Did we like it?To give a serious and insightful critique of a Saturday night schedule filler like this would ultimately be pointless. Yes its production values were questionable and the talent on offer reeked of summer season at Butlin’s but this was an enjoyably kitsch piece of festive TV fun.
What was good about it?
• The hilarious moving sets which allowed presenter Tess Daly to sit in a kitchen full of balloons, streamers and bowls of Wotsits. It was as if the BBC studios were slowly transforming into a MFI store’s Christmas party.
• Feisty 80s girl group Bananarama, back again and looking great as a glamorous duo. We always loved that the girls looked like a bunch of pissheads only on stage for a laugh and this performance of Venus had enough strutting, camp backing dancers and bad miming to prove nothing much has changed.
• The surprisingly youthful looking Rick Astley who bizarrely is now identical to the lead singer in Westlife.
• The Nolan Sisters and I’m In The Mood For Dancing. We were utterly transfixed – as a pedestrian is when observing a horrific traffic accident – by the middle-aged siblings throwing some serious shapes on the dancefloor and belting out high-pitched “Oohs”. The level of weirdness was further notched up when we realised that Coleen Nolan of Loose Women was back in the band. Surely things haven’t got that bad?
• Mad as cheese Suzi Quatro sitting on a huge motorbike and wearing a studded waistcoat. Despite the fact that Devilgate Drive is as likely to appear on a party’s playlist in 2005 as Bach, we can’t help but applaud the BBC’s chutzpah for booking the ballsy glam rock queen.
• The sultry, addictive Push The Button by the Sugababes. Proof that classic party tracks are being produced in the present too.
What was bad?
• Foghorn-voiced Heather Small and her unheavenly One Night In Heaven. If this came on at a party, we’d be forced to throw up there and then and jump into the nearest cab to leave.
• The rather rubbish attempt to identify the ingredients for the perfect party tune. It was no surprise to learn the best songs consist of easy to remember lyrics, an uptempo beat and an uplifting melody.
• Jocelyn Brown’s overlong version of Somebody Else’s Guy. A great voice but a song too downbeat for this campfest.
• Similarly, why were Il Divo performing Mariah Carey’s Hero (in Italian of course)? What an effective way to clear a dance floor.
• Is This The Way To Amarillo? – we’re so over this now.
• Ginger monstrosity Mick Hucknall, the lurking and sinister member of a party who no one invited and leers at the ladies with beer breath.