OUR Sunday web columnist takes a wry look at the week’s TV:
For all those wondering how a Frankenstein creature genetically engineered from the remnants of Liberace, Fred West, Paulie Walnuts, from The Sopranos, and the voice box of Ivor the Engine might appear, wonder no more.
Add in the wild-eyed gurns of Timmy Mallett and you have Bobby Davro’s Tom Jones manifestation on ITV’s latest Saturday night calamity.
It’s the nonsensically named Your Face Sounds Familiar, a six-week professional suicide note by all involved which has got off to a runaway train-wreck of a start with a dozen karaoke bar-clearing performances by: “Your favourite celebrities.”
If, that is, your favourite celebrities happen to be Denise Lewis, Davro, Natalie Anderson “who you might know from Emmerdale” (anyone?), dead EastEnder Cheryl Fergison, This Morning’s Matt Johnson and Alexander Armstrong, who’s gone from TV show Pointless to pointless TV show.
Each is transformed, via the miracle of prosthetics and the impossible task of a vocal coach, into a pop star chosen by a machine activated with the push of a collapsible bollard and a Paddy McGuinness catchphrase...
“Release the Randomiser!”
Release the lions. Release the nerve gas.
What they’ve actually released, never to be seen again, is all the good bits from Stars In Their Eyes and replaced Matthew Kelly with over-promoted Alesha Dixon and McGuinness, who should stick to Take Me Out.
This pair has even less on-screen chemistry than judges Julian Clary, who is: “Not difficult to please,” so is in the right place, and useless parrot Emma Bunton who announced: “I’ve seen make-up arriving, special effects, boob tape, everything. I don’t know what’s going to come out the other end.”
I do, Emma. It’s what usually comes out the other end, en route to the sewage plant.
Like Splash!, however, there’s a grim fascination on my part to see whether Your Face Sounds Familiar can sink any lower than what’s already transpired.
ITV can try, yet again, to hide behind the shield of “charity” to get away with making any old rubbish (two-and-a-half whole pence from each 50p phone vote goes to one of the worthy causes).
But once you’ve seen Matt Johnson as Taylor Swift, it cannot be unseen.
Same goes for Denise Lewis’s spot-on impression of Serena Williams chewing wasps (Tina Turner, apparently), Cilla Black assessing heptathlete Denise Lewis’s Lenny Kravitz, and Alexander Armstrong’s Johnny Rotten and Johnny Cash, which more closely resembled Paul Whitehouse in the Aviva adverts.
Yet one of the bunch is taking it all far too seriously – Cheryl Fergison, who’s long harboured ambitions for a music career and, bless, seems convinced this is her moment.
Sadly, her Dusty Springfield was the reincarnation of Bride of Chucky after a chocolate-only diet since her last film outing in 2004, and I’m longing for a stage invasion by Ben Mitchell wielding a photo frame.
She’ll be back every week, though. They all will.
Because here’s the crunch. At least BBC1’s tiresome Let’s Dance For Comic/Sport Relief has a competition element and a final.
Your Face Sounds Familiar has the nose-diving formula of the same six celebs back week after week.
It’s a fact that had me answering Matt Johnson when he tried out his Welsh and said: “Where’s the toilet?”
You’ll find it at ITV, Matt, 7.30pm, Saturday nights until August.
Bolt behind the door behind you.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...
Andy Murray’s five-set, Six O’Clock News-shunting Wimbledon heroics.
Nile Rodgers showing kids how you do proper music, on BBC4’s Glastonbury.
Rod Stewart showing celebs how you do The One Show.
ITV4’s irreplaceable Tour de France pair Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.
Dara O’Briain’s The Apprentice: You’re Fired theory that Jordan Poulton’s secret business partner will be a glove puppet of himself.
And Phillip Schofield shooting down rent-a-gob Katie Hopkins’ latest gibberish on This Morning’s sofa, this time about not letting her kids befriend youngsters with “lower-class” names, as she declared: “I don’t like footballers’ names, names after seasons of the year, geographical location names like Brooklyn or London...”
Schofe: “Your child’s called India.”
Goodness gracious me.
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...
That Co-op advert mistaking summer for Christmas (the most wonderful time of the year my arse).
Melanie Sykes’ panic-stricken rabbit-in-the-headlights routine every time Gino D’Acampo goes slightly off script, on ITV’s Let’s Do Lunch With Gino and Mel.
Jenny Eclair still trading on her Perrier award for comedy, in 1995, on Tipping Point: Lucky Stars.
Michael Bublé’s Day Off failing to be a permanent vacation.
And BBC1’s continuity man claiming the admittedly scary Luther is “original drama” when it smacks of A Nightmare on Elm Street (baddie hiding under the bed), Black Christmas (baddie hiding in the loft), Scream (baddie hiding on the patio) and Halloween (female victim hiding in the closet).
There’s no hiding it.
Good news, bad news on ITV’s Michael Bublé’s Day Off.
“Tonight I’m going to my high school reunion,” the crooner from Vancouver informed us. “The best part is you’re coming with me.”
That’s the best part? I dread to think what the worst part is...
“Of course there’s going to be some songs too.”
Had to ask, didn’t I?
Back now to Somerset where BBC3’s grinning simpleton Gemma Cairney spent three days giving a rich and varied music critique of the Glastonbury acts.
“Haim were amazing.”
“Laura Mvula was amazing.”
“Solange, she’s just amazing.”
Miles Kane? “That guy looked amazing.”
Primal Scream? “Amazing.”
Dizzee Rascal? “Amaaaaaaazing.”
Saturday night’s line-up? “It’s going to be amazing.”
Arctic explorer Ann Daniels’ polar experiences? “Amazing.”
Lianne La Havas’s wardrobe malfunction? “Absolutely amazing.”
Your own thigh-slapping to an acoustic song? “Amazing.”
Bastille? “They’re epic.”
Whoa. You used a different word?
Sky News’ Dharshini David, with a contender for the year’s most crowbarred TV link, going from the story about a Sainsbury’s till operator who refused to serve a woman talking on her mobile to a stock market update...
“There could be trouble in the Eurozone and, I suppose, there are plenty of phone calls going on there because the European Commission has urged Portugal to clarify its political situation...”
Not the best call ever.
Michael Buble, still bleating on during his ITV Day Off: “The first time I went to Manchester I got off my tour bus at 3am.
“We were freezing our asses off and saw these girls walking down with nothing on, with little skirts up to their toochies and I thought, ‘Are we in Manchester or heaven?’”
Manchester, Michael. Believe me, Manchester.
Lorraine Kelly invited Daybreak viewers to tell her which film character the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards reminded her of on Monday’s front pages after Glastonbury.
“Zelda, from Terrahawks, seems to be the one you’re all saying.”
An outrageous slur on a British rock icon.
He’s more like Sloth, from The Goonies.
Gok Wan, before giving mum of four Julie a makeover, on C4 gush-fest Gok Live: Stripping For Summer: “You look amazing. You look incredible. You look beautiful. You look wonderful. You look sensational. You have great skin. You have great eyes. You’ve great legs. You’ve the most incredible cheekbones...”
You just tell women exactly what they want to hear, don’t you, Gok?
This week’s Naffest Name Dropping by a BBC Presenter award goes to...
Wimbledon Today’s John Inverdale: “This is an appalling bit of name dropping but I ended up watching this match with Nick Grimshaw.”
You’re right, John. Appalling.
Next time go for someone famous.