The Voice – Episode 2 (Auditions)

This week’s theme is “people who are already slightly famous”.

First of all, a quick introduction. I’m Steve, and Monkseal has very kindly invited me to split the workload with him on this show. You might have read some of my own recaps over at The Bitch Factor or Strictly Come Bitching etc; alternatively, you might not have. All I can say is that I will strive to live up to the high standards set by last week’s inaugural recap, and try not to let the side down. So, with the admin out of the way, shall we get on with things?

So, it’s episode two of the blind auditions and

Empty chairs

everyone’s late. Tsk, I know the show did quite well in the ratings last week and you got lots of encouraging reviews, but I think it’s still a bit early to be getting complacent. William’s flight from America/Finland/Russia/Uzbekistan was delayed, Jessie J was busy doing her online banking, Tom Jones was still being rubbed in a Fanta reduction by the make-up lady, and Him Out Of The Script was having a heated argument with the stage management team, wanting to know why the other coaches have all got their names on their dressing room doors, while his just has a big question mark and a little cartoon of someone shrugging.

Him Out Of The Stage

See, they’ve even got his band name wrong. Poor Him Out Of The Script.

Anyway, for the benefit of those of us who weren’t here last week, the coaches are kind enough to run through the rules again. Tom explains that this is definitely in no way like The X Factor because you hear the voice first on this show boyo, Him Out Of The Script says that whatever you look like, you’re going to get a shot on this show, Jessie J says it’s all about the vocals and being signed on talent

Baldy
Fatty

while we get shown shots of some of last week’s contestants without the music, thereby forcing us to judge them entirely on appearance. *slow clap* William says he’s ready to meet an artist and create things that will make them stars.

Tonight! With William

Like a chat show! Tonight With William And Some Old Guy Who Was Signed Entirely On Talent Because We Couldn’t See His Hideous Face. I’d watch it. Holly and Reggie voice-over that the competition’s stepping up a gear tonight as the coaches battle it out to sign the bestest talent of all

Jessie J honking that buzzer

meaning we’re all going to get even more unsettling close-ups of their body parts slamming into things.

Then we get treated to the coaches bigging each other up, as Jessie J says that William is multi-talented, since he sings, he raps, he produces, he

Hail William!

leads protest rallies. FIGHT THE POWER, WILLIAM! Tom says that Jessie might be young, but she knows what she wants

BOY LONDON

to the extent that she walks around with her Match.com profile printed on her t-shirt. William offers that Him Out Of The Script “is a songwriter”

Songwriter?

while not looking entirely convinced, and Tom says that he and Him have a thing in common: they’re both Celts. Unless I misheard that, and he said something rather more profane. Finally, Sir Tom Jones, who doesn’t wait for the others to speak for him, but instead

Tom's photo album

gets his photo albums out, opens a large packet of Werther’s Originals, and talks about the good old days for the next 80 minutes. (That looks SO Photoshopped. Next week he’s going to be landing on the moon. With Dusty Springfield. And Schooby Doo – Chris) And that’s this week’s show, guys! See you next week!

This is how we do it

Oh, okay fine. I’m not covering this bit, though – we all know this by now, and if you don’t, I suggest you have a quick look at last week’s recap first before continuing, because not only was it covered extensively there, but also quite a lot of the jokes might not make any sense if you’ve not already read that first. Also, this show really needs some sort of snazzy title sequence, because this?

*yawn*

is not cutting the proverbial mustard.

So, onto Audition #1:

Here's Heshima

who describes himself as an “entertainer”, and as we all know, entertainers never get anywhere on The X Factor. “Singing, dancing, acting, I love all three,” he says, and I think we all know already the ideal role for him is the lead in Mr G: An Arena Spectacular. The reason he hasn’t already achieved his destiny in that regard is because he’s been busy appearing in Judge John Deed, Casualty, The Bill, Holby City, Casualty, and

E20

Eastenders: E20. According to his IMDB page, he’s also been on The X Factor, where those bastards JUDGED HIM ON THINGS OTHER THAN HIS VOICE, so now he’s here instead. He insists that he doesn’t want to be distracted by the dazzling celebrity of having been a regular on Spooks: Code 9 and is instead going to use his voice to get those coaches to turn around. I seriously can’t believe no one’s auditioned with ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ yet, now that I think about it.

Anyway, Heshima sings for the coaches, and

Dyno-mite!

he’s singing a proper club banger, which is a much more auspicious start than having someone earnestly whining their way through ‘Price Tag’ like last week. Him Out Of The Script

I'm going...

has apparently had enough already, and is off. Is Will Young still available? (Yes – Chris) William and Him press their buzzers at pretty much the exact same time, and when the thumping beat kicks in, Jessie J pulls

BOSH!

this face, and she and Tom turn around together. I wonder if every episode is going to start with someone getting all four coaches to turn around. Anyway, Heshima sensibly opts to vamp to the audience rather than let the sight of all four coaches having turned distract him, though he does get a bit carried away with adrenaline and chuck in a few ill-advised falsetto moments.

Apparently Him Out Of The Script

Tell us about yourself - or me.

has been appointed the Simon Cowell (/Gary Barlow) of the quartet, since it seems to be down to Him to do most of the “who are you and where do you come from?” type questions after they’ve sung, presumably because he’s hoping that if he gets to speak a lot, people might eventually work out who he is, otherwise he’s just spent the past three hours getting covered in hairspray for nothing. Meanwhile, Heshima is thinking

Who are you, exactly?

“I can’t believe Olly Murs turned around for me!” Him Out Of The Script warns him that once he started dancing, the vocals suffered, but that’s something they can work on. William does a bit of schtick about them “who-who-who-who-who-who-whooping” the competition together, which Jessie immediately picks up and mocks, because Jessie J is in such a stable position to mock other people’s irritating vocal tics. When it comes to her own turn to speak, Jessie

PICK ME!
makes it all about herself as usual, and Tom tells Heshima to pick him if he wants longevity. William butts in that he knows what it feels like, personally, to be a “worldwide global performer”, something that

Worldwide global intergalactic planetary

Him Out Of The Script is also familiar with. Either that, or he needs a potty break. William clarifies that he what he meant by that is that Heshima should be doing world tours, and he wants to help him do that. Him Out Of The Script snits that Heshima shouldn’t be swayed by promises of tours because the winner of this show won’t even be on William’s label, and I don’t even have a clue what point he’s trying to make other than “get more camera time, possibly get name printed on t-shirt.” Anyway, it’s time for Heshima to pick, and he goes for

LOL BITCH

William, having been swayed by the promise of worldwide success after all. Suck on that, Him Out Of The Script!

After some tedious bickering between the coaches in which Him Out Of The Script accuses William of cheating (no, I don’t know either), it’s time for Audition #2

Barbara

glamorous Glaswegian gran Barbara. She clearly means business, because she wastes no time in invoking

Baby wars!

BABY WARS! She’s representing for all those women who are young at heart, even though Reggie can’t quite stop himself from repeatedly calling her “old” in various insensitive ways during her introduction. Reggie asks if she’s been singing “a lot longer than most of the other people in this competition”, with “…and three-quarters of the mentors” hanging silently in the air. Barbara vows to give the kids a run for their money, because she did everything they’re doing 20 years ago, and she’s still here. Yes, congratulations on “not being dead”. She also makes an odd, producer-fed comment about how “The Voice is the best show on the planet right now”, despite the fact that she wouldn’t have actually seen it at this point. I don’t wish to stereotype, but she doesn’t look the sort to be torrenting NBC’s version on the sly. As Barbara takes to the stage, a member of her family cheers obnoxiously loud and Barbara’s boyfriend thinks

JESUS CHRIST

that maybe he should have left the car engine running. Barbara’s singing the SuBo version of ‘Wild Horses’, and highlighting one of the flaws with the Blind Audition format – that she sounds exactly like she looks, and vice versa. If anything, I’m expecting the judges to turn and be disappointed that she’s not uglier. She hits the chorus, and no one’s turned yet, perhaps because

BLAHBLAHBLAH

Him Out Of The Script is (still) preoccupied with making idiotic comments to make sure he gets on the telly. Then, fortunately for Barbara

Tom turns

Tom turns around, and she blows him a kiss, and he winks at her, and good God, get a room already. None of the other judges turn, so Barbara’s on Team Tom by default. William says that he didn’t turn around because he just knew that Barbara and Tom were OTP 4EVA, and Barbara’s quite happy with that. Tom says that they’ll destroy everyone else together, and gives her a kiss. This is all of Barbara’s birthdays and Christmases come at once, all (approximately) 94 of them. Tom namedrops Aretha Franklin, saying that Barbara is as strong as she is. Sure, why not?

Reggie voices-over that the country’s best vocal talent “were invited” (pay attention to that, it’ll be important later) to audition, which is a handy segue to Audition #4

West End Leading Lady Kerry Ellis

West End Leading Lady Kerry Ellis. And yes, I know we haven’t had Audition #3 yet, but because this show’s sequencing is weird sometimes, Kerry’s intro is coming quite a while before her actual audition. Trust me on this. Kerry has been in pretty much everything, but most notably a long spell (*slide trombone*) as Elphaba in Wicked.

It's time to tryyyyy defyyyyyyying gravity

I saw her in that, she was very good. I also saw her in Chess, but the acoustics in the Royal Albert Hall are weird and I couldn’t hear a bloody thing. Kerry tries to persuade us that despite her very successful career on the stage, she was convinced to try out for this show to have the chance to work with the likes of Jessie J and Him Out Of The Script. Nice try, Kerry Ellis. She then giggles with Holly

*titter*

about how she was bored of the green make-up and she wanted a chance to be herself and sing her own songs. By coming on here and doing a cover. Anyway, she says it’s a risk, professionally-speaking. And we’ll go over that in more detail later. But first, as promised

David Julien

here’s Audition #3, David Julien, the unfortunate result of a gene-splicing experiment between Matt Cardle and Curly Direction. He tells us that he is from The North-West:

OH NOES!
NOT THE NORTH-WEST!

Oh, the humanity! (They’ve added out the mutants feasting on nuclear fallout then? – Chris) He used to be an overnight shelf-stacker in a supermarket, but quit his job to “focus everything on The Voice.” Spoken like a true person who’s never bothered to google Javier Colon. He tells Holly that he’s going to sing ‘The Man Who Can’t Be Moved’ by The Script.

*gasp*

Bless Holly Willoughby for committing so wholeheartedly to the bit in her own script where it says “pretend this is a risky strategy”. Him Out Of The Script’s reaction?

Oooh, yeah, baby

Positively moist at the adulation that’s bound to follow the second he turns round. He’s gazumped by William, who turns first, so Him turns immediately afterwards. Having seen what he’s dealing with, Him’s reaction changes from self-congratulatory to full-on

*fap fap fap*

masturbatory. Jessie J goes for a half-hearted button tease, but ultimately doesn’t bother. Him tells David that he’s got “some cojones” for coming out here and singing his song (yes, because we all know that it’s a right turn-off for this bunch of egomaniacs to hear their own material being crooned back at them. Jessie J didn’t turn for both of the people singing her songs or anything like that). Sir Tom says that he didn’t push his button because he thought David was a girl (…what?) and he’s already got enough girls on his team. William talks some smack, and Him says that he’s not here “to try and take other people’s singers out”, despite the fact that not five minutes ago he was playing tactics and chortling about how it’s a competition. Shut up, Him Out Of The Script. Holly takes a straw poll backstage amongst David’s pals to see who he’s going to pick out of a choice of Him What Wrote This Song and William. So who does he go for?

Who, me?

HOLLY WILLOUGHBY! No, just kidding.

Mmm, mutual indie tossery

I know, you’re all SO surprised. David celebrates, and says that it was definitely worth abandoning his only source of income to go on the telly. Write that down, kids!

Then it’s properly time for Audition #4, as Reggie voices-over that West End Leading Lady Kerry Ellis is getting a rare case of stage-fright (LIESSSSSSSSSSS – William), as Kerry giggles that she just hope somebody turns around. Because imagine how embarrassing it would be if nobody turned around for a top West End Leading Lady?

West End Leading Lady Kerry Ellis sings
WAH WAH WAH

LOLWHOOPS. Sad music plays, and Tom asks who she is. “Kerry Ellis,” says Kerry Ellis, and some Wicked fangirls scream in the audience. She tells them that she’s been singing professionally for about 12 years, and in musicals for about 10. “What musicals have you been in?” asks Jessie. “WICKED!” scream the Wicked fangirls. Him Out Of The Script says she did a phenomenal job, and the only person he can fault is himself for not turning around. “Why didn’t you turn around?” cringes Kerry. He says that he’s looking for a specific type of girl singer, and she’s not it. (Number of girl singers on Team Him by the end of this episode: 0). William mumbles something else about how this is where IT’S SO HARD because you hear the crowd rocking and someone singing brilliant, and Kerry’s all “SO WHY DID YOU NOT TURN AROUND THEN?” and Jessie starts griping about how they can only pick 10 people and there’s JUST SO MUCH TALENT IN THE COMPETITION. Sir Tom points out that she’s already made it, and doesn’t really need this show.

Kerry exits, and heads backstage to see

Yum
If you were going home to this, you wouldn't look too upset either

her extremely handsome husband, and to talk to Holly about how she’s just humiliated herself by being publically rejected, but ultimately it’s all character-building.

So, yes, that’s how it all played out on screen. Would you like to hear my theory on how we got to this position in the first place?

“Hi, Kerry? Yes, it’s BBC The Voice UK here. We’re holding blind auditions because it’s all about The Voice, and as a top West End Leading Lady, we were wondering if you’d like to come and audition. Yes, we know you’re already successful in your own right, so much so that you were actually a mentor on one of our talent shows two years ago. Yes, we know that you’re busy and wouldn’t even remotely have time to commit to a full series of live shows every Saturday night. But what we were thinking is: wouldn’t it be great publicity for the show if, before it starts, we could get some stories in the press about how a top West End actress auditioned for us, and was rejected because the talent on our show is just that good? Yes, we know that would be incredibly embarrassing for you. Would it help if we made a substantial donation to a charitable organisation of your choice? Excellent. See you on Tuesday, then.”

Seriously, that whole section was contrived to an obnoxious degree, and it never seemed like Kerry Ellis had just spontaneously decided to turn up and randomly audition for a talent show. In many ways, it’s reassuring that for all this show’s lofty claims that it’s realer and truthier than The X Factor, it’s not above pulling cheap stunts like that.

Anyway, onto Audition #5:

Vince Kidd

Vince Kidd, who talks extensively about how he’s always been a weird person who doesn’t fit in. Which is, of course, why he’s such a great fit for this show, because on a show like, oh I don’t know, The X Factor, he’d have been rejected out of hand, and certainly wouldn’t have made the live shows as a member of Futurepoof. (He’s the one on the right, by the way.) His mum talks about how Vince always looks a right state and makes his nan cringe:

I'M SO WACKY

Team Vince’s Nan, anyone? Reggie meets Vince and his dad, and suggests that they couldn’t look more different if they tried (I think the whole point of it is that Vince is trying very hard, Reg) and Vince’s dad talks about how he used to be a punk, and wore bondage trousers.

Bondage trousers!

Vince takes to the stage and performs a weird sort of sleazy porno whomp-whomp version of ‘Like A Virgin’, while his dad screams “Push it!” repeatedly backstage. It’s too late to change his song choice now, Vince’s Dad. Vince goes all falsetto on the chorus and Him Out Of The Script turns, while Jessie J

Move it like a mandem

throws some shapes. It’s really disturbing me that I’m almost liking her. I mean, it’s JESSIE J. Him tells the others that they need to turn and watch this, and Jessie’s next, then William, hitting the button with his elbow. Tom mulls it over for the entire song, and then

Get out of the way, Jessie J!

turns at the very last minute. Or decides that he’s bored of this show and wants to play bumper cars instead, possibly. Vince gets

Don't look at me! I'm shy!

very meek (and super-gay) in response to this reception. Tom exclaims that he thought it was two people singing up there, and asks Vince where he’s from, and Vince takes a very long time to say “suburban south London”, which is not a very helpful description. He says that he just wanted to play around with the song and make it something new, but he won’t do that on everything. Him Out Of The Script talks about the look a lot (ALL ABOUT THE VOICE!) and William says this was never intended to be a soul song, but Vince put a whole lot of soul sauce in it. Jessie J tells him that when she pulls

Hamster face

this face, it means she likes it. Or that someone’s sung the secret trigger word planted months ago by Derren Brown that makes her think she’s one of the Wonder Pets. Jessie tells him that she’s all about voices and all about *face*, so he should pick her. Tom tells Vince that they all feel the same way, and there’s a bit of actual unscripted comedy where Vince is all “oh, did you turn around? I didn’t realise! That’s brilliant!”, which kind of makes me warm to Vince far more than I ever intended to. It’s time for Vince to choose, and he mentor-teases Tom for a bit, and Him tries a strategy that involves “they’ve all got strong singers already – pick me, I’ve got a shit team!”, but ultimately the guy who enjoys messing up a melody plumps for

Woo hoo!

J-J-J-JESSIE J MAN DEM SUGA SUGA SUGA! Think of the faces they can pull together.

Reggie intones that “sometimes an artist’s voice is at odds with their image”, which is basically The Voice code for “we’re in for some fuckery right here”, so feel free to have a think about what you think

Shansel

Shansel here might sound like in a minute for Audition #6. My money’s on a cover of Lordi’s ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’. Shansel tells us that she’s never off her parents’ karaoke machine, and people are always telling her to shut up. The same thing is true of a lot of my friends, but I wouldn’t recommend they audition for this show. I’m just saying. Shansel insists that she hasn’t been taught, and she ain’t posh.

Not Scary, Sporty, Baby or Ginger either

SHE’S VERY DOWN TO EARTH! She reminds us that people don’t expect her to sound like she does, and they don’t think she sounds like a 17-year-old either.

Nessun Dorma

And that’s why! It starts out pretty well, but the longer the audition goes on, the shakier she starts to sound. I’m no expert when it comes to opera, but it seems to be that her lack of formal training is pretty evident here, since she sounds like a mimicry of someone else singing opera, and doesn’t quite have the technique to support her voice throughout it. It’s a lovely idea, and it would have been lovely if it worked, but she probably would’ve had better luck if she’d come out and sung ‘Do It Like A Dude’. William almost

Almost...

turns, but ultimately decides against it. No one turns for poor Shansel, and it’s down to Tom to play Kindly Grandpa for this one, so he asks her how old she was when she first started singing. Shansel explains that she’s 17 now, which causes Jessie to go “wow!” and Him Out Of The Script

GRR HIM HATE STOOPID BUTTON

to start whacking his now-inoperable button. It’s all about The Voice, folks! And possibly the relative merit of The Voice once you have also learned The Age, and The Appearance! Two episodes in, and Him has already started poking too hard at the format and it’s set to fall down around our ears already. Shansel rather proves my earlier point for me by saying that she’s never had a singing lesson in her life, and got started by taking the piss out of Lesley Garrett and Katherine Jenkins when they were on the TV (She went to the same Opera Academy as me! – Chris). Jessie didn’t turn around because she thought Shansel was someone a lot older, and someone who she’d be intimidated by. ALL ABOUT THE VOICE! I think the bullshit hypocrisy they all blurt out when they have to justify rejecting someone is my favourite part of this show. It’s all so uncomfortable. Jessie thinks this isn’t the last we’ll see of Shansel. Seriously, girl should try Britain’s Got Talent, they would have LOVED her. William, sounding faintly more sincere than the others, says he regrets not turning because he missed an opportunity to reinvent radio, or something. Shansel leaves, and William continues to self-flagellate for not “thinking outside the box”.

Backstage, Shansel laments that no one turned around, but says that getting the feedback that she got was reason enough for turning up. People are so easily pleased on this show.

Reggie gets all meta and asks us to put ourselves in the coaches’ shoes – would we turn for these people?

Ross Wild
Sam Thornton
Siobhan Stott

No thanks, I’m good. And the actual coaches didn’t bother either, in case anyone was wondering, though they all kicked themselves when they turned around. Even though they’re judging solely on the voice, and should not be feeling any different when they can see someone’s face. I’m just saying.

From there we proceed to Audition #7

Vince Freeman

another Vince (honestly, you wait ages for a Vince in pop music, and then two come along at once), who wants to be judged on his voice and not that hideous slug crawling across his upper lip and sliding down either side of his chin. What even is that? Vince is a musician and has spent his entire life “doing music” (F’NURR!!). He’s gigging right now, doing around 300 shows a year, and has thrown everything he has at being successful, apart from “shaving properly”, it would seem. To prove that he’s a proper muso and not one of those posers who just pretends

Mmm, guitar

LOOK AT HIM TUNING IT, PHWOAR, JUST LICK THAT CREDIBILITY! You’d never get that on The X Factor. He says that all he’s ever wanted is the ability to say “yeah, I’ve had my shot”, and from what he said above, it sounds like…he can kind of say that already. I mean, some people might be perfectly competent musicians, but they’re not meant to be megastars. Still, there’s no harm in trying is there?

His sexy's on fire

First things first: what is that thing on his back, please? Is that part of his guitar strap? Was there not a more unobtrusive version he could’ve gone for? I mean, I know we’re not supposed to be judging on appearances here (heaven forfend), but it does look like it’s about to make a puncture at the base of his neck, take complete control of his nervous system and use him as a drone to destroy the universe. Anyway, he’s singing in a gruff, pub-singer fashion which is fine if you like that sort of thing. And guess who does?

Him likes pub singers

That’s right. Tom twitches, but doesn’t commit, so Him Out Of The Script is the first to whack that button and turn around, at which point he does a hilariously poor job of pretending to be so much more impressed by what he’s seeing.

OMG ITS SO GOOD U GUIZE

MMM, IT’S LIP-SMACKING GOOD! DON’T YOU WANT A PIECE OF THIS? ANYONE? JESSIE? WILLIAM? TOM? NO?

...no.

No. After they’ve all turned round and had a good giggle at what Him’s stuck with, Jessie notes that Vince isn’t wearing shoes, and asks why. Vince says that he just doesn’t like wearing shoes. Well, since it worked so swimmingly for Paul Kim on American Idol. Jessie asks if he has nice feet, and Vince replies that he has not – in fact he has webbed toes. You can laugh, but you know who else had webbed toes? Rachel Stevens. And did that stop her from becoming a pop megast…oh, never mind.

William’s all “I thought you were great, but you DEFINITELY belong with Danny.” Never a truer word spoken. Everyone backstage takes their shoes off as ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ plays on the soundtrack. I’VE GOT SOLES, BUT I’VE GOT NO SHOES ON!

Audition #8 is

Aleks

Aleks, who didn’t get past the audition stage on So You Think You Can Pop Your Collar Properly. He’s a part-time lifeguard, and a “cheeky chappy”, and I don’t think you need me to tell you to be very wary of anyone who uses phrases like that to describe themselves. He talks about how he’s a bit of a bad boy (PHWOAR, LADIES!) who got kicked out of school without any qualifications,

IF ONLY I'D STAYED IN SCHOOL *TEAR*

there, look at him regretting his poor life decisions. He just wants to sing and make people happy, even if it’s only in a pub. After a bit of nonsense with Reggie about LOOKING FORWARD TO THE ADORING FEMALE FANS *frantically rubs palms on thighs*, Aleks takes to the stage to sing

I'm Yours

while looking alarmingly pale. Let’s hope Jessie J’s got some smelling salts hidden somewhere in those comically oversized sleeves of hers. His performance is decent enough – it’s tuneful, but it sounds pretty much exactly like Jason Mraz does on the record, so it’s not exactly a shining advert for his artistry or whatever wanky term I’m supposed to use at this point. Still, it’s enough to excite

If you don't sit up properly young man, you can't leave the table

William, who I genuinely thought was about to break all the rules by peering around the side of his chair at first, but no, he’s just so enthusiastic that he’s leaning around as he hits the button to get to look at Aleks’s sweet, sweet face a few milliseconds sooner. Him turns for Aleks as well, with William acting as voice of the audience by miming taking Him out with a shotgun. Jessie is not persuaded to turn around for Aleks, but

Derp

continuing to give excellent facial expressions, so she’s all right by me. Him Out Of The Script keeps trying to get Jessie J to turn around by telling her that she “needs to see him”, but Jessie’s response is very much “I’ll see him in a minute whether I hit my button or not, and I’m quite happy with my track record as the most selective mentor so far, thank you, Whateveryournameis.” Tom’s not persuaded either, and Aleks ends on a fairly shocking note, but the rest of us was fun enough for William and Him to continue to think they chose wisely.

Aleks tells them all that he’s a lifeguard, and Jessie says “that’s cool!” (Liessssssssssssss – William) and relates how she was always pretending to drown to get the lifeguards to look at her. Thank goodness she got over that attention-seeking phase though, eh readers? Him butters Aleks up a bit, and William tells him that the character of his voice is “star quality”. Jessie tells Aleks there were some tuning issues, and suggests that it’ll help his voice if he smiles. Will’s all “yeah, thanks, he was smiling. The way you’re taught to smile if you have a vocal coach” and everyone goes “OOOOOOOOOOOH!” like this is some sick burn, but I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe that’s just vocal coaching humour. I’m sure that joke absolutely slays ’em at the Ivor Novello Awards. Anyway, Jessie takes fake-umbrage and tells Alex to pick Danny.

Aleks wonders if he’s suited to William, because he’s “more rap”, at which point Jessie and Will are suddenly on the same side again as she leaps to his defence, and Aleks gets all embarrassed about his inability to articulate himself properly and then Jessie J leaps up to be reassuring and he

Kiss kiss

responds like that. Wow, he is a cheeky chappy! Naturally, Jessie’s all

No chance

“don’t get your hopes up there, mate”. Anyway, Aleks bores on about liking Him’s band and his lyrics, so he picks Him, and William is gracious about it, while Him is not, crowing “that’s a winner right there!”

I gots a winner!

It’s the sort of face you’d never tire of punching even if you didn’t know he’d written ‘Breakeven’, am I right? (Seriously, they should have got Ville Vallo as a mentor so we could call him “Him From Him” – Chris). Anyway, he continues to be pretty much the only mentor actually giving a shit about it being a competition, because the others are all “I don’t care; I’m already famous, thanks.”

There follows a time-filling montage about all the name-dropping that’s going on, and watching William and Him Out Of The Script trying to compete with Tom Jones is funny in its general desperation (even when Tom eventually gets to the bottom of the barrel and starts trying to casually drop Kelly Jones – KELLY JONES! – into the conversation), but it’s not our primary concern here, so let’s skip ahead to

Frances Wood

Audition #9, Frances, who immediately mentions that she’s working class, not that she’s got any sort of chip on her shoulder or anything. She works as a barmaid to fund her equipment, and has put some songs of her own on a CD, which she

Still probably a better marketing idea than Nadine Coyle only selling her CD in Tesco

sells in the pub. Calm down, don’t all rush at once. She’s going to be singing ‘Where Is The Love?’ by the Black Eyed Peas, and once again the show tries to sell this as a risky strategy, but I think we all know where this is going. To her credit, she sings it rather than rapping it, which is an interesting approach, though the slightly whiny tone of her voice does present the following problem:

Boy or girl?

and probably inspires a new BBC3 factual entertainment show into the bargain. For a while it looks like no one’s going to turn for her, and Frances gets so desperate that she actually shouts “come on Will!” which: no. Fortunately for her, her pleading earns her a last-minute reprieve.

William turns

Him Out Of The Script scolds her that he was SO CLOSE to turning around, and then she shouted the name of his nemesis, and it was all over for him. To be fair, I’m sure she would’ve shouted your name if she knew what it was. (I’d shout his na…-oh hang on, is this mic on? – Chris) William says that he didn’t turn around because she was singing one of his songs, at which Jessie has the nerve to a “whatever” cough, like she didn’t turn around last week for both the people who were singing hers. Anyway, he liked her reinterpretation, but she had breath control issues, though he’d be happy to work with her on those. Frances announces that she’s off to celebrate at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Attagirl.

Audition #10 is our first duo of the competition

Matt and Sueleen

Matt & Sueleen, and this is a bit embarrassing, but I’m like 99% sure I know her. Or at least vaguely knew her once. I think we used to be in some plays together back when I was in school. I mean, we’re from broadly the same area, and realistically how many Sueleens are there in the world? For a minute I thought I knew him too, but no, I was thinking of someone else. Anyway, if you want THE SECRET DIRT on Sueleen, just let me know. (Though prepare to be disappointed, because the sum total of my knowledge about her that isn’t revealed by this show is “she can tap dance”.) They’ve been together for 15/16 years, depending on who you ask, and are given to

Schmoop schmoop

looking at each other schmoopily and snipping at each other, because that’s what couples do. They do everything together, pretty much, and sing all over the house, even/especially

Cleaning up

in the bathroom. God, just have sex in the shower like normal people. Holly asks them if they want anyone in particular to turn around, and Sueleen says that they’ve got a few ideas but they aren’t set in stone. Holly, alarmed, is all “YOU SHOULD HAVE THIS CONVERSATION” and Sueleen says that basically it’s going to be her decision. I suspect a lot of things are settled that way.

They go out and perform a folky version of The Beautiful South’s ‘A Little Time’

A Little Time

which starts out nicely, but has some very strange harmonies in it, not all of which are that pleasant to listen to. Still, it’s good enough for Tom, who turns near the end. Jessie

I need a little space to work it out

gets overly literal about the song choice when it comes to making her mind up, but opts to push her button in the very final seconds, to the point that her chair is turning around at pretty much the same time as Will and Him’s chairs, even though they didn’t press their buttons. Jessie tells them that she loved the harmonies and how their voices blended. Tom loved everything about it. Faced with the decision between Sir Tom of Jones and J-J-J-Jessie J, Matt suggests they…flip a coin.

OMGWTF

Sueleen agrees, and they decided to determine their future career on a cointoss. Backstage, their family

We are family

are unconvinced by the wisdom of this. (Lol at Holly not even trying to give a shit. It must go with the name or something.) They decide between them that Tom is heads and Jessie is tails, and heads it is, so they’re with Tom. Backstage, they celebrate at how they’ve got Tom Jones, but Sueleen wonders

Hmmm, maybe Jessie after all...?

if maybe they should have gone for Jessie J instead. She’s going to be fun, isn’t she?

Audition #11 is

Kitty Brucknell!
...or not

…they’re spelling “Kitty Brucknell” differently these days, aren’t they? Also, “16”? Times how many? Holly explains that she started singing in talent contests and suchlike at the age of 10, working her way through the showbiz industry in south Devon, as you do. When her friends are out partying at weekends, she’s out gigging, dressed like Lady Gaga Goes To Lazytown. Holly Presenter congratulates Holly Contestant on having a brilliant look, but points out that this is Definitely Not The Sort Of Show Where That Gets You Anywhere, Missy. They decide that it will just be a nice surprise for the judges when they turn around.

She’s singing ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ by Ed Sheeran, and giving it

Sing sing sing

all that. Him Out Of The Script’s penis status?

Not up

Oh dear. You can tell Tom doesn’t really want to be the confidant as far as that little bit of oversharing is concerned, can’t you? I’m not overly familiar with this song in its original version so I can’t really say how it compares, but by and large the coaches seem to be finding the performance wanting, although this might just be because Jessie J is

Seriously, boy or girl?

really trying to make that BBC3 spinoff happen and Him Out Of The Script is

Still not up

still distracted by those problems downstairs. At least Tom’s becoming more comfortable with this conversation as time goes on, if nothing else. Ultimately no one turns for Holly, though Jessie’s quite excited by her outfit. Is it just me, or is Holly a lot more believable as a 16-year-old

Don't look at the legs too closely, please

in a full-length shot? Because those are some skinny teenage legs right there. Jessie said she didn’t hear enough control or diction, and Holly vows to take that on board. Him is concerned that she didn’t go right up to the high notes – “you took me up the mountain, but you didn’t let me see the view”. Holly’s all

Is that your band?

“I thought you were The View?” William advises her to have confidence in her voice, since diction isn’t everything, citing Michael Jackson’s “chamone!” as a counterexample. (I genuinely didn’t realise “chamone!” was supposed to be “come on!” until William said that. I thought it was just…like…a noise he liked to make. ANYWAY. – Chris) Finally, Him asks how old she is, and Holly says that she’s 16, earning gasps and applause, and Him tells her not to let this stop her from pursuing her dreams. Backstage, Holly wishes that they’d known how old she was, because they seemed a lot more enthusiastic when they found out. It’s interesting how often the sentiment “I wish this wasn’t a blind audition” has been expressed on this show. It’s almost like the whole idea’s kind of a massive gimmick that isn’t as much of an asset as it’s made out to be. Still, Holly vows to return for series two. And speaking of second chances, here’s Audition #12.

DENIECE!
System Addict!
Rain Or Shine!

IT’S DENISE FROM FIVE STAR, MOTHERFUCKERS! Now going by “Deniece”, apparently. She doesn’t get off to the best of starts when they play her acapella version of ‘Rain Or Shine’ over the original, and it sounds kind of off-key, but hey, this is a genuine 80s megastar we’re talking about here.

She talks about how it was a ride that went by so quickly, but it was amazing, so she’s back. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more amazing…

STEDMAN!

…she’s only gone and brought Stedman with her. It’s a shame Reggie’s not asking us to play Armchair Coach again, because I would be hammering my red button until sparks were flying out of it. (TMI – Chris) Stedman says that the whole family supports her. Aww.

Deniece hits the stage and starts riffing before the band has even played a note. Amazing. She’s singing ‘Fighter’ by Xtina, perhaps thinking that we had the same judges as the US version. The performance is kind of rough – her diction’s shot and she clearly forgets some of the words, but there’s a fierceness and a hunger in there, so while it’s a bit of a trainwreck, it’s kind of an awesome one.

NOM MICROPHONE

It gets increasingly erratic as time goes on and she throws every trick she knows at the coaches to get them to turn around, and Stedman’s sweetly supportive backstage, and eventually sheer persistence pays off as Tom turns around.

Him asks Deniece what gives, and she cops to being a member of Five Star, dropping “we performed for the Queen” in there under her breath while making DAMN SURE everyone still hears it, so I think she can teach these four a few things about namedropping. Jessie J says that in the beginning there were “too many tricks and trills”.

Trills and spills

I know, William, I know, but now is not the time to bring it up. Maybe backstage after the recording, over a plate of scones and a pot of Earl Grey. Tom points out he can straighten that out, and Deniece is all

I think not

OH WILL YOU NOW? Tom loved the tone and the power and “you cut”. Again, I *think* that’s what he said. He might just secretly be the BBC Compliance team’s worst nightmare. So Tom now has six artists on his team, and the others laugh about how six sounds like sex, and start singing ‘Six Bomb’ at him. Oh, what fun they had.

Audition #13, our final try-out of the week is

David Faulkner

David Faulkner, who is Welsh and works on a construction site. Apparently he’s quite shy about singing, as

David's fiancee Rachael

his fiancée Rachael will attest, as she didn’t hear him sing until they’d been going out for two or three years. He’d just go into the bedroom and close the door. AND SING, YOU FILTHY MONGRELS. So she first heard him by eavesdropping, basically. You hear the best stuff that way.

He’s singing ‘Superstition’, and Him Out Of The Script wastes no time in whacking that button and spinning around, and a little while later William, Jessie and Tom

Turning, turning, turning through the years

go in quick succession. Him Out Of The Script says it was incredible “out of the box” (out of the gate, surely) and that he turned around on the first bar. He didn’t, but if it makes him feel better to think that, we can allow him his delusions. David starts speaking and thus pings Tom’s Welshdar, making him even more enthusiastic. William makes the usual “I am well-connected and a great producer” pitch, and Jessie says that the reason she came on the show was to find people who can

Who can sang

SANG, which makes me grateful that I didn’t switch on the TV to find someone what can grammar. She says that if he’s on her team, she’s going to make him work that voice, and David’s clearly up for a challenge, since he picks Jessie. She’s so excited, she bursts into a spontaenous rendition of

...knees and toes, knees and toes!

‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees And Toes’. Ain’t no party like a Jessie J party, I’m telling you.

Mrs Jessie Faulkner, Mrs Jessie Faulkner, Mrs Jessie Faulkner...

See, they’ve even got a Slam Book for later. Him Out Of The Script is totally going to write “William is a stupid poo-poo head and I hate his face” and then they’ll get in a fight and it’ll be awkward and they’ll cry and somehow they’ll end up spooning and make everyone else promise never to speak of it again.

Time for some end-of-show team stats:

Tom: 6
William: 3
Jessie: 5
Him: 4

I’m sure there’s a coded message in there somewhere. Maybe it’s Him Out Of The Script’s PIN for his Visa card. He doesn’t mind if you charge a load of suspicious-looking purchases to his account, really. He just wants to be loved.

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20 thoughts on “The Voice – Episode 2 (Auditions)

  1. teacherlady

    All I need to know is this – is William secretly a hamster, a mouse or some other small animal? Because he really isn’t hu.m.an.

    Reply
    1. stevenperkins

      Judging by the pictures, Jessie is the secret hamster. Which doesn’t automatically mean that William can’t be one as well, but if he is, he’s hiding it slightly better.

      Reply
    1. stevenperkins

      I find Jessie J infinitely more tolerable on this show than I do in just about any other situation I can think of, but that might just be because everyone’s going to look lucid and intelligent next to Him Out Of The Script. William’s definitely a pleasant surprise, though.

      Reply
  2. Carina

    I have never liked William, have always found him to be a bit egocentric and obnoxious, but he’s coming across really well on this with a decent sense of humour and talking sense!
    Danny on the other hand comes across as a first class douchebag with no opinion of his own and no backbone to make any decisions. Really lame.

    Reply
    1. stevenperkins

      Yes, I’ve been impressed with him on this show so far – he is having a bit of fun with the whole thing, at least, which is injecting some of the humour that this show desperately needs.

      Who’s Danny? 😉

      Reply
  3. Poppy

    Excellent job, Steve, thanks for making me laugh. My interest was piqued when Bewildered Goth Boy said that it made him nervous that he wasn’t going to be judged on his appearance. That made rather a refreshing change, I felt. I like this show so far, and I never watch X Factor or BGT as I can’t stand the whole set up. Not quite sure why this comes across differently, as it relies just as much on nans/babies/sad stories/personal journies/I-was-famous-once as all the others (not sure the others rely on I-was-famous-once quite to the same extent, though). I shall keep watching, and if it degenerates, I can always look forward to your and Monkseal’s recaps every week to make up for my crushing disappointment that the BBC has sold out to commercialism and cynical manipulat…contd p94

    Reply
  4. Jenny Simpson

    Thanks for the write-up – can’t think what Kerry Ellis thought she would achieve from this (obviously it was a set-up of some kind as she’s signed to Universal apparently) – she came across really badly.

    God awful version of Preacher Man, obvious disappointment when the judges didn’t recognise her name and really cringey neediness for compliments.

    Jessie visibly winced at winced at some notes, Wim clearly thought it was tedious, Tom looked quite surprised to find out that the catawauling he’d sat through had come from an experienced professional and Himoutof…well, who cares.

    I’m sure that style works in musical theatre, but it was bloody painful out of context.

    Poor Kerry – from the excited squeals of wannabe Dorothies to the indifferent response of an Irish bloke no-one has heard of…

    Reply
    1. stevenperkins

      I’m tempted to think Kerry took a dive – I have no evidence for this, but it’s the most plausible explanation I can think of. She wasn’t *that* bad, but she’s clearly capable of better.

      Reply
  5. PadsterMo

    Excellent write-up Steve; you and Monkseal really are a match made in reality tv blogging heaven!

    After 2 episodes I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for The Voice, in a ‘that poor delusional fool’ kind of way. The more everyone involved stresses how different from the X Factor it is, the more apparent it becomes that The Voice is to X Factor as X Factor is to Pop Idol.

    Pleasently surprisd by William, Tom is exactly what I expected and I’m confident I’ll remember Him’s name in a few weeks. J J J Jessie J can piss right off though, and take Reggie with her.

    (The Kerry Ellis thing? Definitely a set-up. Someone on Digital Spy said it was, so it must be true.)

    Reply
    1. stevenperkins

      But in a way, the delusion is what makes it so delicious. Which is another reason it’s like The X Factor, only on that show it’s (mostly) the contestants who are deluded.

      Reply
  6. joistmonkey

    I saw Five Star (or was it ‘5 Star’? I can’t remember any trendified names like tha, except for B*witched, which doesn’t really count. I proper struggle with 20Twenty or Twenty20 cricket) at a club in Birmingham about eight years ago. They were pretty good but there were only three of them, which kinda ruins the whole point of the name. One was Steadman though, so that’s fine. Later on in the evening I was with a friend eating pizza at a table upstairs in the same club and got move by some people as Five Star wanted to use the big table to sit at and sign CDs. Some of my cheese got stuck to Steadman’s forearm. That’s not a euphimism.

    Reply
    1. stevenperkins

      So between the two of us, we’re doing quite well with the “have seen contestants from this week’s episode performing live”, then? If only one of us had seen Futurepoof. 😦

      Reply
  7. Vince from Canterbury

    The secret dirt on Sueleen Fletcher is that she has a massive cocaine problem. As does Matt.

    Thats coming from someone that has worked with them both and still works with one of them.

    She’s a devious bit of work. Ask anyone that knows her. Yes, she pulls the shots. MAtt goes along like a little puppy dog.

    Nice article.

    Reply

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