Jason Manford reveals his one demand for becoming a member of Starstruck judging panel

TAKING his place on the left-hand facet of an all-star panel of judges, Jason Manford is firmly within the “Simon Cowell chair” for brand new ITV expertise present Starstruck.

However in contrast to the music mogul, the 40-year-old comedian has no want for additional lighting, harsh put-downs or a cushion to prop him up — the similarities finish at his seating place.

Bees knees: Jason in an eye-catching jacket on the show


Bees knees: Jason in an attention grabbing jacket on the presentCredit score: ITV
The judges... Adam, Sheridan, Beverly and Jason


The judges… Adam, Sheridan, Beverly and JasonCredit score: ITV
Grande reveal... Team Ariana


Grande reveal… Workforce ArianaCredit score: ITV

And Jason insists that Starstruck — a revamped model of Nineties favorite Stars In Their Eyes which hits screens tonight — is nothing like “Mr Nasty” Simon’s most well-known present, The X Issue.

He factors out the contestants, who remodel into their musical idols to carry out, will take centre stage in entrance of himself and fellow judges, US singer Adam Lambert, soul star Beverley Knight and West Finish icon and TV star Sheridan Smith.

Talking completely to The Solar, Jason explains: “It’s solely truthful. They’re those placing the hassle in.

We’re sitting on our ar*es watching them sing and dance.”

Nevertheless, he does tip Sheridan, 40 — his pal for over 20 years — to be a success with viewers, a few of whom shall be seeing her in a special mild.

He says: “I really like Sheridan to bits. I was the warm-up man on Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, her first massive sitcom.

“She’s nice on this present as a result of she’s so trustworthy and supportive of all of them.

Most learn in The Irish Solar

“It’s additionally good to see her trying attractive and wonderful on a Saturday evening, fairly than as a colorless, knackered mum or a cleaner in bother, which wins her all of the Baftas.”

Turning again to comparisons with The X Issue, he provides: “I’m a giant fan of Simon’s and cherished all his sequence — he actually reinvented the expertise present.

“I’ve obtained family members who’re nice singers and entered The X Issue for years. It grew to become a extremely massive factor for them.

“However there are too many individuals and never sufficient slots on the celebrity wagon.

“That’s why reveals like that wanted a relaxation since you are promising individuals a dream, like turning into a significant artist, which you’ll be able to’t actually ship today.”

‘I seem like their deputy head trainer’

The X Issue final aired on ITV in 2019 and was axed after being repeatedly trounced within the scores by BBC1 rival Strictly Come Dancing.

The sequence created superstars One Route, Little Combine and Leona Lewis, however the present’s judges, together with boss Simon, Cheryl Tweedy and Sharon Osbourne, usually hogged the limelight.

Fortunately, followers won’t be subjected to any tone-deaf Jedward-types both — one other X Issue-style tactic to ramp up scores.

Jason explains: “There’s no duffers, it’s simply not a type of reveals. You used to see it on The X Issue after they went down the aisles outdoors searching for them.

“‘The place are you from?’ ‘Hull’. “‘The place are you from? ‘Glasgow’. “‘The place are you from?’ ‘I’m from Narnia’. “‘Alright, you’re in!’

Glitzy... another side to Sheridan


Glitzy… one other facet to SheridanCredit score: ITV
Freddie, Steady, Go... trio as Queen frontman


Freddie, Regular, Go… trio as Queen frontmanCredit score: ITV

“We’re not seeking to discover individuals who aren’t good at it.

“One thing like 30,000 individuals utilized and we picked the highest 20 or 30, so it will be actually unfair to all these individuals at dwelling going, ‘Cling on a minute, he seems to be nothing like Lionel Richie’.”

Starstruck is a freshened-up model of Stars In Their Eyes, which was hosted most famously by Matthew Kelly and aired between 1990 and 2006, earlier than a short revival in 2015.

The key distinction from the unique is that this time there are three wannabes dressing as the identical idol and so they carry out considered one of their basic songs collectively.

The sequence opener, which airs after The Masked Singer remaining this night, options trios of Freddie Mercury, Ariana Grande, Marvin Gaye and Girl Gaga.

The successful group, chosen by the judges, carry out once more on the finish of the present.

Then the perfect particular person entertainer goes by way of to a sequence finale later this spring to compete for a £30,000 prize — however no report deal or promise of stardom.

It isn’t simply the tribute acts displaying off their vocal ranges although.

The judges and host Olly Murs open the sequence with their very own joint quantity.

However the musical piece had some behind-the-scenes teething issues when Jason — who practically gained The Masked Singer as Hedgehog final yr — felt uneasy about performing together with his fellow judges, who embody the brand new frontman for Queen.

Jason explains: “We go into this room and I’ve obtained the fourth set of traces.

“Beverley goes, Sheridan goes, Adam goes and knocks it out of the park after which I’ve obtained to sing.

“I imply I can sing, I get pleasure from it and I’m affordable at it, however I’m not following Adam Lambert and Beverley Knight and Sheridan Smith — completely not.

“I stated I would like the primary or second line, I’m not singing after them. They then needed to rejig this complete tune.

“You possibly can’t observe the fella who’s simply taken over from Freddie Mercury and the Queen of Soul. You’ve obtained to know your home.”

You simply overlook. It’s not a type of jobs the place you possibly can have two or three years off and be actually good at it once more

Jason Manford

And it was not simply sharing the stage with the highest singers that made Jason really feel uneasy.

The dad of six revealed he wanted a style makeover after not fairly mixing in on the panel throughout early display screen exams.

He says: “I rock up for this present zero, a bit tester, sporting this very nice swimsuit, reduce to dimension, I really feel actually good.

“However once I’m sitting subsequent to Adam, Beverley and Sheridan, I seem like I’ve pushed them.

“I seem like their driver and even their deputy head trainer sitting on the finish of the row.

“So I stated to Tanya, my wardrobe assistant, ‘We have to step this up, simply have some enjoyable with it. It doesn’t matter, It’s a Saturday evening, it’s a multitude about. I can take what anybody says on-line, simply have some enjoyable with it’.

“So she went out and purchased some mad-coloured fits and I feel she popped into Hobbycraft to get some bits to stitch on.

“I’ve simply obtained one swimsuit which is simply stuffed with bees.”

Jason, who wears a shiny pink jacket for episode one, filmed Starstruck final yr and is now in the midst of his nationwide stand-up tour Like Me.

Covid has resulted in some impractical rescheduling, so his three gigs this week had been in Aberdeen, Glasgow after which South West London.

However he’s happy to be again on the highway following the lockdowns, although he says it took some time to get again into the swing of issues.

He provides: “You simply overlook. It’s not a type of jobs the place you possibly can have two or three years off and be actually good at it once more.

“It takes time to construct that stamina again up.

“Usain Bolt can’t have two months off after which instantly go, ‘Proper, I’m going to nail this 100m’. You do want a little bit of observe.”

Jason’s enthusiasm to be again was matched by his viewers’s to be there, a lot to his profit.

He explains: “The audiences have been nice — they’ve been so completely satisfied to get out of the home and go to reveals.

“As a performer you must mood your self. The primary few weeks the place I used to be solely doing previews, operating by way of jokes and concepts, actually studying jokes off bits of paper, I come away considering, ‘Bloody hell, I’m absolutely shaped right here and able to go’.

‘However I didn’t have in mind the viewers hadn’t been out of the home of two years.”

  • Starstruck begins tonight at 8.30pm on ITV. Jason’s Like Me excursions the UK till November 19. Go to jasonmanford.com for ticket info.
Michael Jibson as Martin and Sheridan Smith as Kathy


Michael Jibson as Martin and Sheridan Smith as KathyCredit score: ITV

https://www.thesun.ie/television/8360383/jason-manford-starstruck/ Jason Manford reveals his one demand for becoming a member of Starstruck judging panel

Fry Electronics Team

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