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.