Hit Me Baby One More Time

Hit Me Baby, One More Time was a 2005 reality show first broadcast on the British television network ITV and later, as a new version, by NBC in the United States; both were presented by Vernon Kay.

During each programme, five pop stars, mainly from the 80's, sang their biggest hit along with a cover version of a contemporary hit.        

Each week, one winner was picked from each show by a phone vote,(in the British version) or a studio audience vote (in the American version), leading to the grand final when the overall winner can release a single featuring both songs (in the British version) or have $20,000 donated to a charity of their choice (in the American version).

The show's title came from a line in the Britney Spears song "...Baby One More Time".
The show proved to be a summer hit for NBC hitting the top spot in the ratings on its first outing.

Obviously, I shall be discussing the British version.

Week 1 : 02/04/2005

The first week heat was won by Tiffany

Week 2 : 09/04/2005

The second week heat was won by Shakin' Stevens

Week 3 : 16/04/2005

The third week was won by Carol Decker!! Whoop Whoop!!

Here is Carol singing "China" for the first time.  Carol sings it absolutely to perfection!!  Wouldn't  expect anything else from her!!  She gets huge cheers from the audience when she 'hits those highs' before the choruses!!

Single version

China In Your Hand (Single Version) - 101 Power Ballads

Album version

China in Your Hand - Bridge of Spies

Here is Carol's rendition of "Superstar" by Jamelia.  Adding a sparkle of rock to it.  Girl power!!  The track was chosen by Carol's daughter Scarlett!!

Here is the results show when they announce the winner and "China" is sung again by Carol.

To me, it's as though i'm listening to the single version.  That's how 'perfect' Carol's vocals are.

Week 4 : 23/04/2005

The fourth week was won by Hue and Cry

Week 5 : 30/04/2005

The fifth week was won by Shalamar

Week 6 : 07/05/2005

The sixth week was won by Chesney Hawkes

Week 7 : 14/05/05

The seventh week was won by 911

 Week 8 : 21/05/2005 : The Final

We had ourselves seven finalists :

I was there at the final.  Right at the back, mind you!!  The cameraman's assistant kept pushing me further into the standing audience as there wasn't much room and was a lot of cables in the way.  At one point, when I was pushed, I tripped up one of the wires, so if the picture on your TV shook a little, that was me!!  Also my shoulder was on the television!!

All the acts were great.  Carol looked stunning in a red dress and was amazing.  

The 'seated' studio audience could all vote for who they thought was the best, and they opted for Shalamar, but I had a feeling who was going to win the telephone vote, you've got it,  Shakin' Stevens!!  Not that he was the best, it was just a feeling.  Carol was far better!!

Here is Carol's performance :

I'm sure I am not the only one who thought Carol deserved to win!!

Greatest Hits # 3

Virgin Records took the opportunity of releasing a Greatest Hits two days after the success of 'China' in the show.  It was released on the monday following the final; the 23rd May 2005, and was titled T'Pau 'Hits'.  There were even adverts promoting it in the ad breaks during the live show.

Here is the advert :

It had a sticker on it saying 'featuring the hit single China In Your Hand as featured in Hit Me Baby One More Time'.

Here is the album cover :

T'Pau - Hits - T'Pau

The cover was the same image as featured on Bridge Of Spies, but it had been made more colourful, just focusing on Carol.  Lovely picture.

The track listing and rest of the album, ie inner sleeve artwork, pictures, were exactly the same as the last Greatest Hits.  But I will say that if you want to go for a 'studio' greatest hits, I would go for the one above, as it has far more songs on it than the 1st one, including a lot more focus on the great album "The Promise", and although greatest hits number two is the same as this, it isn't available to download and is very hard to get hold of.

Here is one of the songs which appears on the album from "The Promise", It's a great track.

Hold On To Love

Hold On to Love - T'Pau - Hits

I'm so pleased that this Greatest Hits focused more on "The Promise" than the first one.  There are six songs from it on this release.  Here is a catchy little number from it.

A Place In My Heart

A Place In My Heart - T'Pau - Hits

One thing I will say to you is that there has only ever been three Greatest Hits packages released in the UK, plus the Greatest Hits Live, and through doing my research, there is easily a dozen out there which I have heard many of them are the same as the 'official' releases.  A few are titled 'Greatest Hits Live' which are exactly the same as Carol's Gnatfish Records' release, and many others are a combination of the hits and Red.  None of these have been sanctioned by Carol, Ron or the record company who hold the rights to the material.

The Hits Preview Video I have made

On Saturday 24th July 2005, T'Pau were to perform at The Robin 2 venue in Bilston, near Birmingham.  

This was to be the bands' first 'independant' gig since Hit Me Baby... ie, not including Here And Now and Rewind.
The venue held 700 people and i'm pretty sure it was nearing capacity, if not reaching it!!

I have always preferred Carol's smaller, more 'intimate' gigs, and this one was no exception!!
I don't know where she gets her energy from.
The band started off with a rocky start to get the audience 'in the mood!!'.

Here is a review from a Neil Sansom who was at the gig.

"Carol Decker's T'Pau rocked Bilston's Robin 2 club with a supremely well-sorted set on Saturday 24th July 2005,  Neil Reviews....
If you're in your late twenties or early thirties you'll no doubt have started to take an interest in music around about whenT'Pau hit the charts in 1987 with their breakthrough hit 'Heart and Sout'.
 Armed only with flamed haired good looks, rock guitar chords and one heck of a voice, Shrewsbury born Decker left a defining mark on the late 80's and early 90's with a string of US and UK hits.
At this point I have declared a few things.  Carol Decker was my teenage pin-up.  Perhaps it was the simmering cover shot off T'Pau's first album 'Bridge Of Spies' that did it for me.  And before you ask...yes, I still would! (Cheeky!!) 
Secondly, in 27 years of living in Wolverhamperton, I've never been to Bilston for a night out.  Why?  I don't know.
T'Pau kicked off proceedings just after 10pm with Carol supported by a 4-piece backing group of sprightly young musicians who weren't only supremely well rehearsed but weren't afraid to play to the audience with some guitar duelling and audience banter.
 Carol at The Robin

Dressed in white trousers and a floaty red top (the latter would later be involved in a 'wardrobe malfunction' with a microphone lead)  Carol unexpectedly launched into two unfamiliar back to back album tracks.  Island from the second album 'Rage' was followed in quick succession by 'Monkey House' from the band's debut album 'Bridge of Spies'.  Both succeeded in pumping up the crowd and setting an energised atmosphere for the rest of the evening.
From then on in, all the hits were delivered with such attack and musicianship you'd be hard pressed to fault anything that was served up over the next hour and fifteen minutes.  I knew it would be good-just not this good!
During 'Let It All Fall', taken from the most recent album 'Red', a tie from Carol's top somehow became entwined with her microphone lead.  Liberated by her gentlemanly bass player, difficulties of Janet Jackson-esque proprotions were swiftly avoided!
Over the set, the stand-out tracks were 'Valentine', 'Bridge of Spies' and 'Secret Garden' which really highlights Carol's voice.  Vocally, she hasn't lost anything at all.  In fact she's probably better now than from the early albums thanks to recent acting and musical spells in London's West End.
As the band left to a rapturous applause after a storming performance of 'Sex Talk', it paved the way for the all too predictable encore - not that anyone was complaining or could guess what was in store.
Returning to the stage, a bass line driven arragement of 'Heart and Soul' eas expertly dispatched.  And to end the evening it wouldn't have been complete without T'Pau's signature hit 'China In Your Hand'.

 The whole performance left everyone in the room in no doubt of Carol Decker's craft, quality and vocal abilities.  It also left me with a feeling of "how the heck did Shakin' Stevens win ITV's 'Hit Me Baby One More Time'?"  I can only think there must now be hundreds of worn out redial buttons on phones in the Welsh valleys!
You didn't get the impression that Bliston was 'another stop on the T'Pau tour'.  Carol and the band exuded a genuine warmth and enthusiasm which the crowd in turn responded to.
Should T'Pau happen to visit these parts again, I'd have no hesitation in recommending one of their gigs to anyone who grew up in that era.  Nor would I pass up a return visit to Bliston and the Robin 2 club.  It's a real gem of a place with a venue that gives heart and soul to great music."

Couldn't have put it better myself.  Thank you to Neil Sansom for the review. 

Created by Deano Hollett 2012

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