Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Dancin with the Starstruck

(Pinch and a punch...)

It's official: Cheese has returned to Aussie TV, and boy is it stinky.

Perhaps cheese never left - Paul McDermott has been hosting Strictly Dancing for the last two years on Aunty after all - but the cheese to which I refer has an aged, mature flavour, reminiscent of much older vintages.

2004's "surprise" success - and the show that had Daryl Somers crawling out of his career grave quicker than Buffy Summers - was "Dancin' with the Stars", and like all true Australian variety gems of the 60s and 70s (think IMT, The Don Lane Show, Graham Kennedy etc), it was live, glittery, had a band and a pot pourri of "celebrities" (read: actors in other Channel 7 shows for gratuituous cross-promotion and 90s has-beens like Pauline Hanson and Paul Mercurio). Somers' jokes were about as funny as liver cancer, and he looked so tacky in a tuxedo I was actually wanting to see him return to the Ken Done wooly knits that made him visible from space in his Hey Hey days.

But Channel 9, not to be outdone as the home of fine cheese, last night gave us "Starstruck", their variation of the UK's "Stars in Their Eyes" in which guys and dolls morph into their pop heroes. In the case of SS we had everything from Robbie Williams to Barry White, the latter of which caused a wave of controversy in my house at least, with both my flatmate and myself appalled that, in 2005, a man can paint his skin dark a la Al Jolson's travelling minstrel, and have his entire performance aired without being ripped off the airwaves.

Meanwhile, Larry Emdur and Catriona Rowntree grinned like Cheshire cats with their Vaseline-dressed caps, inspiring nausea with each round of their "sparkling" repartee. All that was missing was the Channel 9 dancers performing a Coralee Hollow-choreographed number featuring said dancers running screaming past the camera to a Geoff Harvey-conducted band rendition of "Copacabana", perhaps with Barry Crocker in charge of vocals. Hey: There's three possibilities for SS contestants to morph into. But why stop there?

"Tonight, Larry, I'm starstruck by...Ian Turpie!"
"Tonight, Larry, I'm starstruck by...Patti Newton!"
"Tonight, Larry, I'm starstruck by...Larry Emdur!"

That's entertainment...


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