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Kimberley Walsh, Centre Stage (Decca) ****
THE Girls Aloud Reunion Stadium Tour starts on February 21 in Newcastle, before heading to Manchester and Sheffield, which are all accessible enough for York fans.
Hopefully, each of the girls will have a chance to showcase their individual talents. If so, I would wager that Kimberley Walsh will blow her colleagues off the stage.
Tellingly, Walsh was the last of the Pop Star Rivals to release a solo album, and the only one to distance herself from the most obvious commercial Pop circus. While Cheryl, Nadine and company have all released substandard albums and made the headlines, mostly for the wrong reasons, Walsh has quietly built a new career.
Lest we forget, she has starred in the family movie Horrid Henry: The Movie as Prissy Polly, played Princess Fiona in Shrek! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and captured the hearts of the huge family audiences addicted to Strictly Come Dancing.
As well as proving her grace and elegance on the dance floor, Walsh became a lady and a national treasure. Combine this with her track record as a recording star, and Walsh is a bona fide superstar.
On Centre Stage, the Bradford lass firmly places her own stamp on some of the best-loved songs from the musicals. The highlights are the less frequently covered songs such as I Still Believe, the duet from Miss Saigon sang with Louise Dearman and her collaboration with Ronan Keating, Falling Slowly, the Oscar-winning song by Glen Hansard from the movie Once.
Perhaps, Kimberley’s take on On My Own from Les Miserables is a touch too ambitious, especially in the dawn of Anne Hathaway’s heartbreaking version. But all the same, Centre Stage is a great showpiece, which will establish Kimberley Walsh as one of the leading ladies of the theatre for her generation.
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