Did we like it?
It was all good fun with lots of amateurism to make it more endearing.
What was good about it?
• Mark Owen was the star of the show – he cracked some good gags and threw his soul into the dance routines (despite looking as if he hadn’t slept for a week). Unlike some members of the band, he didn’t take the whole thing too seriously. He knows that this second round of success won’t last for ever so he’s enjoying it while he can.
• Out of all the new material, the stand out performance was of number one hit Patience, but we were quite taken by Shine (Scissor Sisters meets Brotherhood Of Man), sung by Mark. The track I’d Wait For Life was a bit too soppy for us.
• Out of all the old material, opening number Relight My Fire stood out. Very slick and well staged. Pity about Lulu, though. She’s on our we-hate list after her performance as a Soapstar Superstar judge earlier in the year.
• It was a brave decision to broadcast the show live. There was a lot of awkwardness during the question and answer sessions but Gary’s vocals remained spot-on throughout and there was always a bit of tension in the air: will Gary Barlow dislocate a hip while ‘busting some grooves’?
• We enjoyed playing a game of spotting the lowest of the low in the “celebrity” audience. Colin & Justin were early contenders, looking too overexcited for men of their years; maybe it was footie flop Steve McLaren; or Gary Rhodes (still with sticky-up hair); or Louise Redknapp looking about 45. But they are all superstars in comparison to our winner – Richard Arnold, who’s on TV at some ungodly hour (and was located next to Simon Webbe – interesting!)
• Peter Kay asking the foursome to sing Flying Without Wings. (It’s a Westlife song, you see)
• Robbie Williams didn’t show up
What was bad about it?
• The cast of Heartbeat, Emmerdale and Coronation Street doing some top-notch arse-licking. Naturally, Gary Barlow lapped this up as much as humanly possible. Now he’s got another half a dozen compliments to recite to himself, while gazing in the mirror during his daily pep talk.
• Even when a question from a member of the audience was specifically aimed at someone else, Gary still managed to interrupt and turn the question around to make it about him. Obviously, this is a great social talent yet also incredibly annoying! He tried his best to make this The Gary Barlow Show plus his three backing singers
• The backing dancers could have done with a costume change for the finale as scantily clad women in stockings and suspenders didn’t really go with the emotional and empowering theme of big ballad Never Forget.
• ITV nicking money off its viewers again by staging another bloody phone vote.
• The tedious Million Love Songs winning the phone vote against the better Babe.
• Al Murray demeaning himself by being far too ingratiating when he got to ask a question – and throwing in an obscure reference to “tyre-pumping” that fell horribly flat