All Star Musicals, review: a mixed bag of performances hampered by ITV tackiness

Ever idly wondered how a rugby player might look dressed up as PT Barnum? Or if a weatherman can rap like a Founding Father? Probably not, but welcome to All Star Musicals (ITV) – because what the world needed was yet another TV singing contest.

This 90-minute marathon saw six celebrities belt out showstoppers from popular musicals. Only one could be crowned the winner. Clue: it wasn’t us viewers. 

Proceedings started slowly, with endless introductions and stilted chit-chat. Wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan swapped her fleece for a gold fringed frock and tapdanced down to 42nd Street. England scrum-half Danny Care was less The Greatest Showman, more pub karaoke crooner. Coronation Street’s Lisa George channelled Cabaret’s Sally Bowles with powerhouse vocals but spent most of her performance sitting down. 

These plucky amateurs were trained and judged by bona fide stage stars: greasepaint grande dame Elaine Paige, nice-but-bland Samantha Barks and the entertainingly sparky Trevor Dion Nicholas. Unfortunately, their dual role as both mentor and critic meant every song was met with platitudes and gushing praise. Some bite in the panto villainous fashion of Craig Revel Horwood or Simon Cowell would have come as welcome relief. 

Things picked up in the second half. Actor Colin Salmon embraced the seedy character of Les Misérables innkeeper Thénardier with gusto. Actress Jacqueline Jossa played out her Disney princess fantasies in a special effects-laden, light operatic rendition of the ubiquitous Let It Go from Frozen. 

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