Chairs, lasers and a level so high even Danny O’Donoghue doesn’t think he would enter. Shit’s about to get serious.
First up in the last chance saloon was 90s popstrel Cleopatra ‘Coming at ya’ Higgins of girlband Cleopatra fame. It’s impossible to tell if she was any good because Jessie J spent the duration of her audition flinging her arms about, thrusting her hips and screaming for attention. I think it was a slight overreaction but the market currently sees Cleo as the top runner out of episode 3’s band of hopefuls.
Cleopatra chose to side with will.i.am, much to the distress of empowered feminist Jessie J, who chose to blame the outcome on girls in general. Perhaps if Jessie spent a little more time getting to know the contestants and a little less time blasting vocal trills at them she might not suffer such gendered paranoia.
Next up was “nineteen year old rocker” and barber dodger Mitchel Emms, whose penchant for little known, hardcore transgressive bands like Nirvana had cursed him as a lifelong outsider.
Mitchel had a solid rock voice, for which Danny died a thousand pleasurable deaths. I’m not sure why he feels the need to do this quite so often but I can only assume that as an individual white man who can’t dance, Danny has randomly deduced that he himself falls into some kind of rock or ‘alternative’ niche. This is especially confusing when you consider that he was once in The Script.
At odds as long as 40, Mitchel is a somewhat interesting outsider. I say this purely because he has a strong voice, he’s not exactly coyote ugly and it would only take a brooding power ballad like Bon Jovi’s ‘Always’ to see him scramble up the odds tables, encouraged from below by the encouraging laps of Danny’s sycophantic lizard tongue.
Currently sitting in the middle of the pack is 18 year old South Wales “small town girl” and owner of grandparent, Elise Evans. Despite a solid vocal and approval from all four judges, Elise is trading at around 25 for the win, likely due to her fluffy, middle of the road persona in the midst of a surplus of big characters.
Next up was 18 year old Belfast busker Conor Scott, who with his “typical mum” can only be destined for great things. With his flame read hair and angsty strumming, Conor was an obvious choice for Team Danny and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him become a favourite in later stages. On a side note, it was more than slightly amusing to hear mentor and mentee referred to as coming “from the same place” considering that they are from different countries.
At understandably long odds and straight out of an ASDA tv advert were 2shoes tribute act, Diva, singing Celine Dion’s ‘Tell Him’ in the club style. Despite the Mamaoke nature of the performance, the duo had Tom and Jessie vying for their loyalty and eventually they sided with Daddy Zeus. One can imagine Diva making the latter stages for the cute factor but the Mary Byrne-meets-Leanne Mitchell aspect might give programme makers a few nightmares if the public decided to get behind the act.
Next up was 23 year old Leah McFall from Belfast via an episode of Saved By The Bell. Covering a number by her fashion doppelganger Rita Ora in the style of an embarrassed pixie on a combination of uppers and heavy brandy, Leah was basically a painful walking affectation. Nonetheless, she was mildly entertaining and it would be nice to see her progress if only to become the next Katie Waissel-style love to hate hipster character.
The penultimate yes of the evening went to 22 year old Lovelle Hill from South East London. Dressed perhaps from head to toe in Rihanna by River Island and doing her best impression of Jessie J covering ‘Diamonds’ from the bottom of a bargain bin, Lovelle was a competent enough singer and took a place in Jessie’s thus far male heavy squad.
Closing the show was 18 year old drama student and creepy Jessie J superfan, Lem Knights. After showing Jessie a photograph of her rabbit in a Le Creuset dutch oven, Lem gave an enjoyable soulful performance and ignited a battle to the death (oh I wish) between Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue.
Once the bloodshed and showing off subsided, will.i.am shared an intergalactic parable with Lem and whispered some sweet nothings in his ear before he chose his idol Jessie J to progress to the next stage of the competition. At odds averaging around 20 and as long as 25, Lem is hardly a front runner but his solid tone could see his numbers shorten in the coming weeks.
With places in the four categories filling up, the remaining blind auditions need to turn up some corkers if The Voice wants to pull its reputation out of the gutter. At time of writing, three of the top four in the betting market are overly polished, stagey performers with established careers and another is a blind soloist who seems to be involved more for her ‘courageous’ backstory than for her reedy voice.
As much as I want this whole Sheeran age of music to be over, I have to admit that Conor Scott was the only vaguely interesting/charismatic performer of this latest round of auditions. Odds of around 20 for the win might be worth a flutter if you’re feeling cheeky but last year taught us that early speculation was a risky game. Mitchel and Lovelle were also okay in an I guess kind of way but neither look that tempting in the betting market from this angle.
Do let us know if you disagree.