Thursday, 29 March 2012

Dancing on Ice: Going for Gold

More details have emerged regarding the anticipated return of Robin Cousins to the ice!

Robin will perform in a special one off show, in which former Olympic medallists from many different sports will go head to head. There'll be a special performance from Jayne and Chris also, although it appears that Katarina will not now be taking part, sadly.

The sporting greats taking part are:

Colin Jackson CBE - Olympic Silver medal, 110m hurdles, Seoul 1988; multiple world, European and Commonwealth champion, world record holder for 10 years; still world indoor 60m record holder and finally, runner up in Strictly Come Dancing, series 3. No pressure, but do you remember the Russian splits jump in his quickstep? I think that's quite enough about Colin ...

Olga Korbut - 4 gold, 2 silver at the Olympics in 1972 and 1976. Millions of little girls wanted to be her, me included, but the only bit of her floor routine we could manage was that little dink of the hand on the last note, which is when we all went mad for her.

Tessa Sanderson CBE - Olympic javelin champion, 1984. Maybe she's seen the success of Fatima and fancies some herself!

Pippa Wilson MBE, Yngling sailing gold at Beijing, 2008, interesting to see how she fares on the frozen stuff.

Jamie Baulch, 4x400m silver, 1996, World Champ 4x4 1997, multiple world indoors champion. Major team player, low centre of gravity, gutsy too - if he can stand up, will make a great partner.

Steve Williams OBE - Coxless Four Gold, 2004 and 2008. The quiet one, has climbed a bit of Everest in a Peaks challenge last year, so no fear over this, surely?

Gail Emms MBE, Badminton silver medallist, 2004. Bubbly Gail belies a gritty Gail!

Let's face it, they're all ultra competitive - this is going to be a Fab Show! The format will be much the same, with the usual three judges, Phil and Christine hosting and T&D mentoring. Date to be announced!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Snippets: Strictly Come Dancing; Dancing on Ice; Olivier Awards; Revolution;

In conversation with Strictly Come Dancing's Katya Virshilas: I was lucky enough to interview the wonderful Katya for my hyperlocal website, Rochester People, prior to her show at Chatham's Central Theatre with the lovely Pasha Kovalev. I believe there may be tickets still available and if you're in the South East, the theatre is literally 2 minutes round the corner from the station, and there's plenty of parking within a couple of minutes walk too, so check it out!

See Chico's unseen Bolero from the Dancing on Ice finale weekend.

Olivier Award nominees include Flavia and Vincent for Midnight Tango, see the full list here. The Awards will be held at the Royal Opera House on April 15th.

Britain's Got Talent unearthed another SuBo and another Olly Murrs - wouldn't it be great if they could just be known as who they are: Jonathan (& Charlotte) and Sam Kelly, with a lovely, simple "delicate and honest" Alesha called it - performance.

A dance show featuring some of the UKs best dance talent begins a limited run from May 6th to June 10th. Revolution will be fronted by Got To Dance judges Kimberley Wyatt and Andy Garcia and take place at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

And a new Strictly Come Dancing show is touring, featuring former winners Kara and Artem, with Robin and Kristina. Dave Arch and his band, including the singers will also be showcased. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10am, see here for venues.

Katherine Jenkins topping DWTS leaderboard!

Katherine Jenkins has started amazingly well on Dancing With The Stars, finishing joint top of the judges leaderboard two weeks running.

An emotional Katherine and partner Mark scored a record 26 points for a premiere show, dancing their beautifully Hollywood style foxtrot:

They followed up on the second week with similar score for a rockin' jive! Really, her technique was Fab-U-Lous. So fab-u-lous I bet Craig wished he could have been there just to stretch A-Maz-Ing or Some-Such word! Week 2!  Enjoy both vids :)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Dancing on Ice: The Final!

As usual, scores are for guidance - this one's up to us! A vocal Bolero performance first, from opera singers Noah Stewart and Laura Wright - it's available to download too.

What was destined to be my favourite dance of the night didn't disappoint, as Mattina and in particular Matt, showcased everything he'd learned with a supreme interpretation of Singin' in the Rain. With Daniel, Vicky and Andrei helping out in a big ensemble piece and Nina the spitting image of Debbie Reynolds, it was perfectly pitched, with Matt a modern Gene Kelly. They were always going to get me with this! Score: 10/10/10 = 30 High fives all around! Chris called it incredible, goosebumps, just smiling all through; Robin said he's been waiting weeks to push the 1 and 0 together and that Gene Kelly was his idol and Matt was the leading man, going solo, using props, perfect partnership; Katarina called it totally perfect, it captured the feel of the music and the character, quality of skills, lift, performance, charming and playful - outstanding; Louie said it was absolutely superb and surpassed what he'd seen on feet! Unbelievable musicality.

Jorgatt to Fame, with Brianne, Mark, Sylvain and Maria to help with lots of spectacular tricks but not so much to show off her skating skills. Why do they give the little bubbly one the disco number each time (Chelsee?) They never quite capture the audience like an old style proper dance. Score: 10/9.5/9.5 = 29 Louie said she was hot and burnt the floor, it was fabulous, with speed precision and personality; Robin and Katarina both agreed re the lack of solo skating but she highlighted her energy and performance, playing to her strengths.

Chiceyne with Chico as The Fonz and Happy Days on ice! Sean, Lukazs, Frankie and Alexandra pitch in and all was going swimmingly until the big lift didn't come off, good recovery though I bet Jodeyne's bum hurts! Full of fun and great skating. Score: 8.5/8.5/9 = 26 Chris praised the recovery; Robin said it worked overall, the first half was fantastic and he didn't lose momentum after the fall; Katarina said it always breaks their hearts when something like that happens and was glad he came back right away. Louie called him the ultimate performer.

Back with each of their favourite routines and Mattina choose Don't Stop Me Now, tired arms in the big lift, he just held it, plenty of passion and energy everywhere else. Score: 9.5/9.5/9.5 = 28.5 beating the previous mark of 26. Jayne called it mature and controlled; there's no stopping him now.

Jorgatt to Fallin', which just has to be tens - completely beautiful, could see nothing wrong there at all, gorgeous intricate choreography and an amazing drape lift/spin to end. Chris has a lump in his throat, Jayne has goosebumps. Score: 10/10/10 = 30

Chiceyne to Sexy And I Know It, great fun and great control. Score 10/10/10 = 30 - thoroughly deserved, said Jayne.

The cut off point - our votes decide who'll get to perform Bolero. The Leaderboard shows Jorgatt on 59, Mattina 58.5 and Chiceyne 56 out of 60. Louie praises all three for their for their true dedication and skill to get here, all phenomenal, all deserving winners; Katarina called the standard incredible and that anyone seeing them for the first time would think they've been doing it for ten years; Robin said he asked for a lot and one performance had it all - Singing in the Rain.

The class of 2012 turn up - Mariandy, who left far too soon, Charlene with that lovely Ina Bauer. The Moment of Truth #1 - Mattina and Jorgatt make it through! Much love to Chiceyne, you'll see them on tour.

The Bolero Skate off - Mattina: goosebump city, full of passion, gorgeous skating, attack, intensity and fluidity. Karen's face said it all. Chris called it sublime, Matt puts his heart and soul into everything; Robin told him he laid everything out in front of us, he had to fight for the big lift again and he did, it was the most difficult Bolero we've ever seen, a privilege to watch; Katarina called it mesmerising, there was always something going on, gentle, sexy, intense and asked, what kind of a world class skater would he have become if he'd started as a little boy! Louie said it was superb, it became an extension of him and he invited us in.

Er, follow that then Jorgatt! They had a good go but it was more set moves than fluid movement and not as pretty as Fallin' - so it's Matt getting my vote (again, he got it earlier too!) Jayne said Jorgie looked like a ballerina; Katarina praised the beauty, elegance, posture, passion and performance and said she should be proud; Louie said she'd outdone herself with a slow, lyrical, dramatic routine; Robin said we got to see her beautifully.

The Moment of Truth #2 Come on come on come on come on come on ... it's .... oh, highlights first *hums* and Dancing on Ice Champion 2012 is: MATTINA! Well, wow, what a series!

If you're missing it already, check out who's on tour!

It's arrived - The Voice: Blind Auditions!

Just as DOI finishes, I've a new favourite show arrive in town!

It's not just that the premise is so brilliant - you'll only get through if you can actually sing (personality will come into play later as we get to know the team members) but that the coaches are so perfectly pitched and bouncing off each other;'s uncanny impression of Michael Jackson, as he and Tom played oneupmanship with the biggest names they knew, Jacko and Presley; that Danny and Jessie are singing along in their chairs; Jessie's pretend tantrum, which, naturally, made the headlines; Danny's 'Are you Irish?' tongue firmly in cheek; the camaraderie and teasing, the rapport and the competitiveness - this is a Fun Show! All that and a live performance from four completely different vocalists in harmony as the coaches open the show together! And - who knew he was so cute and funny!



There aren't sob stories, there are genuine stories of why these contestants haven't gone for anything like this before; there's now a vehicle for them to get over their self consciousness and go for it. And of tonight's contestants, the three I'd have swivelled for were: Adam Isaac, singing Maybe Tomorrow, although I kept expecting him to stray into stand up territory, what with him looking very like Russell Howard, and of whom will said: "You remind me of cats I hang out with at home... who eat music" not sure I'd like to see the fur balls ... he ends up in Tom's team. Max Milner, with a raw and bluesy vocal in a mash up of Come Together/Lose Yourself that turns 3 out of 4 - he takes Danny up on the offer after Danny tells him "you made both songs your own." J Marie Cooper - no, I'm not being biased because she's been on Strictly - she was, imo, the strongest female vocalist we heard and heads off with will - cue Jessie's 'tantrum'! An honourable mention for the fresh and raw Jessica Hammond too - she belonged to Jessie from the start, as will knew; trying to turn Jessie's chair back again!

J Marie

At the end of this first show, all of the coaches had at least one potential star:

Danny - Max Milner
will - J Marie Cooper
Tom - Samuel Buttery; Aundrea Nyle; Adam Isaac
Jessie J - Toni Warne; Ben Kelly; Jessica Hammond

Find out more about them on the official website here.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Voice: Reggie Yates Interview

Reggie Yates is known to music lovers throughout the country for his Radio 1 Request and Chart shows, Glastonbury, Reading, T-in the Park and Big Weekend coverage, and hosting the MOBO Awards. He’s also appeared on Move Like Michael Jackson, Famous, Rich and in the Slums and presented three music specials for MTV.

When you landed the job, what was your reaction?
I was so pleased. Amazing. I saw this show when it was first on in America as I was out in LA at the time and I was really intrigued by it all. Then when the call came through, it all felt so surreal. I am so excited about copresenting The Voice UK. Nervous too, but mostly excited.
Do you get on well with Holly?
Yes. I met Holly a very long time ago and we know a lot of the same people. It’s great to finally be doing a show together. She is great fun.
You’ve already recorded the auditions. Were you bowled over by the talent or disappointed?
The artists are amazing and the talent is far better than anyone expected. The standard is really good. It’s a big deal for the artists and they all want to become a recording musician rather than be famous.
Had you met the coaches before?
I have interviewed Jessie, Danny and Will three or four times for both radio and TV and I have seen Tom several times in concert. I think people are going to be very surprised about how competitive they all get.
Who is the most competitive?
I don’t want to say too much but they all really fight for which of the artists they want to get to be in their team.
What do you think of the coaches?
Brilliant. They are all so experienced. Jessie is hilarious, Tom is sweet, Will is cool and Danny is such a nice guy.
What are you looking forward to most?
I can’t wait for the public to see the first programme. They will be able to see what it is like and hopefully think ‘wow, this is going to be awesome’.
Do you get nervous doing live TV?
I have been doing television for 21 years now, so yes you get a little buzz when you go on stage but I don’t get too nervous. I am a great believer in doing programmes that I feel passionate about. I am so passionate about The Voice. It is different and new.
Will you be giving up the radio job?
Of course not! I love doing my programme for Radio 1 and it’s a really exciting time for me as the Chart Show is going visual. I am also making some TV documentaries this year and I am going to be doing some TV and radio for the Olympics. That’s going to be so exciting.
2012 is shaping up to be a great for you…
Yes it is but I am not the type to think about ‘what next?’ as it would be foolish. I just want to make sure I do a good job on The Voice UK. I think people will be surprised by what The Voice UK has to offer. Whatever happens, people will walk away with a fantastic experience and amazing advice. I really do feel so lucky as I love my job.

The Voice: Holly Willoughby Interview

Holly, best known and loved by audiences for hosting This Morning and five series of Dancing on Ice, comes to The Voice with a wealth of presenting experience, also including Celebrity Juice and The Xtra Factor.

When you were invited to co-host The Voice, what was your reaction?
I was so excited! I had watched The Voice in America and I thought it was a fantastic format. I really wanted to be part of The Voice when I heard it was coming to the UK, and so when I got asked, I was really pleased.
As the first show looms, how are you feeling?
Excited. This show is new and fresh and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. It’s going to be one roller coaster of a ride and I can’t wait.
How do you get on with your co-presenter Reggie?
Very well as we have known each other for years and we are mates. Reggie is great. We both started out in kids TV and that is the toughest audience you can face. It’s the best training ground ever.
You’ve already recorded the auditions. What is the talent like?
Amazing. This is such a fantastic opportunity for everyone and the feedback from the coaches has been very positive. It’s been so much fun and everyone involved has been getting excited. Along the way, there will be highs and lows for everyone – but whatever happens for the artists, this is such an amazing chance.
Have you found your motherly instincts coming to the forefront to mop up the contestants’ tears?
No, it hasn’t been like that. I haven’t mopped up any tears as nobody has gone on stage and been rubbish or been told that they are ‘deluded, what are they doing here on The Voice?’
What do you think of the four coaches?
Oh my goodness, they are brilliant! They all have so much to offer and what’s great about The Voice format is if more than two coaches are interested in the artists, then the artists have the power – and the coaches then have to explain why they should choose to go in their team. Up until now, I have been hanging out backstage, and so I am looking forward to the live shows when I will see a lot more of them.
Had you met any of the coaches before The Voice UK?
The only person I hadn’t met beforehand was Jessie J. I have worked with/interviewed the others in the past. They are all fantastic. Jessie J is a star. She has incredible energy about her.
Is there anything you are dreading about co-hosting The Voice?
No unless they get me to sing on stage – which thankfully I don’t think will happen!
Have you decided what kind of dresses you will be wearing?
I am not sure yet but I don’t think it will be a ball gown. It’s not that kind of show. I do have a stylist, Sinead, to help me. She does all my styling and she’s brilliant.
The Voice is a big hit in the US. Do you feel under pressure to perform?
Of course there are huge expectations, but I don’t feel under pressure. Reggie and I are the bookends between everything that is going on. I will be nervous five seconds before the first live show. You would be mad if you weren’t but the adrenaline does help.
You are also famous for daytime TV. Will you be taking time off?
No as this show is on every Saturday, I won’t need to. My family do not mind me working at the weekend as they are getting as excited as me about The Voice UK. My co-host on This Morning, Phillip Schofield, was really supportive. He told me that it was a great opportunity and I would be mad not to go for it. I feel lucky to be working in TV with two people I consider as friends – Reggie and Phil.
How do you juggle your busy TV career with family life?
I’ve got a great team behind me and it’s all about making sure I get the right balance. I am very careful with my time and if I feel I am taking too much on, I will pull back. Getting the right work/family balance is very important to me.
Do your children realise they have a famous mummy yet?
Harry says ‘Mummy’ when he sees me on television, but he doesn’t know what it means yet. I know in time he will, but to be honest if it’s not Peppa Pig, I don’t think he is going to be impressed!
Would you describe yourself as ambitious?
Strangely no. People look at me and think I must be – but I like what I do. I like working and I like my job.
You’ve already achieved so much in your career. Is there anything else you still really want to do?
No! I feel so lucky right now. I am very happy. Everything seems perfect.

The Voice: Interview

A founding member of global super-group The Black Eyed Peas, songwriter, and 7 time Grammy winner, is also an established producer, working with some of the music world’s biggest hitters on both sides of the Atlantic.

Why did you want to get involved with The Voice?
I loved the concept of getting to work with singers where the audition is just based on their voices. I have watched the American Voice and I love it. It’s amazing. The fact you can’t see the artists when they audition is what this show is all about. I am so glad I have got on board and I really do think the British viewers are going to be blown away by it.
What are you bringing to the table?
I really enjoy producing, composing and arranging and I am hoping to transfer my insight and experience onto the team I have picked.
What kind of coach are you? Fair, tough talking, kind...?!
Throughout my career when I have coached people, it has always been all about being someone’s friend. I want to go about The Voice with the same perspective in the sense that a friend is better than being a mentor or coach. I really want to be able to give my team my perspective on the music business.
What did you think of the artists’ talent during the blind auditions?
I was blown away and the thing that has surprised me most about doing this show so far is the standard of the singers. I thought I’d get a couple of good singers on my team, but to have ten incredible singers is just fantastic.
Undoubtedly The Voice is all about the singing. But is image important to you?
No. For me, I think it is amazing we are listening to everyone’s voices. Truthfully, there has not been a bad act that has come up to audition.
Were you looking for anything specific?
I didn’t necessarily press the buzzer (every time there was a strong voice). I was focussed. I was looking for something unique in the artist's voice and there haven’t been any shocks at all. I haven’t been disappointed either.
Do you think you have found the winner?
Oh yes. I have got the winner in my team!
How do you get on with the rest of the panel?
Great. I get on with them all. Danny and Jessie have a lot to offer and I really admire Tom’s longevity and talent. I have spoken my mind during the auditions, for sure. You need to step up when necessary!
Is there anything you have found tough?
Just the early wake-up calls! Seriously though, I am enjoying this experience so much.
Can you see yourself settling in Britain permanently?
I don’t know what the word ‘permanent’ means anymore as I am always travelling! The jet lag is ok to deal with though.

The Voice: Danny O'Donoghue Interview

As lead vocalist and songwriter for the hit Irish rock group The Script, Danny’s had 2 UK number 1 albums, played to sold-old stadium tours alongside U2 and Paul McCartney, and has cracked the U.S. Market.

When you were asked to be a coach on The Voice, what was your reaction?
Huge excitement. I have always been a massive fan of the American show. I fell in love with the format and the fact that the coaches cannot see the people singing. So many of my friends would have liked to have gone on a singing talent TV show in the past, but they didn’t for fear of being ridiculed. It is fantastic that The Voice UK is all about finding fantastic singers.
Have you been blown away or disappointed by the talent?
I can tell you now – and you can quote me on this – that even on the first day of auditions, the talent on it beat any final I have ever seen on a talent contest. The standard was just incredible.
What have you been looking for as a coach?
I wanted to look for someone who had an emotional voice and right from the start, my game plan was to press the buzzer if I felt a person had a strong voice - as I knew they wouldn’t always pick me to be their coach. I am so pleased with the team I have ended up with.
What can your team expect from you as a coach?
Well I have been told I am the most organised out of all four coaches! Look, I have been in the music business since I was 16. I know exactly what it is like and I can give them so much help and advice on what to do and look out for.
Is there plenty of banter between the coaches?
It depends on how you define banter! We have had quite a few heated moments on the show, which will be there for all to see! I really get on with Tom and we sit next to each other on the panel; Will is awesome and Jessie J is so nice.
Your band has been very successful. But have there been times on the panel when you found it hard competing with someone like the legendary Tom Jones?!
I would be stupid if I said I was the most famous person up there on the panel. You have three of the most famous people in the world – and me. I am the underdog, for sure, but I really do not mind this.
What do the rest of your band think about you being a coach on The Voice?
They were so excited. They are massive fans of the show too. Yes this year is going to be jam-packed as we are also recording our third album. But what I love is the fact that 2012 is all about music. I wouldn’t like to be on a TV show that was talking about something like gardening, for instance. I want to give The Voice everything – and I have to say that I really am enjoying every aspect of the show so far.
And finally, let’s not forget this is a competition! What would you say to your fellow coaches?!
Bring it on! Never ever underestimate me!

The Voice: Tom Jones Interview

With a career spanning six decades and selling over 100 million records, he’s delighted audiences worldwide. Grammy and Brit Award winner, he's collaborated with some of the most iconic names music has ever known.

Why did you want to be a coach on The Voice?
I have watched the American version and I love the fact that it is all about ‘the voice’. This show is so unique and it is a fresh idea. I am a fan of talent shows and when I watch them, I always listen out for the voice. This is the perfect vehicle and I am so glad I am part of it.
Are you feeling nervous or excited?
Excited. We’ve already filmed the blind auditions and I wondered what I would feel like not being able to see anybody, but I was blown away by the standard of the singers.
What have you been looking for?
Strong individual voices. I want to hear something different.
What has surprised you about the auditions?
The quality. We have all said that it’s a shame we can only pick ten artists to be in our team, as I would have loved it if I could have picked 20!
What kind of coach are you?
I’d like to think I am a fair coach. I am always listening to see if they are in tune. People are always coming to me to ask for advice, and it’s nice to be able to give people tips. I know how much I really appreciated people giving me advice when I was younger.
What do you expect from the artists you have picked?
I hope they will work hard and stay true to themselves. This is an amazing opportunity for them.
Do you get on well with the other coaches?
Yes. For me, it was very important that the BBC got the right mix and balance. I feel we have this on the panel. We are all competitive with each other, but we also have a lot of respect for each other.
Is there plenty of banter?
Definitely. We went out together on the first evening and we chatted about what we needed from this show. It was really important we met and all the coaches are great.
Being a TV coach is another string to your bow! Are you enjoying the challenge?
Yes I really am having so much fun. I am enjoying it a lot. I really do believe in the show and the format.
Do you think you have the winner on your team?
Definitely. I have got the natural voices on my team. What would I say to the other coaches? Bring it on!
2012 is shaping up to be a busy year for you...
Yes it is. I am taking part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert as well but it’s so lovely to be back in Britain. Doing something like The Voice is a great excuse to come over.

The Voice: Jessie J Interview

She exploded onto the UK music scene as the BBC Sound of 2011 and already has 6 top 10 singles, a platinum selling debut album – the biggest selling debut album of 2011 – 4 MOBO awards, and 2 sell out tours under her belt. A critically acclaimed singer-songwriter - who better to mentor the artists than pop’s hottest property...?

When you landed the job, what was your reaction?
I was overwhelmed to be asked to do The Voice UK, but I felt ready to work hard and be part of something exciting.
What makes The Voice UK the show for you?
The title explains everything, it's about “the voice”, and that's what I'm about which is a perfect combination.
You’re an artist with a very strong/distinctive image. How important is style to you, and how much is it truly about “the voice”?
It's always about the voice, I would much rather people remember the performance than the outfit. Style is amazing to have fun with but I never want my style to define me, I want my music to define me.
You’ve already recorded the auditions. Were you bowled over by the talent or disappointed?
I was in shock at how much versatility there was - the age range, all the people that didn't believe they could step forward, because it's about the voice and the talent. People are going to enjoy watching the show.
What can you offer to the artists on your team which is unique from what can be offered by the other coaches?
I don't think it's what I can offer that the others can't. It's what I can bring to the table, which is someone young and living it right now, I'm very much in the thick of it - I have an album out, I'm writing my second album, I'm touring around the world, I'm at the Grammys, at the Brits. I'm living it. I understand how it is for people to pick you apart; these are all things that anyone who wants to be in the music industry needs to know.
Had you met the other coaches before?
I had met before, but hadn’t had the honour of meeting Sir Tom or Danny. It was lovely to meet them and hang out with them – they’re wonderful people to be around.
Who is the most competitive?
Tricky... none of us are naturally competitive people, but different things bring out the competitive side in each of us. Pitching to the artists on the show was funny, everyone made jokes with each other – but it was more jokes than serious competitiveness!
Do you get nervous doing live TV? Especially as on The Voice UK you’re a coach as well as a performer.
I always get nervous. I think it's a natural thing, I definitely feel I have something to prove to myself and my fans. I always want to raise the bar.
2012 is shaping up to be a great for you…
2012 is the most amazing year so far and we’re only a few months in! I’ve already had the most amazing opportunities thrown at me, which I'm catching with open arms. I'm enjoying every minute, I'm definitely having more fun this year – it's nice to be making music for a second year and people still liking it!

The Voice - Snippets!

The premise is simple: the search for the UK’s next great voice. Only people with real vocal talent will be invited to blind auditions, where each artist auditions in front of four A-list coaches who sit with their back towards them. Unconcerned with appearance, their auditions are about one thing and one thing only: the voice.

The show's format is made up of three stages: the Blind Auditions, the Battles, and the Live Shows. See here for details of how it works, although since then they've upped it to 5 contestants per coach. Hopefully a good guide to the quality they found!

There's a whole bunch of gossip out there, here's a few links to be going on with - I'll be posting the interviews with all four coaches and both presenters shortly.

The judges perform together

Photos from the blind auditions

Danny O'Donoghue on Paul McCartney's influence causes a noise nuisance!

And to keep in touch with everything The Voice, you can follow them on Twitter @BBCTheVoiceUK and Facebook and via their own website

Monday, 19 March 2012

Dancing on Ice: Semi Final

And it's straight through to the final for whoever tops the leaderboard! You'd think Matthew or Jorgie but Chico has been getting closer and closer and Jennifer we know has masses of support so may top with the public: this semi final is way too close to call!

Torvill and Dean bring us a wonderfully creative routine to Feeling Good; who knew playing pictures onto the ice would add such an amazing dimension (underwater dimension in this case!) Brilliant!

Onto business and Chiceyne lead off to The Flood - emotional, strong, it all built beautifully, making complicated tricks and lifts look so easy; his best yet. Score: 9.5/9.5/9.5 = 28.5 they've certainly put the pressure on the others with that!  Robin called it a fantastic way to start the show, Chico was brilliant, protective and controlled and delivered one of the best routines we've ever seen; Katarina enjoyed the complete control of Jodeyne and was amazed by the lifts and tricks; Louie called it fabulous and outstanding and loved the emotion.

Dannifer with I Wanna Dance With Somebody is a lovely performance as always, she really gets choreography, such a shame that little stumble cost her. Score: 8/8/8 = 24 Katarina said we always enjoy her performance, praising the chemistry and different lifts but would have liked more skating; Louie said the performance and dance came together with confidence and the stumble was bad luck; Robin told her she doesn't have an ugly bone in her body and we love watching her.

Jorgatt to Shake it Out and they're brilliant together, that was so full of tricks we've never seen before, a balletic contemporary piece on ice, truly beautiful. Score: 9.5/9/9 = 27.5 Louie told her she utilizes every piece of the music and that she was So Back! Katarina has been mesmerised by her since the beginning and said she was 'on it'! Robin said she blossomed and made it happen, it was terrific.

Mattina to The Way You Make Me Feel is another groovy affair, courtesy of the master of amateur ice dancing Matthew, although I found it a little less fluid due to the catch-me-if-you-can choreography. Fantastic spin and the Headbanger, close to disaster but got there. Does mean the scores put him behind Chico though! 9/9/9.5 = 27.5 Katarina said it would've been a 10 but for the mistake, and called it solid, seamless, almost perfect; Robin loved the feeling but told him to watch the details; Louie was convinced he was on stage not ice, fabulous. (Funnily enough, the stumble came at the moment "You knock me off my feet"!)

Onto the Ultimate Skills then and Chico is back with us - very well presented, everything there. He was petrified but you wouldn't have known it! Scores: 9/9/9 = 27, a total of 55.5 out of 60! Still in control of the board! Jennifer next and you know, she's one of those people you just can't help smile at or cry with. Everything was going well, but just a little loss of balance on the spin sadly. No, you haven't let yourself down, Jen, you've been an amazing contestant all the way through. Scores: 7.5/8/8 = 23.5 a total of 47.5/60. Jorgie with another spot on set of skills - interesting to see the difference between the hockey lunges, Jorgie's so-pretty ballet arms as opposed to Jennifer's strong elegance and the gentility of Chico's. Scores; 9/9/9 = 27 making 54.5 out of 60 - Chico still safe until Matthew stopped skating what was really something else - controlled and smooth, a full routine rather than a string of set moves place together - there's performing under pressure and he nails it every time! Scores of 9.5/9.5/9.5 = 28.5 give him 56 overall and he sprints past Chico into the final by half a point!

Leaderboard stands thus: Mattina 56 - safely through; Chiceyne 55.5; Jorgatt 54.5 and Dannifer 47.5.  Onto the results and joining Mattina are ... Chiceyne!! It's Jorgatt versus Dannifer. On paper, it's Jorgatt who have this but ... lovely speech from Jennifer "we won't give up" but she's a bit teary - still gives a joyous performance, giving it everything. Well done Jen! Jorgatt are so together and the headbanger from standing start to standing finish, much better. It's unanimous for Jorgatt, expected.

But Dannifer's actual performances overall must be some of the strongest ever, the emotion and characterisation poured into everyone of them was amazing, along with the dancing factor. We'll miss you Jen!

Final next week - can all three finalists possibly top anything we've already seen? Surely there's going to be a fair few tens flying around?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Let's Dance for Sport Relief - The Final!

This week - they were in two minds over Alex's dress sleeveless/not sleeveless? Anyways, I'm thinking a top 3 of Rowland, Eddie, Laurie & Tameka, and I love all three but my gut feeling tells me Rowland ...

We have a panel comprising dance legends Frank Skinner and Rhod Gilbert, and choreography queen/ex-Strictly  judge, Arlene Phillips, who, contrary to reports is NOT making her return to the BBC as stated in numerous publications - because she judged two series of So You Think You Can Dance! Remember that? I did,  but clearly the rest of the media didn't *rolls eye* Moving on ...

All the contestants have honed and polished in the intervening weeks it seems, as all eight perform better than before, with my three favourites all delivering on the personality/timing/danceablity/smile inducing/rhythmical/ cool grooviness factor.

I did love seeing Frank and Rhod giving Arlene the low down on Firestarter and the subsequent descriptions of Myles: "Ronald McDonald in a fire; Terrifying love child of Krusty the Clown and Rupert Bear and Jean Simmons" I think he said Jean Simmons, I'm personally unsure where she fits into it!

Anyhoo, the results are in and bring with them over one million pounds, so well done everybody who made the effort to vote over the last five weeks! Out go Myles, Terry, Fatima and the Cubans, Eddie!! Noooooo, still at least the Earth is safe till the next Prophecy is unearthed; Omid is out and it's between Tameka & Laurie, Rowland and Dani & Tyger, all winners of their heats so we genuinely don't know who's more popular - it's Rowland! A good choice if I say so myself!

Here's our winner! And tune into Sport Relief on BBC One on Friday night for a lot of fun and games raising more money.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Dancing on Ice: Clowns to the left of us; magicians to the right!

It's Props night! With a circus theme in the ring of ice!

Semmy to Magic, 6 props - cane; flowers;rope;magic hanky;secret hanky and bunting! Phew - fantastic, outstandingly her best, brilliant skating, fluid all through considering the fiddly props, my absolute favourite of theirs, fun and personality, stunning! Score: 8.5/9/8.5 = 26 Robin called it powerful, strong and fluid, it ticked all the boxes; Katarina really enjoyed it, all the skating moves were there; Louie called it fun and fabulous, props suited, naturally funny.

Chiceyne to - I missed the song, I'm guessing it's called Stronger - great timing with the bar bells, great skating, very strong, didn't like the song much though. Score: 9/9/9 = 27 Louie said the props were part of the performance, a complete whole; Katarina told him he shines every week, the lift was brilliant; Robin called it a great job, very much in control.

Jorgatt to Video Games is beautiful and lyrical and the ribbon behaved, she kept it moving all the way, pretty lifts. Score: 6.5/5.5/8 = 20???????????? Ah, Robin said his should have been 8.5 but Louie? Had he seen Robin's and gone with it? He said no, he found it quite boring, he was waiting for something to happen with the ribbon and it was emotionless; Katarina said it was all there, a good job but not so much  difficult content as the others; Robin said it's tough to compare, it was beautiful but didn't have the technical content we're used to from Jorgie. Chris, Jayne and Karen all vehemently disagree - the ribbon was the hardest of all the props.

Mattina to Real Wild Child with him Ringmaster to Nina's lioness. Excellent as always, not as fluid due to the nature of the props - whip and hoop, massive lift, character swagger. Score: 9.5/9.5/9 = 28 Katarina said it had fun, entertainment, everything, the whip work looked natural *coughs/blushes* Robin praised the complete package, skating skills and lift, calling it terrific and really strong; Louie said it was fabulous, he owned every one of the props and it had light and shade.

Dannifer to You've Got A Friend in Me is delightful, pure theatre, a lovely charming programme, so in character, a perfect clown partnership. Score: 8/8/8.5 = 24.5 Katarina was smiling the whole time, it was adorable, charming and timing was incredible; Louie praised the inventiveness with the props, it made him smile; Robin said they drew us in with the way they are together, a very honest performance.

Leader board: Mattina 28; Chiceyne 27; Semmy 26; Dannifer 24.5; Jorgatt 23 - bit of shocker there! I'm sure she'll be safe. So who's going to lose out? Following Marcus Collins with T&D and the pro skaters, the first couple safe is: Dannifer! Mattina; Jorgatt! It's Chiceyne versus Semmy, the only ones with previous skate offs, so not a huge surprise. Chemmy pulls off another great performance and Chico does everything he possibly could. It's a split decision and it goes Chico's way, as Louie and Robin save him. But Semmy go out on their best performance and one that I may well add to my faves!

Next week - the Ultimate Skills Test is back; they all have to do it! And, just to ratch it up, top of the leader board will make it straight through to the final! Ooooh, they really don't want to choose between Jorgatt and Mattina do they?! Till then x

Let's Dance for Sport Relief: Week 4

Alex has had a word with wardrobe this week, much nicer dress ... the panel comprise former contestants Russell Kane, Jo Brand and Lee Nelson, who's a very naughty boy and had to be firmly controlled by Steve to stop him mentioning those unmentionable things on the BBC, drugs and sex.

Patrick Monaghan does his best Rihanna impression with Only Girl in the World and looks surprisingly female-ish in make up, reminded me of Cameron Diaz. If the stand up fails, I'm sure he'll find work as a drag artist. Very enthusiastic. Rowland Rivron is star of the show this week, dancing to Weapon of Choice - he even had props and nailed them, fabulous, brilliant timing, dead pan and cool, I loved it and I'm pretty sure, even before seeing the rest, that he's the one to beat.

Watson and Oliver do a very creditable version on Bolero on roller skates, Ingrid an accomplished skater, Lorna not faking useless at all! Suzi Perry and Otis Deeley are fab too, Livin' La Vida Loca - isn't it fantastic to see people so far out of their comfort zone and loving every minute of it? Brilliant fun and my next fave after Rowland. Fatima Whitbread and the Cuban Brothers with You Should Be Dancing is funky and groovy and the brothers are far too professional for this show!

Will Young is clearly gagging to appear next year as a contestant, with his strongly choreographed musical theatre piece to new song Losing Myself. Johnny Vegas appears to be speaking from my living room *looks around to check* Nope, not here but that sofa and cushion looked way too familiar! LMFAO with irresistible rhythms and completely mad - you wonder how they pitched themselves to music execs?

Who's out first then? It's Patrick and Watson&Oliver. Straight through - Rowland, no surprises there but a tough call for the panel between Suzi&Otis and Fatima and the Cuban Brothers - Fatima and the boys take it, thanks to Russell and Jo.

Grand final next week!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Dancing on Ice: Boys versus Girls

Yes, I know, it's been nearly a week but I had things to do, people to see, networks to net with and mountains to climb, as usual ! So the review had to wait but I'm here now and seeing Captains Matthew and Jorgie picking their teams, with the winning team doubling their individual points - this should nicely ensure the panel aren't having to choose between Jorgie and Matt come skate off time!

Isn't Christine a tad worried that Philip will step on that dress - and send that split right up where it really oughtn't to go?

Jorgatt set the bar to Crazy in Love and a diva performance that befits Beyonce, fierce, intricate, fast and furious, a little hectic in places, great shoulder spin. Score: 9/8.5/8.5 = 26 Robin said her infectious personality drew everyone in and she attacked with abandon; Katarina praised the perfect package and the passion; Louie loved the Hair, body shake, speed, precision and that she let it rip.

Vindy and Suspicious Minds, it's the same nice fluid skating but not so much with the attack, nice lifts, not spectacular. Score: 6.5/7/7 = 20.5 Katarina said the skating was more fluid, controlled and comfortable but he's still crunching his shoulders; Louie called it clean and tidy but a little laboured; Robin liked the speed across the ice and saw the improvement from last week.

Chiceyne with Sexy and I Know It, topless - hilarious song (personally, it's my choice for a Robin Windsor cha cha, with that body, camp fun of the highest calibre!) Poor Jodeyne though, that fall looked nasty. Great butt work to start with and only he could have carried that routine off, so funny but still great skating. Jayne Torvill "Was he skating? ("I didn't notice" was left unsaid, lol) Score: 8.5/8/8.5 = 25 Louie reckons taking his clothes off got him no extra points and praised the strength, personality, great power and fluidity; Robin liked the controlled abandon, lifts and footwork; Katarina said "I always thought less is more but with you more is better!"

Semmy and Next To Me, lovely peek-a-boo start, plateau lift fully extended, smooth skating, a complicated routine very well done, the elegance and the power in equal measure now. Robin said it was absolutely brilliant, pristine crossovers, technically the best skating we've seen! Katarina called it world class, beautiful and knew she'd go for it; Louie said it was so complete, elegant, graceful stunning partnership.

Dannifer to Happy - her lines are so beautiful and she's so emotive; she lives every moment. Gorgeous routine. Score: 9/7.5/8 = 24.5 aw, bless, she's gone ... Louie said that's how you do a lyrical dance on ice, you capture with emotion, fresh and exciting, special; Robin saw she was in her moment, called it exquisite and beautiful to watch; Katarina called her body language "poetry".

Mattina and Dance With Me Tonight is so tight, so rhythmic, intricate, fab solid lifts and a pure pleasure to watch, he makes it look so easy. Score: 9.5/9.5/9.5 = 28.5 Robin said his repertoire of material is growing, the performer in him makes it so natural to watch, brilliant; Katarina said he has everything - acting, dancing, entertaining, skating; Louie said it's like watching a professional , the ease, stunning to watch.

So the leaderboard, pre Team Challenge: Mattina 28.5; Jorgatt 26; Semmy 25.5; Chiceyne 25; Dannifer 24.5; Vindy 20.5

Team Jorgie out first with Spice Up Your Life and it's a fab routine, full of life, joy, sassy and all so together. Team Matthew to YMCA, great fun, nice set pieces ie the train, the circle, the spelling of the letters but I don't think it had as much content as the girls and not so together. So it's the girls who get my vote. But since my vote counts for naff all, let's go to the judges. Katarina called it testosterone v sex appeal; girls want to have fun, boys exciting - Team Jorgie; Louie said there wasn't much in it and plumps for Team Matthew; Robin with the deciding vote and it's Team Jorgie for the cohesive, fast fun! The leaderboard now looks like this: Jorgatt 52; Semmy 51; Dannifer 49; Mattina 28.5; Chiceyne 25; Vindy 20.5.

Onto results then: Safe - Mattina; Jorgatt; Dannifer; Chiceyne which leaves Semmy versus Vindy; Andy's already saying his goodbyes. But we know anything can happen - and almost does, as Sean trips up! But he catches himself and another clean skate from Semmy see them go through to Props week. Vindy, all relaxed now, have a better skate than before. Next week (this week now) it's Props night, with a circus theme; Matthew has a whip. That's got to be worth a look in, hasn't it?

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Let's Dance for Sport Relief: Week 3

And the first question to be answered is: Which member of wardrobe won a stash of money for sending Alex out dressed as Eliza Doolittle on school sports day? Sadly, I doubt we'll ever know.

This must be the most closely contested episode ever - all five of tonight's acts were completely fab, with Team Scolly (Scott Mills and Olly Murs) bromancing their way through Party Rock Anthem - very hard not to just watch Olly, he's so good - and who's in the box? David 'The Hoff' Hasselhoff. They said it was planned ... if you weren't up and dancing around the room you couldn't have been watching. Arabella Weir relishing her Kylie skit and absolutely nailing I Can't Get You Out of My Head was brilliant, gutsy and fun, before Team Tyni (Tyger Drew Honey and Dani Harmer) channelled Team Cola's charleston with their showbizzy, theatrical and delightful take on Fat Sam's Grand Slam from Bugsy Malone.

Kirsten O'Brien, having given birth just ten weeks ago, became Rock Goddess to Jump for the night; that gingerbread man stood no chance. She didn't even seem out of breath - which is good, cos I think she'll need all her energy to get away from Tim Minchin who appeared to have developed a very serious crush  on her, leading Alex to sternly advise him that Kirsten's too busy! And Omid Djalili - beginning like Singing in the Rain then morphing into Fight the Power and a fantastic concept involving the London riots and referencing the big clean up with the brooms. For the life of me the hashtag escapes my memory! Someone put me out of my misery - #operationcleansweep? #riotcleanup? I'm just know I'm going to wake up at 3am this morning to remember it. Which will be extremely annoying! I think it was #riotcleanup ...

I went away to do dinner, come back, settle down for the last 20 minutes and the dvd had stopped recording. I hate dvds. Bring back VHS, I knew how to work them and I could see how much was left on the tape. Grrrrr. So, congratulations to Team Tyni, who made it through on the viewer vote, and to Omid for gaining the panel's unanimous thumbs up. Last heat next week, grand final the week after!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Snippets: Strictly Come Dancing; Maestro; Dancing on Ice

Craig Revel Horwood has signed up for the latest series of Maestro, the surprise BBC hit that takes celebrities even further out of their comfort zones than the dance shows, by training them to be a conductor The prize that awaits the winner will be to conduct the orchestra at the Royal Opera House.

He will be joined by comedian Josie Lawrence, DJ Trevor Nelson and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy - don't discount him, remember how the Strictly Pros are forever trying to teach their charges to count the music? 

Craig also takes the mickey out of Alesha - in a good way - reading this made me laugh, you can just hear him saying it!

Darcey Bussell is now also apparently in discussions for the vacant Strictly judge role - you can't fault her credentials as a professional dancer, but I'll be honest and say I wasn't overly impressed with her guest stint, but that could have been nerves and she might  settle into it. My money would still be on one of the two Karens, Hardy and Bruce.

The Dancing on Ice tour  line up is complete: Matthew Wolfenden; Jorgie Porter; Chemmy Alcott; Sam Attwater; Heidi Range; Andy Wyment, Chico and Jennifer Ellison. Tickets are available at The Ticket Factory.