COUCH POTATO: The Singer Takes It All is out of tune with viewers

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We’re all still finding our feet in this brave new world of social media.

But there’s one lesson that really should have been learned by now.

If you’re going to hang a TV programme wholly on an app, make sure the ruddy thing works.

Yes, I’m looking at you, Channel 4.

Specifically a flaccid cod-slap of a new game show called The Singer Takes It All, whose title has had me cartwheeling with glee for weeks even before I knew what it involved, “where you at home are the judge and jury”.

Not executioner, though. There’s no need. This baby’s busy building its own gallows and noose.

It’s televised karaoke on an airport travelator, with contestants moved forward to the “gold zone” or backwards towards the exit doors (think Andi Peters’ Ejector Seat: The Musical, minus the inconvenience of chairs) at the whim of the voting public.

At least they would have, had the show’s app not gone kaput for the first two singers of the series.

So Alan Carr, given hosting duties presumably on account of his legendary musical aficionado status, suffered the humiliation of announcing, twice, that the emergency back-up panel had to do the honours.

A fully functioning app would have made little difference to the unfolding calamity, however.

It’s the wrong show in the wrong timeslot with the wrong presenter on the wrong set (C4’s mothballed Big Brother entrance and walkway, unless I’m much mistaken).

Aside from that, well, no, it’s still abysmal.

They’ve made the same mistake as The Voice in recruiting an army of exceedingly average singers and ditching the promising wacky acts.

That’s just it, though. The entertainment – the fruitcase no-hopers – were there on a plate for C4, on a reel of failed auditionees singing at home into their phones.

So all we got of a middle-aged white bloke with thick black-rimmed specs giving Tina Turner’s Simply The Best the Vic-Reeves-through-an-airhorn treatment was five seconds when he could have been the star turn.

What remains is all the razzamatazz of a tube station busker having to grab on to a pole (mic stand) as the train pulls off.

There’s a dubious scoring system too that rewards the singer who stays longest in the gold zone, with episode one’s winner entering it seven seconds before the runner-up despite both being moved forward uninterrupted by the voters.

The musical critique is something to behold, with Carr getting so little help from guests Rob Beckett, who “wanted to see some good singing”, and Pixie Lott that he found himself telling a bloke named Artit (really): “It sounded just like the song, didn’t it?”

Carr’s only other aid is “Lips”, the glittery gob of Brenda Edwards who finished fourth on X Factor in 2005 sandwiched between pop giants Chico and Journey South, having been pipped in the Overs category by Andy the bin man.

Fatally for The Singer Takes It All, the series opener’s runaway winner had already been voted top of the week’s “app charts” by getting the most hits of all the hopefuls in the preceding days, so they can dispense with the entire show altogether and have it done and dusted beforehand.

In fact from now on I’ll be taking Alan Carr on face value: “This is the show where you control everything that happens from the comfort of your sofa.”

Right you are. Click!


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates go to...

Operation Wild perpetuating TV’s delusion that Clare Balding is the balls-and-all London 2012 legacy.

Who Do They Think They Are: 10 Years, 100 Shows giving too much time (any) to Boris Johnson while all but airbrushing the finest episode, Kim Cattrall’s kids-abandoning bigamist grandad.

ITV’s cynically timed WDYTYA rip-off Secrets From The Clink.

The mentally scarring sight of All-Star Mr & Mrs’s Matthew Wright in a strawberry-motif onesie.

And C5 marking World War I’s centenary lights-out, from 10pm to 11pm on Monday, by making Big Brother’s housemates shriek and leap around like demented baboons in the animal task. It’s what the fallen would have wanted.


All my petitions and tireless lobbying must have worked.

BBC3 has brought back Sexy Beasts, “the dating show that relies on personality alone” behind prosthetic monster disguises.

Unfortunate for Matt whose charmless repartee was rewarded on the big reveal as his chosen girl exclaimed in horror: “Oh my God, you look like Frankie Cocozza,” and didn’t show on their date.

It’s lovingly produced (The Thing theme played as Matt deliberated) and nothing short of hilarious...

Matt: “Crude, rude and dirty minded...”

Narrator: “... is coming up next on BBC3.”

Matt: “... is definitely what I am.”



BBC1’s Tumble.

The ratings will, anyway.


Vital matters to tackle at EastEnders.

Not Lucy’s murder, Jean in full-blown bipolar mode, Mick’s wrongful kerb-crawling conviction or even the size of the crowd at his charity swim outnumbering the Commonwealth Games 400m individual medley.

No, Ian Beale’s caff rota.

It’s like something from Hogwarts, that thing. It’s got a mind of its own.

The place should have been shut on Thursday with no one down to work, only for Liam to magically offer his services from bleedin’ nowhere three days earlier and find himself manning it single-handed.

If that doesn’t deserve a duff-duff, I don’t know what does.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes go to...

BBC3’s best ever show Our World War. (Seriously, iPlayer it. Fantastic drama.)

Julie Walters falling in love with a hitherto unknown great-grandfather on the evergreen Who Do You Think You Are?

Royal Marines Commando School’s superb storytelling.

Ken Barlow’s first line on Corrie’s vast new set: “This place never changes.”

Dragons’ Den’s lift doors trapping an estate agent by his for-sale sign.

Walford’s midwives failing to put Kat Slater, and our ears, out of her misery by giving gas and air.

And Big Brother feisty chops Helen talking sense for the first time reading out a viewer’s tweet: “Helen on BB is everything that is wrong with humanity.” Amen to that.


Horrific scenes on new channel truTV’s Killer Karaoke where contestants are gunged, pummelled, given electric shocks and place their heads inside snake and spider-filled boxes.

They had to sing a Cher Lloyd song.

As I say, horrific scenes.


The 21st Question host Gethin Jones: “What did Joey Essex reveal he could not do on I’m A Celebrity?”

Make good TV?


Whatever’s this? Yet another man-despising drama about a bunch of strong, forthright women and their pathetic/utter b*****d male partners?

From BBC1 (the Bloke Battering Corporation), the same channel that gave us man-despising dramas Mistresses and Candy Cabs?

You do surprise me.

But if we do have to play up to type, then so be it.

In The Club?

Nah. Down the pub.


This week’s News-Ticker Typo award goes to...

Good Morning Britain: “Baroness Warsi warns another minister is threatening to resign over government police on Gaza.” And a third one over government policy too.


The high-octane latest from Big Brother.

Marcus Bentley: “Day 61, 9.31pm. Mark’s feeling thirsty.”

More on this as it comes in.