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Popstar to Operastar

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5 Reviews

Broadcaster: ITV / Reality TV show following the transformation of a pop star into an opera star.

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    5 Reviews
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      22.02.2010 08:44
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      Enjoyed this show

      Popstar to Opera star was a new celebrity talent show which was on ITV1 on Fridays. Last week was the final and I must say I have really enjoyed watching this show and hope they do it again next year.

      Being a bit older now I find I enjoy listening to classical singing much more than I used to do although I have never been to an opera and dont know if I would like sitting through a whole show but I do enjoy the songs and music from them.

      When I first heard about this show coming on I was a bit wary and thought it wouldnt be very good but decided to give it a go as I like Katherine Jenkins and I also like Darius who was in Popstars and in Pop Idol.

      There were eight celebrities who entered into the competition, Alex James who used to be in Blur, Bernie Nolan of the Nolan sisters and also used to be in the Bill. Kym Marsh who was in Popstars and was in Hearsay due to this. She is now a regular in Coronation Street. Danny Jones who is the singer with McFly. Darius Campbell who was on both Popstars and Pop Idol and who worked in musicals on the stage in the West End. Marcella Detroit who used to be in Shakespears Sister. Jimmy Osmond the youngest of the Osmond Brothers, and Vanessa White who is in the group Saturdays.

      The mentors for the programme were Katherine Jenkins and Rolando Villazon and the two critics were Meat Loaf and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

      The presenters of the show were Alan Titchmarsh and Mylene Class.

      Every week the mentors would work with the celebrities teaching them how to sing in an opera voice and helping them learn the words which 9 times out of 10 were in a foreign language. They would have one song to master before the live show on the Friday evening and you could see that most of them were having trouble with learning the language or just getting the opera voice right. It really looked like hard work.

      On the live shows they sung their song and the two critics and two mentors would say what they thought of the perfomance, then it would be up to the public to vote for their favourite performer. The two with the least votes would have to stand before the judges and it would be down to them to say who they wanted to keep in and send home. If it came to a draw then they would revert back to the public vote and the one with the least votes would be sent home.

      The first one to go home was Alex James. He was so funny with his perfomance that I really enjoyed watching him but he couldnt sing opera for toffees and had to go. he was very entertaining though.

      The other singers went week by week until there was just Darius and Bernie left in the final which was shown on Friday. It was a great final show with the singers choosing their favourite song which they had already done to sing again, they they sung duets with the mentors, Darius sung with Rolando and Bernie sung with Katherine. Then for the finale they all sung together.

      Even though I wanted Darius to win I thought Bernie was going to be the winner as she seemed very popular with the judges but I was glad Darius won and hope he goes on to develop his classical singing further.

      I thought the judges were really good especially Meat Loaf, he was funny and loud and had me in stitches with his comments each week.

      I have really enjoyed watching this series, even though I had to watch it on my own as my family didnt like it and look forward to there being a series two.

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        13.02.2010 21:53
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        Take 8 Pop Stars and turn them into Opera Stars...

        Introduction

        Popstar to Operastar has been broadcast on ITV at 9pm since the 15th Of January and next week sees the end of the series when the grand final will air. Its format is similar to other reality TV shows in that a group of celebrities take on a new challenge and compete against each other to win votes from the general public, at the end of each show the 2 contestants with the lowest number of votes face a panel of experts and they vote for one to return to the show for the next episode and the other has to leave the competition.

        Premise

        Instead of Ice Dancing, Surviving in the jungle or learning to ballroom and Latin American dance in this series 8 singers who are well known as pop stars take on the task of becoming opera singers and are given well known classical songs and operatic arias to sing whilst being mentored by two world famous opera/classical singers.

        Hosts & Panel

        Hosted by Alan Titchmarsh and Myleene Klass the show features a panel of four experts in the field of opera who are:

        Katherine Jenkins: A well known and popular classical singer who has achieved critical and commercial success with the release of her own CD's. Katherine is one of the mentors on the show and co-decides the songs that the contestants sing whilst giving support and guidance.

        Rolando Villazon: A classically trained singer who has appeared onstage in many productions, he has been on the opera scene since he was discovered in 1999. The second mentor alongside Katherine who also works with the contestants to develop their opera voices.

        Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen: A strange choice on first sight as well known as a flamboyant interior designer; however he also hosts a radio show on Classic FM and so is familiar with classical and operatic music.

        Meatloaf: Another strange choice as again not necessarily known as an opera or classical singer. However, very outspoken and vocal and tends to comment more on the contestants performance rather than the authenticity of the actual opera pieces themselves.

        Contestants

        Alex James: Bass guitarist and sometime vocalist with the group Blur. Alex was not the strongest singer even as a pop star and struggled with his first operatic performance. He was voted off in week 1.

        Vanessa White: Singer with the group The Saturdays, voted off in week 2 and didn't seem to embrace the whole experience overall.

        Jimmy Osmond: Former child star and part of the Osmond family, a very nice guy but struggled with a couple of the songs, rightly voted off in week 3.

        Danny Jones: Hugely popular with the female audience and part of the group McFly. Good but not great and voted off in week 4

        Marcella Detroit: Singer with Shakespeare Sister. Exceptional voice but didn't seem to be popular with the audience, was knocked out of the competition in week 5 (semi final)

        Kym Marsh: Singer with Hearsay now Coronation Street actress: She surprised me with a voice that was better than I thought she would have. Knocked out with Marcella in the semi final leaving 2 contestants for the final.

        Bernie Nolan: Singer with the Nolan Sisters. Great voice comes across well to the audience and a well deserved finalists. Bernie is my choice of winner.

        Darius Campbell (was Danesh): Solo singer who gained notoriety during the original Popstars series (which also featured Kym Marsh & Myleene Klass) and also Pop Idol. Great voice but I can't warm to him. Finalist alongside Bernie Nolan.

        Thoughts

        Next week sees the final against Darius and Bernie where we will find out who will become the winner of this series. For me it has been quite a hit or miss show with some outstanding performances and some cringeworthy moments. Originally the show was criticized for dumbing down opera and I can see why those accusations were thrown at it, opera singers are trained for years to achieve the voices they have and to expect to be able to turn someone who has a 'pop' voice into someone who can sing an Operatic aria in only 8 weeks is impossible really.

        What the show has been good for is to introduce operatic arias and classical pieces to the general public who would not have otherwise sought out this type or music. Many of the songs featured have been recognisable from TV adverts or just from general play and the pop stars have given some outstanding performances that they should be credited for.

        The hosts are competent enough although nothing special and the panel offers nothing that we haven't seen before on Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing on Ice. Katherine Jenkins injects some glamour into proceedings and Meatloaf is as shouty and passionate as you would expect him to be. Rolando tries to educate the viewers with operatic information but as they only have a few seconds to speak and the audience is whooping in the background we don't actually learn anything about where the songs come from or why they were chosen and the couple of minutes montage we are shown before the performers sing don't really add much to the show.

        I have watched most of the episodes in the series either when transmitted on a Friday night or via ITV player online but it is a take it or leave it type show for me. It isn't must-see television and doesn't benefit from a big budget production like 'Strictly' or 'Dancing on Ice'. I will watch the final simply to find out who wins but either way I don't really care who does, personally I prefer Bernie but that is just personal preference.

        The show is nothing special overall and certainly won't set the world alight, I can't see it being a water-cooler programme that gets you talking about with your friends, but it's a decent enough way to pass an hour or so on a Friday night. It's a 3/5 Dooyoo star show for me and I can't say I will miss it when it ends next week.

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          13.02.2010 17:15
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          Dull, a bit lifeless and with Alan Titchmarsh.....ugh!

          This is a strange programme, on ITV on Friday nights at 9pm, the programme follows a bunch of 'Pop stars' as they attempt to become Opera Stars.

          Presented by Mylene Klaas and Alan Titchmarsh the show i'm not sure who this show is aimed at, Klaas is a presenter with a classical music background, while Titchmarsh is a gardener cum tv presenter, he doesn't make sense hosting this and lacks charisma or style or any intimate knowledge of the subject.

          The idea of the programme is transforming a 'Pop star' to an Opera star, it involved Danny from McFly, Darius from Pop Idol, Kym Marsh from Hearsay, Marcela from Shakespeare Sister as well as one of the Nolan Sisters, people are voted off each week by the public and judged by a live panel of experts.

          The experts are a funny opera singer called Rolando who is energy personified and seems like a real laugh, he's lively and doesn't stop moving, Meat Loaf also judges. I'm not sure why as I presumed he was a rock singer but then Katherine Jenkins also judges who is an opera singer so that makes sense.

          Finally we have Laurence Llewellyn Bowen an interior designer, his presence alongside Meat Loaf and Titchmarsh make little sense and sum up the programme for me, it feels like an attempt to jump on a bandwagon and has daytime television production values, its a bit cheap and cheerful and the opera songs are sometimes a tad dull and drawn out by the singers.

          The stars aren't really famous and are obviously seeking publicity and their progression becomes dull after a while, I watched the semi final and it appeared to be judged on popularity not talent. Overall I found the show a bit dull and depressing and better suited to 2pm on a tuesday than primetime telelvision.

          A disappointment and an attempt to jump on a bandwagon more than anything else, i'll stick to real opera.

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            13.02.2010 15:45
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            anotther 'celebs getting into the limelight' show but having to try harder

            Firstly let me start by saying I don't go to opera, or go out of my way to listen to opera so if unlike me you really do like Opera then this show might be more enjoyable to you.

            It is shown on ITV on Friday nights at 9pm and shown again on Saturday morning

            As the title suggests it is a show based on your average pop-star who is trying to sing as an opera singer. I gather it's like a remake of soap star superstar, where we had actors off the soaps trying to be pop-stars. Only this time it is people who can actually sing (give or take a few!) who are trying to test their boundaries of their singing ability. It is set out like an x-factor type show, where we have four judges and after each performance they comment and critique the stars. The public (that's the few that are actually watching) ring and vote for their favourite and then the bottom two face the judges who then vote to save their favourite. The other one leaves.

            The stars that began in this series are:
            Alex James, (bassist in Blur) Bernie Nolan, (Nolan Sisters) Danny Jones, (McFly) Darius (Pop Idol fame) Jimmy Osmond, (of the Osmonds) Kym Marsh, (Coronation Street, Hear'Say) Marcella Detroit, (Shakespeare's Sister) and Vanessa White, (The Saturdays)

            The judges are soprano Katherine Jenkins and tenor Rolando Villazon, who are also mentors for the stars and then an unusual choice in Meatloaf??? and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (of changing rooms). Now as I said I don't know much about Opera but I do wonder what on earth Meatloaf is doing in the panel and Llewelyn-Bowen. Does posh mean you can judge opera? Out of all of them Villazon is the only one that has performed in an Opera. Jenkins is just an opera celebrity.

            The hosts are another unusual choice in Alan Titchmarsh and Myleen Klass. Ok Klass is musical but Titchmarsh? What does he have to do with ANY kind of music? I just don't understand him hosting this show? If opera appeals to you surely he doesn't add to that appeal? The pair just don't sit right together at all. I am not even sure that Klass is enjoying hosting this show.

            Each performance shows us beforehand what they have had to practice this week and the troubles they have had. We also get comments from friends and family. Mostly each star says how petrified they are and then do their live performance and are judged by the panellist. Now this isn't as harsh as X-factor as it's almost like they don't want to hurt their feelings. Out of the entire panel Meatloaf is just bizarre and madcap! He stands up like a church preacher praising the lord on nearly every performance. Llewelyn-Bowen sits there quietly most of the time and Jenkins almost cringes if she has to say something remotely bad. Villazon is the only one who can tell that the song was not as it should have been (not that any of us would have even slightly noticed)


            Yes we have seen most of these celebs before in another reality show (I did think Marsh was settled in Corrie) and I have to wonder are they addicted to being in the limelight or are they really trying to test their abilities? I also think this is not really for the x-factor audience and I doubt very much that they have even got anywhere near even half of that figure. It certainly doesn't appeal to my 8 year old daughter as x-factor does. Maybe if they reversed the idea at a later date? But then we probably wouldn't have heard of half the singers. (I actually didn't know who Vanessa and Danny were at first)

            Having said all that I am really impressed in some of the performances. Detroit is absolutely fabulous and amazing vocals, even Bernie has done really well (apparently her mother was an opera singer) but I think it is harder for the men to shine through.

            Overall this show is not going to make the ratings and I doubt it will have anywhere near the success of dancing on ice or strictly come dancing. I think it was a great idea but not to the majority of people's taste as pop culture is. The judges are just a bizarre choice and the hosts need to be a bit more endearing and energized.

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              10.02.2010 18:16
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              Easy viewing in a tried and tested formula

              I love classical music, I love singing and I love reality TV, so when I heard about this show starting on ITV last month, it sounded like it would be right up my street!

              The title says it all really- 8 popstars are each given an operatic song to sing in a live show. It's the usual format- each week, the two popstars whose performances receive the fewest votes from the public face the panel of judges who vote on who to save, and who to send home. It's a tried and tested formula that we've all seen before in shows like The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, and is used to engage the viewers and make the programme more interactive. It also provides us with that tense, edge-of-your-seat feeling as the contestants names are announced one by one, leaving the unfortunate two nervously awaiting the judges' decision.

              Before each of the popstars perform, we are shown a short clip of them learning their song for the week, which often involves laughter, tears and arguments with their teachers as they battle with challenging songs, usually in a different language. Frustratingly, these clips show us very little of the actual process of learning to sing in a more operatic style. I was hoping to see more of the lessons and technical practices that are involved in such a drastic change of vocal style. What we get instead is a lot of talk about how difficult it is to learn the words of a song in a different language, and to get into the character of the singer from a particular opera, but virtually no insight into how the popstars are using new techniques to try to achieve that operatic sound. Perhaps the producers thought focussing on the actual singing process would bore or alienate viewers- personally, I think it would be fascinating to watch, and would add extra credibility to the show.

              The show's judges are a bit of a hotch potch of characters: there's popular classical singer Katherine Jenkins, Rolando Villazón (a tenor, and the only member of the panel with any real operatic experience), Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (who apparently adores opera) and Meatloaf. Yes, as in the Bat Out of Hell singer. He apparently once sang with Pavarotti, and that is all the credentials he needs to get him a place in this motley crew. Whilst Jenkins and Villazón, who mentor the popstars throughout the week, have the experience to offer technical criticism in their comments after a performance, Meatloaf gives every single popstar a rave review for their every performance, whilst Llewelyn-Bowen sits so quietly in his corner that you almost forget he's there. And don't expect any Cowellesque bluntness on this show- even the mentors give only the mildest criticism, cushioned with vague compliments about how 'in character' the singers were.

              The show is presented by Alan Titchmarsh and Myleene Klass- a bizarre pairing if ever I saw one! The pair have absolutely no chemistry, and while Titchmarsh looks relaxed and comfortable in his role, Klass positively gushes with face-contortingly fake enthusiasm that's annoying in the extreme.

              The 8 popstars competing in this series are also a rather random bunch, but to the programme's credit, there aren't any of the Z-list celebs you often get taking part in these shows. OK, so Darius hasn't exactly had a hugely succesful pop career, and Bernie Nolan, Jimmy Osmond and Marcella Detroit are all a long way past their heyday, but there are some more current singers in there like Danny from McFly (whose name prompts a massive scream from the girls in the live audience every time it's announced) and Vanessa White from The Saturdays. Then there is (or rather, was) Blur's Alex James, whose awful singing led to him being justly voted out in week one, and Kym Marsh, of Hearsay and Corrie fame. You get the impression that the rich, powerful tones needed for this kind of singing come more naturally to some- Marcella Detroit, for instance, has the ability to portray great passion in her expressive voice with its impressive vocal range. She even tackled the impressive Queen of the Night aria from The Magic Flute a couple of weeks ago, with great success. Poor old Danny, on the other hand, has struggled to shed his usual pop style, and was voted off as a result. One thing that does impress me about all the popstars is the amount of effort and emotion they put into their songs, so even if they're not musically perfect, the performances usually have something to enjoy about them.

              Whilst the remaining four celebs have put in some very impressive performances between them, it's clear when you hear the guest stars like Danielle De Niese and Villazón himself perform that none of these celebrities will ever make the grade as an 'operastar'. Their voices pale into insignificance when compared to these professionals, and suddenly even their best operatic attempts just sound like warbly popstars singing random arias into a microphone. This comparison makes me think that those critics who have claimed the show is dumbing down opera have a point. But at the same time, for people who might feel alienated by the thought of going to see a full blown opera, this programme will at least present them with the opportunity to hear some operatic classics, sung live and accompanied by an orchestra. This is light viewing for a Friday night, and while it won't go down in the television (and certainly not operatic) history books, it's an entertaining and generally enjoyable show that I will continue to watch.

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