Jason Manford has defended his new ITV show Starstruck, in which teams of soundalikes are transformed into a singing idol and compete for cash, after viewers were questioning its similarity to a previous programme.
The comedian and presenter, who is a fixture on Starstruck’s judging panel alongside Sheridan Smith, current Queen collaborator Adam Lambert and West End star Beverley Knight, was ready to concede the show’s similarity to 90s TV sensation Stars in Their Eyes before too many could make the comparison.
Viewers took to social media to point out how closely the shows compared, with one tweeting: ‘This is like Stars in their eyes with a big budget!!! Where’s the smoke?’
Another person commented: ‘Actually rather enjoying #starstruck even if it is a stars in their eyes rip off.’
‘This is just Stars in Their Eyes? This is literally just Stars in Their Eyes but with trios?,’ asked one confused fan.
While one fan compared the show to a ‘dumbed down Stars in Their Eyes for the modern generation’, Jason pre-empted a lot of the comparison criticism early on into the show’s broadcast.
‘Enjoy #Starstruck. It’s a great show,’ he began, before adding: ‘If you think we sat the whole series and not one of [us] mentioned the similarity to #StarsInTheirEyes, you’re thick mate!
‘Of course it is, so feel free to not tell me 😂😂 but do try to guess who the contestants are gonna be & best soundalike.’
Stars In Their Eyes, which ran from 1990 until 2006, with a less successful reboot helmed by Harry Hill in 2015, was most famously presented by Matthew Kelly, leading to one of television’s most famous lines in ‘Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be’ before the contestants emerged through the smoky doors, transformed into their singer of choice.
With Starstruck, there’s a cash prize of £50,000 at stake, with contestants initially having to compete in teams of three – all as the same idol – before the judges and then audience vote to pick their final single winner to go through.
Saturday night’s first episode saw teams impersonating Freddie Mercury, Ariana Grande, Marvin Gaye and Lady Gaga competing.
Sheridan had a bit of a moment judging the Marvin Gayes when she got a little carried away complimenting their ‘bedroom looks’ – but it was ultimately the Freddies that prevailed.
Freddie contestant Rob was then picked as the singer to advance through to the next round after a sing-off, with fans praising him as ‘bl***y fantastic’ and having ‘really done Freddie Mercury justice’.
Starstruck returns next Saturday evening on ITV and is available to watch on ITV Hub.