Something kinda ooooh must be in the water, because legendary ’00s-to-early-’10s British girl group members-turned-solo stars keep showing up on reality television competitions as of late.
Before we get into The Masked Singer, I need to get address this first: Alesha “Italians Do It Better” Dixon is, somehow, a judge on the upcoming season of America’s Got Talent: Champions, which premieres this week. Alesha Dixon. In America. Yes, it sounds like PopJustice Forum fan-fiction. No, I have no idea how it happened either. But it is, miraculously, real.
She even did a little “Get To Know” video ahead of the premiere for the American audience, where she references Mis-Teeq (!), “Scandalous” (!!) and vaguely mentions embarking on a solo career with a platinum record (!!!). Like, I know that she’s done Britain’s Got Talent before, but America?! In this, the year 2020? Trust me: I am not complaining in the least.
In fact, I’m already applying my lipstick, breathing slow, counting from one to ten, and preparing to tune in to see Queen Dixon become America’s New Sweetheart. Just imagine: upon being unimpressed by a male contestant, she shrugs and says, simply: “The boy does nothing.” Gasp!
But of course, that’s not the only dose of British pop perfection impacting our televisions – sorry, tellies – at the moment.
The Masked Singer, having now become a global sensation (thank you, South Korea), just premiered in the UK on Saturday night (January 4).
And, after approximately four seconds of the Queen Bee’s premiere performance, there is little to no doubt who is behind that pale mask. Gird your Tangled Up loins and graffiti my soul: it’s none other than Girls Aloud‘s resident Rude Ginger Bitch™ herself – Nicola Fucking Roberts.
See, the thing about The Masked Singer is that you just can’t get away with having a distinct voice. Like, who was Miss Patti Labelle trying to fool last year? It’s actually a compliment It means you’re distinct! And that voice coming out of the Queen Bee’s mask, my friends, is Nicola Robert’s signature vibrato – the yelping, the warbling runs and all.
This is obviously a wonderful thing. Not only does she genuinely sound incredible, but Nicola’s got a West End debut in the works as as Avril/Mallory in City of Angels alongside Queen Vanessa Williams in March 2020. Of course she’s already warming up her chops for her theater run!
There was another dead giveaway that it’s the “Beat of My Drum” Dainty Doll diva behind the mask, and that’s an unexpected profile in The Guardian, published on Monday (January 6), which I recommend reading. It’s way more serious subject matter – and actually quite horrifying compared to all this fluffier stuff, as she opens up about an ex-boyfriend stalking her for five years. Luckily, she’s on the other end of it – but it’s all further proof that you never really know the extent of what anyone in the public eye is dealing with behind-the-scenes.
Back to silliness: Queen Bee won her face-off and advanced in the competition, and with any luck, she should go all the way to the finale and snatch that crown. (Is it a crown? Mirror ball? I don’t know.) Regardless, it will be so incredible to hear a bunch of different Nicola solo performances to kick off this year on the right foot. And if it means giving her the confidence and renewed public interest to release a Cinderella’s Eyes follow-up, then we – or, like, whoever is eligible to vote in the UK, I don’t know how it works exactly – need to get her to the very end of the competition.
Between this, Cheryl‘s turn on The Greatest Dancer and last year’s RuPaul’s Drag Race UK stint, and Queen Nuhdeen getting buddy-buddy with Caitlyn Jenner on I’m a Celeb, I feel my life force returning to me. Perhaps life isn’t so cold anymore. Let the power of the Almighty Aloud’s combined TV takeover efforts spark the Ten + Eight Years reunion we so desperately need to Save Pop once and for all.
You’ve won one of these shows once before. You’ve got this, Nicola!