Did we like it?
An hour of Justin Lee Collins trying his hand at being a Tom Jones tribute act at the World’s biggest Celebrity Impersonator Convention in Florida? Did we like it? We loved it! Good times!
What was good about it?
• The use of the Sapphire & Steel theme music to build the tension took us back to our childhood, though nearly sent us behind the sofa.
• You had to admire the sheer dedication of the Freddie Mercury and Neil Diamond tribute astists at Legends in Blackpool, who ‘became’ their idols. ‘Neil’ revealed how he would sing everything in the style of Diamond, giving us a rendition of the Teletubbies theme à la Neil Diamond.
• JLC giving us his Alison Moyet tribute, and just sounding like a very camp brickie.
• After the Legends management team suggested he try his luck at impersonating Barry Gibb, we were treated to some classic JLC one-liners: “I’m struggling to come to terms with the hair, and his wardrobe is giving me body issues!” and “Barry Gibb is a tall, slim, good-looking guy. I’m a short, fat, hairy Bristolian with a face that looks like it’s been hit with an oar!”
• After Jo Price (who trains the Stars In Your Eyes contestants) had convinced Justin to do his far superior Tom Jones impersonation , we visited Justin in the hairdressers, where after donning his wig, he admitted he looked more like Rory McGrath than Tom Jones…
• The standard of the impersonators at the Florida convention was mixed. Some were spot on – George Bush, one of the Chers – and others were dreadful – ‘Sean Connery’ (whose accent was hopeless) and ‘Peter Criss from Kiss’ (who seemed to have been struck dumb) we’re looking at you…
• Dale, who bore a striking resemblance to Bill Clinton, saw the huge irony in making money from impersonating a man that he deeply despised.
• The more buttons on his shirt that he undid, the more JLC metamorphosed from an average guy in a black shirt into Tom!
• The hilarious moment where a fat Marilyn Monroe sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to a clearly hammered Justin.
• JLC lying on an inflatable in the hotel pool singing ‘Teletubbies’ in a Tom Jones stylee.
• His superb performance at the showcase had the crowd up dancing, the judges singing along, and one lady throwing her knickers at him! It was good enough to interest an agent who wanted to sign him up for a week in Florida, and uber-agent Linda Collins told him he had the potential to be one of the best Tom Jones impersonators in the world!
• We punched the air in triumph as Justin returned to Legends in Blackpool and gave a performance that had Jo Price shedding a proud tear and the Legends boss admitting that he had been wrong to think that JLC couldn’t pull it off.
What was bad about it?
• Linda Collins’ hair – a perm that could scare children and had Justin remarking “a powerful lady with powerful hair.”
• JLC dealing with his nerves by getting absolutely hammered the night before his big showcase almost wrecked his voice – and his chances.
• The fact that the George Bush impersonator could earn $35,000 per appearance just by impersonating one of the world’s most notorious idiots, seemed somehow obscene.
• Despite being brought up about 30 miles from where Tom Jones was raised, JLC’s Welsh accent was more Bombay than Pontypridd.