Three strangers all pretending to be the same celeb! One of the oddest judging panels ever! Olly Murs! ITV’s bombastic new singing contest is very, very bad

Do we really deserve good TV? It’s a question I have been mulling over since being subjected to Starstruck (Saturday, 8.30pm), ITV’s bombastic new panel show designed for five or so million people to eat a takeaway to. It’s an over-glossy mashup of Stars in Their Eyes and The X Factor, which is very, very bad in a way that makes my soul feel quite empty and my mind quite blank. Is it just the presence of Olly Murs as the host that is doing this, or is there something even more ghoulish and hollow baked into the very format of it? The only way to find out, sadly, is to make me watch an entire hour of it so you don’t have to. This is the first time since writing this column that I am going to actively ask for danger money.

Here is the format of Starstruck: instead of letting one singer trot out and do a celebrity tribute act, three complete strangers come out and sing the same song together at once – so three Freddie Mercurys might sing I Want to Break Free, line-by-line or three Ariana Grandes might squabble over a rendition of One Last Time. There is something very mildly interesting about watching three singers try to perform a cohesive song while also trying to outshine each other at the same time – fans of the Kitty Brucknell series of The X Factor will recognise this delightful energy from the group songs that used to open the show – but that’s where the entertainment begins and ends.

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