1981: U2 went international so swiftly they only ever made ten appearances on the show, most of those in the 00s. This is their debut, where the show finally finds a use for that common overlay and Adam still has his early Vince Clarke hair. UB40's open house policy leads to a premium on small stage space.
1987: Graham Gouldman and Andrew Gold, trading as Wax, had been around for long enough to know the secrets of showbiz performace, but as a bass/keyboard duo they look a little overawed on the biggest stage. Someone get them some dry ice pronto. And then... surprise sax! Five Star were renowned for their matching outfits, and those routines seem ahead of their time with, say, Janet Jackson yet to cross over yet, but grey jumpsuits seemingly loosely based on Ghostbusters attire maybe give the wrongfully dowdy impression. Sherrick had everything required to be huge in the late 80s - connections, big Warners deal - apart from his none too effective way of dealing with his receding hairline. And that he got into drugs, threw his advantages away and died aged 41 in 1999. Jon Bon Jovi accessorises almost to parody - massive cloth headband, tight trousers, blonde Agassi mullet, meaningful T-shirt. Speaking of tight pants on men, Sinitta's found a couple of willing volunteers. Those hats with no tops were fashionable for about a year. Then there's an apology for not having a big finish - yeah, Janice, never mind having no representation of the number one record on the chart pop show, eh? And by the way it doesn't have an official video to this day - so the playout is Spagna, looking like Dusty Springfield going to seed and surely about to be assailed by the big balloon from The Prisoner had the show not ended just in time, at number two. It's too easy sometimes to make jokes about big Eighties hair, but...
1992: Extreme were thought such a big deal they not only got the satellite feed but got to introduce the show. According to Mark Franklin KWS covering your song with a leaden dance beat is an "honour". What are all those people actually doing at the back? Even Paul Weller's saxophonist gets an audible presence. There's something of the treading water about Kylie Minogue here - this was a new track on her first Greatest Hits preceding a three year break and change of sound - and a more lively Kylie would have coped better when she joins in with the dancers.
2004: Another example of the Girls Aloud modus operandi - set up the performance theme, then slowly abandon it. Nobody's getting any proper service in that bar-restaurant.