The Joe Dolce Shaddap You Face Memorial Award for the worst ever musical act is now closed. The votes (all 22445 of them) have been counted by the same company that did the US presidentail election, and now a result can be declared. There was only one way to sort the men from the boys, the crap from the crapper - full-on gladiatorial combat. Live on TV. Sponsored by Nescafe.
The two men faced each other across the arena, sizing each other up, weapons at the ready. It had been a long, hellish week and only two survived, their faces smeared with blood and sweat, their once fine clothes reduced to little but rags. They had been taken from their homes at night, and found themselves in this place - sixteen of the world’s best known musical talents - and told to fight to the death. They thought it was a prank, but then they saw the crude weapons, the guards and the cattle prods, they knew it was deadly serious.
From a world where the hardest decisions of the day were what to wear and who to bring home at night, they now had to decide who to trust, who to betray, who to spare, who to kill. No servants, no cooks, no cleaners, no fawning company men. Just the sixteen of them, a barely visible crowd baying for blood behind the TV lights and a leather-clad Davina MacColl, whipping up a frenzy. She had been the first to die, and now Ant and Dec watched action replays from behind a plexi-glass screen.
Madonna and Manilow were the first to be dragged, limp and lifeless from the arena. Their bodies a bloody mess as the rest ganged up on them with surprising ferocity, Madge's pleas of "I'm not a singer! I'm an author! I'm an author!" falling on deaf ears. The alliance didn’t last for long, however. The crowd roared their approval as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s head was removed from his body. No more would the Phantom sing, as Shania Twain, Craig David, David Hasselhof and a cowering Mick Hucknell followed in quick succession, an unlikely band of fighters seeking out the weak and despatching them with ease. Mariah Carey, shrieking to the last. Ronan Keating, bludgeoned to death with a bar stool. The crowd roared, TV ratings went through the roof.
And so the magnificent seven remained. They had fought shoulder-to-shoulder, lived together in their cramped holding cells, talked about what they’d do “if they got out of here”, knowing full well that only one would make the long, final walk to freedom. They knew, the next day, they would be forced to turn on each other, betray their friends. Kill or be killed.
It was a long, bloody fight. Michael Bolton fought like a dervish, but in vain, and the Amazonian Cher hacked away at her attackers until she too succumbed. And with the crowd chanting “Die! Die! Dido! Die”, the survivors duly obliged.
And so battered and bruised, Cliff Richard’s flaming sword saw off the banshee Celine Dion, before he too was felled by a treacherous blow from behind, and just the two stood, face-to-face. Only one would walk away.
Robbie Williams. Tatooed. Cocky, Suave. A trickle of blood from his mouth.
Phil Collins. Veteran. Versatile. Ducker-and diver. Tired, bruised, but a survivor.
The nodded in recognition. The crowd went silent.
They fought. Blow followed blow. Collin’s broadsword, parrying Williams’ mighty club. Williams replying with a crunching boot to the groin. They rolled in the dirt. They screamed. They wailed. And Williams (6503 votes) fell, lifeless.
There could be only one.
All Hail Phil Collins (10008 votes), for his name is Gladiator.
The mighty. The world’s most annoying - the world’s most deadly musical star. He ascended the dais to receive his prize. His freedom. His adoring fans.
One way ticket to Uranus. The crowd roared their approval.
“And now!” shouted Ant. Or Dec. Who can tell? “To play us out, singing Unchained Melody .... Pop Idol Gareth Gates!”
They didn’t even make it to the stage door.
Edit: Well put me in a frock and call me Mandy! I forgot I had this - Phil Collins talks Nonce Sense on the infamous Brass Eye special. It's moments like that which make life worthwhile.
"Best British Bloggage"
Things are happening on the 2003 competition. Good things. Secret Squirrel things. I'll get back to you. *Taps side of nose in a knowing manner*
And speaking of dodgy popularity contests, the duck has prevailed in the Scary vs Greenfairy rumble over at Zed's place. And I only had to pimp myself on three bulletin boards.