Tomorrow, Saturday 24th September, on Rai2 at 17.00 the second episode of Italian Cup performer, whose second season premiered a week ago (313,000 viewers for a 2.89% share). To conducting together with Valentina Spampinato – who is also the creator and producer of the format – there is Rochelle Garrison.
Garrison, from choreographer to TV host?
At the young age of 67 I decided to try my hand at something else, that is, to devote more time to singing and acting, but also to conducting TV. I had decided that when I left Friends, but then came the covid that slaughtered and blocked everyone. I’m also doing diction lessons, even if it doesn’t seem like it (laughs, Ed). I am very tenacious, when I put something in my head I carry it on …
In short, it’s serious.
During the two years of the pandemic, I took remote singing and acting lessons. Then, however, I asked myself: and now, after all this time off TV, who is calling me anymore?
And what answer did he give himself?
The phone rings continuously. I am very pleased, people still believe in me. I pat myself, I know, but my name is a guarantee. I am competent and passionate. Dancing has given me so much, I don’t spit in the dish I ate, but now I want to dedicate myself to singing, acting and conducting. It is no coincidence that a film in which I am the protagonist will be released in March, it is called A dad under the tree. I will also sing six Christmas songs that I recorded with Beppe Vessicchio.
Speaking of Vessicchio, at Performer Italian Cup he found many colleagues with whom he had worked at Amici. From Grazia Di Michele to Diana Del Bufalo, passing through Raffaele Paganini and Maura Paparo …
Diana was my student, we have always maintained our friendship. We have many things in common. Vessicchio is the first to have believed in my voice. And every time I sing I send the recording to him and Grazia Di Michele, to let them tell me where I can improve. A message from Vessicchio enlightened me: ‘your problem is that you think you are a dancer who sings and not a singer’. He is right. When I sing I have to put the singer in the foreground. And then Raffaele Paganini is a brother to me, we are very different, but we have a special feeling. He was very generous in accepting to participate in the Performer Italian Cup, we didn’t have to discuss compensation and money. He immediately said yes.
What is Performer Italian Cup?
A project created by Valentina Spampinato in which I believe so much. It is a competition of the winners of the Italian Performing Arts Championship, where the performers are not only artists, but real athletes. I have always considered myself an athlete. When Valentina created this format, which she took to 37 different countries, I fully embraced it. At first we did it traveling all over Italy, then she suggested that I bring it to TV. At that point, since we always talk about singers and dancers anyway, I was afraid it was something to go against Amici, where I worked for 18 years.
So I asked Valentina that it wasn’t a copy of Amici. It wouldn’t make sense. And in fact she is not: there is nothing that remembers him, dancers and singers are treated like athletes. It is a new idea, it takes time for it to consolidate, in Italy it is not always easy. I know it well, because when I sang with Brian (Bullard, with whom he paired on TV in the eighties and nineties, Nrd) few noticed it, because I was perceived only as a dancer. It’s a matter of time, but with effort and commitment, Performer Italian Cup will be able to find its place on TV.
How do you judge yourself as a TV host?
I give myself 5.
I saw myself again … come on, maybe that’s enough (laughs, Ed). I especially noticed the errors. For example, too many times I covered my face with the folder… and no one warned me while we were recording! I pissed myself off for this! And then yes, I know, my problem is that I speak Italian too quickly. It’s bad. But I’m getting better. Despite my accent, I can communicate. That is, people understand me, even when I express myself not very well.
On TV there are few vacancies for the management.
I know, the presenters are many and many are good. I want to be a nice conductor, with a ready joke, not an institutional one. And my dream is to have a talk show someday, like Ellen DeGeneres. I will never be like her … I never went out, because I don’t need to (laughs), but I like her simple style of her, the fact that she talks to famous people as if they were close to each other. home. I think I also have the ability to talk to anyone and anything.
Did Maria De Filippi make herself heard?
No, he didn’t tell me anything, I don’t even know if he saw me in this new guise. However, I had told him about this program. She gave me a large showcase at Amici, she introduced me to all my sides; I respect and love her, but we both know that I have to walk this new path alone. I am sure that one day she will call me, when she needs me: ‘You idiot, what are you doing?’. And I will reply: ‘Nothing, I was waiting for your call’ (laughs, Ed). Maybe she will produce my talk show with Fascino!
Meanwhile, he has effectively become a colleague of Maria.
(laughs, Ed). Let’s not exaggerate. But Maria is the perfect example of a unique conductor. She speaks little, but she is the hostess in all respects. She is a tiger. With her and with Maurizio Costanzo I learned a lot, now I am no longer afraid of anything. They are very demanding, but they are two geniuses.
Unlike other choreographers or teachers, when he left Amici he never spoke ill of the program or expressed particular criticisms …
Never done. Maria is part of my family. There are times when I want to kill her and when she would like to do the same with me. But we love each other. What is the point of speaking badly of Amici? Someone criticizes him because he has changed compared to the past, but instead we must appreciate Maria’s courage to make such a successful transmission evolve. And the numbers speak for themselves. The public likes it, that’s what counts.
Would you agree to return to Amici as a professor?
My heart would tell me not. But if she Maria she called me she would mean that she needs me. And if she needs me, I’m already there. And not because of her power, but because I know that when Maria has something on her mind it means that, 99%, she works. But I’m not saying I want to go back, I’ve been teaching Amici for 18 years already!
Since 2018 it is no longer part of it.
Yes, a decision made in agreement with Maria. I should have left two years earlier. Recently I had become sour and introverted, it was like when you break up at the end of a long love story, where the habit takes over. The relationship remained very good, a few months ago he gave me a moving birthday surprise in Amici’s studios, where I had been invited as an external judge of a challenge. A nice thought, especially for someone like her who has so many things to think about.
Last question: how much space does dance have on Italian TV today?
Well, in the past it took us three days to record a ballet, today things have changed a lot. On TV there is not much space for dance and if there is it is never decisive. Luckily there are Friends And dancing with the Stars! However, the problem is that today there are too many dancers and too little study. I am very attached to the idea of the dancer with the classical basis, but today many dancers from Campania without having any classical basis. This means being satisfied, because with the classic base you have more possibilities to work and grow. If I was satisfied and just danced, I would have died 20 years ago. And instead I sing, act and also present. And in fact, I’m still on stage today.
Italian Cup performer it is signed by Federico Moccia, Alessandro Migliaccio, Luigi Miliucci, Tommaso Martinelli and Rita Petolicchio. The production of the format is by VS Production while the executive production is by Gruppo Eventi.