Tragedy strikes as desperate COMEBACK singers TAKE FINAL STEPS TO OBLIVION

Chris Wasser

The man who calls himself 'H' appears to be in denial. His four hopeless buddies are bouncing around beside him, clearly excited to be back. On the stage. In our lives. Destroying whatever hope I had left in mankind. But H isn't seeing straight. I think he just said something about a 'sold-out' arena tour. Yes, that was it. Hmmm ... so what do you think that is behind us, oh mighty Stepsters (my new name for the group)? Yep, it's a big, black curtain. You know, to hide the empty seats.

Actually, I've never seen The O2 look so ... small. I would have used the word cosy, but there's nothing cosy about hell. It's a dreadful place -- a twisted, psychotic dimension where karaoke rules, Ricky Martin impressions are a hit, the cast of Tron break into dance (well, that's what it looked like to me), and five needy individuals in matching outfits laugh their way to the bank.

Indeed, Steps were originally together for four years -- that's it. So why are they back? Well, at first I thought it might have been out of genuine passion for the ingenious lyricism of a song such as 5, 6, 7, 8.

But then it hits me.

Never before has a group of 'singers' looked and sounded so desperate for an audience's approval. Ten years later and they really have nothing better to do with their time. Sure, it's Steps. It's supposed to be cheesy, naff, camp, cheap, etc. But they got away with it the first time. Second chances shouldn't be allowed here.

I don't know what they're earning, but I sure hope it's worth it. I mean, come on -- the 'Steps Dance' medley? Easily the most hilarious, not to mention largest, workout routine ever staged. And then there are the solo segments -- a laughable and, at times, genuinely upsetting exercise in mediocrity (Lisa Scott-Lee became a butterfly, and H tore his trousers -- just in case you were wondering). But the crowd came for the hits. One For Sorrow, Deeper Shade Of Blue, Tragedy -- you know the drill.

And what a painful sound it makes. Alas, the only tragedy here is that people actually spent their money on this muck. And I genuinely feel embarrassed for them. HIIII