It Takes Two Week 5: Halfway point

Rock and disco is not a good pairing — in fact, I think this show probably needs to just concentrate on one genre at a time. There’s not the technicality of scoring that leads Dancing With The Stars to do this kind of thing, so why they need to double up with this (or next week’s 70s and 80s match-up) is a bit beyond me. It’s especially silly when there’s an uneven number of contestants each doing a single song, since one genre — disco this week — dominates anyway. And then there’s that annoying result . . .

Julia & Dave, ‘Jailhouse Rock’: As everyone was at pains to point out, no-one would have known Julia messed up at the beginning if she hadn’t fessed up to it. Decent vocals (they even suited Dave better) with plenty of happening ‘Woo!’ material from Julia, but the staging was actually a bit distracting. A score of 31 seemed quite fair and ranked them third on the night, but wasn’t enough to keep them around — obviously not enough votes there, alas.

It Takes Two
Daniel & Kate, ‘If I Can’t Have You’: Quite why this got a lower score than Julia & Dave, I’m not sure. OK, it’s cheating to have Kate sing first (and for this song, I prefer Kim Wilde’s 90s arrangement to the original), but it was still well staged.

Bobby & Jade, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’: Haven’t liked this couple much before, but (apart from the uber-obvious backing vocals) this was pretty impressive, and probably deserved a tad more than 28. Everyone made good points about finishing notes and excessive attack.

Mimi & David, ‘Right Back Where We Started From’: She can’t sing and he can’t sing disco. Not a pleasant combination. 24 might be deemed generous. The fact they’re not in the bottom two suggests the public should be shot.

Ernie & Rachael, ‘Sing’: There was far too much harping on last week’s walkout, but that shouldn’t hide the fact that it was a very average performance. Ross Wilson is right, the track isn’t a rock song, and Rachael’s outfit probably could have doubled for disco as well.

Jolene & David, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’: Jolene’s easiest the best amateur in this contest, and a top score of 37 is definitely deserved. Everyone else is largely working on the melody, and she’s busy breaking microphones!

Jo & Anthony, ‘Shake Your Groove Thing’: Jo’s voice picked up, and she and Anthony are the best choreographed of the couples. Undoubtedly it doesn’t hurt to pick a song with no strictly solo lines . . . but for all that carping, still a deserved second place.

Random notes:

  • Mimi & David’s running total up this week was lower than the running totals both Jolene & David and Jo & Anthony had managed last week. Score-wise, they’re the only two couples that matter at this stage.
  • The double 70s/80s theme might be a bit dodgy, but Daryl Braithwaite is a legitimate inclusion on both fronts.
  • At least we got a decent chunk of the departing performers this week, which is quite often not the case.
  • It Takes Two Weeks 2-4: Catching up and chucking out

    As I suspected, keeping up with It Takes Two has proved something of a challenge, and I haven’t had a chance to watch episodes 2 and 3 at all. I did catch Week 4, but I’m only just going to get to post my remarks before Week 5 comes on air.

    I’m not too upset with anyone who’s left so far. Lochie Daddo didn’t leave much impression on me in the time he was there, and I always thought Krystal was a stretch as an alleged celebrity anyway. I’m disappointed that we’ve lost Wendy Matthews so early on, and I think either Bobby or Mimi deserved to go more than Russell. Nonetheless, so far there seems to be a reasonable match between actual merit and staying power.

    It Takes Two
    Thoughts on each performer:

    Bobby & Jade, ‘Hit The Road Jack’: Well, I wish they would. Jade claimed “he’s worked really hard on his vocal technique”, but it wasn’t very evident. (Also, this was the only song where the pro sang first, which is always a sign of weakness.

    Daniel & Kate, ‘I Got You’: Very impressive. A totally suitable Split Enz look, and a great sound from both performers.

    Jo & Anthony, ‘Call Me’: Jo is developing a good performing presence, but her vocal control is patchy (especially given that ‘Call Me’ is not the biggest stretch note-wise). As Ross said:”You can do better”.

    Mimi & David, ‘You’re No Good’: What a devastatingly ironic choice of song title. Mimi claimed her range had increased, which is a genuinely frightening thought.

    Jolene & David, ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’: Definitely the best pairing in the contest, and maintaining a high standard. The fact that Amanda suggested they should emulate Bobby’s alleged darkness says far more about her stupidity than their performance.

    Russell & Wendy, ‘Play That Funky Music’: An odd song choice, which clearly didn’t pay off in the long run. Can’t better James’ remark: “You are a funny guy, but you’re about as funky as yoghurt.”

    Julia & Dave, ‘Happy Together’: This is the one celebrity pairing where I feel like the amateur has a better choice than the professional. With that said, Julia’s song choices seem to have been consistently a bit odd.

    Ernie & Rachael, ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’: There have been some dodgy performances before, but never have we seen anyone actually walk off stage without singing a note. I like Rachael a lot, but that still might have been preferable to the reality.
    Random notes:

  • The average judging scores so far have followed a familiar pattern: James is the lowest with 6.7, followed by Ross on 6.8. Amanda and Marina are tied for niceness on 7.1, but that could be a lot higher (and tackier). Amanda’s giving Russell 10 was OTT, however.
  • The performance of ‘Do You Know Where You’re Going To?’ by the four female professionals suffered somewhat from being hugely over-orchestrated. The male take on ‘Eagle Rock’ was better, though it demonstrated Dave’s limits once again.
  • Belatedly, the official site heading has been corrected to read ‘It Takes Two 2007’.
  • It Takes Two Week 1: Take two for 2007

    Last year, I tracked the fortunes of the contestants on Seven’s It Takes Two to an obsessively scary degree (click here for the damning archival evidence, including proof that I chucked a sulk in the last week because Rachael Beck got voted out and subsequently ignored the final). I’m going to be travelling throughout Series 2, so there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to keep track of the scores every week, but I’ll do my best. Frankly, I need a reality TV addiction, and as I’ve said before, at least this is less time consuming than Big Brother.

    It Takes Two
    So what’s changed? Firstly, thank goodness that Kate Ritchie has replaced the godawful Terasa Livingtstone (and she’s taller than Grant in heels, despite earlier speculation). Secondly, we’ve had three changes in the professional singers, almost all of which count as improvements. Anthony Callea fills the Idol slot vacated by Guy Sebastian, Kate Ceberano takes over from Karen Knowles, and David Campbell takes over from Glenn Shorrock.

    Based on this week’s performance, it’s hard to guess who’ll be going first. I thought Kate Ceberano and Daniel Kowalski got unfairly low scores, though it’s hard to tell whether this was because they were the first couple up or because people are suffering from Kate overload after Dancing With The Stars. I’ll be giving my vote to Julia Zemiro, because she’s easily my favourite out of the three lowest-ranked performers (and I loved her vocal performance on ‘I’m Sarajevo, Taste Me’ in Eurobeat last year). I especially enjoyed her retort to the still pointless Amanda Pellman’s comment that she should ‘sing to win’: “Alright Amanda, I will.”

    Random notes:

  • The judges fell back into their familiar scoring roles. Marina had the highest average score with 6.7, followed by Ross with 6.6, Amanda with 6.4 and James with 5.9 (a figure largely driven by his giving only 5 to Ernie & Rachael, which sounds about right to me).
  • With pop and swing this week and rock and movies next, so far the show is exactly replicating last year’s format.
  • When I visited on Tuesday night, the official site still proclaimed ‘It Takes Two 2006’.
  • Russell Gilbert’s IKEA joke also made an appearance when he showed up on Thank God You’re Here last year. No new material Russell?
  • It Takes Two Week 9: It takes these two?

    Those judges should be shot. You’d have to have tin ears to presume that Sarah & Guy’s tune-free performance of ‘I Want You Back’ was better than Mark & Rachel’s rendition of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ — but that’s what the scores (33 versus 31) suggested. And while it’s perfectly OK to acknowledge that singing (light) opera is difficult, that’s no excuse for giving Erika a 10 for her rendition of ‘Con Te Partiro’ when she couldn’t even hold the closing note.

    With that said, it’s the public who truly deserve to be shot. Despite those ludicrous scores, Sarah & Guy still came third in the judge’s ranking. As such, they must have had the highest popular vote in order to stick around and advance, along with Mr & Mrs Antiseptic, to the final. Clearly, Guy’s teenybopper fans from three years ago still have mobiles. On this basis — and given that the popular vote is the ultimate deciding factor — it looks likely that Sarah is going to emerge as the first ‘It Takes Two’ champion. I weep for the future.

    In all honesty, my interest level in watching the final has dropped dramatically now that Mark & Rachel aren’t going to feature. I’ll tune in, but whoever wins, I’m not gonna be that happy. Roll on series 2.

    Erika & David, ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ As I’ve noted before, I’d find David more convincing as a cadaver than as a rocker.

    Mark & Rachel, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ Smooth, if not exceptionally exciting.

    Sarah & Guy, ‘I Want You Back’ A mangled mess from the first note.

    It Takes Two
    Erika & David, ‘Con Te Partiro’ Well done, but it’s a dull song and Erika was clearly not up to anything more than hitting the right notes.

    Mark & Rachel, ‘Beauty & The Beast’ Very nicely done, and certainly much better than the scores suggested.

    Sarah & Guy, ‘Angels Brought Me Here’ James Valentine said it all when he noted that “the little pitch demons” were still on the attack. The only accurately scored song of the night.

    Random notes:

  • I note that Guy’s new single will get its premiere on the final episode — quite possibly the entire reason he signed up in the first place, although it presumably precludes him appearing on the new series of Idol for a while.
  • The Young Divas’ guest appearance was welcome. ‘It’s Raining Men’ didn’t feature in their stage show when I saw it, but I won’t be surprised if it’s now been added.
  • Amanda and Marina remain tied for the highest-scoring judges, each averaging 7.7 over the course of the series. Remarkably, James was one of the two judges to stupidly give a 10 to Erika & David.
  • If we do get a second series, it’ll be interesting to see if some of the same professional singers reappear. This is standard practice on Dancing With The Stars, but I suspect it might be frowned upon here. In any event, I’d be suggesting David Campbell and Courtney Murphy as obvious candidates. I’d also love to see Deborah Conway, but in no way can I imagine her agreeing to it.

  • It Takes Two Week 8: Larry Emdur?

    Apparently, Grant Denyer’s desire to be a major TV host has not yet overpowered his desire to race V8 supercars. Sure, Larry Emdur’s head might look like a wine cask, but he slipped effortlessly into the role. Teresa slipped effortlessly into her usual hopelessness.

    The bigger shock of the night, however, was Kate & Troy heading out the door ahead of Sarah & Guy. I figured Kate’s TV popularity might have helped her hang in there, but obviously the Home & Away fans are favouring Mark.

    Tonight’s big drawcard was everyone singing twice, which didn’t actually seem to phase anyone too much. Here’s the roundup:

    Mark & Rachel, ‘Blue Suede Shoes” An awesomely good opening, and I don’t think I’d have known about Rachel’s injury if they hadn’t flagged it.

    Kate & Troy, ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ Good, but not great, and using the Melbourne Gospel Choir is really cheating. As the judges said, better than ‘Yesterday’.

    Sarah & Guy, ‘Baby One More Time’ Started OK, became horrendous, and the dancers didn’t help. Loved Sarah’s Britney look though. Amanda’s comments about not liking Britney’s version showed her ignorance (like we needed more evidence).

    Erika & David, ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ My stance remains the same: they’re antiseptic. At least she sang first though, unlike the previous two contestants. Ross’ praise (and his first 10) was over-the-top, to say the least.

    It Takes Two
    Mark & Rachel, ‘A Whole New World’ An iffy first note, but recovered rapidly and demonstrated some lovely harmonies. (I’ve never liked the song itself, so that’s high praise.)

    Kate & Troy, ‘Route 66’ Clearly more in Kate’s zone, though she still sounded tremulous. Ross gave them 7s both times, which seemed harsh.

    Sarah & Guy, ‘Don’t Know Much’ Two songs, two long Guy openings. I don’t know much, but I know Sarah is not Linda Ronstadt. In fairness, it could have been a lot worse, though James’ estimate that Sarah hit the right note 82.5% of the time was a tad generous.

    Erika & David, ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ David, you cannot rock. Erika, you’ll do, but the high notes are annoying. How this got the series highest score is quite beyond me.

    So with just two weeks to go to the final, who’ll get in? Popular votes will be critical next week — since even being top two won’t guarantee a position — which tends to make me think we might be seeing a Mark/Sarah final. I could live with that, since I’m pretty sure Mark would win, and he definitely deserves to.

    Random notes:

  • ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ marked something I never thought I’d see: James giving a higher score than Marina. And for the record, she was right. And then he did it again with ‘Don’t Know Much’! Weird. Even so, Marina is still tied for the highest-scoring judge position with Amanda.
  • While the contestants have to learn two songs, apparently the creative team didn’t have the energy to come up with two intros, since the second performances had no video introduction (and indeed two got crammed into one segment). Perhaps there are strict orders not to intrude on True Stories too much.
  • In show totals, just four points separated Sarah & Guy from Kate & Troy — with the latter taking up the rear.
  • At least there was an exit performance this time, even if Kate forgot the words.


  • It Takes Two Week 7: Scores don’t cut it

    If you leave out the exiting Champs & Wendy, there was really nothing to differentiate the scores this week, with a none-too-diverse range of 33 to 35. While this adds to the unpredictability and makes the public vote especially critical, it suggests that the judges are getting complacent, lazy or (in the case of Amanda) even dumber than before.

    Frankly, there’s no way that Sarah’s maybe-I-can-find-the-note performances should be ranked as more or less equivalent to the other three remaining contestants. While she’s certainly the weakest singer left in the pack, I won’t be surprised if she outlasts some of her more vocally able rivals. On with the roundup:

    Kate & Troy, ‘Gimme Some Lovin” Another solid upbeat performance from these two, though the song clearly didn’t suit them as well as last week’s Acca Dacca attack. I wouldn’t mind seeing these goes get in the top three, but they don’t deserve to win.

    It Takes Two
    Sarah & Guy, ‘Higher Ground’ While the judges correctly pointed out that this was a much more suitable song choice than previous, the fact remains that there’s probably no more potentially to be wrung from Sarah — she’s already endearing, and she’s never going to sing any better. The fact that Guy kicked off the number — generally a sign of uncertainty on the part of the celebrity vocalist — is somewhat ominous.

    Erika & David, ‘Sway’ It’s the same old song for those two: sounds fine, lacks pizzazz or any resemblance to likeability. David is so clearly not Michael Buble, or even vaguely Buble-esque, that ’embarrassing’ is the word that springs to mind. Continued appearances in the bottom two suggest that next week will see an Erika versus Sarah battle, and even a top-ranked performance might not be enough to save the Antiseptic Two.

    Richard & Wendy, ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ Rock is clearly Champs’ preferred genre, but this number relied much more on Wendy’s vocal performance than his (despite her amused comment that she never thought she’d be singing that song in her career). All things considered, this pairing never quite lived up to the promise of their first week together. Oh well.

    Mark & Rachel, ‘Heartache Tonight’ Another solid performance, though I still don’t quite see how it managed to score more than such prior triumphs as ‘Total Eclipse’ and ‘Burn For You’. This duo will definitely be getting my phone votes from now on.

    Random notes:

  • Judge patterns remain the same as ever, with Marina still just pipping Amanda for the most generous judge overall.
  • Forcing contestants back to genres they’ve so far dodged is a neat trick, both for removing any remaining comfort zones and since there’s not too many spare genres that are likely to get covered. (Anyone for house?)
  • There’s only one possible explanation for Teresa: they needed to hire a co-host who was shorter than Grant.
  • Speaking of Grant, how is it that he was able to train for and compete in Dancing With The Stars and maintain his weather gig on Sunrise, but can’t manage to combine the hosting gig — essentially a one-day-a-week job — with anything beyond an occasional Monday morning appearance on breakfast TV?
  • Shame on Seven for having no exit performance at all, choosing instead to continue the show-wide series of plugs for its True Stories special.
  • It Takes Two Week 6: No room for nines

    While standards should be higher at this stage of the competition, the logic of Amanda Pellman’s scores this week eludes me utterly. While Kate & Troy did a fine job of AC/DC, I didn’t see it as a 10-ranked performance. Even more confusing was giving Sarah’s enthusiastic, but ultimately off-pitch, rendition of ‘Your Song’, a nine. But then Amanda’s always been the biggest waste of space on the judging panel.

    Simon & Paulini’s exit from the show was no great surprise, given their low score this week. What was more interesting was Erika & David joining them in the bottom two — obviously I’m not the only person who feels their general lack of personality and air of smugness cancels out their obvious technical abilities. Next week’s likely eviction candidates are hard to pick, especially given Kate & Troy’s swing back to form this week, which shows that anything’s possible.

    Richard & Wendy, ‘The Power Of Love’ Huey Lewis is a good vocal match for Champs, and giving Wendy more to do also proved a successful choice. If they can stay away from ballads next week, they may stick around, although the pressure is definitely on.

    Sarah & Guy, ‘Your Song’ Yet again, Sarah showed that her enthusiasm and charm continue to outstrip her vocal abilities. While Guy made endless excuses about being sick, I actually saw that as an advantage — he was less inclined to go over the top vocally, making it easier for Sarah to try and harmonise (although the key word remains ‘try’).
    It Takes Two
    Mark & Rachel, ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ Definitely my favourite performance of the week. I love the song of course, but what really made it work was that the pair eschewed the obvious option of giving Mark the recurring ‘turn around’ vocal and instead swapped the roles. At the moment, these guys would have to be my picks to win, and I thought this deserved a couple more points than it got. Amanda’s comments about cheesiness made no sense at all, but that’s hardly surprising.

    Simon & Paulini, ‘Reminiscing’ Simon commented that he was determined to do this despite the consequences, and the consequences were all too obvious. It wasn’t a teeth-gratingly terrible performance, but it definitely was the worst of the week.

    Erika & David, ‘Missing You’ Mr and Ms Antiseptic didn’t really deliver the goods with this number. David’s parody of how he’d sing the song operatically was quite telling — he simply doesn’t have the kind of soul or huskiness in his tones that this nunber requires. But Erika might be a logical choice to take over from the consistently awful Teresa as co-host next season, especially since she’s lost her Foxtel gig.

    Kate & Troy, ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’ This was a fun and raunchy performance, but giving it a 36 (and thereby the highest score of the series so far) implies a level of quality which wasn’t quite there — it’s not the most vocally challenging of numbers, and performance was probably the key. Nonetheless, it showed that Kate & Troy can’t be easily written off.

    Random notes:

  • Despite Amanda’s rampant high score frenzy, Marina still remains the champ, with an average assigned score over the series of 7.1, just pipping Amanda’s 6.9.
  • The lowest series running total belongs to Richard & Wendy with 155, which is actually below Simon & Paulini (161).
  • Regardless of the 70s/80s theme, there was no excuse for Amanda’s dress.
  • Getting Wendy and Paulini to duet was a timely choice, given the latter’s impending exit, and both women were probably thankful for the chance to sing with a more experienced partner. Given that Paulini’s Young Divas tour also kicks off this Friday (and yes, I’ll be there), she’s probably even more grateful to have some free time.
  • Would it really kill Seven to show a bit more of the exit performance? We barely got past the first chorus this time around.
  • It Takes Two Week 5: The five-way split

    Kate Ritchie must be packing shit. While the Home & Away teenybopper vote will probably ensure her survival, her and Troy’s bottom-ranked score makes them a definite eviction contender next week, a scenario that hasn’t looked at all likely so far. Richard & Wendy will also probably be there, though for them it’s slightly more familiar territory. But let’s discover how we got there first as we review supergroups week (a generic theme that allows more or less any type of song choice, provided you don’t pick Aerosmith).

    Erika & David, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ As we’d expect, moving to a more up-beat number showed that while David has vocal chops, he lacks a certain looseness. There was also a lyrical fluff (one sang ‘want’, one sang the correct ‘need’) in the last verse, and the usual problem: lots of technical precision, not so much fun. 30 was probably a point or two more than they deserved.

    Kate & Troy, ‘Yesterday’ Kate’s crying in the pre-song footage was clearly no ploy, as she looked likely to burst into tears any minute. That worked to help with the song’s vulnerability, but, as James Valentine pointed out, made for slightly variable pitch (though sensibly she got assigned the main melody this week, unlike last week’s harmony fest). The score of 24 was a little lower than I expected, though it did rank among the two or three worst performances of the night.

    Simon & Paulini, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ After bottom-ranking last week, Simon & Paulini sensibly returned to upbeat fare, which suits them much better. Impressive duetting and great stage work, this scored a deserved 30 and should help seal them in place for a week or two.

    Michael & Jade, ‘With Or Without You’ A challenging choice, if only because it has so many quiet and low parts, which can easily sound off even if they’re pitched correctly. A good match for Bevan’s voice, and a well-maintained intensity saw a score of 29, which sounds about right to me.

    It Takes Two
    Mark & Rachel, ‘Mamma Mia/Waterloo’ Of course, I’m biased towards an ABBA performance, but on the other hand, my benchmark is much higher than usual. Mark & Rachel delivered, with plenty of tongue in cheek moments while not forgetting that ABBA were superlatively good singers and require a well-planned vocal performance. Mark’s harmonies on ‘Waterloo’ were odd in places, but overall I was happy to see this get top ranking with 31. The Bjorn Again cameo was fun but gratuitous.

    Sarah & Guy, ‘One’ Sarah remains an enthusiastic and energetic performer with seemingly no long-term control over her vocals. Her soft solo opening was spot-on, but once Guy joined in, she became a tad shouty. Mr Sebastian doesn’t help matters by indulging in his trademark vocal acrobatics, which seems to throw Sarah off and also puts her performance into stark relief. Less would be more, Guy, and this was more a 28 than a 30 performance.

    Richard & Wendy, ‘Satisfaction’ Like Simon & Paulini, these two knew that an upbeat performance was the best bet to get a higher score. Unlike those two, they rigged the song virtually as a solo, with Wendy reduced almost literally to the role of backing singer, complete with tambourine. Fun, energetic and good stuff overall, but they might have to return to Bryan Adams next week if they want to match the promise they showed in Week 1.

    The end result was five performers separated by only two points. It seemed clear after the performances and bearing in mind last week’s scores that Michael & Jade would square off with Richard & Wendy for the bottom two (though Kate & Troy’s unexpectedly low score made them an outside chance). While getting evicted with a score of 29 is probably a little disappointing for the cricketer and chanteuse, it’s better than having to repeat a song you’ve already slaughtered once.

    Random notes:

  • The total series scores sort the contestants into three clear groups: front runners (Erika & David 151, Mark & Rachel 144), possible upsets (Simon & Paulini and Sarah & Guy, both 136) and unlikely (Kate & Troy, 131, Richard & Wendy, 123). Michael & Jade’s series total was 129.
  • Marina remains queen of the high scores, with a running average of 7.0 — though her average score for this week (7.4) was the same as Helen, who still can’t decide if nice or nasty is her regular persona. The lowest score of the week (5 for Kate & Troy) came, unexpectedly, from Ross Wilson.
  • Teresa’s dress was a total disaster — it looked like pieces of three grey outfits randomly stitched together — and her hair wasn’t far behind. Helen’s hair straightening was also a mistake. Maybe the resident hairstylist took a week off. Maybe they should just sack Teresa.
  • The show seems finally to have settled on an alternating judges pattern, which is fun if only because it makes guessing the scores more difficult.
  • With 70s and 80s the theme next week, genres now seem to be firmly replaced by eras. This makes song choice even more critical, since it’s hard to blame an unsympathetic category when the options are so varied.
  • It Takes Two Week 4: Who’s going first?

    Well, we’ve gotten rid of Katie & David and about time too. I’d have been quite pleased to see them go before Judy & Glenn, as it had become quite clear that, whatever other charms she possesses, Ms Fischer is simply not a singer, with her effective range probably not topping three notes.

    Erika & David continue to sweep all before them in a bombastic display of alleged ballad wizardry, but I’m sick of seeing them do this kind of AOR shlock. Unfortunately, next week’s supergroup format doesn’t promise any respite. (It didn’t help that ‘Without You’, their chosen song, is now inescapably associated in my head with Mariah Carey. Ugh.) My favourite performance of the night was Mark & Rachel’s ‘Burn For You’, where Mark interestingly took the higher part, and made an excellent fist of it.

    It Takes Two
    In broad terms, you can judge how brave the celebrity singers are by whether they’re willing to open a song singing solo. This week’s notable holdovers were Katie and Sarah, who let their better-qualified counterparts kick off. The strategy doesn’t always work — as Richard and Simon could attest — but it’s more interesting than letting someone who we know can sing get first bite at the cherry.

    The leading contenders for getting kicked out next week are Michael & Jade and Richard & Wendy. With an average score of 6.3, Michael & Jade are ever so slightly ahead (Richard & Wendy have 6.1), but it would be hard to pick at this stage, given that Simon & Paulini got the lowest score (22) of any surviving act this week.

    Random notes:

  • Marina Prior keeps throwing out those nines to Erika & David, joined on this occasion by Ross Wilson. Even James Valentine is getting more generous with the points, however, and his series average score has just hit 6.0. (Marina, with 6.9, remains the most generous.)
  • Simon & Paulini’s bottom-ranked score means that the competition for third place is now quite intense. Erika & David have a comfortable series total lead with 121, and Mark & Rachel are safe in second on 113. Kate & Troy’s 107 just squeaks ahead of Simon & Paulini and Sarah & Guy, both on 106.
  • The two-minute song limit leads to some odd editing choices, not all of which work in the singers’ favour. In particular, I didn’t like what happened to ‘We’ve Got Tonight’ at all — a more recognisable, less chopped-up song would undoubtedly help Champs’ cause.
  • I was pleased to see Sam Brown get a plug, even if it was as Jade Macrae’s babysitter.
  • It Takes Two Week 3: Unexpected pairing

    It was no great shock to see Judy & Glenn get the boot last night, but it was a big shock that the couple standing beside them was Richard & Wendy, rather than — as everyone expected — Katie & Dave. While I don’t think Richard & Wendy were the best performers this week, I think I’ll have to vote for them, as I don’t want to see them exit before the Newcastle-loving duo.

    There’s no denying that Katie’s vocal performance this week was a big improvement on her earlier, dire efforts, but there’s still far too much daylight between her and everybody else, especially with Judy out the door. Sarah also remains hugely enthusiastic, but I suspect there’s only so long that her dodgy notes will be propped up by Guy’s popularity.

    It Takes Two
    Most improved vocally was Kate Richie, undoubtedly helped by the fact that country put Troy right in the middle of his comfort zone. Interestingly, while all the judges praised her demeanour, I thought she had much more of a stunned mullet thing going on than in previous weeks. Michael Bevan also looked a little wooden, though he continues to sing in an acceptable fashion.

    Amanda Pellman obviously decided to live up to her pre-show publicity as “super bitch”, awarding a couple of fours and offering brief, nasty comments. This would be more useful if she actually followed them up with some constructive criticism, rather than just trying to make jokes (which James Valentine is better at anyway).

    Part of the problem, of course, is that the show still can’t quite settle on a rhythm for offering up judges. Dancing With The Stars always alternated between pairs of judges, while Australian Idol consistently proffers comments from everyone. It Takes Two alternates between both models, which doesn’t seem fair on the contestants. More importantly, it doesn’t make for particularly good viewing.

    Random notes:

  • Rumour (more specifically, the Daily Telegraph has it that Judy & Glenn didn’t get along at first. They looked happy enough with each other’s company tonight — but then again, maybe they’re glad to see the back of the show!
  • Marina Prior awarded Erika & David the first nine of the series. There’s no denying they can sing OK, but they’re so boring and MOR. Hopefully they’ll get a train-wreck rock category before too long. At the moment, their show total of 87 puts them three points ahead of Simon & Paulini, followed by Mark and Rachel on 81.
  • Leaving aside his vocal chops, Simon is currently the best mover of all the celebrity contestants. Sarah might well be the worst, though it was hard to tell this week with her sitting down.
  • Despite offering two fours, huge bursts of enthusiasm from Amanda in the form of three eights meant that her average awarded score this week was still higher than James’, albeit by just 0.1.
  • James Valentine’s series average score awarded has moved in a highly predictable pattern: 5.5, 5.7, 5.9. Will he crack the big six next week?
  • The two bottom-ranked couples this week were also the two up for eviction — an instance of judge and public taste coinciding that is likely to become less common as the weeks progress.