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The Big Reunion Jodi Albert's blog: Damaged Damage & awkward meetings

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We thought Girl Thing's reunion was tense enough - and then we saw Damage's huge meeting on this week's episode of The Big Reunion! Luckily, Jodi Albert is blogging for Digital Spy about the show, so read on to see what she thought of the boys, 5th Story's terrible dancing and whether Eternal really are the divas they were painted as...

Girl Thing's Jodi Albert on The Big Reunion

© ITV


"I had a feeling that obviously they'd have to tone down the old Girl Thing drama this week! But it was actually pretty full on! It was icy, wasn't it? I literally knew nothing about the reason Coreé wasn't taking part before last night. At the point where we actually started rehearsing together, we were already so far down the line that we hadn't gone into each other's stories. So I knew Coreé wasn't there, but I didn't realise they'd attempted a whole sit-down with him. It was a bit mad, wasn't it?

"The meeting was so awkward. At first, I did feel for Coreé. I felt like he realised he had gone down a bad road and he was apologising for it, and I think they all took that on board, but then as time went on his old traits did start coming out so obviously the boys were like, 'Oh, there we go, and that's exactly the reason why the band didn't work before'. He had this kind of defensive attitude and he can't talk because he starts to get a bit angry and they all back down, which I can completely understand. And I really got where Jade was coming from, because who needs drama and friends like that in your life at that point when you've had kids? Obviously you want to help someone, but you can't help them if they don't want to help themselves or if they won't admit to what their faults are. Just saying sorry doesn't always cut it, really, and I did agree with him.

"I mean, it's hard. They've got a lot of history with Coreé. I don't think last night showed everything. So I bounced backwards and forwards between feeling sorry for him and going, 'Oh, there's a trait that they said that he had'. I think they're probably a more peaceful band without him. And maybe it's safer for Corée and his life at this point just to have a bit of civility and a bit of normality as opposed to going back into a pop band again, because that's what led him into the drink and the drugs in the first place. I think they're a strong enough band without him. I can't say that when I first bumped into them I really knew that there was someone missing. It was only because someone said, 'Oh yeah, Coreé's not here', and I was like, 'Who's Coreé again?' The thing is that they're such strong singers - Jade's got such a beautiful voice - that it's not like you're completely aware that you're missing one of the main singers. They're all very strong.

Damage pose for The Big Reunion

© ITV


"I'm not surprised they agreed to do The Big Reunion after their nightmare reunion in 2010, because I think it's something that they really cared about and they really wanted to make it work. I think The Big Reunion probably helped them reunite easier than just them trying to do it by themselves. At least with The Big Reunion you have got a director who's saying, 'Right, you're going to sit and you're going to actually discuss this now'. It's an outside person who is the voice of reason, so you tend to listen to that more than if it's just one person in the group being the bossy one. I think it worked for them.

"But that's the first time I've really heard of a band having to pick up their debt like that. It was really interesting and I think the way Rahsaan basically stepped up and was really trying to sort it out and then Andrez came through and was like, 'Right, we've got to get this done', I thought that was just so grown-up of them. They're all very well educated, smart men and it really shows. I've got a lot of respect for them. Not all the guys paid the debt, but everyone's probably got their story. They didn't really explain why on camera, so I'm sure they have their story as to why they didn't feel like it was their debt to pay, maybe, or maybe they just didn't have the money. Who knows? You just don't know what kind of situation people are in, and we didn't really hear from them, so it's hard to judge.

"It doesn't shock me to hear that the guys had dark moments in their past because by this stage, if we're not learning anything, we're learning that basically every person in a band or every couple of people in a band get really messed up by the way that you get thrown in at such a high and then have such a huge fall to pick yourself back up from. It just goes to show you that everyone thinks it's all glamour and handed to you on a plate, and actually it's quite the opposite. And picking up the pieces by yourself afterwards is really difficult to do for some people. So it didn't surprise me, but they're very well-rounded characters. They came out the other side of it better.

Damage member Jade Jones on The Big Reunion

© ITV


"I love that a lot of them do youth work! What amazing men to come out of a pop band and they could have so gone down a different road, but they decided to help youngsters and really get involved in helping and changing kids' lives. If I was a child that was going down the wrong road and then this cool kid from Damage starts to give me advice on how to pick myself up and put myself on the straight and narrow, I would listen to them. I just think it was such a great idea for them to do. And you could tell the kids love them. They're really likeable characters. Plus, I so want to go round Jade's for some dinner! I haven't got him to cook for me yet, but you know, we might bump into him and Emma over the next few weeks and we might be like, 'So, anyone hungry?' I loved all the Thai food he was doing. I was like, 'Oh, I fancy that!' He looks like a really good chef: what a great quality, and he cooks for his kids. Fair play to him - and him and Emma are really such a cute couple.

"We all saw 5th Story in rehearsals, and I remember hearing that they had a week more than everyone else. I remember at the time thinking, 'Well, that isn't fair, Girl Thing haven't been together for 15 years'. But then actually when I watched the episode last night, I was like, 'Yeah, they needed it!' I think they just are all so different that they really needed to come together and find that blend a little bit. Bless Kenzie - you could tell he didn't want to do it! His little shuffle - he was so cute. I loved it when he went, 'I've peaked!' and he'd been there for about five minutes.

"I think Dane was pretty cool at picking it all up and putting it all together. He's quite talented, Dane - he's got a good little rhythm to him. But the others all struggled a little bit didn't they? It is a draining day in a rehearsal room. Obviously you can't put all those hours into a TV show, but literally, you start first thing in the morning and you just do it over and over and over again. Especially if you're in a band - if you're getting it right, you might have to go again for the other person getting it wrong. By the end of the day you're very tired and hungry and over it! I totally got where Dane was coming from when he said he was knackered!

5th Story - Adam Rickitt, Kenzie, Gareth Gates, Kavana and Dane Bowers - on The Big Reunion

© ITV


"I also loved the boys' attitude towards Kavana saying he was gay. They were like, 'Oh, as long as you're happy to talk about it'. It isn't a big deal anymore, is it? It used to be, but it isn't anymore. I think they have a really great attitude and I've always said that about them. They have a bit of a mickey-taking attitude towards the show, which is great, because they kind of set the tone for everybody else. They really brought the laughter into the room and mickey-taking and joking. They made it fun, 5th Story. I really can't speak highly enough of them. They're just nice guys, and actually, by the end of the Hammersmith gig they nailed it!

"But meeting all the other bands felt like the first day at school! You know when you hate being the new girl - it totally was like that. Some of them I already knew - I knew Damage, I knew A1, I knew Dane. It was more nerve-wracking, actually, when Paul and Yvie made us stand in a semicircle and be like, 'I'm Jodi!' And then with Eternal, I know that they looked like they came across moody or whatever, but the questions that were being thrown at them in front of everybody were random and they'd already probably answered these questions a million times over.

"The girls are really sweet and really lovely girls, but put on the spot like that they'd have to protect themselves a little bit. I don't think what Yvie said was fair after just seeing them, not at all. You've known them for two seconds and you're going off of a rumour. That's not fair. If you did that in this industry with everybody you wouldn't like anyone! It's so easy for someone to turn round and go, 'She's a bitch' and they know nothing about her - it might just be jealousy. The Eternal girls are absolutely lovely. Easther came and knocked on our door the night of the Hammersmith gig and was like, 'Good luck girls!' She has got a voice like Whitney Houston, she could be a diva if she wanted to, but she really hasn't been. I've only seen nice things from her and she's always tweeting and commenting and being really supportive. I think they're really nice girls. Honestly, genuinely, I'm not just saying that - they are lovely girls.

"Now I'm excited to see what they'll show of the Hammersmith gig! In the moment, it went so quickly - it was in a flash and it was so much fun for me. Obviously, Girl Thing wasn't something I wanted to continue doing - it's all about ending it in a nice way for me, and the ending was more than I expected it to be. It was so much fun and I can't wait to see it!"

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