TV & Radio | Anorak - Part 100

TV & Radio Category

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

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

Jordan ‘n’ Peter Are America’s New Posh ‘n’ Becks

jordan_72.jpgPOSH ‘n’ Becks, Ant ‘n’ Dec and now Jordan ‘n’ Peter Andre are heading to the United States. Tabloid ‘n’ Baby takes a look.

UH oh. First Ant & Dec and now this.

It looks as if NBC has opened the floodgates with its bright idea of pouring millions into a reality show starring a pair of British tabloid celebrities no one in America gives a toss about. Months before the launch of the summer series starring Skinny Spice and David Beckham, E! Entertainment is throwing up a retread, starring another vacuous plastic surgery-enhanced UK tabloid couple unknown on these shores.

E!’s bought up the rights to the UK series Katie and Peter, which follows the romance of a pair who fell in love while competing on I’m A Celebrity! Get Me Out of Here!, and then, like Peter Brady and that messed-up Top Model winner who met on The Surreal Life, turned their romance into a reality series. The only difference is that Katie and Peter allowed full access into their empty lives, including their engagement, wedding and birth of their first child.

Katie is Katie Price, a model who for some reason is also known as “Jordan,” is a tabloid celeb best known for her artificial breasts, sexual relationships with footballers and boy band singers, abortions, miscarriages, topless pix, appearances in Playboy – and a sex video.

Peter is Peter André, sort of a straight George Michael with less talent: a Greek Australian pop crooner who had some success in the UK, but had faded into obscurity by the time he hooked up with the desert island reality show.

The couple taped three seasons and even received a BBC award as The Most Annoying Couple of 2006.

E! plans to air at least 22 episodes beginning April 21st. The show will be paired with The Girls Next Door (good tie-in – Katie, as Jordan, was a Hefner fave and, at his invitation, lived in the mansion for a few weeks in 2002). And, perhaps as a warning, E! exec Cyndi McClellan says British celebrity couples are literally lining up to tape reality shows that will introduce them to US audiences.

Just don’t expect the same level of access or reality from the Beckhams. The NBC series is being quietly scripted as a comedy, and word is they’ve even cast someone to “play” a bodyguard in order to inject some drama and conflict into their dreary British lives.

Posted: 27th, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (4)

No Money Shot – All Change For Alan Sugar & The Apprentice

sugar.jpg“I’M not going to dignify that,” says Sir Alan Sugar of The Apprentice repute.

The dignity of The Apprentice might not be immediately obvious to the viewers at home, looking on as wannabe suits try to flog pizzas and, if that fails, conjure up a Plan B scheme to secure funding on the Dragon’s Den. But dignity is there.

And in conversation with the Mirror, Sugar will not dignity with an answer the Mirror’s question: Which of the new candidates has impressed him so far?

But surely the must be an improvement on last year’s batch? As Sugar tells the paper: “They just weren’t very good, generally. And that’s because the producers didn’t ask for my input.”

But this show is always going to be a problem. If these people are so talented at business why are they jumping through hoops for Sugar’s £100,000 a year? And we never know if the winner makes money for Sugar’s business. We never see if his judgement is sound. We never see the money shot.

“It’s safe to say that television producers don’t know much about business,” says Sugar.

Sugar does know business. Sugar knows that having to pay out £100,000 in salary to an untalented reality TV show winner is a small price to pay for so much publicity.

But this time it’s been different. Sugar says the new producers have listened to him. “I gave them a repertoire of how to talk to people, questions to ask, how to probe, how to look into the CVs to get the real truth about what the candidates have done and find out if they’re a pack of lies.”

And the producers look and go for the blonder, more photogenic contestants? No. If there is one thing Sugar hates it is wannabe corporate employees using his reality TV show to advance their TV careers.

Michelle Dewberry (show winner) appeared on Celebrity Scissorhands. Saira Khan (runner-up) is a professional Asian in the media. Paul Torrisi presents property shows on UKTV. Syed Ahmed dangled from a trapeze on Cirque de Celebrite.

“The tacky end of the telly market needs minus-Z-list celebrities to participate in various things,” says Sugar. “And there’s no end of supply of these people who want to be seen on television.”

It’s the pile it high and sell it cheap approach to broadcasting. And Alan Sugar is here to help…

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

Heather Mills Shakes A Leg On Dancing With The Stars

mills-leg.jpgHEATHER Mills continues to qualify for a disabled parking permit over her and partake in pro-celebrity dancing over there.

Mills is a woman who is all things to all men.

And the Star looks on as she tells American chat show host Jay Leno of her plans.

As is known, Heather is currently starring in Dancing With The Stars, America’s answer to Strictly Come Dancing.

It’s just about the biggest pro-celebrity dance shows on the box right now, and Heather plans to give it her full attention.

As she tells Leno: “I’ve bet a few hundred dollars it’s not going to come off – so I’ll win some money.”

Heather is not referring to her dress, nor her bra and knickers. Some shock to fans of Heather’s past work, notably Die Freuden Der Liebe, a study in Anglo-German relations and baby oil. But, as we say, Heather is all things to all men. She’s talking of her prosthetic leg.

Heather goes on: “Most of the nation was watching to see if my leg would fly off. That’s why I’ve got this strap on it.”

At which point, we were back in the old days as Heather lifted up her leg to give publishers and adolescent boys a hint of what might have occurred in mills-leg.jpg Zwei.

Posted: 23rd, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (3)

The Apprentice – Alan Sugar’s New Marketing Staff

apprentice.jpgWHAT if the contestants on Celebrity Love Island never left?

Impossible, say you. Without them what would the Star do for news and who would appear on Channel 4’s 100 Best Reality TV rows? Hell, who would keep the rehab business afloat?

But just imagine if each year the new coterie of celebs were greeted on the island by last year’s batch? Every year, Big Brother just got bigger? That patch of I’m A Celebrity jungle expanded year on year. Pro-celebrity dancers never stopped moving to the music but formed an ever-lengthening Conga line?

And what would Alan Sugar do with the pushy, fame-hungry wannabes who appear on his The Apprentice show? Can he have more than one apprentice?

But Sugar need not worry. As the Telegraph reports, Tim Campbell, hired in 2005, is leaving Sugar’s company.

Campbell, a former London Transport manager, and therefore right to fear that he is unemployable in the greater world, was given a job in the health and beauty department of Sir Alan’s electronics firm Amstrad.

This not a joke. Sugar does not joke. We give little succour to the malicious rumour that Sugar invented a division in order to ensure his newest recruit was kept as far removed from the actual business of flogging discount electronics as possible.

Campbell was given the job on merit. And he stayed a while. But they don’t all last so long. As the paper notes, last year’s winner, the flirty, watery blonde Michelle Dewberry, lasted only a few months in the job. She left to set up her own eponymous consultancy.

Now Campbell is leaving. As the Telegraph tells us, he’s setting up a male grooming business and a social enterprise initiative to help entrepreneurs.

apprentice_winner.jpgThis leaves the way open for a new Apprentice. Says Sir Allan: “Last year I wasn’t particularly impressed with the calibre of candidates. I always have the problem of wondering if they are here for the right reasons.”

What the right reasons are is anyone’s guess – just as we can speculate on why Sugar would perform in such a show.

All we say is may the candidate who won’t stick it out win.

As reported by the Independent, the wannabes, never-will-bes and never-could-bes are:

“* Tre Azam, 27, from Loughton, Essex, a marketing and design consultant.

* Katie Hopkins, 31, from Exeter, a single mother-of-two and global brand consultant.

* Kristina Grimes, 36, from Harrogate, a pharmaceutical sales manager and a “ruthless single mother”.

* Rory Laing, 27, from Bristol, a waiter and bankrupt entrepreneur who employed ex-public school pupils including Kate Middleton for the Henley regatta.

* Lohit Kalburgi, 25, from London, a telecoms manager born in the United Arab Emirates.

* Adam Hosker, 27, from Lancashire, a car sales manager.Lives with wife and children in Blackburn.

* Natalie Wood, 29, from Upminster, Essex, represented England in swimming as a teenager. The mother-of-two has worked in the City.

* Paul Callaghan, 27, from Southampton, an ex-Army lieutenant who graduated from Sandhurst and spent six months serving in Basra.

* Jadine Johnson, 27, from Harrow, Middlesex, a financial adviser and single mother.

* Gerri Blackwood, 33, from Woking, Surrey, a transport development manager. Turned down a job at MI5 for The Apprentice.

* Dr Sophie Kain, 32, from Llanellen, Wales, a research scientist for aviation firm “who doesn’t suffer fools gladly”.

* Ifti Chaudri, 33, from Egham, Surrey, a company director of tile business. Applying to join the 2012 Olympic team.

* Andy Jackson, 36, from Leeds, a car sales manager now living in Kirriemuir in Scotland.

* Ghazal Asif, 23, from Glasgow, a business development manager. Speaks five languages.

* Naomi Lay, 26, from Cornwall, an advertising sales manager. Has run both the New York and London marathons.

* Simon Ambrose, 27, from Clapham, south London, a former investment banker, runs internet-based businesses.”

Posted: 22nd, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (3)

Sanjaya Malakar Makes American Idol Weep

sanjaya_rocks.jpgAMERICAN Idol’s Sanjaya Malakar stopped whispering.

Who needs call centres in India? asks Tabloid Baby. Sanjaya Malakar’s unexpectedly uninhibited and totally bizarre performance last night, aided by a deft director who kept cutting to a little girl who’d been weeping through the entire show (a tribute to the evening’s British Invasion theme, of course) was one of the most memorable moments in American Idol history.

And despite the best efforts of the judges to sway the votes, Sanjaya would seem to be a lock for a place in the Final 10, and upcoming Idol concert tour and album. (Too bad for Phil “Bat Boy” Stacey, who reminds us of a big kid from the Make A Wish Foundation.)

Sanjaya’s explosion comes amid a furious refutation from one of the Indiacentric websites that led to our exclusive report about suspicions that Sanjaya’s voting bloc was the Desi (South Asian) community here and outsourced call centres in India.

In the days after our report was picked up by media around world, Uberdesi writes:

First off, AI cannot be broadcast LIVE in India. Everything is time-delayed… It is highly improbable for a TV to be present in a call centre environment; do you watch reality programming when you are at your job? Even if there is a TV that did broadcast an American Channel, AI would be broadcast at the wee hours of the morning.

“The time difference would mean that the show should be available at approximately 6:30 / 7:30 AM for it to be live. But from Star World’s online schedule it plays at 10 am on Thursday, which makes it 11:30 P.M. Central Time and at 8 P.M. on Wednesday, which would be 9:30 P.M Central Time Tuesday night This also happens to be the busiest time for call centres, considering the calls they have to make to the west coast.

“Think of all those telemarketing calls you receive every night when you sit down at the dinner table; if those cunning Indians were stuffing a virtual ballot box for someone who isn’t even really one of their own, would they have time to annoy you?”

We’ll know more after tonight’s results show. That Peter Noone turned out to be a good mentor after all…

Tabloid Baby

Posted: 21st, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comment (1)

A Gay American Idol – Melinda Dolittle More Talent Than Antonella

melinda-dolittle.jpgAMERICAN Idol continues its long trawl for talent. Antonella Barba had talent, but of the wrong sort for this show.

Sanjaya Malakar has talent and should his nascent career as America’s leading whisperer fail to prosper he can combine his act with his Phil Spector impersonation to become a truly unique performer.

But there is singing talent on the show. And it’s name is Melinda Doolittle.

As Tabloid Baby notes, Melinda may not have much by way of neck, but again she showed tonight that she’s head and shoulders above the other finalists on American Idol.

Melinda, of course, is a professional. She makes a living as a background singer. She comes with a vocal coach and stylist. At 29, she’s the oldest contestant, and despite her shy onstage demeanor, she obviously knows who she is. But how soon until America gets the hint?

In the latest episode dedicated to the rock ‘n’ rolling British Invasion of the Sixties, Melinda chose “As Long As He Needs Me” fro the musical Oliver. But in the opening line, sitting on the lip of the stage, she quite clearly enunciated, “As long as she needs me,” before switching back to “he” for the rest of the song.

Will America have its first openly-gay Idol here? A few weeks back, Melinda sang the gay anthem, “My Funny Valentine” and dedicated it her two “closest” female friends, whom she called her “Gayles” – as in “gay girls” – or as she explained, “Gayle King,” the woman long rumoured to be Oprah Winfrey’s lover (Melinda said she’s the Oprah in the triangle). And two weeks ago, she made her mark with a strutting “I’m A Woman.”

Tonight, she laid it all out. And was that a (Oprah’s longtime alleged boyfriend) Stedman Graham joke when she held onto the line: “I’ll cling on… sted-fast-ly…”?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But whether Melinda the professional is merely reaching for a voting demographic, has an Oprah jones, or playing it loud and proud… we’d say it doesn’t matter! It’s about time we had a gay Idol!

The real issue is whether Melinda, as a professional, should be in the contest to begin with. Because every time she sings, she’s so much better than the others…

But how about that Sanjaya? He deserves to stay another week! Whisper it…

According to American Idol, the 1960s British Invasion was epitomised by these tunes:

Haley Scarnato – “Tell Him” by The Exciters.
Chris Richardson – “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” by Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Stephanie Edwards – “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield.
Blake Lewis – “Time Of The Season” by the Zombies. He beatboxes at the start. (probably kinda like the record).
Lakisha Jones – “Diamonds are Forever,” Shirley Bassey (from the Bond movie).
Phil Stacey – “Tobacco Road” by The Nashville Teens.
Jordin Sparks – “I Who Have Nothing” by Tom Jones.
Sanjaya Malakar – “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks. (EEP!)
Gina Glocksen – “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones.
Chris Sligh – “She’s Not There” by the Zombies
Melinda Doolittle – “As Long as He Needs Me” from the musical “Oliver!”

Posted: 21st, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (25)

Heather Mills Dances With The Stars

PSSSST! Wanna see a one-legged woman dance, dance, dance?

No, Heather Mills is not appearing topless – not this time. Dancing With The Stars is a family show, and Heather is a family girl – albeit from a family soon-to-be reduced in size.

Here she comes… Take it away Hea-ther Millssssssss. A one and a one and a one…

Posted: 20th, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (3)

Heather Mills Is “Whorible” On Dancing With The Stars

heather21.jpgHeather Mills begins Dancing With The Stars and we see what went on.

ABC fulfilled its part of the bargain with Heather Mills’ appearance on Dancing with the Stars last night.

The woman known in most of the English-speaking world as the hard-boiled, attention-grabbing fantasist who married Paul McCartney in his lowest hour, then played dirty pool in her effort to fleece him in divorce, is now “an inspiration”… with “more guts than Rambo”… and, drummed over and over again… not a gold-digging former porn model and alleged call girl… but a “charity campaigner.”

McCartney’s name was never uttered. Whether that’s due to lawyers’ letters or part of the plan to present Heather as blank slate syndicated talk show candidate, the show’s “first performer with an artificial limb” was presented as an odd celebrity without portfolio (and without the lower part of her left leg).

The familiar Heather only showed up between the lines: the way she twisted her face and talked out of the side of her mouth like Dick Cheney… her disingenuous claim that she was “not used to dressing up at this level” in her “ice cream sundae” gown– followed by cohost Samantha Harris’ quip, “Somebody get her some whipped cream” (obviously forgetting Heather’s porny —NSFW— photos)… and Heather’s line to the judges: “Just don’t ask me to point that foot! If you can point it, I’ll give you a million dollars.” After the McCartney settlement, she can afford to throw around a million bucks.

Not everyone bought into the new Heather. The Dancing with the Stars message boards were filled with anti-Heather postings:

“Is there anyone besides me who has a problem with a former call girl who posed nude in sexual situations now being called a ‘charity campaigner’ and hero for the disabled? Why would ABC put a person like this on a family show? Her nude shots (with a man) are available to anyone who can google, including my friend’s older teenagers who were pulling up the pictures and laughing at them as she danced. In the UK she has a disabled parking badge. In the US she is dancing and doing high kicks.”

“She is whorible”

“Judge her harshly? Are you crazy? She’s being judged for being a gold digger and trying very hard to screw Sir Paul McCartney! Don’t you read the news??? Jeez…”

“I, for one, am appalled that she is trying to make herself out to be something she’s not right now. And I will not watch the show until she is OFF! Shame on ABC!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Thirty-nine year-old Heather and her partner wound up in the middle of the pack, placing seventh with eighteen points. The gambling site is among those taking bets on whether Heather’s artificial leg will at one point fly off during the competition.

Tabloid Baby

Posted: 20th, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (8)

Phil Spector Wears American Idol’s Sanjaya Malakar


AMERICAN Idol’s Sanjaya Malakar is Phil Spector’s alter ego?

Wall of Hair pop music producer Phil Spector sported a new coif as jury selection began in his murder trial today.

Spector, in court to defend his name in the shooting dead of actress Lana Clarkson at his Los Angeles home four years ago – arrived at the Los Angeles Superior Court looking every inch the International Man of Mystery.


But Spector is not Austin Powers. Spector is Sanjaya Malakar, who each week stands accused of murdering another song on American Idol.

Tabloid Baby spots the trend and wonders what Sanjaya will have in store for the American Idol judges next week.


Posted: 20th, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (2)

American Idol’s Sanjaya Dials The Apprentice’s Surya

sanjayavotes-2.jpgSURYA Yamanchili, in his final hours as the most-recently fired Apprentice candidate, is the latest to weigh in on the worldwide debate over our report on suspicions that Sanjaya Malakar’s stay on American Idol is being extended by bloc voting in India – specifically from workers and technology in outsourced call centers in cities like New Delhi. writes Tabloid Baby.

Surya, like Sanjaya, is a hero to the Desi community because of his prominence on an American reality TV series (Indian-American couple Vipul and Arti Patel didn’t make it past the first episode of last season’s Amazing Race). He doesn’t buy the theory.

“What the hell?” he writes us. “This seems pretty idiotic to me. There are no facts supporting it all – just total speculation. Why don’t they just speculate that Martians are voting for him because Martians consider themselves Asian?”

Hard-core rap fan Surya (who, like Sanjaya, was born in the USA) admits, “I haven’t followed Idol. I think the fact that you can ‘manufacture’ a pop music star on national TV is proof what shit most pop music is today! Although I think if I watched the show, I’d probably like it!”

The story was based on a wave of Internet chatter on Indian and Desi blog and news sites. Since it’s been picked up around the world, new suspicions and theories have emerged.

But the potential scandal has picked up even more traction and debate in the UK, where anti-Asian bias is more of a problem, and became a national scandal amid charges of racism on Celebrity Big Brother.

Read about it here.

Posted: 18th, March 2007 | In: TV & Radio | Comments (6)