Michelle McManus - All This Time
McManus...it's a very Scottish surname, sounding as hard as the granite used to build Aberdeen. It will also be forever associated with Mick McManus, the stocky scrapper from the golden age of British Saturday afternoon wrestling. Though Michelle McManus may look unlikely to last long against either Kendo Nagasaki or Leon Arras - The Man From Paris, being the name that the actor Brian Glover used during his short wrestling career, she does look more than capable of tearing strips off potbellied ne'erdowells and pan-faced women in a pub in Glasgow.
But Pop Idol? For once, it's hard to disagree with Pete Waterman who didn't feel as though Michelle McManus would have made a suitable winner but the public disagreed with him although, after the One True Voice debacle, it wasn't the only time in recent memory that Waterman struggled. With Simon Cowell having supported her throughout Pop Idol, the public agreed with him and, boosted by a big, big voice, Michelle was voted in as 2003's winner and this, following her reward of a record contract with BMG, is her first solo release following her appearance on The Idols' Christmas album.
All This Time has been written by an established songwriting team and sounds like it, with a style that is not dissimilar to Will Young, Kelly Clarkson or any other singer who has recently fallen off Simon Fuller's 19 Management production line and therein lies the problem. By charging forward with a release so soon after the end of the contest, Michelle McManus has been given very little time to develop any style of her own to either quickly capitalise on her success or to prevent her ever doing such a thing. Therefore, All This Time is not much more than a fairly dull song that, had it appeared a month or two later, would have been offered to any other artist on the 19 Management books.
With the b-side being a cover of On The Radio, the Georgio Moroder/Donna Summer disco song, this is alright but there's very little on this single to indicate that we'll still be talking about Michelle McManus as 2004 turns into 2005. Whilst All This Time is unlikely to be the start of a dazzling careers, it's a cheap enough souvenir of last year's Pop Idol...were you ever in the mood for such a thing which, if you were, there'll always be the charges on your mobile phone bill for weeks of text messages.