Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Voice UK: Entertaining, yes; but how long can the 'voice-only' judgements last? Eh?

Looking like a diversity-aware take on the modern day nuclear family seated in slightly kinky-looking over-size swivel highchairs amid an enormous blacked-out cavern decorated with countless reflective surfaces and a complicated lighting rig, the judges on The Voice UK might well turn out to be the show's biggest asset, and certainly the most comfortable.

Big daddy Sir Tom 'seen it all' Jones, the immaculately presented Jessie J, the preposterously punctuated and the Irish guy from that band who had that hit the other year*, are working together nicely, but all seem to be quite matey in their rivalry right now.

Of course, that's all bound to change as we progress through the show's 11 week 'journey' as 'the competition' 'heats up'. If anything, they - that is, the mysterious tv-producing they - should exploit the hoped-for developing actual rivalry between them, especially if all the singing bits turn out to be a bit 'meh'.

Danny O'Donoghue from The Script:
'What do you mean you've never heard of me?!'
As an example, they could get Jessie in an arm wrestle contest with Danny from The Script while practising their scales, or and Tom could continue to try and out-anecdote each other with tales from yesteryear about their encounters with pop legends Elvis and Jacko, who aren't around to deny they ever took place.

Or someone could set a clothing challenge for him to appear like he hasn't just come straight from his job as a ringmaster at Billy Smart's circus.

That would be tv-ooh's license fee justified right there.

Fortunately, the singing so far seems to be pretty entertaining, and in a good way too: so further gimmicks aren't required - and it's also encouraging that the format prevents any temptation to have bad singers in for comedy effect, as per the early weeks of The X Factor.

Live shows

But the big question is how the show's unique selling point (or, if you will, gimmick) - that the contestants are picked solely on how they sing and not how they look - is going to last beyond the first few weeks, as the judges select their teams for the live shows.

The plan is for each judge - or 'coach' as the show is calling them - to have a team of four contestants each, which is then reduced down to two each.

But by this time you can probably assume all of the contestants will be groomed and styled to within an inch of their lives.

It might have been their voice that got them shortlisted, but it'll be whether they've got 'the whole package' that will determine how far they progress.

And to be fair, by this stage us voters at home will all be too hooked to care about the show's appearance-shunning origins, and will be making appearance-based judgements along with the judges - unless one of the less attractive contestants has a really good sob story or an unusually amazin' voice, that is.

Still, tv-ooh is all quite for The Voice so far - and Saturday evenings just got funner. Um, more fun.

*Okay a cheap shot, but Danny O'Donoghue you are actually very entertaining and much much better than original choice Will Young probably would've been in the job *bows humbly, backs away*.

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  1. hello id like to add that the voice has brought us something new to the bbc at last as im not an added fan? but i have to say i like the concept of how it has been transformed as a knew era to tv and i for one have been tuned because i like this kind of a knew generation of old and new ... ie the way its prsenting its self with plp that know what they are looking for if i cld sing id be right up there with them and like the coaches .... i know a singer when i hear one and it certainly makes my hair on the bk of my neck stand... so an all round of cheer from me ,,,ps il be watching gd luckxxx

  2. It is very clear that the contest is now, no longer just about the voice. What a shame! Can the judges stop trying to be cool dudes and just decide on the voice? Thats what its supposed to be about !!! Its just gonna be another TV show thats all about the judges and not the singers. Judges, listen up..... forget about image, if you just go by the voice the rest will follow!

    1. I really dislike talent shows and I had no intention of watching 'The Voice'. However I was flicking tv channels and ended up watching this the 1st time it was on. I have to say I really enjoy it as I find the contestants 'actually do have talent and they can actually sing'. I think the judges are entertaining and not as bitchy as judges on other shows. More of the same please and Tom - we love you :)

    2. after a promising few weeks in the blind auditions when contestants sang a wide range of songs and styles and were left to express themselves in their own individual ways, I'm stunned to hear tonight a dreary series of power ballads totally unsuited to many of the singers on show- what a dull, grey show!
      using these criteria tonight, the following singers would have been completely at a loss coping with this screeching contest- Billie Holliday, Eliza Carthy, Dylan, Van Morrison, Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye, Kate Rusby- and many other greats too numerous to mention.
      what a disappointment, what a great opportunity missed!

  3. Nik
    Ruth has a fantastic voice, cannot beleive the range and emotion. would love to hear her sing Etta James "At Last"

  4. Couldn't agree more ! tonight we saw a guy with a powerful voice being told to reign it in. I thought it was all about the voice ?? If Bo 's voice was too weak against Vince Freemans, then Danny should never have put them together, or was that the plan from the outset ??

  5. Just wanted to say what a brilliant show. I was their when it wad recorded so I all ready know some of the contestants who go through dissapointed Vince did not go through instead of bo sorry

  6. Thanks for all your comments so far - please keep them coming in. Still enjoying the programme a lot, but some of those pairings in the battle competitions did feel a bit calculating and not really comparing like with like perhaps. But them, when you've got two amazing singers next to each other, it's impossible to just judge it on the voice alone, so things like image and appearance and 'marketability' do enter into the picture... Great tv though.

  7. I had to sit through last night's Voice and I thought the "singing" was awful. All it amounted to was how loud and how high they could scream to outdo each other. Why can't the judges get them to sing a proper song in the way it was originally intended to be sung so that it is a pleasure to listen to. I will not be watching any more!
    BGT is far more entertaining.

  8. I think what they should do at the end of the battles is have a transfer window - each judge gets the chance to pick a "reject" but cant choose their own reject. There have been a few battles where the loser has been better than some of the winnners.

  9. Oh what a pity! I really believed that 'The Voice' was going to be a talent show that wasn't going to be based on the usual media hipe.. Judges please, do you really believe that after a certain age any singer is not capable of learning new skills. Your choices judging by your comments were not based on talent, but on age. Shame on you especially Sir Tom. Your of a 'certain age' so I expected more empathy from you.

  10. Just seen the evictees on BBC Breakfast....

    I agree totally with Anonymous' comment about the singing. I think the evictees should be grateful they are out. I thought it was supposed to be a SINGING competition. All I saw this week was a contest of controlled screaming - which can only be extremely damaging for all contestant's voices.

    Maybe that is the idea... the winner will release a hit record that makes money for their mentor. Their voice will then be so damaged that they will then disappear leaving the show room to look for another winner to ruin next year...

  11. Ruth Brown is my favorite so far she has somrthing spititual about her ,i think its a crap idea for eliminating contestants by telling them to sing louder than each other,so much for the coaching they promised to them if they came to their team ,I havent seen any coaching yet just alot of mismatching and telling them to out do each other...this is not music they should all have had a song each and the judges should have still had their backs to them ,because in my humble opinion the way people look and seeing someone pulling faces and making the right kind of gestures as they perform can infuence people into thinking they are singing well instead of hearing that they can sing well,so much for the programme being just about the voice...i hate will i am ,and think he is lousy...and alas it seems to be going in the direction of pretty young things instead of talent over the pop visual ideal..dissapointed

  12. I'm afraid the idea of battles is a bit of a disaster, ill conceived and frankly unfair. Any choice of song will have suited one singer much more than the other. It's conceivable that several battle resulted in people who would have made the top 20 and therefore the live show were knocked out because they just battled someone slightly better. In the worst case the best singer might have knocked out the second best singer in the whole competition. I forecast that many viewers who supported singers who were unfairly eliminated will simply turn off.

  13. I was so disappointed with the judges decision they seemed to pick the worst singer most times, The Battles were a poor idea and have started to make the show look as tacky as the X factor. When it started it was great a talent show based on the voice alone and there were some brilliant singers, who's hopes are now smashed to pieces due to a silly screaming eliminator that did not leave a good taste SHAME ON YOU BBC for stooping so low,

  14. I liked the idea, and it worked well in America, but for some reason our judges seem to be more concerned about age than talent, and for that I am very diappointed, I thought this was going to be a bit different, but it has ended up like every other singing show, over a certain age and if you don't look a certain way, regardless of your talent, you are out, have people forgotten Susan Boyle and how well she has done? The judges seem to think we are like them and want someone who looks good, rather than their singing ability!

  15. Judged only on their voices? Did not last long! Battle rounds, and now the "coaches" have to decide on who to take through to the live stages, and what happens? It's suddenly about age! Average singers have got through because they were pitched against other average singers and yet talented singers have gone out.
    Oh well it really is the BBC version of X-Factor now.

  16. Many have commented on the age being a more significant factor than singing talent and it is a valid point. The Battles weekend eliminated every single singer over the age of 35 from the show. In fact, Tom Jones consistently 100% of the time picked the younger of the 2 singers to go to the live shows. His team initially had the widest age range but that quickly changed - his eliminated singers had an average age is 40, whereas his team now boasts of an average age of 26!!! - It's all about the Voice?? Yes, Tom, indeed it is, of course it is!!!!

  17. After the opening performance i think that the contestants are better than the coaches. Ton Jones apart, the rest were cr&p

  18. Is this "The Voice" or the "Minimum Wage Dancers". Totally spoiling it for me. Sack the producer/s>

  19. Ditch The dancers, get back to the voice, they are distracting and frankly not very good, also distract from the performance. If the artists need that then it defeats the object of the program.