Rushden man helps find next Vietnam Pop Idol

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Hopefuls on the Vietnamese version of television talent show Pop Idol have been receiving a helping hand from a Rushden musician.

Michael Bones spent two weeks working with contestants on Vietnam Idol, helping them sing songs in English for a World Songs-themed edition of the programme.

He got the job after the school in Vietnam where he is teaching English was approached for help by the show’s producers. The 21-year-old, who has played with Rushden Town Band, helped the contestants perfect songs including Hello by Lionel Richie, The Climb by Miley Cyrus and Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers.

He said: “Every day for about two weeks I rode my little motorbike about one hour out of the city to a secret location where the contestants were living for the duration of the competition.

“I helped them understand the story, vocabulary and pronunciation with their selected songs as well as little techniques with word sounds when singing to make the songs sound better.

“We then worked on the stage of the show where they captured some footage which was used during the show.”

Michael used to work for Travelsphere in Market Harborough before travelling to Vietnam to teach English to Vietnamese students at the Apollo English School in Ho Chi Minh City.

His musical experience in the UK and the fact he sings and plays guitars in bars in Vietnam helped get him the job.

Vietnam Idol, which is part of the franchise originated from the Pop Idol series created by Simon Fuller, has been running for four series in Vietnam and is one of the country’s most popular programmes.

Michael said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience on the show, as well as his time in the glare of the media spotlight.

He said: “Like all Vietnamese, the contestants were very kind and appreciative for my help. I gave a lot of interviews to reporters leading up to the show and had a lot of coverage on the media websites and Facebook fan pages.

“I was given VIP tickets to the live show and was thanked live on air which was great. It was a fantastic experience and I was very sad to say goodbye to them all. They were all fantastic performers and people and I will be watching the remaining weeks of the competition closely.”

Michael’s mum Melanie Bones, who also plays for Rushden Town Band, said: “We’re very proud of him. I thought it was fantastic.”