“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.