Let It Shine begins with a brand new song from Gary Barlow, pretending to have taken off his kit while singing about power showers. It’s like a bad musical that gets cancelled in the first week. I do hope we don’t have to suffer opening this every week. I would rather hit all my fingers with a hammer, over and over again, for the near-five minutes it lasts.
Also getting involved in this is Graham Norton, trying to earn his bloated BBC salary, plus Mel Giedroyc – now joining the unemployment queue after quitting The Great British Bake Off once Channel 4 bought the rights.
The prize is a real job in a real musical, based on the audio mumblings of Take That. So it’s another talent show to get someone on the stage, like those Andrew Lloyd Webber reality shows we had to suffer this time each week around ten years ago, trying to find a Joseph and a Maria. I thought the BBC weren’t allowed to give undue prominence to a product?
Sitting on the judging panel alongside his nibs, with nothing better to do for several weeks, are ex-Spandau Ballet face Martin Kemp, Amber Riley (who?) and X-Factor cast-off Dannii Minogue. Once they’re introduced, Mel harps, “Manchester, get your kindling ready…” Is that so we can burn Mr Barlow at the stake? I would pay double the licence fee for that.
First up was Clinton Elvis – President meets President’s friend – and because he was edited in first, that means, he’ll be a star performer. The judges loved him more than his own mother. Was he going through to the next stage? Even without trying to understand the complicated let’s-pretend-this-isn’t-the-X-Factor star system, you knew the answer. His outfit reminded Barlow of “my outfit from Relight My Fire”. Well, this is a show full of old tat.
Deaglan, with a Northern Irish accent so harsh it could strip paint off a wall at 50 paces, then turned in a reasonable deep-voiced New York New York. Gary Barlow loved Declan’s personality. Maybe he could borrow it for the rest of the series?
Jamie “follows in the footsteps of his father and grandfather”… by aging? And his mother finds him funny, whilst he “also thinks of other people”. Like 99% of the people on this planet. Unfortunately, for this trainee fireman, his audition went down as well as a burning orphanage.
Jazzy trotted out my most hated song of 2016 – Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk (or any song where a singer pretends to swear)
Tyler is a Gary Barlow Superfan. I do hope he’s like Alan Partridge's Superfan .
Final contestant Jason is currently starring in stage show Thriller Live, with eight performances a week. Will they pick him? Duh! Jason’s voice “moved everyone in this room”, said Gary. Well, Gary’s voice moved him… to a bigger house!
And in saying he has the charisma to keep an audience on the edge of their seat, Gary Barlow has the most monotonous voice I’ve ever heard. How come he doesn’t put himself into a coma?
As always with these sorts of shows, the mid-section eschews giving everyone 5-10 minutes of screen time in favour of a brief moment in a compilation.
Elsewhere, there’s a group of old women on a bus who don’t know all the words to “I do like to be beside the seaside”, so replace them with a lot of “la-la-las”, but they’re the only ladies singing on this male-dominated show.
The set needs a serious redesign. With 15 stars inbetween the judges and the contestants, it’s like someone’s judging you from the back of the theatre. Given that they’re all in their 40s or 50s, they’ll need to sit closer so they can see what’s going on!
For those unaware, a few short years ago, Gary Barlow – the man who tells you to give all your money to Children In Need – tried to squirrel away £25m from the taxman, with a little help from his bandmates. In fact, the other two were also on hand to meet those progressing through… and introduce them to their accountant. Then again, they had to pay the majority of it back.
At 85 minutes, it’s around the same length as ITV’s acquisition from the Beeb, The Voice, a talent show that never brought as a No.1 hit single – its very first contestant floppng at No.41 – and which no-one cared about other than BBC’s Speaker Of Waffle And Doer Of Little, Danny Cohen. Hence, I was surprised ITV bothered to step in, and even when they did, I assumed it would replace their floundering X-Factor which hasn’t spawned a Christmas No.1 single since 2014.
Let It Shine premieres on the same evening as The Voice and BBC1’s new drama, Taboo. Neither of the latter were available for review prior to transmission. That usually means they both stink. Yet, Let It Shine stank big-time, so that can only show how much worse the others are.
At the end, there’s a “Next Week…” section. Yes, the pain continues.
Here’s hoping 2018 brings us Let It Shining, where contestants line up to take possession of Gary Barlow’s soul and chase him round the hotel with an axe.
Overall: Let It Shine? Let It Close Within A Week.
Let it Shine continues next Saturday at 7pm and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer until February 6th.
Director: Simon Staffurth
Series Producers: Iain Peckham, Francesca Palmer and Oli Tridgell
Producer/Directors: Ricky Mason, Ben Cannon, Dimitri Nicomanis and Alex Oldham
Additional Producers: Keira Burgess, Clare Little, Pete Nichols, Ben Skilbeck and Lauren Tee
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.