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Feb 18

DARIUS – “Colourblind”

Popular38 comments • 3,198 views

#932, 10th August 2002

9107BD35-B240-405A-9FD3-5D696EB34B86 Such was the grip of Pop Idol on the singles-buying imagination that two winners weren’t enough – bronze medalist Darius Danesh got a career too. But “Colourblind” is not just a participation medal. In Darius we see not one but two of the classic reality pop tropes make their appearance. First of all – in his note-strangling debut on the Popstars series, wrestling “Baby One More Time” to the ground like prehistoric man tackling an aurochs, there’s the Freak: the terrible performer armoured in their own self-confidence who we indulge because we want to see what on earth they’ll do next.

There’s little question that if the public had been given any say in things we’d have seen more from Darius in Popstars. But by the time they got a chance to vote for him and carry him to third place in Pop Idol, he’d reinvented himself to fit the second trope, the Artist: the figure who is Actually Talented but who must yet put themselves through the circus of a singing competition to gain recognition. “Colourblind”, fittingly, was a self-penned composition he’d been ‘working on’ before Pop Idol. (Actually this is entirely believable – its procession-of-colours lyric certainly feels like the kind of solid but banal structure a beginning songwriter might try.)

In general the Freak and the Artist are separate reality-show characters, and compared to the real maestros of each form – Jedward on the one hand, James Arthurs on the other – Darius is far milder. But his trope-switching shows the basic linkage between the two ideas – in the sense that both need unusual reserves of self-belief, but also in the role both play in the keyfabe of reality TV. “Colourblind” became a hit partly because it was rejected by Simon Cowell, who decided Darius’ self-penned material didn’t cut it. The Freak and the Artist are both presented as rejections of Cowellism, one via excess, one via authenticity – they are useful parts of the reality show narrative because they preserve the illusion of autonomy, the idea that the story can be disrupted. We’ll come back to this bit of theatrical play again and again in 00s Popular.

All of this is a lot more interesting to me than the actual song. “Colourblind” shoots its creative bolt quickly – you get the basic lyrical conceit immediately, and in any case whatever promise and momentum the verses build is frittered by the chorus. The emotional core of the song – D has lots of ambiguous negative feelings about his relationship but can’t sustain them in the face of her smile – just doesn’t fit the treatment he gives it. The sense of the lyric suggests something dark, helpless and conflicted, but Darius, eager to please his crowd now he’s finally got one, belts out a big jolly chorus. (It’s also not clear he knows what colourblindness is.) The arrangers do a creditable job gussying up slim ideas into something listenable, but not for the last time Simon Cowell is right: willpower and good intentions aren’t enough, and even next to “Anyone Of Us” or “Light My Fire”, this is muddled and thin.

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Comments

  1. 1
    ThePensmith on 11 Feb 2018 #

    Have to say, completely agree on the ‘The Freak’ and ‘The Artist’ thesis there Tom. The latter one is certainly more true of the BBC’s attempt at the genre come that autumn – from which we meet just the one bunny. The BBC model if you will.

    Darius (Campbell, nee Danesh. I never understood that change of surname) was indeed one of Pop Idol’s more surprising curveballs. I remember well the round whoopassing he received after that Popstars rendition of Britney, so when he tried out for Pop Idol, devoid of both goatee and ponytail, and suddenly looking and sounding a bit more like an approachable artist, it was a revelation to say the least.

    I remember on the quarter final they did two songs – Darius’ as far as I can recall were ‘It’s Not Unusual’ (complete with hip gyrating moves) and – following a blessing from Natasha Hamilton who was sat in the audience – a stripped back version of ‘Whole Again’. He played to being a lady charming crowd pleaser whilst also showing an emotional side as it were. In many ways, Darius is a bit like an early blueprint of a bunnied 10s runner up we’ll meet.

    As for ‘Colourblind’, it’s significant in so far as it was the first ever single penned by a contestant – runner up, winner, whoever – to reach the top of the UK charts. His collaborative partners on his first album ‘Dive In’ were Deni Lew – who worked a lot with the BBC model bunny I mentioned and several of their fellow competitors – and Steve Lillywhite, who worked a lot with U2 and The Rolling Stones to name but two. I agree that’s it a bit lyrically twee with 15 years distance, but is not unpleasant for all of that. A 6 for me.

    Guitar peddling pop hunk did seem like quite a good fit for Darius at the time, although his lyrics did seem to come from the lovelorn misunderstood teenage boy school of songwriting – see this single’s immediate top 5 follow up ‘Rushes’ in November, and the top 10 hit ‘Incredible’ the following March, by which point, he had the multi platinum album he impressed upon Nasty Nigel at Popstars that he would have. His second album ‘Live Twice’ did produce two more low top 10s but the album itself more or less stiffed, at which point he turned his attentions to the stage, starring in West End runs of Chicago and From Here to Eternity.

    #2 watch on its second week – Coldplay launched their highly anticipated second album ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’ with ‘In My Place’. This was the point I became a fan of theirs after spending the previous year forever hogging my eldest sister’s copy of ‘Parachutes’. I still have taped on cassette somewhere their appearance on Steve Lamacq’s show on Radio 1, playing tracks from the album for the first time, including the also unbunnied and arguably more remembered ‘Clocks’ and ‘The Scientist’ which remain in their finest work to date for me.

  2. 2
    James Masterton on 11 Feb 2018 #

    This was always the problem with Darius, it was just so hard to separate the music he performed from the cringeworthy arrogance he demonstrated when he first came to public view. When he reappeared on the first Pop Idol series, someone close to the industry commented to me that he’d clearly had some high level PR advice, dialling down the preening twat, losing the facial fungus and being honest and humble. But you were left feeling that this was still just an act.

    His songs were hard to love too. As Tom notes, they were all too often wrapped up in their own cleverness. An intense young man’s vision of what a “proper” song was supposed to sound like when in actual fact the best pop records charm with their simplicity. That was never more obvious than in the follow-up “Rushes” whose chorus spends the entire time riffing on as many clever ways as he could think of to rhyme the title. You could just picture the whiteboard brainstorming session from which it flowed. He manages to be the only pop star whose work inspires feelings of “oh get over yourself you smug wanker”.

    On the second Pop Idol series he was invited back to perform and gave an interview where he was asked if he could take in what had happened. “I had a PLATINUM album” he cooed. “I went on tour with TEXAS”.

    “Fuck off Darius” shouted the watching millions.

  3. 3
    AMZ1981 on 11 Feb 2018 #

    Of course there was another interesting point about Darius, namely that he didn’t qualify for the Popstars final originally but got a wildcard after Rik Waller (the early favourite and, as I noted on the Evergreen thread, arguably one of the great what ifs of this decade) was unable to compete due to illness. In that context it’s surprising he went as far in the show as he did; maybe having some public standing prior to the contest gave him an unfair advantage.

    Colourblind itself is harmless enough. If it was being sung by some lad at an open mic night who’d asked the audience to indulge one of his own songs you’d probably give him applause for at least making an effort. For a chart topping single you do expect slightly better.

    And it’s also a sad state of affairs when the closing statistic is more interesting than the song. Colourblind was the fourth successive chart topper to last more than one week at the top; something that hadn’t happened since the end of 1997 (Barbie Girl, Perfect Day, Teletubbies and Too Much).

  4. 4
    23 Daves on 11 Feb 2018 #

    Like a lot of people, I had a strange fascination with Darius. I’d been friendly and hanging around with musicians for most of my adult life – though by this stage, I’d given up on having a career in music myself – and I’d met his type before. Bullish, intense young men who would impress upon you, usually within half an hour of meeting you, that they were going to be the Next Big Thing. By that, they didn’t normally even mean they were going to score next year’s big hit album, they usually had much more stellar ambitions – to be the next John Lennon, Elton John or George Michael (delete where applicable). Despite their egomania, these people all seemed perfectly friendly and affable, and even willing to over-rate my own talent, until I said the wrong thing or crossed them (normally with the vaguest hint of helpful criticism or disagreement) and THEN… the pleasantness ceased.

    Despite sniggering along with everyone else at Darius’ behaviour originally, though, his 2002 re-emergence was a fascinating story. While he seemed a cringe-worthy, cocky sod when I first saw him on Popstars, who actually looked much more like a bad motivational coach than an actual pop star, I did think that the backlash was a bit over-the-top, and was strangely glad that he got the chance to redeem himself, even if I struggled to admit it. (And why did I favour Darius over other unlikely people who shuffled through the auditions, who were shy and awkward rather than over-confident, and what does it say about me that I did? I’m not sure I know or want to know).

    In effect, he managed to turn a middling talent into a long-term career, and “Colourblind” sounds like an example of a number one hit which would never have reached the summit under any other set of circumstances (excepting a charity record or death). I had to go to YouTube to remind myself of how it sounded, and found it to be perfectly pleasant pop, but the kind of pop I’ve also heard from middle-of-the-road in-at-number-58-and-down-to-67-the-following-week eighties major label signings, or earnest young men in acoustic support slots in bars in Soho. I wouldn’t turn off the radio if it came on, but nor would I really choose to listen to it again of my own accord.

    As for the Darius-types I met, it didn’t end well for them, and the three I’m still aware of have descended into a bitter middle-age. One is an alcoholic and rabid conspiracy theorist (who believes the Freemasons are responsible for him not being successful, naturally) who has left behind two children from two marriages, and two abused wives. He’ll still tell anyone who will listen that his band are “the next Beatles”. The other is a racist UKIP campaigner who has thrown tens of thousands of his family’s money into promoting self-released songs nobody is interested in (and anybody could have told him nobody would be interested in). He wants to be Joe Strummer but is closer to being Mike Read. I’ve had some vile run-ins with him I don’t even want to document here. The most successful is a cruise-ship entertainer – a route one could imagine Darius’ own career might have gone in – but cuts a bit of a lonely and thwarted figure, and isn’t a very pleasant individual to deal with either. So it’s always struck me that the road these confident, happy dreamers usually take, and the places their intense self-belief take them, isn’t usually platinum LPs and West End Musicals. Their ability to block all helpful criticism (or “negativity”) out from all sources means they very seldom develop as artists as much as they could, and nor do they tend to understand when to reign in their ambitions or walk away. Darius was one of the lucky ones.

  5. 5
    Tommy Mack on 11 Feb 2018 #

    #4 – “Their ability to block all helpful criticism (or “negativity”) out from all sources means they very seldom develop as artists as much as they could, and nor do they tend to understand when to reign in their ambitions or walk away.” – indeed. As a young man, I’d read about the phenomenal determination of the likes of John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Kurt Cobain and think all I had to do was match that but, as you say, for every one that made good, there are thousands running an open mic night and pushing self-pressed demos on anyone who’ll have one, or far worse.

    I think The Artist is generally my least favourite singing comp trope. I think partly because I know it would probably be my best chance of winning if I were to throw my hat in the ring. Every once in a while, I’ll write a catchy pop song and daydream about giving it a crack myself, peaking shyly out over my acoustic guitar in front of the X Factor judges and it sickens me to my core, dear reader.

  6. 6
    23 Daves on 11 Feb 2018 #

    #3 – Yes, that was a fascinating incident, not least because it generated some online conspiracy theories. A friend of mine who worked for the publishing house with the contract for the Pop Idol tie-in books swore blind that Darius was in meetings in his office a week or two before he took Waller’s place, and thought it seemed a little dodgy. Others online speculated that Waller was a shoe-in to be crowned Pop Idol, but Cowell or others didn’t see him as having a longer term career, and paid him off to step down while nudging Darius into his place because Darius made “good telly”. This all seems slightly unlikely to me in retrospect (and Darius being in my friend’s office makes perfectly ordinary sense given that they were presumably getting him ready to possibly replace a poorly Waller at that point. Waller didn’t even compete in the first week of the finals).

    Still, it created an extra layer of gossip around the show, which can’t have hurt.

    I’d forgotten as well that Jessica Garlick was eliminated in week two but went on to represent Britain at Eurovision, and is probably better remembered for that now (in my social circles, anyway).

    #5 – Yes, it’s the balancing act so few artists get right. Have too little self-belief, and you’ll throw your guitar in the loft at the first round of criticism, never performing again even as a busker. Have too much (and exist without other balancing voices of reason in a band) and you’ll never take on board any necessary advice. Very, very few people seem to have the talent to be able to distance themselves enough from their own work to take an objective view.

  7. 7
    Lee Saunders on 11 Feb 2018 #

    I became a pretty big fan of this song in 2005-06 and remember thinking it was miles ahead of any other Pop Idol track except maybe the late 2003 bunny.

    In hindsight, it suffers from the same thing as Anyone of Us. A very nice song but with intrusive tinny production. 6.

  8. 8
    Lee Saunders on 11 Feb 2018 #

    Oh and as for Coldplay, I have strong nostalgia for them from this era, or early 2003 mostly, though I do associate In My Place with late 2002. A lot of songs I find nostalgic from the Now 54 era, however, are unbunnied, like Clocks as #1 says, so this is the best time to mention them until In My Place’s slot was equalled in 2005. A Rush of Blood to the Head is lovely, though it is front-loaded with the first 6 songs, Politik being the towering peak of not just this set of songs but probably the band’s whole career. And I had to be more specific, I’d say the key change just before the 3rd minute.

  9. 9
    weej on 11 Feb 2018 #

    Well done 23 Daves for saying everything I wanted to say and much more coherently. I too have met these people, but generally fail to be charmed with them from the get-go, which has led to fallings out with friends who think I’m being unreasonably unfriendly. The one example I fell for I have come to the conclusion is a genuine sociopath, and I cannot believe some friends are still talking to him.

    A few other points:
    * The girl from the video, Jacqui Ainsley, became his girlfriend for a couple of years, but has now married and had kids with Guy Richie.
    * Darius apparently won something called ‘Popstar to Operastar’ in 2010 – was this a big deal?
    * In the video he reminds me of a Peter Serafinowicz impression of himself, which reminds me of this of course.
    * As an almost completely colourblind person, I appreciate mu condition getting a namecheck, though I’m not sure he’s managing to raise awareness in the way I would like

  10. 10
    Edward Still on 11 Feb 2018 #

    A couple of weeks after this reached number 1 I was enrolling in my freshers year at UWE after an amazing gap year away. This was one of the biggest songs of that first year in halls, presumably ironically, but then the whole Freshers experience is built around nostalgia and “cheese” so maybe that makes it unironic again… We even watched him mime along to this then turn on the Bristol Christmas Lights, alongside Chesney Hawkes for some reason.

    I cannot completley seperate my memories of this song from my nostalgia for that first year at uni, flimsy though it obviously is, so I’m going a 7.

  11. 11
    Edward Still on 11 Feb 2018 #

    Maybe the best recent point of comparison for the above-it-all artist lowering themselves to compete in a pop competition is last year’s Eurovsion winner. I believe he said his was a victory for “real music” or words to that effect.

  12. 12
    Edward Still on 11 Feb 2018 #

    #9 meanwhile Darius himself went on to marry Natasha Henstridge, fulfilling many a 90’s schoolboy’s fantasy.

  13. 13
    James BC on 11 Feb 2018 #

    I liked Darius on Pop Idol, and I like this. It’s breezy, listenable and quite fun, in a way that’s reminiscent of the Emma Bunton solo material, which I also have a soft spot for.

    What it isn’t is obvious number 1 material. Much like Emma (though it pains me to admit it), there’s no way this quite good MOR is topping the charts unless the person singing it is already famous.

    Still, it’s dated much better than Light My Fire or Anyone Of Us, and I heard it on Radio 1 a couple of weeks ago which I doubt anyone can say about those two. I’d give it a 6.

  14. 14
    23 Daves on 11 Feb 2018 #

    Thoughts keep on popping into my head about this single… and I’ve just realised that for some time now, I’ve believed that some kind of metaphor for racial unity was present in the lyrics to “Colourblind”. Having just checked, there’s clearly nothing of the sort there, but I’ve now remembered that David Brent in “The Office” used the medical condition of being “Colourblind” to that metaphorical end in one of his ditties. David Brent… Darius… it’s an easy mistake to make, I suppose (and hardly the first time that comparison has been made).

    #9 – Yes… having seriously got on the wrong side of one of the people I mentioned in my comment last year and having experienced some manipulative weirdness as a result, I think “sociopath” is a fair diagnosis in some of these cases. Luckily, I’m in a position where I can easily ignore the daft sod and keep him at arm’s length.

  15. 15
    ThePensmith on 11 Feb 2018 #

    A bit of genuine ‘WTF’ news I found whilst Googling Mssr Campbell nee Danesh today from just before Christmas: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/scots-singer-darius-campbell-lapsed-11712719 I can only imagine his PR has now been fired over said incident!

    Also re: you couldn’t make it up bad PR. Did I imagine it or was there a picture of him doing the rounds a few months after this hit #1 of being a ‘true Scotsman’ whilst wearing a kilt on tour, so to speak? I didn’t know if it was just Popbitch tittle tattle or not. Unfortunate if it was.

    #10 – I totally get where you’re coming from. Once we get to the late 2009 bunnies and most of the 2010 ones, I will find it difficult to give most of them lower than a 7, for the simple fact many of them soundtracked many a night out at my student’s union.

  16. 16
    James on 12 Feb 2018 #

    #15

    Do you mean this pic? (NSFW)

    http://www.me-me-me.tv/images/2008/02/darius_nokaren.jpg

  17. 17
    ThePensmith on 12 Feb 2018 #

    Oh my. That is unfortunate. It’s like Orlando Bloom on that raft but worse!

  18. 18
    Tommy Mack on 12 Feb 2018 #

    #14 – while we’re on the subject of bitter, delusional quasi-Manson types, I remember meeting a bloke in the pub who claimed he’d made demos for Sony and they’d ripped them off and given them to famous artists. In particular, he claimed to have de facto written Oasis’ All Around The World. At the time, I thought, that’s such a shit song, there’s no way you’d make up that story and not pick something better. Then the documentary Supersonic came out with a young Oasis playing an early version of AAtW in the rehearsal rooms under the Boardwalk in Manchester and I thought of matey and thought “you tw*t”.

  19. 19
    Richard Gadsden on 12 Feb 2018 #

    I remember an election campaign some years ago (2005?) in the constituency that Darius then lived in, and there being something of a competition among the younger women in the campaign as to who would knock on his door. I had watched Popstars but not Pop Idol, so I had no idea until that point that he’d turned into a sex symbol, and was a bit surprised that anyone was interested.

  20. 20
    lonepilgrim on 12 Feb 2018 #

    It should perhaps be remembered that Popstars was one of the very early docusoap/reality format shows and so Darius (and a few others) were not ‘managing’ their ‘performance’ as self consciously as subsequent participants have done. Certainly by the time of Pop Idol he seemed to be mor aware of how he could come across.
    He reminded me of quite a few brash lads I’ve taught over the years – attention seeking, volatile and occasionally engaging. The reality show format seems to reward and amplify this behaviour in an unhealthy way.
    As for this song – it’s pleasant enough and actually more acceptable than Gareth Gates’ preceding hit to my ears (although admittedly that is a low bar).

  21. 21
    Telly on 12 Feb 2018 #

    I’ve been looking forward (so to speak) to this coming up so I could share the following Darius story. It seems even more fitting after the discussion from 23 Daves et al.

    My girlfriend when I was in Uni in the early ‘00s was, for her sins, a public schoolgirl, having gone to the same public school as the bold Darius: Glasgow Academy (annual fees of around £12,000, currently, no idea if this is expensive or cheap or otherwise in public school terms.)

    I’ll spare you the class war details, and cut to the chase. Apparently during a school talent show a year or two prior, when Darius was in S6 (last year of Secondary in Scottish education), he had performed what he claimed was a composition of his own. He had received great praise for this, however my ex and her pal couldn’t help but notice that the song, well, wasn’t an original composition, and was actually a Lisa Loeb album track.
    Now, this sort of thing whilst embarrassing enough is probably commonplace in school shows up and down the country, and indeed is dramatised in The Squid & The Whale, but that isn’t the end of the tale. The really revealing bit is the aftermath.
    The ex and friend came up to Darius after the show to explain that the jig was up and they knew his secret, but rather than be contrite or embarrassed, he threatened instead that they shouldn’t dare tell anyone, that he was much too important to this school (this predates Popstar so he wasn’t anyone at all at this point) and that there would be grave repercussions should they open their traps.

    But then, he is a public schoolboy, so this type of wild-eyed aspiration and confidence and ability to lie and threaten those who cross him is hardly surprising. A career in politics may await…

  22. 22
    ThePensmith on 12 Feb 2018 #

    #21 – and I thought the true Scotsman picture was alarming gossip! Of course we’ve all done stupid things/told lies to get to higher places when we’re young, but that is quite something.

    Mind you, having said all that, one fifth of a Popstars related bunny holder we meet at the end of this year also told a teenage fib on a grand scale. Suffice to say, it involved a passport…

  23. 23
    Lee Saunders on 12 Feb 2018 #

    For years I thought the only truly notable thing about Darius was that the power of the first Pop Idol series was so immense that even third place could get a #1, as compared to first place in the last X Factor not even getting to the top. This thread has been enlightening about the character that is Darius to say at the least.

  24. 24
    chelovek na lune on 12 Feb 2018 #

    While at university (indeed, in Scotland) in the mid-1990s I came across someone – a mature student in his 40s or maybe 50s – who claimed to be all of the following (he would vary the story depending on what he thought would most impress the recipient of his tales): Nick Beggs from Kajagoogoo (why?), the former manager of the Bay City Rollers (again, why?), an associate of Gary Glitter (this is during the period GG was advertising Young Persons’ Railcards for British Rail just before it was abolished; he was not yet persona non grata); a personal friend of Bono (he stood for election for the equivalent post of what in England might be known as Ents Officer at the Student Association claiming that U2 had agreed to play a gig at the – small and rural, and large-venue-free – university were he elected to the post. Erm. yeah right. He didn’t get elected. We did get Teenage Fanclub once, but that was it. Well apart from lots of commendable ceilidh bands and loads of appearances by the Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra. But this is hardly stadium rock stuff), and countless other things along these lines. He would also claim to be, for those impressed by such things, to have impressive and prestigious Scottish lineage. Notably he claimed to be a descendent of Gregor MacGregor. Who pleasingly is described in the first line of his Wikipedia entry as “a Scottish soldier, adventurer and confidence trickster”. I guess this was a way of scoping out how good someone’s knowledge of Scottish history was, if nothing else…

    As for “Colourblind”, I rather like it, as far as it goes. It manages to sound neither like a TV singing contest song, nor for that matter something that really warrants being no 1. The production is crap though – really horrible, even . 5/10 as it stands. A meatier approach musically and maybe it could have been a 7/10

  25. 25
    James BC on 13 Feb 2018 #

    #21 The Artie Ziff defence!

  26. 26
    Shiny Dave on 14 Feb 2018 #

    #9 Popstar to Operastar was a quite cute little conceit, perhaps better in concept than execution: the merger of the singing competition show and Channel 4’s “Faking It” nobody realised they wanted, pop singers from the mildly recent past getting a crash course in operatic singing (alas, one of the people responsible was the charlatan Katherine Jenkins, though at least the other was an actual opera singer of note) and taking to the studio floor for a performance-critique-elimination routine. The panel was quite the most remarkable thing about it, the two coaches being joined by the unlikely combination of Meat Loaf and Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen.

    Darius winning the first season – the second was a procession for a bunnied X-Factor winner, hardly a shock considering that show’s vocal coach at the time both kept the winners on as clients after the show and happened to be a former opera singer herself – was mostly a shock because everything was pointing towards a showdown between Marcella Detroit and one of the Nolans. (They came second and third, and not in that order.) The show thoroughly indulged in populist tropes about opera – it hardly couldn’t, to be fair – and possibly its most entertaining moments for the operatic connoisseur were Jenkins’ hilarious expressions of range envy at the soprani in general and Detroit in particular.

    I was not – and am not – an operatic connoisseur. However, in searching for Twitter comments on the show for use in a review I was writing for a game show website, I came across three of them – two regular opera-goers and one sporadically professional Wagnerian soprano – who were consistently good for entertaining tweets about the show. All three became literal friends I met in person later that year – one of them is still a friend, and indeed would go on to attend my wedding and operate a PowerPoint showing the lyrics to everyone – and the Twitter network of singer friends I met via them would end up growing to the point of forming possibly my largest friendship circle.

    Quite the digression, but this song is too underwhelming to deserve anything less.

  27. 27
    AMZ1981 on 14 Feb 2018 #

    Just going back to #5 and the conspiracy theories about Rik Waller; he wasn’t completely swept under the carpet as he did get to release his single when the iron was still hot and the public could have bought it in the same quantities they did for Will and Gareth.

    The `problem` at the time was that Pop Idol was designed to discover a very specific kind of performer and somebody like Rik Waller who had the voice but didn’t look the part would have presented a marketing problem. However with fifteen years hindsight we can see the wheels turning in Simon Cowell’s mind as he realised there was arguably a bigger (and less fickle) market that the reality TV machine could tap … and also this may have been the point when he realised that the public, or at least those who voted in these things, didn’t always get it right first time.

  28. 28
    Edward Still on 14 Feb 2018 #

    I’ve had this in my head ever since I posted above and I must say it’s not an unwelcome earworm at all. May revise my score up to an 8 due to this surprising fact – even great songs usually annoy when constantly relived in your head.

  29. 29
    cryptopian on 14 Feb 2018 #

    I’ll echo 28. Light, cheap and mostly nothingy, but entirely pleasant. There’s something in the line “feeling fine, it’s sublime” that’s really uplifting. Worth a 6 for me.

  30. 30
    NEIL on 19 Feb 2018 #

    I’ve always had a soft spot for this track, despite a complete lack of interest in both Popstars and Pop Idol (both then and now). In contrast to Tom, I think the chorus is the stronger component, and it’s regularly earwormed its way into my head over the years.

    My affection for Darius may be due to a Summer spent enjoying the sweet agony of a long distance relationship (400 miles!), while also packing shortbread for Walkers – still the only job I’ve held where the radio was on all day. Chart music probably had a stronger-than-usual resonance as a result! The incessant playing of the aforementioned ‘In My Place’ was a particular low point for me. On the other hand, I got to hear Idlewild’s ‘American English’ nearly as often, and I’ve adored it ever since. To echo FiveLongDays on the Elvis vs JXL thread, an alternate reality where The Remote Part was a huge hit is one I’d like to have lived through…

    Relistening to ‘Colourblind’ after all these years, I realised I’d forgotten the “funky” flattened 7th chords sprinkled liberally throughout, which give it an air of smugness that lets the rest of the song down. So I’m docking a point for that, but it’s still a firm 6.

    P.S. On Darius the stage performer – I saw him playing the Richard Gere role in ‘Chicago’ (opposite Shaun Williamson aka Barry from Eastenders) at a matinee in Edinburgh 2007. As an unscrupulous lawyer cynically working the media to his own ends, his performance was entirely convincing :)

  31. 31
    Steve Williams on 20 Feb 2018 #

    #27 The other thing about the Waller “conspiracy” is that they seemed really upfront about it – one of my favourite things about the first series of Pop Idol is that it seemed to be really honest about the whole business, so when it was initially announced that Waller was going to get a bye, they actually discussed it on air and invited the audience to comment and ask questions to the judges, and it felt really refreshing on a Saturday night to have a programme that would actually discuss its machinations on air, whereas before it would have been totally swept under the carpet. It really felt like the programme was on the audience’s side, so it always seems a bit of a shame now when The X Factor is consistently accused of manipulation and it comes across as really brash and arrogant.

    That said, the second series of Pop Idol was accompanied by Pop Idol Extra on ITV2 for three hours a day, five days a week, so it’s perhaps not surprising they used to talk about absolutely everything to do with the programme.

    I seem to remember at the time everyone assumed Darius would walk it into the live shows because his heat seemed extremely weak, it was him, Waller and eight other people who hadn’t made any kind of impression whatsoever in the series, so it was a huge shock when he lost and Aaron Bayley, whichever one he was, got through instead. In the second series there was the Wildcard round introduced to stop that kind of thing.

    I quite liked Darius, all told. It’s a further example of how the format worked because both he and Will Young benefitted from being able to grow over the series. Whereas if it had been a straightforward six-heats-vote-for-your-favourite-winner-goes-through-to-the-final format, like New Faces or something, Gareth would have walked away with it as the most immediately interesting.

  32. 32
    Ben on 26 Feb 2018 #

    I think Darius changed his surname to that of his mother’s because he was estranged from his father.

    Also, something to do with it representing his Scottishness. Probably thought it would help his career.

  33. 33
    Lee Saunders on 20 Mar 2018 #

    Elsewhere in the top 40

    Week 1
    3 – Will Smith – Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head) – A fifth as good as Men in Black, quite like how, as a film, MIIB was a fifth as good as MIB. In a shoehorned segue, I shall now tell you Men in Black famously sampled the same song as another #1, Fastlove, which apparently brings us on to…
    12 – George Michael – Shoot the Dog – After a top 10 hit several months earlier with ‘Freeek!’ (only the THIRD track on Now 52, odd when it could have been on 51 and was surely off the radio by July), the sluggish build up to 2004’s suitably named Patience continues with a checklist of 2002isms: Bush and Tony, 80s sample and 2DTV video. With the song’s themes would continue to hold weight into 2004, it made the final album undigested, whereas Freeek! had by that stage been curiously updated into an “’04” version. (In March 2003, George would appear on TOTP for the first time since 1986 performing Don McLean’s The Grave, though it wasn’t a single, nor was it on Patience).
    15 – NERD – Rock Star – like hits before and since, this is better known for its Jason Nevins remix I believe. It’s a long road from here til Happy
    36 – Ant & Dec – We’re On the Ball – up from #50 to #36 ???
    (Also, 87 – Korn – Here to Stay – still at #87. Given the name of the song I couldn’t help but point this out.)

    Week 2
    #3 – Madhouse – Like a Dream – once accurately described by Tom I believe as among the epitomes of generic dance covers, I only want to point out that Madge tribute act Mad Donna’s The Wheels on the Bus had made #17 a few months earlier, which I remember my dad buying my 4 year old self the CD single of
    #8 – Bowling for Soup – Girl All the Bad Guys Want – during both of Colourblind’s weeks at the top, the ground is laid for volume 4 of ‘The Album:’ throughout the top 40
    #17 – Status Quo – Jam Side Down – memorably made an appearance towards the end of Now 53. For Now 54 this resident veteran spot would instead be taken by Erasure on their hooky robo-disco take on Solsbury Hill (potentially more on that to come). Def Leppard made #23 this same week with one ‘Now’ but it was deemed by Ashley to not be relevant enough. Hence the Quo instead…
    #18 – Toploader – Time of My Life – the final week of their career in a sense, then.
    #21 – Royksopp – Remind Me/So Easy – So Easy!!! My 5th birthday in miniature, though I’ve already explained the basics of the story in the Elvis vs JXL thread.
    #37 – Raven Maize – Fascinated – During my days in the late 00s browsing the NOW! forums, I was fascinated by the seemingly trivial threads like ‘Now albums where the same artist appears more than once’. One of the ones I was most proud for spotting is that Dave Lee turns up twice on Now 53, in one instance as Raven Maize and in one instance as Jakatta, though whereas ‘My Vision’ was a suitable inclusion (it reached #6), also including a song that barely scraped the top 40 does show some barrel scraping. While Dave had scored hits under both names in 2001, one wonders what the distinction between the two pseudonyms was.

  34. 34
    Izzy on 23 Mar 2018 #

    33: In March 2003, George would appear on TOTP for the first time since 1986 performing Don McLean’s The Grave, though it wasn’t a single, nor was it on Patience

    I thought I knew all of George’s work, but I’d never heard or heard of this. It’s typically beautiful, what a singer he was.

    How did it come about? It seems a brave thing for Top Of The Pops to be putting on in March 2003.

  35. 35
    Lee Saunders on 30 Mar 2018 #

    #34 The Beeb weren’t taking every risk George proposed, preventing him from wearing his “No war, Blair out” T-shirt. I imagine pop’s reaction to the Iraq War will eventually get discussed but its hard to see where at this stage (a #2 single by another 80s veteran in April 2003 would have likely been the place if it had gone all the way to #1, though an actual #1 from later in 2003 is my guess).

  36. 36
    Mark G on 15 May 2018 #

    Eyup, is “Round Round” broken?

  37. 37
    Steve Mannion on 17 May 2018 #

    It was missing the mark…Mark.

    Plus one or two other things, but all seems correct now.

  38. 38

    comments still seem to be closed on round round

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