The Voice – Bloody Battles Pt 2

“How do you think Jedward and Wagner would do on the Voice?”

This was the troubling question posed by @stevebrookstein on Twitter tonight. The better question, I think, would be “how well would The Voice to include someone like Jedward or Wagner?” The prospect of the two novelty acts fighting to the death in a novelty boxing ring is something of a novelty overload. I quite like the idea. Two acts go in, only one comes out. The winning act is hailed as Britain’s new monarch and the loser is canonised as a saint(s). It sounds just like the kick up the arse this show needs. That and glitter cannons.

Welcome, we were told, to the second half of a bloody cull in which half of The Voice’s wannabes were crushed like bugs and sent home in coffins. Some would go down with honour and others would beg for mercy in their final pathetic moments. Jessie J added a strange new salute to her collection. It was annoying but it was nothing in comparison to Cheryl’s army salute or Tulisa’s Female Boss nonsense.

First up, Cassius and David Faulkner took to the ring. Ding Ding! It was unclear if either man had actually heard Michael Jackson’s Beat It as they both wove in and out of the tune as though they were dodging punches and seducing ‘birds’ at the same time. David was the more interesting of the two performers but to be totally fair, Cassius gave the more solid vocal. He has a strong, listenable R&B tone to his voice but he lacks Jaz’s soulfulness and the two will inevitably be compared in later stages. If Cassius is to have a pop at the title, he’ll need to show a softer side of himself because currently he comes across too moody and strained to endear an audience.

For Team Tom, Babs Bryceland and Leanne Mitchell clashed swords with aplomb. The whole thing was a little too Vic Reeves’ Club Singer for my liking, all deep vowels and lip curling, but both women were undoubtedly great singers. The Digital Spy spoiler thread had us believe that Babs would progress to the next stage but on this occasion the spoilers let us down. We should keep an eye on Leanne – I don’t know if she’ll do as well as Ruth Brown but she can certainly ‘put it down’ so a place in the final is not unthinkable.

Next up, Kate V Frances or Frances V Kate, whichever it was. CULL THEM BOTH. Cough. Sorry. Admittedly I did have a preference and it was towards Frances, the less whispery of the two, terribly dressed girls. Thanks to fiveleaves who engaged me in a healthy debate over Frances earlier today. Her odds have now halved but I see her chances of winning as non-existent at this stage. If I’m wrong then anyone who took her at 50/1 should be very happy indeed.

I think The Voice wants us to develop a bit of a soft spot for Aleks Josh and I may be falling victim to their evil designs as I found myself internally cheering for him as he went up against the far more confident Emmy J Mac (founded of the Jingle Jangle club, remember?). The show definitely loves an underdog and Aleks was given all the help he could get with a sympathetic VT and blatantly better treatment from the sound team. At points I wondered if Emmy’s mic was even on. Danny was insufferably patronising and made me a bit sick in my mouth as usual but the whole mentor spiel can only help Aleks’ cause. Do I think he can win? Probably not but I wouldn’t disregard him. The battle round is not suited to his voice but some more sympathy fishing and some Ed Sheeran-style arrangements could really propel Aleks. Judgement reserved, potential recognised.

Ben Kelly’s battle with Ruth-Ann caused a bit of a storm on Twitter, not least from Ben himself. The editing seemed very unfair. Ben, who received a standing ovation for his audition, lost out to Ruth-Ann who got no screen time initially and the whole debacle lasted all of a minute. Unless I’m very much mistaken, we can take this to mean that The Voice cares very little about Ruth-Ann. Was Ben a tricky customer? Were producers worried that his online popularity would make him a danger to other acts in the live vote? Perhaps we will never know.

Next up, The Magic Numbers VS Lindsay Butler. Matt and Sueleen are sort of fun, aren’t they? Like what would happen if Jedward and Wagner really did fight to the death and the dismembered limbs were stitched together in a Frankenstein affair. I like them. Unfortunately, the kind of people to whom they will appeal are not the typical phone voting demographic. Those people are out in fields eating magic mushrooms and pondering the evils of conditioner.

Earlier today, commenter fiveleaves pulled me up on ignoring Hannah Berney as a contender in Danny’s category. I wasn’t convinced that she would amount to much and although the market doesn’t seem impressed, I think she showed flair tonight. Her Youtube vids are definitely worth a look but she hasn’t had the chance to showcase the strength of her voice yet. With odds in the 30s with some bookmakers, I’m tempted to invest a small stake in Hannah as a talented outsider. Polenta Faith seemed to like her at least (I’ve spent most of the past hour working out how to include ‘Polenta Faith’ in this article and that was the best I could manage). Hannah got a louder mic level than Murray Mints which shows producer love but she was featured in a short edit which doesn’t look great.

“We’re quite overwhelming,” chanted Indie and Pixie and I spat out a perfectly good forkful of tiramisu.  Yes, girls, you are but you can’t sing. This one was a no brainer, right? (Note to self: look up no-brainer in a thesaurus). Becky could do to rein in the wailing a bit but she’s got the whole package as far as winning goes. She’s pretty, edgy and confident but also unsure of herself as a young adult. It’s TV gold, really. I hope that some of you snapped her up at her longest odds as I see her as a definite contender for the crown. She’s pretty much a ready-made popstar but with the chance to appear like she’s developing as a person over the course of the show.

Next up, Adam Isaac (whom I barely remember) went up against Denise (whom I just don’t remember) and I struggled to care about the outcome. It’s true that Adam, the obvious winner of this battle, has a solid voice but he’ll seriously need to pull something out of the bag in the live stages in order to justify the relatively short odds at which he’s currently running.

And so on to Sophie Griffin V J. Marie Cooper. I’m curious about what the J in J. Marie really stands for. Joan? Jemima? Jezebel? Whatever her name, J. Marie is really more of a performer than a popstar. She sings flawlessly, dances professionally and never looks remotely fazed. On the flipside, Sophie was endearing tonight, just about holding her own against the more experienced contender, coming across as a lot more likable and continuing the underdog theme.  I think that her odds are looking a little long at the moment so now could be a good time to have a flutter. I don’t see her chances as amazing but I think she has a lot more to give and could really shake up the competition with the right song choices. Of course, these shows aren’t exactly great at the right song choices.

And finally (please can someone actually get literally massacred in this one?) it was David Julien V a slightly smarmy pub singer.  David is a threat in the competition and his odds now reflect it (he’s running at 3rd according to Odds Checker and 7th according to Value Checker). He’s the most likely ‘everyman’ contestant along with Jaz Ellington, although the latter is too remarkable to embody the down-and-out romantic recession chic that fans of The Script will happily cream over. I hope David won’t win but I won’t sleep properly until he goes. I would just take this moment to say that I have worked as a supermarket shelf-stacker and I don’t think it makes me any kind of hero. My debonair charm (and the fact that I save babies from burning buildings) does that.

So Team Danny looks good, right? Max, Aleks, Hannah, Bo and David. Of those, Bo is the only contestant that I would safely rule out for the win. At 3.75 on Betfair, I think Danny as winning coach is the best bet but I’d like to see what everyone else thinks. Becky Hill seems like Jessie’s only likely winner unless Vince proves to have a wider appeal than I’m expecting. Could Adam, Leanne or Ruth pull it out of the bag for Tom? I don’t think so, personally. And then there’s Will with Jaz, Sophie and Joelle – I’ve already expressed my doubts in the latter but I’m not closed to the possibility just yet. I just see Jaz and Sophie as stronger contenders.

So what do you guys think of this motley lot? Who are the diamonds and who are the coal? Who are the cannons and who are the fodder? As always, let us know in the comments section below.

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26 comments to The Voice – Bloody Battles Pt 2

  • fiveleaves

    I don’t disagree with much.
    Becky seems to be the one people are split on. She’s definitely marmite.
    I love the way she ate up Pixie & Perky and spat them up, but I can see her being hard to work with and someone who many viewers will struggle to warm to.

    I was slightly disappointed with Frances. An awful song tho. Ironic is a dreadful song for any acts on these shows.
    Very viewer friendly make-over makes me think the prods like her and for me Will’s group is very weak.
    A false favourite in Jazz. Joelle is 50/1 shot for me and the other 2 non runners.
    9/1 on Frances to win that group looked big and 7/1 still looks value.
    will keeps saying he wants to work with a young talent and frances ticks that box.
    ofc the lives will tell us more. Singing position etc.

    Of the others Leanne I really liked from her audition and but for the spoiler would have been on.
    Tom’s team looks a straight H2H now between her and Ruth.

    Hannah was excellent when I went back and listened again.
    Once you block out the guy singing as flat as his cap with her, then you realise she has potential.
    Unfortunately she’s in a group of death, with 3 good looking young guys and a posh bird who makes newspaper headlines.
    So she’s going to struggle without lots of help.

    So overall I’m happier with my Frances position than my Hannah one

    • Dug

      Hi again fiveleaves,

      I won’t get too cocky as I never saw Frances making the lives in the first place but I really feel that the BBC’s big push for this show is credibility and they won’t want to face the backlash that would surely come with a singer like Frances beating the much stronger vocalists in Will’s category. Fair enough, we’re talking about making the final as opposed to winning the thing but Sophie, Jaz and Joelle all have powerful vocals and Franny Woo just doesn’t measure up in that department. You’re right that Will does seem very keen on her but similarly he was mad about Kate Read and she was never going to make the final. Ultimately, it will have been a producer decision and the only legitimate reason for having Frances in the final would be to ease the pressure on a winner from another category – of course that in itself is not unthinkable.

      • fiveleaves

        LOL @ Fanny Woo.
        I’d argue she has a much better voice than you’re giving her credit for Dug.
        Try and block out Kate (I know it’s hard as she’s so bloody awful), but if you can manage it then you’re hear a very solid performance of a song that has floored many a constestant on one of these shows.

        If she goes before one of the 3 non entities in this team I’d be amazed

      • fiveleaves

        Oh, it’s Franny Woo lol.
        I’m calling her Fanny Woo from now on.

  • fiveleaves

    btw a quick look at the radio times listings shows that next week it’s just Will & Tom’s teams singing, with one from each team going on the sunday show (recorded on the saturday)
    So we won’t have long to find out whether I’m correct in my theory that Frances is someone they like.

    Jessie & DoD’s teams go the week after.

  • fiveleaves

    ate them up and spat them out* that should be

  • Henry VIII

    Nice article.

    And funny twitter pick you linked to – I reckon what we have in The Voice is the X Factor in different packaging. Which is good as a betting medium because XF is losing viewers. Something has to take it’s place eventually. The public wants something “new and different” that is also familiar (ie old and the same).

    X Factor Mk II (or Opportunity Knocks Mk XI).

    • Dug

      Hello Henry VIII,

      The similarities to XF are undeniable. The manipulation is all there, albeit not quite as blatant. Running order, song choice, etc. all seem to play a part in boosting the profile of certain acts over others. However, I’m not sure that The Voice can really take the place of The X Factor in its current form. There are still die-hard X Factor fans out there (and I’m one of them) who see the show’s failings but still relish its ability to produce great pop moments.

      One of the reasons I feel I was able to get my teeth so firmly into the comments section of last year’s XF coverage and make a few good predictions is that I’m unashamedly obsessed with good pop music and I feel that X Factor translates quite well into the charts. Great pop works best when it’s not trying desperately to project ‘authenticity’ or be clever. People like Will Young and Girls Aloud came out of these ITV shows and managed to build really successful careers. From X Factor, we’ve had Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke, JLS, Diana Vickers, Olly Murs, Cher Lloyd, One Direction, Rebecca Ferguson etc. For better or worse, their careers have taken off because they’re not being sold to the public as anything more than the pop that they are and that works in a way. When you take someone like Matt Cardle, all shrouded in authenticity, it will appeal on a TV show but it won’t necessarily translate into the real world. He becomes a paradox – an ‘indie’ artist from a commercial machine with a limited fanbase.

      I’m not convinced that The Voice will ever be able to create the great pop moments that X Factor is capable of. I hope to be wrong about this but so far the performances have been very dated and just as karaoke as ITV but without the arrangements and production that make people think ‘yeah, that could be a single’ such as Cher Lloyd singing stay or Aiden Grimshaw doing Diamonds are Forever or Little Mix covering En Vogue or Misha B doing pretty much anything.

      I guess the show wants to produce the next big recording artist and the current benchmark is Adele but none of The Voice’s contestants really have that kind of appeal at present. All they can really offer is an attractive boy with a nice voice (Max, Aleks), the next Matt Cardle (David Julien), A powerhouse female (Ruth, Joelle, Hannah) A young girl with an urban edge (Becky, Sophie) or current favourite Jaz Ellington.

      Obviously the show wants a credible winner but are Jaz or David really commercially viable? I’m not sold on it yet.

  • Boki

    Dug, first elimination odds are on VCbet (damn, I’m banned there) and BF market is opened!
    Tyler and Frances deserved favorites to go from team Will but do we know for sure what’s the voting process? Wiki page says even ‘singoff’ so do we reall get one per team on Sunday?
    Team Tom – again two favorites, I’m not so sure who would be the producers choices between the two.

  • Highlighted

    I will be deeply depressed if Jessie is winning coach. Most incompetent of them all really.

    Also Dug, don’t count out Bo. She is talented and got through a tricky battle round. I think she still has more to give.

  • Highlighted

    I know you guys say there is nothing in store for Ruth-Ann but she had better people she could have pitted against Ben if they wanted rid. Hugely popular Jessica (though possible they wanted rid of her) for a start.

    Unless they want cannon fodder in each category to have an easy choice of someone to go in each team the first lives. At this stage that cannon fodder would be Sam, Ruth-Ann, Hannah or Bo but I think they prefer Bo personally and Tyler or Frances.

    • Highlighted

      Sophie at 28 is a huge price. She’s taken the ulster sweetheart role (beating Jessica to this in the process, prods obviously preferred her). She also beat a great J Marie in the process at the battle round. Think Sophie either winning Team Will or even outright has to be a cracking price.

  • Pauline

    My thoughts on “The Battles”. You did ask Dug. It was all too cacophonous for me. The first round I had to mute the TV and pour a third glass of wine in order to cope. The second night I gave up two thirds of the way through, hitched the dog to his leash, went out and hugged a few trees. All that shouting and screeching, dear God it was awful. Having said that, I liked Bo. Whether she is from the higher echelons or the deepest part of chavdome doesn’t matter. She has a warm voice. I also liked Matt and Suleen. However, don’t think either of these will win. I liked Bill who has gone and Harriet who never arrived. Pity. So,that leaves me with Ruth. To me Ruth has something. If she is compliant and allows herself to be manipulated, manoeuvred and be told what to do, which I think she will, along with a physical makeover, oh, and address those screechy notes, then, personally, I think she has a chance. Also I feel the general public and, possibly the Beeb, would like to see Sir Tom as the winning judge. Remember tho’, I’m not a purist, analyst of form like you guys, Just an odd bod. To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed in “The Voice”. I thought it would, and wanted it to, outshine the X Factor, but, so far something is lacking. Maybe it is yet to come. Good one Dug.

  • Dug

    100 points to anyone who can spot the terrible spelling error in my article.

  • Tim B

    If there is a sing off, does that mean the ‘judges’ get to eliminate their chosen contestants this weekend? Any clues to how it’s all going to work?

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