“I can’t stress enough: It is a concert.”
Warm-up man Stuart Holdham laying out the basic rules for the studio audience Sounds Like Friday Night, a brand new pop show on BBC One.
“Not to clap along to the music because you have to be of the dance,” he continues.
“And if I see any dad dance, you will be removed from the studio, through to Manchester and forced to watch six hours of Jeremy Kyle.”
For all its humour, there is not possible error: it is a big deal for the BBC.
Since Top of the Pops and CD:UK is death in 2006, it has not been a dedicated pop program on TV. It has become the consensus in the industry that viewers don’t want to see live music in their living room.
That is why, X Factor aside, the pop groups have had to fight for machines at the end of A Show or the end of Graham Norton. Always at the end. Still as the credits roll.
So sounds Like Friday Night is something of a gamble. (A bet which oddly, and perhaps unintentionally, takes its title from a short life of Leo Sayer show in 1978.)
BBC One – Sounds Like a Friday Night
Derulo on the basketball and the music TV series
“It really is a remarkable thing,” said host Greg James, a couple of days before the program starts.
“The BBC has gone, ‘you know what? We’re going to do a live music show and put it on BBC One!'”
He says that he is “obviously very nervous,” the launch of a new program, but “I don’t have the impression that this is something that I can’t do it”.
“This is not rocket science. It is a half-hour show with great music and the fun bits that people can expect to sit at the end of the week and enjoy it.”
Ah yes, the “fun bits”. It is what stops the #SLFN (as it’s known on social media) of being a simple restart of Top of the Pops.
The graph countdown has been relegated to the dustbin, and the show is peppered with sketches and interviews, which are immediately available to share on YouTube and social media.
“It’s a lot more than live music,” said James, the co-host Dotty.
“We hope that we can create moments that live outside of the show.”
The model is Adele is successful “At The BBC” show, a mix of chat and performance, with a skit in which the star has auditioned as an Adele impersonator. This clip has been viewed over 82 million times on YouTube.
The labels will be on the lookout for sales and streaming figures, Saturday, to see if SLFN is first customers – Jason Derulo, Charlie Puth and Jessie Ware – to receive a similar boost from their appearance on the program.
But whatever happens, music fans are on the lookout for a new pop show. The studio audience for the first episode was not only from the UK, but in Sweden, Germany, and even in the united states.
“I watched Top of the Pops growing up,” said Dan Law, who travelled from Devon to be the first in the queue.
“It was a shame when it ended, but it seems to be a show. I think it is a modern way of looking at music.”
“Everybody loves music,” said Brooke, a native of Rhode Island,” so it’s fun to add comedy and stuff”.
“It’s a different kind of entertainment,” agreed Ozlem Halibryam and Khadija Ahmed, two Charlie Puth fans who were “too young” to recall the original Top Of The Pops.
“I think it is a nice way to relax on a Friday night,” added Ahmed.
“I think it would be good to have more shows of this kind, more often.”
On the inside of Television Centre’s Studio One, the spectators were greeted by a large, multi-storey colosseum that seems to have been borrowed from a steampunk production of West Side Story.
The fans screamed when Derulo to his hips and swooned when Jessie Ware sang his lush ballad Single. But the sketches have been the most controversial.
A clip in which the Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl with impersonation of the BBC One continuity announcer was met with confused silence.
Better received was a sketch featuring Jason Derulo attempts to play basketball while being pelted with tennis balls – but even that has dragged on for too long.
In the end, the public wanted just the music (it was a concert, after all) and enthusiastically joined with Derulo acoustic “restitution” to Want to Want Me at the end of the show.
The reaction of the first issue:
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After the credits rolled, James turned his back to the camera, and let out a huge sigh of relief when he kissed Jessie Ware.
“We’re going to look back and I am sure that there will be a lot of things that we are going to change,” he said backstage,” but in the studio, it was great.”
Dotty was even relieved – in spite of the realization of 10 minutes in the show that she had not taken the label of its new brand of jeans.
“You can walk through these things and take your marks in the studio, but it is nothing like when you’re live and there’s an audience. So, it was crazy.”
“The thing I’m really proud of is that he felt that it was a confident start,” added James.
“We didn’t want to make excuses for make a show like this. There is no reason why these huge artists should not have a home on TV.”
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