Paloma’s rugby song maul­ing

TV World Cup song in­fu­ri­ates view­ers, and even singer ad­mits it might be get­ting over­played

The Daily Telegraph - - Front Page - By Gor­don Rayner CHIEF RE­PORTER

Rugby fans have raised a pe­ti­tion to de­mand ITV stops play­ing Paloma Faith’s “aw­ful” ver­sion of World In Union, the theme song of the Rugby World Cup

THE Rugby World Cup is such a suc­cess that it has al­ready bro­ken all records for the com­pe­ti­tion’s pop­u­lar­ity – ex­cept, it seems, when it comes to the theme song. Paloma Faith’s ren­di­tion of World In

Union, the sound­track to ITV’s cov­er­age of the tour­na­ment, has driven many view­ers to hit the mute but­ton to avoid her “truly aw­ful” vo­cals.

Rugby fans have now raised a pe­ti­tion call­ing on ITV Sport to drop the 34-year-old in favour of a more tra­di­tional ver­sion of the of­fi­cial World Cup an­them, which was first sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in 1991.

Even Faith her­self, who was named best Bri­tish fe­male solo artist at this year’s Brit Awards, has ad­mit­ted that the song may be suf­fer­ing from over­ex­po­sure, as it is played briefly dur­ing ev­ery ad­ver­tise­ment break, as well as dur­ing the ITV ti­tle se­quence for each game.

Faith’s ver­sion of World In Union was first broad­cast dur­ing cov­er­age of Eng­land’s open­ing match against Fiji last week, prompt­ing ac­cu­sa­tions that she had “mur­dered” the song, which is recorded by a dif­fer­ent singer for ev­ery Rugby World Cup.

Even fans of the singer ad­mit­ted she was the wrong choice for the an­them.

A pe­ti­tion on the change.org web­site “to re­move Paloma Faith from the Rugby World Cup” was set up by some­one call­ing them­selves No Paloma. It says: “Al­ready sick of Paloma Faith’s aw­ful ren­di­tion of World In Union? Wor­ried that it might ruin your Rugby World Cup? Then sign this pe­ti­tion and let ITV know your thoughts!”

A let­ter to ITV Sport ac­com­pa­ny­ing the pe­ti­tion says: “We, the un­der­signed, re­quest that you, ITV, re­move Paloma Faith from the Rugby World Cup in or­der to make it a more en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence for all spec­ta­tors.” Among the hun­dreds of sig­na­to­ries is Mau­reen Crothers, from Lis­burn, near Belfast, who wrote: “Paloma Faith has butchered World in Union. Hav­ing to lis­ten to this dirge ev­ery time a match comes on is ru­in­ing my ex­pe­ri­ence of the Rugby World Cup. Please, please stop us­ing her ver­sion of this clas­sic rugby an­them as it is like hav­ing your ears grated with a cheese grater.”

Gail Kane, from Scar­croft, near Leeds, said: “Although I think she’s great, she is mur­der­ing that song.”

Mark Stocker, from Sur­rey, said: “I’m fed up with hav­ing to hit the mute but­ton ev­ery ad-break.” And James Byrne, from Lon­don, com­mented: “It is aw­ful. Truly aw­ful. And I like Paloma Faith…” World In Union, which uses a melody from Holst’s The Plan­ets, was com­mis

sioned by World Rugby in 1991 and has been used as the tour­na­ment an­them ever since. It was per­formed live at this year’s open­ing cer­e­mony by the so­prano Laura Wright.

Si­mon Hal­l­i­day, the for­mer Eng­land cen­tre who won a run­ner-up medal in the 1991 tour­na­ment, said: “I cer­tainly pre­fer the orig­i­nal ver­sion by Dame Kiri.” Brian Moore, the for­mer Eng­land hooker, said: “To be hon­est I don’t like the hymn it’s based on, so it doesn’t mat­ter who sings it.”

Faith, who will ap­pear as one of the four coaches in the next se­ries of BBC’s The Voice, shrugged off the crit­i­cism, say­ing: “Some peo­ple are slat­ing it, I feel like they don’t like change, but I don’t mind.

“I mean I’m quite pleased with it, so that’s all that mat­ters re­ally. I think they don’t like it be­cause it’s be­ing played too much.”

Jonathan Shalit, the tal­ent man­ager who has worked with Char­lotte Church, Kather­ine Jenk­ins and other singers, dis­agreed with the crit­i­cism.

He said: “Paloma Faith is a bril­liant singer with huge range and this has taken her voice to­wards great­ness. It’s up­lift­ing, it’s in­spir­ing and it gets you in the right frame of mind.”

ITV de­clined to com­ment.

One more time: Paloma Faith. Left, Bryn Ter­fel and Shirley Bassey treat fans to a duet ver­sion of World In Union at the 2011 World Cup

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