This was the final foray into life on the road for a bunch of has-beens, who've been given a rejuvenating shot at the big time, courtesy of reality TV, which this week brought their bus southwards to the culmination of their reignited dreams - a gig at the O2.
Atomic Kitten's Big Reunion has given Natasha Hamilton
This three-parter has been a supreme guilty pleasure of TV, watching a bus-load of overgrown adolescents talk their way through personal dysfunction and collective disharmony, while travelling around in a bus with their faces painted on the outside of it. It's been like watching an episode of Fame meets TOWIE - what's not to love?
Well, em, my only reservation would be 5ive's Ritchie, appointed - perhaps by self? - to be the spokesperson for the inner thoughts of the masses. Just call him Liam Payne, thrust into a role, for which he is not equipped.
As for his trip to take the boys round to see the parents in Nottingham... "it's nice to touch base with the people you love." Isn't this the bloke who upped sticks to Australia to open a bar? Anyway...
'It's nice to touch base with the people you love,' says 5ive's Ritchie
And I cringed when Atomic Kitten's Natasha announced, with no sense of irony, "I want this more than anything, and I'll do whatever it takes to make it happen." Again??? This second time around??? No, no! Natasha! You're sounding like an X Factor contestant. Hasn't shelearned anything in the intervening few years? Even Kerry Katona, through her fog of self-doubt, was sounding wise in comparison. The heart aches for her. Let it go, for heaven's sake.
She obviously needs her own session on the psychiatrist's couch - by which I mean an hour on the pier sharing deck chairs with resident guru Abz, helpfully wearing his big yellow A once more, and declaiming, "I was there with my pooch, I thought what do I need? My pooch and a fire?" Out of the mouths of... Abz. Plus, he's not sure some bands should keep going "chasing waterfalls". Are you listening, Natasha?
The narrative's been great, too, with Andi Peters funnier behind the camera than I ever realised he was in front of it... he is writing his own script? Whoever's coming up with lines like "twinkle-toed denim apologists" to describe B*witched deserves a medallion.
We saw B*witched back on stage, but we also saw them busking in the streets... like a proper band
Between the tantrums and the tears, we saw 5ive singing with the crowd in the street, and B*witched busking. Mixing with the fans, and reflecting the fun back at them... isn't that what pop's all about? And no doubt something that would never have been allowed the first time around the hamster wheel.
That's been the great theme of this show, the new sense of appreciation felt by all the bands to have another stab at it, enjoy it more and realise what a privilege all this nonsense really is... roll on the second series.
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