parade and again these are all so good, really they put the X-factor final 12’s to shame, another strong combination, power and precision vocals. Sheila convinced by them all, particularly Bronte and Lauren; Charlotte says it’s a complete performance by all, singles out Claire and Bronte; John says they could give Girls Aloud a run for their money; Andrews says at least could be Top 5.

Group 5 – Claire Hillier, Danielle, Amy, Emilie have Take a Bow, nerves get to Emilie, a bit shaky, Danielle totally stood out for me, strong vocal from Amy. John commended Danielle, singing on the break; Claire surprised Sheila; Charlotte loved Claire’s voice; Andrew says the need to think of the words more.

Back to the start – this time with West End leading ladies mentoring. Ruthie Henshall has Group One with All that Jazz and they’re all very impressive – sticking my neck out as to who I think could be Dorothy, I’d go for Jess and Sophie.

Mel C with group 2 and Tell Me It’s Not True from Blood Brothers, strong vocals again, but taking into account an overall Dorothy, I’m not so sure about any of them. Sheila liked Tasheka; John said Philippa; Charlotte says Tasheka and Dani. Andrew says it’s very interesting and likes Dani.

Group 3 with Kerry Ellis have Somebody to Love and they really rock it out, Steph (again, she’s consistent!) and Jenny could be Dorothy for me. Andrew very proud of them singing ‘love’ and not ‘lurve’ and surprised by Jenny. John said Jenny is bringing it home; Charlotte – Jenny, effortless, also Tegan; Sheila says Jenny has wit, and Steph, Tegan surpised her.

Sheridan Smith with Group 4 with Legally Blonde and I can see all four of these making it through. Fantastic. Bronte really making her mark, visually she’s quirky, Lauren has the most beautiful voice. Charlotte says Lauren, so too Sheila, along with Bronte, John says Lauren a little too safe; Andrew a little underwhelmed – because they’re all so good they were expecting more. Considering I don’t know the song, I loved it.

Group 5 with Tamzin Outhwaite and If My Friends Could See Me Now and Tamzin says the perfect Dorothy is in this group! Again it’s Danielle for me, and I do like Emilie too. Sheila - all terrific, but Emilie is the only own who could play Dorothy, John loved Amy, Charlotte – Amy pretty slick, Andrew surprised by Emilie.

The panel set off to deliberate, they must have a good idea of who they want because they don't have long. Jodie Prenger performs As Long As He Needs Me for the final time (a little bit manically, if I’m honest!) Mad about dogs, she’s involved in the search for Toto.

The result is in! 5 were agreed on immediately, the other 5 caused arguments! The Top Ten are: From Group 1: Jessica, Stephanie and Sophie; Group 2: Dani; Group 3: Steph and Jenny; Group 4: Bronte, Lauren and finally from Group 5: Amy and Danielle (Amy completely shocked)

The wild cards: Camille, Tasheka, Philippa, Sarah, Tegan, Emma, Katie, Claire Harbourne, Emilie and Claire Hillier. It was between Katie, Tegan, Claire Harborne and Tasheka for my vote, which went to Claire Harbourne. The wildcard will be announced in next week’s live show.

For the biographies and all the info on the show, including clips, check out the
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Friday, 26 March 2010

Over the Rainbow: TheSearch for Dorothy Begins!

David Grindrod has the task of sifting through the auditionees and sending 110 to the Hackney Empire. Lauren makes a good impression, Olivia not so much; the Welsh Drew Barrymore lookalike does well. The Irish sisters are split up. Well done Jessica, so expressive. Jodie Prenger gets them all in the mood with a sing song.

David is joined at Hackney by Sheila Hancock and John Partridge to whittle them down to the fifty who go to Dorothy Farm. Graham is backstage with the girls, first one out, Katie from Ireland, makes it straight through. Two forget their words, one cracks, one too soulful from what I heard. Danielle is good, she's seriously good. The wide eyed wonder at the Big New World of Theatre. Of course she could be Dorothy. She's brilliant. John said so. They're flooding through now, even the nutter. The Welsh Drew look-a-like does a very different Just Dance. The Liverpool cousins are funny; the dark haired one the better chance.

At Dorothy Farm, four more join the fifty, soon to become 20 after three intense days of acting, singing and dancing. They're split into small groups for the final audition, some practice into the nights, others believe a decent night's sleep is more important.

The panel arrive, John wants all round strength; he's so sweet to the girl who can't dance. Sheila splits them into pairs playing Dorothy and the Lion, looking for character. Charlotte seeks vocal inventiveness and originality.

The final performance is upon them! It's funny, but even with this limited air time there are some I've already warmed to more than others. A platoon of Dorothys, Graham calls them, as they all line up in the barn singing Over The Rainbow; Charlotte has the job of the shoulder tap to tell them they didn't make it. The final 20 left standing, for an audience with the Lord and the studio audition tomorrow, 6.30pm. It'll be brought down to 10 - then we get to choose the 11th Dorothy!

Saturday, 20 March 2010


At the World Indoor Athletics Championships, Jessica Ennis won pentathlon Gold, Dwain Chambers the Men's 60m Gold, while Jenny Meadows grabbed 800m silver in another new British record, after beating Kelly Holmes' time in February, and the Men's 4x400m scooped the bronze.

British boxers won seven medals at the Commonwealth Boxing Championships in Delhi, with Iain Weaver, Scott Cardle and Simon Valilly taking Gold, Frank Buglioni a Silver, with Daniel Phillips, Callum Smith and Frazer Clarke all winning Bronze.

In Sailing, British match racers, Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ally Martin have toppled French skipper Claire Leroy from the World number one sport (she'd held it for four years!) following a silver in the Miami World Cup meet.

Squash World number two, Nick Matthew beat Egypt's world number one, Ramy Ashour, to win the North American Open.

Britain has another new swimming star in Jazmin Carlin beats Rebecca Adlington and Jo Jackson as Britain beat Germany 207 to 109 points. And our synchronised swimmers won silver at the German Open.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

McLaren Watch

I know, I'm probably putting the mockers on them, but there you go - a British team, with British drivers, it's my duty to watch, even if it does mean the results will be shocking, except for the odd race I'm bound to miss, in which case it'll be a 1-2. I'll let you know in advance so you can place your bets ...

Race One, Bahrain - it's a steady, unexciting start but without any breakdowns, which is always good. Jenson gave the impression that his seventh placed finish (6pts) could have been maybe a little better and that he possibly preserved his tyres in the first stint a little too much. Lewis made 3rd for the podium (15 pts) and with a change in the points and another nineteen races to go, it's all to play for. We'll hope the excitement builds ... if I'm honest, most exciting thing today was meeting Massa's cute English mechanic. Very nice.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Eurovision: Your Country Needs You

Graham Norton hosts, to find the performer for the Pete Waterman/Mike Stock song 'That Sounds Good To Me'. Check their resume! Jade Ewen and Bruno on the panel, Bruno's past comes back to haunt him!

Karen first, she can't project her voice enough, lacking charisma but on the playback at the end, she sounds stronger than some of the others!

Alexis, a Kent lad, nice looking *crosses fingers* Never Gonna Give You Up, he needed a cheek microphone, he keeps forgetting to keep the hand held one close - but great other than that. Good interpretation.

Uni5 have a Banarama song that I don't remember, a bit underwhelmed so far, to be honest. Pete also unimpressed.

Esma and This Time I Know It's For Real, I love this song, please don't murder it. Bit ungainly, gave it her all, needs polishing, couple of wobbles, on balance, losing stamina by the end ... Jade must have wax in her ears.

Josh from Basildon has a Jason Donovan special and it's easily the best vocal so far, by a mile and he can perform too, likeable, confident performer. Yeah.

Ooh - Miss Fitz, the return of Gemma, cool. A guaranteed vocal, yes? A Steps song, out of their comfort zone? These are the girls that gave us a swing version on Britney's Toxic. Better The Devil You Know - quite prophetic really, shouldn't have messed with the vocal arrangement, it didn't do them justice. Disappointing.

All of them for an Abba medley, bit messy, I'm thinking the two boys, Alexis and Josh and A.N. Other. They're bringing the professionals in to write and produce, I'm thinking it's time for professional performer too.

Pete's choices: Esma! Alexis! Josh!

Graham tries to keep a straight face when assessing the competition.

The Song itself, Alexis out first, it's a grower, I think, bit like all SAW's were. His voice a bit in and out again, he's working very hard.

Esma forgets the words, vocal uninspiring, needs time to mature.

Josh again with the best vocal, very laid back, needs a bit of oomph in the performance but they can work on that.

On the recap, Alexis has the charisma, Josh the vocal. Hm, maybe they should have just brought back Rick Astley.

Alexis could nick this for his comments. The Sugababes live, showing why most pop stars mime, no, they were ok really. I see the appeal of the Norwegian bloke, happy shiny fella, very charismatic.

Results: Esma third, not a surprise - Josh takes it, sings again, mum is beside herself. I'm assuming that's his mum and not an older woman stalker.

Friday, 5 March 2010

The things they say ...

A couple of weeks ago, Matt complained that his Friday fish school dinner, whilst very nice, didn't have enough chips. After special coaching from dad, he proudly announced that he followed the advice and told the dinner lady:

"Come on, don't be shy, load some more on."


"Please may I have some more?"

"Erm ..."

"Can I have some more?"


"O.M.G, don't worry about it. Hopefully I'll get me pudding a bit quicker ..."

He reckons even the Head Teacher was laughing, luckily.