I was in two minds about this. You see, I've been away for a couple of weeks (very nice, thanks for asking) and was a little bit worried that I'd find The Voice a bit tricky to get back into. After all, its revolutionary new format means that there's a new surprise around every corner. So having missed two rounds of eliminations, I was concerned it'd be like trying to follow The Killing without the subtitles. It turns out that my concerns were ill-founded - this is more like picking up EastEnders after a few weeks off. Irrespective of how many deaths, divorces and false pregnancies you may have missed, the primary currency in Albert Square is still mournful despair. And so, with The Voice, it's still all about the judges, and has fuck-all to do with any of the contestants on stage.
As if I needed any more proof of this, Saturday's show passed me by in a flurry of underwhelming performances and crushingly familiar exchanges. Most notable, was Jessie J cutting down will.i.am every time he dared to speak the truth about Danny's piss-poor song choices, shouting "Only constructive criticism guys." That's why the ratings are dropping like pensioners on an ice rink.
Looking back at the 'highlights' (a subjective term if ever there was one), it's clear that none of the performers really managed to distinguish themselves with any style or finesse. Bo dressed up like Mad Max-era Tina Turner and hyperventilated her way through a Rihanna song. Aleks yawned through a performance so laid back that Holly practically needed to hold a mirror under his nose to check he was still breathing. And Becky spent longer crimping her hair than she did learning the lyrics of her song. Jessie told us that her protege was going "To put some Vince on it", which presumably means bleaching the fuck out of it, and piercing anything that isn't already nailed down. And then there was Toni, who seemed to confuse having an emotional connection to the song, with staging a complete psychotic breakdown. By the end of it, all she could say was "That's Tom Jones" when the Welsh wonder piped up.
Jessie told us that her protege was going "To put some Vince on it", which presumably means bleaching the fuck out of it
Watching the results show on Sunday, we were also treated to a recap of the group performances, as the contestants got to sing alongside their celebrity mentors. Jessie J began hers by demanding a do-over because her microphone wasn't working. As she kept shouting "This is live TV, this is live TV," no-one seemed brave enough to point out that it was her ear-piece, not her microphone, that was on the fritz. And given that her diva strop was motivated by her desire to "make it perfect", this was clearly an ambition she dropped the moment the technical issues were resolved. Danny's bunch sounded a little better, but their ambivalent 'too good for a TV talent show' attitude made them look less like a musical group, and more like the anxious occupants of a sexual health clinic waiting room.
In fact, the only surprise in the whole show was Holly greeting Max on stage and 'accidentally' flashing her knickers at the nation. Which was probably just as well, since we're all bored of talking about her tits. For Sunday night's show, Holly's done away with all the flouncy dresses, and is presumably en route to a fancy dress party as Lady Gaga.
There's half an hour to fill here, so we kick things off with a performance from Team Tom. They're doing Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine, which perfectly suits their overly shouty style. Tom describes them as a delicious hors d'ouvre, and tells us that he can't wait for the main course. Look out next week - he'll be here at 5pm for the Early Bird Special. Reggie Yates, who will.i.am has renamed 'Fashion Obama', reminds us of the world-class performances from last night, but I'm worried he got his channels mixed up and was actually watching American Idol in his dressing room.
Somewhere in the production galley, the sound mixers are relieved that that the crimp-haired croaker didn't let another unscripted 'fuck' out
In the recaps, we're reminded of Jessie telling Vince that "It's a pleasure working with someone who knows who he wants to be." A gay Brian Harvey by the looks of things. It's time for the audience results, and Vince's offbeat fashion choices have obviously worked in his favour, since he's through to the semi-final. As he hugs Becky, she screams "I love you." Somewhere in the production galley, the sound mixers are relieved that that the crimp-haired croaker didn't let another unscripted 'fuck' out.
Since we're all a bit sick of our contestants and their egotistical mentors, let's have a guest performance from Paloma Faith, who's channeling Carol Decker and Deborah Harry, and looking a lot older than her 27 years. Then it's Danny's turn to hear the results of the audience vote. Bo gets the save, which comes as no real shock, since the other three make Matt Cardle look motivated and passionate. Danny says he's not surprised, since "Bo probably gave one of the better performances of the night." There were only eight to choose from, so that's hardly emphatic praise.
In the green room, Aleks is sulking like he's been told he can't have pudding until he eats his sprouts. Reggie tries to connect with Toni about moving Jessie J, and there's a staggeringly inauthentic moment where he threatens to cry if she does.
The look on their faces suggests that they're going to be arguing backstage over who gets to shit in her handbag
Decision time, and Jessie J complements all three of her singers before choosing Becky for the semi. Holly tries to get the other two to enthuse about the mentor that's just sent them home. They give some muted gush about how inspiring she's been, but the look on their faces suggests that they're going to be arguing backstage over who gets to shit in her handbag.
Another musical interlude now, as Jaz and Tyler squeal their way through Roxanne. At one point Will has climbed up on his chair, but it's unclear whether he's feeling the music or waiting for an emergency rope ladder to descend.
Danny's now facing the tough choice. He tells us "they're all on a level playing field of talent." Another example of the faint praise he's an expert in. After a spot of telegenic dithering, Danny chooses Max, who runs offstage grasping the hands of the audience. Meanwhile, Holly is left onstage to console the other two with the promise "You're going to do amazing things." She's right; pantomime season is just a few short months away.
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