Michelle McManus

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Michelle McManus
McManus in 2010
Background information
Also known asMichelle
Born(1980-05-08) 8 May 1980 (age 34)
OriginGlasgow, Scotland
GenresPop, dance, R&B, electropop
OccupationsSinger-songwriter, Host, actress, columnist, radio DJ
Years active2003–present
LabelsBMG (2003-2005)
McManii (2006-present)
Sanctuary Records (2007-present)
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This article is about the Scottish singer and TV personality. For the U.S. politician, see Michelle McManus (Michigan politician).
Michelle McManus
McManus in 2010
Background information
Also known asMichelle
Born(1980-05-08) 8 May 1980 (age 34)
OriginGlasgow, Scotland
GenresPop, dance, R&B, electropop
OccupationsSinger-songwriter, Host, actress, columnist, radio DJ
Years active2003–present
LabelsBMG (2003-2005)
McManii (2006-present)
Sanctuary Records (2007-present)

Michelle McManus (born 8 May 1980, Glasgow, Scotland) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, actress, columnist, radio DJ and television presenter, who rose to fame after winning the second series of the UK talent show Pop Idol.

McManus released two singles, "All This Time" and "The Meaning of Love", along with a critically panned debut album The Meaning of Love (2004) in the United Kingdom and Ireland before being dropped by her management and record label. She has subsequently appeared in musicals and theatre productions throughout the UK, Ireland and Asia, as well as establishing herself as a radio DJ and television presenter in Scotland.

McManus was also a presenter of STV's lifestyle magazine show The Hour, originally alongside Stephen Jardine and later, Tam Cowan.

Early life

Michelle McManus was born on 8 May 1980 in Queen Mother's Maternity Hospital, Glasgow, Scotland to John McManus and Helen McManus,[1][2] and is the oldest of five sisters. Before auditioning for Pop Idol, McManus lived in the Glasgow district of Baillieston, to the east of city with her mother and sisters.[2]


2003: Pop Idol

Main article: Pop Idol (series 2)

In early 2003, Michelle McManus auditioned for the second season of Pop Idol, along with thousands of other aspiring singers from around the UK. Of the four judges, Pete Waterman in particular was critical as to whether she could make a career in the music industry, mainly due to her size. However, she was the favourite of Simon Cowell, and after being put through to the semi-final stages, the public voted McManus into the top twelve, though she entered the finals as the bookmaker's rank-outsider. Throughout the finals, McManus was in the bottom 3 only once, and on 20 December 2003, she was declared the winner of Pop Idol.[3]


When McManus won the competition, judge Pete Waterman stormed off the Pop Idol set in protest; he later branded her "rubbish".[4] Scotsman reporter Fiona Shepherd said of the win: "Let's get this clear: McManus's victory was not some triumph of talent over image - the very opposite, in fact. Her size gave her a distinct advantage. On reality TV, the public gravitate to their own reflection. If she was a modelesque girl with as unremarkable a voice, the voting public would not have cared. But she wasn't and they did, so another chicken-in-a-basket diva was born."[5] George Tyndale in the Sunday Mercury expressed similar sentiments, arguing that McManus possessed "average singing talent" and was victorious because of "the fat vote". He blasted McManus's professed satisfaction with her weight, asserting: "The harm this has done is incalculable. Lives may, quite literally, be at stake."[6]

Daily Telegraph writer Viktoria Tolstoy felt that McManus's victory "seemed to suggest that the pool of talent available to the judges is seriously diminishing". She added: "the utterly forgettable 'All This Time', went to number one for three weeks on the back of the series' success, but in all honesty was one of the lamest Pop Idol-sponsored efforts yet. McManus can sing, for sure, but only about as well as a karaoke regular or, at best, a provincial cabaret turn...her singing lack[s] any discernible 'wow' factor".[7] An Entertainment.ie critic labelled McManus the single worst winner of the entire Pop Idol series, and wrote that she made fellow reality television music competition winners Will Young and Alex Parks "look like worldbeaters by comparison". Singled out for criticism were her vocal performances, which were said to "never rise far above the level of a very average club singer".[8] A Daily Mail journalist concurred, describing McManus as a "cabaret singer rather than one with real potential".[9]

Performances on Pop Idol

WeekThemeSongOriginal artistResult
Top 12Your pop idol"All by Myself"Eric CarmenSafe
Top 10Birthyear songs"On the Radio"Donna SummerSafe
Top 8Elton John songs"Your Song"Elton JohnBottom 3
Top 7Disco"If I Can't Have You"Yvonne EllimanSafe
Top 6The Beatles"Hey Jude"The BeatlesSafe
Top 5Big band"Feeling Good"Nina SimoneSafe
Top 4Christmas songs"Merry Christmas Everyone"Shakin' StevensSafe
"Oh Holy Night"N/A
Top 3Judges' choice"I Say a Little Prayer"Aretha FranklinSafe
"Without You"Harry Nilsson
FinalContestant's choice"On the Radio"Donna SummerWinner
B-side"The Meaning of Love"N/A
Winner's single"All This Time"Michelle McManus

2003-05: The Meaning of Love

Following her win on the second season of Pop Idol, Michelle McManus was immediately signed to the BMG record label, and going under the single name Michelle, her debut single "All This Time" was released between late 2003 and early 2004. The song went straight to number one on the UK Singles Chart, and stayed there for three weeks.[10] In Ireland, the song debuted at Number 5 before rising to 2.[11] Her critically panned debut album, The Meaning of Love was released on 16 February 2004 and peaked at number three on the UK Album Charts[12] and Number 64 on the Irish Album Charts.[13] The title track of the album was released as the second single, however it stalled at number sixteen in the UK charts[14] and Number 29 in Ireland.[15] With sales in excess of 100,000 copies, The Meaning of Love did not meet the commercial expectations of BMG, and McManus was dropped as a result.

On 22 June 2005, McManus appeared on a 60-minute television special of You Are What You Eat with the author and TV personality Gillian McKeith in a bid to lose weight. A follow-up was broadcast on 13 December 2005, which profiled McManus and her weight loss since the last programme. McManus released a book in December 2005 entitled You Are What You Eat: Michelle's Diary. The book documented her journey from winning Pop Idol to appearing on You Are What You Eat, with particular reference to her weight issues and subsequent slimming.[16] Further to this, in December 2006 McManus released a DVD called The Life Plan, a guide to healthy living, exercise and eating.[17]

In September 2005, McManus appeared in an episode of the BBC One holiday magazine programme Departure Lounge. The episode showed McManus travelling to and around Memphis, Tennessee in the United States, with a budget of £500. As part of the trip, McManus visited Graceland, home to her idol Elvis Presley.[18] In July 2005 it was announced that McManus had parted company with her management company 19 Entertainment, 19 months after winning Pop Idol. She then went on to sign with Sanctuary Entertainment. During a 2007 appearance on ITV's Loose Women, McManus stated that she believed that she was dropped due to her weight, as her record company could not build any merchandise around her image. In 2006, McManus began guest-presenting on the Scottish radio station Clyde 1, and then gained her own regular Saturday show on the station. McManus then hosted two series of the BBC Radio Scotland show titled Lets Do The Show Right Here. On television, McManus announced the Scottish votes during the Making Your Mind Up 2006 programme in March 2006, and in November 2006 she was a reporter on Children in Need live from Scotland. In June 2006, McManus performed in the theatre production, The Vagina Monologues, a role which she has subsequently repeated for various tours.

2007-09: McMannii Records and Different Beat

In 2007, after taking time away from the music industry, Michelle McManus decided to set up her own record label in order to release new material, named McManii Records. She made two appearances on the television show Loose Women, on the first she stated that she was taking her time with her second album as she wanted to make it something to be proud of, and on her second appearance she talked of her departure from BMG. In November 2007 a single, "Just for You" was released. It was intended to be on her second album, Dancing to a Different Beat, which remains unreleased.[19][20]

In June 2007, McManus guest-starred as herself in an episode of the BBC sitcom Still Game. In December 2007, McManus was seen in a run of the Musical Discotivity at the Arts Theatre in London's West End. In January 2008 she toured Asia in a theatre production of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.[21] In November 2008, McManus switched on the Christmas Lights in Kilmarnock, Scotland.[22]


McManus appeared regularly as a guest co-host of the weekday Scottish lifestyle TV programme The Hour during the summer of 2009. In October 2009, McManus became a permanent main presenter alongside Stephen Jardine.[23] The programme was relaunched in September 2011 as a weekly peak-time programme, with McManus co-hosting with new presenter Tam Cowan, but axed after four weeks due to low viewing figures.[24]

In addition to The Hour, McManus has also presented Hogmanay programming for STV including the 2009 documentary special Scotland's Always Had Talent and a year later, Midnight, a pre-recorded special edition of The Hour.

In September 2010, McManus performed two songs for Pope Benedict XVI at a ticketed Mass of the Feast of Saint Ninian in Bellahouston Park, as part of the Pope's state visit to the United Kingdom.[25]

McManus is currently a columnist for the Glasgow Evening Times, and was a judge for the papers Glasgow's Star Turn talent contest in 2012.[26]

In September 2012, McManus with Mànran released "Take You There" as the official single of the 2012 STV Appeal.[27] MacManus performed the single with the band on the The STV Appeal 2012: Live Show .[28]


Michelle McManus discography
Studio albums1
Music videos2

Studio albums

YearAlbum detailsUKIRECertificationsSales
2004The Meaning of Love[29]364GoldUK: 250,000+


2003"All This Time"12The Meaning of Love
2004"The Meaning of Love"1629
2007"Just for You"---
2012"Take You There" (with Mànran)---

TV appearances and filmography

2005You Are What You EatHerself[31]After her time on the show, McManus releasead a diary Michelle's Diary in 2005.[32]
2007Still GameHerself[33]McManus appears in the 2007 Episode Second's Out as herself
2009–2011The HourCo-host[34]Initially appearing as a guest-host, Michelle was made permanent co-host in September 2009.
2009Scotland's Always Had TalentHost[35]McManus hosts STV's main Hogmanay programme, leading into the New Year.
2010The Midnight HourCo-host[36]McManus once again hosts STV's main Hogmanay programme, alongside Stephen Jardine.
2011-STV AppealCo-hostMichelle appears on "The Big Live" as a presenter and reporter, usually in amongst the studio audience.
2013Swing Into 2014Host[37]McManus once again hosts STV's main Hogmanay programme, from The Tron Theatre in Glasgow.


  1. ^ Michelle McManus Biography Contactmusic.com
  2. ^ a b Michelle McManus Biography sing365.com
  3. ^ Michelle McManus Wins ‘Pop Idol’ popdirt.com
  4. ^ Wilkes, Neil (23 January 2004). "Pete Waterman: 'Michelle is rubbish'". Digital Spy. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Shepherd, Fiona (13 February 2004). "An emotional wreck". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Tyndale, George (28 December 2003). "TV show's big mistake". Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Hanley, Lynsey (16 February 2004). "CD reviews: Viktoria Tolstoy and more". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Michelle - The Meaning of Love". entertainment.ie. 2004-02-23. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  9. ^ "New releases". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). 20 February 2004. "The 23-year-old Glaswegian's debut plays ultra-safe...[a] cabaret singer rather than one with real potential. Rushed out in haste." 
  10. ^ ""All This Time" UK Chart details". Chartstats. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  11. ^ Michelle Mcmanus - All This Time Music Charts
  12. ^ "''The Meaning of Love'' UK Chart details". Chartstats. 2004-02-28. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  13. ^ Michelle McManus - The Meaning Of Love Music Charts
  14. ^ ""The Meaning of Love" UK Chart details". Chartstats. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  15. ^ Michelle McManus - The Meaning Of Love Music Charts
  16. ^ "You Are What You Eat: Michelle's Diary: Amazon.co.uk: Michelle McManus: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  17. ^ "Michelle McManus – The Lifeplan Workout Film Review (Movie) Michelle McManus, Dax Moy". Futuremovies.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  18. ^ "Memphis? It's worse than Glasgow for fry ups.. I had to live off fruit for 3 days; POP IDOL MICHELLE ON HER BATTLE FOR SUCCESS. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  19. ^ Euro Solution | Release information|Michelle McManus: Just For You (limited mail-out)[dead link]
  20. ^ "Michelle McManus : Home". Michelleofficial.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  21. ^ "Michelle McManus". Starmanagement.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  22. ^ Michelle McManus will switch on Kilmarnock's Christmas lights Kilmarnock Standard, 21 November 2008
  23. ^ [1][dead link]
  24. ^ "BBC News - STV drops magazine show The Hour". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  25. ^ ROME REPORTS TV News Agency (2010-08-20). "Susan Boyle and Michelle McManus will sing for the pope during his visit to the United Kingdom". Romereports.com. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  26. ^ Custom byline text:  By MATTY SUTTON (2012-07-30). "Acts set to battle it out in final of our Glasgow's Star Turn talent contest". Evening Times. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  27. ^ "Details of the charity single – Take You There by Mànran featuring Michelle McManus. | Latest News | About Us | STV Appeal | STV Campaigns". Campaigns.stv.tv. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  28. ^ "It's The Big Live - The climax of the STV Appeal 2012 is here | Home | Entertainment | STV". Entertainment. 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  29. ^ Michelle McManus Music Charts
  30. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 363. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  31. ^ Mini Michelle? GMTV, 23 February 2007
  32. ^ You Are What You Eat: Michelle's Diary (Paperback) amazon.co.uk
  33. ^ Singer Michelle’s a Still Game star! Evening Times, 22 June 2007
  34. ^ Michelle McManus joins The Hour on a permanent basis STV - The Hour, 30 September 2009
  35. ^ STV announces Hogmanay line-up celebrating Scottish talent STV, 15 December 2009
  36. ^ STV has announced its Hogmanay line-up of comedy and entertainment STV Entertainment, 22 November 2010
  37. ^ Swing into 2014 with Michelle McManus on STV STV Shows, 31 December 2013

External links