Pointless inter-coach drama, vague platitudes in place of useful feedback, and contemporary dancers being used to distract us from sub-par performers. Such a refreshing antidote to The X Factor.
We begin, of course, with a lesson in how we got here, from
blind auditions to
Shout Tennis, which all brought us to where we are tonight – sitting in front of the TV with wafts of cotton wool at the ready to shove in our areas the second Mooleen start singing, or indeed any time Danny O’Donoghue speaks. Due to time constraints, Team Jessie and Team Danny are sitting this evening’s proceedings out, which means that the first live show is a battle to the death between
Team William and
Team Tom, who’s clearly taking this contest far more seriously than William, because he’s positioned himself to make sure that all of his contestants’ faces will be out of focus and therefore we can be ALL ABOUT THE VOICE when judging them. There’s a reason he has a knighthood and William doesn’t, you know.
Tonight, for the very first time, the competition
goes live, and frankly the fact that it’s taken this long surprises me, because I thought it would’ve wanted to be live from the outset, as well as writing its own scripts and air on a niche channel with a tiny audience that, like, totally gets it, because it wants to STICK IT TO THE MAN and express its artistry instead of just being, like, a total sellout. William wants to remind us that tonight we are definitely, irrefutably, 100 per cent
So, remember when I said that this show desperately needed a proper title sequence?
It still does. That looks more like something you’d fight at the end of the Water Temple in a Zelda game. (I would love Morpha 100% if he just rose up out of the water and flicked the Vs at you, and he’s my favourite Zelda boss as it is – Chris) After we’ve been reminded that
Holly and Reggie exist on this show (well…Reggie does. – Chris), Reggie demonstrates this show’s utter humourlessness by referring to “the atmosphere here in the arena”. That’s right: “arena”. Not a studio, because that would make it a television show rather than an authentic performance legitimacy showcase or whatever the fuck they think it is. (Incidentally, if my cursory Google research is correct, it comes from the same studios where Big Brother is filmed. Make of that what you will.) Getting the evening off to a flying start are our “superstar coaches”
Sir Tom Jones and
Katy Perry. They’re singing U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ and it’s amusing for many reasons. William, for all his many positive attributes, isn’t much of a singer and this song more than amply demonstrates that. Tom isn’t really suited to songs like this, and completely drowns everyone else out to the extent that if Danny were his mentor, he’d be told to dial it back so that the others looked better and then sent home because Danny thought some whispering hipster was more commercial. Jessie sounds fine but sounds a bit like she’s auditioning for the lead role in U2 jukebox musical Even Better Than The Real Thing and doesn’t look remotely like the Jessie J we all know and…have mixed feelings regarding, and Danny is having such an authentic rock experience that the camera operators have been instructed to only film him from the navel upwards once
he chucks his guitar into the audience in a fit of showmanship (*lulz*) because the BBC Compliance people had confirmed that they wouldn’t be allowed to show his raging erection on Saturday teatime television. Also, the voices of these four really do not sound right together, at all, and no amount of overenthusiastic orchestration or show-off licks can disguise that. Seriously, I haven’t witnessed blending this poor since Shangela was eliminated from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Halleloo! The song concludes with Jessie yelling out “what is it?” and Tom
going “psst, it’s a ‘beautiful day'” since this whole call-and-response thing is a bit too modern for him. Besides, he had no use for it – no audience the world could offer was ever going to be louder than he was. Also, if anyone can explain to me why Danny has come dressed as
the heroine of Sarah Waters’ latest novel set in the lesbian underbelly of Victorian England, I would very much appreciate it. Holly and Reggie inform us that it’s a night of firsts, because it’s the first time the show is live, and the first time we’ll get to vote. No one says “and the first time that you won’t be subjected to mediocre contestants being praised as the second coming of Maria Callas”, but I’m sure that was an oversight.
So, as we’ve established, already, it’s William versus Tom tonight, and William thinks Tom has some good singers – but William has some GREAT singers. Tom says that he’s not worried about Team William, because he thinks he has the strongest team. (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA – Chris)
Joelle sums up my response to that perfectly. Thanks Joelle! Play your cards right and you too could be this blog’s new Stephanie Davis WTF Face. William says that his singers can “riff…terRIFFically”, and then calls himself out on his own dodgy wordplay. Ahh, self-awareness. It’s what makes me firmly Team William no matter how questionable the talents of his team. Tom tells us that Team Tom aren’t just great singers, they’re also
great personalities, even though we’re not supposed to care about any of that. Or are we? I’m so confused at this point.
Tom says that what makes his team unique is that “they can all sing”. Hang on, are we not now in the live finals of The Voice? The show that made a great song and dance about not even letting you audition if you weren’t wicked talented? Seriously, who is drunk at the wheel right now, letting that through? William says that he’s going to take his strong hand of five and ball it up into a fist,
indulge in some light BDSM and then win the competition.
Back in the
studio “arena”, Holly explains to us
how it works. Not the feat of engineering that is her cleavage, of course, but the show itself. There’s no “THIS ARE HOW IT AM WORK” VT this week, but I’m not really that disappointed because we’ve already had the “fightin’ talk” VT, and we’re obvously going to get VTs before every performance, so at this point I’m grateful for anything that speeds up the process a bit. Holly says that our votes will guarantee the spots of three artists in each team, but that will leave “Tim and Will, er, Tom and Will” to decide which of their remaining acts gets saved and which gets sent home. Again, not remotely like The X Factor.(It’s not Steve, they’ve removed the good bit where they have to sing again/sit on the floor and swear instead – Chris) There is, apparently, still time to be consumed before any of the contestants sing, so Holly asks William if this has been a collaboration between him and his artists since the beginning. William’s response?
“Yeah. Sure has.” I think Holly’s wishing she was back on Dancing On Ice already. Robin Cousins never left her hanging like this. Pushed for a bit more detail, William talks about how great it’s been to work with…everyone. You know, Jeff, Susie, Big Fishy Pete, all of them. Tom tells us that “live television is not like recorded television” (THANKS TOM!) so it’s going to be a bit like skydiving. Except skydiving is over a lot faster than this will be. Holly informs us that Team Jessie and Team Danny are
up in the audience taking notes and definitely not hoping for everyone performing tonight to be wiped out in some sort of mass-electrocution scenario. Holly then hilariously tries to claim that tonight is not going to be an easy ride for Danny and Jessie
because their considered and insightful comments might make all the difference for Tom and William when it comes to deciding who to eliminate. Yeah, that definitely sounds like a thing that is likely to happen.
Jessie says that she’s just going to do what she always does and be REAL AND HONEST, then Holly gets the audience to applaud themselves for being massive, and Danny says that tonight could be life-changing for somebody. Yeah, the two contestants who’re getting eliminated later, I’m guessing.
You might think that now, nine minutes in, it would be time for our first performance, but no, first we must go to
Reggie, in the “V room”, whatever that might be. Apparently this is where we all get to be coaches, because they’re putting our tweets up on the giant screen in the background. But only if the feedback is unconditionally positive. So, it’s exactly like being the coaches, then. Reggie reads out some
insightful commentary from the viewership, as long as they’re hashtagging “#thevoiceuk” and not “#thevoice”, which is what most people on my timeline were doing. OUR VIEWS WERE NOT BEING HEARD! Such BBC tyranny. Finally, it’s time for someone to actually sing, and
Joelle is opening for Team William. William says that he’s going to “part the red sea” with Joelle Moses, and as much as I appreciate his effort to get a bit of a biblical thing going on with the intro, to me it just sounded like he wanted to have sex with her next time she gets her period. (Judging from her…general demeanour all evening, he’s not got long to wait – Chris) Joelle says that she’s sung all her life, and when she was at school, she and her circle of friends would be Destiny’s Child.
“I would be Beyoncé, and every three weeks I’d fire my friends and hire new ones less likely to upstage me.” William tells us that he picked Joelle in her audition because she made him forget about Adele, and I think we all need someone like that in our lives. William’s first choice for Joelle is ‘Sweet Love’, which is one of my favourite songs ever. Clearly sensing that I would be gunning for her if she put a single note out of place, Joelle asks if she can sing something else, and after trying and rejecting the likes of Xtina, Diana Ross and MC Hammer, they settle on ‘I’m Goin’ Down’ by Mary J Blige. Another song I love and don’t want to hear ruined. YOU WILL NEVER ESCAPE MY CRITICAL EAR, JOELLE MOSES! Joelle hopes this performance will help William see she is a fighter.
Maybe she should have stuck with Xtina, then. Joelle begins singing for us and
apparently has no grasp of what the tempo of this song is supposed to be. There’s making it your own, and then there’s just performing at an entirely different speed to the band that’s accompanying you, which is what Joelle does. Her performance is basically a series of runs vaguely linked together by the same song, accompanied by some moves that
resemble a hissy fit more than anything. Jessie J status?
WOW. Joelle gets a standing ovation from all the judges, and Holly asks if she realises that she just opened the biggest show on the TV right now, not that the show is crowing about its ratings victories or anything. Joelle tells Holly that she just had the time of her life, and she owes it all to William. DIRTY BIT! William tells Joelle that she nailed it, and while she was “complaining”, which he hastily amends to “concerned” (because the absolute last thing a black woman on a reality TV show needs is the implication of a poor attitude), that she was going on first AGAIN, but he thinks this makes her the bar-setter. Jessie J says that she is still being honest, and that it was SO GOOD, and thanks Joelle for letting her watch that performance. I’m almost considering setting up some sort of drinking game where you take a sip for every earnest, po-faced, wanky comment, but I’m not sure the A&E departments of the nation are prepared for that many admissions of alcohol poisoning every Saturday night.
Tom thinks the judges have got the best seats in the house.
Except not, because they no longer have a button that makes them spin around. Now there’s just a bloody cupholder instead, and what use is that to anyone? (The use of holding cups? If I’d been there live, I would have needed one – Chris) Danny thinks that his team should be taking notes, because Joelle is amazing. I’m glad they went to such great lengths to get credible artistes as coaches who could give useful critiques like “so good” and “amazing”. Holly reads out the voting numbers and informs us that
at least 10p from each call will go towards the BBC’s Performing Briony fund. Yay Briony!
Next up, representing Team Tom,
Russell Grant. Tom delves right into the reality TV well of euphemisms to tell us that Sam has a “huge personality”, while Sam plays the “big fan of Tom Jones” card again and says that when Tom turned around for him during the auditions, he wanted to do one of those cheesy film moments and
jump up in the air. He didn’t, of course, because that would’ve made him look silly on national television, in a way that wittering on about “beeeeeees kneeeeeeees” totally doesn’t. Sam says that working with Tom Jones has been one of the happiest moments of his life, and Tom says that Sam reminds him of
himself, because he loves singing more than anything else. Sam worries that he had a bit of trouble with timing in rehearsals, having recorded this segment long before Joelle went out and had a lot of trouble with her timing live on stage. He worries that he’s letting himself down because he’s rushing it due to nerves. Tom’s advice is “take it easy, then; that’s what rehearsals are for.” This is an excerpt from his self-help book, Feel The Fear And Did I Tell You About The Time I Worked With Dionne Warwick.
Sam takes to the stage to sing ‘A Little Respect’,
and it appears that part of his timing problems must have been due to the shitty arrangement that cuts the bridge to smithereens. He keeps shifting uncomfortably between head voice and chest voice, as well as taking huge gasps of breath between phrases (Joelle did this as well, so for all the quality mentoring they’re getting, basic breath control doesn’t seem to have been a part of it), and when he gets to the chorus,
SEXY DANCING LADIES ARRIVE! Sam’s doing his best with the material, but there’s no escaping how the song is not in his range, and while he’s clearly having a lot of fun on stage, I don’t think it’s necessarily translating to the audience. Still, at least Tom has gone full Brian Friedman on this shit and
thrown in some sexy dancing boys as well. Jessie J status?
Unenthused. Holly coos that she loves Sam, because he’s a chubby gay man and therefore exists to be patronised by attractive heterosexual women – that was basically the pitch that Darren Star made when he pitched Sex and the City to HBO, although obviously these things don’t always work out exactly as planned, so they had to remove the word “attractive” after they cast Sarah Jessica Horseface. Holly asks if this was in fact the BEEEEES KNEEEEES and Sam says that yes, it was, and it was great to have the crowd to feed off, and if you think I’m making a lolfat joke there, then I’m disappointed in you.
Tom tells Sam that his timing was spot-on tonight so he needn’t have worried. Danny goes for the full Cheryl Cole with “the quiff was ’50s, the look is ’80s, but that was a timeless performance.” (in that it never seemed to end – Chris)
He’s the nation’s sweetheart! Where’s that L’Oréal contract? Holly asks Sam if he was less nervous once he got out here, and Sam gives her a 10,000 word dissertation on wanting to be an entertainer and how hopefully people just really liked it, but whatever happened, he had fun HAHAHAHAHA!
Quite. Holly asks William if HE WAS NOT ENTERTAINED, and William confirms that he was indeed entertained. There was a part where Sam was flat (it was called “the song” – Chris), but he didn’t care, because he likes watching him and it was really dope. ALL ABOUT THE VOICE! Holly informs Sam that he got William’s “first dope of the night”, not counting what was passed around backstage about two hours ago. Jessie J, sadly, cares not for entertainment and thinks that while Sam’s voice and range were great, she didn’t want to see
“a full musical behind you”, because this show is supposed to be All About The Voice. God, check out Ruthie Rulebook over here, spoiling everyone’s fun. I don’t know whether it’s the enormous glasses or not, but Sam’s “receiving negative feedback” face is
woobie-tastic. Jessie J assures him that she doesn’t think he needs that big production because he’s good enough vocally, and Sam gets a bit needy and clingy and it’s all a bit undignified, but hey, at least he didn’t do a romcom leap into the air or anything.
Holly gives some props to the band before we move on to our third performance of the evening, courtesy of
Frances, who is either doing a “bit” here or just hasn’t been briefed that she’s on camera. Frances tells us that she’s from a working-class family and is therefore not afraid to work hard to get where she wants to be. Failing that, she’ll just take an enormous shortcut by going on a reality show and having that do all the hard work for her. In a briefing from the WTF Makeover Department,
she is now severely jaundiced.
She admits to having cried a lot after winning the battle against Kate Whose Mum Is Fat But Also Beautiful, and she will be singing ‘Ain’t Nobody’ by Rufus & Chaka Khan & Liberty X & Richard X. She tells William that there are some bits she wants to change to make it her own a bit more, and William interviews proudly that Frances is “always fine-tuning her craft”. Fnar. William tries to give her a super-cool fist-bump, which she flubs. She attempts
this instead and seems happy, until William tells her that one’s actually a diss. LOL WHITE GIRLS.
After Holly’s intro, we see
and after playing an underpopulated version of Where’s Wally? for a while, I wonder if William and Frances are staying true to the mission statement of this show by having her perform the entire thing out of sight of the cameras. Sadly, she’s just temporarily obscured by a sliding screen. Curses! There’s some sort of narrative about
being sassy with the boys, followed by a stompy walk down some stairs and then some
dancing of the sort that Reverend Jessie J will certainly attempt to have banned before her team take part next week. A lot of her ad libbing is quite unpleasant but at least
William’s enjoying himself.
Holly compliments Frances for not breaking her neck on the stairs, and Frances admits that it’s the first time she’s not fallen down them. Where’s Diet Barrowman when you need him, eh? William tells her that he’s very proud, because they were having a little Team William Huddle backstage about how they just wanted to go out and put on a show to cheer everyone up (bless), and she really came out and entertained us, and it was fresh. Frances says that we don’t all give William enough credit, he’s not just a rapper, “he produces, he songwrites, he can even sing”.
Right there with ya, William. Jessie likes seeing how much Frances has grown since the blind auditions, and regrets not having turned around for her in the auditions. She knows how hard it is to make a cover your own, because Lord knows she sounded exactly like Katy Perry when she sang that Katy Perry cast-off, but Frances really put her own stamp on that track. Tom, of course, has performed with Chaka Khan, and thinks that Frances did the song with as much intensity as Chaka does. Danny thought her dance moves were stiff and that she was pitchy (oh good, there’s that word again) starting off with, but the more the crowd came alive, the more she started to own it. Also, SHE IS ONLY 18!!!!11!
Holly assures us that “the social networks” are positively buzzing with our feedback, also they need to pad out the running time a bit, so we go to poor underused Reggie in the V-Room, where everyone is enjoying an entirely spontaneous and not-at-all staged round of vocal warmups. “Junior: has an important warning for Mary J:
Yes, I thought Joelle looked angry with the potential to turn violent as well. Another Twitterer likes Sam because his voice is “unusual”, and Sam is happy to be unusual because “if you’re the same as everyone else, then you’re the same as everyone else”. I see a bright future for him on the next series of The Apprentice. Then
Frances arrives, and says that it feels like you’re at a massive concert. Well, yes, because we’re all in an ARENA, obviously. Reggie makes the obligatory “worgh, you got well close with those dancers, you floozy” comment, and Frances says she thinks they all fancied her. Lovely.
Next we have
Generic Pretty Boy Who Thinks He’s A Rock Star. There’s extensive (and I do mean extensive, like there have been entire episodes of Holby City shorter than this) footage of Adam’s audition in a desperate bid to convince us he has an actual personality. It’s not terribly successful. Adam talks about how beating someone we’d never seen before at Shout Tennis increased his confidence, and from there we segue into his rehearsals for ‘All My Life’ by the Foo Fighters, where Adam is standing limply by the piano with all the charisma and presence of week-old spaghetti, and Holly voices over that Adam’s having trouble unleashing his inner rock god. This would seem like the perfect moment for special guest mentor Kate Walsh off The Apprentice, but sadly she does not appear. Instead, Tom suggests Adam play his guitar, and the second he picks it up, Adam becomes
AN IRRESISTIBLE FORCE OF UNBRIDLED STAR-POWER MAGNETISM. Or the same tedious milquetoast, just holding an instrument. Your call.
Adam takes to the stage and
monotones his way through the song because singing more than one note is well inauthentic. (Be fair Steve, there was that one line where he tried to be Muse for no effing reason, and then just stopped – Chris) Oh, and he wants us to
live long and prosper. His staging would be a triumph of lights and noise over actual singing ability, were this not The Voice where of course they’d never stoop to such base tactics. While waiting for him to finish, I begin work on my “Come back Peter Brame, all is forgiven” banner to wave should I find myself present at the live shows, possibly in some form of eternal damnation-type scenario.
The show’s preference for Holly to hold a microphone up for the contestants to speak into when being interviewed, combined with the significant difference in their heights, gives Adam the posture of
Chuck D Head when talking to her. Adam, clearly unwilling to let any sort of “token ‘rocker’ on wholesome talent show” cliché pass him by, says that “it’s great to come on Saturday night TV and play a rock song” as if this some kind of first, and indeed as if his half-hearted strumming can actually be counted as playing a rock song in the first place. Tom says that Adam HAD A SNIFFLE in rehearsals, so he was nervous of the key, but then the magical guitar cured everything, and then the electric guitar was doubleplus effective. Danny loved it, of course, because it’s exactly the sort of superficial shit that turns him on, and congratulates him for bringing rock “to a new audience” on Saturday night TV. Because everyone watching telly at this hour has nothing racier than Van Doonican in their collection. Fuck off, both of you. Danny points out that it was pitchy, “but rock’s not about pitch, man, it’s about attitude, and you have that.” There you have it, folks. Rock music: 1% talent, 99% posturing.
Adamzilla tells Danny it wasn’t about being pretty with the vocals on this one, and Holly, either intentionally subverting this wankfest or just entirely missing the point, squawks “you were still pretty!” William thinks it looked energetic, but Adam was playing his guitar too gently, and needed to rock out a bit more. Adam moans that he isn’t sure if William’s aware of this but he actually
fell off the stage in rehearsals and chipped a bone in his elbow, THANK YOU FOR ASKING, which totally impeded his ability to rock out with his cock out. God, Adam is the worst. (Between this show and The Apprentice, I feel like I’m saying that a lot lately.) William congratulates him on managing to rock out with a chipped bone. Jessie J thinks he need to relax his jaw when going for the high notes, because that’ll help him out. Adam goes to respond, and Jessie J’s all “oh, what have you done?” like she’s expecting him to have injured his jaw in the fall as well, which is awesome. Actual constructive feedback, and a sense of boredom with his clumsiness. More of this, please.
Next we’re back to Team William and
Jaz, whose audition is also given lengthy coverage. Particularly his cover of ‘Ordinary People’, when he notes “it’s only when I got to the end where I noticed that it touched Jessie and Will.” Fnar. Jaz says that since his audition, he’s
“received so much love from people I don’t know”. Yeah, those The Voice groupies are right goers. William tells Jaz that he’s got people excited in America, so I guess he’s this show’s answer to SuBo. Jaz worries that it’s a lot to live up to.
Jaz sings ‘At Last’ with the sort of
tasteful, minimalist staging you’d expect from a show that’s (say it with me now) All About The Voice. Admittedly, he is pretty good, but he’s still providing more audible grunts than the women’s doubles final at Wimbledon, so seriously: breath control lessons, mentors. Look into them. William status?
Quite pleased. (Also blatantly caught tweeting mid-show, tsk.) (HE WAS JUST CONNECTING WITH THE AUDIENCE, GAWD. – Chris) William is rendered incomprehensible with sheer joy, and calls him “Jaz Man”, presumably due to his uncanny resemblance to the lead singer of Babylon Zoo. Jessie J is in awe, and proud that she is part of a show that is celebrating voices like this. Way to make it all about you, Jessie. Holly asks Tom what it is about Jaz’s voice that is so special, and Tom replies “he’s perfect.” Thanks for that expert feedback. Tom attempts to capitalise on William’s whole “HIS NAME IS JAZZ!” thing by adding that his name is also Ellington, but I suspect that reference might not be as universally understood as William’s.
Tom wishes Jaz had been on his team – and if he hadn’t turned around for everyone in the known universe, he might have had that option. Let that be a lesson to you, Jones. Danny continues from awful to worse by asking Jaz if he writes his own material
“because that’s the first thing I love to know”. Oh fuck off, Chris Credible. He asks what sort of album Jaz would like to make, and Jaz is kind of silent in response to this, perhaps sensing it’s a loaded question, and it is: Danny is worried that this was a little bit middle-of-the-road (yes, this is the criticism of the frontman of The Script) and that he couldn’t hear it on the radio. And if there’s one thing that radio stations are averse to in this day and age, it’s middle-of-the-road, lowest-common-denominator pap, hence the laughable failure of all of Adele’s music. Having dared to say anything negative in the first place, Danny then
apologises profusely. Rock on!
Up next it’s
not Barbara. Boo, NotBarbara! (I will be imagining Barbara the whole time. She’ll make the song sound like it’s about Uno – Chris) Tom explains to us that the reason we are Barbara-less at this stage is because Leanne
“took it up that extra notch”. Hear that, Barbara? This could have been you if you’d only been willing to have it up the chuff. Leanne has, like Frances,
been coated in turmeric in preparation for the live shows. She’s singing P!nk’s ‘Who Knew’, because Tom thinks she sounds comfortable with big ballads and he wants her to sound extraordinary. Except he says it “extraordinary”, like he’s asking for ordinary with a bit more ordinariness on top. Leanne interviews that Tom has filled her with confidence, and he says that when she steps on the stage, “people are going to say, ‘who knew?’ Well, I knew.” Now I know where Sam Buttery picked up the art of wordsmithery from.
On stage, Leanne has
clearly been styled to look as Adele-like as possible, but vocally is just giving it the full Jane McDonald. P!nk’s ballads are rarely her finest work, and the last thing this song needed was cod-operatic worthiness weighing it down. Danny is having
many feelings, and this
is happening in the background, making me wish I was watching So You Think You Can Dance rather than this. Thanks for nothing, Danny Cohen. Also, Tom must have been high if he thought Leanne would be able to convincingly deliver the line “I’d stand up and punch them out”.
Holly asks Tom if he took Leanne out of her comfort zone with that song, and Tom says that she’s just proven that she can sing absolutely anything. Holly is
so over this shit already, and so am I, like hurry up and get to Mooleen. Tom tells us that Leanne was also perfect, just like Jaz. Danny thought her pitch suffered from first night nerves, but she’s fantastic, and tries to drag her over to his team of tedious pseuds, but she’s the woman who can’t be moved. William particularly liked the last note. Jessie J wasn’t sure about the song choice, but was won over because Leanne didn’t sing it like P!nk. Apparently it really is that easy to impress Jessie J. Tom asks Jessie what she thought of the dancers, given her distaste for all forms of spectacle. Jessie thinks they were
From there we go back to Reggie in the always-thrilling V-Room (I look forward to Chris coming up with an excellent nickname for it in next week’s recap), where he reports that Emily thinks “Adam is gorgeous, and he sings rock songs too!” All About The Voice. Oh God, what if this becomes like American Idol and we have a white guy with a guitar winning every year? I’m not sure I could stand it. Adam’s response to this is “well, you’ve got to sing a rock song, haven’t you?”
I love how the logo is flipping the V at Sueleen. Jaz is humbled by his lovely feedback. Reggie likes his hat. This section is very stilted. Reggie reminds us that next week, Team Jessie and Team Danny will be performing, so let’s hear what the coaches have to say about their acts.
Next up, it’s our youngest (AND THEREFORE BEST) female artist, representing Team William.
Because Sophie is 17, her VT consists of the inevitable
“LOL I CAN’T COOK OR USE A WASHING MACHINE” VT, guest-starring Mother Griffin in the role of “LOL MY CHILD IS ALMOST OLD ENOUGH TO VOTE AND YET I HAVE TAUGHT HER NONE OF THESE IMPORTANT LIFE SKILLS.” There were some murmurings on Twitter when this went out that this particular construct is inherently sexist because they wouldn’t dare to use this storyline for a boy. I disagree, because I’m sure I’ve seen young boys getting very similar VTs on reality shows, they’re just usually wearing nothing but a pair of jockey shorts while demonstrating their inability to use a washing machine, so people tend not to focus on the “lack of life skills” part because they’re too busy uploading screengrabs to famousmales.com. Anyway, Sophie makes it to That London without being decapitated by her inability to use an iron or anything like that, and
struggles with her allocated track, which is ‘Titanium’ by David Guetta featuring Sia.(Amaze, especially if you imagine J. Marie Pooper Scooper doing it – Chris) An interesting, slightly leftfield choice, that I think is probably going to sink her one way or another, because she’s either going to choke horribly on the high notes, or suffer from viewers’ unfamiliarity with the song, or possibly both. (Yes, I know it was number one just a couple of months ago, but you’d be surprised by the number of people I saw on Twitter going “wtf is this?”) Her inability to get the song right every time leaves Sophie
pouting in an unbecoming fashion, but William tries to keep her spirits up. Sophie vows that she might be the youngest person competing, but she won’t be beaten by nerves, dammit! Are nerves a problem that only affect young people? Or do they just like saying “Sophie is young!” as much as humanly possible.
Sophie begins with a bit of
Brucie for us, and grading on a curve over the night’s performances, her vocal probably is one of the better ones, but her attempts to riff on the existing melody aren’t particularly successful for me – they jar too much with what the band is playing. Actually, my issue with this performance more than anything is that it lacks a bit of BOSH – the original is a pulse-raising dance track that’s given an emotional edge by Sia’s trademark bruised vocals (that sound like she’s shitting out a pineapple ❤ – Chris), whereas Sophie’s need to provide a singing showcase coupled with a watered-down orchestration leaves the whole thing feeling rather lifeless, despite William’s efforts to
bulk out the performance with dancers.
William congratulates Sophie on a great performance and singing like she was at home in front of her family.
Hmm, they don’t seem the most appreciative of audiences. He encourages her to treat the audience watching at like family. A judgemental, bitchy, probably drunk family. Jessie thinks she wouldn’t have been able to do that when she was YOUNG, and congratulates Sophie on showing her falsetto, her staccato, her legato, her mulatto, her albino, her mosquito, her libido, YEAH! Tom was impressed by the confidence in someone so young, and the audience applaud Sophie for being young. Good grief. Danny reminds her that he was Team RubyRedDiva in the battle last week (as were all right thinking people – Chris), but William’s done a fabulous job with her, and also she is 17, again, some more.
Next up, it’s
MOOLEEN! YEAH! (FUCK! – Chris)
(Sidebar: back when I recapped their blind audition, I mentioned that I’d been in a play with Sueleen. At first I thought both of them had been in it, but an article about them gave a different surname for Matt from what I was expecting, so I assumed he was a different one. Then yesterday I read this and discovered that, as I suspected, I have indeed worked with both of them. I have a VHS copy of this play, and now I want them to win so that it might be worth something.)
Somehow they advanced through the auditions and Shout Tennis for reasons best known to Tom Jones, and now they’re here. They’re singing ‘Go Your Own Way’ by Fleetwood Mac, and in their coaching session – or, if you will, their Mooleen Klass – they discuss
how appropriate for them this song is, because they fight a lot. Tom tells them that they have an advantage because they’re the only duo left (there were only two to begin with, you goon), and he thinks if they nail it on the live shows like they did in rehearsals, they’re laughing. Matt admits that he fears getting
this look from Sueleen, because that means he’s fucked up. (Spoiler: expect to see that look a lot in the next three minutes.)
Holly introduces them by saying “let’s find out if a little friction can produce a lot of fire”. According to my PHSE teacher, it can, and that’s why you should always lubricate your condoms properly. Their styling is
questionable, and their singing more so, with most of the harmonies in the second voice really jarringly unharmonious.
Performance finished, Holly returns to the stage and there’s a bit of “business”
about who’s supposed to stand where. Holly asks Matt if he got The Look at all during that, and he says that he wasn’t really paying attention. Fair enough.
Tom talks about how they were initially wary of this song, but he’s so pleased they did it. Judging by the howls that Chris was emitting while watching this performance, he was fractionally less pleased about it. (IT WAS AN ABOMINATION – Chris) Danny talks about how he used to sing with his brother and sister, and that Mooleen remind him of that, presumably because both situations had the same sizzling sexual chemistry. (Interpret that any way you like.) William found himself imagining them touring, and says that the world needs a group like them (as ballast? – Chris). Jessie says that being a duo is tough because you feel like you’ve got a lot to prove, but they did prove it, and she’s finding herself thinking that they could’ve been in her category had it not been for that wretched coin toss. Bless Jessie J for pretending to be upset about this. So much for that unyielding honesty she promised at the top of the show.
The final entrant from Team William is of course
Amy’s mate, who explains that his thought process behind applying for the show was his emotional turmoil over her death, and how he thought
the period of time in which he can exploit his grief life is too short, so he auditioned. William tells us that Tyler was literally born with star quality, like
“waaahhh….star…” Indeed. Tyler is singing ‘Higher Love’ and wants to do a slowed-down version of it, so William suggests that they build it up before the chorus to bring it down on the chorus. By the looks of things, Tyler has very clear ideas about how he wants it to go, and restructures the song to fit his vision, which William is happy with.
Time for Tyler to sing for his supper, and also
maybe some socks. The first time I watched this I wondered if this was some weird trick of the lighting, but no
his trousers really are a different colour at the top. Fancy. Vocally, it’s all right, but my enjoyment of his falsetto is in direct contrast to the amount he uses it. If it were sparing, it would be fine, but to have most of the song delivered like that gets a bit grating after a while.
William tells us that while Tyler was singing, he had another one of his imagination things, except this time he was a spaceman who’d landed on an alien planet only to be captured and thrown into a terrifying futuristic jail, where Tyler was his guard, and Tyler was shirtless most of the time, and agreed that he would let William out if William would just go down on…oh, hang on, not THAT imagination thing. Sorry, crossed wires. This one was about them touring together, and after the tour, Tyler goes to his dressing room, and then maybe William walks in on him shirtless…oops, my mistake again. Damn these mixed messages. William’s imagining all the girls walking straight past his dressing room and going to Tyler’s. “I’ve been on those tours,” laments William. He informs Tyler that he was dope and supermegafresh, and every lick was licked. And then he drifts off into his imagination place again…
Jessie loved the simplicity of it and that Tyler sang so comfortably, without us being able to hear the break between his chest belt and his falsetto. Tom says that had he been Tyler’s coach, he would’ve done exactly the same as William. Danny says that he’s always listening out for something that could be on the radio or that he could go to iTunes and download (other music download services are available) and he wants to hear Tyler do something like that on his album. He thinks there are singers, and artists, and that Tyler is the latter. But then he also thinks Adam is the latter, so *shrug*.
Finally for the night, we’re back to Team Tom and
Ruth Brown. We’re told (reminded? I can’t remember, and I’m too close to the end to go off and check) of the fact that her audition was two days before her dad’s funeral. Ruth says that she realised no one was turning, so she went hell-for-leather on her end note, and it was the length of time that she held it for that convinced Tom to turn. Handy! In rehearsals, Tom tells Ruth that he sang with Aretha Franklin once.
I know, Ruth, we’re all bored of his anecdotes too, but you might need to fake enthusiasm for a bit longer. He wants to give her a vocal showcase, so she’s singing ‘Get Here’ by Oleta Adams. Ruth says that it’s like singing to her dad, because no matter how far away he is, he’s still right beside her.
I’m not sure what sort of vendetta the stylists have got against Ruth, but
yeah. I really don’t think “Roz from Monsters Inc.” was the way to go. Ruth’s performance is a little too theatrical for television, but there’s just something about that moment when she opens her mouth and the voice of someone about 30 years older pops out that makes me forgive her for things like that. Girl can sing, is what I’m saying. She manages a nice balance of vulnerability with the sheer power of her voice, and for my money, this is the most assured performance of the evening, although there are one or two licks that could have done with…not being licked, as it were.
At the end, Holly’s all “RUTH MOTHERFUCKING BROWN!!!”, so you know it’s good. She appears to have sung so hard that Danny
doesn’t appear to quite know where he is right now. Maybe the sheer brute force re-activated the swivel function on his chair and he got a bit dizzy. The male judges are on their feet applauding, while Jessie is sat down, drying her eyes. Tom and Holly do a bit where the crowd is so appreciative that he can’t hear her questions, and the crowd is only too happy to play along, of course. Tom thinks that if we were judging on applause, Ruth would win. Maybe they should implement that next series. Danny thinks that “we talk about licks and riffs” (we do?), but “we could all lick it off your boots.” God, another mentor with a sordid sex fantasy about a contestant. This show is disgusting. William says that he wants to interview her, and asks how long she’s been singing. Ruth can’t entirely remember, but she’s never had any professional training. William says that this is a special show, because we’re just listening for the voice, and he doesn’t know if people would’ve seen her on another show (MENTIONING NO NAMES) the way we’ve just seen her now. (No, she would have been styled a lot better – Chris) Jessie gets the final comment, and says that if anyone was watching her just now (and if they weren’t, WHY NOT?) they’d see she was crying, because she sang that song on TV when she was 15, and she was so scared. I love that Jessie’s crying is only like 20% about Ruth and 80% about herself. Jessie says that Ruth – wait for it – did her father proud.
We go back to the V-Room (and by V-Room, I mean…) to revisit poor, unloved Reggie one last time, where he reveals that a viewer has referred to Matt as “Gandalf”, and
everyone laughs. Someone else has tweeted that they’re in love with Tyler, and Reggie says “aren’t we all” before hastily clarifying that he doesn’t mean himself because LOL GAY PANIC. There follows a momentous moment in the show’s history
as they finally harness the 1.21 gigawatts of energy needed to go BACK TO THE FUTURE! Also, the phone lines are open. Holly wants us to remember that when we’re voting, it’s still All About The Voice, and that is why there were no pictures broadcast at any point during tonight’s show. Give it up, Holly: like it or not, you’re now The X Factor with nicer chairs. And they’re not even that nice without the big red buttons.
Ooh look, Reggie finally escaped. He and Holly have just enough time to pimp out tomorrow’s results show, which features the debut performances of Team Danny and Team Jessie as well as a live performance from
noted patriot Lana Del Ray. One act from each team is going home tomorrow, but who?