This week's 'The Big Reunion', bringing back together six girl-and boy bands for a one-off concert, concentrated on 911 and Atomic Kitten, which meant one thing - Kerry Katona-watch - but also a couple of harsh life lessons.
Reunions - always looked forward to...
First, the male trio 911 demonstrated that even beefy dance boys aren’t completely without brain power when it comes to world-dominating strategy. As Spike helpfully explained, "the sooner we could get on the road, and get some women."
Frontman Lee was duly recruited, and 10 million sales (and women) duly followed. At one point, they were so overwhelmed by fans, they even had to recruit an Army(!!) escort. Jimmy was a self-confessed “walking hormone”, which nearly got them locked up in Bahrain, but - quelle surprise! - it all got a bit much for the cherubic youth at the front. “I couldn’t cope with it at all," moaned Lee.
911 had five years of enormous success, but insecurities and meltdowns brought the whole circus to a close
Not sure if he thought it would make for a quiet life, but Lee fell in love with a girl group member - the angelic Lindsay in Bew*tched - and they were married for 13 years, which is pretty good going for such ego-riddled beginnings. The sweetest part of the programme was his admission that he still loves her, and would get back with her tomorrow. First life lesson of the night: fame and cash does nothing to mend a broken heart.
Meanwhile, with his unhappiness, Jimmy's on-stage inebriation and Spike’s general meltdown, it wasn’t long before a split loomed. And when Virgin mooted the dreaded words ‘Greatest Hits’, you knew it was pretty much over. The split was not long coming.
In other news, it turned out Kerry Katona may have been the one - self-described - with “the big boobs and the gob” which made her Atomic Kitten’s tabloid epicentre, but she wasn’t the one whose claws came out the most often.
Kerry Katona reflects on her ascent to pop glory: "Even before I was famous, I was always really well-known. Don't know why. Might have been my good set of boobs. Or my gob."
That distinction went to the deceptively mild-mannered Liz, who went from feeling left out in the videos where she was made to sing on her own, to scuffling with Natasha (subject: a wrong dance move on stage) to brawling with Kerry (subject: Bryan McFadden not making room for her brother in the car). Quiet, sensitive Liz admitted, “I hit her.”
These interviews are like therapy sessions on screen, with Kerry explaining how she opted to build the family she’d never had with McFadden, and Natasha tearfully asking how she could be expected to perform with a new baby to worry about. And, just like that, it was all over.
Of the Atomic Kitten band members, Kerry Katona has the most to prove
But they're back, with Kerry having the most to prove since the band’s success with her replacement Jenny Frost. "I don't think we did harmonies when Kerry was in the band, think her mike was turned off,” remembered Natasha. That’ll help with the new rehearsals, then.
Producers have inexplicably decided that 5ive rate the most airtime, with an update on their antics sneaking in. Ritchie Neville's mum revealed her concern that her boy had worked so hard as a teenager, and she didn't want that again. Bless her. I somehow don’t think there will be the call for so much touring and, anyway, it’s hardly working down a pit.
This week's lessons - fame won't mend a broken heart, and success will challenge your friendships however robust they are, and turn the sweetest kitten into a clawing puss. And I still can’t wait for Bew*tched to unravel their demons. Roll on next week of this car-crash guilty pleasure. Loving every minute.