Rugby World Cup fans (Gallo Images)
London - A petition urging British host broadcaster ITV to drop award-winning Paloma Faith's rendition of the Rugby World Cup anthem approached 10 000 signatures on Wednesday, with many comparing it to a strangled cat.
While ITV is backing the eccentric singer's idiosyncratic version of "World In Union", the song heard in full at the start of its World Cup coverage, and going into and out of every advertising break, has proved too much for some.
"Already sick of Paloma Faith's awful rendition of "World In Union"? Worried that it might ruin your Rugby World Cup? Then sign this petition and let ITV know your thoughts!", reads the petition on the change.org website, started by Jonathan Wilson of Worcester in central England.
The letter to ITV Sport calls for Faith's song to be removed from the television broadcasts "in order to make it a more enjoyable experience for all spectators."
Faith has had hit singles such as "Only Love Can Hurt Like This" and won the 2015 Brit Award for the best British female solo artist. But that has cut no ice with signatories lambasting the 34-year-old Londoner.
"Excruciatingly awful," typified the comments.
Others included: "Sounds like a cat being strangled"; "absurd vocal gymnastics"; "a parrot being tortured"; "the singing is criminally awful", and "I am drowning in pain".
"She soured my Guinness and made 1 of my kids cry," said one petitioner.
"This version make me want to pour boiling wax down my ears. Please stop this massacre!" wrote another.
"This is the single most awful decision about rugby since its inception, including rugby league," said one.
Even Faith's fans have put the boot in.
"The song is done in her style and I congratulate her on that. That said, it is dreadful," wrote one signatory.
ITV does not seem likely to change. "We are happy with Paloma's rendition," an ITV source told AFP.
Faith told BBC radio: "Some people are slating it; I feel like they don't like change, but I don't mind.
"I think they don't like it because it's being played too much."
"World In Union" was first sung at the 1991 World Cup in New Zealand by Kiri Te Kanawa.
The melody is "Thaxted", the stately theme from Gustav Holst's "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity", part of the British composer's orchestral suite "The Planets", completed in 1916.