Last Choir Standing

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Production Diary 3: The heats are hotting up

24th July 2008

James TaylorThings are hotting up in the Last Choir Standing heats (ok, I promise not to use such a mediocre pun again), as five more choirs battle it out for a place in the Final 6. Since the last blog, this week’s choirs have been busy back in their home towns and cities, rehearsing for what promises to be a fantastic show.

Let’s quickly look at the contenders to remind ourselves who’s who – we’ve got Revelation, the close-knit Gospel choir from London. Bringing a sense of choral tradition, there’s the Hereford Police Male Choir, with Cardiff’s Only Men Aloud! singing for Wales. Then we have the young’ns – Shropshire’s ‘A’ level student Common Room Choir, and finally the guys from Last Minute.

The choirs arrive at Television Centre for rehearsals. First to arrive this week, bright and early were Revelation, with Only Men Aloud! bringing up the rear.

Onto the big day and all the choirs arrive at TV Centre at 9.15am – they make their way to their dressing rooms to have a warm-up to make sure their vocals are tip-top for the show. Everything’s very exciting and all the groups are in good spirits.

Being behind the scenes, the crew get to see all backstage goings on. Craig from Only Men Aloud! appeared to be sporting a healthy glow, with other members of the choir speculating whether it came from the bottle or the beach! Only Men Aloud! Were also hoping that their performance would prompt the female members of the audience to throw their underwear at them, especially considering they have their very own Tom Jones in the choir!

Meanwhile, in the Last Minute camp, Woody was using his statistical background to work out the probability of them getting through to the next round. Being a mere mortal, I didn’t really understand the technicalities of the maths he was explaining; but they sure sounded good when they were singing.

Excitement struck for the Common Room Choir when they spotted Jeremy Clarkson’s car parked outside the studios. They then spent the rest of the afternoon chasing round the corridors of the BBC trying to get an autograph. Sadly they were unsuccessful in their quest to locate him, as Jeremy remained "elusive"!

Despite the early start, Hereford were in fine voice, especially considering that 82 year old Ray (the oldest member of the choir) was one of the last propping up the bar in the hotel the night before. Choir Master Alison showed no mercy as she got them lined up outside the studio pulling yoga poses that even Geri Halliwell would have struggled with!

Revelation often say they are more of a family than a choir and boy, are they telling the truth. First of all, Beatrice and Christianah are sisters, easy enough to understand. But then there’s Trevor who’s married to Chantelle, Nick is Godfather to Trevor and Chantelle’s child. But David is also Trevor’s brother and there’s Celia who’s sister used to be in the choir, but she left a couple of years ago. Got it?! I’m sure EastEnders couldn’t even write this plot!

My job on the Filming Team is to film back-stage with my trusty camera. I work with the rest of the team to film the choirs immediately as they come off stage and speak to them about how they think it went. I chatted to Nick from Only Men Aloud!, he takes some criticism from the judges and is hopeful they can do better in their second song. Matt from Last Minute is confident after hearing the judge’s comments and really hopes they’ve done enough to be the “Stand Out Choir” for an automatic place in the Final 6. The boys from Hereford impress everyone with their “wall of sound”. Revelation leave the stage and seem ready to explode! Common Room Choir were still looking for Jeremy Clarkson…

But which choir’s have done enough to get through? …and conversely, who will be going home for good after being “Stood Down” by the judges? There’s only one way to find out – and that’s by tuning in on Saturday and Sunday this week.

P.S. I’m told by a very reliable source that all the choirs returned to the hotel in good spirits and raised the roof with a joint sing-a-long in the bar after.

James will be continuing his production diary next week

Tune in on Saturday at 18:55 on BBC One to watch the second heat show and on Sunday at 19:35 to see who gets the second place. Or if you missed the last show, watch it now.

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