Thursday, September 16 2010, 00:02 BST
By Alex Fletcher, Reality TV Editor
With two Top 10 hits to its name, critical acclaim and not a single knob-twiddle of Auto-Tune in sight, Sky1’s latest talent show Must Be The Music has captured the public’s imagination across the summer. This Sunday, the final six acts – Pepper & Piano, The Pictures, Missing Andy, Daithi, Hero and Emma’s Imagination – will perform at Wembley and battle for the £100,000 prize fund. We caught up with two of the show’s judges, Sharleen Spiteri and Dizzee Rascal, to chat about the success of the series.
What do you expect the artists on MBTM will go on to do?
Sharleen: “I think it will be interesting to see what the outcome is afterwards, where they want to take it next. I mean, I think with this show, we have songwriters who know what they want and where they want to get to. It will be interesting to see what album they come up with – if that’s what they want to do. It will also be interesting to see what longevity they have as an act. That will be interesting. This show is a great starting board to begin from, so I’ll want to see where they take it. Because unlike other shows they are not being controlled by other people.”
Why do you think people should choose MBTM over The X Factor?
Dizzee: “Because I’m on it!”
Are there any reasons other than the wonderful Dizzee?
Dizzee: “The opportunities that it has given artists. From the £100,000 at the end to having their songs on iTunes. We are not taking a penny or trying to get anything out of this. We are putting the power back into the artists’ hands.”
Sharleen: “You are not being judged by us. We are just trying to give a helping hand and inspire. The thing is for us, it’s not about saying that we are a better show. We are about providing an alternative way of doing it. It is not a competition for any of us. The reason we got involved was because that the whole ethos of the television programme was that the artists needed the money and Sky1 had a vision for artists and musicians. That’s what all three of us judges have done – we have all had longevity within our careers. We are artists. That was important for us as a starting point for where this programme begins from.”
What did you guys make of the X Factor Auto-Tune scandal?
Sharleen: “Dizzee, were you shocked?”
Dizzee: “Can you hear my shock?”
Sharleen: “Silence is louder than anything. Do you know what, that was the first time I had heard about it being used on a TV programme. So… they used it. They f**ked up.”
Do you think it took credibility away from that show?
Dizzee: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Sharleen: “I kind of agree with Dizzee, I don’t think it’s a big issue really. Do you know what, it happened and that’s it.”
But you’d never use Auto-Tune on MBTM…
Dizzee: “I don’t think anyone on our show needs it. These people aren’t the sort of people who wake up one morning and decide that they want to become famous and the biggest singer in the world. These people have been doing it for a number of years and have been working at their craft. They know exactly what they’re doing and what they’re about. There’s no need for Auto-Tune or any of that. They know exactly what they need to do.”
So would you turn down The X Factor if it came calling?
Dizzee: “There’s no point even thinking about anything like that right now. We’re just concerned about the final right now. The show’s doing so well, the rest don’t matter.”
Will you guys be back for a second series next year?
Dizzee: “Yeah, definitely.”
Dizzee: “I think [us and fellow judge Jamie Cullum] have enjoyed it more than we thought we would. I don’t think anyone knew what it would turn out like. We have seen the reaction of the crew and the people up watching in the audience when we were making the programme, the positive reaction from critics and viewers. I think everyone was pleased with how well it’s all gone. We are all really pleased to have been involved in it and I think the quality of the artists that have come out of it means that we can all hold our heads high. It’s what we hoped it would be.”
Do you mind the constant questions and comparisons with The X Factor?
Dizzee: “I’d rather be compared to them than not compared to them. If you’re not compared it means that there is no comparison.”
Sharleen: “The X Factor is a big massive powerful show. If you are compared to something like that… great.”
Dizzee: “And the people who are seeing our show are saying that we are better.”
Will you be mentoring these contestants once the show ends?
Dizzee: “It’s hard to say, some of them might get record deals, some might want to do it themselves. We’ve only given them a little bit of guidance. But I think a lot of these people are going to be cool. They are going to do alright.”
Sharleen: “I think it’s like Dizzee says, we are not mentoring them. We are just sitting there offering our experience and understanding of the industry. Sometimes when people choose the wrong song they have gone out and are upset. But we say to them, ‘Do you know what? Sometimes you make an album or a record and you decided to go with a single. But it’s the wrong song and the results aren’t great’. But as long as these people go with the song that they believe in, they can hold their head high and say, ‘This is the vision we saw, this is was what we believed in’. If it doesn’t connect with people, you have to take that on the chin. That’s the way it goes. We aren’t mentoring therefore as such, we’re just helping them move forward and hopefully keep working on their music.”
If you had to pick a winner right now, who would it be?
Dizzee: “At this point, I wouldn’t. Because it can go any way. You just need to watch the final. Even for myself, I never know until I’m there on the night. People will use different songs and give different performances, so we’ll have to see what they come up with on the night. That’s why everyone has to watch the final this Sunday!”
Lily Allen has been vocal in her support for the show on Twitter. Do you think she could be a good fourth judge?
Dizzee: “Has she? Oh, that’s great. Well, that wouldn’t really be down to me, but I’m sure she’d be great at the job. She’d be cool. But this is the first time I’ve heard about that.”
The Must Be The Music final airs on Sunday at 7pm on Sky1
Read the interview here