Saturday 22 July 2017

Choirmaster Gareth Malone reveals future dream guest judge for singing contest

The TV star will appear on new show Pitch Battle, in which choirs fight it out to be crowned the UK’s best vocal group.

By Kerri-Ann Roper

Choirmaster Gareth Malone has already chosen his dream guest judge if his new Saturday night TV singing contest gets a second series – Michael Bolton.

The TV star will appear on new show Pitch Battle, in which choirs fight it out to be crowned the UK’s best vocal group.

Malone will serve as a judge alongside Milkshake singer Kelis, and will be joined each week by a guest star from a list including Chaka Khan, Joe Jonas, Will Young, Seal and Bebe Rexha.

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The series begins this weekend on BBC One and Malone said he was already dreaming of who could come aboard as a guest judge in another series.

He told the Press Association: “If you can get me that gig (another series) that would be great, I’m really having fun, it’s really enjoyable and I don’t see it as being contrary to my life’s work, my mission to get more people singing.

“I think it’s only going to encourage people. Hopefully they will appreciate that it is upbeat popular songs but there is a real level of skill to sing in parts and get all of the rhythm together and it is hard work, so I would like it to run and run, but we don’t know if we have a second series yet, it’s very early days.”

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Malone said Bolton would be his ideal judge to join him and Kelis, saying: “I love him. There are so many people but it has to be people that are musicians, it’s got to be people who have dedicated a chunk of their lives to music.

“Mr Blobby is not going to make it onto the panel. We have Chaka Khan and Seal.”

Malone said the current raft of singing shows had focused more on shaping popular pop stars rather than skilled musicians and Pitch Battle would buck that trend.

He said: “We are using some technical music terms and we are very much looking at how the music performance comes together. It’s not a popularity contest.

“I feel like the Andrew Lloyd Webber shows (Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Any Dream Will Do, I’d Do Anything) are our parent.

“I think on the other shows the musical feedback is always really good but more from an A&R perspective, ‘I could put that artist into that song and put them on that stage and that would then sell’.

“We are now very familiar with that set up, and at times think we have seen it.

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“We have been really keen to not do that, to not say ‘it would have been good if your trousers had been different’ or ‘it’s just not cool enough for Radio 1′.

“That doesn’t matter here, if it’s good and it works and it’s interesting, it could be jazz, opera, anything, we are just looking for talent and something that catches, but also something that is technically right.

“That is the difference and that is quite conscious that we have tried to set ourselves apart from other talent shows you could mention.”

:: Pitch Battle begins on Saturday June 17 at 7.30pm on BBC1.

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