Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Remember me?

I guess you can blame Leona. Once she took to the stage in the X Factor back in 2006, Simon forgot all about everyone else he was supposed to be working with. He was bewitched by those corkscrew curls and a voice that was more flexible than Madonna's yoga instructor. Poor old Shayne Ward never stood a chance.

He'd shot to fame the year before, when he won the show and, in the process, reassured Simon that Michelle McManus and Steve Brookstein were just temporary aberrations. With his earthy good looks (like Justin Timberlake with an ASBO) and powerful falsetto, he was an entire boyband compressed into one comely package.

His debut album managed to shift over half a million copies, with each new track carefully designed to follow the template of the more established songs he'd performed on the show. There was one that sounded like 'Unchained Melody', one that sounded like 'If You're Not The One' and one that sounded like 'Cry Me A River'. Given that he'd started out in a covers band called Destiny, it seemed that he hadn't progressed that far after all.

By the time Leona's world-beating album arrived at the end of 2007, Shayne was little more than a squeaky footnote in TV talent show history. His second album sold well, but the singles didn't do much to cement him in the public's consciousness.

Last year it was announced that Shayne's long-awaited third album would have to be even more awaited, as it was pushed back to May 2010. His fans took to the streets of Manchester in their tens to protest Simon Cowell's callous indifference, sporting homemade banners that wouldn't look out of place in a prison canteen riot. Voicing their fury, they sang "I don't know what I've been told/Wardy's album's still on hold/This just isn't good enough/We want him to do his stuff."

So they'll be delighted to hear that Shayne is finally taking control of his own destiny. With absolutely no ulterior motive, Shayne has thoughtfully posted a video clip on YouTube to try and raise awareness of the plight of people in Haiti. Speaking from the heart, and definitely not trying to raise his profile the cheapest way possible just weeks ahead of the release of his new album, Shayne said "I would just like to stress how devastated I am by the tragedies that have happened in Haiti. I urge everybody to donate as much as they possibly can to help the people out there."

Phoebe and Joey once had a heated debate about the nature of altruism, because Joey believed that there was no such thing as a truly selfless act. I think Shayne's thoughtful and considerate appeal for charitable benevolence should settle that argument once and for all.

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