More on Choir Wars
- The Times:
Expect to know your a cappellas from your cantabiles when BBC One
tries to do for harmony singing what Strictly Come Dancing did for
The broadcaster has hit on the normally sedate world of choir singing
in its search for the next Saturday night ratings hit, running a
talent contest for choirs on the same lines as The X Factor and Any
Dream Will Do.
Contestants of Choir Wars will be able to choose any style, from
gospel and barbershop to classical, folk and rock, and will be marked
on their "personality, passion, power and performance" by a panel of
experts. They can also expect to hear harsh words when out of tune,
with producers looking for a Simon Cowell of the choir world to
deliver withering judgements.
A choir will be evicted each week until viewers choose the nation's
favourite. There are more than 25,000 registered choirs in Britain and
the BBC is promising "the biggest talent search ever seen on British
television". And for those who think choir singing lacks drama,
harmony does not always reign. A video of Chantage, last year's Radio
3 Choir of the Year winners, provoked a furious reaction after it was
placed on YouTube.
"The diction during the tenor portion was terrible, the sopranos were
extremely off pitch near the end, and vowel shapes were non-existent,"
Traditional choral ensembles may need a stylist, with producers
looking for electrifying groups and lively personalities to entertain
Choir Wars will run in parallel with the radio Choir of the Year
contest. The television winner will be invited to compete in the Radio
3 final, although Saturday night viewers may demonstrate markedly
The Radio 3 rules state that choirs can have any number of members
from eight to a hundred but the television producers are considering
allowing choirs of unlimited size.
Fame beckons for the winners, who could win a deal to record a
possible chart-topping single for Christmas next year.
Chantage, who formed in London in 1999, are much in demand, appearing
on several television shows and prestigious carol concerts since their
win. Another prestigious choir, the Exmoor Singers, performed with the
Indie rock band Bloc Party at the BBC Electric Proms last month.
Elaine Bedell, BBC controller of entertainment commissioning, said:
"This will be the biggest singing talent show, with the greatest
number of contestants, ever mounted on television. BBC Entertainment
has a proven track record on Saturday nights as the home of pure
family entertainment but the scale and ambition of Choir Wars is a
whole new, exciting ball game."