The Voice: Weekly roundup

Kerry Manning,

Love it or hate it, BBC’s talent show offering The Voice is back for its second season complete with all four famous faces from the first season – Jessie J, Tom Jones, Will. I. Am, and that bloke with the quiff – dashing the dreams of Britain’s singing hopefuls in a way that is marginally nicer than the Victorian freak shows, X Factor or Britain’s Got No Shame. Sorry, Talent.  Now, I’ll be honest with you, I’m not here to embark on an all-out Brooker style bile spitting rampage of disparaging nonsense – the fact of the matter is for the most part of these weekly write ups I’ll have to reign in my wildly inappropriate crush on Jessie J – but where’s the fun in watching folks put themselves forward for nationwide judgement without taking a good hearted stab at some dreams in the process.

So, if we’re all sitting comfortably, let’s get acidic on this Saturday night’s ass.

The second week of the Blind Auditions opened with a peculiar hodge podge of potential forgettables, ranging from a smooth soul singer snapped up almost instantaneously by Jessie J, a Dolly Parton miniature with the most confusing accent since Joss Stone went Stateside (think Doncaster via Nashville), and an adolescent with Bublé shaped aspirations who uncomfortably huffed his way through Elton John’s Your Song like a pervert in a park (thanks to my sister for that beautiful analogy). All in all, a bit odd really. When young Alex Buchanan bounces across the stage, I long for redemption, but in this moment my only thoughts turn to longing that he gets a haircut and maybe a belt – I mourn my advancing years. When he opens his mouth, however, it’s an entirely different story. For a while I wonder if the TV’s speakers are malfunctioning again, because all I can hear are cats getting beaten with spiked mallets and yet the coaches chairs spin around and arms pumps enthusiastically to the sound of blood curdling screeches. Apparently, there is still a lot I don’t understand about the definition of talent which Will. I. Am and Quiff Lad do.

Just to cause further hatred towards the younger generation, The Voice presents its first duo of the season; a dewy eyed teenage couple awkwardly bickering and giggling their way through a VT while the entire nation feels their dinner moving North. I used to consider myself romantic, but then life happened and I learnt better. I can’t quite conclude whether the inclusion of this innocent romantic musical relationship is supposed to soften our bitter British hearts, or whether it just acts as a ploy to feed our imaginations as we (or maybe just I), envisage their steady descent into alcoholism, affairs, resentment, and eventually divorce as a product of fame. I hope so anyway. On a side note, they were nice, musically speaking – the female vocalist had a nice clear voice, but her niceness was so nice that I sort of stopped caring.

The stand out act of the night was the scruffy yet endearing Welshman, Ragsy; a bright-eyed singing chef in tatty jeans and a back story straight out of a Dickensian dream. Dear ol’ Ragsy won the hearts of Britain and the coaches alike, being met with overwhelming praise largely in the form of Will. I. Am reeling off random words like a malfunctioning pocket dictionary to the poor bewildered chap on stage clutching his guitar. What is noticeable  about the typical male singer-songwriter types, is Danny’s propensity to jump on them faster than … well, me – and while a fitting mentor for anyone sat behind an acoustic batting their eyelashes towards an adoring, largely female, crowd, it’ll be interesting to see how Ragsy’s chosen coach (fellow Welshie, Tom Jones) will shape up this loveable ragamuffin.

The rest of Saturday’s episode was fleshed out with weepers and not one, but two, acts of intermediate fame in the 90’s attempting to re-hash their careers. Flogging a dead horse, anyone? Well, it was Grand National day after all. The final act of the night was previous contestant Alys Williams who, having choked on stage last year (figuratively, not literally that is), returned stronger and more confidently to warble out a rather lovely version of Mumford and Son’s The Cave, making a folkie classic even folkier with soft vocals tinged gorgeously by the thick overlay of a Welsh accent. It was all quite charming up until the point where she took almost 25 minutes to finally decide on a mentor, by which stage I’d left the room to make a cup of tea and can only imagine she ended up with Sir Tom as well. Perhaps she was making up for lost screen time carried over from last season? Don’t blame you, love, your dress was nice. Work it, girl.

Next Saturday (13/04/2013) sees the beginning of The Voice’s battle for ratings with the inexplicably loved Britain’s Got Talent over on ITV begins, and it is at this point in the year when we truly begin to desperately long for the sun to shine so that we might finally be able to leave the house.


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