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Stars in their Eyes

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  • many impersonations cringingly bad
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      07.05.2010 23:04
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      Overall, a pretty enjoyable show

      Stars in their Eyes ran for many years on ITV and was hosted by Matthew Kelly who I thought was a particularly good presenter for this show. I always enjoyed watching it and was around before the X Factor ever turned up and was on a much smaller scale and budget. Whereas the X Factor has now gone global this was a much smaller, simpler show.

      Basically you would have contestants on the programme each week who would sing but with a difference. Instead of showing off their singing talents alone they would sing as their favourite pop idol from Freddie Mercury to Madonna for example. There would a brief introduction of the contestant and then they would go behind the scenes and reappear as their star they were impersonating. This added an extra twist to just a singing talent contest.

      From what I remember they would be voted on who was the winner by the audience and the winners would all go towards the grand final at the end of the series. The audience would vote for the person they believed looked and sounded most like the star they were trying to impersonate.

      As with all of these types of shows there were some bad acts and some very good acts but the difference with this show was that there were no auditions like in the X Factor and therefore the show wasn't dragged out for weeks and months. I used to watch this every week as it was always great entertainment. If you've never seen it then there may occassionally be repeats on and it's worth seeing what it was all about.

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      29.01.2010 09:25
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      GENERAL PUBLIC HAVING A BIT OF SINGSONG AS THEIR FAVOURITE STAR.

      Stars in their eyes was a British Tv show that was a Saturday night entertainment show which I simply loved. Starts in their eyes was the front runner before all the shows of today such as x factor gave people the chance to sing in public. However stars in their eyes did not encourage the public to sing in their own voice but to be made over and impersonate the singing superstar of their choice.

      There have been two hosts on this show. The first host and certainly the best host was Matthew Kelly who had an energetic personality. His pure passion for the show was contagious and he was a great presenter in that he had the audience laughing and engaging with him from the start. The second host who took over the reigns was Cat deeley, she didnt really have the warmth that Matthew had and i found her to be cheesy and all smiles. However the show continued to be a success after her take over so she must have been impressing people.

      The basic format of the show was that the host would say and now to bob from bath and they would show a short clip of this contestant in their every day job. They would be dropping hints like hot potatoes over who they were 'going to be'. They would then be introduced to the live audience, they would be in normal clothes and would talk for a short while about their passions for singing. They would then give a few more clues about who they were'going to be' before finally stating "Tonight Matthew im going to be.... george michael, cher, shirley bassey, tom Jones. The person would then walk through a sliding door to emerge the other side through a plume of smoke. The contestant would be totally made over to look like their singing idol. They would then sing a song in the style of this star.

      Now it is safe to say that while some contestants looked very much like the star they were meant to be. Others looked totally daft and this made for really comical viewing. Again you would have singers where your nan would say."if i close my eyes it sounds exactly like tom jones" whilst you had others that had obviously walked into the wrong studio as they had no singing ability at all.

      At the end of every show, the audience were asked to vote using their touch pads. (these were before the days of trying to make as much money as they could out of viewers at home.) The tension would be fever pitch and then Matthew would say and tonights winner is Peggy Lee!! at this point the peggy lee impersonator would be all emotional and walk back out to the gracious applause of the audience.

      Then at the end of the series there would be a grand final, where all the previous shows winners had to fight it out to recieve the stars in your eyes championship. This was the highlight of the tv schedule and Matthew Kelly would always dig out his dickie bow for this massive ITV show of the year!

      This time the viewers at home would phone in to decide who was the worthy champion and at the end the winner would be announced. So what fantastic prize did the winner get? a record contract? a huge cash reward? the answer is no they had a bunch of flowers!! I always found this amazing. All that effort and stress, for an itv show that had millions of viewers and all you got if you won was a bunch of flowers. Think the fat cats at ITV must have been rubbing thier hands with glee.

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        07.11.2009 15:54
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        An okay kinda show.

        I feel as though it is my duty to write a review of stars in their eyes after all i present it, my name is also Matthew Kelly, if i had a penny for everytime i was taken the mick out of for it at school (lol), are you Matthew Kelly? Are you gay? and so on. Yes i am quite clearly a 60 year old camp man that presents a musical variety show!!!

        Stars In Their Eyes ran from 21st July 1990 to 7th January 2006 and saw various members of the public attempt to impersonate their musical heroes.

        I would ask the contestants questions about their chosen icon until eventually asking who they were going to be, I would then send them off through a smoky doorway only to reappear seconds later fully dressed as their chosen popstar.

        This was obviously done by stopping and starting the camera although it always used to puzzle me when i was young how they managed to get dressed so quickly (derrrrrrr).

        The costumed contestants would then sing their little hearts out and the audience (both studio and television) could then vote for who they wanted to win. I think the winner received a trophy.

        Over the years there have been a number of specials including celebrity, kids and christmas stars in their eyes.

        I did used to watch this when it was on but i wouldnt say that i was really into it, it was entertaining enough to watch but wasnt my favourite programme on at the time.

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        08.09.2009 21:10
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        super show

        There was a stage in my life when I wanted to go on this show, though I was undecided who i would be. I think I was torn between Bryan Adams and Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. Obviously, there is quite a difference vocally!

        What Is It?

        To those unfamilar with the show, it is a singing competition where the general public have to try and sing like their idols. They arrive on the set, undergo a makeover from the wardrobe team to make them look like the star, before stepping out in front of an audience to perform their choice of song. The audience would choose their favourite at the end of the programme by pressing a button in their seats.

        Presenters:

        Most people remember the lovely Matthew Kelly, whose towering frame often brought an air of oppression to the show. Matthew was a dear though and despite his giant status, he was a softie at heart. His well manicured beard and grey flecked hair ensured he was a hit with the ladies. Eventually, Kelly bowed out and was replaced by the stunning Cat Deeley. Cat brought an instant glamour and air of chic to the role and was always adept at making her contestants feel at ease.

        Contestants:

        The show always strived to have a balance of males to females, so each programme you would get five people made up of both sexes. Sometimes the contestants would be young and occasionally, pensioners would have a go too.

        Winning:

        The winner of each show would go through to the live grand final at the end of the series. Audiences at home could then participate in the voting too, which made it most exciting.

        Fact:

        Ever wondered how the getting into make-up bit works? Well rumour has it that the line up of contestants would film their meet and greet with Matthew, then a different set of contestants, pre-prepped in the make-up, would step out and perform, that way the audience wouldn't be waiting around hours to see them get transformed.

        The Future:

        The show needs a comeback. I would love to see it return with a new host and perhaps ten contestants each week. I am thinking Jeremy Irons as the host, with the show going out peak time on a Sunday night.

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          03.05.2009 18:02
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          Talent show of sorts

          Stars in Their Eyes was a popular TV talent show in the days before shows The X Factor and Britains Got Talent took over the main stream celebrity wannabee culture and dominated our TV screens.

          The show was hosted by Matthew Kelly and the idea behind the show was for members of the puclic to appear and to dress like and sing a song of their pop heroes or at least those that they most looked and sounded like.

          For each contestant there would be a short video clip of either their home or worklife where the person they would be might be hinted at, then hey would be interviewed by Kelly still notdressed up and only at the end would they reveal why and who they were going to be with a standard phrase before disappearing through a door to instantly reappear through a curtain of mist having transformed into the celebrity.

          Sometimes the transformation was amazing however other times it was almost embarrassing. For us as a family the fun was guessing who they were going to be and certainly for the winners of the final there could be a limited career out of it as an impersonator doing the clubs and holiday camps but in theend the show was replaced by the runaway success that is X Factor and now really only Celebrity versions hold any attraction to watch.

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          25.04.2009 09:10
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          A very watchable show where you'll see some good people & some foolish people!

          Stars In Their Eyes was hosted by Matthew Kelly and was shown on Saturday nights on ITV1 (just ITV back then).

          The concept of the show is that members of the public would write in to say who they looked and sounded like when singing and then some of them would be selected to go on to the show and then perform in front of the live audience and for the members of the public at home.

          Before the performance there would be an introduction to the person and you would be told their name, where they came from & what they did for a living. Quite often you would be shown around their homes too and I never thought that this had any purpose to the show other than as a time filler. Once the act had their make-up done and were ready they emerged through some smoke and then out on to the stage to do their performance.

          I remember the first questions to be asked & answered in our house were do they look like the person they think they sound like & do they sound like them? The make-up team normally did a very good job but some of the people were just rubbish & I remember on one of the last series seeing somebody who thought they looked & sounded like Eminem and they just did this atrocious rap that made my skin crawl!

          The show was quite good viewing and as the weeks went on contestants would get eliminated and then at the final the contestants would normally meet the person they were taking off (providing they were still present on this earth of course!) and there would invariably be tears and happiness and these episodes were always my favourite.

          I always used to badger my Mum to let me phone in and vote for my favourite acts in the final and the call prices were very reasonable normally around 10p or something similar so I could always have a couple of votes and feel that interaction with the show!

          After Matthew Kelly was arrested the show just seemed to disappear which was a shame but then I don't think it could have survived until now with so many talent shows around.

          I thoroughly enjoyed the show at the time but had some gripes such as the annoying people who looked & sounded nothing like the person they were impersonating and having to look around peoples houses, therefore I am rating this 3/5.

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            25.03.2009 22:40
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            Don't Deny It, You Loved It!

            Stars In Their Eyes, or Stars In Your Eyes as it is often mis-named, has been a national institution for many years while screened on a Saturday night on ITV.

            The phrase "and tonight Matthew I'm going to be......" became so well known that it was parodied in comedy and sometimes used in general conversation between people.

            It referred to presenter Matthew Kelly who presented the show from 1993 to 2004. The original presenter was the late Leslie Crowther (1990-92) and in more recent times it has been presented by Cat Deeley (2004 until it ended in 2006) and for a limited run of celebrity specials by Davina McCall.

            The iconic era of the programme that many people will remember is the period in which Matthew Kelly presented it so that is the era I will focus on.

            The idea of the show was to give members of the public (mainly amateur singers but occasionally semi-pro or pro singers) the chance to impersonate famous singing artists. The singing impersonation was important but so too was the ability, with the help of the ITV make up and wardrobe department, for the contestant to also look very much like the person.

            The format altered over the years but generally in the shows that determined who would make the end of series grand final the studio audience would use key pads to vote. The end of series final winner would be determined by a telephone vote from the viewing public.

            These are the things that stand out about the programme for me:

            When the contestant first walked on he/she was in their normal clothing and had a little chat with Matthew in which certain clues and hints would deliberately be given about who they would be impersonating. Most of the time you could not tell at all from their looks who they might be about to impersonate.

            But on one particular occasion a contestant walked in and every person in the land shouted John Lennon at the TV set as it was that obvious; he was a dead ringer. Alas, the singing part of his performance was not quite as good as his physical likeness.

            The singers were always announced as "singing live tonight" but certainly in my household we always had fierce debate about whether it really was live or mimed. I am firmly in the it was mimed camp.

            I also remember Matthew Kelly's extremely affected attempt at announcing each act as it came on to sing in a circus ringmaster type home counties accent. Matthew is from Lancashire and his accent couldn't be disguised.

            The contestants who were eventual series winners that stick in my mind as being outstandingly good and accurate in sound and sometimes looks are:

            1990 Maxine Barry as Shirley Bassey (Sound & Looks)
            1991 Bernie Wenton as Nat King Cole (Sound & Looks Partly)
            1998 Jason Searle as Neil Diamond (Sound)
            and
            1999 Ian Moor as Chris de Burgh (Sound & Looks Slightly)

            Ian Moor was so good and so similar to the real Chris De Burgh that they sang "Lady In Red" together on more than one occasion to prove the point. Some experts thought Ian Moor was better at singing Lady In Red than Chris De Burgh.

            Stars In Their Eyes was a great programme that was loved by nearly everybody and it always threw up something different and interesting in each programme and series.

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              18.03.2009 17:32
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              fun and entertaining

              I remember always watching Stars in their eyes as a little boy and I always really enjoyed it too. The show was basically a singing contest, but instead of having the same contestants on every week and voting one out like the factor. It would have new singers each week all of whom would sing to win the stars in their eyes title. They also had to sing like the star whose song they was doing and wear costume to look like them as well therefore the show was a bit more of an impersonation show rather than a real talent contest however it was still all good fun.

              It was presented by Matthew Kelly and that's where the famous saying "tonight Matthew I'm going to be..." be come from as each of the people who went of the show had to say that before they disappeared into that illusive mist and appeared only seconds later as their favourite star.

              At the end of the show, the audience would vote for the person who they thought sounded, and looked most like the star and it almost seemed like anyone could win the show and it was probably more down to how many friends and family you had in the audience to whether or not you won.

              Despite some of the rubbish singing this show unearthed, and the really cheap costumes and props used too, it was still a very entertaining show to watch. Sure it was really tacky and if it was on now, then I probably wouldn't watch it, however I still turned on every week to watch this and enjoyed it every time, so they must have done something right.

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                16.06.2008 14:01
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                Stars In Their Eyes

                Stars In Their Eyes is a TV talent show that ran from 1990 to 2006. It is currently taking a break, and there are reports that it may return, but I wouldn't hold your breath. The show peaked about 5 years ago, and following regualar presenter Matthew Kelly quitting the show in 2004, presenter Cat Deeley has been unable to carry on the success and viewing audiences Kelly's reign dragged in.

                The show consists of contestants impersonating famous music artists. It started back in 1990 with Leslie Crowther as the presenter, and Matthew Kelly took over in 1992 following Crowther being unable to return after injury. The host would introduce each contestant, who would come out in their casual clothes, have a brief chat with the host about who they are, what they do, and then give a couple of clues about the person they are impersonating before saying the now famous line: 'Tonight, (host's name), I am going to be...' and then the name of the star they are about to impersonate. They then leave through smoke from a smoke machine as themselves, and re-emerge as the star, and perform.

                At the end of each show, the audience vote for their favourite act, and the winner goes through to the series grand final. At the end of the grand final, the phone lines are opened and the general public vote. The most votes the show has dragged in have been just short of the 250,000 mark, with their 10th Anniversary final of finals show, where the 10 previous winners battled it out, brought in over 400,000 votes in 1999.

                I liked Matthew Kelly as a presenter. I felt he had a certain charisma and sense of humour to match the show, and Cat Deeley did not carry it that well when she took over as presenter. I was never fortunate enough to see Crowther in the role. I enjoyed watching the show, although it did drag sometimes if I wasn't familiar with the artist or the song, but it is refreshing to see that it is a audience vote and no scope for controversy with phone-ins every week like a lot of shows experience these days.

                As I mentioned earlier, there are plans to bring back the show, but if they do, I probably won't be that excited about it. It's okay to watch and it is entertaining to a certain extent, but nothing special following Kelly's departure.

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                  19.04.2002 23:37
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                  Tonight Matthew I Am Having A Guinness!!…. ------------------------------------------ I don’t even know why I watch this show as it takes up time on my Saturday night. I am invited out to so many parties at the weekend that I use watching this show as an excuse not to offend folk……The show is on ITV and is usually on just after 6pm on saturday night......... ------------------------------------------ So what is the show about, you can’t be serious can you. It stars that tall guy with the grey beard, no not Santa, Matthew Kelly. My guess is you either hate Kelly or you like him, personally I find him ok but that’s because I am so easy going and get on with most people……. ------------------------------------------- There are five contestants every week who feel this urge to make absolute fools of themselves. That is what I like about Dooyoo, you don’t have to leave the house to make a fool of yourself…. -------------------------------------------- I wouldn’t mind if they had even a small amount of talent but they are so crap its beyond believe. And then they have the cheek to pretend a friend or family member put their name forward for the show. How do I know they applied themselves, easy, firstly those losers have no friends and if you were related to them would you want people to know….. --------------------------------------------- So anyway on with the show. They come on one at a time and have a chat with Matthew first. We see them in their workplace and we hear about their music likes. They then go out of the studio and reappear as who they are going to be. Now I don’t know about you but either I have not drunk enough or these people are copying someone else because they look nothing like the artist they are copying…….. --------------------------------------------- Then com
                  es the big build up, they slowly walk down the steps and burst into song. The audience start to clap and cheer and I am looking around the stage to see if someone else is on the stage. Then I realise that by some miracle they are applauding the loser, totally unreal…….. --------------------------------------------- Anyway after the five have destroyed 5 good songs its down to the audience to vote who they thought was the best. Don’t even try to guess the winner as it is easier picking the winner of the Grand National. The audience must either be on the drink or Matthew Kelly knows them personally, its fixed…. --------------------------------------------- In fairness though the show has stood the test of time and does have a peak Saturday viewing time. They always ended the show with the winner singing the song again and they still do. But they have now added an extra feature that shows the winner arriving at the studio and going through their time getting changed and learning all the routines…….. --------------------------------------------- Joking aside I must hold my hand up and admit I like the show, I enjoy watching people that have the nerve to stand up and sing in front of millions. I also think Matthew Kelly is a great host and a bit like Cilla Black in that he makes the people feel at ease when they appear on the show……….. --------------------------------------------- Anyway thanks for yet another few minutes of your time, have a good weekend and if you could please leave a comment on what you thought of my style of writing……………….. Cheers…….. Art!…………………

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                    24.01.2002 04:09
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                    Watching Stars In Their Eyes is the televisual equivalent of being asked to rub the delightful feet of one of Marge's sisters in the Simpsons, quite simply the sort of gut wrenchingly awful experience which sends an unpleasant shiver down the spine of every right thinking individual. There is truly nothing more chilling than hearing that godawful catchphrase "Tonight Matthew I'm going to be ..." and to hear, hear, hear it is to hate, hate, hate it. I always thought this series was bad way back in the days of the King of Prime Time Pap, Leslie Crowther, but the advent of the cloyingly nice Matthew Kelly has, if anything, brought it to a whole new depth. I bet there are a very small number of you who remember when Crowther was king and Matty Lad has been at the helm for several years now. The problem is that Matthew is so wholesome and pleasant and out and out cosy that there is just no redeeming feature ... AT ALL. Okay, I'll come back to the bile and the spite a little later when I've managed to focus all my hatred sufficiently, let's just find a bit of factual and objective fact for a while at least... Stars In Their Eyes is a TV talent show, where five contestants each week get their big chance to do their impression of a big name (and sometimes not so BIG, I mean, Patsy Kline?) singer, and milk the sap like audience for their adoration. It's got a very rigid framework with a video clip giving a snapshot of their mundane little existence, and then Matthew having a little bit of chit chat, before they disappear into a cloud of smoke to re-emerge miraculously as the spitting image (or not) of their hero (or heroine). After the first line of the song (no matter how unlike the original it is) there's a sudden, spontaneous, but very together round of applause from the middle class losers who make up the audience, before the chosen one carries on massacring a piece of classic pop. Aft
                    er the five have done their bit the studio audience press their buttons to register their choice and after a bit of suspense we get the shock announcement that NAT KING COLE has won. Without exception the winner is not the person that does the most faithful reproduction but the person who portrays the most popular (as in bland middle of the road AOR) artist. Forget Joe Strummer, Tom Waits or Jim Morrison, this is the realm of Diana Ross, Bing Crosby and Cliff Richard. The BIG problem for me with this sickly and totally repulsive show is the entire premise - what fun is their in imitation, bland regurgitation and total lack of originality - it's the same as Steps or Take That churning out a cover version of an original that adds absolutely nothing to that original - totally pointless - imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, but that was probably just Mike Yarwood (Ooh Betty!) It's a very popular little programme, primetime Saturday night and all that, but since when has that been any indicator whatsoever of quality - I remember 321 you see, and this may be one up on that terrible creation, but it still doesn't make it any great shakes, or even in the least tolerable. Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be very, very, very pissed off indeed...

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                      28.08.2001 22:51
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                      'Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be...' Those immortal words have become the staple of Saturday night TV along with Cilla Black, the National Lottery and duff films. After over 10 years, it is still going strong, and will be back for another series in 2002. It was originally hosted by Leslie Crowther, although Matthew Kelly (perhaps best known for 'You Bet' and 'Game For A Laugh' previously) took over soon afterwards following Crowther's premature death. The concept of the show is simple. 5 ordinary members of the public dress up as a singer of their choice, and belt out one of their classics. Pretty much every singer you can think of has been done at some point (although I'm still waiting for a plucky contender to sing 'Anyone Can Fall In Love' dressed up to the nines as Anita Dobson, but here's to hoping...). The standard is usually very high, and it just goes to show that there really are good singers out there. However, you can't help but wonder how many talented imitators there are dying to go on the show, but wouldn't stand a chance of competing because they look 'wrong'. Not everyone in real life with a good voice is a size 6 with perfect skin... Over the years, acts as diverse as Shirley Bassey and Maria Callas have been impersonated by the overall winners. Some of the biggest telephone votes ever have been ammassed by the live Grand Final, which happens every year. Marti Pellow impersonators won the grand final two years running in the mid-1990's. Wonder how many Pellow wannabes there are now... In the 'Champion of Champions' show a few years ago, Chris De Burgh was the winner. Maybe it was because it was one of those songs that everyone loves ('ah Ken, it's our wedding song. Let's vote for it...'), or maybe it was because he was the most recent series winner. However, being the conspiracy theorist that I am, I&
                      #39;m fairly sure that De Burgh had a new album out at around that time - QED. Kelly presents the show like the absolute pro he is, (note to Mel B, don't give up your day job). However, for some, he is a little bit too enthusiatic with the contestants. Not since Les Dennis's famous arm-round-contestant-bordering-on-groping technique being displayed on 'Family Fortunes' has any TV presenter looked so close to contravening several English sexual assualt laws. The show is very camp, with lots of glitter and applause. However, it still manages to appeal to all ages, even if the over-60's may not really have a clue about what Christina Aguilera sounds like in real life. (lucky them). It will probably continue until they run out of wannabes. However, judging by the tat they have on 'This Is My Moment', I think we're going to be in for the long haul with this show. It seems as if everyone is having a go at these sort of programmes. Now, where did I put my Nana Mouskori backing track...

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                        20.07.2001 05:36
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                        Love it or hate it, I think that most people have watched “Stars in their eyes” at some time. But just in case you have never seen it here is what happens. Ordinary people, who have been convinced they can sing by their friends and relatives, attend auditions for the show. Five winners go on the one-hour programmes screened on Saturday nights, got up as well-known singers and perform one of their hits. Each week one contestant is voted through to the final at the end of the series where an overall winner is picked. The host of this programme is the sycophantic Matthew Kelly. I don’t mean to run him down, his kindness to some of these poor, deluded souls knows no limits. Matthew has a brief chat to the contestant and a short video of them going about their daily lives is televised. During this time he seems very adept at putting the sometimes very nervous people at their ease. We then hear them utter those famous “Tonight Matthew I am going to be…” before he or she disappears into clouds of smoke before reappearing as the person they want to be. During his or her few minutes of stardom these peoples’ performances always make me chuckle. Where do they come from? And how does Matthew Kelly keep a straight face when he chats with them after. Either that man’s acting abilities are truly amazing or he really does think that they are all good. After we have seen all the contestants it is time for the voting. As Matthew always tell us all, it is not how much they look like the person they want to be, it is how much they sound like the person. So one lucky person whose performance might have been slightly above the usual mediocre standard even gets to perform a second time, and goes through to the final. I must confess to watching “Stars in their eyes” if I am not out and about on a Saturday night. The wannabies on it always makes me chuckle. Although there have been
                        similar programmes such as “Opportunity Knocks” they do not have the same format as this show, so to me don’t have the same fascination. I guess this show must appeal to my very evil sense of humour. So when the final heat was on last Saturday, a few mates and I got a takeaway and a few bottles in and settled down to enjoy. To be fair to one of contestants he did manage to almost exactly impersonate the person he was mimicking, both in his voice and performance. That was “Bob Marley” who we all thought should have won. The woman doing Dusty Springfield had not got her voice right at all. I can’t understand how Dusty’s manager could agree to say she had. Or how “Dusty” won. And the appalling “Annie Lennox” with her awful tartan trouser suit. The real Annie Lennox would have never worn that thing, so I could not believe that she agreed to be filmed endorsing this lady’s performance. I guess it will be one of life’s mysteries. How much money do the producers of “Stars in their eyes” pay the stars that have been taken off? What is it worth to say what a compliment they have been paid, and how great these sad people are?

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                          24.06.2001 00:42
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                          Minging singing

                          ...I'm going to be Kurt Cobain." Now that could be messy.

                          Stars In Their Eyes (SITE - critics say with a silent 'H' after the 'S') was born in 1990, around the time pub goers were regularly experiencing the ear-splitting, tune mangling phenomenon shipped over from the Far East called 'karoake'.

                          Karoake is a Japanese word meaning 'empty orchestra'. I prefer to use another Japanese word for those masochistic enough to indulge in the practice - 'kamikaze', which means 'divine wind'. However, there was nothing heavenly about the hot air belted out by musical microphone hoggers in Red Lions and White Horses up and down the country, as publicans woke up to the possibility of filling their tatty premises with drunken wannabe Tina Turners and Frank Sinatras on otherwise quiet nights.

                          Take away the silly wigs and make-up, and that's basically what SITE is - pub karoake. Even amiable presenter Matthew Kelly mirrors the worst aspects of middle-aged DJ's who invariably run karoake evenings, by sporting suspect facial hair, wearing garish waistcoats and cracking God-awful jokes. All he needs is a prime time slot on BBC Radio 1 and he'll have made the full transition.

                          SITE is just one of THOSE programmes which you feel obliged to watch on Saturday evenings, and you know you shouldn't be viewing if you had any semblance of a social life. Recognise this?:

                          ...."Shall we go out tonight dear - maybe we could go for a meal?"

                          ...."Nah, let's stay in love - The 'Stars In Their Eyes' final is on tonight."

                          ...."Ooh great, what time?"

                          ...."I think it's after Catchphrase..."

                          The show's secret lies in the fact that everyone, at some time, has listened to a song and imagined themselves on stage, wowing a crowd of thousands. In addition, unli
                          ke the Eurovision Song Contest, most of the songs are recognisable and aren't in some obscure European language (although you do get the odd one in French).

                          And of course, in recent years we have had 'The Live Final', which in a world of pre-recorded entertainment has actually become more of a novelty as the years have worn on. The interactive telephone voting also makes the viewer feel part of the proceedings, even if they've only managed to get 22 consecutive engaged tones.

                          For those of you who've been in a coma for the last 10 years, the format couldn't be simpler. Five contestants tell us about their dreary hum-drum lives and how being told they had been selected to be on the programme was on a par with being told they were the second incarnation of Jesus Christ. They are then made-up and costumed as far as possible to look like their chosen artist and attempt to impersonate them - often with the support of dancers or fake instruments - by performing one of their character's best known hit records.

                          Their biggest ordeal of the night is an embarrassing chat with Matthew Kelly before they go on. Due to the fact that Kelly is about 9 feet tall, he always succeeds in making the contestants look like circus midgets.

                          The winner goes on to a live grand final, and the overall winner receives...er, bugger all. Except they should get a holiday season in Rhyll if they're lucky - ironically, a place where Matthew Kelly once had a job as a bingo caller. (Cue Elton John lookalike singing "The Circle of Life"...)

                          SITE has certainly had its ups and downs. The original presenter was former Crackerjack ("CRACKERJACK!") frontman Leslie Crowther, but after an unfortunate car accident he had to be replaced by Matthew Kelly in 1993. A far cry from Kelly's first big break in 1979 when he was one of the 'celebrities' (and I use that term loosely) o
                          n Lenny Bennett's Punchlines - a programme more renowned for being a graveyard of ambition than the birthplace, as Arthur Mullard will testify.

                          The show hit the headlines in 2000 when bookmakers reported a rush of "irregular betting" on Freddie Mercury impersonator Gary Mullen before the final. William Hill said shops around the country had taken high figure bets on Gary and 'The Sun' even reported concerns of a fix. A spokesman for bookmaker City Index encapsulated perfectly just how far the show had moved from cult to craze when he said "We're doing huge business on Stars In Their Eyes - it's the only thing anyone is interested in." God help us all.

                          The show has even dabbled in celebrity Stars In their Eyes, with the likes of David Ginola and Harry Hill rocking the microphone. But the show's true appeal lies in the fact the its gives wannabe's their 15 minutes of fame, not in fulfilling the egos of already successful celebrities.

                          This is a programme that can hold most people's interest on Saturday evenings and is what middle-aged TV executives call "family entertainment". Its success is evident from the number of people who bother to watch and vote in the live finals, and a handful of contestants do go on to much greater things (which is more than can be said for Matthew Kelly).

                          The show may not be the most cerebral of Saturday night entertainment, but it's still with us beacuse it's a television executive's dream - big ratings, no prizes, just the kudos of winning. Even the winners of Popstars got to make a record.

                          Maybe the Popstars' band 'Hearsay' should go on Stars in Their Eyes? Or maybe they'd be worried about impersonating themselves?

                          UPDATE

                          Dusty Springfield has just won the 2001 live 'Stars in Their Eyes' final, narrowing pipping fellow decaying pop star Bob Mar
                          ley to first place. As if you cared. Still, at least David Bowie came last.

                          National Grid reported a massive surge in demand at exactly the same time as Des O'Connor appeared on the show, as the nation rushed to boil kettles, iron clothes and dry hair.

                          As Matthew Kelly said, they've never had anyone impersonating Des O'Connor. In fact, some unkind people would say that Des O'Connor himself has been pretending to be a singer for years.

                          2013 UPDATE: Wow - this has had 2.5k+ plus reads in 12 years! I'm starting out on writing a science fiction book now. You can follow me on Twitter @Watford_Writer - and no, it won't be featuring Matthew Kelly! :-)

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                            13.05.2001 16:59
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                            Stars in Their Eyes is a great entertainment show. A great replacement for Casualty now it's finished! The idea of this show is a normal everyday person (not me then - I'm mad) goes on the show and pretends to be a famous singer. They get made up to look like the singer and get dressed up in the same clothes that singer would wear. It's great fun guessing who the person is going to be then comparing them to the person. On the odd occasion you get someone you have never heard of which is not so interesting! That's the time to go and make the coffee. A couple of years ago Freddie Mercury won and he was brilliant. He sounded exactly like the real thing and I expect he's making a lot of money now using that voice! Everyone on the show has got to sing live and (most of them) have great voices, makes you wonder why they don't get a job singing really. I guess there can't be a great call for singers? Matthew Kelly does a great job hosting the show, he does tend to make everyone look like midgets though because he's sooooo tall!! I am surprised that nobody has fallen down those steps yet with all that smoke, I guess they would cut that out though. At the end of the series the winners from each week all sing and you get to phone in for your favourite one. This will take you an hour because the phone is contantly engaged! Last year you could vote on the internet too but the site was so busy I couldn't get onto it. Now all I'm waiting for is for someone to come out and say, "tonight Matthew, I'm going to be Marilyn Manson...." can you imagine it??!!

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