Previously on The Voice : four weeks of spinning, one week of shouting, six weeks of shambles. The show launched itself as a new, different, more noble take on the singing reality show, but even the dark dread powers of Evil Moira Ross couldn’t prevent the whole enterprise falling into the usual tumble of sob-stories, emotional manipulation, honky vocals and the runners-up being more successful than the winner. That’s right, following the last series of The Voice, William and Danny From The Script have both had Number 1 records. Tom Jones? Not so much. Still, a number 148 single is still better than Matt Cardle’s doing these days, so WELL DONE TOM.
Oh yeah, contestants?
(*world’s biggest shrug*)
But now, the show is BACK, for another series, and hopefully this time we’ll avoid all the technical issues that plagued the last series, like when Team Jessie’s mics all failed, Becky Smash’s mic-lead garotted three innocent bystanders, and all those weeks when the show’s SOCIAL MEDIAL WALL AND TWEET HUB accidentally deleted out all the comments about how crap the show was.
Oh great, SOMEONE CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE, THE SPINNING CHAIRS ARE ON FIRE AGAIN! IF WE DON’T HAVE THEM, LITERALLY NOBODY WILL WATCH! Also
Danny From The Script would like you to know that he refuses to do anything til that kid turns up with his latte. He’s simply not having it. He doesn’t know who keeps on booking him on these chickenshit gigs, he’s an EFFING MONKIE AWARD WINNER.
Once the 17 packs of blue M & Ms have been delivered to Danny’s chair, and the smoke has cleared, the judges talk us through what it’s like waiting for the auditions to start. The room is completely silent, the judges hear the echo of footsteps behind them, and then a deep inhaling of breath, then Evil Moira Ross bellows “THIS ONE’S A 33 YEAR OLD VIRGIN AND HER DAD’S ONLY GOT ONE KNACKER CAUSE OF THE CANCERS, WE LIKE HER, PRESS YOUR BUTTON JUDGES, BUT NOT YOU WILLIAM, BLACK PEOPLE SCARE HER! IN WHICH CASE YOU TOO TOM, JUST TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE!” in their ears, then “the music starts”. Presumably the music they get fed in via their earpieces so they can listen to something other than a teenage boy squeaking his way through a dubstep rearrangement of Christina Aguilera whilst they all grind their arses around in their chairs like they’ve got ringworm, and only the spinny button can give them sweet sweet relief.
How I’ve missed this show.
Reggie then reminds us that our four superstar coaches are here to coach, not judge. For the first 6 weeks they’ll be coaching via the medium of hammering a button with their faces then yelling “PICK ME YOU GIMP, I SANG WITH DEBBIE GIBSON ONCE!”. Coaching by B F Skinner there. To remind us who they are (and by “they” I mean Jessie J and Tom Jones, because let’s face it, you couldn’t avoid the other two for the last year), they are each introduced by plaudits from the other judges.
Jessie J tells us that there’s “nothing William can’t do” and that he is now “master of everything”. Don’t blame me, I voted for David Guetta. She continues to gush that William even had a song played on Mars this year, as part of NASA’s search for Martian life. Much like how we introduced smallpox to America before we invaded them. Although if you look at the Mars Rover
it even kind of looks like William.
Doesn’t it? A little?
Jessie J meanwhile
has a spot, and thinks she’s being subtle about hiding it. Williams tells us that “Jessie sings good” and Danny beams that it’s so good to have someone up there singing good ON A WORLD STAGE, competing with the best that America has to offer. He particularly loves how she “did us proud at The Olympics”.
6th in women’s shot-put, not bad going. I also congratulate the show on finding the one shot of the Olympic Closing Ceremony where Emily Sunday wasn’t hovering apocalyptically over everything, like the moon about to smash into Termina at the end of The Legend Of Zelda : Majora’s Mask. (FIRST IMPENETRABLE GEEK JOKE OF THE SERIES EVERYONE!). Also, nobody speculate where Brian May is jamming his guitar. Thanks.
Here’s Danny O’Donogal
He has a guitar. Jessie tells us that he spent the last year writing songs and going on tour and other things that authentic artist-musicians like James Arthur and Gary Lightbody do. William tells us that Danny wanks on about musical artistry so much that it actually makes him feel a bit sick. Just play Space Invader noises over the top of an 80s song Danny, that’s REAL MUSIC.
Tom Jones is introduced as “last year’s winner” and they don’t even flash up a shot of Leanne at all, let alone mention her. CONTESTANTS WHAT NOW? We might as well spend the next three months watching the four judges play Risk.
Here are your coaches, ladies and gentlemen. Between them they have over 100 years of experience to share. And my God are they going to.
A 60s medley. Rip It Up/Johnny B Goode/Shout/Long Tall Sally, it’s a solid reminder that neither Tom Jones or Jessie J has the exuberance and eccentricity of Little Richard, Danny O’Donoghue can’t quite match Chuck Berry, and as hard as William is trying, he’s just not Lulu. And that’s the only time you’ll be hearing “not Lulu” from me as a negative, ever.
At least William is skilled at interacting with other human beings, I guess. Look at him. He’s making that one woman’s NIGHT. My favourite part is probably when Jessie J, via the lyrics of Long Tall Sally, equates the fun you get in the audience on The Voice to the fun you get cheating on your wife with a prostitute. AND you probably won’t get crabs whilst you do it.
Once the judges have finished trying to hook in the valuable baby-boom audience that Strictly tries to haul in with Anton du Beke, it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with our utterly redundant hosts.
Reggie Yates, and Holly’s Boobs. They’re here to tell us that
hopefully. Each coach this year is aiming to create a team of 12 singers/ARTISTS. This team is constructed via the medium of the Blind Auditions. Each coach is sat facing away from the stage as the auditionee sings, and if the judge hears something they like (or in the case of Tom Jones, something they can hear at all through the shredded remains of their eardrums) they do this
or something like it. Tom probably won’t be doing that, because the insurance wouldn’t cover it. If they’re the only judge to press their button, the auditionee is automatically on their team. If more than one person presses, then the auditionee gets to pick who they’re going to work with. Also
there’s more face-pulling than a regional am-dram production of A Streetcar Named Desire (starring Danny O’Donoghue as Blanche Dubois and Jessie J as the Streetcar). Oh and if no coach turns we all point and laugh. Especially if it’s someone who’s conventionally sexually attractive.
LOL, BYE BITCH! GO AND DO X FACTOR OR SOMEFIN!
Danny tells us that the level of vocal ability on The Voice is so high, he’s not even sure that HE would make it through the Blind Auditions. Wow. What a thought. That he thought that sounded modest. Holly then runs us through the prizes you get for winning : a record deal with Universal, the title of “The Voice”, and banishment to the Phantom Zone, never to be heard of again.
Hey The Voice, how many series are you going to be cancelled after?
THANKS, THE VOICE!
Time now for our auditions to begin, as Reggie explains that thousands of people applied, but the producers have chosen only the very best to showcase to us over the next few weeks. And oh look
one of them’s brought their baby along already, literally three seconds in. Then 5 seconds later, he is gazzumped.
I cannot wait. I hope none of those children are NOT WELL or anything. I only bought three boxes of Kleenex for this episode, and I hear Kavana’s on later.
Auditionee #1 is
this chap, who is a Youth Arts Co-Ordinator. I said ARTS Sun readers, put your pitchforks down. He’s from the valleys of South Wales, and in case you were unaware of the show’s angle for him
it’s this angle, normally only seen on Lunchtime News articles about rising rates of heart problems. I’m surprised they didn’t give him a chippie cone and a pair of trackies, just to drive the point home. This is Ash walking to work, where he
helps Special Needs children make outfits for drag queens. He tells us that his job is both rewarding and challenging, as some of those drag queens are RUDE. Ash tells us that he’s never had singing lessons, but he did do karaoke once. Knowing this show, I’m sure if we scratch hard enough we’ll find a record deal in there somewhere.
Anyway, here he is getting the first patented
“Holly Willoughby Patronising Sympathy Gaze” of the series. She just cares SO MUCH. Ash tells her that he’s nervous, because he doesn’t perform in front of people very often, and Holly gives him the sage advice just to pretend that no other human being exists, just like she does 24/7. Ash says he’ll try to take that on board, and then he gets plonked in the Voice
CONE OF SHAME, home of previous Voice moments of physical self-acceptance including Toni RIPPING OFF HER HEAD-SCARF and…well that was about it, but wasn’t it awesome? Ash tells us that he thinks image is important as a musical artist, but it should always come second to the voice. Which I guess explains that scarf. He further wibbles on about his nerves, as we cut to
Holly talking backstage to his mum, sister, and friend about his nerves. Or his sister, friend and mum. I wish they’d make them stand in order, like Ant & Dec. It would make things so much easier. Or make them wear placards. Or get it tattooed on their forehead. “FRIEND”.
Fortunately for Ash, his nerves are for naught, as his version of Paloma Faith’s version of “Never Tear Us Apart” earns our first
up-close and personal shot of Danny’s Artistry Face of the series. THANKS ASH! It’s a little breathy, and there are one two many unnecessary noises just for the sake of it, but
Jessie J never had a problem with that, and she’s the first to turn and start banging on her desk like she’s the newest Slater sister. But she doesn’t stop there, oh no. Apparently the producers have set the judges FREE from the invisible barrier tying them to their chairs, and Jessie J is so overcome she just has to run up to the stage and start
flopping around on it like The Little Mermaid got wasted on shooters at Jumpin Jaks. She earnestly tells Ash to
,like he was about to start tooting out the second verse from his arse entirely as fart noises. Like Paloma did that one time on Graham Norton and they had to edit it out. Ash then starts full on
wailing the song at Jessie J, looking a bit like she’s affixed her teeth to his nethers just out of shot as he does so. This all together activates Danny’s impeccable “Jessie J Acting Like A Tit-dar” and he
turns just out of curiosity. William and Tom also cave in shortly afterwards, meaning our first auditionee is the first person to get all four judges to turn. I guess they thought this was them starting the series on a high, and it probably would have been without Jessie J rolling round on the floor like So You Think You Can Dance never got cancelled.
So this means it’s time for the judges to fight fight fight fight fight for Ash’s love, which of course Tom does by highlighting his and Ash’s shared Welshness. Ash tells Tom that he’s from Abercynon, and Tom replies that he knows it well. Ash tells Tom that it knows him well as well, and some of it is looking for child maintenance payments backdated since 1973.
Tom asks how the old place is looking, and Ash says that it’s great! They’ve got pavements now and everything! LOL. Upon receiving probing about his job, Ash reveals that he teaches workshops for special needs children, and everybody whoops and cheers him. I mean…he might not be any good at it, hang on.
Danny shuffles in saying that Tom said he thought that Ash is a great singer, but DANNY doesn’t think that. HE thinks Ash is an EXCEPTIONAL singer. William then says that he doesn’t think Ash is an exceptional singer he thinks that he IS THE WORLD’S GREATEST SINGER EVER. Then Jessie J says that she doesn’t think Ash is THE WORLD’S GREATEST SINGER EVER, she thinks he’s JESSIE J! Or something like that. William says that he really enjoyed seeing the passion and emotion that Ash performed with, yelling at Jessie J like he was trying to drive her off the stage through noise alone, like the police turning a hose on a group of rioters/innocent students. He thinks that Ash is here representing “all the teachers” and is “double blessed” with a “heart as big as his voice”. And who hasn’t missed that particular euphemism?
Jessie closes by saying that there is a difference between “singing” and “sanging” (yes, it’s called “grammatical standards”) and Ash
SANGS songs. He song that particular sang real good. Ash rises to the challenge of reprosanting all teachers everywhere by chahsing to wark with Jessie.
Cue all the other coaches greeting every audition by flipping around on the floor like they’re having a fake epileptic fit. Joy. Jessie gloats, Danny shrugs, William
orders something off his rider…
We now get a brief interstitial reminding us of all the memes from the last series : Tom name-dropping, Danny always pressing his button immediately after Will does, Danny standing on his chair going “hoo hoo hoo hoo”, Jessie J’s notorious love of Flumps. Never has a show been more proud of its cliches.
Auditionee #2 arrives
direct from a wormhole from 1992 (does he know Vince Kidd?) as Holly tells us that neither age nor experience matter on The Voice. You see, Danny here has only ever sung to himself in his room, a fact the show illustrates by having a cameraman peep around the door as he sings along into his headphones, so that fact remains true.
They’ve edited out the first attempt at this shot, where he was caught eating a Pot Noodle and having a wank to Loose Women. Danny tells us that he tried to do a gig earlier this year, but it all went wrong and he couldn’t breathe. I think Danny may have got his lifestory from the movie 8 Mile. He frets that he’s sure that he’s the least experienced of all the people in the room today, as the camera
crash-zooms to the Triassic face of Sir Tom Jones. Nobody’s got more experience than him. Ask your mum.
Danny takes to the stage and
briefly looks like he’s going to have another panic attack. Up in the gallery Evil Moira Ross prepares a fleet of telegenic nurses and the editor of The Sun’s Bizarre number on speed-dial. Sadly for her, he manages to get through his audition song, a slowed down cod-US folk version of “About You Now” by the Sugababes. It’s very slow and a little sleepy, but it’s a decent enough pastiche of the sort of voice he’s mimicking, albeit with one or two too many Kermit notes. Jessie presses
without looking too thrilled about it, and Danny shortly follows suit. Yeah, I don’t think that schtick is going to work in the Battle Rounds. He’s going to get rolled over by some 50-year old pub singer from Wolverhampton screaming Rod Stewart. Once it’s clear that neither Tom or William are particularly into this, Jessie J runs across to pretend to strangle Danny for trying to steal her boy.
She was planning on cutting up that shirt and using it for a bandana Danny, DON’T SPOIL HER CHANCES NOW!
Danny asks Danny (oy…) to give him some background, and Danny tells him that this is the third time he’s sung in public, and the first time he’s managed to do it without an oxygen tank. William’s all
“whatever, I’ve NEVER sung, anything ever, and I’m the richest person on the panel”. Danny (judge) tells Danny (contestant) that he turned around because he’s looking for a unique voice, so he’ll ignore the pitching problems. If by “unique” you mean “Diana Vickers in a cowboy movie” then sure. Jessie J then tells Danny that she turned around because she thinks that he’ll be a challenge. Wow. Praise so faint you need a spectroscope to find it. Danny asks if this is the point where he chooses which of these two rejects him at the first opportunity after they steal his vintage threads for live show fashions, and everyone says yes. He chooses…
nobody, because it’s time for William to start straight-up trolling for the first time this series. Oh something I actually HAVE missed. How fresh. Before he’s even started Jessie J throws a strop and tells Danny (contestant) that William is going to tell Danny (contestant) to pick Danny (judge) because he’s a big old mean who hates Jessie J and wants to see her fail JUST SO YOU KNOW.
Pretty biting for a woman who’s come out wearing a necklace made out of Hula Hoops. William’s all “LOL YUP” and tells Danny to pick Danny. Is he hoping to create some sort of paradox vortex to collapse the show and whisk him away back to LA and hot-tub parties with Tyler James and several women who are definitely not hookers? Who can say? Jessie J strops that she may not know how to play guitar or produce records, but she HAS got lots of producers numbers on her mobile. Who has Danny got on his mobile? NOBODY, because he had to throw it away after Bo Bruce wouldn’t stop calling, asking why she feels like they weren’t really BEST friends any more, like, he still texts her but it just feels like his heart’s not in it any more, why don’t you come horse riding with me again Danny we can talk about songs or how nobody understands me or even just get ice cream or something? Danny then scrabbles a little desperately, talking about he likes BEERS AND LADS AND DOING LAD THINGS. Jessie J snorts that at Jessie J’s School For Young Gentlemen they will NOT be drinking alcohol because it is BAD FOR YOUR VOICE.
And it’s lights out by 9 and if she finds a discarded condom in the locker-room again, you’re for the high-jump CASSIUS HENRY. For some reason, this tips Danny over into picking
Jessie. I guess a lot of Young Christians do dress like displaced ravers. Danny (judge) really should have picked up on the signs. Jessie congratulates Danny (contestant) on picking her, and Danny (judge) does fakey sad-face and says he’s really genuinely sorry, because there’s no way Danny (contestant)’s getting out of Team Jessie alive.
SORRY BOUT IT.
Afterwards Reggie interviews Danny (contestant) backstage and extracts from him that he chose Jessie because he really appreciated how she was being real with him. Meanwhile, back out front, Danny, Jessie and William are having a three-way catfight, with Jessie telling William that she thinks he wasn’t being fair to her, William saying that it was JUST HIS OPINION (trollolololol), and Danny saying that CLEARLY Danny should have gone with Danny because he had a GUITAR. Meanwhile Tom just sits there
with this face. And this is why Tom is probably going to win again.
is this girl. I think there might have been a Leanne on this show before but…no, it’s gone. She tells us that she’s had no professional training – she’s done it all herself. She’s been in girlbands, tribute acts, tribute acts to Girlband…
FINALLY a girlband that Tom Jones can get behind. Their covers include “Yell The Shots”, “Wake You Up”, “Whole Lotta Histrionics” and “Somethin’ Kinda RARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH”. Leanne sums up her music career so far as being “two steps forward, two steps back, wobbling a bit, then falling on my arse and just sitting on the kerb crying for a bit with a kebab in my hand”. Or I do.
Reggie sits her down and asks her
as she’s flanked by her current tribute act “Escalope 7” (their Jon Lee is even more masculine than the real thing!) how “things are in the world of work”. Leanne sadly tells Reggie that she’s working in an office at the moment (THE SHAME!) because her last job as the landlady of a pub fell through. Even WORSE though, is the fact that she’s now sharing a bed with Tina Barrett (/her mum), for financial reasons. Reggie then blatantly asks Paul Cattermole (/her boyfriend Bruce) if this means he has threesomes with Leanne and her mum and then everyone sits around awkwardly. Nice one Reggie.
Backstage Leanne calls herself “little old me from Southend-On-Sea” and pulls this face and
slow down Leanne, I haven’t disliked anybody this episode yet. Don’t ruin things for me now. She tells that if this doesn’t work, it’s back to “Square One” for her. Square One being the bar where she performs as part of “The Saturgays” and she doesn’t know how much she can fake being a lesbian for the other girls (/one guy) (/poor Oona).
For her audition she sings “Stay With Me” by Lorraine Ellison. It’s quite an old-fashioned rendition, but she obviously knows what she’s doing, even if occasionally what she’s doing is “a more bearable Cilla Black”. Jessie is first to turn, then William continues his quest to press the button with every part of his body by
squishing it with his muffin-top. At this point Jessie J’s Hot Chair Antics recommence as she
tries to get William’s chair to turn back around. Oh Jessie. Remember, “lefty loosy, righty tighty”. From this point she starts yelling “PRESS THE BUTTON, PRESS THE BUTTON, PRESS IT, PRESS IT, PRESS IT NOW, GO ON TOM, PRESS IT!” until the old geezer finally gives in. Danny also presses somewhere in the middle of this, and William also does this.
Nice. Suddenly I’m craving a relaunch of The Crystal Maze with a new Richard O’Brien.
Jessie J asks for Leanne’s name, then
yells it, then asks how old she is. Leanne replies “24” and Jessie pipes “MY AGE!”. I presume they edited out about 5 minutes of laughter at this point. Jessie tells Leanne to pick her cause she turned around for her first, and all the other judges just did it to copy her. Also they all licked her lolly and they never said sorry. William points out that Jessie may have turned around first, but William turned around “cooler”. Leanne says she has to agree and mimics just how cool William is.
I think Leanne might be very easily impressed, as a person. Jessie then full on lies that all the other judges were pulling rude faces when the chairs were turned and they don’t REALLY like her, and then William gabbles all over her saying that Jessie is unfairly “judging his thinkingness” in a way that Leanne clearly finds really charming. I think the other three judges might as well give up now, so in love with William is Leanne. In a way, Jessie J does in fact give up, and says that she thinks Leanne should join forces with her, because she too knows what it’s like to be “24 and wanting to be a female”. At this, Danny
laughs his head off, whilst Tom thinks “I knew it!”. You don’t have a 172 year residency in Vegas without being able to spot a transgendered individual, let Tom Jones tell you that. He sang “Mustang Sally” with Amanda Lapore once, at Smokey Robinson’s house.
Tom tells Leanne that she’s a very pretty girl, Danny grumps that Leanne’s probably just going to pick Jessie cause she’s a GIRL, and then
Leanne picks William because she wants to marry him. BYE BRUCE. Leanne’s mum’s bed is getting a new playmate. You so two thousand and LATE.
You can tell that he kind of already knows it. When she goes in backstage to hug everyone, she’s already kind of ignoring him. Let’s be honest, you can’t have Escalope 7 with a white Bradley. It just doesn’t make any sense. Bye Bruce. For a few months anyway, I don’t think she’ll win – I can’t imagine the show would have two winners with the same name. The name of……no, it’s gone again.
As the judges recover from the onerous task of having to listen to someone sing for 90 seconds, then jabber at one another for 900, Jessie J decides she wants to wear William’s glasses.
She’s so ready to start her job at Thomas Cook right now.
Next up, a montage, on the theme of “William is SO WACKY!”
He sure is.
Here’s Auditionee #4
He tells us that everyone at school thinks he’s really boring, because all he does is sit in his room listening to old records. He’s particularly inspired by
Richard Fleeshman. I identify with Louis so much, although who amongst us has not been touched by The Fleesh? Or at least imagined ourselves being touched by The Fleesh. Or on The Fleesh. Whatever. He tells us that he saw Richard in concert once, and he came home, determined to learn how to play the piano. So determined, he looked it up on google.
I too have a Google search history that involves investigating how to play with Chord Overstreet. Louis and I are clearly SOULMATES.
Oh, never mind, he plays the ukulele, carry on.
Backstage he tells us that he’s really worried that the judges won’t be able to see him, because lots of his act revolves around “being young and playing the piano and stuff”, but he’s confident that performing in front of four international stars (the ones that aren’t watching Ant & Dec on ITV presumably) is one he’ll treasure forever.
He sings “Learn To Fly” and if they ever do a Foo Fighters West End Show (and let’s face it, they’re going to) they should call him up. Jessie and Danny both call the whole performance out as being musical theatre (just like Louis’ idol, The Fleesh) and it really is. The inflections on the words, the smoothness of it all, the deliberate slightly twee smallness of it. Poor Louis.
Poor Louis’ mum.
When the judges have all turned around, Louis tells them that he’s 16, and then Jessie
worries slightly about how the outright mockery she and Danny were unleashing on him behind their chairs :
is going to come across on BBC 1 Saturday tea-time. SHE SWEARS THAT SHE THOUGHT HE WAS 18! SHE THOUGHT HE COULD TAKE IT! Danny asks him what his background in music is, and Louis replies that he’s into “rock n roll, old stuff, Elton John, The Beatles, Foo Fighters”. I don’t think Louis really knows at this point, bless him. Danny says the whole performance was too proper, William says that it was too lacking in energy for a 16 year old, and Jessie tells him, like many confused 16 year old boys before him, he should just go and be in Les Mis. William then, with his commercial brain, suggests that Louis just write his OWN musical (or do what William would do, which would be to take Les Mis and add a load of electronic cat meows and fart noises to it) so he can collect all the royalties. Louis then rather bashfully says that actually he has written his own musical.
I am so so torn between really wanting them to make him do an excerpt, and really really wanting that not to happen.
Mercifully for Louis, Tom tells him to do Jerry Lee Lewis instead, and then he and Jessie J dance like
a VE day tea party down at the old folks home. She’s never been MORE into girls has she? Sadly even this is more “Great Balls Of Pleasant Warmth” than “Great Balls Of Fire”. Louis tells everyone that this has all been the best day of his life and gets ushered off whilst this still heart-warming, vaguely. Tom Jones smiles beatifically, and says that Louis Coupe can go off and do anything he likes. Except get to the next round of The Voice, obviously.
Holly wonders aloud that if Louis Coupe can’t get the judges turning, then WHAT CAN? Tom tells us that he’s looking for originality and a natural sounding voice, William says that he’s looking for desire, attraction and magnetism, Danny says he’s looking for diversity and a wide range of voices (as long as they all play the guitar) and Jessie is looking for a plumber in the Guildford area.
Seriously, she’s been without a shower for three weeks now, and sometimes international superstars like Jessie J just don’t have time for a full bath.
Next up is Auditionee #5
Reggie tells us sagely that Andrea “has a unique understanding of how it feels to judge others purely on the way they sound”. CAUSE SHE’S LOST 90% OF HER VISION!
Andrea tells us what it’s like to be partially-sighted and how she uses music as an escape, and then Reggie gets all up in her face and sighs that Andrea is
“judging him purely on how he’s speaking to her”. Well I know *I* am, even if she’s not. Andrea goes on to say that she’s really glad the Blind Audition process of The Voice has levelled the playing field for her, because in other environments it’s a disability to not be able to see, but not having to suffer Jessie J flip-flopping round on the floor like she’s at a Baptist revival is a positive advantage over her sighted competition. Andrea is helped out to stage by a member of production staff, and frankly it’s a wonder that none of the judges ran away right there at the sound of two sets of footsteps, convinced that Mooleen were back.
Anyway, Andrea is singing “Angel” by Sarah McLachlen, and her vibrato (that’s the wobbly bit in her voice (pace : Charlotte Church)) is out of control. I might quite like her if/when she gets that under control, but as it is, it’s not very pleasant to listen to. Danny turns quickly and
the floors of the studio obviously need a good scrub by the looks of it. The rest of the song provokes a lot of appreciative nods from the other judges, but no turns until Tom goes at the last second, just like he always does. I think Tom likes to hear a whole performance before making his decision, which obviously makes sense logic wise, but not a lot of sense “good television” wise. As is so often the case.
Danny asks Andrea where she’s from and what her job is, and Andrea tells him that she’s a 26 year old visually impaired civil servant. Danny can’t but help make this show sound like Blind Date can he? Andrea then jokes that because she’s visually impaired she’s not really sure if anybody turned around for her. Everyone laughs at Andrea breaking the ice, thankfully. Danny then makes sure to
flood the stage and glad-hand Andrea and tell her how wonderful she is. He tells her that not only did he and Tom turn around, the whole of the rest of the UK (EXCEPT WILLIAM AND JESSIE) just turned around as well. What does he think that even means? Because it sounds like an insult. Like, if I turn around when watching this show it’s usually because I can see Danny’s armpits again. Danny then gets Andrea to say that she came on The Voice because it’s a really inspirational chance for a level playing field for everyone etc etc yadda yadda, because in between the initial audition with the producers (where they could see her) and every round after this one (where they can see her) there was one round (which almost everyone gets through) where they couldn’t. SO EMOTIONAL.
Tom opens by saying “I’m Tom” and sadly Andrea’s run of funnies doesn’t continue by saying that she thought it was Jessie. Tom says he wasn’t sure whether to press, because she really seems like something Danny likes in female singers (ie the “frightened elf-maiden tone”). But in the end he just couldn’t help himself, because her voice was so beautiful. Jessie makes sure to go “YEAH!” extra loudly, just for Andrea. She goes on to tell her that she wants to applaud “how proud Andrea should be of herself right now”. It’s hardly Heather Small is it? She and Andrea have a giggle over how hard it’s going to be to choose between Danny and Tom, you know, SEXUALLY. Well…I guess it is if you can’t see them. Danny and Tom both agree that they’d love her to be on their teams, and Danny says that whilst he normally just relies on his ears, Andrea passes his SUPER DOUBLE PLUS NEXT LEVEL test. The hairs on his arms never let him down, and they were going wild for Andrea. Of course if Tom listens to all the hairs on his body, it’s no wonder he can barely hear anything below a dull roar from anybody else.
He closes by promising her that Team Danny is all about excellence and perfection, which is of course why Aleks Josh was on it last year, and this is enough for her to
pick him. Everyone agrees that Andrea is super-touching and they all squeeze out tears and Danny says that he’s got the feeling you get when you know a megastar’s just entered the room.
Time for Auditionee #6 now (almost an hour in)
and Holly solemnly says that all the contestants only have one shot here, but this hasn’t been Kirsty’s only shot. She went on holiday to Tahiti last year, and she got the full compliment (BAD’UM TISH!). NOT REALLY! Kristy was a contestant on Pop Idol 2 (a fact that the show dances around as gracefully as ever, just calling it “another singing competition”), where she finished 11th, behind a Scott-Lee, Sam & Mark, Michelle McManus, the other one who was fat but who wasn’t Michelle McManus, the Singing Vicar, and also that one who was found guilty of assault. Kirsty explains that she dropped her place at medical school as a result of expecting a glittering music career from being eliminated early in Pop Idol 2 and then…found herself singing support on tour for Dr Karl Kennedy from Neighbours. She says that her parents were “more anxious than they were disappointed” by this development
Mmm hmmm. She tells us that this has left us with crippling nerves every time she sings , a feeling of general existential failure, and a real need to prove herself, because she knows that the only way she can feel fulfilment is through music, but she’s just not sure if her confidence is up to it.
D’oops. She sings “Hedonism” by Skunk Anansie, clearly not feeling it at all, quivvering from the start, flatting out, panicking when it starts to fall to bits and generally wandering aimlessly round the stage yelling. Who needed to see this? I didn’t. To get one over Pop Idol 2? Jessie sort of looks like she might turn around at points, but everyone else is clearly baffled by the racket. When it’s over, and Kirsty’s enters what looks like a full on fugue state of despair, Holly looks up at her dad
and mutters a bunch of platitudes about how he probably wants to just go out there and give her a hug. Fortunately Jessie J is there instead, which I’m sure is an adequate substitute. Kirsty has a full-on racking, sobbing, weeping meltdown as Jessie J’s face reads
“I said I’d give you a hug, not be your human hankie”. She detaches herself, then grunts at a stage-hand to help her down because these steps are a bloody death-trap. You can tell next time someone has a fit she’s going to make them come to her.
Kirsty just about composes herself to say that she bottled it from the moment she stepped out onto the stage and she really wasn’t expecting to mess up like that. Jessie then announces she’s going to talk to Kirsty “female to female” (lady to lady, ovary to ovary) and tells her that she totally feels emotional too sometimes, don’t you worry. It’s just she’s at the stage in her career where she can bark at a researcher until they let her start again. She tells us all that nerves are really a very underestimated thing, and that they really aren’t discussed enough on reality tv shows. So true Jessie, so true. She tells Kirsty that she knows that she’s a great singer, but she really needs to work on her breathing.
I don’t think Kirsty is really here for this. Jessie tells her that tears are a perfectly normal human behaviour, and Danny says he too before in his life has felt sick and bottled it just as a performance started. Hmmm….
Really? William tells her to learn from this experience, and thanks her for coming. Tom’s attempts at support are sadly edited out as, given that Tom is a man of his generation, he probably asked Kirsty if she was on the blob.
Next we get a brief montage of our superstar judges talking about how they cope with nerves. None of them say “drugs”, so they’re all lying. Apart from Jessie J obviously, because THAT SORT OF BEHAVIOUR WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AT JESSIE J’S SCHOOL FOR WAYWARD GIRLS, RUTH ANN ST LUCE.
Auditionee #7 is
a man with the face of 21 year old, but the hair of a black man twice that age. He has a thick Manc accent, and the show lays on a bunch of “white gangsta” cliches so thick that if you couldn’t tell he was going to come out and sing the whitest of white bread music, then I pity you. The Eminem, the lengthy shot of him applying an ear-stud, him and his brother
just hanging on the street corner like all those kids you’re scared of madam, the
hat that the show thinks is street but which looks like something Roy Cropper would wear, this shot
Mike explains to us that he’s really quiet but his brother is a right mouthy…………………………..the opposite of him. His brother then forces Mike into his bedroom so they can sit and Mike can help his brother write his raps for him. I have no idea what this even is, but it’s making me feel sorry for Mike on many levels. We then get to meet Mike’s mum
who apparently persuaded him that this was a good idea. She nervously tells Holly that she thinks Mike is amazing and she has every faith in him. Holly looks like she wants to wash herself in Detox. I half expect the BBC suits to try to crowbar Lee Nelson in here somehow. You know they want to. Mike says that he doesn’t really think much of himself, but he’s doing this to justify his mother’s faith in him. Working Class people do love their families don’t they?
Out on stage his SURPRISE GENRE of choice is country, and unsurprisingly it’s a song I’m not particularly familiar with. In the absence of the judges being able to pull a Susan Boyle FACE OF SURPRISE,
Holly does the job for the show as best she can, gushing that she really wasn’t expecting THAT. I get the impression Holly is shocked by the twists in Mr Men books. Jessie turns quickly, just to get in on the action.
What do you think Danny’s expecting Jessie, a sodding giraffe? Ready for a surprise, Danny turns, and then Tom follows at the end of the song. In terms of his actual singing? It was fine, he had the right sort of tone, but the end of a lot of the lines were muffled, and the song didn’t really do a lot for me. Freed of the need to play dirty rappity hip-hop music, the show soundtracks Mike’s triumph with the authentic country sounds of Bumford & Sons sodding banjo of ubiquity. I can really feel the buffalo roaming. Right over to ITV.
Danny is first for the coaches, and asks Mike what sort of music he normally listens to. Mike replies “Country. And Western. Everything really”. Because sometimes people meet this show’s attempts to make them stereotypes and are quite happy to be taken by the hand down the road of cartoonishness. Danny tells us that country singer today are very rare, especially in the UK. Does he think they’ve ever not been rare in the UK? It’s like saying “there’s not really a lot of K-Pop artists operating out of the North-East”. He goes on to say that the country market is massive, and Danny knows exactly how to write a song for it. He so doesn’t.
William next says that he really liked Mike’s funky belt
He would. He goes on to say that the only reason he didn’t turn around is because he thinks he would have made Mike’s choice too confusing (yes, I can just see the country music afficionado plumping to work with Will “Boom Boom Pop” Iam) and he really didn’t want to prevent Mike choosing the right judge for him, which is Danny by the way. At this pronouncement Jessie J hisses like a scalded cat and sighs that there are other people who turned for Mike other than Danny, WILLIAM. I’m trying to think of a human alive more easily wound up than Jessie J. Trying and failing. She brags that she turned first (again) and that she knows that Mike can probably sing anything, not just country. Yes, the diversity of country singers stretching into other genres is so well known. Tom says that he just wanted to hear the whole thing before pressing his button. Also, he’s old and slow. He thinks that Mike, “to use Will’s expression” was “fresh”.
William, Will Smith, ASDA. Pick one. William proclaims Tom’s quoting “him” to be the “dopest thing in the history of freshness”. That and new Mint flavour Kit-Kats. Tom then desperately tries to come up with a country music singer he’s performed with, and fails. He could have just said “Glen Campbell”. I doubt anybody would have checked. Not that it makes any difference, because Mike is officially
Team Tom anyway. Solely to please his mum, I guarantee it. Meanwhile from the sidelines, William shouts “YOU WILL BE SAFE IN THE HANDS OF THE WIZARD!”. Like you do. Mike goes off to hug his mum and his brother (less so).
Next up is Auditionee #8
who tells us that she’s very into the whole 1940s period, because of her (now deceased) granddad who was her biggest fan early on in her singing career and he was…maybe born in the 1940s? I don’t know, it’s not really said, but I’m sure he definitely had a real affinity for the 40s and the show isn’t just passing off a fairly typical 20 year old girls’ taste as being inextricably linked to a dead relative just so they can try to pass off the crowbarring of said dead relative into the show’s narrative as seamless or anything. Katie Benbow is so into the 1940s that she’s got on cake-loads of make-up, is showing ample cleavage, and has a tattoo on her back. Cause that’s how 1940s women were. She takes us up to her bedroom, which she declares to be “vintage everything”. She listens to VINYL! She has a DRESSING TABLE! And PEARLS AND STUFF! AND DOES SEWING!
Katie tells us that old music makes her feel really safe because of…erm…her dead granddad and stuff. Also she’s got a sick nan who’ll be along in a minute, and it’d be really great for her to see Katie sing one last time as part of BBC 1 Saturday Night Show The Voice (because apparently the doors at the nursing home are locked and barred).
Honest. I mean…I’m not really against Katie per se, but I wish this show would slow down the conveyor belt of tragic backstories a little, because at the moment all I can remember is the cuddly toy.
What I DEFINITELY not against Katie doing is
pulling really demonic looking faces that make her look like a villain from an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures. Katie is singing “Feeling Good” which is a proper vintage song, like and if I told you it was incredibly affected and precious, I wouldn’t be at all affronted if you didn’t bother trying to feign surprise. Fortunately for Katie Benbow, during a minibreak in France over the Easter Weekend I saw some of The Voice : France, and on that, a woman sang like this and everything else pales into comparison. Also Merlin.
Anyway, Katie Benbow drifts past the judges table, lost in her own throaty melisma, all but begging Jessie J to think she can rescue her and of course…
we lose more Jessie J’s that way. Danny helps her over the edge by mewling at her that maybe Jessie can teach Katie to be less awful. I feel like this episode should be retitled “How To Push Jessie J’s Buttons For Fun And Profit”.
Once Jessie’s turned, Katie drops the whole 1940s Boss Bitch persona and mewls that she really didn’t expect anybody to turn for her AT ALL.
Then why turn up? You know, rhetorically. Danny asks her if she’s a goth or something, cause of all the tattoos (LOL) and Katie replies actually that her tattoos are for her sick grandmother who’s watching backstage.
THANKS HOLLY! Never would have picked out otherwise. She then asks Tom Jones if he can maybe sing to her down the camera-lens and then wink at her and
I’m kind of done with this segment. Needless to say, Jessie J has got herself a Katie Benbow and is now going to teach her to be less vocally annoying. I eagerly await the outcome.
Next up, Reggie tells us that everyone auditioning for The Voice is interested in fame (yeah, good luck with that) but this next auditionee already knows what the sweet taste of fame is like.
OMG, IT’S KAVANA! As they’re sat on the sofas, Reggie says ” “I Can Make You Feel Good”, that was your song, wasn’t it?”. How quickly we forget MFEO. Kavana confirms that yes, that was his one song, and then goes on to talk about how he was very lucky to be spotted in a McDonalds by Take That’s manager and propelled to stardom. Look! Here he is sort of in the same shot as some of Boyzone!
I’m loving the grainy black and white effect. It’s more convincingly period and vintage than anything Benbow just did. Kavana is in fact SO 90S
that he does all his interviews entirely at this angle. Either that or he’s pished. Ah the 90s. A time when someone who looked like this
was an international superstud pop star, not somebody’s slightly simple son lurking around in the back of shot in a Danish crime drama as a red herring. As if to rub things in further than they’re already rubbed, Reggie reminds Kavana of when he won a Smash Hits Poll Winners Party gong.
The prize was for “Best Male Singer” incidentally. He beat Peter Andre and Gary Barlow. Kavana wistfully sighs that it was so great being able to come from nothing and provide for your parents, who have given you life and raised you. So much that he jacked it in at the age of 21 to become an actor in Hollywood. I just checked his imdb and his sole acting credits are for “MTV Undressed” and “Hollyoaks : Pig In The City” so… Kavana then tells us that he came back to the UK with his tail between his legs, and since then it’s been very quiet for him. No real big opportunities to speak of. *shrug*
Kavana tells us that he’s had some real highs and real lows in his life, but there’s something really still driving him on towards fame. And sadly the producers of “The Big Reunion” said they were only really looking for groups to appear so…here he is.
He takes to the stage, and sings “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and
it’s some real “dad in a Kay Mellor drama” karaoke stuff. Even his friend is giving sharp intakes of breath
on all the flat notes. William looks bored, Jessie looks baffled, Tom Jones is weary and Danny looks actively
suicidally depressed. If this happened on X Factor, Simon would be asking him who told he could sing, and then Kavana said that some record executive did once, and then Simon would say that whoever it was was lying to him to spare his feelings and then it would turn out that that record executive would BE Simon, and we could all have a good laugh. Sadly it’s happening on “The Voice”, so all we have to pass the time is Jessie J’s face of disdain
Alright and this
When Danny turns around he turns white as a sheet (you know, more so)
He splutters and gesticulates like Ebenezer Scrooge seeing Jacob Marley’s ghost and says that he KNOWS this guy. William, non-plussed, asks where Danny has met him before. Danny says that Kavana was a HUGE ARTIST in the 90s (/had a couple of Number 8 singles) and they both toured support for Boyzone one time. He was 12. Kavana was 16. Kavana says he remembers Danny playing his guitar. Danny tells Kavana he remembers buying his record. William
looks really glad that the first time he set foot in the UK was in 2003. Really glad. Danny assures all the other judges that Kavana can really sing, and this was just an off day, honest, him and Kav brah, wow, they go way back. None of the other judges look like they give a shit. I feel like something really deep happened between Kavana and Danny O’Donagog, like some sort of “Stand By Me” deal, and would really like to investigate further. Just maybe not within the confines of this show, because it’s been going for 80 minutes now.
Tom tells Kavana that he really liked his tone, but he was really flat on a lot of the notes, and almost in another key at points. And then Kavana just…leaves. As notes to leave on go, that was significantly less triumphant than Louis.
Clearly still rattled, Danny tells us that this just goes to show that everything that’s happened in your life so far just doesn’t matter. You can be the world’s most consummate professional and profoundly musically gifted, but anybody can blow it here on The Voice. Am I missing something? It’s effing Kavana, not Prince.
Anyway it’s time for our last auditionee. #10.
Here he is with an abandoned dog.
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Here is using an abandoned dog to help disaffected teens integrate themselves into society in a positive way.
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So…I’m guessing he gets through then. He tells us that as well as helping both children and animals, he’s also a good God-fearing church-goer and grew up singing in the Gospel tradition. Oh yeah
and he was in The Lion King. It’s like this show decided to parade the world’s most perfect human being in front of us all, right at the end of the first episode, just when we’re at our most depressed and grimy-feeling for having just got entertainment out of the failures of Kavana and Pink Hair and Musical Boy, and everyone else’s various sick relatives and disabilities. Matt Henry would never dream of laughing at white boys doing bad raps in their bedroom. He’s too busy out there serving in a soup kitchen for abandoned kittens with Down Syndrome. I feel like when he inevitably gets through, he’s going to accidentally cut himself on some of William’s gaudy jewellery, and it’ll turn out his blood can cure the common cold.
Here’s Matt singing “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne
He’s quite good.
I think Jessie is about to start speaking in tongues. Danny turns quickly, then Jessie waits a little before pressing her button with her arse (…), and then, in the presence of the pure human goodness of Matt Henry
she is taken by The Spirit, and Danny has to rush out of his chair to try to turn it back around before she starts crying blood.
Oh yeah, and William and Tom turn right at the end, lest the devil take them. Once he’s done
Jessie and Danny both rush to the stage to touch the hem of his garment. Even Tom’s standing up, and Tom doesn’t really stand up for ANYTHING on this show. No, not even that. His chair has had special adjustments made. Whilst up there, Danny and Jessie both decide that the most important thing about Matt is that he looks like William. And I was all ready to get all “OMG THASS RACIST!” but
he kind of does. As William himself says, it’s the frog-eyes that really do it. Jessie congratulates Matt on his song-choice, and asks him what he feels like the key lyric was. Matt says that it was the “I’ve been saved” part, and Jessie’s all “…by what, God Boy?” and Matt says “…by a woman?” and Jessie J’s all
“I’M A WOMAN!”. That’s not what you were saying earlier Jessie…
Tom also praises Matt for his song choice, and Danny says that he agrees as well, and in fact thinks that Matt sang it “better than Ray”. Ray Reardon? Ray Romano? Lana Del Rey? BE MORE CLEAR DANNY FROM THE SCRIPT. He tells Matt that what he thinks he has to offer Matt is his “experience and wisdom”.
So Team William it is then. After a particularly well-targeted dart from William about how everything he does, he does for his mother, just like he knows Matt does. It makes Jessie’s ploy of “naming a Gospel artist” seem a little wayward by comparison.
And so we come to the end of our first episode of The Voice Series 2.
Next week, Steve is taking you through the second set of auditions. Here’s hoping for more washed up 90s hasbeens and people with inspirational dead friends on…THE VOICE!