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Tuesday 11 April 2017

Mika, long may you reign!

Posted in: Television
By John Curry - 28th August 2006

Urging us groovy people to shake our pearls, Mika returned to our screens in prime time on the Maori channel on Sunday night. And what a mixture of the overwhelming and the underwhelming! He seemed to want to fit at least three or four different shows into his one hour time slot. Less is more, Mika, less is more!

My fave was the calypso rock number he did with his band Plastic Maori. Mika in a black frizzy wig, bad eye makeup and bad-taste rainbow-glitter mini was a rather naughty send-up of a Samoan singer who wasn't at all put out that she hadn't been picked as Miss Samoa 'this year'. And the song was a charmer, like a Pacific version of Iko Iko.

There was the inevitable contest-cum-audience-humiliation ritual (Julian Clary has so much to answer for). The Mayo team, which fielded a couple of drag kings, won hands down in the craft and the quiz segments but the Ketchup team won the karaoke with Louise's smoky-voiced version of It's Not Unusual (though I shrieked for drag king Ben's ballsy effort).

Air Mika turned out to be an interview, in two parts (complete with Vegemite sandwiches). At first it was a good-natured ribbing of Stacey Morrison. Mika was her dance teacher when she was six! He taught her break dancing in Christchurch. But later in the show, the second part of Air Mika turned serious and apparently Stacey was there to give advice about fighting alcoholism. No alcohol around Mika and his team apparently.

Another serious piece was Pa Cinema. This was a short film by Sarah Hunter about island culture under a French influence. Interesting, yes, and a generous gesture from the star (and it did give us a break from his motor mouth) but the show almost seemed in danger of grinding to a halt round about then. The film had some sort of message about 'a country without a culture is a dieing country'. Was that why Mika was throwing so much um, content at us?

There was a young dance troupe doing a sort of Latino meets Pacifica number, a song clip from Mika's 'personal vaults', his assistants wore Star Trek inspired cossies, Auntie Mabel was on hand but woefully under-used, Polyfilla organised the craft competition and Mika wrapped it all up with a romantic number that segued into a disco beat with lime green and orange costumes that almost broke the colour thingie on my old telly!

But with his charming and challenging mix of confidence and the common touch, Mika was us and not someone from overseas. Welcome back, Mika, long may you reign!

Te Mika Show
Maori TV
Sundays, 8pm

John Curry - 28th August 2006

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