Hear'say - Manchester Arena - 23.9.01

You wouldn't believe it would you. As Hear'say are trying to squeeze the last penny out of a few unsuspecting punters ITV are already lining up their replacement in the form of a one wo(man) army called Pop Idols. A shout from the left, a shout from the right, a cover here and there and the now obligatory solo spots - we've all seen the well rehearsed formula before. You start to question if Hear'say really have that X factor to make them stand out from the crowd and as the show drags on tonight you can only hope they'll put the sorry story behind them.

The only saving grace tonight comes in the form of Noel Sullivan (the man most women would like to see naked apparently and just as likely the man most men would like to see naked) who really could do without the four monkeys behind him. Ultimately he's more Mark Owen than Robbie Williams - I mean could you ever imagine Noel going down the rock & roll route to hell? No, I don't think so!!!  On the other hand you have the man we all love to mock  - Danny. I mean when one word sums him up - Shrek - little else really needs saying. Vocally I can't fault him except for the fact he bellows like a boy band Ian Brown or even less significantly Danny Embrace. I think the phrase only his mother could love him is apt!!!! The girls are great if only for the fact its so obvious that they all hate each other with a vengeance. There's the well documented fighting between Mylenne and Kim while Suzanne just seems bewildered by the whole spectacle. Suzanne does a superb Madonna on "Express Yourself" while Kim settles for the karaoke standard "How Do I Live Without You?". The latter perhaps slightly sinister when you take into account she's using her own kids for a set piece manoeuvre at a pop concert. None of us are above a bit of tabloid journalism but there comes a point where you have to say no.

Ultimately the show fails purely on the fact that they are still just five ordinary people who happened to win a very public talent show. There's no mystery, no pizzazz and above all nothing at all to get excited about. With top notch entertainment by S Club 7, Westlife and Five at this very venue recently Hear'say really do need to pull out all the stops next time.

Alex McCann