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I Will Survive: Enjoyable And Entertaining TV

It was a risky move by Network Ten to make a show with a cast of mainly all men who in fact take on female roles as well by dressing up in drag, as they recreate the iconic journey of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

The show is looking for the next big musical theatre star, someone who can dance, sing and act with a nice $250,000 for the winner plus a month in New York. Unfortunately it did not rate well, with a low 506,000, and this could have been due to late scheduling changes or just a current lack of faith in the Network to produce a good TV show.

It deserved to be watched by more. The show was slick, entertaining and well edited, and there was some talent there both with the boys who will end up being eliminated one by one, and the judges.

One of my concerns was that all the talent was going to be male due to the nature of the show they were recreating, however that ended up not being a negative thing.

Stephan Elliott the director of the original movie apparently made the Network put him on as a judge according to a interview he had with TV Tonight, and boy they were lucky he did.

It was refreshing to see someone who was not going to edit the real him just because he was on a TV show, and he was the stand out judge and looks like he was not going to pull any punches with the contestants.

The show started off a drag show at the iconic drag venue, the Imperial Hotel, where the guys did a farewell show for friends and family. Hopefully by the time they get frocked up again most of them will have found a razor or a pot of wax. No drag queen would ever be seen on stage with hairy armpits or chest.

Then it was off to Dubbo to sing for the judges, Stephan, Jason Donovan and Rachael Taylor. What was interesting when Jason was critiquing Davin who did a great rendition of I Am What I Am   he described him as being to camp. Did he not get the memo that the show was Priscilla Queen of The Desert not Pirates of Penzance.

Rachael told him as they were sitting in the sequin glitz of the bus, “look around” in the end Davin avoided the bottom three.

However if it is going to be camp they should embrace it. What slightly annoyed me last night was the continual showcasing of how blokey these guys were, with there jobs truck driving, working in mines, and kicking footballs. Maybe this is to set up the comedy of these Aussie blokes having to frock up. However at the Imperial we were introduced to the girlfriends and sisters but there were no boyfriends or guy buddies there.

Stephan also revealed to TV Tonight that at one stage they were talking about not doing drag. Thankfully that did not occur. They need to embrace the camp.

Hopefully as the show goes on we will get more of all the guys back stories.

The highlights were Tom Sharah who has buckets of charisma and talent. He was a younger version of performer Paul Capsis, and in fact apparently does one man caberet shows as well. This kid is a star.

Adrian Espulo got great feedback from the judges from his solo, and is he being set up to be the show’s heart throb. However I thought his girlfriend Veronica was hotter. For the record she is my daughter’s dance teacher, so I won’t be shit bagging her boyfriend to ensure she does not get buried up the back of the stage at the end of year concert!

Luna Park performer Sean Perez was struggling with a cold so he did not sound fabulous, but hopefully we will get to see what he can do when he is 100% well. Matt McFarlane was unlucky to be bottom three even though he did a musical version of Save Me by Queen, at least he was in tune, something that could not be said of Frank Kerr whose performance was very average indeed.

Hopefully once the nerves drop we will see stronger performances.

Former Hi-5 performer Nathan was in there continuing with his staple head flick, this might excite some of the mums that were groupies when he was doing kids TV, but I hope Stephan knocks that out of him. However he has a very strong voice, something people with kids will already know but he will have the problem of people seeing him in a new way.

It was a good fast paced episode and as the series unfold hopefully we will get to know more about these boys and see some serious talent on our screens.

I Will Survive is on Network TEN Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 7.30pm.

16 comments

1 Morgan { 08.22.12 at 11:12 am }

Tom and Davin were indeed the stand out performances for me. A bit of a shame Matt ended up in the bottom 3 as I thought his performance was quite good, but I agreed with Sean and Frank being put in there as they’re perfomances were weak. I think Frank will be eliminated tonight. All in all this ws a good start to what I think will be a very entertaining show.

Hopefully the ratings will improve although it will be tough as it has to compete against Big Brother and X-Factor.

2 brain dead dave { 08.22.12 at 11:18 am }

Can this show really compete with talking fish and people who think Hitler was still alive in 1958?

3 Gidgit { 08.22.12 at 11:43 am }

I really enjoyed it and it’s sad it has quite a ‘narrow’ audience it seems. I thought it would rate more as well. They need to yank it out of that X Factor/Big Brother space – maybe air it a bit later? It would be a shame if they have to send it to second station hell.

Also it’s partly up against Farmer Wants a Wife tonight – I’m torn as I want to see Hard On Boofhead Farmer and what he says or does to that lassy. Might record it – arugh but then I can’t twitter – ARUGH!

Dear Channels – stop putting the shows all up against each other – space them out you bastards! You make live tweeting near impossible.

Oh, and to me Davin was the stand out. Rachel wasn’t the only one blushing. That voice is pure gold.

4 Maz { 08.22.12 at 11:44 am }

Thought it was Dubbo not Cobar http://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/95001/contestants-show-off-triple-threat-in-dubbo/

It probably should be on later rather than assuming because it is a reality program it needs to go in MC’s timeslot

5 Culinary Boner { 08.22.12 at 12:13 pm }

bdd, huh? I thought the Fuhrer was still kicking around in 1968*?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K08akOt2kuo

* well, high kicking anyway

6 planb { 08.22.12 at 12:30 pm }

This was so GOOD! I noted nasty Nine put up a double episode of Boring Bogan to hamper it’s debut. Hope Ten give it a decent timeslot, and a decent chance. Repeat this on Sunday night instead of the other repeats/crap brought in to replace EDN, Ten.

It was Dubbo, not Cobar, or Bourke!

7 Reality Raver { 08.22.12 at 12:38 pm }

I thought they were heading to Dubbo tomorrow. I could be wrong.

8 Suzanne { 08.22.12 at 12:42 pm }

They’d better keep this show on the air, it’s all Channel 10 has right now that Everybody Dance Now has been canned. It should be put on later, at about 8-8:30.

9 Reality Raver { 08.22.12 at 12:57 pm }

Ok checked with Sean who should know as he was there and he said Dubbo….

10 Jason { 08.22.12 at 2:26 pm }

Excellent show – though I too felt they were pretty quick in pushing the heterosexuality of some of the contestants, and yes seemed to be downplaying any gay partners.

I watched first half hour of BB and then switched across to this as I figured I would get the usual recap on tonights BB.

11 chasingvegas { 08.22.12 at 3:37 pm }

LOVED IT! & Adrian what a STAR! I was with Rachael all the way when she said ‘think I may be blushing’ he is the stand out for me as he is there to learn & mold & that is what its all about. The winner needs to be someone who can evolve, not someone who has done it all before & definitely NOT someone who has already made a successful career from a franchise in the past albeit a kids franchise. He should be out there promoting himself, not using another TV show to further his career & certainly not when there is $250k at stake! What is his agent doing?

12 JStar { 08.22.12 at 4:16 pm }

RR, I caught this show out of curiousity. It does have potential but I actually thought there was something amiss with the editing. Maybe tonight’s episode will gel how the two-episode per week format will go – (i.e. will tonight’s bootcamp, etc, be a precursor to the dance/sing/act for your life episode next Tuesday?). Because the format is new, I’m prepared to stick around for a little while longer.

What I enjoyed with this show were seeing how good these seasoned performers really are. I’ve seen Jersey Boys and apart from the overdone accent that made Snooki sound like she’s reciting Shakespere on Jeresey Shore, Stephen should be one to look out for. I also enjoyed how brave several of the performers were in choosing to sing soulful songs rather than brassy musical numbers. Due to his illness, Sean sounded flat and Frank was so nervous, I couldn’t get past how much he gesticulated – like an Italian grandmother on speed. I also thought the guy who sang that David Bowie song ended up shouting at times when trying to hit the higher registers.

I know Jason made a comment about Davin being too camp but I think Jason has a point. When this show commenced production, the prize of performing in Priscilla on Broadway no longer became an option with the show closing. A triple-threat needs to be able to stand-out and show some range. The challenge for Tom, Nathan, and Davin is to reign in those little ticks (hair flicks) and hand gestures that may work in cabaret and performing kids variety shows, but will be extremely irritating to see constantly in a musical.

Stephan and Jason look like they are prepared to be blunt with the contestants so that is a plus. I hope future challenges will show off the acting and dancing aspect of this show a bit more.

Tonight, I expect the radio announcer from Tasmania to go home. He seemed so intimidated by everyone else. This is a shame as it would be nice to see an amateur make it deep in the competition.

13 Culinary Boner { 08.22.12 at 4:39 pm }

Were the producers beating libidinous mums with sticks off-screen in order to keep them from jumping Nathan Foley? – http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/television/hi-5-even-had-groupies/story-e6frfmyi-1226453669942#ixzz242TecNnv

14 Georgie { 08.22.12 at 5:33 pm }

I’ll certainly be tuning in again. Loved it.

15 Fi { 08.22.12 at 7:15 pm }

Loved it. Best aussie reality show I have seen in ages.

16 Adi { 08.22.12 at 7:44 pm }

Is it possible that audiences are getting reality competition show fatigue (especially from Channel 10)? Just a thought.