Let's take a moment to look at that picture of The Saturdays, Britain's original basic bitches. Look at the weary expression on their faces, a combination of underachievement, insincerity and having been tired for the past half-decade and those weird, bra-on-the-outside dresses, like a Regina George line at New Look. They're standing outside Coronation Street's Rovers Return, no doubt in a piece of badly thought out tie-in content, which The Saturdays spend their life time making. I hazard a guess they played at the school end of term party with a bonus song avaliable online.
I’ve developed a morbid obsession with The Saturdays, the girlband moulded out of Cheryl Cole waste product and tit tape. They've survived six successive years in the charts – more than the Spice Girls or All Saints – despite waiting almost their entire career to be dropped. I’ve been watching them circle the plughole for so long that it’s become hypnotic. But how have they managed to be so almost successful for so long?
The group was conceived as the natural successor to Girls Aloud. But unlike other pop groups that were formulated as an identikit version of an existing success story but went on to Frankenstine their creators (N*Sync and Backstreet Boys, Westlife and Boyzone, McFly and Busted), The Saturdays have never quite been able to shrug off the spectre of Nicola Roberts. Since 2008 they’ve been subsisting as the girl band people who used to love Girls Aloud kind of like.
They have had a couple of decent songs, but I'm more interested in their capacity for limping along with a can-do wartime spirit. Bless them, they've even announced a Greatest Hits, with an accompanying press release explaining that they’re definitely not splitting up, so don’t even think about it. As if to hammer the point home, their new single is called “Not Giving Up”.
This is the band who released the only Comic Relief single not to hit number one in 14 years, and took this as a sign that they should attempt to crack America. The ensuing reality series, Chasing The Saturdays, saw them hire a choreographer who tried, and failed, to teach them to walk across a road in time with each other and have totally natural not-at-all staged by a pervy male director pillow fights.
So how do The Saturdays keep themselves in the River Island basics to which they’ve become accustomed? Pretty simple, the girls have happily signed on for every sponsorship deal not already snaffled by Dawn O’Porter. She did moist bum wipes, they did tampons. She became an ambassador for potatoes (I’m not making this up, she even named her dog Potato), they were the face of Veet hair removal. Basically, if it's a wom Their videos, meanwhile, have featured product placements of everything from Barry M (which kind of made sense) to Citroën (which definitely didn’t).
Their record company certainly seem to have tempered the group's diminishing returns with diminishing expectations (and budgets, if the production on their last studio album is anything to go on). Who knows why they keep trying, surely it would just be better to get to work on the new Little Mix and watch them flail around for the best part of the decade, but for whatever reason, The Saturdays are still in a job so perhaps they should start to think about actually becoming successful.
First they need to pick a sound. So far we’ve had pure pop, dance, R&B and an alarming incident where they sang in faux Jamaican accents on a single featuring Sean Paul (“What About Us” was one of their worst singles, and their only number one, so no wonder they’re confused). A large part of Girls Aloud’s success was courtesy of pop production line Xenomania, who wrote and produced all of their songs. I’m not saying The Saturdays should do the same, but having the conviction to stick to one cohesive sound for more than two singles at a time might help capture the public’s confidence more than throwing together a job lot of Rihanna cast-offs marked ‘misc’ and hoping for the best. Obviously they should continue to persevere with their strict policy of not letting Frankie within a five-mile radius of the vocal booth.
They also need to admit defeat when it comes to their routines. With the best will in the world, the girls struggle to pose in unison, let alone dance in time with each other. Popjustice recently attempted to screen grab four of the group performing the same dance move at the same time, but the task proved impossible. Frankie was absent as she was off having a baby, a pregnancy that was skilfully negotiated by making her sit in a van and sing through the window when they filmed the video for “Disco Love”. If I'm honest, I actually kind of enjoy watching Mollie wave her hands around like a Redcoat, but all things considered, I think it’s probably for the best that they leave the routines to Little Mix.
As a last resort in combating the public apathy towards them, I can only suggest that The Saturdays develop a feud. All the best girlbands have had them. The Appleton sisters wrote a whole book about how much they hated the other All Saints, while Keisha Buchanan’s remorseless battle for sovereignty over the Sugababes made Game of Thrones look like Sesame Street.
At the other end of the spectrum, Atomic Kitten seemed to get on like a house on fire. And look where that got them.
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