Popstar to Operastar

Sunday, 10 July 2011, 8:00PM – 9:00PM

It’s the final of hit entertainment show Popstar to Operastar, but who will be the overall winner and make that transition from pop idol to operatic sensation. 

Mentors Katherine Jenkins and Rolando Villazon trained eight hopefuls but only two remain to battle it out to win. Also Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will be performing. 

Critically acclaimed actor, writer and theatre director Simon Callow and the award winning classical violinist Vanessa Mae will be joining Rolando and Katherine on the judging panel to offer their critiques on the performances. 

The results show will follow later at 10pm – 10.30pm.

Sunday, 12 June 2011, 9:00PM – 9:30PM

Hit entertainment show, Popstar to Operastar contiunes with our best selling recording artists and challenges them to ditch the pop and become opera divas! 

Presented by Myleene Klass, this year’s celebrities include X Factor winner Joe McElderry, soul diva Jocelyn Brown, Erasure front man Andy Bell, singer/songwriter Midge Ure, solo recording artist formerly of the Pussycat Dolls Melody Thornton, Steps singer Claire Richards, Toploader’s Joseph Washbourn and Buck Fizz star and former Eurovision winner Cheryl Baker. 

They may have topped the charts but our singing sensations will be hoping they can be number one in the classical arena.

Helping them to hit the high notes are mentors Katherine Jenkins and Rolando Villazon – the highly regarded operatic duo will be using their expertise to guide our celebrity novices as they attempt to control their falsetto and deliver a world class performance. 

Critically acclaimed actor, writer and theatre director Simon Callow and the award winning classical violinist Vanessa Mae will be joining Rolando and Katherine on the judging panel to offer their critiques on the performances. 

Last year’s nail-biting finale saw Darius Campbell win the coveted title, but who will come out on top this year and make the transition from pop idol to operatic sensation?

Sunday 12th June 8pm – 9pm: Performances 

Sunday 12th June 10pm – 10.30pm: The Results show

Saturday, 4 June 2011, 9:00PM – 9:30PM

Myleene Klass hosts this hour special which unveils the cast of 2011 in Popstar To Operastar: The Curtain Raiser. 

Ahead of the celebrities’ first live performance on Sunday 5th June, viewers will get to see the preparation, nerves and trepidations as the contestants are all facing as they get ready to unleash their first operatic performances. 

This series sees X Factor winner Joe McElderry, soul diva Jocelyn Brown, Erasure front man Andy Bell, singer/songwriter Midge Ure, solo recording artist formerly of the Pussycat Dolls Melody Thornton, Steps singer Claire Richards, Toploader’s Joseph Washbourn and former Eurovision winner Cheryl Baker taking on the challenge. 

The cameras have followed the celebrities every step of the way from their first tentative moments during their early rehearsals through to their last minute preparations for their first live performance. Capturing the tears, tensions and tuneful arias of our singing stars as they attempt to hone their operatic style. 

Viewers will also be treated to an exclusive performance from mentors Katherine Jenkins and Rolando Villazon. 

 

Overview: 

Saturday 4th June 9pm – 9.30pm: Popstar to Operastar: The Curtain Raiser 

Sunday 5th June 8pm – 8.30pm: Performances 

Sunday 5th June 10pm – 10.30pm: The Results show

Solo recording artist and former Pussycat Doll Melody says, “I’m the youngest and the smallest, but I have the biggest lungs” – and she’ll need them!

Melody started singing at a young age, developing her sweet soprano voice over as a backup singer before being cast into the burlesque-turned-pop group The Pussycat Dolls in 2003.

With all that soprano practice so it would seem Melody stands in good stead for the challenge, and she’s certainly got the name for the game!

The former Pussycat Doll is looking forward to the challenge and is confident that she’ll be able to entertain her fans when she performs on Popstar To Operastar.    

“I’m in it for the experience. If you’re not connecting with the audience it’s not entertaining. I think that performance is a strong asset of my mine,” Melody admits.

She continues, “It’s the idea that you’re applying yourself to something that’s foreign to you but pulling it off and making it translate.”

Having performed on stage as a child, Melody reveals that nerves are something she has learnt to keep at bay.

She says, “I usually won’t get nervous if I know the routine really well. So as long as I know what I’m doing, I’ll be OK.”   

“The idea of being an artist at all is that you have to put yourself out there and get on with it, that’s something I conquered when I was about ten year’s old,” she admits. “You have to make a fool of yourself, you have to be willing to embarrass yourself.”   

With a judging panel ready to offer their critique, Melody reveals that “It doesn’t matter what the judges say,” adding “I will take into account anything I need to work on and the tools to be successful in the competition but it comes down to me and my head.”

A legendary artist who has received Ivor Novello, Grammy and BASCAP awards, along with a flotilla of gold and platinum records, really needs very little introduction.

As well as being part of the bands Visage, Thin Lizzy and Ultravox, this musical genius even co-wrote Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’?

How will he cope going from hard Rock ‘n’ Roll to operatic heart and soul?

Midge Ure may have had a successful music career spanning over three decades, but admits that he is finding learning to sing opera particularly difficult.

“It’s a bit like playing a game with someone and they keep changing the rules on you,” he muses. “So just when you think you’ve got what they’re talking about you realise that your body will not do it. So I’m kind of struggling right now!”

The singer admits that whilst the first live show is looming, he is still at the stage where he is having doubts about singing in Italian.

“I’m starting to get to the point where I’m doing the artistic crumble, I’m folding inside” he reveals.  

“Maybe I have no capacity to learn the language. I walk about spouting Italian – the problem is I’ve got the phrases but I just haven’t necessarily got them in the right order,” he worries.  

Midge has been impressed by Rolando and Katherine, and says he gets a buzz when he listens to Rolando sing.

“He’s singing to me which most opera fans would cut off their right hand to have. That’s a magical moment, that’s fantastic,” he glees. “I find him very gracious and they have the patience of saints when it comes to working with complete amateurs like me.”

Midge admits that he still gets nervous when performing and has a contingency plan if he forgets the words on Popstar to Operastar.   

He divulges his secret. “You have to know this stuff and that is absolutely petrifying to me – I just get it wrong and make noises that sound Italian just to get through the song, and the more I think about it the more I’m liable to do it!”

US-born singing sensation Jocelyn is a power house of soul when it comes to belting out the big numbers.

She’s probably best known for her hit Somebody Else’s Guy – and for letting dance outfit Snap! sample her now-famous “I’ve got the power” lyric in their 1990 anthem.

Jocelyn’s sung pop, soul and R&B in her career but she’s never attempted to master the art of opera. Until now, that is…

Having frequently topped the charts throughout her career with songs such as ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’, Jocelyn admits she is enjoying this new vocal challenge. 

“Popstar to Operstar is putting me in a situation vocally, it’s showing me what my abilities are.” Jocelyn says.

She continues, “When you begin rehearsals and start to learn the new techniques it’s hard to go back to what you have been doing all your life. I’m not using my natural voice that I use when I perform so you have to find the medium. I recently performed a couple of gigs and I was so hoarse afterwards. The process is intense, it’s a technique that if you’re not familiar with you’re going to go through a roller coaster ride!”

With a judging panel ready to critique her performance, the soul singer admits that she is unfazed and plans to focus on the challenge, saying “That’s a part of this whole situation isn’t it? You are judged.”

Brown continues “I know this is a competitive situation, I’ve been in this business for quite a few years but competition is not the key for me. I’m not an opera singer but I challenged it!”

The X Factor 2009 winner and North-East golden boy makes his way to the stage once again, yet this time he’s set to scale new heights as he tackles being a tenor

The Ambitions star is certainly living up to his album’s namesake as he intends to trill his way to the top of the competition.

Joe admits that having to perform in front of Rolando and Katherine came easily after his experience on the hit ITV show.  

 “I’m alright with performing in front of Rolando and Katherine now. I’m quite used to being seen in front of high profile people after The X Factor, so I think that makes it a little bit easier.”

He continues, “I think I have got a little bit of an advantage as I’ve been in that environment of having to learn a song really quickly and performing. I’m kind of glad because I think having to sing opera is hard enough but having to sing it in front of so many people makes it even harder!”

Now faced with a new challenge, Joe reveals that it’s been tough learning a new singing style.

“It’s really difficult because it’s a totally different style of singing.  When I’m performing my songs or other pop tracks it comes naturally, but this style is like another world! I have to think about breathing techniques and how I position myself – if one thing goes wrong it’s all ruined.”

And are we going to see a different side of Joe?

“Viewers are going to hopefully hear a different style of my voice that hasn’t been heard before,” he explains.

“I think the transition is very difficult for me because it’s like being taught how to ride a bicycle, doing it for five or six years and then someone saying ‘well I’m going to teach you a different way of how to ride it.’”   

But he adds, “Its great fun and I’m enjoying the whole thing. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m enjoying trying to sing in a different style.”

Joe admits that the nerves haven’t set in yet and he’s trying not to focus on facing the judging panel.  

 “I’m going to try not to think about the judges. At the moment I’m trying to get the technique mastered so that I can focus on just singing the song.”

Most famous for the cult hit Dancing in the Moonlight, Toploader’s leading front man and singer / songwriter Joseph is breaking away from rock to try his hand at tenor training – and he’s hoping to woo us with his warbling all the way to the top!

Joseph Washbourn admits that whilst it’s tough trying to learn a new singing style, he’s relishing the challenge.  

“You’re trying basically to forget everything you’ve spent the previous ten years of you life trying to remember but I think I’m getting a grip on it now a little bit,” says the singer. “It is a completely different style of singing from what I’m used to.”

Having been trained classically at piano, Joe admits this has helped with his awareness of the genre. “I used to train classically at piano and so I would play a lot of that sort of music,” he tells us. “I don’t know if I would call myself an aficionado at it, especially now I’m singing it but I can appreciate how difficult it is.”

Whilst the Toploader front man plans to bring some of his own character to his performances he confesses that he is far from confident.  

Joe says, “I wouldn’t say I was confident but I think it’s important to get a bit of your own character in these performances as well. I don’t think anything is to be gained from going in there cocky and doing what someone else has done.”

He continues, “I’m actually really enjoying being involved in the show much more than I thought I would.  It’s been great meeting Katherine and Rolando – he’s got the same hair as me!”

Joe reveals how he already has one fan – his mum – who is thrilled her son is going to be appearing on her favourite show.  

“Popstar to Operastar was actually my Mum’s favourite programme, so she is over the moon that I’m doing it this year!”

Famed for her success in the band Steps, Claire will be shelving her pop sounds to find her inner prima donna as she takes part in Popstar to Operastar.

Will the Steps star be an opera act to remember, or be ‘Better Best Forgotten’?

Claire is hoping that her appearance on Popstar to Operastar will allow her to show her young son Charlie what she does for a living.  At the moment the four year old believes his mum’s job is ‘changing nappies!’

“I just thought I don’t want him to think that’s all I do. I mean it’s great, obviously, but it kind of got me thinking.”

She continues, “This show is perfect. It will get me back into singing and whether or not anything comes from that I don’t know. I’m not really expecting anything, just to have the chance to sing again was really the selling point for me.”            

Claire admits she’s been surprised with how the intensive training for the series has already extended her vocal range.  

She says that she can “can sing higher than I thought I could” saying, “I don’t read music so I don’t know anything about notes. I have been looking up what C sharp was even though apparently I can sing higher than that, but I was trying to figure out where it is in the scale within a song but I couldn’t!”     

The accomplished performer reveals that she was frozen by nerves during her first meeting with mentor Katherine Jenkins, so much so that she was almost unable to sing.  

“I was really nervous the first day I met Katherine,” Claire admits. “She asked me to sing either one of my songs or another pop track and I just went all silly! It took me about ten minutes to pluck up the courage to start singing.”  

On her jitters, Claire says “I do get nervous. With Popstar to Operastar it’s something different every week and it’s taking me out of my comfort zone!”

As a famous face from our televisions screens, not to mention that Eurovision skirt-ripping routine with the band Bucks Fizz, Cheryl joins our line-up to bust out her best arias in a bid to become an opera success.

She may still perform with the original Bucks Fizz, but does the former TV presenter have what it takes to be Top of the Ops?

Cheryl is relishing taking on a new challenge but admits it’s her nerves that may let her down.  

“I suffer from nerves when I go on stage so I think I will be very nervous,” she admits. “I’m not totally confident – I think the thing I’m terrified of is forgetting the words because sometimes I just can’t get them into my head.”

And the nerves have already hit Cheryl when she sung the Bucks Fizz classic Making Your Mind Up in front of mentors Katherine Jenkins and Rolando Villazon.  

She confessed, “I was nervous when singing in front of Katherine and Rolando, especially when I sang Making Your Mind Up. But they are both good teachers. Rolando is passionate and gets carried away. Katherine really helped me with the breathing – she’s such a happy person and that makes you feel better. She made me feel happy about what I was doing because she was giving off such positive vibes which was great.” 

Having embarked on this new challenge, Cheryl is hoping the series will inspire viewers, who otherwise wouldn’t have listened to Opera.

“The great thing about Popstar to Operastar is that it’s bringing opera to the masses. For me it’s opening out a completely new genre of music that I know nothing about, and it’s opening it out to the general public.”

She continues, “It’s going to be really interesting to see how pop singers attempt to sing in a different style, projecting our voice more in a way that people have never heard us sing before. I think it’s going to be amazing.”

However, feisty Cheryl admits that if she disagrees with the judges comments she’s not afraid to speak her mind!

The Bucks Fizz star says, “If I get criticism and I think it’s correct then I’ll agree with them.If it’s not then I’ll probably tell them what they’re talking about!”

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1