To me this is possibly the most important episode of The Voice UK 2013. That’s because Britain’s Got Talent returns tonight with the two shows going head to head for well over an hour. You would think that because of the competition, The Voice would put on its strongest show this series. But in the end this was the same old mix of scripted banter, excitable relatives and 90s stars looking for a comeback.
This week’s 90s star is Cleo Higgins best known for teaming up with her two siblings to form the group Cleopatra. For anyone who remembers them, Cleopatra were a pretty successful group in the late 1990s with the girls even starring in their own TV show. Now a mum and pastry chef, Cleo wanted to use The Voice to put music back in the forefront of her life. Cleo’s rendition of ‘Love On Top’ was so great that Jessie turned her chair around almost instantly with all of the other judges following soon after. Jessie told Cleo that she wanted to learn from her adding that she would be the right coach for Cleo. Meanwhile Tom described Cleo’s style as confidant and Will said that he’d help fight for Cleo so she got the best of everything. After weighing up her options, Cleo decided that she would benefit most from Will’s guidance and took a spot on his team. This decision left Jessie devastated as she felt that none of the female contestants believed in her this year. These feelings started a show-long storyline in which Jessie felt none of the girls wanted her as their mentor.
We were the introduced to two rock singers both of whom were sporting the denim-on-denim look. First up was 49 year old Barry James Thomas who has a lot of famous relatives. Possibly his most well-known family member is his nephew Ryan who has been playing Jason in Coronation Street for over a decade. In fact it was Ryan who had saved Barry by convincing him to come back to Britain and pursue a career in singing. Barry presented a rather rowdy version of ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ which none of the coaches turned around for. To be fair I don’t think I would’ve turned round either as Barry sounded very much like a club singer. I did admire the way Barry took all of the coaches’ comments on board as they criticised him for being too predictable. We did get something to look forward to though, as Barry promised to return next year to sing something more soulful.
The other rocker in the contest was the young Mitchell Emms who was a mere 19 years of age. Mitchell had previously appeared on a junior version of Stars in their Eyes in which he performed as Kurt Cobain. Mitchell also appeared to have a bit of a weird relationship with his father who described his son as his idol. Mitchell was reminiscent of a teenager whose band was on stage for the first time as he set about rocking out as much as possible. Despite sounding a bit ropey, Mitchell’s enthusiastic rock vocals attracted Danny’s attention as he eventually turned his chair around. Mitchell will fit in well on Team Danny and I feel that he has enough charisma to charm the audience that’s as long as he doesn’t get a haircut.
Holly Willoughby spoilt the outcome of the next audition by telling us that 18 year old Elise Evans was from South Wales. From that point on we knew that Elise would pick Tom Jones to coach her yet we still had to go through all the motions. We heard that Elise’s biggest inspiration was her grandmother who had encouraged her to follow her dream. For someone so young, Elise had powerful vocals and she certainly impressed the coaches with her version of Etta James’ ‘Something’s Got A Hold On Me’. By the end of her performance, all the judges bar Will had turned their chairs around meaning that Elise had a tough decision to make. Tom told her he could hear the fire in her belly while Danny informed Elise that she had a brilliant recording voice. In the end it came down to Jessie and Tom, who Elise described as her idols, but due to the Welsh connection she had to go with the latter. Once again Jessie was quite upset about this as another girl who she wanted on her team had picked another coach.
Next up we had a bit of comedy courtesy of Blackpool lass Emma Louise Jackson. It was clear that Emma Louise was a regular on the Blackpool club circuit where she charmed audiences with her infectious personality. However this was all about Emma Louise’s voice and I felt that she struggled incredibly during her performance of ‘River Deep Mountain High’. Predictably not one of the coaches turned their chairs around and later all agreed that Emma Louise’s performance was a little cheesy. However she then won them over with her personality as she continued to say on stage despite being voted off. I quite liked Emma Louise as a character but I have to agree with the coaches that her singing was very ropey indeed.
Conor Scott’s main reason for appearing on The Voice was to convince his parents that he could make it as a musician. 18 year old Connor’s parents believed that he needed to finish his A-Levels and get proper qualifications despite him wanting to sing and play his guitar. In fact Connor spends every spare minute busking on the streets and attempting to make some money from his singing. Conor’s version of ‘Starry-Eyed’ showcased his interesting vocals and convinced Danny to turn his chair around. Danny complemented Connor on his beautiful voice and gorgeous tone, adding that he was looking forward to getting into the studio with his latest team member. Connor also convinced Danny to come back stage and meet his sisters who were all massive fans of The Script, well I suppose somebody has to be.
Amy Wilkinson’s story had been built around the fact that she’d lost confidence in her singing ability. We head throughout that Amy once loved to sing and even joined a girl group. However Amy eventually quit the group and has since associated singing with a dark time in her life. Amy applied for last year’s series of The Voice but chickened out of going at the last moment. Now she’s back and is determined to not let her nerves get the best of her. Unfortunately for Amy, her version of Shakira’s She Wolf wasn’t particularly awe-inspiring. To be honest I just found Amy a little bit dull but that might be down to the fact that her voice is a little bit rusty. Despite not progressing in the competition, Amy was still given some constructive criticism by the coaches. She was also glad to have the opportunity as it gave her a lot more confidence than she had before.
We’ve only had a couple of duos so far on The Voice and I don’t think any of them have had the charisma possessed by Diva. The group is comprised of Northern lasses Maxine and Shelley who have made their living performing in all the clubs in the North East. After friends told them to sign up for The Voice, the pair took to the stage and sung a rousing rendition of ‘Tell Him’. By the end of their performance they had the choice of two coaches as both Tom and Jessie had turned their chairs around. It was clear to me that Tom really wanted to represent the Diva girls by calling them singer’s singers while noting that they sounded like they’d been singing together forever. Despite Jessie’s obvious interest, the Diva girls had no doubt in their minds and decided to go with Tom.
23 year old Leah McFall had some kind words about her mum who’d allowed her to follow her dreams of pursuing a musical career. Leah’s mother told us that she’d love seeing her daughter’s musical style develop over the years and it was good see her doing something she really wanted to do. Leah had a fairly quirky style that leant itself well to her song of choice – Rita Ora’s ‘RIP’. Both Will and Jessie turned their chairs around for Leah with Danny feeling that Jessie would be a better choice as she’d be able to help her with the technical aspects of her singing. Despite this Leah wanted to be on Will’s team meaning that Jessie didn’t get a girl on her team once again. Following Leah’s decision, Jessie almost flew completely off the handle feeling that the girls didn’t have confidence in her this year.
Jessie’s ‘no girls will pick me’ story culminated with the performance of 22 year old waitress Lovelle. In her opening video, we learnt that Lovelle would sing for the chefs at work but she wanted more than that. Lovelle’s version of Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ was enough to get Jessie, Will and Tom to all turn their chairs around. You could tell from the off that Lovelle really wanted to pick between Will and Jessie who both made passionate pleas to have Lovelle on their teams. Will described his team as ‘assassins’ while Jessie added that Lovelle should believe in her like she believes in Lovelle. Lovelle eventually made her decision with Jessie finally getting that elusive female act that she’d wanted on her team all episode.
The final contestant tonight was Lem who described himself as the ultimate Jessie J superfan. The 18 year old told us that he’d been listening to Jessie J for seven or eight years. Lem also performed one of Jessie’s songs as he wowed us all with a soulful rendition of ‘Do it Like a Dude’. It appeared as if both Danny and Jessie wanted Lem on their team however it’s hard to say no to your favourite singer. In fact Jessie resorted to bribery when she performed a duet with Lem essentially securing him for her team. I have to say that Lem’s decision received a lot of build-up seeing as it was clear from the start that he was going to pick Jessie.
I feel like I’m repeating myself every week when I say that weekly 90 minute episodes of The Voice are far too long. Thankfully next week’s episode will be reduced one hour which I feel is a good idea and should make the show a lot more enjoyable. Also from next week The Voice will be moving back in the schedules as it then won’t have to compete with Britain’s Got Talent. However that’s not the case this week as The Voice and BGT will go head to head for well over an hour. Having seen both shows I think it’s easy to predict that Simon Cowell’s programme will thrash The Voice in the ratings. But maybe I’m wrong and The Voice’s audience will continue to grow despite being up against the most successful entertainment programme of last year.
What did you think to tonight’s edition of The Voice? Do you think it will survive opposite Britain’s Got Talent? Leave Your Comments Below