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The Big Reunion - brilliant, explosive and entertaining

Couch Potato

Couch Potato

EMOTIONAL scenes at the Hammersmith Apollo as Michael Jackson’s nephews 3T take to the stage.

Fighting back tears, Taj (that’s one of them, by the way) announces: “Our last song is very special to us. It’s a song we sang with someone that can never be replaced.”

Yet I never knew they’d ever even performed with Louise Redknapp, formerly of Eternal and among many missing parties at ITV2’s The Big Reunion concert finale.

In fact half of the “six immortal pop entities” (has-beens) from the 90s and Noughties who’ve been reunited for ITV2’s second series were a member down.

And to that I say, so what?

It’s been every bit as brilliant, explosive and entertaining as the first run.

Granted, the line-up – 3T, A1, Damage, Eternal, Girl Thing and “mighty pop pentagon” 5th Story (Gareth Gates, Dane Bowers, Adam Rickitt, Kavana and Kenzie) manufactured in an inspired move by the producers – may not have carried quite the gravitas or star billing as the class of 2013.

It also wasn’t a reunion at all for A1 who re-formed in 2009.

But the beauty of this show is that the fame of the personnel is almost irrelevant.

It’s all about the decade-long animosities, personal demons, unhealed rifts, open wounds, brushes with death, shattered dreams, crash landings, vicious spats and, most importantly, welding the lot, the lingering will-they, won’t-they question of reconciliation.

Some do (Girl Thing, Eternal post-Redknapp), some don’t (Damage outcast Coree Richards, this series’ Jason “J” Brown from 5ive).

At least he gave it a shot, though, and confronted the other band members in the same room, unlike J, in one of the most awkward, tense and ultimately futile showdowns you’ll outside of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

It all built to Thursday night’s gig in front of the likes of Vanessa Feltz, Towie’s Arg, Mark Wright, Kimberley Walsh, a man in a Batman costume and a gaggle of teenyboppers whose puppy fat has become actual fat since they bought Another Level’s cassette singles.

Narrator Andi Peters said: “It’s the moment the bands, the fans and dodgy T-shirt vendors with 12-year-old piles of unsold Girl Thing stock have all been waiting for.”

A nice line, but his script has been the most frustrating aspect of the series.

It shifts without warning from puerile (“Dane’s problematic larynx might be plaguing 5th Story’s big night but the other bands are right on ‘trachea’,”) to sublime, like Peters describing Kavana turning up drunk to the soundcheck and having an almighty diva strop: “These are not the musings of a sober pop minstrel. Kav is sloshed.”

And you can’t knock them for trying: “Six pop ensembles focus on the ice cream of redemption as they attempt to smash the misery-drenched meringue layer of psychosomatic baked Alaska.”

As the old Chinese proverb goes.

But only the singers themselves can truly sum up The Big Reunion.

Take it away Andrez from Damage, reminiscing outside the Apollo: “We played here with Michael Jackson and Aaliyah.”

Bandmate Jade: “Now we’re here with A1, 5th Story and Girl Thing.”

Rock ‘n’ roll, kids.

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This week’s TV Question of the Week award goes to...

The Voice berk will.i.am: “Whose idea was the choreography?”

Georgia: “The choreographer.”

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Over to Kate Humble and Adam Henson on Tuesday night: “It’s March. We’re in a giant shed full of sheep. And we’re bound to be upstaged by cute little lambs.

“All of which can mean just one thing...”

It’s time to avoid BBC2 for four nights during “the drama of Lambing Live”, which testicle-obsessed Humble said came “at the most exciting time of the sheep farming calendar”.

A hotly contested title.

Drily witty host farmer Susie Dykes won me over saying: “Telly’s rubbish around here,” to Humble’s face.

And Henson informed us: “When it comes to lambing, we’ve got to make ewes pregnant.”

Rather you than me, Adam.

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This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Catchphrase’s studio audience turning on the contestants for being clueless.

Lionel Messi in Sky Sports’ epic Real Madrid 3, Barcelona 4 El Clasico.

The Big Reunion gig’s one decent singer, US gospel legend Bebe Winans.

The Chase’s Bradley Walsh cracking up asking a question about: “The giant cock on the Fourth Plinth of Trafalgar Square.”

The heroic bagpipers and drummers of Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band marching outside The Sport Relief Games Show studio drowning out foghorn Alex Jones.

Nick Cotton’s arm popping out of his coffin from EastEnder Ian Beale’s accidentally hilarious comedy pratfall.

And Daybreak’s Brian McFadden on the Muppets Most Wanted premiere: “It’s amazing that a piece of cloth with someone’s hand made me star-struck.” Aled Jones: “Don’t say that. It’s a real frog.” “I was talking about Ricky (Gervais).”

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No escaping will.i.am on BBC1. Joanna Lumley was hounding him in California on Friday night just days after he popped up on a cinema screen to tell The Voice hopeful Iesher and friends: “Enjoy your film. Turn off your phones.”

Rich, coming from a bloke who can’t get his nose out of his iPad on a series whose live shows lack even more sense of occasion than Fame Academy.

He defined the level of talent on display with his feedback for Christina Marie: “For a person throwing up you sounded amazing.”

And a contestant’s dad, Blackpool B&B owner Marc, said: “We’ll miss Emily a lot around the hotel at Easter because we’re going to be really busy.”

Get the pinny out, Marc. Your girl’s coming home.

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This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

Corrie’s Gail Platt failing to confront her burglar with: “Bloody hell! It’s Les Dennis!”

Match of the Day allowing Russell Brand anywhere near the pundits’ sofa, even for charity.

Louis Theroux’s LA Stories succumbing to the bewildering fad for dog telly.

BBC2 spin-off Louder On Two host Zoe Ball failing to ask Kylie a single question about quitting The Voice.

And EastEnders’ Sharon attempting sultry to persuade Phil Mitchell to attend Nasty Nick’s funeral: “I’ll be wearing black today. Black dress. Black stockings. Do you want me to go on?” Not if you value my breakfast staying down you don’t.

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Ben Cohen feeds his children McDonald’s when his wife’s away.

Denise Lewis hates her husband. And Razor Ruddock gets most annoyed “when Mummy’s drunk”, according to their kids on the divorce-material-packed Big Star’s Little Star which returned with Cohen trying to guess what twin daughters Harriette and Isabelle were describing...

“It goes round and round. You might find this in terraced houses or police stations.”

Kerry Katona?

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The Michael McIntyre Chat Show host tried on guest Tinie Tempah’s fake glasses, making him look like Where’s Wally?

To which there is one answer.

He’s at BBC1, 10.35pm, Monday nights.

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BBC4’s How To Get Ahead At Versailles.

Use a guillotine?

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The Voice’s Team Kylie final three Lee, Rachael and Jamie hailing their coach...

“She’s beautiful.”

“She’s unbelievably talented.”

“She’s got an aura about her.”

“She’s the queen of pop.”

“She’s...”

Leaving at the end of the series.

 

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