I may have managed to resist Big Brother addiction since 2002, but it was only a matter of time before another reality show nabbed me. I’ve been an Idol devotee since halfway through Series 1, and I found myself entirely hooked on The Biggest Loser when I caught the tail end of it — but it looks like It Takes Two will be the series that actually entices me back into regular blog entries where I’ll rant formlessly about each week’s episode.
I caught several episodes of Just The Two Of Us — the BBC format which Seven has adapted into It Takes Two — while in the UK this year. Aside from the title, the only other notable difference was that the UK series ran as a stripped series of live episodes over just two weeks, rather than as a weekly show. The British have a much more flexible attitude to TV scheduling, and I’m not surprised we didn’t get that approach here.
The most important lesson I learned from the British version is that the show is much more entertaining if you have a couple of genuinely awful, or at least highly variable, singers around. Too much competence makes for dull viewing.
As such, the first few performers on Sunday night had me worried. Simon Reeve was nervous but adjusted quickly, Erika Heynatz seemed more relaxed than her professional partner, and Michael Bevan crooned almost effortlessly. So I breathed a sigh of relief when Kate Ritchie showed up with her average-at-best attempt at ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, where she was well and truly outclassed by Troy Cassar-Daley. Ritchie’s teen fanbase will ensure she’s not voted out for a while, so we should be able to look forward to some more wobbly bits.
To be fair, while both Kates (Ritchie and Fischer) were average, Richard Zachariah was excruciating. Karen Knowles didn’t help matters by warbling like a demented cuckoo, making it even more obvious how lacklustre Richard Z’s performance was. Perhaps she was excited at being on a show other than Where Are They Now? Sarah Ryan was also a bit all over the place, but at least put in an effort and is bound to get a sympathy vote over being ill.
My favourites this week were undoubtedly Richard Champion and Wendy Matthews — apart from anything else, choosing ‘When You’re Gone’ is brave for the first week, because both singers have to sing the whole song, with no breath-catching bits. I was also impressed by Michael Bevan and Jade MacRae — he was considerably better than I expected — and Rachel Beck’s pairing with Mark Furze (who I don’t think I’ve ever noticed before). One has to presume Richard Z is going to be the first to go, however.
Both ‘Kids’ and ‘When You’re Gone’ featured in the UK final — me suspects someone’s been checking the tapes . . .
While Amanda Pellman suggested she’d take the Dicko-harsh-but-fair role, she seems to have been supplanted in that ambition by James Valentine. Valentine’s average scores were a full point lower than the other judges — which is not to say I’d dispute many of them.
When Seven ran early promos suggesting that an author would be involved, I assumed it would be the relentlessly self-promoting Tara Moss. As such, Judy Nunn’s appearance was a very welcome surprise. No doubt she’s there in the compulsory ‘keep the older viewers happy’ slot, but she turned in a good performance.
There’s plenty of room for a text-voting confusion scandal, given that there’s two contestants called Kate (I don’t buy Kate Fischer’s rebranding as Katie), and two contestants called Richard (plus two singers called David, just for good measure).
Inevitably, the show will be compared with Dancing With The Stars, since it’s essentially the same format with a different talent. On that note, Grant Denyer is infinitely preferable to Daryl Somers, but Terasa Livingstone isn’t a patch on Sonia Kruger. Executives will presumably be pleased with the ratings — 1.75 million viewers Australia-wide — though the real test is how many people don’t return next week.
Note to Seven: The song is not called ‘Baby When You’re Gone’. A simple ‘When You’re Gone’ will suffice.