TV & Radio | Anorak - Part 98

TV & Radio Category

Television and radio programme reviews, trailers, highlights, twilights and cinema news. Also the neglected gems from years past.

GMTV Fined And Makes Challenging TV

gmtv.jpg“GMTV has been fined £2million for cheating its viewers out of £20million,” says the Sun.

Is this?
a) Good value
b) France
c) Kerry Katona

Don’t, bother calling in because GMTV has removed all premium rate services from its broadcasts.

The show’s creatives have been working overtime to dream up a filler to replace the popular phone-in slot.

As a result we can exclusively reveal that viewers are invited to count the hair on presenter Andrew Castle’s top lip and, in the interests of fairness, extend the same courtesy of his co-host Fiona Phillips.

The best answers go into tie-breaker with the winner working out how much money GMTV made from its “PHONE-IN FIX” (winners were picked before the lines had closed) given that around 25million callers, paying up to £1.80 a time, had no chance of winning. And that 130,000 viewers have had their money refunded.

Get counting now…

Posted: 27th, September 2007 | In: Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comments (7)

Big Brother’s Chanelle Hayes Stalks The Stalk On MySpace

victoria_beckham.jpgBIG Brother’s Chanelle Hayes is fearful, as the Star reports in “MY CYBER STALKER TERROR”.

But Chanelle will not be cowed by one lone manic who not only logs onto her MySpace page but posts messages up to ten times a day.

Here she is in the national press, wearing a shiny top of a material usually reserved for bed covers in seaside boarding houses. One hand is on her hip. Her chest is pushed out further. She is defiant.

But she has hired a minder, in case the stalker takes things a step further and posts 11 or even 12 messages on her weblog.

And it might get worse. As a source says: “Even in Los Angeles, Chanelle had several blokes who started following her every move.”

Thankfully, these men did her no harm, and most have been traced to the photographic department of the Star newspaper.

But you can never be too careful…

Posted: 25th, September 2007 | In: Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment

Ross Kemp’s Gangs: Cavernous Underpants And A Nine

ross-kemp-gangs.jpgROSS Kemp is still hard. Kemp, the estranged Mr Rebekah Wade, Sun editor, is the presenter of Sky TV’s Gangs.

And today Kemp’s been given two pages to say in his own words just how hard these gangs are.

“The Mask Man reached into his underpants and pulled out a Colt .45,” leers the headline.

That’s some weapon. Kemp is impressed. Hard not to be.

In his search for hard men, Ross has met rapists, murderers and assassins. He has found himself sharing a beer with a multiple murderer.

“In St. Louis, US, I met this very big, scary guy wearing a frightening plastic mask.”

Who is the masked man? And is he hard?

“Dark, angry eyes gleamed through elongated slits that curled up and back into a teardrop shape,” says Kemp. “He looked both sinister and surreal, a figure from a horror movie involving chainsaws.”

He has a chainsaw down his pants, as well. Now that is hard. It might even be stupid.

Kemp calls this masked man Mask Man. The man in the mask reaches into “cavernous underpants” and pulls out “my nine”.

Ross is impressed. He has seen all manner of hard men. But this is something else. Mask Man works the slide and chamber and “cocked” the hammer.

“Mask Man reached down into the vast and roomy reaches of his underpants yet again and this time drew out a round block of brown heroin about the size of a pub ashtray.”

Ross considers the lump. “I’m no expert,” he says, “but I suspect this was a real bargain.”

“Your nine’s your best friend, man,” says the Mask Man’s sidekick, known as Scarf Man, for reasons that need little explanation.

He says he has “bigger toys”.

Ross Kemp is hard.

Posted: 18th, September 2007 | In: Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comments (8)

Rupert Murdoch’s Gangs: Ross Kemp And Rebekah Wade

rosskemp.jpgROSS Kemp is a hard man who likes to hang out with other hard men. These are hard men. They may ever get harder when they have met with Kemp.

“Ross Kemp operates at 100% efficiency,” says one Ross Kemp website. “Ross Kemp believes all forms of transportation should have tank tracks in order to be effective.” And “Ross Kemp is unable to remember or pronounce the word ‘fear’.”

It may be the truth. It may not be. It’s hard to know where truth and fiction diverge in Ross Kemp’s life. Hard. Like Ross.

Ross is married to Rebekah Wade, the Sun’s editor. And in keeping with the masses, Ross is known to appear in the paper.

Today, Ross is in a piece entitled: “A kid stuck and AK47 in my face while high on drugs.”

This is truth. This is the hard truth. The Sun’s Oliver Harvey says the gun was so close to Kemp’s snout he could “smell the metal”.

Before Kemp is a bevy of Brazilian gangsters. They are high on cocaine. “Scared?” says Kemp.” Of course I was.”

Scared what you’d do to them, eh Ross, who met the gang not in a parking lot in Elstree but in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil.

This is all part of Kemp’s Gangs TV series. You can see it on Sky One, the channel owned by Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Sun, who employs Rebekah Wade, who is married to Kemp. Such is the way of the news.

Gangs is the show in which Kemp goes around the world looking for trouble.

Says Kemp: “I’ve had more experience in the past four years meeting these gang members than I did in ten years filming EastEnders. One’s a fake world and one’s real.”

And sometimes it can be hard to spot the difference. Really hard.

Posted: 17th, September 2007 | In: Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comments (6)

X-Rated X Factor

bros1.jpg“THIS is gobsmacking.”

Words used by one “TV insider” in reaction to the news that Simon Cowell’s X Factor TV show is populated by “randy twin lads”.

Twins Jordan and Ryan are two parts of the band Ghostt.

They are said to have been dating two sisters from a girlband that also – get this – features on the X Factor.

Rightly this is front-page news. And the tin lid is placed squarely upon the scoop when we learn that when the boys swapped places Naomi and Leah had no idea.

Says a stunned Leah of Pop ensemble Chance Sisters: “I’m not denying anything. I was seeing Ryan and then Jordan started flirting with me and I didn’t realise it was him. He ended up staying the night. All I’ll say is that the twins are very difficult to tell apart.”

But nothing happened. the X-Factor keeps a clean house. The story goes that Ryan/Jordan arrived in Leah/Naomi’s room after he had heard screaming. She had seen a spider/locust. And he/she stayed for hours to chat and such.

“It’s quite funny really,” says Jordan/Leah/Noami/Ryan/Simon.


Posted: 10th, September 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comment (1)

Big Brother Secret Sex Rooms

breeding-big-brother.jpgA “HIDDEN room” and a Big Brother “SEX SECRET”.

The Star operates at the vanguard of investigative journalism. And it has pictures.

We can now confirm as fact that Ziggy and Chanelle have partaken in “nights of red hot lust”.

And we can say with little doubt that Davina McCall has “arranged a steamy snog between winner Brian Belo and Amanda Marchant”.

Bit Brother now operates as mating rooms, reality TV’s joy division wherein wannabes can mingle with likeminded people and produce a generation of wide-mouthed, tit-jutting screamers.

Test tubes provided…

Posted: 5th, September 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comment

American Idol: Jordin Sparks Controversy

jordinagaintabortion.jpgAMERICAN Idol is over for another year. The tears, the joy, the talent and the, er, did we mention the tears?

But there is talk of a fix. Tabloid Baby investigates:

JORDIN Sparks is the new American Idol.

After a bloated two-hour show whose highlights included a performance by an 80-year-old man, a human beatbox duet, the indelible memory of Ruben Studdard singing “Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds”, and the lower half of Kelly Clarkson’s body, the questions this morning are whether Jordin, a 17-year-old Christian and anti-abortion crusader, will use her new role to spread her controversial agenda– and whether Idol producers played a little in-joke by having Jordin sing background on the Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home”– a song about a girl sneaking out of the house to have an abortion.

And there will be debate today about whether Jordin’s victory was in the cards from the beginning, even before judge Randy Jackson predicted that the winner would have “curly hair.” We direct you to an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that followed the Seattle audition episode– Jordin’s first appearance on Idol:

Seattle Post Intelligencer
January 19, 2007
On TV: Seattle’s ‘Idol’ auditions: Hurt so good

…”Idol,” in turn, gave us a young, bright, charismatic, pretty contestant who looks so much like the show’s idea of the total package that she could be a ringer….

…One shining star stood out: 16-year-old Jordin Sparks from Glendale, Ariz. She’s beautiful, has a smile that can light up L.A., and tore apart Celine Dion’s “Because You Love Me.”

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

Seeing her is supposed to drive home the reason we keep running back to “Idol.” Young, ambitious and undiscovered, she embodies the dream of “Idol,” the idea that someone with small but bright embers of talent can, within the space of a few months, shoot from obscurity to superstardom.

Except that’s not exactly the case with this young woman.

Out of nowhere, Abdul says she recognizes Sparks’ name– and Sparks reveals she is the daughter of former New York Giants cornerback Phillippi Sparks. What a coinky-dink!

And that’s not all! Jordin Sparks has an exhaustive Wikipedia page, where you can find out interesting facts such as: She was the Coca-Cola Rising Star in 2002. Coca-Cola, of course, being “Idol’s” major sponsor. She also appeared in “America’s Most Talented Kids” in 2004, toured with Michael W. Smith and sang in Alice Cooper’s Christmas show. Winning “Arizona Idol” netted her a Ford Fusion and a trip to Seattle. Wonder if she had to wait in line?


Posted: 25th, May 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (3)

Anorak On Radio 4

I’M on Radio 4 in a moment, talking about Madeleine McCann and EastEnders. Who knew those two things were related? Tune in…

Listen here:


Posted: 23rd, May 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (14)

American Idol: A Fix Of Pro Life For Jordin Sparks

jordinsimon1.jpgAMERICAN Idol enters the final gasps and Tabloid Baby senses scandal, controversy and other things that might just make the show more intersting than the usual karaoke on the end of the pier. Contestant Jordin Sparks met Simon Cowell before the show. Is it all a fix?

As TB writes, “Now that Jordin Sparks has moved into the forefront of the American Idol race, the backlash is underway, with conspiracy theories in full swing– and a political hot potato that’s jumped from the back burner to center stage.

We told you about the initial controversy over Jordin’s entry into this season’s contest (aided by Idol sponsor Coca Cola), and suspicion that her victory has been in the cards all along. Now, photos showing Jordin with Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson, supposedly taken three years ago, have led speculation that the judges may have pretended not to know her when she auditioned– and that she’s indeed been groomed for Idoldom in some secret lab.

And now add the Christian Right to mix!

Jordin’s never been shy about her Christian faith. She recorded a CD with “Jesus music” pioneer Matthew Ward, toured with Christian singer Michael W. Smith, placed second in 2004 at the Gospel Music Association’s Music in the Rockies national competition for aspiring Contemporary Christian Music artists (the same one that Chris Sligh competed in two years earlier). And the GMA says it recognizes Jordin and fellow finalist Melinda Doolittle as Christian artists who are “keeping the faith.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with a big organized Christian Idol voting bloc (remember those phone centers in India?), but the controversy gets down to politics, in the form of abortion.

randyjordin.jpgThough she’s only seventeen and probably won’t have to think seriously about the issue until she goes on the Idol tour and finds out she’s been knocked up by Sanjaya, Jordan is well-known in her home state of Arizona and among the Christian crowd as a “pro-life”– or anti-abortion– crusader. And until recently, she apparently had this picture on her MySpace page:

Photos of Jordin at anti-abortion events and stories about her activism have been on line for months, but only reaching mainstream attention now that she has the best chance of taking the American Idol title.

The stir that’s brewing is similar to last year’s storm over contestant Mandisa and her connection to the “ex-gay” movement. And with some expressing concern that Jordin will use her American Idol platform to preach against abortion, this sort of fight is one that will bring out votes on both sides.

Posted: 12th, May 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (14)

Anorak TV And Big Brother

LORD Frogett introduces Anorak TV. See the Anorak video here – let us know what you think… (Lord Frogett is available for interviews.) A homeless person in Big Brother…genius…

Posted: 3rd, May 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (5)

Heather Mills Gets The Boot – Paul McCartney On American Idol?

heather.jpgHEATHER Mills, she of the syncopated one-step, is out of Dancing with the Stars. (Picture: The Spine)

As Tabloid Baby reports, Less than a week after Sanjaya Malakar was shunted off American Idol, one-legged charity campaigner, former porn model, Paul McCartney exploiter, British pariah, baby oil enthusasist and sexual advisor to curly-haired German males Heather Mills has been “sent hopping” from Dancing with The Stars.

The freak show is over.

As TB notes, Heather was constantly hyped in Dancing as the disabled, handicapped, one-legged charity campaigner. Neither McCartney nor her controversial past were ever mentioned on air. But her performances were marked by superhuman vaults, cartwheels and flips, made possible by a series of pogo-stick-like state-of-the-art bionic prosthetic leg.

And now she has been given the boot.

In her leaving, Heather claimed her stint on the show helped the animal activist cause, and urged viewers to “go vegan”.

Now that Heather and her collection of special legs has cleared out of Television City, will Paul McCartney show up on the rival American Idol event, which is doing some real charity campaigning this week?

Macca had been rumoured to be a guest mentor on Idol this season. He reportedly backed out of appearing on British Invasion night because of Mills’ Dancing styint. Should McCartney appear on tonight’s Idol Gives Back charity event, we’ll be convinced that that everything is connected.

Albeit not as well connected as Heather is to that pogo-ing leg. It never did fly off…

Posted: 26th, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comment (1)

Sanjaya Malakar Goes To Washington – And Britney Spears Wants Him

larrykingsanjaya.jpgSANJAYA Malakar, the American Idol reject with 12 minutes of fame still to go, has been spotted at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington.

As TMZ reports, Malakar tells Ellen DeGeneres on her TV show, he doesn’t believe Howard Stern’s fans and other “haters” voted enough “to make a dent in the system”.

It’s hard not to admire the young lad’s confident in his ability. If Ignorance is bliss Sanjaya is in a state of near-orgasmic ecstasy.

But he is demand. Britney Spears wants him.

The National Ledger quotes a source telling Star magazine: “Britney started watching American Idol when she was in rehab. She became a huge Sanjaya fan and thinks the two of them can make beautiful music together.”

And there goes Sanjaya to the White House Correspondents’ dinner. He’s the guest of People magazine.

And Tabloid Baby looks on as Sanjaya sits down at the bun fight with Larry King and two other notables. As TB says: “Find three things that upstaged Larry King at tonight’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington.”

Makes you wonder what Sanjaya could do with Britney…

Posted: 22nd, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (8)

Hair He Goes: American Idol Sanjaya Malakar Loses On Virginia Tech Night

sanjaya2.jpgALAS, poor Sanjaya Malakar, I knew him. We all did who watched American Idol.

Tabloid Baby predicted the whispering wonder would be sent home from American Idol the week before the Idol Gives Back charity event (to clear the stage for a new wave of publicity).

But Sanjaya Malakar’s elimination was still a shock. After Antonella Barba and Sanjaya, the current cast is short on interest.

But might it be that his ejection was triggered by external forces? Tabloid Baby wonders if the Virginia Tech incident had at least something to do with his going.

As TB writes: “Chris Richardson’s position in the top three signaled that he surely won sympathy votes and saved himself with his words of encouragement to the survivors. And Simon Cowell’s ‘enough is enough – it’s not funny any more’ attitude toward Sanjaya on Tuesday night carried more weight because of the pall the tragedy had cast over the show.”

“My hearts and prayers go out to Virginia Tech. I have a lot of friends over there. … Be strong,” Richardson of Chesapeake, Virginia, said onstage after his song.

Cameras panned to Simon Cowell who rolled his eyes and raised his eyebrows.

But this had nothing to do with Richardson’s comments. Really. Says Cowell: “I didn’t hear what Chris was saying. I may not be the nicest person in the world, but I would never, ever, ever disrespect those families or those victims. And I felt it was important to set the record straight.” Cowell said his roll was founded in Richardson’s claim that he sang “nasally” on purpose.

So Cowell’s frustration is explained.

But over in the LA Times, there is talk of missed opportunity. This was Country Music night on Idol. The Virginia Shootings were fresh in the mind.

As the paper’s Randy Lewis writes: “Can you imagine the impact of LaKisha Jones singing Willie Nelson’s ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’? ‘Someday when we meet up yonder/We’ll stroll hand in hand again/And in a land that knows no parting/Blue eyes crying in the rain.’

“Or Jordin Sparks singing ‘I Will Always Love You’ (like Dolly Parton’s original, please; not the overwrought mess Whitney Houston made of it)? Or Melinda Doolittle putting those dusky tones of hers to Ralph Stanley’s haunting ‘O Death’?

And what did we get? Richardson’s nasally invocation of Rascal Flatts’ insipid ‘Mayberry’. And Sanjaya Malakar’s mushy prance through Bonnie Raitt’s ‘Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About’.”

Tug the heartstrings and woo the crowd. Is the show really that cynical?

Or did Sanjaya lose because he was the worst singer…?

Posted: 19th, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (9)

American Idol’s Sanjaya Malakar F*ckawallah And Don Imus

indians.jpgWHILE the world gawps at American Idol favourite Sanjaya Malakar and rages against Don Imus, others are being overlooked.

Anorak has wondered what it is about whispering Sanjaya that makes him a hit? He can’t sing very well. He can’t dance very well. He gets by on teeth (his) and tits (his sister’s -Shyamali Malakar).

Sanjaya is the unthreatening foreigner in the midst of madness. If he’s not Hrundi Bakshi from the Party (“Birdie Num Nums”), he’s Manuel from Fawlty Towers.

And now other Indians are suffering.

Tabloid Baby’s pal Surya “Chili” Yalamanchili was fired by Donald Trump in Episode 8 of The Apprentice. When TB last checked in with the pride of Cincinnati, Surya told TB he wasn’t following Idol.

But now, he’s let us know that Idol is following him.

As Surya says:

“For the past 2 weeks, a very interesting phenomenon has occurred. And by “interesting,” I actually mean “terrible annoying.” When strangers come up to me these days they call me “Sanjaya.”
shyamalihooters.jpg …If you’ve seen the show you’d know that I look absolutely nothing like him, and you know, there’s the fact that I’m not… 16 years old. But anyway, if they don’t call me “Sanjaya”, the second most common is a “Surya”-“Sanjaya” mix.

Sanurya. Surjaya. Whatever. And yes, I’m being totally serious…

Most distressing. The brilliant Don Imus recently ran into a little bit of trouble by calling some lovely ladies from my alma mater, Rutgers, a few poorly chosen names. I find it hard to believe that other people, likely far more intelligent that Don Imus, can’t seem to tell apart two very different looking Indian-Americans who were on TV.

Well, I guess they can tell us apart, they just can’t remember our names. Or rather, they can remember his name, but not my name.”

But that’s enough from Surjaya…Sanurya…or Surya F*ckawallah Poppadom Num Nums as he would doubtless be called on British telly…

Posted: 14th, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comment

The Apprentice Voyeur

gerri-blackwood.jpgFIRED by Alan Sugar, Apprentice loser Gerri Blackwood is making front-page news in the Star.

In “SUGAR SHOW’S SEX SHOCK”, Gerri tells all. This is Gerri Blackwood, a 33-year-old from Woking, Surrey, who gave up a job offer with MI5 to take part in The Apprentice, says the Times.

“We all thought it was bizarre that wee were put in this huge mansion which boasted five bathrooms and yet three of them were out of bounds.”

Go on…

“One of the five bathrooms was used by the film crew, but two of the others were closed off with ‘Out of order’ signs on them.”

This leaves two bathrooms for 16 people. That’s one loo and two showers.

Says Gerri: “I am not sure whether it was deliberate or not but you can imagine they must have wanted us to share showers.”

15.jpgBut the Star says it did not work. Instead of “steamy footage of the girls soaping each other” all the producers got was film of women arguing over who had used the bathroom most, least, never etc.

Gerri has been called “Fern Britten with balls”. This is assuming, of course, that Fern Britton, daytime telly stalwart, does not have balls already.

But with no footage to support Gerri’s claim we are left wondering…

Posted: 13th, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comment

Sanjaya Malakar And Other Subversives

tom-lowe.jpgOVER on American Idol Sanjaya Malakar continues his impression of Manuel does Motown.

But something is changing within the whispering wonder.

As Tabloid Baby writes, Sanjaya’s revelatory performance of Besame Mucho revealed much more.

Overlooking the hairstyling – it “has crept down to cover his upper lip and chin” – we spot “Sanjaya’s friends”.

Featuring what TB calls “two of reality television’s most anarchic figures”.

Watch the video and see Tom Lowe, the controversial British Idol contestant, with “BJ” Averell, one of the Hippies who won the ninth Amazing Race, acting as if they were under the influence of something other than Sanjaya.

Says TB: “Lowe caused a mini-stir this season after he showed up at the Seattle auditions (where Sanjaya and his sister went through) and was soon outed as a former member of a boyband that had been under contract to Simon Cowell’s label. Lowe was featured in an extended segment that was shown only in the UK Idol feed, leading to speculation that he was a ringer inserted into the mix to boost ratings there.”

So what do they see in Sanjaya? A riddle wrapped up in an enigma wrapped in some hair and whispering, always whispering…

Posted: 12th, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comment (1)

Sanjaya Malakar Holds An Indian Sign Over American Idol

malakar.jpgIS SANJAYA Malaka, American Idol’s song whisperer, is at the centre of a plot.

As the Enquirer asks: “Is Simon behind a conspiracy to keep the clownish contestant on the show.”

Sanjaya’s clown is no Marcel Marceau – if only. Nor is he a hooting Harpo Marx. Sanjaya’s clown has a voice. If you listen hard and turn up the volume on your TV set, you can almost make out Sanjaya singing.

Many believe the noise is good. Some equate the listening experience to being tossed in a windowless cell and forced to drink a pint of President Ahmadinejad’s urine.

But all know for a fact is that Sanjaya is good for American Idol’s ratings. And that is what the show is all about.

Says a source: “The public is bored. FOX network executives are pressuring the producers to do something more exciting. So they are trying to get Sanjaya to do crazy things.”

To date these crazy things have centred on Sanjaya putting his long hair up or down, sometimes at the same time.

It is a simple trick that is working well. The show is attracting a huge audience and being talked about.

But it cannot last.

Sanjaya is American Idol’s Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, the enthusiastic amateur flailing in a sea of talent. It is Sanjaya’s essential lack of talent that makes him attractive. The problem for Sanjaya, like Eddie, will come when he is made to perform on his own and the audience realises that he really is rubbish. And they can do rubbish as well as the next man.

Sanjaya needs context. And his peers are fast disappearing as each week another singer – miles better than Sanjaya – is voted off the show.

At the end Sanjaya will be the No.1, standing at the top of a long ski jump to oblivion…

Posted: 11th, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (5)

The Party Line – American Idol Sanjaya Malakar Is Not A Rat

sellers.jpgARE India and Indians responsible for the success of Sanjaya Malakar on American Idol? There are many questions on the matter of Sanjaya.

Is Sanjaya worthy of comment primarily because he is of Indian extraction? Is he the victim of Celebrity Big Brother-style bigotry? Is he Shilpa Shetty with bad hair?

Sanjaya is the funny Indian. He’s Peter Sellers in The Party, the bit-part player who by quirks of fate and luck has wound up surrounded by the star talent.

Any moment Simon Cowell is going to ask him to sing the Birdie Song and say “Birdie Num Num”.

Sanjaya is the unthreatening foreigner in the midst of madness. He’s not Hrundi Bakshi, he’s ruddy Manuel from Fawlty Towers. That thing on Sanjaya’s head? No, not his hair. It’s a Siberian hamster. Not a rat. A hamster. I tell you, Mr Fawlty, is a hamster.

Whatever the reason, Sanjaya is popular. Hey, he might even be a decent singer, at least as good as his agonists.

Tabloid Baby notes an Associated Press story claiming that support from India has nothing to do with Sanjaya Malakar’s success on American Idol.

The article also rubbishes the Indian phone centre theories with “most workers have calls automatically dialled for them by computers. They couldn’t even call next door if they wanted to.”

But Indian blogsites, including India Uncut, whose founder is quoted in the article calling Sanjaya “an object of ridicule” in India, show that interest is high.

And for the first time, the popular Uber Desi website, whose postings helped launch the call centre theories, is suggesting that racism may be at the root of the anti-Sanjaya movement:

“…Is it really Sanjaya’s singing why so many folks in America hate him or is it the colour of the skin that is making them uncomfortable and hence the hatred?”

And there’s another reason why Sanjaya’s story is reverberating through India and the Desi community around the world, writes TB: his rise on Idol is drawing many comparisons to a contestant on the first season of Indian Idol.

As TB recalls, two years ago, an impoverished Punjabi housepainter named Ravi Ravinder became the public’s favourite after he sang “Khuda bhi aasman se jab zamin pe dekhta hoga.”

basiltherat06.jpgBecause Ravi lacked any formal training, the judges became more frustrated as “talented” singers were voted off and he stayed in. Judge Anu Malik hated Ravi more than Simon Cowell hates Sanjaya– and spoke these words long before Randy Jackson threw up his arms: “I have nothing to say to you because it seems our words carry no weight and the people of India seem to love you.”

Said another judge: “I hope the people of India realize that they have to vote for someone who will represent the country. It’s high time we started acting in a mature manner instead of being emotional fools.”

Ravi became the most talked-about contestant on the show. Each week he survived, there were more conspiracy theories about voting irregularities and lost phone calls. And all the controversy and fuming judges only translated into more votes.

He made it to the Top 5. When he was finally voted off, some charged that the vote was fixed against him!. After Idol, Ravi was cleaned up and became a bigger star than ever. He released an album, accompanied by a music video shot in Barcelona and starring a former Miss Norway and is one of the busiest Indian Idol performers.

Birdi Num Nums.

Anorak And Tabloid Baby

Posted: 9th, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (7)

A Hunger Strike For Sanjaya Malakar & Heather Mills

sanjaya-malakar.jpgNOW how would an anonymous woman claiming she’d gone on a hunger strike until Sanjaya Malakar was eliminated from American Idol become international news?

The story seemed to be a fake from the start, and more so when it was propped up and pimped by a sleazy corporate infotainment website, and now it appears to have been a hoax sponsored by a weight-loss program.

But anger over Heather Mills exploiting the disabled on Dancing with The Stars? That sounds righteous, and this young man seems sincere.

Let’s see if he gets half as much attention.

Tabloid Baby

Posted: 4th, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comment (1)

American Idol’s Sanjaya Malakar Is Stern Con

sanjaya-stern.jpgAMERICAN IDOL’S song whisperer Sanjaya Malakar turns in another memorable, winning performance.

And audience member holds aloft a sign that reads “Sanjaya is my Papaya”.

And one of the show’s executive producers says Tabloid Baby was correct in reporting that Howard Stern listeners have nothing to do with Sanjaya’s success in the competition.

As TB reports, Ken Warwick says that even if all Stern’s listeners voted they wouldn’t make up the difference that Sanjaya has over the contestants below him – or above him – in the weekly phone-in votes.

“There is very little hype anybody can do to affect the vast numbers of votes we get,” he says.

Warwick also tells the New York Daily News that American Idol’s technical staff are able to trace each of the 40 million calls the show receives each week. This means they can stop electronic voting. And unlike over here in the UK, there have been no problems.

Stern has reportedly bragged that he and a website that urge people to vote for the worst contestants have kept Sanjaya in the running. He plans to ruin Idol’s credibility. Once famous, Stern now appears on a radio station so remote you need a team of huskies to find it.

So Stern seeks to make a name for himself off the back of a teenage singer who possesses all the stagecraft of processed cheese and less of the charisma.

But what if it is not a fix? What if the great American unwashed are not keeping Sanjaya in to do down the show but because they like him?

Tony Bennett, the music great who Frank Sinatra called “the best singer in the business”, has praised Sanjaya’s vocal talent.

But then, what matter if he can sing or not? If Sanjaya wins, he’ll sell records. And with the right lighting, sound engineering, styling, grooming and breakfast cereal, he’ll make his fortune…

Posted: 4th, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (3)

Dancing With the Stars – Heather Mills’ Pogo Feet

dancing-heather.jpgIS Heather Mills Playing Fair On Dancing With The Stars?

THREE weeks into Dancing With The Stars, the American version of Strictly Come Dancing, and Heather Mills is mired in controversy.

According to Tabloid Baby, “many are saying that the combination of judges’ sympathy and state-of-the-art bionic prosthetics…are giving Heather Mills an unfair leg up on the competition.”

Can Dancing With The Stars enable Mills help Mills settle in The United States. Many in Britain hope so.

“From the beginning, she’s played along with the producers’ crass promotion, expressing fears that her fake leg will fly off on live television, and playing up her disability by walking down the stage stairway like Jerry Lewis in Cinderfella,” says TB.

But see those backflips. Heather lands hard on the prosthetic limb. No splintering. No flying leg. How does she do it?

TB says the “controversial secret was revealed in the video package that preceded her dance”.

Mills was having a hard time of it in rehearsals. She complained that she’d be unable to dance the Jive because, “You try and hop on a leg that’s like concrete and the other leg bounces up and down like a trampoline.” Pro-celebrity ballroom continues to push at the television envelope.

Heather needed help. So she decided to go and see the prosthestist for relief.

Cameras followed Heather to the leg shop. Heather was seen being fitted with a new, “special” leg. There were adjustments and tightening. This leg would now allow her to dance and bounce with ease.

Now see Heather cartwheel like a besequinned Long John Silver. And hear Judge Bruno Tonioli called her “the incredible Heather Mills”: “One, two, three legs, I don’t care how many – you did a fantastic job”, says he.

Like TB, we wonder if Heather’s legs are playing within the rules. Can other dancers on the show get refitted for limbs? Can a pogo stick be used?

Can you get a replacement for two left feet…

Posted: 3rd, April 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (5)

American Idol And Sanjaya Malakar – A Howard Stern Creation

stern.jpgHOWARD Stern says vote for Sanjaya Malakar – his Sanjaya Malakar.

As Tabloid Baby writes, ever since Howard Stern dropped off the pop culture radar screen when he took a huge lump of money and ran off to satellite radio, he’s relied on a powerful PR company to keep his name in the news.

Whether it’s an engagement to his girlfriend (just in time, as her popularity is surpassing his), or cruelly sending out his besotted sidekick Artie Lange on a public Belushi-Farley death tour, Howard has become a silent gossip item who can’t overcome the impression that he’ll need to return to free radio in one form or another.

And now he’s claiming to be influencing American Idol by promoting a website that urges people to vote for Sanjaya Malakar. And, with his powerful PR company, the claim that no one got to hear on the radio gets front page placement today in the New York Times!

“We’re corrupting the entire thing,” Mr. Stern said on his pay show Thursday, the day after Sanjaya secured a place in the top nine. “All of us are routing American Idol. It’s so great. The No. 1 show in television and it’s getting ruined.”

Bullshit! Continue reading the article and you’ll see that Howard’s claims are refuted… while the stately New York Times supports Tabloid Baby’s exclusive report that India is keeping Sanjaya in the contest!

Howard’s claims that he influenced the voting are based on the fact that Sanjaya bounced out of the bottom three on March 19 – but that was the day after his extraordinary, mind-blowing, crying girl performance of The Kink’s “You Really Got Me” (which has already made it onto Tabloid Baby’s list of the Top 50 TV Moments of All Time).

And although it used Howard as the hook for its article, The Times gives a different analysis of the appeal of “Mr. Malakar, who at 17 looks like a 1970s pop star of the David Cassidy/Bobby Sherman/Andy Gibb variety… (and) is perhaps the most talked-about Idol contestant ever:

“A number of those voting for Mr. Malakar may be genuine fans, many of them in the pre- and early-teenage brackets, to judge from posts on a number of Internet bulletin boards dedicated to the show.

“But the fans also include older women and Indian-Americans, and Mr. Malakar’s progress is being tracked voraciously by Indian newspapers in both the United States and India…”

A Fox spokeswoman dismissed Howard’s claims, just as executive producer Nigel Lythgoe shrugged off the website last week.

So why did The New York Times write an article that featured Howard Stern? Well, the LA Times was scandalized recently over an editor’s romance with a woman who does PR for Brian Grazer. What’s the Sirius-Times connection?

Tabloid Baby

Posted: 31st, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (4)

Chris Sligh Bible Bashed And Sanjaya Malakar Is American Idol

chrishaley.jpgAMERICAN Idol continues to work towards its inevitable conclusion – whispering Sanjaya Malakar’s annointment as the new false deity of reality TV singing contests.

And that reality gets one step nearer as Chris Sligh is eliminated from the American Idol Top Ten.

Tabloid Baby wonders how “the out-of-breath doughboy with the mop of curls” failed to trounce Sanjaya’s Desi factor. Sligh garnered the support of the “Southern-based voting bloc – and that could be because many had damned him for making it to Idol in the first place.”

As TB tells us, Chris’s music is not founded in “an indie, alternative-rock background’, but the Christian music scene.

Chris never advertised his Christian background. But his roots are without question. “Chris is the son of Christian missionaries, spent much of his childhood overseas, attended the conservative fundamentalist Bob Jones University, and was a favourite of the influential Gospel Music Association.”

To put a tin lid on it, Chris performs as part of the Seacoast Church “praise band” in Greenville, South Carolina.

There is nothing untoward in this, of course. The voice is the voice, and which American singer does not thank God for giving them the gift as they accept a gong and tap their heart.

american-idol.jpgBut it is Chris’s misfortune to have been misunderstood by the people whose votes would have kept him on the show.

As TB says, he’s been the target of backlash because he recently began performing mainstream (The Devil’s) pop music.

Anorak’s man in Los Angeles hears Jonathan Pait, spokesman for the Bob Jones school, say: “We really are somewhat disappointed with the direction he has gone musically.”

“Well, TB and Idol voters are also disappointed with Chris’ direction – into bland pop music and apologies (to Simon, and for his singing).”

And there is Sting, whose songs the agonists were invited to sing. As TB says: “And let it be a lesson to future Idol contestants: Keep away from that satanic yogic lute-playing (and Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip guest star), Sting. Both Chris and Phil ‘Bat Boy’ Stacy sang boring Sting songs. Both wound up in the bottom three.”

And here comes Sanjaya. No need to sing. The show’s music maestros have let him perform “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da.” Can Sanjaya fail? The only danger is that no-one hears him. But then he’d still beat Chris and Stacy…

Tabloid Baby

Posted: 30th, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (3)

American Idol’s Sanjaya Malakar Causes More Outrage Than Heather Mills

sanjayafauxhawk.jpgFORGET Heather Mills doing backflips on Dancing with The Stars with a bionic leg. There’s real outrage this afternoon over Sanjaya Malakar’s performance on American Idol last night (see his performance here).

 The Chicago Sun-Times writes of death threats against an ironic Sanjaya promoter, USA Today writes that Idol’s “credibility” may be at stake, and the L.A. Times suggests he “made a mockery” of the show and compares him to a prisoner at Guantanamo!

“Surely Sanjaya is aware… of the counter-Idol movements that are promoting him. Has he taken up their banner as Idol’s anti-hero? If so, this introduces a toxic element which has never been unleashed on the Idol stage.

“Another factor… if it is true… that Blake, the Chrises and Phil Stacey are all roommates, this means that in the guys’ dorm, the surviving gentlemen contestants are all in one room together – except Sanjaya, who then would be in a room by himself.

“…So we can visualize the specter of Sanjaya, after watching his roommates be killed off one by one, sitting along in his cavernous, cold, bare dorm room while the cool kids party down the hall, surfing the web and seeing how one girl is starving herself demanding he be kicked off while at the same time he has become a hero to a generation of Idol haters. . . . you don’t need to be a Carl Jung, just someone who reads enough comic books, to know that this is how super-villains are born…”

Ah… and what of the Desi factor… and suspicions that he’s remained on the show thanks to automated call centers in India?

Uber Desi, the website tagged as a prime mover on that front, has offered sharply-debated denials – but the most interesting clue appears today:

Update: The number to vote for Sanjaya this week is 1-800-IDOLS-04. Remember you can vote as many times as you can dial till 2 hours after the show concludes.

Meanwhile, Dial Idol has him in the Top 4 right now… so who’s behind it?

C’mon. We like conspiracy theories as much as, and more than, the next guy. But in Sanjaya’s case, his appeal seems obvious. Amid the big diva belters, boy band scale riders and karaoke wannabes, Sanjaya looks like a teen idol. He’s got a twisted charisma. Every week, he gives the audience something to look forward to.

And for two weeks in a row, he’s made us laugh out loud!

For Idol, he’s good for ratings. He’s helped people forget Antonella Barba. Yes, he seems to have taken the hate to heart. But he won’t be around forever. Soon the producers will clear the decks to give attention to the big charity event. And they’ll turn to the Indian call centers in India to pump up the vote against him.

Tabloid Baby

Posted: 28th, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (5)

Kyran Bracken – The Dancing On Ice Man Cometh

dancing-on-ice.jpgFOR those of you who said a rugby player would never win a televised pro-celebrity dance contest we present Kyran Bracken.

Former England player Kyran, pictured in Hello! with his wife Victoria, knows to expect the unexpected.

“It’s pretty hard to believe, isn’t it,” says he. “If you’d told me on the first day on the ice last November that all this would happen, I would have laughed my head off. “

When Matt Dawson, Kyran’s old England colleague, came runner-up to former England cricketer Mark Ramprakash in Strictly Come Dancing we thought rugby players had gone as far as they could go. “I watched Matt on TV and always voted for him,” says Bracken.

Suitably inspired, Bracken won the Dancing on Ice show and then took the title of Champion of Champions, seeing off the might of series 2 runner-up Claire Buckfield, amateur skater, actress and former girlfriend long term fiancé Declan Donnelly, of TV duo Ant & Dec.

“I’d say the whole experience has been surreal…” says Bracken’s wife Victoria. “I was keen for him to give it a go because it was his chance to bridge the gap between the end of his sporting career and whatever lies ahead.”

Now what lies ahead is a career on the pro-celebrity ice circuit. Bracken is all set to go on a nationwide Dancing on Ice tour.

And he knows what to expect. “The buzz and adrenalin rush I felt whenever I ran out at Twickenham to play for England came back to me before I stepped out on the ice in the final,” say Kyran.

Then victory. And with it the spoils – Kyran has been invited to open a new ice rink.

Great days in sport – may they never end…

Posted: 28th, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comment