Finally! After two weeks of tedious siphoning, we get our next big cull. Teams Tom and Will with both be cut by half as two semi-finalists will emerge from each. The reported song choices are as follows:
Frances – Show Me Love (Robin S)
Jaz – The Way You Are / Just The Way You Are (Billy Joel / Bruno Mars)
Joelle – Stronger (Kelly Clarkson)
Tyler – Sign Your Name (Terence Trent D’Arby)
Adam – High And Dry (Radiohead)
Matt & Sueleen – Missing (Everything But The Girl)
Leanne – Put A Spell On You (Nina Simone)
Ruth – Next To Me (Emeli Sande)
So what can we gauge from the choices, if anything? Well it doesn’t look like Frances has been done any favours – another upbeat dance number requiring a powerful vocal isn’t the best way to show off her versatility or make her stand out from a pack of strong singers. Throw in Tyler’s recent surge in popularity and it seems difficult to imagine Frances beating out the competition to qualify for Team Will. At this stage, The Voice would surely be playing to her quirky-girl image and giving her sweeter song choices if they wanted to give her a late push towards the semis. She can’t possibly qualify on the popular vote and Will might look rather silly choosing to send her over two more accomplished vocalists.
Jaz’s song choices couldn’t be more perfect (or clichéd) if Simon Cowell had shat them out himself. The mixture of an older and more current song means that more viewers have something to connect with, whilst the sentiment is the same in both. Matt Cardle had great success with Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are on X Factor and both numbers give great scope to show off vocal range. Unless Tyler completely pulls it out of the bag, Jaz seems like the likely contender for popular vote.
Stronger could sink or swim for Joelle . On the one hand it’s a great survivor-themed belter that reflects her difficult life as well as her recent appearance in the bottom two. On the other, it could come across as very screechy. I fear, with one position in the semis attainable by popular vote, Joelle will struggle to achieve any kind of X Factor sympathy bounce and her fate will likely rest in Will’s robot-gloved hands.
Tyler James is now trading at figures as low as 10 with some bookmakers, making him the second favourite in Team Will after Jaz. That’s rather a turnout for a contestant who began proceedings at the bottom of a large pack. I had thought last week might have been something of a one off but Sign Your Name is a great track for Tyler’s voice. It might not have done any favours for Britain’s Got Talent’s Honey Shazad but then it wouldn’t hurt the BBC to show that they can provide a better rendition than their ITV counterparts.
Adam’s sticking to his guns with a relatively well-known Radiohead number that I think has the potential to see him develop a wider appeal. However, the idea that Adam could beat Ruth to the top of the popular vote seems ludicrous at this point. It does seem likely that The Voice would prefer him to Leanne as a semi-finalist, although both have a sad air of club-circuit performers about them to an extent. Which of the two progresses will likely be the result of Tom’s decision on Sunday. That is unless Adam is tonight’s surprise pimpee, which isn’t unthinkable.
Matt & Sueleen, whom I sort of love but are really just The Voice’s novelty act, seem fit to go at this point. Missing isn’t a particularly inspiring number but song choice almost seems an irrelevant issue for the pair, who manage to interpret almost any tune as a Pagan wedding ritual.
Because The Voice want to detract from Leanne’s slightly club-singer-ish tendencies, they have given her something contemporary to sing tonight. Oh no, wait, they have given her Put A Spell On You, which is basically cabaret in giftwrap. Whether Leanne can wow enough to clinch a coach-save over the more marketable Adam remains to be seen.
Market favourite Ruth Brown will be singing the Emeli Sande hit, Next To Me, which is OK but hardly a showstopper. Whilst it’s nice that Ruth will be doing something a little less EMOTIONALLY CHARGED this week, I struggle to see her wowing with her song choice. Perhaps The Voice have decided that it’s time to squeeze the breaks ever so gently on Ruth’s runaway popularity. Perhaps she’s not really the chosen one and it’s time to show that other contestants can sing better (or at least without as many mistakes). Or perhaps, as is more likely, Ruth will own her performance and turn a middle-of-the-road upbeat song about Jesus into a wonderful TV moment.
One thing that should perhaps be noted is that the market frontrunners in general have more current song choices whilst Leanne, Frances and Matt & Sueleen have more obscure or dated choices. Tyler’s song isn’t obviously contemporary but it suits his style perfectly.
As always, running order, VTs and comments will play what is probably a bigger role in the contestants’ careers on The Voice than the actual quality of performance. Whilst Ruth feels like a dead cert for popular vote in Team Tom, Jaz’s success doesn’t feel 100% guaranteed. Joelle has a more popular song choice than she did last time and is owed a later slot in proceedings. Tyler is picking up steam but is unlikely to feature as late in the running order. Jaz performed somewhere in the middle last time so could be given a good slot but The Voice will surely want to avoid overblowing him as much as they did in the audition process. Either way, if his damaged voice holds up and the producers want him in the final, Jaz should sail through on the popular vote. Ruth seems that little bit safer.
Whom the judges will save is anyone’s guess but mine would be Adam Isaac and Tyler James. This does however leave the semis a little gender imbalanced unless Bo goes through next week, which she may well do. If the plan is not for Bo to qualify, then of course Leanne or Joelle could be pushed to qualify for the semis.
How do you think it will go down? Are we likely to see a first performance from Frances Wood or Matt & Sueleen? How about Leanne – is she made for the semis or ready for the chop in the death slot? Is it too early to pimp Jaz Ellington again after his tearful group-wank of an audition? Will it be a shock appearance by Adam or Joelle in the golden slot?
Only time, and your generously-typed contributions, will tell.