The Boy Does Nothing

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"The Boy Does Nothing"
Single by Alesha Dixon
from the album The Alesha Show
Released10 November 2008
Alesha Dixon singles chronology
"The Boy Does Nothing"
"Breathe Slow"

"The Boy Does Nothing" is a song performed by English singer-songwriter Alesha Dixon. It is the lead single from her second studio album, The Alesha Show (2008). The song was written by Alesha along with the help of Brian Higgins, Miranda Cooper, Carla Marie Williams, and other members of Xenomania.[1] The single was her first since 2006 after "Knockdown" was released in October of that year. It was also her first since signing with her new record label Asylum Records.

The song, described as being "the stand-out track" on The Alesha Show,[2] received predominately good reviews and became a commercial success, charting within the top 10 on the majority charts it entered and entering the charts in over 20 different territories worldwide. The single was certified Gold in the United Kingdom and sold over 1 million copies worldwide.[3][4] Dixon stated that despite the title "The Boy Does Nothing", the song is "not a male-bashing kind of record,"[5] explaining that "the lyrical content is just cheeky more than anything".[5]


Dixon had worked with Brian Higgins, of Xenomania, on her previous single, "Knockdown", but it failed to enter the top 40 on the UK Singles Chart, resulting in Dixon being dropped by her record label, Polydor Records. In early 2007, still with no recording contract, Dixon received a phone call from Higgins, who asked if she would like to continue working together.[6] Dixon stated, "The plan was to make the whole record with Brian without talking to any record labels, we were just going to wait until we had made something special and then approach people with a finished album."[6] However Dixon's profile was raised when she signed up to compete in Strictly Come Dancing, which she eventually won. Soon afterwards, Dixon signed a deal with Asylum Records.[7] "The Boy Does Nothing", by this time already written, was originally intended to be a jazz orientated track, but Dixon and Higgins decided to change the genre, incorporating mambo influences, due to her experience on Strictly Come Dancing.[6] Dixon described the song as "a very tongue-in-cheek record"[5] and Higgins likened the song to "bottled happiness".[5]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"The Boy Does Nothing" is a pop-mambo song with an up-tempo beat consisting of 88 beats per minute.[8] The original key is E minor.[8] The instruments used were the bass guitar, drums, guitar and the keyboard.[9]

The lyrics focus on the men in Dixon's past relationships and their lazy attitudes. The chorus states her frustration with men not completing everyday housekeeping tasks; "Does he wash up? Never wash up/Does he clean up? No he never cleans up/Does he brush up? He never brushed up". In the final verse the lyrics state, "And if the man can't dance/He gets no second chance"; a reference to her refusal to date men if they cannot dance. In an interview Dixon explained in further detail about the lyric, saying "I have to be honest, I do like a man who can dance, but it's not a deal-breaker. It's nice if they can dance, but if they can't we'll just have to work on other areas!"[10]


Dixon performed her new single on the results show of Strictly Come Dancing on 19 October 2008, with the show's professional dancers, including her professional partner whilst on the show in 2007, Matthew Cutler. On 8 November, Dixon performed a 5-song set at London's G-A-Y Club. On 14 November, she presented and performed for Children in Need 2008. She presented at the beginning of the show in the BT Tower, monitoring the calls and donations, and later performed in the BBC Television Centre. On Saturday 13 December, Dixon sang at Miss World 2008,[11] which is said to have been watched by over 2 billion people worldwide. She also performed at GMTV, and on 31 December 2008 she performed on the BBC as part of the New Year celebrations. On 20 February 2009 Dixon performed the single at Le Grand Journal on French TV to promote her single and album in France.[12] Alesha promoted the album in Spain, performing "The Boy Does Nothing" on Operación Triunfo,[13] a reality television show similar to Star Academy. She also performed on other Spanish television shows, such as El Hormiguero.[14] In Australia, the song was used to promote the 2009 season of the Australian Dancing with the Stars and has since seen an Australian release, seeing regular radio play. On 20 November 2009, Dixon performed "The Boy Does Nothing" as the opener to Children in Need 2009, which she also co-hosted, alongside Terry Wogan and Strictly Come Dancing colleague Tess Daly.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Nick Levine of Digital Spy gave the song 4/5 stars stars:

"The Boy Does Nothing", a song that bears more than a passing resemblance to "Mambo No. 5", is a smart choice of comeback single from Dixon. She could easily have wiggled her hips to its salsa-pop rhythms on Strictly, and the cheeky, lighthearted lyrics suit her personality. "If the man can't dance, he gets no second chance," she sings towards the end. On this evidence, Dixon has grabbed hers by the horns.[16]

Pop Justice gave the song a positive review and rated the song 10/10 stars:

Starts off like "Mambo No. 5". Ends up like Perez Prado's "Guaglione". Has a brilliant "HEY!" bit in it. Has about 28 different hooks and catchy bits. Will appeal as much to Strictly Come Dancing viewers as it does to annoying self-appointed internet pop 'sophisticates' like us lot.[17]

Music video[edit]

Dixon flanked by her dancers in the video of "The Boy Does Nothing"

The video for "The Boy Does Nothing" is directed by the art director from the film Moulin Rouge!, Michael Gracey, and Pete Commins. The choreography for the music video was created by Ashley Wallen.[18]

The video, filmed in Tottenham Town Hall,[19] takes place in a theatre style ballroom, where two children are spying from a balcony onto the stage below, with one worrying that they shouldn't be watching. Dixon is dancing on a stage with six other girls dressed in pink. There are also around fifty other audience members, dressed in 1950s style clothing, dancing along as well enjoying the show. Towards the end of the video, everyone starts to sing the last lines of the songs a cappella, and various male dancers try to impress Dixon with their dancing while everyone repeats the verse "If the man can't dance, he gets no second chance".

The Daily Mail noted that Dixon bore a resemblance to American singer Beyoncé in the music video, saying that "the British singer is a dead ringer for the 'Crazy in Love' star in the video for her new single 'The Boy Does Nothing', complete with flowing extensions and shimmering thigh-skimming dress".[20] "The Boy Does Nothing" was nominated in the 'best video' category at the 2009 MOBO Awards,[21] however the award was given to "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyoncé.[22]

Chart performance[edit]

"The Boy Does Nothing" debuted at #84 on the UK Singles Chart. The single became her first solo single to reach the top 10, following a 76 spot jump from #84 to #8 on downloads alone, selling 27,683 copies. On 16 November 2008, "The Boy Does Nothing" had advanced to #5 on the chart after the physical release of the single.[23] The song spent 16 weeks in the UK Top 40. On the Irish Singles Chart, the song peaked at #19 on 11 November 2008 and falling to #20 the following week.[24]

On the Swedish Singles Top 60 the song debuted at #30, becoming her first ever chart appearance in Sweden. The following week, it jumped a further eight places to #22. On 12 February 2009 the song peaked at #11.

"The Boy Does Nothing" debuted in the top twenty on the Finnish Singles Chart at #19. The following week, it jumped to the #5. It has now reached a peak of number #2. The single entered the French Single Charts at #2.

In Spain, the song debuted at #35. It jumped in the following weeks to #16, but the massive success came when she performed live the single in Operación Triunfo, a famous talent show in Spain. After that performance "The Boy Does Nothing" jumped to #5, and peaked at #2 for three non consecutive weeks. Finally it achieved 2x Platinum certification due to the 80,000 copies sold.

Alesha's debut single charted in the Dutch Top 40 28 February, at #35. The following week saw the chart rose to #26. The song continued to gain some popularity and gained more and more airplay, which resulted in a 12th place on the top 40. This fact means that "The Boy Does Nothing" became Dixon's first top-20 single in The Netherlands so far, after 3 attempts with Mis-Teeq which all peaked just outside the top-20. After 10 weeks the song peaked at a chart high of #17. The single was a major club and radio hit in Finland, charting #2, and spent eleven weeks at #1 in the Czech Republic.

In Australia, the song was a sleeper hit. It entered the Australian ARIA Singles Chart at number 43 on 3 August 2009. On 14 September, it peaked at number eight, where it stayed for one week, and spent a total of five weeks in the top ten. It peaked higher than Mis-Teeq's most successful Australian single "Scandalous", which reached #9 in June 2003.[25] In the United States it has been released digitally via the iTunes site, it was released on 20 February 2009.[26]

Formats and track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Release Date Format Label
United Kingdom 10 November 2008 CD Single, Maxi Single, Digital download Asylum Records
Ireland 22 November 2008
Sweden 8 January 2009 Digital download Warner Music
Norway 13 January 2009
Finland 18 January 2009[62] CD Maxi, Digital download
Italy 6 February 2009 Digital download
Spain 16 February 2009
United States 20 February 2009
Brazil 18 March 2009 Radio, Digital download
Germany 24 April 2009[63] CD Single, Maxi Single, Digital download


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