It appears as if I wasn’t alone in my verdict on last week’s opening episode of The Voice UK’s second series. Indeed the show didn’t perform that well in the ratings, losing to Ant and Dec’s Saturday Takeaway which continues to thrive on ITV. I personally believe that the ratings will continue to tumble following the return of Britain’s Got Talent unless the talent behind The Voice really up their game. I found that this second episode was a slight improvement on last week’s episode, as it didn’t drag as much and the coaches weren’t as annoying as they had been.
First up this week was Trevor Francis who was currently working as a backing singer. While Trevor seemed to have a steady job, travelling the country with Florence and The Machine, he still wanted to be in the spotlight himself. His version of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ was an immediate hit with the coaches, especially Jessie J who turned her chair around almost instantly.
All of the other three coaches followed suit and by the end of his performance Trevor had a big decision to make. Danny attempted to sway Trevor by telling him that he can teach him new tricks if he picked him as a coach. Will meanwhile thought he’d make the best choice as Trevor was his kind of vocalist. In the end though Trevor went with Jessie J as she thought she’d be able to help him throughout the competition. But Will wasn’t taking it lying down and voiced his opinion about Trevor picking the wrong coach.
Next up was Doncaster-based beauty consultant Emma-Jade who was passionate about country music. As we saw in her opening video, Emma-Jade had actually travelled to Nashville to compete in various singing competitions. While in Nashville she was told that she could well be the first successful country vocalist from the UK. She also hoped that competing in The Voice would get her the exposure she needed to return to Nashville and fulfil her dream. I personally wasn’t a fan of the faux American accent she adopted on her country version of ‘Sweet Child O Mine’. It also seemed that she wasn’t going to get any coaches to turn around for her until Tom’s chair swung round on her final note.
It appears as if the producers of The Voice are seeking out performers who have gone viral on YouTube. A case in point was seventeen year old Sam whose claim to fame was performing on stage with Michael Bublé. This all came about when Sam’s mother harassed Bublé to have her son up on stage with him as it was his birthday a few days previous. The clip of Bublé exclaiming ‘Sam can Sing!’ went viral and now Sam’s pushy mother is at it again, signing him up for The Voice. Bublé also appeared, via electronic means, to wish Sam luck and I’ve got a feeling that he got paid a fair amount of money to make a ten second video. As soon as he appeared on screen I felt that Sam wouldn’t get any judge to turn around for him and I was completely right. The problem was that his rendition of ‘Your Song’ didn’t really have any passion behind and this was something that the coaches picked up on. Danny told Sam that his performance was too musical theatre and that he over-pronounced a lot of the words. However the judges unanimously told Sam he could sing and that obviously will spur his mother on to sign him up for a lot more singing competitions.
Alex Buchanan was the first of two of tonight’s artists to come from the world of stage musicals as he’d recently appeared in Michael Jackson’s Thriller: Live. In his opening video Alex talked about how his father had been his inspiration and helped him to be humble. To be honest I wasn’t much for Alex’s rendition of Chris Brown’s ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ maybe because it isn’t a song that relies heavily on vocals. I seemed to be in the minority because Will and Danny turned around instantly with the former convincing Jessie to do the same moments later. Personally I was surprised when Tom turned round as I didn’t really think Alex’s style of music would be his cup of tea. Will made it clear that he was interested and this seemingly spurred Jessie on to make a heartfelt plea for Alex to be in her team. Alex ultimately decided to go with Jessie however it appeared as if Will was playing the game and had already decided that he didn’t want Alex on his team after all.
While some come on The Voice purely to appear in the contest, others are there to promote themselves. Lorraine Crosby was a case in point as she was somebody who seemed fairly bitter about things that had happened to her in the past. Crosby was the woman who duetted with Meat Loaf on his iconic number one hit ‘I Would Do Anything For Love’, though many aren’t aware of her involvement in the song. This is because a model appeared in the video to mime her lines and was later offered three record contracts while Crosby didn’t receive any royalties from the song. On stage she performed ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ but none of the judges turned around for her, leaving her feeling gutted. While they all agreed she had a great voice it was the lack of anything monumental during her performance that led to her exit from the contest. But at least Crosby got to tell her story and maybe now more people will appreciate who was actually singing on the Meat Loaf single.
Despite The Voice seemingly championing itself purely as a singing contest, it appears as if personality counts just as much. South Wales lad Ragsy was a case in point as he appeared to be a bit of a character when he and his father were seen flirting with Holly Willoughby prior to his performance. His rendition of Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ was good enough to get both Tom and Danny to turn their chairs around. It seemed to me as if Danny was the obvious coach for Ragsy as he seemed like an amiable enough indie rock singer. But it appeared as if the Welsh connection was too strong and he chose Tom Jones to represent him even though he wasn’t singing a country song.
Though The Voice is primarily about solo singers, we also see the occasional duo appearing on the programme. This was true here as incredibly romantic couple Harry Smith and Katie Jones performed together. As a grumpy cynic, two nineteen year olds in love is enough to make me throw things at the TV especially when they sing together. Indeed their opening video, in which Katie talked about how poetic Harry was, felt really sickening indeed. But even I have to admit that they had good on-stage chemistry during their acoustic rendition of Paolo Nutini’s ‘Candy’. Despite having a good collective sound, only Danny turned his chair around but I think he’s probably the right coach to guide this pair in the right direction. Will though was on hand with some words of advice, namely that the couple shouldn’t split up while they’re in the contest even though that would be fairly amusing.
The other musical star appearing this week was Liam who was currently appearing in Les Miserables. In his opening video, Liam talked about how his late grandmother raised him and inspired him to be a music star. He then dedicated his performance of Kate Bush’s ‘This Woman’s Work’ to her saying that the lyrics reminded him of her. Despite coming across as a bit of a luvvie, I still felt that Liam added a lot of passion to his performance and was rewarded by all four judges turning their chairs around. Once again another battle ensued between Will and Jessie with the former coming out on top as the two had yet another stare down.
Following The Voice tradition of having established stars auditioning, this episode saw House Music legend Kym Mazelle take to the stage. Kym, whose probably best known for her cover of ‘Young Hearts, Run Free’, has appeared on many celebrity shows over the years and therefore probably doesn’t need the exposure. Instead her audition felt like a way of the producers telling us that experience meant nothing and that it was all about what people sounded like now. To be fair to Kym her rendition of ‘Ring of Fire’ was entertaining though I agree with Tom that it didn’t really gel. Kym was yet another former star not to get any judges to turn around even though to me she appeared to be a lot more professional than most of the successful auditioning artists.
Nadeem Leigh’s introductory video was yet another tribute to a relative this time his mother who passed away when he was nineteen. Nadeem told us that his mother had introduced him to a lot of different music that he would never have been exposed to such as Stevie Wonder. Oddly then he chose to perform U2’s ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ and blend it with Damien Rice’s ‘The Blower’s Daughter’. Of course with U2 and Rice both being Irish artists it wasn’t surprising when Danny turned his chair around, threatening to kill any of the other coaches who followed him. For some reason the other coaches listened to him and Danny was able to secure Nadeem for his team.
Adorable sixteen year old Nick Dixon was the youngest of the auditioning contestants on this episode. He talked about being encouraged to sing by his parents who signed up for his first competition when he was just five years old. Nick came across as fairly endearing and I felt that his performance of ‘I Won’t Give Up’ was better than some of the more successful auditions that we’ve heard on the show. Despite this none of the coaches turned their chairs around for poor old Nick who looked incredibly dejected. The coaches informed him that he was incredibly talented for a sixteen year old and that his voice was going to change over the next few years. After Nick had gone, Jessie also added that they’d have probably put Nick through if they’d seen how young he actually was. To me this seemed like a swipe at The X-Factor for judging on what a contestant looks like rather than on pure talent.
But it seemed that The Voice is no different to The X-Factor when it comes to inviting back former contestants to audition again. This was evident in the reappearance of Alys who had choked last year during her rendition of ‘Someone Like You’ and had come back to redeem herself. I personally could hear the improvement from her last performance and I felt she added some tenderness through her rendition of Mumford and Son’s ‘The Cave.’ Predictably all four coaches turned around with all putting forward a strong case, apart from Will who continued to harp on about transparency. Alys then really started to annoy me as she took about half an hour to make a decision by which time I probably would’ve turned my chair back around. Ultimately this Welsh lass made the right decision and went with Tom’s experience over Will’s transparency.
While this episode of The Voice wasn’t nearly as irritating as last week’s instalment it still felt a little bit manipulative. It appeared to me as if they’d actually sought out both Sam and Kym to put them on the show simply for their back stories. The fact that neither got through really annoyed me as it’s clear that they were purely on stage to give the show more publicity. Elsewhere I was a little bored by the fact that three of the contestants were inspired by relatives because at the end of the day most of us are. Despite these criticisms, I still enjoy the fact that there are no joke acts on The Voice and that everybody is talented enough to make it through to the next round. However I’m not sure if The Voice has convinced me that it will triumph in the ratings and I feel that its numbers will continue to plummet when it goes up against Britain’s Got Talent next week.
What did you think of this week’s instalment of The Voice? Did you enjoy it more than last week’s? Leave Your Comments Below.