Review: ITV's new singing competition Walk The Line fails to hit the high notes in tedious Mariah-thon

I blame Mariah Carey. Not only is she all over the radio telling us just exactly what she wants for Christmas, but her no-note-left-unsung vocal technique has been all over the TV.

By Phil Cunnington
Friday, 17th December 2021, 5:00 pm

That’s because ITV has filled the reality TV gap left betweeen I’m a Celebrity... and Dancing on Ice with Walk The Line (ITV, Sun-Fri, 8pm) in which various singers and bands try to impress an audience in the grip of a severe sugar rush with their vocal pyrotechnics.

It’s all about the melisma, with Mariah, that way she has of extending a word into several syllables, each one sung in a different note.

And the contestants on Walk The Line are afflicted with melisma mania, as they warble through hits by Bruno Mars, Adele and even Foo Fighters, in one ill-judged John Lewis-style balladisation of a rock classic.

The judges in the new ITV singing competition Walk The Line. From left, Craig David, Alesha Dixon, Dawn French and Gary Barlow

And it’s not just the songs that wander about from quiet to loud, high to low, slow to quick.

The show itself is an hour long, yet the actual singing takes up a mere 15 minutes. Add in, maybe, another 20 minutes of ads and you’ve still got 25 minutes to fill.

Which is a problem when the judges include Gary Barlow, decade-long holder of the most boring man in pop title. None of them have anything useful to say, and given each night’s winner is decided by the audience vote, they’re redundant anyway.

Meanwhile, the show itself constantly recaps what we’ve just seen, asks people how they feel and uses slow-mo walking to fill time.

The title evokes jailbird country bad boy Johnny Cash, but the show itself is as dangerous as a kitten, while the format seems inherently unfair on acts in the earlier episodes, as they have to fight through several rounds, while those in the last episode just have to win once to scoop a massive cash prize.

You know what Mariah? All I want for Christmas is to never see this again.

After the promising second episode of You Don’t Know Me (BBC1, Sun/Mon, 9pm) I felt a bit let down by the two final episodes. The pace became snail-like again, and the several twist endings felt like a cheat.

One Night In... (Channel 4, Thurs, 9pm) felt like an idea stars Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker scribbled on a beer mat one drunken night in the pub. Lightweight, but pretty good fun.

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