Carol Vorderman recalls crying because she thought her career was ‘over’ after 1998 TV appearance

Carol Vorderman has recalled being left in tears while performing as Cher on the first ever celebrity series of Stars in Their Eyes.

Airing from 1990 to 2006, Stars in Their Eyes was a popular ITV gameshow where members of the public dressed up as and impersonated their favourite singers.

Matthew Kelly was the show’s most notable host, with the phrase: “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…” becoming synonymous with the series.

In 1998, the show aired a special celebrity series, where stars were the ones impersonating the famous musicians. Vorderman appeared on the first ever episode as Cher.

Appearing on the Off Menu podcast, the former Countdown star recalled the incident to hosts Ed Gamble and James Acaster, telling them how she worried her career was “over” after her performance.

Vorderman explained how an ITV boss had pitched her the premise, which was the “first ever celebrity version of a normal show”.

“They persuaded me to do Cher, and it was really weird,” she said. “We were recording it, and I had literally never sung through a microphone in my life. I mean, [I was] a bit of a partier, you’d always find me on a table somewhere singing.

“But it’s alright when you’re drunk, isn’t it? Because you just hear you as – I was a crash between Cher and Celine Dion. I was amazing, except I wasn’t.”

Vorderman described being on the show, where she was surrounded by dry ice and had to introduce herself before going into make-up and transforming before coming back to perform.

“I was on first and there was this dry ice,” she said. “I couldn’t see a thing, and I’d chosen ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’. There’s no musical intro… I came through, everyone went, ‘Ahhh!’ because I’d been little Carol Vorderman on Countdown, here she was, this incredible tart in leather.

“Everyone screamed; I couldn’t hear a thing. And then I thought, ooh, there’s the music, I better start. Whereas by that point it’s too late.”

Vorderman said that she had to start the song again after missing the beginning, saying: “Literally, the tears were involuntarily falling down my cheeks. I thought, oh my God, I can’t hear the music… It went out months later, I couldn’t watch it, I literally felt sick. I thought my career, that’s it, it’s over.”

Stars in Their Eyes was revived in 2015 with Harry Hill at the helm. In 2022, it was brought back as the ITV show Starstruck, which has run for two series presented by Olly Murs.