Difficult question: How do you make James Corden's World Cup Live even worse?
Answer: Get England's ragtag team of total losers to remove themselves from the tournament. What an empty exercise ITV's shapeless shambles has become now that manic cheerleader Corden can no longer hero worship Stevie G, Lamps and the rest of that rabble.
"Why can't we in Wales support England?" asked studio guest Ruth Jones. "Because they're out," deadpanned Rob Brydon. But fair play to jaunty Jim. He saw the absurdity of his predicament. "I feel like an idiot," he roared. "I've got a World Cup show... I've released a record!" All based on the delusional belief that Fabio's feeble flops ever stood a chance.
Corden's a likeable guy with a mouth as big as his waistline. But he doesn't appear to know much about football. Before the humiliating German rout, he told C4's Alan Carr: "I genuinely believe we're going to win this match." Perceptive.Kevin O'Sullivan, The Mirror, 4th July 2010
At some point in the recent past, James Corden decided to combine being a fine actor with an alternative career as TV's new King of Blokes. James Corden's World Cup Live is one of the consequences.
Borrowing flagrantly from the formats of countless shows before it - Sky's Soccer AM, TGI Friday and Baddiel and Skinner being the most obvious - James Corden's World Cup Live is a blend of comedy, chat and banter performed before a braying studio audience that has been as ruthlessly drilled as the Arsenal offside trap under George Graham. (Soccer-phobic readers: rest assured that this is my last torturous football analogy.)
"A good point!" pronounced James Corden on England's one-all draw in their opening World Cup match against the USA. Either Corden hadn't watched the same toothless, largely clueless, and hilariously calamitous performance I'd endured, or he had a live party to host in its aftermath and wasn't going to let dour reality intrude on the festivities.
Had England beaten the USA I'm sure Katy's combination of kookiness and volume would have charmed the watching nation, but as things stood, her presence was overwhelmingly irritating and pointless.
She was, however, preferable to the intolerably smug Cowell, there to plug his World Cup single. "I'm going to get it played in the England dressing room at half time" he boasted. As if the team didn't have enough to worry about.
But the show sinks or swims on the abilities of its star. Quick-witted and affable, Corden performed heroics in keeping up the show's momentum through its modest 20-minute duration. James Corden's World Cup Live could yet prove good fun, it just needs to loosen up and relax into its run - a bit like the England football team, in fact.Harry Venning, The Stage, 21st June 2010
This is billed as an "alternative reaction" to the World Cup, though some might feel that there has been precious little alternative to James Corden recently (he's even in tonight's Doctor Who!), and that he's perhaps delighted us long enough for the time being. For those who can't get enough of the big man, however, he will be straight on after every ITV big match, joined by family, friends, celebrities and a human world cup wall chart. Those whose tastes for this sort of thing run no further than Baddiel and Skinner can nowadays find them on podcast.The Guardian, 12th June 2010
Had enough of James Corden? Then you are probably not alone and you won't be tuning in to ITV's post-match coverage during the World Cup.Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard, 11th June 2010
Fresh from his onstage spat with Sir Patrick Stewart at the Glamour Awards, will James Corden's ITV show be a success - or overkill?Steve Busfield, The Guardian, 10th June 2010
James Corden's World Cup Live. I haven't even seen it yet. To be honest, I'm not sure I need to. James Corden's World Cup song. I haven't heard it yet. To be honest, I'm not sure I want to. James Corden's World Cup Diary, in The Times. I haven't even read it yet. To be honest, I look forward to it like a family funeral.
Why is it that World Cup 2010, regardless of what happens on the field of play, will now always be irrevocably-tainted by Corden's omnipresence? Was his Sport Relief skit at Sports Personality of the Year that good? (No. No it wasn't). Was Gavin and Stacey that good? (No. It was a c-list British Friends. And not even the good series. The ones where it was just a soap opera.) Was Horne and Corden that good? (Ha.)
So why the World Cup ubiquity? No one really knows. The Times column, at least, can be explained. The Thunderer gives out football-writing jobs to comedy dead zones (Giles Smith, Alan Davies, etc.) like Corden increases the profit margins of his local bakeries. (Ha! Have that, Corden, I'm stealing your best material, too). But the rest? "Entertainment" executives are forever trying to re-plough once successful furrows. In their tiny, bean-counting minds, major international football tournament = Euro '96 = Baddiel & Skinner = Fantasy Football = 3 Lions = enough money to buy every Ukrainian woman in Dubai.
Baddiel and Skinner are out of commission, so Corden's their go-to guy. He's funny (to them), he likes football (he's been on Sport Relief and he supports West Ham - which is also like football) and he's available.
So, there it is. Suck it up and deal with it. In 2034 when we're watching repeats of Rooney being sent off in the second round, Lampard missing the crucial penalty against France in the quarter final, and Terry crying so much that he single-handedly irrigates the entire Sahara, it will be Corden's gurning face bookending the clips. There, forever more, like the dog weeing on Jimmy Greaves in Chile, like the stink being wiped off Bobby Moore's hands before meeting the Queen, or Frank Rijkaard's saliva dripping from Rudi Voller's face. Only with less charm.
So enjoy it. Enjoy it all. James Corden's World Cup Come Dine With Me. James Corden's World Cup Big Brother's Little Brother. James Corden's World Cup Derek Acorah's Ghostbusters.tvBite, 10th June 2010
James Corden has got a busy summer ahead. Here are ten fast facts about JC!Alex Fletcher, Digital Spy, 9th June 2010