The Diana Concert: Why Did NBC Even Bother?

OK, that was it?

NBC’s piddling, one-hour coverage of the Diana memorial concert was simply boring – you can tell they only did it to secure that interview with Prince William and Harry. It was summer filler for the family hour: the network cut a lot of the acts who are unknown to mainstream America – Lily Allen, Take That, andThe Feeling, for example – and went for safer, soft-rock favorites like Tom Jones, Rod Stewart, and Elton John. NBC was so scared of rocking the boat that they even excised Kanye West‘s set. (God forbid Kanye start in on all that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” stuff again – not on Jeff Zucker‘s watch, damn it.)

The lowlight was P. Diddy, who dedicated his Notorious B.I.G. tribute “I’ll Be Missing You” to Diana. Even with all his millions and achievements, Diddy is so desperate to be down with the “posh” set. The two Princes may have cried at this gauche display, but the rest of us were shedding tears of a different sort, mostly because we couldn’t locate our remotes quickly enough…

At the end of the day, I’m sure the Princes are nice blokes, really, but I cringe at the thought of them hosting Desert Island Discs.

You can watch the concert in its entirety at VH1.com.

Some other notes:

  • Londonist quite liked it actually. “For once, a concert that would usually feel disjointed with all of the random people involved actually felt like it had a purpose. Well, would you put P. Diddy, Duran Duran and Take That in the same line-up? Probably not, but this was a phenomenal gig for a woman who didn’t do what people expected of her.”
  • Most papers found it cheeseball, however. (Guardian)
  • The 3am girls and The Sun‘s Victoria Newton agree: Take That put on the best show.
  • NME‘s Priya Elan lists “The Top 5 Unintentional Funnies” at yesterday’s concert. No. 1: “Surgically alterted R’n’B femmebot Fergie announcing before playing a Heart FM drivetime ballad: ‘This song is about hope. I’d like to dedicate it to Princess Diana. It’s called ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’.’”
  • Fergie‘s sound cut out during “Glamorous.”(Mirror)
  • The Daily Mail seems royally surprised that the Princes hang out with black people, i.e. Kanye West and P. Diddy. And William even does the secret handshake. It took me years to learn how to do that.
  • The Mirror notes that Wills and ex-girlfriend Kate Middleton kept their distance during the concert.
  • The Daily Mail wasn’t fooled by this “ruse”: they claim Prince William and Kate Middleton “spent the night together at Clarence House on the eve of the Diana concert. The couple – who split up in April after four years together – went to extraordinary lengths to cover up the tryst.”
  • P. Diddy serenaded Sienna Miller at a “private dinner” they shared at Cipriani’s. “It’s unconfirmed if Diddy actually sang or if it was more of a rap.” Neither option sounds particularly encouraging…(Daily Mail)

Wow, quite a revolution on this week’s UK pop chart. There were four new entries this week and one re-entry: this year’s answer to Sandi Thom, DIY maven Kate Nash, soared to No. 2 with her verbose break-up song, “Foundations.” (Don’t you know that every teenage girl is killing herself to learn all the words.) The Enemy, those Peaches Geldof-hating blokes, made it to No. 4 with their new song, “Had Enough.” At No. 6 are The Hoosiers, a cheeky pop band who cite influences like “The Cure, Jeff Buckley, The Flaming Lips, [and] XTC.” They sound a touch emo to me, but at least they don’t seem to take themselves seriously.

The most unique of the newcomers is the half-Spanish, half British Jack Peñate, whose “Torn On the Dancefloor” (No. 7) combines mopey singer-songwriter craft with ska, blue-eyed soul, and punk. And look who’s back in the Top Ten – it’s Reverend & The Makers with their song, “Heavyweight Champion Of The World.” It’s unusual for an indie band to have such legs on the singles chart, but their dance-heavy sound certainly sets them apart.

Yet, with all this fresh blood, Rihanna is still No. 1. Seven weeks and running, folks.

1. Rihanna – Umbrella
Watch the video

2. Kate Nash – Foundations
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3. Enrique Iglesias – Do You Know(The Ping Pong Song)
Watch the video

4. The Enemy – Had Enough
Watch the video

5. Lee Mead – Any Dream Will Do
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6. The Hoosiers – Worried AboutRay
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7. Jack Peñate – Torn on thePlatform
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8. Kelly Rowland Ft. Eve – LikeThis
Watch the video

9. Calvin Harris – The Girls
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10. Reverend & The Makers -Heavyweight Champion Of The World
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Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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