Last Choir Standing
The hosts – Myleene Klass
Musician and TV presenter Myleene is no stranger to national talent searches, having beaten thousands of hopefuls to be a finalist in ITV1's Popstars, going on to be a member of the band Hear'Say.
Myleene's passion for music started early – she began playing the piano and the violin when she was four. She went on to study voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where she later graduated.
Since splitting from Hear'Say, Myleene changed direction in 2003, releasing Moving On, her debut solo classical album, which went to No.2 in the classical charts. In the last year, she has released two classical No.1 albums, Myleene's Music For Romance and Myleene's Music For Mothers.
A versatile television presenter, Myleene's credits include both BBC One's The One Show and New Year Live, while her fame was cemented by her appearance in the 2006 series of ITV1's I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
How did you get involved in the show?
Well, I've always been involved in choirs whether it was a school choir, church choir, teaching in it, being in it, singing in it, playing in it. And when they approached me to see if I'd like to get involved in a show about choirs, I just thought that it was going to be perfect.
What can viewers expect from Last Choir Standing?
I think that it's quite deceiving because there are probably a few people who think "choirs, it's not for me". Some people have an idea that choirs can be dull and it really isn't the case. I mean, I've heard really clever arrangements of The Killers or Arctic Monkeys and Take That – one gospel choir sang Take That and I was just so phenomenally impressed.
And there is a reason why choirs have lasted for years, because it's quite fun singing as a group.
What are you looking for from the choirs taking part?
A variety, really, because I would like the stereotypes to be broken down – it isn't all about altar boys and people wearing cassocks. It's about more of a community feel, getting together with your friends and singing.
From what you've seen so far, what's impressed you about the choirs which have auditioned?
The standard has been pretty phenomenal, it really has. And I think what I've liked is the arrangements. There are songs that you wouldn't necessarily think a choir was going to tackle, and then someone comes out with an Annie Lennox piece or, like I said before, a Take That song. And you just think: "Wow!" this is for everybody, it's for the masses, it's not just for people who think they're going to sing some Bach or a Mozart Requiem.
People are putting together brilliant arrangements and putting their own take on it – a few dance moves, they've made it fun. And I get the best job, really, because I don't have to sit and judge, I get to sing with the choirs. When I got to sing with one choir it was fantastic –
we were singing Pussycat Dolls and Abba's Dancing Queen, it was just brilliant fun!
Have you got any advice for the choirs taking part?
I think the only advice is that sometimes some of the choirs that were technically excellent didn't seem to have the enjoyment factor, it was like "let's try and hit every single note correctly" - you almost forget why you're singing.
The whole point of singing is that it's meant to be a way of expressing yourself. It's first and foremost about communication and telling a story, and I think what's been interesting for me is that people that didn't necessarily sound so sharp on the tuning or maybe you just thought that technically they didn't quite have the edge – yet because their story-telling was so good, and because the enjoyment factor was so high, they went straight through.
Are you glad to be returning back to your musical roots with the show?
I don't think I've ever gone away from music. I presented the Classical Brits recently – before that I had another album out. I've even just been presenting a programme on festivals, a programme about world music and ska and things that I don't really know much about, but I never close myself to different genres of music.
One of the scariest things I've ever had to do was when I worked on a music programme and they sent me off to learn to rap. It was actually really entertaining and I still remember the rap because I practised it in the shower, I practised it everywhere.
All my work is around music, music is in my life every single day whether I'm playing the piano, singing nursery rhymes with Ava, presenting the Brits and now presenting this show.
Are you looking forward to working with Nick on the show?
I love working with Nick. God, the amount of women, every time I say I'm working with Nick Knowles, women swoon and men ask me what sort of hammer does he use for this, and what kind of drill does he use for that. So yes, I'm looking forward to working with him and asking his advice on shelves, which I know really annoys him but he's wise about these things!
And he loves his music and he's got a good sense of humour, so I think we're going to have a good laugh together without a doubt. And he does dad-dancing. A choir will start up and before you know it there's Nick dad-dancing in the corner!