TV Talent Show Contestants Let Loose on UK Pop Chart

Welcome aboard Fraser McAlpine to our roster of Anglophenia music contributors. He started writing about pop music for Top of the Pops Online, back when you had to know where the asterisk went in B*Witched, and before Billie Piper was an actress. He’s interviewed hundreds of pop stars since then – including all five Spice Girls, a Proclaimer, and one of Motley Crue – and almost got along pretty well with most of them. He can currently be found writing the Radio 1 Chart Blog, and answers to @csi_popmusic on Twitter.

It’s always a little unsettling when the contestants of a TV talent show are let loose on the charts, especially if it’s a show you personally did not happen to watch. They seem a little overexcited to be there, you’re just confused as to who they might be. It’s like being gatecrashed at home, by buskers.

Sky 1′s Must Be The Music has been responsible for just such an invasion, with unfamiliar names such as Pepper & Piano and Missing Andy hitting respectable chart highs over the last three weeks.

The format is pretty familiar, in that the performers have to compete to impress three celebrity judges – Texas frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri, rapper Dizzee Rascal, and singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum – with their singing and songwriting skills, and there’s a howling arena-ful of fans and family for moral support.

The novel twist is that each act also has their song released as a download, which allows them to capitalize on their TV exposure, and allows fans to show their support in a very direct and rewarding way.

As a result, the show’s eventual winner, 27-year-old Emma Gillespie from Glasgow, who performs as Emma’s Imagination, managed to secure two Top 40 spots this week: a No. 7 for the Stevie Nicks-y “Focus,” and No. 25 for the relatively perky “This Day.”

Simon Cowell must be watching these developments with a LOT of interest.

Is the bubble about to burst for TV talent shows? Let me know your thoughts.

Elsewhere in the chart: Bruno Mars swaggers to his first No.1 with ‘Just The Way You Are’, his debut solo single. Such is the velocity of his arrival, he’s managed to kick Alexandra Burke‘s ‘Start Without You’ down to No. 5 in a high arc over Taio Cruz, Katy Perry, and the Script (who all stay exactly where they were).

That’s a hell of a wallop for man made entirely out of cassette-tape, eh?

For the rest of this week’s chart, Radio 1 has the full rundown.

by Fraser McAlpine

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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