Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Voice Battle Rounds Part 2

It's another mammoth 2 hour + show on The Voice tonight, and despite needing a wee for the last half hour, it's a thoroughly entertaining show once again. The judges (mostly Will I am) really make me laugh out loud - I swear he's got so much funnier this year, and I put it down to the positive Kylie aura.

Surprise battle of tonight for me: Iesher vs Femi. I didn't like Iesher's audition, not being a fan of warbly, shouty female voices, and conversely I am a sucker for smooth, Marvin Gaye-alike male vocals. However, these two gelled! When Femi went falsetto I actually sat bolt upright from my comfy lying down position on the sofa and just sat open mouthed for the rest of the song. I'm so, so glad this guy got stolen by Kylie! I have to say, Femi Santiago is my favourite of the competition for technical ability, although it's Sally Barker who gets me emotionally and has the most unique tone.

Very sad to see Jamie Lovatt exit the competition tonight, although I'm confident he'll do fine with his band Romance, who apparently already have an album ready to go. Also sad to see Cherri go as I loved her smooth jazzy style and actually thought Sophie was weaker.

The only other singer I really cared about tonight was the really, really likeable James Byron. He seems so fragile and shy and sweet, but when he sings this amazing voice comes out. One to watch I hope.

Of course, everything could change dramatically next week as we arrive at the Knockout rounds, where the teams of 7 are knocked down to 3. Yikes! I'm praying my favourites don't all exit in one fell swoop, although I'm confident Sally and Femi are special enough to make the cut.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Earplugs at the Ready, It's The Voice Battle Rounds Part 1!

In previous series of The Voice, the battle rounds haven't really worked for me as a format. All too often it can turn into a screech-athon, with unnecessary vocal gymnastics until you can't even tell who's singing what because it's just a blast of voice.

But this series I think battles have worked more often than they haven't. Probably my favourite battle of the night was Leo vs Steven's 'Thunder In My Heart'. Brimming with tongue in cheek humour, each act had their own funky style and were just distinct enough from each other to keep it interesting. I'm not going to evaluate every single performance because it was a long old show tonight, and some of the voices began to sound rather samey (at a few points I felt like I was at a cheap Christina Aguilera tribute contest).

Of course, the biggest flaw with battle rounds is that you're judging between two acts based on one song which is obviously going to suit one singer better than the other. As was the case between Jimmy Weston and Lee Glasson, as I'm sorry to say Jimmy stole that song and Lee had a lucky escape - I really hope it was Jimmy's attitude that got him ditched though. Check out these tweets from him: "So happy with my performance. Still struggling with the result" and later "What's Kylie been smoking?" Lee Glasson's response was very telling: "Can see from @jimmyweston100 Twitter that he remains a humble gentleman". Love a bit of tension on the battle rounds haha! I hope Lee gets to show what he can do next week when he has a song he can make his own.

Woah, where did Sally Barker come from? I remember her audition, I remember the sad back story and the pleasant, heartfelt voice, but when this lady is allowed to take a song she's never heard before (Olly Murs Dear Darlin') and put her own stamp on it, you realise what a stunningly beautiful tone she has. Something between Eva Cassidy and Jennifer Rush, with a bit of someone else I can't quite put my finger on. I'm hugely looking forward to hearing more from this lovely lady.

Other random thoughts from a 2 hour plus show tonight: What the hell was the point in Leah McFall being there to "advise" contestants? They didn't show her saying a single word to them! And who wants advice on how to come second? Does anyone else think that Ricky's team is really weak compared to everyone else's? And have you noticed that Will's feet don't touch the floor when he sits in his spinny chair, and they flail about like two little cocktail sticks?

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Voice Saves The Best For Last

I have two words this week - Jamie Lovatt. That is all. I've been praying for the day a new Jeff Buckley would grace the music world but I never imagined it would come from The Voice UK. This rock god complete with snakeskin pants and snarling, wailing vocals is my new favourite by a mile.

I don't want to gloss over the others too much this week as there were some other really good ones. Aside from the beautifully touching exchange between Will and the lady who reminded him of his Aunt Stephanie (I do wish she had got through, she had a lovely, understated voice) I also really liked Kenny Thompson, the teacher from Liverpool. In fact, I'm really looking forward to the next stage of this competition now because I have 1 favourite per judge. As follows I am backing:

Lee Glasson - Team Kylie
Jamie Lovatt - Team Ricky
Kenny Thompson - Team Tom
Callum Crowley - Team Will.

Now that my eggs are all spread out over lots of baskets I don't have to face next week's show with that awful sense of trepidation when you dread your favourite act getting booted out via a cruelly unjust battle round (I still haven't gotten over Liam Tamne last year. Don't think I ever will).

Roll on the battle rounds, woop woop!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Bring on the Falsettos!

Thank goodness this week for boys singing falsetto - even though hardly any of them made it through, they at least made The Voice bearable tonight. (I am a total sucker for boys singing falsetto, which I may have mentioned once or twice before on this blog).

I'm not here to talk about warblers. People with voices that are ten a penny, who sound like at least five other singers already in the charts. That doesn't interest me at all - unfortunately I seem to be in a minority.

 Never before have I watched so many weeks of a talent show without finding a single act I can root for. I was actually beginning to dread writing this blog because I have found The Voice so completely devoid of talent this year, so I was overjoyed tonight to see some really original, quirky acts. This series I am now officially backing Callum Crowley, although it's hard to tell - am I clinging desperately onto him as someone vaguely good to root for, or is he genuinely brilliant?

In the same way that the coaches are becoming more buzzer-happy as they run out of time to fill their teams, I am becoming more eager to latch on to people. So I also liked Kiki De Ville this week. And I LOVED Paul Raj, what was with the not turning for him?? I hope he's right up there with Miles Anthony this time next year, storming the charts with a big f** you to The Voice.

Just seven places left next week for the final blind audition episode. And by the looks of the previews, somebody is going to reduce Will I Am to tears...or is he just lamenting all the great singers he's let walk away? Tune in next week for your The Voice gossip fix.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Diamonds In The Rough

The talent seems to be really slipping on this series of The Voice. It feels like they assembled all the best acts for the first episode, when all eyes were on the new coach line up, and now we're getting all the slightly ropey, or the downright boring auditionees. Actually, that's very unfair to some of them, who have been amazing...but haven't got any chair turns for god's sake! This week we continue the theme of turning for flat/boring, and not turning for amazing/note perfect. Take poor Nick Dixon for example, who came back after rejection last year and was unforgivably knocked back once again. I think if they took all the great singers The Voice have missed out on over the last few weeks and made a spin-off show, it would be like Glastonbury.

It was nice to see Elisha Moses coming back for another try, after being one half of last year's duo Nu-tarna. According to her Twitter feed last year, her singing partner back then was a bit of a controlling bitch and there is no love lost between them. When they battled Cleo Higgins, you could cut the tension with a butter knife and it was clearly the other girl orchestrating that. So I'm glad Elisha has got a chance to strike out on her own.

Has anyone noticed that Will.I.Am suddenly seems very reluctant to turn if anybody else has turned? It's almost as if he's too proud to have to pitch against any other coach, instead trying to out-psych the others, and turning his chair at the very last second once he knows he's on his own. What is with that? I remember when The Voice was more about the acts and less about the coaches playing silly games. Christ, I just realised I sound like I'm talking about the X Factor.

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE! Somebody I actually like is through - Max Murphy, the judo athlete guy! I was on a downward spiral there until Max turned up. WOAH and there again with the lovely Femi Santiago, the final act of the night. Will left that turn really late there, I had my torrent of bad language ready to go. This is good. My spark of enthusiasm for The Voice has been mildly reignited now.

So, a steadily improving episode all in all tonight, made infinitely better by seeing Will.I.Am 'bust a treble all the way to the restroom' (aka Riverdance). The only thing saving The Voice for me at the moment is the genuinely funny banter amongst the coaches. I guess as long as that keeps the viewers tuning in, that's all that matters.

Saturday, 1 February 2014


Jesus Christ, I don't know if I can do this any more. I don't know if I can watch another female singer shriek and scream her way through an audition and then spend 10 minutes watching her decide whose team to go on. Ladies and gentlemen - another week on The Voice.

Can you tell I'm feeling jaded by The Voice this week? Literally every single act I like, they don't turn for, and every single act I hate, they turn for and rave about as if they were the second coming. Plus, I think I have identified the fundamental flaw with the editing of this show: the 'choosing which coach to go with' part is so painfully drawn out. Who on earth on the BBC production team thought the public would care so much about this part? Why do we care which coach our favourite act picks? It doesn't affect whether we get to see them perform again, it doesn't really mean anything at this stage!

Highlight of the week: there was a woman whose shoes were made entirely of fruit! Yes, of fruit! She made some wearable chocolate shoes for Kylie, and I want to know how she knew her shoe size, and whether Kylie will wear them.

The Voice needs to start shaping up fast before it starts to lose the glow that Kylie and Ricky have brought with them. Stop the dragging out of every act. Stop the sob stories. Let's see more acts, and ooh, maybe a bit more male/female balance? By my rough calculations so far, we have about 24 girls and only 6 boys. The way things are going we are right on track for another Andrea Begley or Leanne whatshername. And I'm sure the BBC don't want that.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

A Week of Divided Opinions on The Voice (Mine vs The Rest of the UK)

Sometimes I wonder what qualifies me to write this blog, because I seem to have massively different tastes to both the coaches and the social media-using public. Tonight I pretty much hated all the ones that were picked, and loved all the ones that weren't picked, so as you can imagine I'm not in the best of moods.

Let's start with Iesha. Already being tipped to win, she was one of the few auditionees in this series of The Voice to get a full house of four chair turns. To me, she sounded shrill and whiny. I can only imagine this will be ramped up to maximum shrillness during the battle rounds, so I'll be investing in a good set of ear plugs before that point.

Then we had the wonderful Paul Black, the swinging tattoo artist (hang on, that sounds wrong. I meant he sang swing). I have a soft spot for tattooed people who defy stereotypes (I'm covered in tattoos myself and hate when people assume I'm into death metal) so his audition - a swing version of Van Halen's 'Jump' was a massively enjoyable surprise. But no turns, sadly.

The Voice made history this week with it's first ever joke act. Of course he didn't get picked, but Si Genaro was as mad as a box of frogs with his folk/reggae/harmonica-playing breakbeat. It's interesting how even the calibre of the joke acts is better on The Voice compared to The X Factor. I don't want to devalue Souli Roots 'Recession Song' for a second, but 'Chicken Train' needs to be a hit right now.

The auditionees who made it this week were very run of the mill in my humble opinion. Probably my favourite was Vicky Jones - Danny from McFly's sister with her top notch, almost Cher-esque rock voice. With votes from the McFly fanbase behind her, this girl could go far. I still haven't spotted a potential winner yet, but then what do I know?