Sunday 29 April 2012 – I don’t blog at the weekend usually, but as I’ve not done a review blog for a while, I thought I’d review the first live show from the BBC show - The Voice. Televised last night, this review is my opinion and others may not agree; also I am not here just to be mean to the contestants, I just give my first impression, and hope others enjoy my critique.
So here’s how it works, each team has five contestants, they sing (hopefully) and the public vote. Three will be safe, and the two with the lowest scores are put before their judge who chooses who stays.
The show opens with a performance by the four judges, it’s a lacklustre rendition of ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2; the staging is haphazard, the judges look like four punters in a karaoke bar, not knowing where to stand, or where their audience are sitting. Danny O’Donoghue leaps around like a kid with ADHD, who’s dose of Ritalin has worn off, and Will.i.am looks lost. The song is wrong, it sounds disjointed and just does not work, a poor start to the first live show. The only thing that makes me smile is Danny’s, back to school haircut. No doubt it won’t be long before we hear Will.i.am say, ‘dope’, his I’m down with the ‘yoot’ standard. Come on man, you’re thirty seven, get a grip.
So the contestants take to the stage:
1. Joele - The show opens with a song by Mary J. Blige, sadly it’s delivered in a random fashion, losing the melody in places and lacking in any real personality. Shame really as Joele gives the impression she can sing well.
2. Sam – Oh dear, he appears looking like a small planet that’s been dressed by Marilyn Manson; what’s with the skulls. Sam comes over as the male equivalent of Beth Ditto (The Gossip) in oversized spectacles. His performance is flat at the start and pitchy throughout and the dreadful final note must have set the nation’s dogs teeth on edge. The judges heap undeserved praise making me wonder if they were watching the same performance. Jessie J, criticises the use of dancers, saying they distract from the singing. Thank goodness, for the distraction.
3. Frances – After a nasally start the girl is dwarfed by the backing track, and the constant BV’s mean we don’t get to hear her. Sadly Frances has a thin voice and no amount of guttural growling will beef it up. After her performance Holly (Willoughby) says, “You risk taker, you walked down the stairs.” Come on she’s eighteen years of age not eighteen months, I’m sure she mastered the art of walking long ago. I did like how at the end Frances ‘bigged’ up her mentor Will.i.am saying,-- “ He can even sing.” Oops.
4. Adam – looking like Russell Howard’s younger brother and sporting a guitar, Adam gives an impressive performance, okay he’s hardly Joe Strummer, but he gives a confident performance, and I’m sure girlies up and down the UK are squirming with glee.He looks comfortable on stage and dare I say it – looks like a pop star. Sadly though he suffers from, ‘The Beckham Effect’, nice to look at but shouldn’t talk. Sadly he comes over rather beige when he speaks and has me shouting, SHUT UP! at the TV.
5. Jaz – Wearing a trilby at a jaunty angle making him look like he’s just stepped off the set of a St. Trinian’s movie he delivers a competent performance. He throws in a few tricks, using ten notes when one would have done, but there’s nothing special about this performance. Since his first appearance on the show, he’s gathered a multitude of verbal accolades from the press; however, only Danny tells it like it is tonight, calling it, middle of the road. A good voice wasted tonight.
6. Leanne – I can’t look at Leanne without thinking she’s a grown up Tracy Beaker. Looking fabulous in black and white, she has a confident start that builds to a powerhouse performance. At last someone who can sing a song by P!nk and lose the original faux angst and put some class into it. She looks confident on stage and despite not really looking like a pop star, in comparison to today's manufactured industry, she’s a breath of fresh air, ending her spot with the Empire State of high notes.
7. Sophie – The youngest contestant gives a ‘Cathedral City’ performance; strong and mature. With an accomplished falsetto she switches from chest to head voice with ease, however the BV’s are a tad off-putting.My only criticism is the way she looks; she’s just turned eighteen, and needs a style that reflects her age, tonight she’d not look out of place in a working man’s club back in the 1970’s.
Talking of clothes, it’s nice to see Holly in a dress befitting her years, so much better than the over stuffed, banger shelves she wore on Dancing on Ice. And just a quick point, I notice Will.i.am has his name across the back of all of his outfits, including over his logo over the left breast, is it because he has a tendency to forget his own name?
8. Matt & Sueleen – the only duo in the competition, a couple in a long term relationship that say they’ve progressed to separate bedrooms. Considering this show is about the voice and not appearance, it’s odd that the BBC, allegedly asked Matt to shave off his beard before the live show. Looking like a ‘Hairy Biker’ and a geisha, this couple look like they’ve been styled by two different people. Their separate bedroom situation is apparent in their performance, they just didn’t come together as a unit tonight. It looked a little bit like a haphazard Japanese tea ceremony. To be frank, I cannot see where these two would fit into today’s music industry; it was a bit ‘Opportunity Knocks’.
9. Tyler – For goodness sake stop harping on about your friendship with Amy Winehouse. With a quiff of epic proportions, I worry that if a rogue gust of wind caught it he’d look like Jedward’s older brother. Dreadful styling once again, his trousers are too short and his skinny ankle unappealing. He has a pleasing voice, but there’s nothing original about it. He looks the most experienced in the backstage clips, but needs to rethink his look. The arched eyebrows and mini Catweasle beard, mean than when he screws his eyes up to hit the falsetto, he looks like a constipated goat. Notwithstanding the obligatory round of mutual arse licking, once the performance was over, it was forgotten I’m afraid.
10. Ruth – Just a couple of points; could someone please take that metal out of her face and stop talking about her father dying two weeks prior to her first appearance, she does not need the sympathy vote. Dressed in the dark? Wearing what looks like a lemon coloured lampshade, she gives the evening’s best performance. She has a voice like a bottle of vintage, Barolo; dark, rich and heady.
The phrase ‘leaving the best till last’ couldn’t be more appropriate, using just enough licks and tricks she effortlessly sails through her version of Oleta Adams’ ‘Get Here’, and the audience agree, she gets a standing ovation and the applause just keep coming – how much of the ‘green eyed monster’ was there backstage in the aptly named ‘green room’ at this point, I wonder.
So here’s my prediction for the outcome of this episode:
The two lowest voted for performers in Sir Tom’s team will be:
Sam and Matt & Sueleen.
The two lowest voted for performers in Will.i.am’s team will be:
Sophie and Frances.
The two to leave IMO will be: Frances and Matt & Sueleen.
I’ll tune in tonight to see if I’m right.