Entertainment behind the scenes
A British TV talent show has uncovered an unlikely star in the form of Susan Boyle, an unemployed 47-year-old from West Lothian in Scotland. In the mould of tenor Paul Potts, the winner of the show two years ago who went on to top the charts, Boyle is now the bookies’ favourite to win the 2009 edition of “Britain’s Got Talent” after she wowed judges and audience members alike on Saturday with an assured performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables”.A video clip of the performance on Youtube has already been watched nearly six million times, and, according to broadcaster ITV, Boyle was applauded on Easter Sunday by friends in the congregation of the church she attends. “It was incredible. Although we sing in church not a lot of them know how good I was, so it was a bit of a shock for them”, she said.The straight-talking contender, who told viewers she had “never been kissed”, clearly impressed the judges, including Simon Cowell, and is expected to win the top prize — a chance to perform before Prince Charles at the prestigious Royal Variety show, win a cheque for 100,000 pounds, and, perhaps most importantly, get a crack a stardom.”The whole village is cheering me on,” Boyle said. “West Lothian would wish me well, I hope, that is the kind of community it is. And I will be doing my best. Before I left, they told me, ‘If you can behave yourself and stop your carry on, you will do well. You can sing okay’ Who am I to let them down?”
Madonna in Malawi courtHow much she actually cares only Madonna can say. But there are signs that opinion is turning against the singer over her bid to adopt a second child from Malawi. The 50-year-old appeared in court in the southern African country on Monday seeking to adopt four-year-old Mercy James, having already adopted David Banda.
The first case caused some controversy amid accusations that Madonna was given special treatment in Malawi allowing her to bend adoption rules. A similar outcry has met her latest adoption attempt with human rights activists in Malawi threatening to challenge the move and describing it as “child trafficking or kidnapping”. International aid groups have expressed concern over Madonna’s actions in Malawi and in the Western press there has been no shortage of negative reaction, largely in the form of opinion pieces.
Spandau Ballet have added their name to the ever-lengthening list of disbanded bands announcing they are banding together once more. Like their music or loathe it, who can blame the quintet famous for 1980s quiffs from jumping on the reunion bandwagon? Some people believe reforming groups should be banned outright, but most, it seems, are welcoming them back with open arms and, more to the point, open wallets.
What I want to know is when our appetite for Bands Reunited will finally be satisfied? Take That have stormed the British charts since reforming, Michael Jackson has sold out no less than 50 concerts in London as he attempts his long-awaited comeback and The Police made a mint from their world tour of 2007 and 2008. Even Blur are getting back together later this year. After a string of success stories, is someone heading for a flop?
U2 played a few tracks from their new album, and an old favourite from an earlier record, to a small crowd at the BBC in London this afternoon. It was part of a hectic promotion schedule for the Dubliners as they publicise their 12th studio album “No Line on the Horizon” which comes out next week.
Bono announced a tour starting this summer, without giving much else away, and assured punters that there would be cheap seats available in these dire economic times. There would, however, still be expensive ones.
The band performed at a double bill with the Killers late on Wednesday/early on Thursday at a gig following the BRITs music awards in London. While the BRITs was, to put it politely, a somewhat staid affair, the concert was much more rock’n'roll. The Killers stormed through a 45-minute set and the rowdy crowd of 2,000 loved every note. One downer was the nearly hour-long wait for Coldplay, which sucked some of the goodwill out of the air.
It’s that time of year again. Right about now the British media is either wringing its hands in despair over the state of UK cinema or blowing its trumpet loudly in praise of its prodigious acting and directing talent as the movie awards season gets underway.
Kicking things off was the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, and, judging by reaction on this side of the pond, we could re-name it the “Golden Gloats”. True, Brits and their films did fare pretty well this year, but I wonder if it’s not better to hold off until the big one — the Oscars.
British “X Factor” winner Alexandra Burke has just become a singles millionaire. Her version of “Hallelujah”, originally by Leonard Cohen, became the 10th single to reach the landmark this decade, according to the Official Charts Company, which compiles UK record sales.The feat, putting Burke in the company of the likes of Kylie Minogue (“Can’t Get You Out of My Head”) and Bob the Builder (“Can You Fix It”), underlines the strength of the UK singles market which has been boosted by digital downloads. Singles sales last year rose by a third, a rare piece of good news for the struggling music industry which has been hit hard by Internet piracy and the rapid rise of video gaming.It’s a safe bet that her debut album, whenever that may be, will enjoy similar chart domination, aided by the considerable marketing muscle of X Factor judge and producer Simon Cowell.
British popster Lily Allen has issued a statement addressing remarks she made in a magazine interview about illegal drugs which caused a bit of a brouhaha in the media over the last 24 hours.
Speaking to “The Word” ahead of the launch of her new album “It’s Not Me, It’s You”, on the EMI label, she said: “The only story is that drugs are bad and they will kill you. You will become a prostitute or a rapist or a dealer. But that’s not true. I know lots of people that take cocaine three nights a week and get up and go to work every day, no problem at all.”
The Times in London ran an intriguing report on Tuesday saying that the honour bestowed upon Beatle John Lennon in 1965, which he returned to the queen four years later, had “finally been rediscovered”.
A quick call to Buckingham Palace suggests otherwise. The spokeswoman did confirm that the MBE, returned by Lennon in 1969 as a peace protest, was being kept at the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood at St. James’s Palace in London. But she added that, far from being “rediscovered”, she and, presumably, many others, had known for years where the MBE was being kept. Quite where the newspaper got the idea for its story is still a mystery.