By Eileen Murphy
Really, we love Ronan Keating to pieces, but sometimes we suspect that he speaks first and thinks, well, sixth. We envision the process thus:
1. Sound emanates from Ronan’s mouth.
2. Ronan catches sight of self in nearby mirror.
3. Ronan smiles, revealing dazzling $20,000 capped teeth.
4. Ronan admires dazzling $20,000 capped teeth.
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5. Ronan hears sound.
6. Ronan marvels at cleverness of sound.
7. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now, some might call us a cranky cow for harboring such unkind thoughts, but how else can one explain Ronan’s recent comments regarding the spate of Irish acts generated by television shows like “Pop Idol” and “Popstars.”
“[It’s] glorified karaoke,” sniffed the former front man of that glorified karaoke band, Boyzone. In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, he said that the idea of creating a band as part of a TV series is “weird.”
Ronan frets that the singers who emerge from the shows will get short shrift in the personal management department.
“If I were them, I’d be wary,” he said. “I think they are surrounded by people who are pushing the whole marketing campaign rather than actually nurturing the artist.”
This is an interesting observation from someone who was a member of Ireland’s best-known hand-picked pop act. Boyzone was the brainchild of Louis Walsh, at the time a small-potatoes music promoter looking for the next big thing.
The group’s success launched Walsh as a pop impresario, propelled Ronan into a moderately successful solo career, and set the stage for Samantha Mumba, Bellefire, B*Witched and the band touted as the next Boyzone, Westlife. In fact, so strong were the parallels between the two bands that the Westies took over their predecessors’ column in the Sunday World without missing a beat. And in a bit of corporate synergy, Ronan was the band’s co-manager.
Ronan’s concerns are also interesting since his mentor, Walsh, is one of the judges on “Popstars”.
But it’s safe to say that the other members of the now-defunct Boyzone don’t feel particularly nurtured. Heck, most of them couldn’t even get arrested.
Robbie ‘Pops’ off
In more “Pop Idol” news involving a former boy band alum, we hear that Robbie Williams is miffed that his songwriting partner, Guy Chambers, is teaming up with newly minted pop cutie Will Young. And when we say miffed, that’s with a capital “MIFF.”
Robbie, who is living in L.A. at the moment, decided to step off the fame treadmill for a year. According to reports, he’s spending his time relaxing, attending AA meetings and coming to grips with his fame. But Guy, his collaborator on hits like “Angels,” “Let Me Entertain You,” and “Millennium,” has no intention of letting the grass grow under his feet, which is understandable. But the situation has given Robbie an uneasy feeling.
“Robbie fears that Will may cash in on his fan base while he takes time out from the scene,” said an insider. “He’s very insecure and is not happy.”
One thing that makes him happy these days is his religious vocation. Following in the footsteps of Irish singer/cleric Sinead O’Connor, Robbie’s taken up the collar, and has performed his first marriage ceremony.
Don’t panic, ladies – the hunky singer hasn’t given up any of the good stuff. But we have learned that he’s become a minister via the internet, signing up with the L.A.-based Universal Ministries church. The certificate allowed him to perform the ceremony for his best friend, Cult bassist Billy Morrison, and his bride Jennifer Holliday.
British singer David Grey — whose stalled career gained momentum when his album “White Ladder” made him a huge star in Ireland — will release a new album later this year. We’re also hearing that he’ll do a series of concerts in Dublin and Belfast in November.