It goes without saying that the general series of glamorous extended ads for Lord Andrew Fat Wobbler’s latest ventures are the campest thing on TV, except for the presenter, Camper of the Year, Graham ‘Camp is my middle name’ Norton. However, they’ve upped it a notch this year with ‘Over the Rainbow’, the search for the new Dorothy, which not only throws Judy Garland into the mix but allows Graham to scream ‘Friends of Dorothy!’ every ten minutes. The intro this week excelled itself by including the campest sentence I’ve probably heard this year: “I’m not ready to be flying on that moon just yet.” Although this is as clear as fifty year old net curtains right now, I assume it will make PERFECT SENSE by the end.
We join this series after the half way mark, which is always sensible. As only one girl has a chance in hell of being a familiar name by May 2012, you don’t want to have to spend too much time investing your interest in complete non-entities you’re never going to hear about again. It also means they ‘ve got more time to fill us in on the back stories, which are their usual interesting selection of genuine madness and lunatic editing.
First up is Steph, who sings ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s best friend’ – but not before The Lord comments on Norton’s waistcoat, which truly looks like a whale feasted on nuclear plankton and MDMA before sicking up all over it. Steph apparently thinks ‘DAAGBF’ is one of the Artful Dodger’s songs from Oliver!, as she manically and furtively leaps all over the stage throughout.
She has an official back story which is not as interesting as the fact that I actually own a CD by Steph’s mum who is… Baby D, of ‘Let Me Be Your Fantasy’ fame.
Jennie’s ‘dead father’ is that she used to be a fatty. Boo hoo. This week’s she’s singing ‘Feeling Good’. Aw bless, her attempts at pelvis wiggling are embarrassingly inept. She looks pretty and sweet but has all the sex appeal of a kitten licking an ice-cream that someone dropped on the floor. Her dress would look absolutely wonderful on the hottest lady at the over 50′s bridge night on the cruise. “How is Big Band week?” enquiries Norton. “The band is so big!” Jen informs us.
Time for the judges. They’ve dumped the previous line up… sort of. Blonde institution Denise Van Shagthecontestants has been replaced by blonde institution Sheila Hancock; big toothed self-adoring princess John Barrowman has been replaced by some big toothed self-adoring wannabe princess called Partridge; and whoever the other person was has been replaced by none other than Voice of an Angel, Lungs of an Asbestos Layer, Charlotte Church. They love the two girls, but ruin the whole concept of the TV talent show by giving more or less useful and non-vicious feedback. This is not what the audience expects. Where is the random usage of hackneyed phrases and generally hating on defenceless teenagers?
Up next, Sophie (Welsh, bottom two last week, saved by The Lord, which in this programme involves something a little different from being turned from sin by Jesus) singing ‘Wonderful World’.
She’s been styled as ‘Hollywood starlet trying to conceal secret pregnancy on red carpet’. Sheila says ‘It’s a viable interpretation’ (ie, not the one I would have done, luvvie) but then says ‘I want to kick you’. This turns out not to be a sudden endorsement of intergenerational violence, but Hancock’s own unique brand of encouragement. Partridge has obviously pissed off wardrobe, as he’s wearing the T-shirt he turned up to rehearsals in.
Danielle celebrated her 18th birthday party in ‘the Dorothy House’, which seriously is a place I thought G-Nort actually lived. As some of the other girls are not 18, there is a bit less port & bitter lemon bandying about than there was at Voice of an Angel, Liver of Great Interest to Medical Research’s 18th. Danielle swings for the fences with ‘Mambo Italiano’ and manages to bring a smile to The Lord’s droopy visage (as he’s normally caught in candid shots looking like he has just had a sudden vision of Gray-gray having a threesome with Mr Kidd and Mr Wint, this is impressive.)
Lauren sings ‘The Man That Got Away’. There was a bit of a kerfuffle when Lozza got on the show, as apparently she’d done some singing and dancing before, and this apparently annoyed those purists who prefer to have their eyes & ears assaulted by complete rank amateurs who’ve never done this before suddenly stepping on to the BBC stage. Much more annoying is the fact she has lots of irritating stage habits, such as staggering forward suddenly as if she’s been stabbed in order to suggest emotional misery.
The judges and The Lord love them both. So dull. Where is the HATING, people, where is the HATING? Up next, Stephanie and Jessica. Jessica has had a sore throat and been rushed to all kinds of specialists and generally pampered like Shergar (before he was kidnapped I mean, unless you think that pampering involves being ground up into mincemeat and sold to Masterfoods.) Well, Julie Andrews is playing the O2 soon and she’s 74 and had nodules on her throat, so uh huh girlfriend. Suck it up.
Stephanie, having plundered Lulu’s castoffs, drears her way through Mr BoJangles. Jessica does ‘Cabaret’ and the cut to the Lord could be captioned ‘The Lord thinks about doing a Cabaret revival’. Jess is one of those people who looks a bit funny and awkward (and sounds a tiny bit SEN) until they get on stage, at which point you think you must have fallen asleep and woken up during another contestants go, so different is she.
Partridge tells Stephanie he didn’t know who Mr Bojangles was. He should have Wiki-ed it like the rest of us. Sheila agrees that Stephanie did not let us ‘discover’ Mr Bojangles. This is what happens if you get actual professionals involved. Let’s all just stick to DVO sexting the contestants, or Racist McTweedycole commenting on their hem lines. Anyhow, looks like Stephanie is for the chop this week.
The results show is shown on the Sunday. To demonstrate it’s a different day, Gray and the panellists are all wearing different outfits. Maybe Lord Chicken Wobbler is wearing a different outfit as well, but it’s hard to tell. Partridge has pissed off wardrobe even further (what is he doing, huffing all their hairspray?) and has been dressed as a Russian peasant. It has to be said that Voice of an Angel, Banned from the Offy has been looking SMOkin’ hot.
But enough of these tiresome floozies. The Lord is searching for both a Dorothy and a Toto, and the five canine finalists - Missy, Eddie, Spider, Troy and Dangerous Dave – have been sent off to the theatah to see how they manage under the lights with the greasepaint, darlings. There is an actual Toto panel, a kind of cutprice Partridge, Church and Hancock, who get to judge the dogs. Eddy has a little problem with the fold-up seats in the theatre. This is the most entertaining thing any of them does.
Each week the Dorothies get sent on a ‘mission’. This week is ‘walk alone through the haunted forest’, but should be piss easy compared to last week’s, which was ‘have a session with Church’ (in a church – inspired!) At this point we get to see what happened to that guy who came up with the idea of having the Pope duet with the Queen. On joining the ‘Over The Rainbow’ team he rigged up a furry monkey to a rope, added some wings, called it ‘Little Graham’ and swung it into the faces of teenage girls dressed in gingham in a wood in the middle of the night. Yes. That is what our LICENCE MONEY is going towards.
They also have to bitch each other out. This week it’s ‘Who can’t cope with the pressure of the West End?’ The favourites are Jen (they say it’s because she’s not up to the dancing, we say it’s because she’ll start comfort eating and end up having to be a munchkin) and Stephanie (they say it’s because she’ll find it difficult living on her own and looking after herself, we say it’s because we don’t know who Mr Bojangles is.)
Graynor kicks off with the results and, confusingly, Steph and Stephanie are the least popular Dorothies. They have to sing Tell Me on a Sunday as a duet. The Lord speaks – and the burning spear of death lands squarely on Stephanie, leaving Baby Baby D to sing another day (and presumably the Dotty house much cleaner than before, as apparently S-phanie was a bit slutty with the old washing up). “You’ve got a career, darling, ‘ says Lord Old Flabber, presumably meaning ‘Good luck with the panto, darling.”
And finally, we get to the point we’ve all been waiting for – finding out what the moon business is all about. Truly, the hand of Pope-Queen duet man is visible here again. Stephanie literally takes off her sparkly slippers and hands them to Steph. Baby Baby D carries them like communion wafers to The Lord, who accepts them with the same look on his face as he might have if, for instance, you saw him in Selfridges one day and were inspired to take off your minging old converse with the soles half flapping off and hand them to him. Then Stephanie climbs the stairs, sits on a large waning moon prop, and, to the strains of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, is lifted across the stage, through the rear curtains and, as the Lord and Graynor settle down for a couple of shandies and a good bitch, is unceremoniously dumped out the back of the studio into the harsh streets of White City, to make her way home shoeless in the rain. Genius.