Splash, DoI and The Voice Discussion Thread

Our hardy band of commenters continue to dissect the current crop of TV talent competitions. The second Splash semi-final is this Saturday, whilst Dancing On Ice and The Voice carry on. The Oscars are coming up soon too. Can Richard Whitehead overcome Perri Kiely? Is Ray Quinn a justifiably short favourite? Which Voice mentor has the best team? Do keep the conversation going in the comments section below.

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280 comments to Splash, DoI and The Voice Discussion Thread

  • stoney

    Following on from my earlier assumption that perri would win Richard has drifted out to 13/8 following tonight’s semi. Its perris to lose now

  • Natasha

    Yeh i agree, another handstand from richard in the final should seal the deal for perri. Glad i took the 5/6 when i did. May our luck change next week stoney 🙂

  • Natasha

    Still not 100% confident just in case!
    I’d love to go to the BGT final, you went last year didn’t you?

  • David Cook

    Week 5 of The Voice. Making the biggest splash of the week (probably bigger than on Splash!) was Jade Mayjean Peters singing Sweet About Me. On the whole I think that this was probably more to do with her curvy appearance, which caused a stir in the audience, rather than just the vocals. It has to be said that the vocals were good, if a little bit generic. It lacked the distinctive quality of Grabiella Cilmi’s original. She didn’t manage to ‘make it her own’ in X-factor speak. She should make it further but I think we need to hear more before deciding about her voice. If she does make the Live Shows I’m not too sure that a female audience will be voting in their droves for her – men on the other hand could be hitting redial.
    The actual best performance of the night was probably Max Murphy who was also snapped up by Kylie – a good male singer on Team Kylie – definitely another one to keep an eye on.
    So 5 out of 6 auditions completed, and only 33 out of 48 acts chosen. Are we really going to have a last week with 15 acts going through? That means the acts won’t get much coverage unless they give time to one or two stand out acts. The similar week last year was week 5 when 12 out of 20 acts featured went through, but none made it as far as the live shows. It seems likely therefore that we have already seen the winner – I’m just not sure if I’ve spotted them.

  • David Cook

    Talking rubbish as usual – Max is on Team Ricky.

  • Natasha

    Picking out a winner on the Voice is a hard one. Was anyone really expecting a Leanne or Andrea win? I really like Racheal O’Connor out of everyone so far but i guess it’ll be down to figuring out who the BBC voting public will go for in the end

    • GuildoHornForever

      I think it was Andy last year who flagged up Andrea as the likely winner from at least the 12/1 mark last year and throughout the final stages marshalled a sofabet community strike-force series of raids on the bookies coffers!

      • Andy

        Thank you for the kind words Guildo.
        I would be lying if I said that Leah didn’t cause me a few anxiety’s during the final stages and especially in the final when she sang Bang Bang with Will.i.am. It wasn’t until she started yodelling her way through Loving you that I realised we were back on track.
        I have “that feeling” about a contestant who I feel is going to go a long way and will make a case shortly. I just need to watch the last few battle rounds and ensure my stakes are in place before I publish my selection.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I’ve my eye on a few contestants, too, Andy.

          Excellent advice about being patient and skirting the minefield of the battle rounds, too.

          The battle rounds often degenerate into OTT shouting contests, and are plagued by f**king, non-nonsensical judges’ decisions (It really does mirror the experience of betting on boxing! Lol).

          Add to this the knowledge that the result may have already been decided (before you placed your bet). I don’t know how or where to find out who has or hasn’t already made it through. Invaluable info, that.

          • Andy

            Crazy insane or insane crazy, I’m not sure but I’ve taken the plunge on my favourite selection so far.

            Lee Glasson.

            1st contestant on the very 1st episode.

            Only for the brave at this stage as Guildo quite rightly points out for a number of obvious reasons.

            I wasn’t sure the 1st time I listened to him sing but after watching and listening a number of times I realised just how powerful his performance was. He sings with a passion that is very rare in these talent shows (Sam Bailey sang with the same passion). If he gets through to the lives he has the potential to have a huge following.

            He is a big tattooed fella but in no ways intimidating, very likeable with a big smile and a fantastic unusual voice.

            I repeat, Only for the brave.

            So much for being patient
            🙂

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTBs3vaVnvM

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Lee Glasson! You’ve surprised me,there.

            I must get to watching and listening to him a number of times, as you have.

            To be frank, I thought he was a bit goofy-looking, and had a fabulous and unique voice. ‘Unique’ under the mentorship of the judges can become a handicap, though.

            Just rewatched the clip and I remember now being annoyed by that supporter of his in the purple shirt, who gesticulated like an ex football hooligan. I wondered if that was his dad and whether Lee was going to one day grow into him.

            It’s not featured on the Youtube clip, but when it came to choosing a mentor he took for freaking ages and one point said summat like ‘I’m not milking it, but…’. Which further annoyed me.

            He sings a Kylie Minogue song and takes forever to choose Kylie as his mentor. He couldn’t have been milking it any more blatantly if he’d been down the farm, sat on a small stool, and squeezing the teats of a cow’s udder over a metal bucket.

            I’m sensing a bit of Diva-esque potential.

            I’m also sensing that I’m a bit of a bitch…but I’m representative of the voting public!

      • Natasha

        Ok thanks! Andy, what was it that drew you to Andrea? I haven’t ever followed the voice that closely, There has been a leak of about 3 or 4 names of finalists on DS but how reliable these are i do not know! I’m pretty sure someone posted these names not long ago. When will the bookies open their EW markets do you think?

        • Andy

          Andrea was just pure innocence amongst so much over confidence and stood out for this reason.

          Not really sure regarding the EW markets but I suspect they are unlikely to appear until the final 12 are announced for the lives.

  • David Cook

    Andy – I Checked the BBC webpage. They say that this week coming is the penultimate round of auditions which seems about right in terms of progress so far. This is fairer in that everybody gets the same amount of coverage. It just makes it a bit harder to predict who doesn’t get very far. I did see somewhere that the series is 15 episodes – same as last year – so either this is wrong or they will need to cut down coverage of the battle rounds to make up for the extra week of auditions.

  • David Cook

    I think that the difficulty with The Voice is that the coaches are working to a different agenda to the viewers / voters. The viewers probably just want to see and vote for the best singers in a Saturday night entertainment programme. The coaches seem to push acts that they think are different or have more technical ability. The public only get to vote on the acts the coaches put in front of them. The Battle Round is difficult to predict because the way in which acts are paired up and song choice is not transparent. For all we know they may pair Rachael up with Lee and put him through on the basis that they prefer his caterwauling to her singing. You can probably guess at who the voting public will support, but there’s no guarantee that those acts will reach the live shows.
    Hopefully the change in coaches might improve things in this respect (if indeed you agree that they need improving). Saturday night wasn’t too encouraging however. Steven Alexander was in my opinion just about OK, but a bit under whelming. Having turned Kylie suggested that they could work on ‘improving his runs and tricks’. Sorry Kylie but I think your starting from the wrong end of the act – if anything these needed cutting down. I was more inclined to agree with Ricky’s reason for not turning that he felt the performance lacked emotion – this is what he needs to work on.
    Please tell me if you think I’m completely wrong on this.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      ‘Please tell me if you think I’m completely wrong on this.’

      I think you’re completely right.

      Thank-God-she’s-gone Jessie J was the worst offender for this, and put paid to Ash Morgan’s chances with her indulgent and wrong-headed encouragements.

      If there is the phenomenon of “fan-wank” in Eurovision, Jessie J created “mentor-wank” on The Voice.

      Or should I say independently co-created it with will.i.am, whose own version focused on Leah McFall.

  • David Cook

    As an aside I thought Lucy Winter doing Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane not the dreadful Queen song) was great. It was good to see someone do something a bit different and thoroughly entertaining, and she certainly didn’t hold back. The first part was pretty good, but she just became a bit too desperate to try to make them turn at the end. Best song choice of the night though in my opinion.

  • Andy

    OFF TOPIC
    Can anyone explain Chelsea’s price of 12/5 for Head to head leagues, top London club on Betfair ???????
    Odds on with mainstream bookies.
    I keep thinking of taking it but think I may be missing something.

  • David Cook

    Well done to Andy for sticking his head above the parapet. However I think I will refrain from spending any money on Lee just yet.
    In Maison Cook we have a simple way of judging the acts – Like / Dislike / Indifferent. I say this because it’s not quite the same as Good / Bad / Indifferent. There have been acts we liked – Lucy Winter / Georgia Harrup for example – perhaps because of the song choice or performance rather than the quality of the singing. Equally there have been acts we disliked even though vocally they were good or different. I have to say that Lee was right up there in this category. Sometimes it’s quite easy to understand why someone will do well even if you don’t particularly like their style yourself – Sam Bailey on X-factor was a good example. Other times you just can’t get your head around it. This phenomenon is called ‘having a Dappy moment’ (I mean Dappy second – really can someone please explain this to me). But if Lee wins this I’m booking myself in for therapy.
    Being slightly more objective about this (but not much), I saw Lee as being a bit of a James Arthur ‘Lite’. Somehow the image seemed to be a ‘cuddly’ version of James (if there is such a thing), with James a barge pole wouldn’t be quite long enough. Then there was the singing the mentor’s song business. Only ‘Young’ by Tulisa is a bit more suited to the ‘angst-ridden’ treatment than Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’. This was more ‘I’m mildly concerned’.Whether you liked him or not, James audition for The X-factor was full of emotion (or else he’s great at faking it), but Lee was just plain annoying. James also managed to put in some genuinely decent performances, and of course he was pushed like hell by TPTB. But if you’re going down this route, don’t you go for the real thing rather than the pale imitation.
    As ever I’m putting the points up for debate – shoot me down if you like.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Am relieved someone else shares similar concerns about Lee Glasson.

      Andy is a real shrewdie and has the best form tipping-wise on The Voice markets, so I was shocked to be disagreeing with his selection.

      I couldn’t stand anything about Lee Glasson. The guy clearly loves himself.

      I imagine it was the twisty shtick of an inked-up bloke singing a slowed down version (X-Factor yawn style!) of a Kylie song, further spotlighting the show’s new superstar catch, Kylie, that led the producers to kick off the new series with Lee as opener.

      A makeover and learning a touch of humility would be helpful for Lee’s prospects, I think. As he does have the baseline of an extraordinary voice. .

  • David Cook

    One thing we can agree on is that Lee has an extraordinary voice. I’m just not sure if this is extraordinary good or extraordinary bad. One thing I would suggest is that perhaps with the publicity Lee stands more change of having a top ten single than winning The Voice. If you’re different people will either love it or hate it. You don’t need many people to love it and be persuaded to pay their 79p for an iTunes download to get quite high in the charts. Doesn’t really matter how many people dislike it. You’re going to need a lot more people to pay their 35p a vote in order to win The Voice. I just think that more voters will go middle of the road and that’s what you’ve got to compete against.
    At the moment I’m still struggling to spot a winning act. There have been one or two which I have liked, but doubt that they can win, a few that I think the public might like – but of course they might not even reach the live shows, and a few that TPTB are likely to push. I really think you need to see all of the acts, not just to see who’s good enough to win it, but also to judge the strength of the competition they’re going to come up against. The process of The Voice really influences who can win, and this process is open to manipulation. Also remember that the teams effectively don’t compete until the final week – and this is exactly how Andrea won it, because the she was left up against acts that the middle of the road public would not vote for.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      On rereading, I think we seemed to agree on more than one thing re Lee and re the process of The Voice in general, but there you go – perhaps you were responding to Andy more than myself.

      It’s hard to forget the number of excellent acts that have fallen by the wayside during the battle rounds of The Voice, over the previous 2 seasons of its existence.

      Andrea’s win last year was v popular on sf primarily thanks to Andy and it was interesting to speculate upon and analyse the different flaws of each of the 3 rivals to Andrea in the final.

      This year, I really like a couple of acts towards the head of the market. A relative outsider in the market I like is unfortunately, imo, with the wrong mentor. Perhaps, that mentor will dump the act, only for another mentor to enlist said contestant into their squad.

      I’ll be keeping my powder dry and watching and waiting.

      • David Cook

        Guildo – sorry if it was a bit confusing – yes this was really just some more thoughts following my earlier post rather than a direct reply. I tend to agree that holding back is wise at the moment. I agree that a couple of the acts at shorter odds do look tempting – but these are also ones that I think might just loose out in the end.

  • David Cook

    Just looking at oddschecker – I’m definately not betting just yet. But to illustrate the point I’m making above I would suggest Beth McCarthy. At the moment she’s the strongest act in a weaker team – so she has a good chance of making the final. If Will and Kylie get too up themselves with the acts they push, just as Will and Jessie J did last year, it could let an act like Beth through to win. But Ricky and Tom have too many places to fill at the moment to make it worth the risk at the moment.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      My search for a likely winner (at good odds) seems to be based on finding someone who can get the better of the favourite, Rachael O’ Conner.

      I liked her performance well enough first time of view, but with repeat views I find her more and more appealing. She ticks every box and has a touch of class about her.

      If she entered X Factor, I could imagine her being one of the favourites for that as well.

      • David Cook

        I think that if the public get the chance to vote on Rachael, she will do well. At the moment the odds look a bit short for a 48 way contest where we don’t even know who 15 of the competitors are. Kylie’s team looks quite strong – Rachael, Jade, Lee and Leo are all in the top 10 and all can’t make it through. Despite the hype of last week I would favor Rachael over Jade in a public vote. When Kylie got Leo she was like a dog with two tails (see how enthusiastic she was compared to her muted response to Lee) and I think she will push him. So it’s going to be interesting to see who makes it to the live shows.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Definitely. I’d imagine Rachael soaring ahead of Jade in a public vote.

          The mentors’ responses can be tricky to evaluate. When there’s a 3 or 4 way fight for a singer, it’s like watching a poker game in which each player is calling and raising. I observe that sometimes the mentors overstate their “love” to nab a contestant. On sober reflection, they might re-evaluate their words and opinions as to the contestant (now on their team).

          Add to this: that Kylie and Ricky are new to the game and might be over-excitable (in the early blinds).

          Which leads back to Lee, and Kylie’s ‘muted response’ to him. Was this the first audition of the series? Are the auditionees shown in strict order? If so, then Kylie’s response is telling. I wonder if she felt a little used by Lee?

          ‘At the moment the odds look a bit short for a 48 way contest where we don’t even know who 15 of the competitors are.’

          Couldn’t agree more with this, David.

  • stoney

    Splash final tonight, still very confident that perris diving ability will see him take the win tonight, over richards lack of diversity.
    Desperately need this win to end a disastrous run in reality tv shows, whilst sitting on the 6/4 i am not going to take cover with the 5/2 available for richard, i expect perri to top the scoreboard tonight therefore making the win highly likely.
    Interestingly perri goes into this final at around the same odds as Jim davidson went into the big brother final, would be just my luck at the moment if there was an upset!

    • Dan

      This Mirror poll (http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/splash-final-dan-osborne-keith-3147982) currently stands at 67% for Perry so looking good for you Stoney.

      Personally, I’m staying well away from Splash from a betting perspective. This is the first series that I’ve seen so I’m treating it as entertainment only. Having said that, if you were to put a gun to my head to force me to place a bet, I’d try and get some value and put my money on Richard; triumph against adversity and all that. Makes a nice narrative for the show.

  • stoney

    perri didnt disspoint with that opening dive, hard to see anyone matching that

  • Natasha

    Woop woop! Back in the game 🙂

  • stoney

    nice one mate, waiting for your call on the voice, havent been paying much attention this year so far

    • Andy

      Hi Stoney.
      I like Lee Glasson 12/1 but it seems like I am on my own.
      I may have dived in too early with my stake but I believe the lad has a lot of potential.

      • stoney

        i reckon they will be wanting a male winner this year, ill keep my eye on him, gonna let the battle rounds play out before i make my move

        • stoney

          Callum crowly impressed me tonight. Doesn’t fit the typical bbc winner though

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Impressed me, too. Great vocal range. Sounds like a superstar. You could have a hit record with him right now – in X Factor speak.

            I share your doubts, too. Desperately needs a radical style overhaul. If that happens, he’s a possible contender as he seems to be a sweet guy under that misleading first visual impression. Nice VT footage of him, I thought.

            Funny lad: dresses like a wigger, yet sounds like (the ill-fated) Liam Tamne from last season. His personality has a flavour of Liam, as well, I suspect.

  • Andy

    Lee has 3 or 4 songs on Youtube, take a listen.

  • David Cook

    Week 6 of The Voice. This weeks musical highlight was probably the 10 seconds of Glorybox we got in the background of Ricky speaking. I’ll come back to this later.
    In my opinion the best performance of the night was by Jazz. As Will said she was similar in style to Iesher, but I thought that she had better control of her vocals. She had a good tone, and her voice was quite well rounded and strong. In Ricky’s team she should do well.
    I know I’m supposed to be saying Amelia was the star of the show, but for some reason I just didn’t find it as great as they seemed to be making out. To be fair her voice is good and she was quite skilful. She is only sixteen. It’s a very difficult song to sing, and of course the comparatives are Roberta Flack and Leona Lewis. She sang the words perfectly – but there was something missing. To me the problem was simply that she didn’t manage to convey the sensitivity in the song. We probably need to hear more from her to make a decision.
    Low-light of the night was the performance of Whole Lotta Love by Mark Williams. Apparently Will didn’t turn because he didn’t ‘accessorise the crescendo’. What? There was me thinking it might be because a song that’s all about the energy had about zero energy in that performance. It seemed totally soulless. Apparently I’m wrong – all it needed was a few metaphorical candles.
    Back to where I started – I’m not too sure if Beth Gibbons has ever ‘accessorised any crescendos’, but to me her performances have the attributes that seem to be lacking in so many of these acts.

  • stoney

    been checking him out mate, pretty sure he was the first one on this series, and i instantly thought he reminded me of James Arthur, do we know where hes from is he likely to have a big regional backing?

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Haha! 🙂

    I did listen to a couple of Lee’s covers. In fact, as I used to be a massive Radiohead fan (existential whining – bring it on!), I’ve listened to his take on Street Spirit a few times. I guess there’s not that many male singers who would even try to emulate Thom Yorke’s epic vocals. Random thought: I would have liked to hear Freddie Mercury cover a few Radiohead soundscapes. Pity.

    So yeah, Lee has tremendous talent and an amazing vocal. I still don’t like him much any better, though. The bottom line for me is that he’s on the wrong show. The James Arthur comparison seems right to me in a couple of ways. In other words – he could have been a potential winner of this year’s X Factor. Instead, he’s at the mercy of a judge who may or may not like him and, ultimately, the BBC audience.

    Am keeping on the quest to find someone to take on the top 2 in the betting. Phew! Rachael O’Conner and Sophie- May Williams look a strong couple of adversaries. Plus, you could tell during her audition that Will.i.am really,really wanted her on his team. He played his reactions and impressions down, he sat on them – which is very unlike him. He didn’t want any competition from the other judges for her and shadily pressed his button, disguising his intentions till the last. Finally, he may have found his game face. Intriguing, I thought.

    The outsiders in the betting I keep returning to all have a flaw of one kind or another. I suppose their odds reflect this…but it’s a bit frustrating and I wonder if I’m trying to force a value selection (which is a contradictory pursuit, of course).

    Take Sarah Eden-Winn. Holy flipping wow! Her power and control is awesome. She ‘sang the Hell out of that song’, as Tom sometimes remarks. Compare Sarah’s version of One Night Only with say (the excellent) Treyc Cohen back on X Factor a few years ago.

    But OMG, Sarah does know that vocally she is all that. Over-confident already with her stage presence, seems to consider herself the finished article and will of course continue to self-indulgently, over-confidently and over-showily over-sing every bleeding song she she does. Plus, she chose Will as her mentor. I mean: what do the BBC audience make of Will? I thought it was very telling what that slinky sex-bomb with the Macy Gray distorted vocals, Jai, said to Will. In essence, she found him too cocky. I, in presumption, thought that he would be right up her street. But no – she didn’t like him and his ‘chat’.

    I was praying that Sarah would pick Tom Jones as her mentor (or even Ricky – who is a likeable bloke; and vast improvement on ‘the hairs on my neck litmus test’ uber-intense, bloody Danny, from the first 2 seasons.

    I guess Sarah felt a natural rapport with confident Will.i.am?

    Keep on looking at that 33/1 for her, but my doubts about her are too strong to even have a nibble.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      An example of the reason I keep on eyeing that double carpet for her, despite my reservations about her, would be this performance, on her girly-pink-corded microphone (with echo effect on). She seems to be using a karaoke machine for this performance:

    • David Cook

      Hi Guildo – interesting comments regarding Sophie May Williams. She’s been the favorite in the Cook household since her audition – and with just one week of auditions left we haven’t seen anyone to pass her yet. She just seems to be an outstanding talent. The Youtube clip of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is even better than Time After Time from the audition. I totally understand that she won’t be to everyone’s liking – many will say that she’s just another slowed down teenage girl singer that we’ve seen before. But I think her vocals and musical style make her potentially much more than that. I’m just amazed that only Will turned. I’m yet to convince myself that she can actually win. I think in a head to head Rachael might just beat her in a public vote, but at the moment I think that the bookmakers look to have it about right ( I just wish the odds were a bit longer).

  • Natasha

    Regarding Callum Crowley. I have been checking him out on You tube as missed The Voice on saturday and he does some really great covers and he doesn’t dress like he did in his audition which is a bonus. I find Lee’s style a bit eery and samey and definatley rate Callum more a lot more highly than Lee. Will be keeping my eye on callum for sure. Whose team is he on? Are there any more spoilers as to who made the final 12?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      ‘Are there any more spoilers as to who made the final 12?’

      “More!” About whom are the original spoilers?! Desperately need to know their identities!

      • Natasha

        I think it was Andy that posted it on the previous thread. The source was Digital Spy so how reliable that is I do not know. I have been keeping a check on it but haven’t seen anything since. The only one I can remember who was through to the final 12 was Sally Barker, she has an old soulful voice and I personally think she’ll make the latter stages of the final.

  • David Cook

    Over the last few days I’ve spent a few minutes watching (or should I say listening to) a few of the Youtube clips from various acts who have made it through the auditions – as it seem everyone else has been doing too. It’s been interesting and at some point it may even help me decide who’s in with a chance of winning. Some of the clips do seem to confirm the impressions – but a few others have been quite surprising.
    Just a couple of points – firstly what is it with this falsetto singing? Is this some sort of new craze which has entirely passed me by? It seems to be obligatory for many the male acts. If I wanted to listen to a lady singing I would listen to a lady singing, rather than a man singing like a lady. Anyway I’ve listened to Lee Glasson – I’ve really, really tried as hard as I can – and I still can’t stand it. I have an idea that TPTB might push him, but having endured the auditions, a screaming battle round, the knockouts and probably one live show I think that will be quite enough for the viewing public. I still don’t see Lee as a winner. I can’t quite get my head round this but I’ve got a feeling that if I’ve misjudged the BBC One Saturday night audience it’s a blind spot that could prove to be expensive. Anyway I tend to agree with many of the comments that it might be Callum Crowley rather than Lee who could turn out to be be a real contender.
    Secondly a point of contrition – I think I was probably a bit unfair on Christina Marie in an earlier post. I do think people should avoid doing Whitney Houston – we’ve heard these far too many times and it’s a high standard to be judged against. But if she’d done her version of ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ then I think that she might be considerably higher up in the betting. The various clips show that she has got a really good voice – more than anything perhaps she just needs to find a style of her own. Ricky might actually turn out to be a good choice of mentor in this respect and if they get it right she should be one of the front runners in his team.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi David,

      Christina Marie is one of my ‘under the radar’ flyers too. She’s exactly the right personality fit. She genuinely lacks confidence in herself and is genuinely nice and polite and nicely spoken. Very pretty girl, too – which makes her humility yet more attractive.

      Great voice with a good-enough tone. I do think there’s nicer tones in the competition. Slight lack of richness to her tone. Slightly puts me off her. As does her lack of stage presence. Is there time on The Voice to go on a X Factor style journey?

      I feel Sarah-Eden Winn could learn a bit of humility from her; plus how not to over-sing a song. (Though I prefer Sarah’s tone and it is perhaps unfair of me to criticise Sarah again for happening to possess an incredible range and power).

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Biggest surprise during listening to Youtube videos of the competitors happened while checking out Steven Alexander. During his blind I immediately dismissed him as a Will Young wannabe / tribute act, complete with the added disadvantage of weird and unpleasant facial expressions (and a Leah McFall vocal-riff moment).

        Check this out ( Especially 0.59 to 1.06; Goodness gracious me!)

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulQmnnNAYsQ

        His Jim Carrey like facial flexibility still throws this viewer off, though.

      • David Cook

        Hi Guildo – I think with Christina Marie it’s going to be the song choices that make or break her – she needs to ditch the Whitney / Mariah covers, few people are ever going to match that standard, and go for something a bit edgier which might really suit her tone. That’s why I think Ricky might be the best coach for her, although I agree that the schedule doesn’t give the same chance for a ‘journey’ as the X-Factor.
        Regarding Sarah Eden-Winn, I really have a problem with this style of over singing – but it’s the kind of thing that certainly the X-Factor audience seem to love.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Hi David,

          What are your opinions of the 2 Scottish guys: Steven Alexander; Max Murphy?

          For me, there’s something a bit off or snooty about Steven.

          If Steven has an overly expressive face (in an unhelpful way),Max is bland and dead-eyed to me. Max left me a bit bored.

          But I can imagine a section of the audience lapping up Max.

          Onto the subject of vocal tone, I think (off the top of my head) my favourites have been Rachael, Joe, Leverne, and Femi.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            I really enjoyed Joe’s audition. He speaks his way through parts of the song and what a gorgeous tone he has.

            He vocal range sounds a little limited (he’s young), but he’s fresh-faced, likeable, with nice energy and a pleasant voice.

            Ten-a-penny nice; or should there be more buzz around this lad?

  • David Cook

    If you’re going to sing this I really think this is the standard you need to aspire to – it just blows away Buble’s version. It doesn’t get much better than this.

  • David Cook

    Hi Guildo – are you thinking about the potential for a Wee Nick style Scottish voting boost for Steven Alexander and Max Murphy? The thing is that they would have to make it through to the public vote first, and I think that it’s going to be difficult for either of these two. Steven seemed very sure of himself, and I thought his voice was probably OK, without being exceptional. The performance was just so full of tricks some of which were generally a bit shaky. I remember Kylie saying that this was something that they could work on, but I just think that these really needed cutting down a lot, and more emphasis on getting the basic right first. Then there was the issue of the facial contortions. And of course Team Kylie is looking a strong team at the moment – so even some of her better acts are going to miss out. My first impression of Max Murphy on the other hand seemed quite promising, he kept it simple, and the voice with the acoustic guitar worked well. Certainly the end seemed quite impressive. But this is one of the ones which having watched again didn’t seem quite so good. There’s nothing really wrong it’s just that the first minute actually seemed to meander a bit, and you notice that it doesn’t really get going until the end. The performance does just seem to lack a little bit of a spark that would really make it stand out. Of course nerves could be a big factor in this. He’s on Team Ricky, so it depends on what they can do to bring him out of himself to make the performance a bit livelier. Overall I think I’ll be avoiding either of these two at the moment and see what happens in the battle rounds.
    On the subject of possible regional votes, I notice that both Paddypower and Boylesports are offering relatively short odds on Rachael. I wonder if people are really putting in any serious money at this stage or whether they have just set the odds to deter people from betting with them in order to avoid a potential hit if she does win.
    The question of tone is an interesting one, partly because there’s not really a right or wrong way to be. It’s as much about choosing a style and song choices to suit people’s voices. I do have to agree that Rachael has a sweet tone and a bit of variation that makes her voice interesting. Leverne had a crystal clear tone, perfectly matched to the song choice and for 60 seconds she sounded brilliant – then the nerves or emotion got to her and it all fell apart. I did read some comments on DS from someone who had been to the Knockout rounds that they thought Tom had a strong Team – I wonder if Leverne has made it through. If she can just sing like she at the start of her audition I see no reason why not. Femi had a really good tone too that was well matched to the song. The only issue I had with Femi was that despite his personality which came over so well in the VT, when he sang I just thought it lacked a bit of individuality – and I think Will touched on this too.
    I just think that song choice is so important for all the acts. Looking at various clips on Youtube has been quite interesting. Mark William’s Whole Lotta Love was quite interesting – I didn’t like it but not because it was poor per se – it seemed to lack energy, but possibly more so because it looked like someone acting out a singing performance rather than being a performance from someone who was in touch with the music. It left me a bit cold. But this did lead me on to watching Leona Lewis doing this – her tone is just far too smooth for this whereas Gabriella Cilmi managed to do a really great version – amazing. On the other hand Leona does a great version of TFTEISYF, and I’m not too sure I’d want to listen to Gabriella do this. So really it’s horses for courses. Anyway that’s quite enough of my opinions for one day.

  • David Cook

    Just one more thought on Steven Alexander and Max Murphay – I think The Voice was recorded in November so the producers will have been aware of how well Wee Nick was doing on X-Factor. I’m not sure how far they would like these two to go, but I certainly don’t see them wanting either to be the winner. I’m not suggesting that there needs to be any direct manipulation, but perhaps just a suggestion from TPTB to the coaches that unless they see them as winners it might be better to not let them reach the public vote. I suspect we won’t see either in the final twelve.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      A very sensible analysis, but then its flaw could be that you’re crediting TPTB at the BBC with sense!

      Stoney mentions in a comment further up this thread that Lee was the first act featured on The Voice. On X Factor or BGT that can signify SYCO production love, and thus production and judging favouritism. Not so much on The Voice, I guess.

      I would say the talentless puppet Louis Walsh is more open to manipulation than musical legend, Sir Tom Jones.

      For an example of the cluelessness of the BBC consider their last 2 choices to represent the UK at Eurovision: Engelbert Humperdinck and Bonnie Tyler.

      They would have been cracking choices for 1968 and 1983; but were less so for 2012 and 2013.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        The music department at the BBC can only be relied upon for 2 things: protecting paedophiles; and providing a brief Eurovision publicity boost to the twilight years of has-beens.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Boxing betting question for anyone.

    On a under / over bet on boxing where the mark is set at 1.5 rounds.

    This means if you bet on “under”, the fight needs to finish anytime in the 1st round for you to have a winner, yes?

    And that if you bet on “over”, the fight needs to finish anytime in the 2nd round, or after, for you to have a winner, yes?

    Is that right or wrong, anyone?

  • David Cook

    Guildo – I think that after 2 years TPTB on The Voice will be starting to get much more of a feel for how the public are going to vote – the question is are they bothered and what do they do about it if they are. I agree that that there is probably much less scope for visible manipulation than on X-Factor, and the coaches are probably much more independant. However I think it is likely that they would share their views on who is likely to do well in a public vote with the coaches. Firstly because they now have 2 years worth of voting figures to analyse – information which they have kept to themselves, and secondly because whilst the coaches might be good at judging singers – I’m not too sure of how in touch with the voting public they might be. If the coaches do have a particular favorite that they would like to see make the final, I’m sure they wouldn’t want to fail just because they make the wrong choice for say thier third place.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi David, you would also think that after 57 years of experience with the Eurovision Song Contest, the BBC would have developed a feel for which kind of acts the public are going to vote.

      In 2012, the BBC chose 75 year old Engelbert, who finished 25th, next to last. In 2013, they entered 61 year old Bonnie, who finished 19th.

      Never underestimate the ineptitude of the BEEB!

      But their scheduling decision for this season of The Voice was a wise one, and the nabbing of Kylie as a new mentor was a good move (as has been the selection of Ricky, imo). They do seem to be wising up.

      But do the BBC know who is likely to do well in a public vote? I’m not sure they do. Most of the contestants are ditched bys decision of the mentors. And do the BBC know whether they want an obviously commercial winner or a winner that the BBC audience would prefer?

      Typically, on The Voice, the coaches / mentors feel free to do what they like. None more so than Will.i.am, whose private twitter account outperforms the BBC’s marketing department!

      A question to ask is: how keen is each mentor to win The Voice? Each mentor has a number of different goals. In the business end of the compo, maybe the game faces prevail and dominate, but earlier in the competition, maybe less so.

      I don’t know whether you followed The Voice last year, David, but it seemed clear, (as it has for the both of the first two seasons) that Will.i.am doesn’t care, per se, about being the winning mentor.

  • David Cook

    First act up on the X-factor this year was Luke – so definately a favoured act – but not one that they saw as the winner. I think it could be similar with Lee. The audition was a great way of introducing the new star coach – no arguments about that from me. But perhaps just like Luke they see Lee as doing well but not the winner. I think they will have learnt not to make things too obvious. If you want to put off the voting public I can imagine that 4 chair turns in the first 2 seconds followed by unlimited praise would achieve that perfectly.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      I think I’m right in saying it was producer’s lap-dog Louis who saw / knew that Luke could be a possible winner of XF this year.

      I doubt the TPTB at The Voice would or indeed could instruct Tom, Kylie, Will and Ricky to all chair turn in the first 2 seconds and offer unlimited praise.

      And when it eventually comes to the rounds where the public are able to vote, the chairs are all already turned, anyway.

      • David Cook

        Hi Guildo – I think I’m looking at this from a slightly different angle – the 4 turns in 2 seconds is an exaggeration, but I’m suggesting that there are certain things that may put voters off an act even from an early stage in the competition. So for example if you had a favored act the last thing you would want to happen is for all 4 coaches to turn round instantly at the audition – because that might mark them as a favored act and the public don’t like being told who to vote for (even if it just appears that way rather than being deliberate). If TPTB have some ideas on what some these factors might be why not share this with the coaches. It’s not manipulation or instruction it’s just giving them some advice which they may or may not take on board. The discussion doesn’t even have to be about specific contestants, it could be just general things that they think can help or hinder contestants. We discuss these on this forum – so I’m sure they will have had similar discussions.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I do follow what you mean and agree that there may, and probably will, be some pointers given and producers, even if just in passing conversation, will let the judges know which contestants they favour.

          This last season of Strictly was a classic (and very sad chapter) example of producer-to-judge manipulation. It became increasingly blatant the degree to which the male dancers were being picked off one-by-one. Poor Ashley -another year he might have won, have been let win on a level playing field. It also became apparent towards the tail-end of the season that the BBC had not only been pushing Abbey, but had actually been favouring her all along. I’m still of the opinion that they not only wanted a female winner, but that they wanted a Northern female winner in particular.

          Things seem to be a bit different on The Voice, though. I don’t think 73 year old Sir Tom Jones is open to being manipulated by anyone. I don’t think he would be willing to potentially damage his reputation as a legend in the music industry by doing down the chances of any of his young charges.

          Music superstar Will.i.am treats the show as a plaything, could walk away in a heartbeat if he felt like it, and has demonstrated time and again he isn’t interested in playing ball with anyone’s preferences. Every year on The Voice he will systematically try to impose his idea of the winner onto the public. Every year so far, the voting public have told him were to go. In season 1, he was still bitching and whining about the public getting rid of his precious Ruth Brown. At times he was implying that the public must be racist for not voting her through In season 2, after his precious pet project, Leah McFall, bit the dust in the final, he was bitching and whining again about how ‘disappointed’ he was with the final result, a win for Andrea Begley (The Voice voters must have built up a lot of love for Will.i.am!)

          Kylie and Ricky might be open to a bit of influence. You could see how unsure they were in the beginning and seemed incapable of making a unilateral, decisive press of the button; felt too rookie to go fastest finger first in. Consistently they looked for a lead form the old hands at the game, Will and / or Tom. Over time their button work has become more confident, grown into their roles, and become less mindful of other’s actions.

          The flipping endless tirade of influence, advice and suggestions on the show comes from Will. Every time an act has a choice as to which mentor they should choose (and when he is not one of the potential mentors) he sticks his oar in, and basically tells the contestant who they choose.

          Personally, I not only find this disrespectful to the other mentors but I consider it patronising to the contestants. Do they not have a mind of their own? Did they even ask for his advice?

          Last year, Jessie J was Will’s neighbour in the chairs and it was clear that Will had had some influence on Jessie (not that she needed much influencing,to be fair) as to pushing Leah. Jessie was a fully paid-up member of the Leah fanatic club and even Danny was also joining in with the to-camera plea for votes for Leah.

          Imo, it’s pushy Will.i.am and his media-loud twitter account, with it’s 11.5 million followers, that set the agendas on The Voice. I’m also of the opinion that ultimately he’s counter-productive to the prospects of the acts he pushes.

          Looking at the judges and thinking of who they will choose to decide to take through the battle rounds, I think they will be guided primarily by their own natures.

          Tom tends to favour a good straight-ahead singer with plenty of oomph.

          Will likes quirky, Macy-Gray voiced girls.

          Kylie is an unknown quantity yet but has made some worrying remarks a la Jessie J’s preferences for verbal acrobatics. Maybe this is a female solo singer trend. Maybe the majority of female singers dream of singing like Whitney Houston?

          Ricky, I find very encouraging. I think he will favour people who tell the story of the song. He may have a soft spot for normal, sweet people and singers, too.

          This is part of the complexity of betting at an early stage on The Voice. Finding someone who can win a public vote while also factoring in that contestant’s potential to get through the selection process of their mentor.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Just had a large bet on over 1.5 rounds (at 4/5) on Ronda’s match-up and a small double (at 4.34/1) on Maia (12/5) and Makovsky.(4/7).

    (I’m still not certain I understand under vs over betting, but couldn’t face missing grabbing hold of that 4/5.)

    Had a good couple of days. Jumped on Valencia (as with everyone else on learning their away match was to be played in Cyprus) and missed having a bet on the GB men to win the curling final (Canada crushed them 9-3).

    Plus, just after putting my fighting bets on before, I noticed I had a live casino bonus token (the only time I play in that scary f**king area) and stuck it on a set of 3 numbers, and it fell my way!

    Which has paid for the majority of my fighting stakes. 🙂

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Any other octagon fans in the house?

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Have added Fight of the night 11/4 Rowdy and 12/1 Sampo.

        I’m so pumped for this latest Ronda match.

        Olympic Bronze vs Olympic Silver
        +
        Judo vs Wrestling
        +
        A blonde budding action film star hottie vs a nice brunette
        =
        All kinds of Awesome!

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Draws are scarce in mma but couldn’t help but have a nibble of the 66/1 for a draw in the Ronda fight.

          Can foresee an outside narrative where that would make for a convenient outcome.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            I fancy Ronda to squeeze out a victory, but have imagined a very close contest.

            I don’t view Rowdy as a 1/6 favourite; nor do I understand odds of 4/1 for McMann, undefeated in MMA, and with an Olympic Silver medal for wrestling, to boot.

            I think if it had been Sara who had embarked on a win streak in the UFC, with Rousey the newer recruit, then the odds difference would form more of a dent than a chasm.

            If McMann wins, I imagine it will be by decision, available at 8/1.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      In an uneventful fight dominated by Makovsky, it was he who got the UD over Sampo, Need Maia to take MacDonald later tonight to land me my double.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        What a terrible late night that was!

        I called the Rousey-McMann fight completely wrong.

        Rousey with a Ist round tko of McMann.

        Ow.

  • Andy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-aSeLcz8z8

    Liz Oki

    She is the star of tomorrows show.
    She has will in tears.

  • Natasha

    Regarding Callum Crowley, I get the impression he hasn’t made it to the lives as going by his facebook page he is holding auditions looking for dancers for his latest music vid. If he was in the final 12 then I guess he wouldn’t be able to do anything like this

    • David Cook

      That’s interesting – for a while I’ve been thinking that Sophie, Iesher and Jermaine would be the three acts from Will’s Team to make it through to the live shows. But after last week I wasn’t sure how Callum might fit into that equation.

  • Natasha

    Rachael O connor’s twitter confirms she has been back at school. Does this also indicate that she hasn’t made it to the lives also? I’m pretty sure the x factor final 12 don’t go back to their normal lives just a few weeks before the lives start or do they?

  • Natasha

    Hi Guildo, if Lee is giving up his job in 8 days time then I assume this would be because he is in the final 12 and the lives are starting in a few weeks? Together with his bro wishing him ‘big things’ on the voice, I think this would somewhat confirm it. Again re Callum, I am confident that he wasn’t successful as TPTB surely would not want him to shoot a music vid whilst still being a part of the show. I assume that Leo also did not make it purely because he has stated the battle rounds were not fair. He doesn’t shout and scream when he sings and this is what he is stating isn’t fair about the concept of the battle rounds. Would you agree?

  • Natasha

    Here is a reminder of the spoiler that was posted in the previous thread.

    Taken from DS the 3 finalists mentioned are Jermain Jackman, Sophie-May Williams, and Sally Barker. Apparently, Anna McLuckie got knocked out at the battle stage as well..

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    My betting plan has been to wait to see the completed teams, later tonight, continue engaging with the sf community, and then finalise selections and have a punt or two in a few days time..

    But this business of not knowing who is already through and who has already been sent home is doing my head in!

    The thought of backing selections that have already lost is troubling. That the identity of these “already losers” will be known in some quarters (but not by me) makes matters intolerable!

    Further, the battle rounds -or is it just some team’s battle rounds?- are, apparently, already done and dusted,

    YET, on Lee Glasson’s twitter feed (a bit of hub for The Voice contestants, it seems) some contestants and their friends seem to be talking about the battle rounds in the future tense.

    It’s twisting my melon, man.

  • David Cook

    Guildo / Natasha – From various links on DS posted by people who attended it seem like all of the auditions, the battle rounds and the knockouts were all recorded in November last year. So the final 12 will have been known to some people for quite some time. The names in Natasha’s post are the only ones I have seen too – all on DS – so yes it’s quite annoying. Given the timescales it’s not really surprising that people have been back to thier jobs / school / college as even out of the final 12 only a few are really likely to get offers from the music industry following the live shows. It’s still about 4/5 weeks to the start of the live shows – so talk of packing up work in the next week or so seems reasonable. With regard the Rachael – given that she is the favorite in the betting – I think someone would have leaked something if she was out?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Thanks for the clarification about the scope of the November recordings, David.

      ‘The final 12 will have been known to some people for quite some time.’

      I imagine quite a lot of people must know who’s through and who’s not. The judges will know, most of the BBC staff who work on The Voice will know, most of the contestants, current and probably also ex, will know. As will the family and friends of the above groups.

      I’m growing surprised that the bookies have markets up for the show.

      The thing with Rachael’s presence on the show is that nothing’s certain. Liam Tamne was the bookies fap last year. He departed early but that fact didn’t make it to the internet.

  • Natasha

    That’s the good thing about x factor, we can always rely on a reliable leak! I’m surprised The Voice keeps everything hush hush for so long to be honest, we must be able to find out the names of the final 12 somewhere lol

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Can we join in on their twitter accounts and ask them straight?

      Something like, ‘Hi there, big fan of yours _____ (insert name). I want to back up my support with a bet on you. Did you make it through to the lives?’

      Hehe!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    There were a few back-story contenders on tonight’s show, including Will.i.am’s. That’s the first time I’ve warmed to him in 3 seasons.

    On first impression, no-one leapt out at me as likely to trouble the top-end of the market.

  • stoney

    Just caught tonight’s show. If that colored guy from liverpool makes it through to the lives hel be dangerous. Not aware of any spoiler lists and won’t be backing anyone til after battle rounds.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Yeah, stoney, he did seem a terrific guy (genuinely humble), with a glorious voice.

      I remember thinking Matt Henry deserved to finish 2nd or possibly 1st, judging solely on singing and performance strength, in last year’s final.

      I was stunned that he finished last of 4.

      Possibly I’m unfairly under-rating him due to the lack of voting love for coloured contestants on The Voice, so far?

      I suppose the fact that both Tom and Ricky turned for Kenny is a tip in itself.

  • stoney

    Yeah but I’m thinking the scouse vote would make up for that

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    From last night’s show, Tom Barnwell’s been chalked up in the 10/ to 12/1 range (4th favourite for one firm). I was expecting a range of 18/1 to 22/1 for him.

  • David Cook

    The final round of auditions seemed to pass off without any really outstanding acts – unless after seven weeks I’m just starting to get a bit jaded. In Maison Cook we thought that Tom Bramwell probably was the best on the night, but not as good as they seemed to be making out, and certainly nowhere near 4th / 5th favourite. I don’t think I even need to tell you that he wasn’t my cup of tea. Looking at the betting odds today there do seem to be one or two discrepancies – perhaps some information is leaking out, or maybe I’m just being cynical again.
    The last act is usually reserved for a favoured act – but last night it was the fight for the final spot in the battle rounds. Cherri Prince managed to snatch it – but the spoilers suggest that she is the act knocked out by Sophie in the battle rounds – and I can’t see anyone falling over themselves to steal her.
    The other bit of info from the spoilers that now makes sense is that Chris Royal makes it through the battle rounds – and it appears that it must be Jamie Lovatt that he knocks out – that’ll be a strange head to head. We actually quite liked Chris in the auditions, certainly more than Lee or Callum, and being in a weaker team should help him to get through to the live shows. The spoiler suggests that he was impressive. The only problem for me was his Youtube clips, which are a very mixed bag. He’s fine singing out in full voice and falsetto, but when he sings more gently his voice can sound paper thin and a bit pitchy. A couple of the clips have reverb added, presumably to help cover this but it’s far too overdone and sounds echoy. The overall effect is a bit disconcerting, and a bit like listening to Abi Alton, it sounds good in places (most of the time even) but has you on edge because you’re just waiting for the next error to happen. I’m not sure there’s an easy fix – other than choosing songs very carefully so as not to expose the weaknesses. Has anybody else got any thoughts on him?
    Another couple of thoughts – one of the spoilers suggested that Kylie has the strongest team overall, and a possible winner. I certainly don’t disagree with that. It’s also suggested that at least two of the steals come from her team – so try and work that one out if you can.
    One thought on a possible steal is Femi from Team Will. Femi had a great voice and came over well in the VT, but the performance was slightly lacking in character. I don’t think Will really wanted to pick Femi – I think he recognised how good the voice was, but it’s not really his style. I suspect he thought that Tom should have turned, and got a bit annoyed that he didn’t. In the end with no-one else turning I think he felt that he had to because he deserved to make it through. I can’t see Femi making it through Team Will, so I think he’ll play it tactically and drop him in the Battle rounds giving Tom a second chance with him, which is fair. Given the males in Tom’s team I think he should snatch the chance if he gets it.

  • David Cook

    Hi Guildo – Yes I agree with what your saying. I must agree that the balance of the coaches is much better this year than the previous years, and hopefully this continues once they actually start to excert some influence on the acts.
    As you say it’s extremely difficult to predict through from just the auditions to the final, as there’s just too many steps. One 90 second audition and a few Youtube clips isn’t much to go on. The Battle rounds can be a total lottery ( I agree with Leo’s comments on this – but you don’t bite the hand that feeds you – so I suspect he may have gone). The steals add yet more complication to this. Then the Knockputs, and then the public finally get to vote on what’s put in front of them. Very difficult.

  • Andy

    Is it me or are the judges all out after Beth in the dancing ????
    It seemed a little obvious that there was a joint 3rd place tonight.

  • David Cook

    One or two posts / spoilers have appeared or been repeated on DS which include a bit more information about the battle and knockout rounds. One post indicates that two of the coaches make steals from Team Kylie. However the surprising one is that Ricky steals…….Jessica Steele. So that rules out my theory of Tom stealing Femi, and I can’t see how he could get through Team Will (if a suggested Jermain is through to the finals). We also know Sophie knocks out Cherri. Someone who was quick on the pause button has posted some of the pairings for the battles – Anna / Jessica, Jermain / Sarah and Callum / Tom are ones from Team Will. The odds shown on Oddschecker seem very strange – Tom is still 4th/5th with odds as short as 8/1 whilst Callum has really drifted. I can’t believe Tom knocks out Callum. From Will’s team that just leaves Femi, Iesher, James and Kiki to be paired up – some different styles there then.

  • David Cook

    From the trailers and spoilers so far the best list of battles I can get is:
    Celestina / Mariead, Jai / Nomakhosi, Kenny / Bizzi, Tom / Callum, Beth / Tila & Tavelah, Jermain / Sarah, Leo / Steve, Anna / Jessica, Sophie-May / Cherri, Jimmy / Lee, Chris / Jamie Lovatt, Sally / Talia.
    The BBC trailer also shows Christina Marie (who has obviously won her battle round) being hugged by Ricky. You don’t see who she has beaten.
    Not sure if this is of any help really.

  • Andy

    How do you solve a problem of Beth Tweddle ?????

    For the last 2 weeks the judges have had Beth Tweddle in their sights. All 4 judges gifting the male team double points after their group performance of ”Uptown Girl” conveniently dumped Beth into last place on the leader board even though the girls performance of ”Walk like an Egyptian” was far superior IMHO.
    They couldn’t take her out and she sailed into the quarter finals.
    The knives were sharpened again last week and no sympathy was given even though Beth had been poorly all week.
    Bottom of the leader board yet again with a tie for 3rd place making it even more difficult for Beth to avoid the bottom 2.
    Yet again she cruises into the semi’s.
    To do this she has to be very close to the top of the public vote if not winning it.
    Last year the show went all out after a male winner and even though Matt scored 8 maximums in the final Beth still won by a landslide with 75% of the public votes.
    The judges have made their intentions clear yet again this year and to be honest Ray should and probably will win in the final regardless of who joins him there but I genuinely believe that they are not going to take a risk on Beth joining him and will be all out again this Sunday to get her into the bottom 2.
    How can they do it ????
    Place Hayley at the top of the judges leader board.

    Hayley 1 point.
    Ray 2 Points.
    Sam 3 Points.
    Beth 4 Points.

    so even if Beth tops the public voting leader board she cannot avoid the bottom 2.
    Beth 1 point.
    Ray 2 points.
    Hayley 3 points.
    Sam 4 points.

    Judges and telephone votes combined.

    Ray 4 points.
    Hayley 4 points.
    Beth 5 points.
    Sam 7 points.

    Bingo.
    Now….would the judges risk the wrath of the armchair voters by sending home Beth against Sam who has been in the bottom two 3 times already ???
    I think they would.
    They will not take the risk that this popular girl will trump them again in the final like she did last year.
    If anyone agrees there are a few ways to take advantage of this conspiracy theory and the best one would be to back Hayley for top scorer at 8/1.
    Beth for eviction at 13/8.
    Or is my head just working overtime and I am talking the usual nonsense ?????

    • David Cook

      Well if they though they had a problem before – they certainly have one now. I must admit I don’t watch this – Mrs Cook watches and I usually endure the results. But I was amazed at last nights results.

      • Andy

        Hi David.
        My head is going above that parapet yet again and I am happy taking Beth for the win from here.
        The odds tell me differently but I am amazed at the price that is available so will be piling in.
        I cannot comment on last nights result because I am out the country and could only follow a live blog but when I saw Beth in 3rd place on the judges leader board i suspected she would be safe. They had there chance and blew it IMO.
        I made a tidy profit on Hayley topping the Leader board but lost on the elimination market.
        Please continue with your Voice updates as I am away for 4 weeks and will be following your valuable comments.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Terrific pick, Andy, that 8/1 for Hayley. The reasoning behind it was even better. Keep on working overtime – your reading of the series agenda and the producer manipulations were clearly spot-on. Kerching!

          Pre-series, I ignored Beth Tweddle as a possible winner on the basis that a) the then recent Olympic medalist was shown no production love in the previous DOI series, with T & D serving up week after week of insipid choreography for her; and b) Ray Quinn was the Prodigal Son, Golden Boy chosen one for this champion of champions finale and I figured that priority number 1 would be getting rid early of fellow Liverpool vote-pulling adopted-Scouser Beth, maximising that vote bloc advantage for him.

          Reading your analysis of this DOI reminds me of the shenanigans of this last SCD. The series-long focus on stopping Ashley that led to endless score inflation for (never a threat to win the outright) Patrick.

          Hayley (like Patrick) can be handed a top score; while depressing Beth’s (read Ashley’s) scores, esteem and momentum being the priority to ensure the male winner, Ray (or Ray, who happens to be male). In SCD, a female winner was the priority.

          Did TPTB at DOI part succeed last week with Ray B2ing? Will he receive a bounce vote boost? Ray is unlikely to pick up many votes from the just eliminated male, Sam’s fanbase, as I’m just looking over the series results (I haven’t followed it) to find that Sam has been horribly unpopular all series long. Sam probably only received votes in the 5% to 10% region last week, I should guess.

          As you say, Andy, they couldn’t stop Beth from landing a crushing victory last season, and viewers have, so far, in back-to-back seasons ignored the agenda of DOI. The viewership must generally and widely understand that Beth is being underscored and are despite this or because of this voting for her all the more. It must be more and more obvious.

          Yes, it must be Beth who is the threat, not Hayley, because otherwise there is no way that Hayley would have been top-scored last week.

          Reading your analysis, Andy, I’m wondering if the bet to have is Beth to finish ahead of Hayley?

          Last week, perhaps Ray ended up in the B2 partly because voters have felt that there’s no need to vote for him, given the widespread belief that he’s a certainty to win the whole shebang anyway – nevermind successfully advance through the stages.

          But still, it’s a fact that last week Beth must have pulled in more votes than Ray. It’s not necessarily (at all) the case that Hayley did.

          Aye, you’ve got me convinced, Andy. I’m joining in.

          And I’m not going to bother with the 6/4 top female for Beth (like I was considering) when there’s 10/1 available for her to win a 3 rival race.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Plus I have the fall back of the very early 2/1 I took for Ray. A Hayley win would be a nasty skinner on me.

            Come on, Beth!

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          ‘The odds tell me differently but I am amazed at the price that is available so will be piling in.’

          Yes, the odds seem crackers, don’t they?

          Thinking back to DOI again, while reviewing Beth’s results this season, reminds me of Susanna Reid’s season-long profile – finishing bottom or bottom 2 on the judges’s scorecards yet never being involved in an “off”.

          It wasn’t surprising when the leaks revealed she was dominating the public vote. Consequently, she went odds-on fap.

          It transpired that the Beeb were all along pushing Abbey for the win, and there was a backlash against the revelation of Susanna’s popularity (in contrast to her average dancing skills) – yet that doesn’t dim the fact that her price / odds more or less reflected her chances.

          Do you think that because Beth is visually and aurally unappealing, and doesn’t go in for big self-promotion / brand-promotion that her odds reflect this lack of showbiz, lack of hype, lack of hype?

          I’m thinking here with reference to the eternally over-priced golfer, Jeev Milka Singh. He’s a lot plainer looking than Tiger Woods and possesses an ungainly, ugly swing.

          • Andy

            This time last year Guildo i was happily piling in to Beth at 6/5. I wouldn’t get too involved this season for fear that they could take her out during these later shows. I put 100 on at 20/1 but was convinced she would be up against it because as you pointed out there has been no production love in the last 2 years. I thought that the opportunity to make a profit had gone this year after Ray went 1/10 and seemed to be cruising to victory due to superior dancing that is obvious to all but like last year Beth has quietly creeped into the final and it is clear that she has huge support.
            I find it difficult to put into words but there is just something so likeable about Beth.
            I feel a warmth towards her maybe even sympathy, I know that she has been bullied as a youth because of the way she looks and has come in for some stick from Twitter and Facebook trolls who are calling her all sorts of names, Lord Voldermort amongst others.
            Yet she is a great skater, She may not have the energy and passion of Ray but she does do some fantastic moves due to her gymnast skills yet she is constantly under marked and even criticized even though she always seems to get through the routines without mistakes. Jane and Chris gave her some much needed praise on Sunday.
            The key to winning the series on Sunday night might well be in the form of the obnoxious Jason Gardiner.
            Her worst enemy could well prove to be her best friend.

            He can give out 10s to Ray or Hayley all night long and he may get them a few thousand votes
            but if he gives Beth just one snide comment, nasty remark or even a dirty look and 10s of thousands of armchair viewers from all over the UK will be reaching for their phone and that is guaranteed and i am sure he will not be able to stop himself because he is a truly an awful human being who has given Beth some very low down and dirty comments over the last 2 years.
            Beth is not a teenage child who can be manipulated and ridiculed like a x factor star, she is Beth Tweedle MBE and deserves a respect that Jason has never given her.
            Jason is detested by the vast majority of the DOI audience and who ever he favour’s on the night will be working off a massive handicap.
            whoever he slates will be pulling in votes for fun and my gut feeling tells me that someone is going to be Beth.
            I now have Beth up to a five figure payout for just under 4 figures and I hope i don’t have egg on my face after this next comment but (i think Beth is a Banker).
            Will miss the final unfortunately.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            http://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/dancing-on-ice/177906-dancing-on-ice-2014-final-ray-quinn-getting-70-of-all-bets.html

            Endless bragging rights for you, Andy, if you’ve called this one right!

            I’m keeping the faith too and ignoring the mass of bookies, punters’ money and polls 🙂

            Come on, Beth!

          • Andy

            A repeat of the “Dead between the eyes” comment wouldn’t go a miss on Sunday.
            Come on Jason you bitch, you know you want to.
            Beth’s price likely to drift in running on Sunday when 10’s are dished out to Ray & possibly Hayley but keep the faith.
            Beth is the most viewer friendly contestant IMO.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Jason is another Katie Hopkins-esque controversalist, and yeah, this will be his last ever chance on DOI to unleash his witticisms, so fingers crossed he doesn’t spurn the opportunity to go out with a bang.

            He’s bound to be aware that his attacks prove counter-productive (boost rather than depress in the court of public opinion), but media controversy is his bread and butter, is what he needs and knowing that shredding Beth might prove the defining moment, the game-changing clincher for her, might actually spur him on all the more to sharpen his planned barbs for her. That way the ultimate series will be remembered for Beth & Jason – rather than as the Ray Quinn Coronation cakewalk.

            If I were Jason I would prefer to be one of the 2 main protagonists of a script (even if that means being the defeated baddie) rather than be a forgotten cheerleader on the sidelines in a story focused on the prince who would be King.

            So, I feel there is hope he may go for it.

            DOI did pull one smart with last week’s scoring: the top scoring of Hayley will have been key in dropping Ray into B2.

            Foregone-conclusion viewership apathy will have been depressing Ray’s vote count. The B2 will have been the rude wake-up shot to his fans. It was a call for votes.

            Even so, 10/1 still looks a good price for Beth.

            A question re Ray’s progress through the series: has he improved or has he stayed at the same level? Same re Beth: has her skating noticeably improved or just been skimming along a plateau?

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            I mean: I din’t realise that Jason was still going at Beth and that final put-down potentiality is good to have on-side.

          • Andy

            Ray has improved week on week Guildo, it would be a injustice if he didn’t win because he is the best by a country mile, he is just a natural and is bordering on professional, yet like Matt last year Ray seems a little cocky and blatant favoritism throughout may just be off putting enough to get people to vote for the underdog. when the voting figures are released do not be surprised if Beth has won the public vote for the last 3 weeks and i have no reason to believe that she wont keep that winning run going into Sundays final. it wont be a 75 % walk over like last year but just over 40 % of the votes should be enough and I feel confident enough that Beth will be pulling in that amount.

          • Andy

            I have dived in at 7/4 for Beth top female on betfair yesterday, these was a nice amount on offer so i accepted the bait gratefully, my stake on the outright market is almost covered if Beth finishes behind Ray as long as she betters Hayley.
            it will be doubly painful if i am talking nonsense yet again
            🙂

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Noticed a column inch in today’s Star suggesting that Jason is nervous that the ‘stars’ on the show may use the last-chance opportunity to launch personal attacks on him.

            So, this says to me that he is hyper aware that tonight’s show is the last chance for everyone to land any home truths or shoot any crafted ad hom blows.

            His nature is to go on the offensive so fingers crossed that he gets his retaliation in first!

            The worry would be his adopting a faux pleasant approach, attempting to draw the expected sting.

            Haha! We’re more interested in Jason’s comments than Beth’s skating, tonight!

          • Andy

            sorry guildo.
            🙁
            my most painful loss ever.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            That’s this gambling business for you! Snaps back and bites us on the bum sometimes!

            I was happy to take the 10/1 for her. Consider it far, far from being a daft bet.

  • David Cook

    Just for fun ahead of the battle and knockout rounds I thought I would post who I think will make it through to the live shows. Probably be a mile out but here goes:
    Team Kylie: Rachael / Lee / Jade
    Team Will: Sophie / Jermain / Iesher
    Team Tom: Sally / Leverne / Kenny
    Team Ricky: Beth / Chris / Christina Marie
    As ever if anyone else feels like sharing thier thoughts on this please post them up.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Have snapped up the 13/2 available for Jelavic.

  • David Cook

    Battle rounds week 1. The only surprises in terms of who got through were Bizzi and Jai. The battle between Kenny and Bizzi was quite a good match. Last week Kenny appeared to have a good voice, but needed to step it up. Possibly Tom thought he didn’t manage to do that, although I thought he shaded the battle. How Jai got through against Nomakhosi I do not know. According to Kylie it was because of her tone – presumably she prefers strangled cat. Although Nomakhosi was saved by Will, I don’t think she’ll trouble the live shows as I think he’ll only put one ‘soulful’ singer through and that looks like it will be Jermain. But Kylie’s decisions worry me – her best acts are on next week and could face each other with no possible saves.
    Other than that the winners could pretty much be guessed in advance, and I suspect had been chosen in advance, as the best singer on the night didn’t always get through. Beth was very weak – but being up against a duo is more difficult. I wonder if Ricky set up the pairings to try to raise the bar for his preferred acts. Beth had to try to out sing a duo, whilst Christina Marie was put up against a professional West End singer. Nathan was really good, but the performance, the projection of the voice and the style seemed a bit ‘stage show’. Christina showed a lot more of what she might really be capable of, and I think deserved to get through despite Will’s comments. She was excellent at the start, and just fell away at the end when she tried too hard to match his power. Along with Sally she was probably best act of the night. Nomakhosi was good too.
    Lee did nothing to raise my opinion of him. I still didn’t care for the vocals, but it’s the facial expressions, the mannerisms and affectations which are really off putting. If he does get through, which I think is quite likely, I really can’t see him being a hit with the voters. Time will tell.
    What about Anna. I think she’s on the wrong show – seriously. If this was The Voice and Harp she would be the winner, but it’s just The Voice. She was good, but I honestly did think her vocals sounded a bit exposed when she just sang, and I can see how she may go out in the knockouts. However as top of the first DS poll and with YouTube views towering over everyone else, if she does go it could stir up a hornets’ nest. I think she should have gone for BGT – she might just have walked that.

    • Dan

      Hi David, I’ve been enjoying your posts on The Voice and am in agreement with a lot of what you’ve written. We found it rather obvious who was going to win the battles and guessed all but Beth.

      On Anna, it appears that the DS spoiler that I posted on the other thread was nonsense on her going out in the battle rounds. I’d be even more cautious on the names of the three that have allegedly made the lives.

      We also thought Sally put in the best performance of the night. If she really does get to the finals per the DS spoilers, then she’s exactly the safe BBC viewer-friendly act that will get the votes. No silly vocal tricks, tattoos across her chest, or purple hair. Just look at the previous two winners to see the type of act that gets the votes.

      • David Cook

        Hi Dan – actually I think the information in the spoilers has been correct so far – the spoiler I saw on DS said that Anna goes out in the Knockout round, not the Battle rounds. Certainly the spoilers posted up at the time when the Knockout and Battle actually took place seems to be OK. I would be a bit more dubious about anything posted up now.

  • stoney

    Ok I still have no idea who will win this, I think callum would be better suited for the x factor. I don’t much like the voice it doesn’t hit the tension spot anywhere close to the way thex factor does. Seeing as the best singer wins this show I have taken 12/1 for sally. Andy called last year bang on the money but im not feeling the love he share for Lee glasson

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi stoney,

      Yeah, I’ve hated Lee Glasson from the start. I’m not surprised to hear that he’s pulling up trees in a bad way.

      In my experience (virtually) all performers are up their own narcissistic arses, but Lee has never hidden it very well. It can work a necessary treat for (average singers) like Robbie Williams, but is a no-go personality area on The Voice.

      I finally put some bets down on The Voice, but want to top up again and am waiting for pay day!

      Am kicking myself I didn’t take the 28/1 for Christina Marie a bit ago. I really liked that girl’s personality, above anyone else in the competition (though I thought Callum seemed a nice lad, too).. But dodged a bullet in managing to stay away from Sarah Eden Winn (yet another obviously narcissistic entity). Also had to fight against myself to not back Kenny (at what looked bountiful odds). Still remember Matt Henry being the best performer in last year’s final, before finishing last in it. That Mike Ward finished joint runner-up is the biggest joke in The Voice’s history. Salford’s good ol’ country teenage boy, incomplete with the sparkling personality of Gavin Henson.

      Kylie’s section has always looked a tough passage to negotiate, and that’s the only thing that’s been stopping me from getting involved on Amelia.

      Personally, I wasn’t sure about the timbre of her voice…and I’m still not.

      But, by golly, I’ve watched that audition clip over and over and Ricky was blown away and Sir Tom seems to consider her his peer, his equal. I’ve never seen Tom react that way before. Furthermore, I didn’t expect her to be his kind of singer.

      As I recall, while pitching for her team membership, Kylie went and used that word ‘angelic’ to describe her. I seem to recall Danny using that same beatific characterisation to describe Andrea last year.

      Team Kylie has always had a look of a showdown between Rachael vs Amelia to me. I hate the thought of taking on Rachael. I prefer Rachael’s voice to Amelia’s. Proven Northern Irish voting power vs Liverpool voting power will certainly be interesting. There is the added fact that we have the recent evidence from SCD that even on a BBC show the Scouser (and a thickly-accented WAG at that) can beat the BBC Home Counties woman

      (I also notice that Beth Tweddle is outperforming expectations in DOI, btw.)

      Although I’m not fully sold on Amelia’s tone, this could be fueled by my bias against operatic sounding singers. This is a bias, though, not shared by many. I am in the minority with this one.

      On thing to note about the first 2 winners of The Voice is that, in the final, the mentor-singer relationship has been male-female. The two genders together. This makes all kind of sense. If you are a mentor superstar, you will want to perform with an opposite gender singer for all kinds of strong reasons. And the thing you desperately want to avoid is to be comparitively out-sung by your same-sex mentee!

      I have an inkling that Kylie would like to duet with a smooth black singer. Of her team, Leo is the one she would select to duet with.

      (The public conceive of duets as a male-female combo too.)

      I’ve no doubt that Amelia is a much more technically gifted singer than Kylie, and I wonder if this might work against

      However, I get the impression that Amelia is smaller in stature than forever-legs Rachael. This could be key. Kylie (consciously or sub-consciously) won’t want to be dueting with a girl who towers over her. (then again: nor may she want to set herself up for dueting with a girl who looks like a very young version of herself; Amelia could nearly be her grand-daughter).

      Anyway, this Saturday it’s Racael vs Amelia, with no remaining steals. So, the loser is going home. And the only vote that counts is Kylie’s.

      I think I’ll hold my fire, as directly backing against Rachael feels a stretch too far for me.

  • David Cook

    My theory on Femi was wrong last week so I might as well have another go this week. It’s Iesher against Femi in the battles, and I think that this will be the last pair that Kylie can choose from. Will was shown in the clip doing eeny, meeny, miny mo. This would be harsh on the contestants so it must be a wind up aimed at Kylie. She’s probaly hoping to get Iesher, but I think she’ll get Femi. No way is Will letting Iesher go. Femi’s a good singer, but Iesher’s just the sort of great raw talent that they’re looking for. She might not make it – but you’ve got to give her a chance.

  • David Cook

    The problem with my new Femi theory is that it put’s him back in the mix. In Team Will I just couldn’t see him getting past Jermain to reach the live shows. Team Kylie is a strong team, but he might get through. Now I’m happy with Lee in the live shows – because I don’t think he can win. Throwing down the microphone stand and strutting around stage pumping your muscles didn’t strike me as being the sort of behaviour which would be winning too many votes in Middle England. Camara cuts to show Ricky wincing as he ‘sang’ can’t have helped either.But Femi reeling out some smooth classics on the other hand could be a whole different ball game.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    By the way, for anyone looking forward to a punt at Cheltenham, check out Paddy Power’s offer on the festival opener, the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle.

    That does read like an advert! But it is well worth checking out.

  • David Cook

    This weeks’ battle rounds appear to have thrown up a few misfortunate pairings – I think a few of the steals were wasted last week. The biggest battle seems to be Team Kylie where at least one of the favourites will go out. Matching Rachael with Amelia does seem to be the right thing to do – but one of them will definitely go out whilst poorer acts have already sailed through. I think Rachael has a really nice tone, and sings in a straight forward manner, but probably has less technical skill than Amelia – it’s very close to call. I’m hoping for Rachael as I put a bit of money on whilst 7/1 was still available (even though I felt it was too short). I was pretty reluctant to back anyone from Team Kylie as it appears to be ‘the group of death’ with too many contestants at short odds. The other odd one on Team Kylie is Jade against Gemyni – I say odd because I would have thought that this would have been very one sided in favour of Jade – yet the trailer clearly shows Jade looking upset.
    The other unlucky pair in my opinion are Leverne and Georgia. Leverne’s vocals were just so crisp and clear, but she became badly affected by nerves or emotion. Georgia didn’t get the vocals quite right, but the song choice and overall style were really refreshing. She only has a couple of Youtube clips but it appears she can sing better than the audition. Again it’s going to be close, and unfortunate because I feel that they’re both better than the remaining four. This time it’s Leverne carrying my money. One of the DS spoilers describes Team Tom final three as being a strong team with a couple of exceptional voices. One of them clearly must be Sally, but I’m hoping the other is Leverne – I just cannot see anyone else who you could possibly describe as exceptional. If she can get past Georgia then she must have a great chance of making the live shows.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    White girl with a guitar…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3xXlxibDJs

    Am currently loving this singer-songwriter-instrumentalist…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am1Re0tDv60

    I so want her to win.

  • David Cook

    It looks like it’s going to be an interesting battle round this week – certainly on Team Kylie. Guildo makes some great points regarding the duets and it will be interesting to see how Kylie shapes her team. I’ve watched the trailer a couple of times – I’m pretty sure that Will picks between Iesher and Femi, with the ‘looser’ joining Kylie. I think that will be Femi, which puts him up against Leo. I think we know who has the best voice but I think Kylie will definitely prefer Leo. And where does that leave Lee. I can’t imagine Kylie relishing the thought of doing a duet with Lee (‘Especially for You’ in Lee’s inimitably style anyone?) , and I’m not sure she’s all that keen on him anyway. But could they really push Leo at the expense of Lee. The problem with Leo is that he’s decent, but not outstanding, and he’s also an established singer. Since being in the Streets he’s released his own singles – but they haven’t done well. Therefore he’s just in it for the publicity, and if that’s put to the public vote it won’t go down well – not against the unknown acts that really need the break that The Voice can give them. Based on the strength of the acts I thought Kylie’s team would be one male and two female acts – but possibly it’s going the other way. Maybe this weekend she really will dispose of Jade as well as one out of Rachael / Amelia, which would seem to open up that possibility. Who out of the girls would Kylie prefer to duet with? Will her decisions be seen to be fair? Who would want to bet on this? If Rachael gets through this weekend her odds could shorten even more – but it’s starting to look like quite a big IF.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Intrigued by many aspects by this article. Worth a read and a ponder, I should say.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-516720/William-Hill-manipulated-compulsive-gambler-lost-2-million.html

  • David Cook

    The song list for tomorrow has been released and I’m not impressed. We enjoyed the battle rounds last week – there was a decent mix of songs, not too much shouting / screeching and in general the decisions seemed reasonable. The only person with a genuine gripe was Kelsey-Beth. She stood little chance against Emily anyway, but the song choice totally killed her off.
    This week I’m not so sure about. The way the acts have been paired up for a start doesn’t look too fair. Some decent acts will definitely go, whilst others will sail through. But it is the song list that really gets to me – it’s just bizarre.
    Is there anything I’m looking forward to – probably just ‘Love Cats’ by The Cure. From the spoilers we know that this is Sophie and Cherri – if they ‘jazz’ it up a bit it could be quite interesting. But it’s a bit of a niche song – not too many of the viewing audience will know it. I think that this is the problem with Sophie – however good she is I’m not sure her style is ever going to attract enough votes to win it. It’s easy for me to say but if I was her I wouldn’t sell out just to try to win. She clearly knows the direction she wants to go in so just do it. If it gets votes good, if it doesn’t I don’t think it matters – she is one act who might do well anyway. I think she’ll get to the final, but probably not win.
    The other song choice we know from the trailers is ‘Rolling in the deep’ – this time with Chris Royal and Jamie Lovett. From the trailer it sounds like a car crash – a bad choice of song for both acts I think.
    But it gets worse – ‘Eleanor Rigby’. Now I like the Beatles, and I even like the song, but it is not a suitable choice for a singing completion. In the unlikely event that this was featured on the X-Factor it would be TPTB killing someone off. Whichever unlucky pair gets this I thing that they’ll both be ‘buried along with their names’ in the competition.
    And worse. ‘Hit Me One More Time’ by Britney Spears and ‘22’ by Taylor Swift. Are they serious? How on earth is this ‘pop by numbers’ supposed to show off an acts singing skills? We don’t know who the unlucky recipients are – but it wouldn’t surprise me if Kylie inflicted one of these on Rachael and Amelia. That would be a disgraceful waste.
    And worse. Who on earth is doing Jay-Z. Are they cutting the swearing?
    And worse. Usher. I honestly can’t see which pair could do this – unless it’s a very unfair match.
    Rant over. All will be revealed tomorrow.But I’m fearing the worst.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Bets on The Voice so far:

    Sally at 22/1, 16/1 and 12/1.
    Christina at 12/1.
    Sophie at 6/1.

  • David Cook

    Hi Guildo – some of todays results were leaked on DS this afternoon. Somehow Tom puts Georgia and Melissa through – it’s just not credible unless they are trying to make Team Tom a one person race in favour of Sally. Anyway I’ve adjusted Sally from break even to a win whilst I had the chance. Rachael through over Amelia and Jade through over Gemyni apparently. I’m going out so I’ll be watching it later if I can stay awake.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Nice one, David. Thanks for that. Laverne was proving a bit of a worry to me. Hopefully she’s out?

      Anyway, I’ve just jumped onto Skybet and took the 16s for Sally. 4 times I’ve backed her, now.

      Not too surprised at Kylie sending Amelia home. She was more Tom’s favourite, than Kylie’s, thinking back.

      Ah! their battle has begun…

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        I think Amelia might have shaded that. Why Kylie pitched them at each other, I don’t know. Dumb. Goodbye Amelia.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Was amazed to scoop up that 16/1 for Sally earlier. She’s into half that price now, with the same firm.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Also had a free bet token with another firm, and popped that on her at 12s, as well.

          5 times I’ve backed her. It’s becoming an addiction. Time to let it ride.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Jesus! Those opening two were so out of tune the song was almost unrecognisable! The judges are so far talking diplomatic BS with their feedback. ‘Power versus emotion’ – Hahaha!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Leah McFall giving singing advice! Right, that’s enough of that! I’ll catch up later…

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Tuned back in and there’s that problem with Laverne that she just kept in check during her audition. She’s a bit chavvy. In fact, she seems a right nasty piece of work. And now they sing…

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Georgia through, like David said.

      Laverne trying to keep the anger off her face is hilarious. A tight, fixed mask of suppression. She’s a proper little psycho, that one.

      Good riddance.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Christ! That last battle was ordinary. Gary is boring and the other one goes all screechy. Tedious.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Keep Jazz, ffs.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Guildo presents: a little look at Cheltenham. A small stakes, recreational punter’s look, perhaps.

    Now, I’ve only ever sat on a horse a few times and as a punter I consistently posted a loss back in the days of following the gee-gees. There are as many systems for “winning” at horse racing betting as there are horses in the world. Finding a winning angle is a Herculean task, possibly a fool’s errand. My conclusion from years of backing the horses was that there are ways of minimising your losses but it is very difficult to consistently post a profit. (I.E. I consider there to be no sure things or certainties in racing and I don’t rate highly my opinions on the projected outcomes of a race.)

    Yet the big festival starts on Tuesday and the bookies are competing with each other to offer the most attractive concessions to draw the punters’ bets. For this reason, I’ve been prepared to put a bit (only a bit, mind) of study into the races where the bookies are offering this help.

    N.B. The ground at Cheltenham is likely to be on the good side of good to soft.

    2nd and more important N.B. – I only back the horses now and again and to small stakes. I back playfully, out of interest, with small stakes and almost out of old time sake! Also, my reasoning can verge on whimsical!
    You have been warned! Yes?

    ============

    The first promotion to catch the eye was PP’s offer for the festival opener, the Supreme Novice hurdle (on Tuesday). It’s a big field but if your horse finishes 2nd, 3rd or 4th in the race PP will refund your stake(s) in cash up to the value of £50 (not a free bet token).

    I limited myself to looking at the first 10 or so in the betting. Irving and Vautour are vying for favouritism…so, hot shit horses or not, I ignored them! (I refuse to back horses in the 2/1 to 3/1 range in a large field of novices. Not my bag).

    Clear 3rd in the betting, Wicklow Brave ran an even better race than at first sight over in a 5 runner affair at Punchestown last month and I expect the bigger field at Cheltenham to suit, but odds of reward of 13/2 don’t leap up and grab me by the buttons.

    Rewatching the Tolworth was interesting. The Liquidator flopped badly, whereas the game and improving Josses Hill put up another great performance in a narrow defeat. The front two went well clear and I’m still impressed by Josses Hill’s win on slightly better ground at Ascot a few races back. An interesting 14/1 shot. But it must be said that The Liquidator has top class form overall and good Cheltenham course form, too.

    Mullin’s (supposed third string) in the race is Vasleur Lido at 16/1. This one really catches the eye. Very lightly raced (not an ideal profile for a visit to Cheltenham) and could be anything. I’ve rewatched its latest facile win (beating nothing of any note) at Navan a few times now and for some reason I keep on being reminded of Jonah Lomu and Jerzy Jaonwicz. It’s something about the way the horse is moving over the soft to heavy ground. It looks to my non-expert eye as though it would be even better (vastly better) on firmer conditions. And the way it negotiates the hurdles: it looks like an experienced hurdler rather than a horse with three runs under its girth.

    Un Ace stayed on very powerfully at Doncaster last time and there’s probably worse 50/1 shots than this. With a couple of furlongs to go it looked destined to finished 4th, with those first four finishing in a bit of a heap, but this very inexperienced horse really got going a furlong out and went clear, winning by 8 lengths. It won a nothing race, was picked up off its nose at the third last, put in a short, (unsurprisingly) over-careful jump at the last (if it had jumped more fluently I reckon it could have won by 15 lengths, rather than 8), and has only had the one run over hurdles, but the 50/1 odds (over-) compensate for this and is one that could be being underestimated. If this one puts in an improved jumping display (and why not?) and is in contention near the business end, I could envision this one staying on very strongly up the Cheltenham hill. I’m also intrigued by its debut win, where it trotted up on the Polytrack at Lingfield in a NH flat race at 33/1. The race commentator notes that the early pace of the race is going at a ‘very sedate pace’ (and also that Un Ace is, at this early race stage, squeezed for room). When the race turns into a sprint, Un Ace, is a good few lengths back, but still manages to win. I infer from Un Ace’s large price that this is a horse which showed (and shows) little at home on the gallops, and that the fact it could, on its debut, win a NH flat race on the Polytrack, coming from behind in a sprint finish, tells me it has a lot of natural speed. So this is a horse with natural speed, and yet which showed formidable staying power in its previous race at Doncaster (where it won on its hurdling debut). That it probably shows little at home means that it tends to go off in its races at a large price, an over-inflated price (in its 4 race career it’s been rated at 33/1 (finished 1st), 25/1 (3rd), 50/1 (12th) and 7/1 (1st)). It’s also partly a 50/1 outsider for this Supreme Novices race at Cheltenham because horses just don’t win the Supreme after one previous hurdle race. Here’s hoping that Un Ace can prove the joker in the pack. (P.S.: Since reflecting on my write-up (and its comparative length) for this horse I’ve backed him again, and more substantially. Imo, 50/1 is a scrumptious price for Un Ace and I felt hunger pangs for another piece of the bullseye!)

    I’ve backed Vasleur Lido, Un Ace and Josses Hill. But hey! I can be a bit daft like that!

    A more sensible (indeed, optimum) strategy, I should imagine, would be to take the betting at its word by backing the first 4 in the betting: Irving, Vautour, Wicklow Brave and Vaniteux at 9/4, 11/4, 13/2 and 10/1 respectively. You could very conceivably land the winner; plus maybe have your money refunded for a couple of your losers. Favourites have a poor record in the race, but a look at the prices of the last half dozen winners of the race (at odds of 5/1, 10/1, 10/1, 12/1, 12/1 and 17/2) point to fancied runners tending to prevail.

    N.B. Skybet is running an offer, whereby if the favourite wins the first race (on any of the 4 days of the festival / meeting), then they will refund, as a free bet, a losing win single stake (up to £25) in that race. This Supreme Novice hurdle race (Tuesday’s opener), under discussion here, would qualify.

    N.B. 2: Boylesports are offering cashback up to the value of £100 if your horse finishes 2nd to any McCoy ridden-winner (at the festival). I think he’s likely to ride Gilgamboa (10/1 to 14/1 range) in the race discussed above.

    ============

    Another bookies promotional race is the Champion Hurdle. Ladbrokes will refund all losing bets, to the value of a free bet token, if Hurricane Fly finishes in the first 2. Now, Hurricane Fly has won the race 2 of the last 3 occasions. Hurricane was 3rd in 2012, but the 2 horses who beat it aren’t in this renewal, I notice.

    The mighty Tom Segal believes the Hurricane to be more vulnerable than ever at the age of 10 to the small brigade of younger hurdlers entered in the Champion Hurdle. His big fancy is Our Conor, who he believes ‘has been peaked for the day’. There are also those that comment that Hurricane Fly is a better horse at Leopardstown than Cheltenham (reminiscent of how Desert Orchid was said to prefer Kempton to Cheltenham).
    I’ve watched last year’s Champion a few times, as well as watching Hurricane Fly’s two victories this year. It’s like watching a series of action replays! The young guns line up beat Hurricane Fly but just can’t swat the Fly down. I’m reminded of watching Mo Farah races. He always seems to pull out a bit more, fend off the queue of challengers and win.
    Watching its last win, the Irish Champion Hurdle (a tough race, to be fair) I’d actually say it beat Our Conor and Jezki with a bit in hand. It dug deep and burst away in the last 50 yards, with Our Conor slightly flattering to deceive, imo. The win is the more impressive for reading the trainer, Mullin’s report of his horse’s difficult preparation for the race (It was found to have a bruised foot the week of the race). So, the horse still won without an ideal preparation.

    I certainly think it is very reasonable to believe that the horse will finish in the first 2 in the Champion and thus activate the Ladbroke’s offer.

    In fact, though it might make more sense to back any horse but Hurricane Fly with Ladbrokes, the way I look at it, I’m happy to be backing the horse I fancy for the win in a likely 11 horse race, knowing that if it is beaten into 2nd, I will receive my stake back in the form of a bet token. Do I really want to be backing horses I don’t fancy for the win, in the race, just in an attempt to maximise the value of the bookies concession? There’s an argument either way, but I see it the way I see it.

    After watching a series of identical races featuring the reigning champion and some of the pretenders to the throne, I started thinking that I should be looking outside that bunch of horses who race 2 miles and half a furlong yet all finish within a few lengths of each other.

    In which case, the one of interest is Melodic Rendezvous, priced up at 20/1 generally but, irritatingly, at 16s with Laddies.
    It’s won 7 of its 10 races but only managed 5th out of 6 on the firmest ground it encountered, good ground at Newcastle in the Fighting Fifth. It is being asserted that it the horse doesn’t go on goodish ground, needing heavy going to show its best form.
    Well, that could transpire to be accurate; or a misguided assumption. The jockey and trainer seem to be painting a bit of a confusing picture in this regard. Certainly, it is that belief that is playing a large part in the horse’s handsome odds. To be fair, it did look tapped for toe in that race.

    Last time out, it beat the excellent Zarkandar a shade cosily (imo) in a race with no pace, which didn’t suit.

    My Tent Or Yours and The New One are two horses in the head of the betting who haven’t raced against Hurricane Fly (as far as I have checked, anyway –they might have). My Tent and The New One met in last year’s Christmas Hurdle. My Tent just got the better of The New One, with the latter making a mess of the final hurdle (though My Tent was coming back at him at the time, anyway). Strangely, The New One hasn’t raced since, whereas My Tent enjoyed a nice prep race a few weeks ago, again at Kempton. Although My Tent had an injury scare last week, he’s now reported as fine. It’s a shade perplexing why The New One is the 5/2 favourite for the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, while My Tent is an average of 9/2 for the race.
    At Aintree last April, Zarkandar just touched off The New One.

    On a strict form line (a kiss of death of a phrase!), this again points to Melodic Rendezvous being overpriced (if you can overlook its one poor performance – that Fighting Fifth on good ground when it finished 5th out of 6 at odds of 5/2… in a race won by the 8/11 favourite, My Tent Or Yours).

    I imagine the sensible play is to back Hurricane Fly at Lads, with a smaller saver on Melodic Rendezvous. My Tent Or Yours is another alternative.

    ============

    Next, and perhaps this should be first, comes Coral’s choice of sign-up deals for new online account customers. You have a choice of bet £5, receive a free £20 bet; OR bet (to a maximum of £10 win) on Quevega to win the Mare’s Hurdle and receive odds of 4/1 for her. Quevega is a freak of a horse and a standing dish for the Mares Hurdle, turning up year after year, without a prep race, and winning again and again. It’s won the Mare’s Hurdle 5 times in a row now. It got a crappy run of the race last year, yet still won. (I nearly cried as it got up to beat Sirene D’Ainey, who I had to win at 33/1.) Quevega is currently trading on Betfair at 8/11.

    Which Coral’s offer is better?

    Corals also offer the horse at 8/11. If I placed a tenner on Quevega and a free £20 bet token (I presume), I would be looking at making a profit of £21.82 (I think!); whereas a £10 win bet at 4/1 would potentially bring a £40 profit. In terms of Quevega, risking £10 on the enhanced price (of 4/1) makes better sense (by nearly) 100%.

    But that’s just one, very narrow Quevega-centric perspective. The big factor is whether you consider 8/11 an accurate price in the first place. Another factor will be that you can probably find better, more value-some selections in the land of betting for a £20 free bet token, than the horse, Quevega.

    N.B.1: Betfred offer a free bet token refund to all losing (singles) bets (up to £25) in the Mare’s Hurdle IF Quevega wins. As Quevega is a general 8/11 chance, this appeals as a very good offer. Actually, on second thoughts, that a mighty decent offer.

    N.B.2: Free bet refund (up to £25) from 888sport on all National Hunt races if your horse finishes 2nd, beaten by up to and including half a length. (Do check the lengthy list of exclusions and qualifications on this offer, tucked away in the terms and conditions.)

    N.B.3: Corals will refund as a free bet (up to £25) win singles on UK jumps races losing bets on horses that fell, were brought down or which unseated their jockey. The offer applies to bets struck on the day of the meeting from 8:00 GMT on the day of the meeting until the respective race. This offer might be of particular relevance to large field chase events at Cheltenham. (I guess this will include the Grand National (only a month away), as well.)

    ============

    Another strategy for backing at Cheltenham is to only back horses with proven Cheltenham form. I have heard a few betting veterans swear by this strategy.

    The complimentary and logical reverse of this is to avoid all horses who have run badly at the course.

    Other horses to look out for (that could surprise) during the festival include Festive Affair, Present View; Royal Regatta; Bright New Dawn; and Competitive Edge.

    Also, Tom Segal believes the bet of the festival to be Trifolium in The Arkle.

    I think the most impressive recent performance I’ve watched was produced by Killultagh Vic. He’s (allegedly) Mullin’s third string in the Champion Bumper, and the form of his latest win is being knocked on the basis that Golantilla (who he beat by 16 lengths) desperately needed that run.

    Still, whatever the level of Golantilla’s race fitness, Killultagh Vic blooming took off with a furlong or so to go like he was Secretariat or Ribot! Awesome machine-like display.
    But as the possibles on the above list (!) of horses aren’t involved in races featuring excellent concessions, I will leave them all un-backed.

    N.B.: Always remember that free bet tokens often have a short expiry date.

    N.B.2: I think I’m correct in stating that all the bookmakers I have mentioned in the above piece are going ‘non-runner, no bet’ but you should check for this (just as all terms and conditions of any promotion should be thoroughly checked in advance).

    N.B.3: I wrote most of this piece the other day, so prices and promotions availability may have altered.

    Ok.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Big shout out to Corals.

      There was some confusion and difficulties with my new account registration. Because of this, in addition to my £10 win at 4/1 for Quevega, they also gave me the £20 bet token for free! (Which I placed on Sally to win The Voice at 12s.) Most pleased at there customer care, here.

      Their website, though, refreshes the page as though it moving through treacle. But apart from that…

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Josses Hill finished 2nd, so money back on that one…but poo result over all. Feel a sucker for having had bets on the geegees.

      Others horses can come to my rescue throughout the Festival, including Quevega, but think I will ignore racing now until at least the National.

      Fancy Arsenal to score over at The Allianz tonight, and see Ozil is likely to be deployed with freedom to attack, and have took him to be 1st goalscorer at 18s (though 22s and even higher is available).

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Ah! The geegees came good for, after all. Quevega won at that enhanced price of 4/1 (I knew that was a great promotion) and Present View won the final race on the Cheltenham card today at 8/1. 😀

        I really, really want Killultagh Vic tomorrow to run them into the ground in the the Champion Bumper tomorrow.

        On the footie front, Ozil stank the Allianz Arena out tonight and was subbed 🙁

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Bet of the week in the men’s tennis for me is:

    11/4 for exactly 3 sets in the upcoming Nadal vs Dolgopolov match in Indian Wells.

    This seems a dumb bet, bearing in mind that in 5 meetings between the two players, Dolgopolov has yet to win a set!!

    But…

    Nadal seems to be struggling. He’s complaining that worries about the fitness of his dodgy back are hampering his serve (in particular). I further notice that he’s talking about his back worries in the present tense. He doesn’t seem to have turned that corner – which is strange, given he’s just won a tournament.

    In Rio, on clay, Andujar should have beaten him and Dolgopolov gave him a heck of a match in the final.

    Dolgopolov is playing stellar tennis and might be starting to put together a level of consistency (reminiscent of Gasquet’s eventual and recent maturity). Dolgopolov dismantled Ferrer in their Rio semi-final.

    35 year old Stepanek very nearly beat Nadal yesterday (he should have broke Nadal late in the 3rd set).

    Two of Nadal’s last 3 matches have gone 3 sets. Dolgopolov is in the middle of a purple patch of form and is a notoriously streaky and quirky player.

    Nadal complained about Stepanek not allowing him to achieve any rhythm. Dolgopolov has the quickest service action you’ve ever seen and throws in drop shots and lobs galore in his ground game.

    Looked at the 5/1 for Alexandr to win the match, but am much happier to take the 11/4 that this match goes to three sets. I don’t see Nadal letting himself lose 2-0 to virtually anyone; while Dolgopolov seems to me to have it in him to take a set off Nadal.

    Think the 2/1 outright for Nadal to win Indian Wells is a horrible price. Wawrinka at 16s makes much more appeal, for example.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Stan wins the Australian Open (beating,among others, Djokovic, Berdych and Nadal), is unbeaten in 10 matches so far in 2014, reports himself to be in great form, beats Karlovic in his first round match in Indian Wells…and the drifts out to 16/1. Eh?!

      Djokovic is 13/8 for Indian Wells, Rafa is 2/1, while Stan is 16/1.

      Perplexing.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Instead of 16/1, shouldn’t Stan be about 5/1?

        Thoughts and counter-arguments please, anyone.

        • Boki

          Currently 20 on betfair. I can only guess it’s because he needs to win Fed-Nadal-Nole in that order and people think it’s a hard task to do it again. Of course any of the 3 might go out earlier so 21/1 is not a bad bet.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Fedrerer seems to be in very good form and heart and 3 set matches are good news for him.

            Nadal’s last 3 matches have been momentous struggles against players ranked miles below him.

            Nole, if he disposes of Hanescu, has an absolute beast of a match coming up against Cilic.

            The Plexipave surface might not suit Stan so well, I guess, but then again, it shouldn’t and probably doesn’t suit Federer, and he’s won 4 times here.

            I took the 16/1 for Stan. His double-figure unbeaten start to the season swung me over his way.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Hope you hopped on the 21/1 on betfair, Boki. His price now seems to be levelling out on betfair at the 7/2 mark.

            (Explanations lower in this thread…)

            😀

          • Boki

            Yes Guido I took it and thank you for that, I rarely place outright bets. He has a good chance now to reach the final and I will lay him off there.
            I also took Dolgo to win 1st set against Nadal so can’t complain.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Brilliant. Best of luck for both of us. Ideally I want a Wawrinka vs Dimitrov or Wawrinka vs Gulbis final. I have a flurry of win bets on Wawrinka and pre-tournament EWs on Dimitrov and Gulbis (in each other’s quarter, but couldn’t choose between them).

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Dimltrov is an early break up against Gulbis. I have then both EW at 50/1, but have a bit more on Dimitrov. I don’t mind which one of them wins, but I would prefer a clear straight sets win for whoever prevails.

            Dimitrov double break up now.

            Stan has Anderson coming up on Thursday. There’s a number of red hot form players in this tourney all at a similar level and Anderson is one of them.

            If Stan can beat Anderson convincingly, I’d be very impressed and even more encouraged.

  • Natasha

    Anyone have an idea of when The Voice final is scheduled for? I to have my eye on Sally as potential winner going by what the BBC audience typically go for and will be getting involved when my winnings come in from backing Beth ew on DOI. Sally has already released music as part of a band from what i believe and so already has a marginal fan base. She is certainly the strongest member of team Tom so when the market opens for top act within each team, it is her I will laying on. The only other person I see with potential to win is Rachael O’Connor.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Natasha,

      I win 4 figures if Sally wins.
      Big profits if Christina wins.
      Near to break-even if Rachel wins.
      A bit of my money back if Sophie wins.
      Bloody thumping loss if anyone else wins!

      Team Sally all the way 🙂

  • David Cook

    Battle Rounds Week 2. I think I was right to be worried. Last week was good – this week it was pretty much a mess from start to finish.
    First up Jamie Lovett v Chris – it was a car crash performance, an awful song choice with a clash of styles. Chris going through was probably correct. Although Chris seemed to be one of the better male singers, he needs to do much better than this. They need to start with a better song / arrangement.
    Then we had the Rachael v Amelia match. I was wrong about the song choice – they got Jay-Z which was even worse. It just didn’t allow either singer to showcase what they can do. We learnt pretty much what we already knew – Rachael has the better tone, Amelia is the better technical singer. It was probably the most difficult choice on the night. As my money’s on Rachael I wasn’t disappointed to see her progress, but really both should have gone through. You had to feel for Amelia – last weeks’ steals wasted indeed.
    Next Kiki v James Byron. ‘Because the Night’ – a great song choice. Really over sung by Kiki, James got it much better and improved over his audition. Correct decision.
    Now we start on the disaster area that is Team Tom. Melissa v Vicky –‘Just Give Me A Reason’. Makes you realise Pink can actually sing. Will said he heard a few duff notes – it would have been easier to count the good notes. This was an unmitigated disaster. Vicky was wreaked by nerves – Melissa went through. This was the correct decision based on the performance, but I’m left thinking how unfair this format is on Amelia who was in a different league compared to both.
    The unlucky recipients of Eleanor Rigby were Max and Myles. Max picked up Ricky Brownie points for knowing the song. The performance – well they pretty much buried themselves along with the now forgotten Eleanor. Myles was the better of the two. Max has an affected vocal that just sounded turgid on this song – it was awful – yet somehow he got through. Wise up Ricky – you need to think Wee Nicky – be afraid – be very afraid.
    At last something I was looking forward to – Sophie v Cherri. (Note to Will –please keep Leah as far away from Sophie as possible – a million miles should just about do it). Scatting aside the jazzed up ‘Love Cats’ was good – though I doubt if it had widespread appeal. In X-Factor speak Sophie was out of her comfort zone – I’m not sure if she’s ever considered the possibility of singing and moving at the same time. Cherri, with much more experience, nailed it. Sophie was thinking about singing and moving and scatting. In the normal course of events Cherri would have gone through – only Sophie has the better voice and masses of potential and Will duly put her through. Again you had to feel for Cherri – based purely on the performance it was probably a bit unfair. Sophie’s certainly got the voice – in a couple of years she might be outstanding, but she’s not the finished article just yet.
    This was followed by the Jamie – Joe bromance which was nauseating. ‘Counting Stars’ by One Republic. They said it was close, but to me Jamie was much better. Both decent vocals but Joe just doesn’t seem to ‘connect’. Kylie put Jamie through, but it’s going to be tough competition to get through to the live shows, although personally I much prefer him to Lee.
    And then we finally reached the steal. Femi v Iesher. Eeny Meeny Miny Mo. Iesher through, Femi stolen. I’m cutting it down. In real time it was both contrived and never ending. But the performance was very good. More very smooth vocals from Femi – he is a really good singer. This should make it very difficult for Leo, and possibly Lee too. But Iesher is a real little star. This was better than the audition – perhaps the duet forced her to focus and control her vocals better. She’s probably still not my cup of tea, but when she sings there’s a real joy in her voice. The trick is for her to get more control but still sound fresh – if she can do it then she’ll be pretty good. Iesher to join Sophie and Jermain in the live show I think (the spoilers seem to confirm it).
    Back to Team Tom. Leverne and Georgia clearly hated each other. The song choice was plain ridiculous – ‘22’ by Taylor Swift. To sum this up they were both a bit off, with Leverne worse than Georgia. No chance for Leverne to shine as at audition. Georgia won – which based on the performance seemed fair enough. But between this and the other battles I’ve concluded that there’s a rabbit away at Team Tom – I’ll try and post my thoughts on this later.
    Jade against the Leona look-a-like twins Gemyni. Based on the audition this should have been an easy win for Jade. Jade was more conservatively dressed this time – to be honest she looked better (this time it was a plunging neckline) and I actually warmed to Jade more this time too. The singing – oh yes almost forgot about that – this is who had ‘Baby One More Time’ inflicted upon them by Kylie (I knew it would be Kylie). She must really hate them. It was good, but not outstanding, although the song choice hardly helped. It was a surprisingly close battle. Jade did get through, but again it’s going to be very close in the knockouts as to who progresses further. To my mind she’s behind Rachael at the moment.
    Last acts from Team Tom – Elisha v Gary doing ‘Caught Up’ by Usher. No-one should do Usher. I mean literally no-one including Usher should do Usher. There were glimpses of potential from Elisha, but mostly it was far too screechy for me. The song just didn’t suit Gary either, and he too was awful in places, and a bit bland. Team Tom – I just do not know who on earth has made these song choices. Anyway Gary went through.
    And finally Jazz v Luciee. By now I felt that I was at the end of a marathon, and was losing the will. About all I can remember was that it wasn’t great, despite what they said, far too screechy yet again. Jazz got through but I don’t think this matched her audition performance. She too will need to do better in order to progress.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Yeah, Laverne is 31 and looks about that age; whereas Georgia is 27 but looks early 20s…looks about 22.

      Tom’s song choice clearly identified his choice of act to take through. He could only have made it more obvious if he had chosen this for their battle song:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRgWBN8yt_E

      Now, who could be the most likely recipient on Team Tom of those votes that would have attached to Laverne?! Lol.

      Personally, I thought both of them were a pair of hard-faced so and so’s. I can imagine Laverne scrapping away down her local on a Saturday night; and Georgia seems compassion-less and mean.

  • David Cook

    Natasha – The Knockouts are on Saturday and Sunday next weekend. Then three weekends of live shows. I think Tom has made his team a one act team – so I’ll look at putting money on Sally for top act too – although I suspect that she will be odds on. However I don’t really see her as an overall winner.

    • Natasha

      Who do you see as a potential winner? IMO i think Sally fits the glove perfectly. I’m ruling out a male winner that;s for sure!

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Oh, I hope and pray you’re right, Natasha!

      • David Cook

        Christina Marie. I’m going to have to eat lashings of humble pie on this but I think I was wrong about her. Looking at her clips on YouTube is a revelation. I think she is probably as close to an ideal winner as they are going to get. For the success of the programme they need a winner who is vocally credible, with commercial potential and who the public are going to vote for – and I think Christina delivers on all of these. It’s clear that out of all the remaining acts, she is probably the most technically able singer – but unlike Leah she seems to know exactly how to use those skills within the performance and when to leave it alone. But it’s the delivery of the songs that’s so good – the phrasing and timing seem spot on and she’s clearly able to emote the songs perfectly. A couple of songs stand out for me – ‘The Way We Were’ and ‘I Just Can’t Sop Loving You’. On these her tone just sounds perfectly matched to the songs.
        The thing about this is that if she sings songs like this, in this style and to the best of her ability I can see these being huge vote magnets. The only doubt is that it’s fine seeing this on Youtube – but will she actually deliver on the programme. After seeing the Battle round I think she probably will.
        And as Guildo pointed out it also helps that she seems to have a nice personality too.
        I put most of my bets on before the Battle rounds started (I wanted scope to hedge my bets), and now have Christina as my clear winner. I just think that if she delivers it will make her very difficult to beat. I think she’s far ahead of where Rachael and Sophie are just yet, and I think she’s got wider appeal, certainly in commercial terms, than Sally. I also agree that I can’t see any of the male acts really challenging to win it.
        Please let me know if you agree, or if you think I’ve got it wrong.

        • Natasha

          To be honest, I have never taken much notice of her, eventhough she is a fellow Bristolian like myself! Will watch more closely this weekend though 🙂

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Very interested that you rank Christina Marie above Rachael – I find it v difficult to give the edge to one or the other. The better price for Christina is what was the clinching attraction for me, over Rachael.

          As you say, Racheal may have ‘wider appeal, certainly in commercial terms, than Sally’, and I definitely see where you’re coming from, but I’m thinking and betting that Sally prevails. Or more precisely, I’ve been betting that Sally & Tom prevail.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            *…Christina may have ‘wider appeal…’ (is what I meant to quote).

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Hi again David,

            I probably have it down as between Sally and Christina. But, commercially speaking, I think Sally has the edge. Though, I’m very probably using and interpreting “commercial” in a different sense.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Crazy start to the Nadal-Dolgopolov match. 4 consecutive breaks of serve!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Dolgopolov breaks again for 5-3. Come on! Hold your bloody serve!

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Set point! come on!

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Dolgop is serving at 39%! but his ground game is magnificent. Set point again!

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Yes!!! 1st set to Dolgopolov!! So, now, I start temporarily rooting for Nadal. Haha! Get me my 11/4 you bull of a fighter.

          On the other hand, my 3 tournament outrights, Gulbis, Dimitrov, (though those 2 soon face each other) and Wawrinka are still racing, so Dolgopolov ousting Nadal 2-0 would have a potential compensation for me.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Dolgopolov winning 2-1 would be ideal.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Just taken 6/1 for Dolgop to win the 2nd set.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            My thinking is that if Dolgop can win the 1st set with a 39% first serve…

            Anyway, he’s break point down!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Ah well! 4-2 to Nadal. I’ve cut down on potential winnings, but I think it was a sensible play, given the match percentages.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Brilliant break by Dolgop – 4-2 to him in the final set! Come on!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            5-2 to Dolgop!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Match point, for Dol!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Ace! No! Nadal challenged. Out by a milimeter!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            He does it anyway!
            Game, set and match to Dolgopolov!
            Adios Nadal!

            Yesssss!

            Earlier, Wawrinka destroyed Seppi 6-0, 6-2. What price Wawrinka now?

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Wawrinka loses the 1st set and has just received lengthy treatment on his lower back. His movement seems to be a bit hampered.

            Sigh.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Grimacing with pain now after shots. Receiving more treatment on his back. Painful to watch.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Ooh! Crowd got involved, cheering on the recent slam winner, and out of nowhere Stan got a to-love-break back! How did that happen? Anderson had been rapidly running away with the match. It looked all over.

            Now, Stan follows up with a love-hold.

            Please…!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Anderson’s service action tightens.Stan hits a sensational return. Stan then breaks again to claim the 2nd set!

            He looked about ready to retire earlier in the set.

            Now it’s into the 3rd and deciding set.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Stan a break down in the 2nd. 1st serve percentage still ridiculously low. Can’t bear watching anymore.

  • David Cook

    I didn’t really like Christina’s blind audition – it was a bit like – here’s someone else doing Whitney – and she didn’t quite nail it. I think there are two issues: mostly however much you like Whitney you should try and avoid singing her songs – people will always compare and it’s going to be impossible to match. With Christina her tone doesn’t quite suit the songs – that’s why I think some of her other covers are much better – when her tone really suits what she’s singing. The other issue was that somehow they messed with the tempo or phrasing – probably to get it to fit the ninety second time slot – she just sings the first section but it’s still shorter than it should be – and I think that’s what makes it sound wrong. The prasing is just too hurried. But I think this is a problem with the audition – from the clips on Youtube I think her phrasing and timing are excellent. She really seems to be able to feel the music.
    I just think that if she manages to put in a live show performance which is as good as the Youtube clips it would transform people’s perceptions of how good she is.

  • David Cook

    Yes – at the moment I’m putting Christina ahead of Sophie and Rachael. I really like Sophie, and I think ultimately she probably has the best voice in the competition, but she’s only seventeen and I think it’s going to be another couple of years before her voice fully develops. When it rounds out I think it will be really full and rich with a distinctive sound that will perfectly suit the style of music she likes – but she’s not quite there yet. She’s good technically (I think anyway) but the style she wants to sing is really technical and the battle round probably exposed how far she’s got to go. To be fair Cherri was great. But I think Will has chosen three for the live shows – Sophie, Jermain and Iesher – who have masses of potential and that he can help to develop. Just as Ricky pushed Christina by matching her with Nathan, Will really pushed Sophie by matching her with Cherri (even if it was inevitable). But you won’t get anywhere unless you really push yourself, and in many ways this is where the battles worked best. I thought that Femi and Iesher worked well in this respect too.
    Rachael probably has a ‘sweeter’ tone than either Christina or Sophie, and again her voice probably isn’t fully developed, although I think this is more of a disadvantage for Sophie with her style. Rachael wasn’t as technical as Amelia or Christina, but I’m sure that this is something that they’re working on. Rachael’s style is very easy so it probably makes things sound deceptively simple. But Christina also has a big range and she has power – and crucially even when she’s belting she’s able to maintain her tone and control. I think it is this which really gives her the advantage in being able to sing the sort of songs / style that the viewing audience will love. And I think this gives her the advantage over the two younger girls.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Djokovic vs Cilic.

    Marin Cilic is the man who makes me cry. I’ve been a long-term Wawrinka backer but for some inexplicable reason deserted him for this last Aussie Open. I had become focused on Cilic and on the belief he was due a resurgence. To rub salt in the wounds, since the Aussie Open, Cilic has launched onto a steaming hot win streak. He’s won 16 out of his last 17 matches – in his 3 previous tournaments he was won 2 of them and been to the final of the other. During this run, his victims have included Haas, Rosol, Tsonga, Murray (all consecutively!!), Isner and Anderson. Cilic’s a former number 9 in the world.

    Dojokovic isn’t in bad form. He never is! He’s in excellent form, really. If his level has dropped it is a minute drop. But the question marks were raised after his loss to Federer in Dubai. The critical focus is on whether Boris Becker is the right coach for Djokovic.

    I think the loss to Federer brought this particularly to the fore, because Federer seems to have been revitalised by Stefan Edberg’s coaching of him. It is possibly significant that the team of Federer & Edberg beat Djokovic & Becker. This loss may have put doubts in Nole’s mind about whether Boris was the right man. Indeed, it could be argued that existing doubts influenced the loss.

    Now, Cilic has been galvanised, revitalised and improved (service action and court aggression) by his new coach, Goran Ivanisevich. In the past, Cilic has been known as a bit of a moody and prickly character, but evidentally, he has nothing but the utmost respect for his boyhood hero, Goran Ivanisevich.

    Could Djokovic be in for another uncomfortable match that highlights any stresses or weaknesses in his relationship with Becker?

    Djokovic has won the 1st set in his last 18 matches – despite this is there a touch of value in the 10/3 for Cilic to win the first set (Cilic has won the first set in 15 of his last 17 matches, himself). Or even in Cilic at 9/2 to win the match?

    This is a difficult match for me to call or want to call, because a) I’m still (irrationally) annoyed at Cilic (for my backing of him, not Wawrinka, for the Aussie Open!!); and b)I’m struggling with the interference from eagerly hoping that Djokovic is disposed off before a possible meeting with Stan (or before that, Gublis).

    Was v impressed by Gublis yesterday – overall. If you overlook his racket smashing, talking to his opponent, the crowd, to himself, and his nearness to a seeming on-court mental breakdown, he simply had a bit too much power for Dimitrov. Dimitrov was disciplined, focused and unfazed by Gublis’s antics but at times he was hanging on a bit. Gublis rightly won the match.

    Am a bit concerned that Wawrinka appears to be scheduled to play a doubles match this evening, just a few hours before his singles match against Anderson. I hope that’s a speedy double’s contest. However, Wawrinka is a phenomenally fit player and it could be he is still in need of a bit of match practice (not having played any tournaments since the Aussie Open, until this one). On second thoughts, it will probably be of aid to him, particularly in the opening set against Anderson.

    Comments and discussion, very welcome.

  • David Cook

    Hi Guildo – You might not agree but I think a win for Sally would probably kill off the programme. I’m not having a dig at Sally, because clearly she’s got a great voice, and she could probably do with a break as much as any of the others. For me allowing her on the programme, and progressing through to the Battles and Knockouts is fine – but that’s where they should stop it. The same should apply to Leo. Let them have some publicity and then let them walk away. Allowing either of them through to the live shows and possibly to win would be just a bit too much for me.
    In terms of the programme there are two issues. Firstly a Saturday night viewing audience might just vote for Sally as the winner – a great voice and a great back story. I agree in that sense she might be commercial. But they would be left with a winner who would guarantee them virtually no commercial sales. This is the third series and they now need a winner who can get sales – otherwise the programme looks to be a waste of time. So that’s a simple commercial judgment.
    How can I be sure Sally won’t get sales – probably because she’s been an established professional performer for 35 years (albeit with a 10 year break) and she hasn’t achieved any significant sales to date as far as I can establish. There’s nothing wrong with Sally – but she’s just in a very niche genre – there are no significant sales to be had. I have a friend who’s a bit of a folk music fan – apparently Sally is in a group called the Poozies who are well known on the folk music circuit. Kate Rusby was a member until she left when her solo career really took off (he’s a Kate Rusby fan). If you don’t know Kate Rusby it just proves my point, because she’s about as big as you can get in the British folk music scene. Both the group and Sally have a number of albums out – you can buy them on line. You can go to their gigs. So other than the publicity there’s nothing in it for Sally. The coaches can’t help her – there’s more chance of her helping them. She sounds professional because she is. I just think they’ve been a bit economical with the truth in the background story.
    But to me the premise of the programme should be about finding new talent. How does it look when the talent you ‘discover’ turns out to be someone who’s been an established performer for over 30 years. The programme would be a laughing stock. It says we can’t find any new talent.
    And what about the other coaches – they are generally choosing young acts with raw potential, that can really benefit from the coaching and the break which being on the show can give them. How will they feel if they go and allow Tom to win with an established act.
    I just don’t think they’ve thought this through at all. They’ve allowed this mess to happen – but if they want the show to continue next year I think TPTB should be praying that Sally doesn’t win.

    • Two words why Sally won’t be allowed to win: Sam Bailey.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      ‘Stopping’ acts from winning is what slowly destroyed the credibility of X Factor and what has rotted away at its viewing figures. I sincerely hope TPTB at The Voice don’t start blatantly meddling, drawing from the XF box of dirty tricks, in order to crown their in-house chosen winner. The Voice’s credibility, disinctiveness and more homely feel and flavour is based on it being unlike the agenda riddled, manipulative un-caring X Factor machine.

      Back in the golden, naive days, before the X Factor was saddled with the AKA of ‘The Fix Factor’, viewing figures were high and the viewership believed they their opinions of the acts were shaped free from producer / show manipulation.

      Mary Byrne was put a stop to. The music industry is ageist so the X Factor was ageist. The music industry is trendy. So Christopher Maloney was stopped from winning. It took 10 years for the X Factor to allow an un-trendy, older woman, Sam Bailey, to win. This was a step in the right direction, in my opinion.

      Last year The Voice’s judges tried to force trendy, young thing Leah McFall down the public’s throat. Conversely, Leah sounded as if she was trying to force something out of her throat. The show was nearly cancelled due to low viewing figures.

      2 judges / mentors left last season.

      32 year old Danny was replaced by 36 year old Ricky – pretty much a like-for-like replacement (except that Ricky is less intense and more friendly – a bit homely, even).

      Intense 25 year old Jessie J was replaced by whom? 45 year old Kylie Minogue.

      From the turn of the last series, the age of the judging panel of 4 has increased 24 years.

      Kylie Minogue has been consistently very famous and popular in the UK for nearly 30 years. Many middle-aged people will fondly remember her first appearance on Neighbours, her character Charlene’s marriage, will remember I Should Be So Lucky topping the charts. She brings her loyal long-term fans with her. There will be many brand new viewers of the Voice.

      TPTB at The Voice have clearly decided to cater for their older Saturday night audience. Anyway, there’s always Will.I.am and his succession of freaky voiced and quirky voiced protégés and projects to cater for the younger, trendier viewers needs.

      On her opening blind audition, Sally was up-front, revealing that in the past she had supported big name acts such as Bob Dylan. That her singing is so good she might be able to help the coaches isn’t her fault. It’s a feather in her cap, if anything. The show’s called The Voice, not Coach The Voice.

      Realistically, how much can a coach teach a singer in a couple of months, anyway? Leah McFall was still wildly out of tune in last year’s final. This mentor coaching role being sold as voice coach is a nonsense.

      Probably all the singers on The Voice have been singing since they were knee-high to their parents. Virtually all singers will tell you they have been singing from as far back as they can remember. Anyone with any talent at all will have likely had years of singing lessons, too. Any improvement in a couple of months is not likely to be significant.

      I think the The Voice should be The Voice. Not Coach The Voice. Not The Commercial Voice. If The Voice concentrates on manipulating a commercial winner, the ethos of the show is already destroyed. What is commercail? Commercial tends to be young, to be very attractive. Andrea Begley would not have been allowed to win X Factor, would she? Visually, she wasn;t “right”. Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh would consider her not to have “the whole package”. Once a show goes seeking a commercail star it necessarily turns ageist, shape- ist and look-ist. The Voice is meant to be the anti-X Factor show, on the basis that it evaluates on the voice – sight unseen.

      If The Voice wishes to continue next year it would be best served by letting the viewers vote for THEIR winner,free from manipulation. If TPTB set out to stop Sally or whoever else from winning then they should rename The Voice…

      They can call it: The X Factor, Mark 2.

  • Natasha

    Ok so I have thoroughly checked out Christina Marie on Youtube and wow, yes she can sing she is technically perfect!! What an amazing voice she has. But, she’s just another Mariah, Whitney etc. I then listened to Sally who’s voice has something in it that really touched my emotions. For me as it stands, it’s between Rachael and Sally, Rachael over Christina Marie because she has a better tone to her voice and i just like it a lot better, its kind of different. She also has the un-threatening girl next door look.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Plus: Rachael has the mighty Northern Irish demographic going for her.

      I say ‘mighty’ because in last year’s final, of course, there were 2 girls from Northern Ireland. 1 finished in the top 3 and the other won!

      And further: she has Kylie vote power behind her, too. Rachael has massive built-in, locked-in advantages over the other contestants.

      Sally’s gentle power to reach the listener’s heart can’t be taught. Her voice seems to reflect who she is. I think that’s why she seems to be so beloved.

  • David Cook

    Hi Guildo – I agree entirely with your sentiments but I think we’re arguing different sides of the same coin. To me it appears that the finalist for Team Tom has been selected at an early stage, and pushed to the detriment of other members of the team. Of course only Tom and / or the production team will know if this is actually the case. Certainly I feel that with regard to the back storey they weren’t quite upfront about Sally. It seemed to be suggested that all her professional activity was well in the past and that only now was she trying to break back into the business. Why not just say that you’ve been a member of a well known folk group for the past 6 years or so and let the public decide if they think it’s relevant or not. Of course the irony of this is that out of everyone on the programme it is Sally who should least need this kind of help. She’s a well established act with far more experience than anyone else, and should be more than capable of standing on her own two feet and being judged entirely on merit. Why not she’s got a great voice. To me I don’t think that it would really matter if they were just completely open about it. It’s the very fact that there appears to be some form of manipulation that really makes this stick.
    Just out of interest when the first DS poll was carried out the top rated acts in Team Tom were – Kenny, Vicky and Leverne. Sally wasn’t in the top three. Okay DS polls aren’t always representative of wider public opinion, but it’s interesting that not one of these acts has made it through to the Knockouts. The public won’t even be given the chance to vote on them so we’ll never know. Many people seemed to think that Kenny shaded Bizzi, but Tom put Bizzi through fairly or not. Vicky was badly affected by nerves – it appeared fair that she went out. But the treatment of Leverne in the battles had all the hallmarks of a classic X-Factor style ‘under the bus’ job.
    I agree entirely – let the viewers vote for their winner free from manipulation.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Do you agree entirely?

      You think that ‘a win for Sally would probably kill off the programme’. I disagreed entirely. It’s been the focus on young, trendy acts which has hurt The Voice. Give the public what they want, rather than what you think they want.

      I disagreed with you also when you said ‘there’s no significant sales to be had with her [Sally].’

      You’ve pigeon-holed her in the ‘very niche genre’ of ‘folk’ – despite the fact that on the show, her terrific audition piece was Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, a song written for Nina Simone and a number 1 for The Animals; and her equally terrific battle round song was Dear Darlin’, a number 5 hit for Olly Murs last year. She has a voice that can adapt and excel at songs far removed from ‘folk’. There’s more about her.

      We disagreed again when you said:

      ‘For me allowing her [Sally] on the programme, and progressing through to the Battles and Knockouts is fine – but that’s where they should stop it.’

      That’s the opposite (!) of then saying, ‘I agree entirely – let the viewers vote for their winner free from manipulation.’

      That’s your direct call to action for TPTB on The Voice to ‘stop’ a contestant. The X Factor spent most of this last season trying to stop Nick from winning.

      You note that ‘the treatment of Leverne in the battles had all the hallmarks of a classic X-Factor style ‘under the bus’ job.’

      Is that a complaint or a compliment? Is it not ok for The Voice to ‘stop’ Laverne; but ok for The Voice to ‘stop’ Sally?

      We disagreed on the prominence, role and efficacy of mentor-to vocal coaching on the show.

      We disagreed strongly on the relevance of the future ‘commercial’ prospects of future Voice winners, of how that judgement should be allowed to shape the programme.

      You mention the findings of the first DS poll re Team Tom. Internet polls can be funny. Here’s a DS poll from last June. It is the votes of DS readers for their favourite ahead of last year’s final of The Voice.

      http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/s154/the-voice-uk/news/a490453/the-voice-uk-whos-your-favourite-finalist-poll.html

      Yep, there’s Andrea Begley stone last, coming in with 13% of the DS vote, in that four way final.

      When you say: ‘if they want the show to continue next year I think TPTB should be praying that Sally doesn’t win.’ I disagree.

      You can dislike a contestant, or not want a contestant to win for many reasons. For instance, I don’t really like Max, the Scottish Judo lad. But I wouldn’t want him to be stopped from winning.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Tim, you say: ‘Two words why Sally won’t be allowed to win: Sam Bailey.’

    I don’t understand that, but would like to know what you mean.

    I remember there was much talk about whether the X Factor would allow Sam Bailey to win. And I think a couple of live shows in, there was a (brief) belief that X Factor were indeed going to disparage her and pigeon-hole her as a ‘cruise-ship singer’.

    Every time Sally has sang on The Voice she has brought Tom Jones to tears. Does Tom Jones often cry? And Sally and Talia had one of the most respectful and warm “battle” round I’ve ever seen. The mutual respect and dignity of their round was upliftingly refreshing. Sally is an absolute class act as a singer and a really classy lady. Danny and Kylie have felt compelled to talk to Tom about Sally’s lovely aura, the ‘special…energy change’, ‘the spiritual, mystical thing’, that ‘she gives off some mist that makes you feel happy and comfortable’ – she brings this to the studio when she performs. Its here, as is the connection between her and her son post-performance:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIMRcwiQHU8

    Watch back on the shows. They all clearly adore her as a person. It’s good to know that she has the same effect in person, in that studio, as she does on the viewers watching her on the tv.

    Sam Bailey was a worthy winner of the X Factor. She’s one of the better winners of the X Factor.

    Why would The Voice not allow Sally to win? She’s an even better singer than Sam Bailey, imo, and comes across as a much nicer person and lady.

  • David Cook

    Reviewing the standings after the battle rounds 10 out of 12 of my predictions for the live shows got through. The two that didn’t were Kenny and Leverne on Team Tom. Sally’s in a different league to the remaining contestants in the team so I think she’s as good as in the final now. If I have to choose the other two for the live shows I would say Georgia and Celestine. The steal was wasted on Steven – Tom should have waited for Amelia.
    Team Will seems straight forward – the three with the most potential – Sophie, Jermain and Iesher – look certain to go through. I think Sophie should still just edge it to the final – but the song choices will need to be a bit more viewer friendly, although personally this was my favourite of the weekend. I think that Will has it right – choose three people with outstanding raw talent that can be helped to develop further. That probably means they can’t win overall.
    On team Ricky, Christina gained most from the battles and now looks certain to go through. Beth has potential, but hasn’t nailed it in either the audition or the battle so it’s looking touch and go for her to progress. Emily might just edge her out, but I even have a slight feeling it could be Jessica Steele. Unless Ricky has a complete brain storm Chris Royal should progress over Max. I think Christina will be the finalist from Team Ricky.
    It’s Team Kylie that bothers me in betting terms – there’s just too much competition for the three places. Adding Femi to her team just seemed to make it even harder to predict. I think Rachael will get through, but may well be the only girl now – I think Jade slipped back at the weekend. That leaves Lee, Leo, Femi and Jamie fighting for the two remaining places – I’m now going to say Lee and Femi into the live shows. Rachael into the final I think.
    I placed most of my bets in the last week of the auditions, using the longer odds available to try to hedge my bets. I’m happy just to sit it out now and see how it develops over the weekend. All the odds will shorten a lot again, so I might just sit it out altogether now unless I’ve slipped up with my choices. I’m not sure how we’re going to manage to watch this – two hours on Saturday and Sunday is a lot of television. But at least the song choices for each act have been released now and it looks a really good and varied line up – so I am quite looking forward to it (Chris Royals’ song choice does look like a complete brainstorm).

  • stoney

    Is it just me or is sally starting to look very much like the peoples champion? Very early days but i think her odds plummeting (5/1 at best) over the last week is a sign she is the one to watch, glad i lumped on her a few weeks ago. She is now a shoe in for the final, and should be unbeatable going by previous winners and the typical BBC voter

    • Dan

      I’ll stick my neck on the line and say she’ll win it Stoney. I wish that I had piled on a few weeks ago at much better odds. A stunning performance last night from her in the “pimp slot” as well.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Am very encouraged at Sally’s numbers on Youtube for Walk On By 🙂 (Mildly) Surprising internet love is the icing on the cake. Her original take on a classic was a triumph. Yet more fans for her.

      Tom choosing Georgia over Laverne back in the battle rounds is beginning to look inspired. Though, I think she (hard-faced) and Laverne (nasty) both blotted their copybook a bit back in that round.

      Lee Glasson brought some genuine emotion to the table, I thought. But his is very much a divisive voice, imo. Just like people seem to either love or hate Radiohead, love or hate Thom Yorke’s vocals, it will be the same for Lee. He’s certainly not a traditional-sounding singer.

      Encouraging to see Rachael properly struggling. I still think Amelia edged her in the previous battle round. Her dad seems to be something of a stereotypical throwback and distraction.

      Christina Marie is my clear 2nd best result and feels a live danger so I’ve just backed her again.

      Ieshar is rapidly revealing herself to be an emerging, very strong contender (and I easily imagine will make the grand final), but I haven’t backed her.

      Anyway, it’s very close to time for tonight’s show…

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Also: wonder if the remaining Scottish contestant will be shown the same door tonight as the other North of the Border act (and the 2 Scousers)?

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Actually, with the final 12 just now chosen, and with Anna gone, that’s all 3 Scottish contestants gone (plus both Scousers, who went home after their respective battles).

          Anna was a goner the moment she chose Will as her mentor. Ricky would never have let her go.

          Really feel for Anna. She’s mega talented and lovely. Pity. Am sure she’ll be releasing an album within the next year, though.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Wow! Christiana Marie!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Max sounded like he’s been on the Tennent’s Extra again. Impossible to say if he’s in tune or not as he seems to be operating off his own scales. If his scales were on a fish it would be one drunken Scottish Salmon.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Yes!!!!! Rick’s No. 1, Christina is through. Holy God! I backed at the same price both before and after her performance! Get in! Please, not Emily for 3rd.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    See that with a couple of firms that Christina and Sally are 1st and 2nd favourites, now.

    • Natasha

      A lot of talented people going into the lives. I envisage a top 4 of sally, christina marie, rachael o’connor and sophie may, the final is going to be a tough one to call i think , although i have only backed sally so far

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        4 figures back for me for a Sally win; and now 4 figures for a Christina win as well.

        Am feeling a bit all-in with this competition!

        I agree with your projected top 4, though maybe I’d change swap Iesher for Sophie now.

  • David Cook

    The Knockouts. Over the two nights we had some great song choices and a generally high standard overall, which made for entertaining viewing. I’m not sure if anybody managed to predict anywhere near the final 12 correctly – I only managed 8. The choices seemed generally fair, although the format of the programme ensured that we lost one or two of the better contenders, whilst another couple were lucky to slip into the live shows.
    First up on Saturday was Team Kylie. As I thought only Rachael got through form the girls – none really distinguished themselves. Jade let herself down with her song choice – Blue Moon was one of her weaker efforts on YouTube. Rachael also demonstrated the importance of song choice – despite her generally lovely tone her vocal lacks the edge which makes Paloma Faith’s version of ‘New York’ far more distinctive. And there were a few errors – possibly nerves crept in. She’s probably still a very viewer friendly choice, but her performances will need to improve from this to really be competitive. Kylie’s choice of Lee and Jamie seemed to contradict her statement that she’d chosen three very different acts. Remove Lee’s affectations and they don’t seem all that far apart. Some might see Lee’s version of ‘Careless Whisper’ as a great re-working – but to me it just seemed to be murdering a classic pop song. I just don’t get it at all. And unlike Rachael he’s not exactly viewer friendly. As Lee seemed so inevitable I’d hardly considered Jamie, I was sure she would go for Femi – so she really did have three different acts. To be fair Jamie was decent, probably better than Lee on the night. I’m sure opinions on this one vary widely. Somehow Kylie seemed to contrive turning the strongest 12 act team into a distinctly average looking final 3. I’m hoping its Rachael in the final, but I’m not 100% sure it will be.
    Team Tom was next up. Sally did a great version of ‘Walk on By’ and walked into the live shows and probably the final. By far the best performance of the night. Personality aside I quite like Georgia, she has some good song choices and arrangements, and it’s good fun. The issue is that her vocals seem a bit ‘off’. I’m not exactly pitch perfect but to me she seems to be constantly on the borderline between what can be discerned as being in or out of tune – and it’s a little bit annoying. I really can’t decide whether she’s any good or not. How Bizzi got through I do not know – presumably his style just appeals to Tom. Celestine was probably better, but it was a bit of a kitchen sink performance fitted in to 90 seconds. Sally looks to be the certain finalist.
    On Sunday it was Ricky first. By contrast with Kylie, Ricky’s team seems to have got much stronger overall as the numbers have been cut. I was dubious about Christina’s choice of a Mariah Carey song, but unlike the blind audition she nailed this. I still think she can do even better. I was dubious about Chris doing ‘Over the Rainbow’ too. The first few seconds really did seem to expose how weak and pitchy he can sound, but once he got going it was really good. Ricky wasn’t sure about Emily’s song choice – I thought it suited her voice perfectly – if anything a bit too close to the original (to my memory anyway). Ricky agonised before putting her through. The act’s who might feel hard done by were Beth, who showed real potential without managing to really nail a single performance and Jazz, who basically did nothing wrong. Christina still looks favourite to reach the final.
    Finally it was Team Will and there were more strong performances to come. Jermain put in a strong and soulful performance, to my mind best of the male acts vocally. Iesher really impressed too with another good performance. She does still need to develop, but she has the basis of a great vocal. It helps that she seems to be so likable. Finally it was Sophie who was last up and snatched the final place. Sophie’s choice was back in her comfort zone. Although Moon River is a safe, and quite easy song choice, her vocal was spot on. Team Will looks strong overall, with three great and very different acts, and it’s going to be very close. I just doubt that any of them can win it. The real debate on Team Will seems to be whether Anna should have progressed through. To my mind she was a great act with the harp, but vocally the three that went through were probably better. Again opinions on this are likely to vary.
    After the Knockouts it’s looking like a fight between Christina and Sally overall. I’m still pretty happy with my bets so I’m just going to sit it out for the moment.

  • stoney

    Sally has now edged into favourite. Top Price 3/1

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Yeah, it’s a good sign but the overall market odds are a bit misleading, due to the strength of Will’s team. Iesher, Jemaine and Sophie are each operating around the 9/1 mark. Taken literally, this translates to the finalist from this trio entering the grand final 4 at odds of 2/1.

      Confirmation of the hair’s breadth closeness of this contest within a contest is demonstrated by the betfair odds on this Team Will market. Iesher at 13/10, Sophie at 27/20, Jermaine at 27/10.

      Plus the winner of this contest, may, I suspect, benefit most from internet voting.

    • Natasha

      Sally and Christina have switched places and the lives haven’t even started yet, madness!! I’ve now backed sally again as don’t have a feeling about anyone else. Christina I think is slightly cocky which may come across in her vt’s. I have a feeling Jermain will be the last remaining act from team Will.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Yeah, she did come across as slightly cocky. I’m disappointed I didn’t spot any signs of that in her whatsoever from her blind audition or initial vt.

        Jermain, on the other hand, seems to have gone from cocky to a more humble persona.

  • Natasha

    Going by the amount of ‘likes’ on The Voice UK facebook page, Sally has the most with Jermain a close second with no one coming anywhere near! Although their pictures were added yesterday, Sally and Jermain still had more ‘likes’ than what Christina has at this point

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Natasha, do you think Jermain could be a threat for the outright win? Couldn’t help but notice Sophie-May’s reaction, side of stage, to Jermain’s singing. Can imagine many ladies were becoming hot under the, er, collar listening to Jermain’s deep, powerful, sweet, manly vocals.

      • Natasha

        I don’t think so no, I initially thought they wanted a male winner this year and think I do Jermain will be the last man standing however, he doesn’t fit in with what the BBC audience would usually vote for in a winner IMO. Sally and Jermain still a long long way ahead of Christina and everyone else re ‘likes’ on facebook. I know it probably doesn’t mean much but I do remember when X Faxtor was on and Sam B was way way ahead in the amount of ‘likes’ her picture recieved on facebook and she went on to win.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Marin and Eugenie for me in the Sony this week.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Hopefully, Moyes will finally be sacked tonight, winning me some good money. I’ve been on him to be sacked for what feels an eternity. Am amazed he’s still in the job after Liverpool routed United the other day. How many times does he have to fail.before they kick him into touch?

    A referee gave 3 penalties to the away team at Old Trafford on Sunday. 3 penalties! I think that’s the most damning indicator of how far United’s stock has fallen. With Alex Ferguson at the helm, there were probably entire seasons when United didn’t have 3 penalties awarded against them at home.

    If United let 1 goal in tonight, then they’ll need to score 4 to stay in the competition. Their lack of an away goal in Greece should ultimately prove their undoing.

    Hell! They might get beaten again tonight! Rafael always looks good for a red card and/or gifting a penalty, just on his own!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Just backed Jamie to win through from Team Kylie. He’d drifted out to 4/1 and was delighted to snap up those odds. He needs to beat Lee and also the 2/5 odds-on favourite, Rachael.

    Jamie’s a very likeable lad and a strong, quality singer who has racked up a consistent stream of very good performances (without quite lighting the blue touch paper). He’s an under-the-radar grower. He deserves more appreciation. Neither Lee nor Rachael have gone forward from their début auditions, imo. Rachael, in particular, desperately needs to deliver another stand-out performance…otherwise her golden bubble will feel burst.

  • Boki

    This would be nice on BGT 🙂

  • Tim Cook

    The song list (without acts) has been released for the first live show. It’s an eclectic collection, but in my opinion nowhere near as good a selection as we had last weeks for the Knockouts. Best song choice for me is ‘Moondance’, which Luke messed up on X-Factor last year. I’m hoping this is going to be Sophie, as it could really suit her voice. Please don’t let it be Lee. It’s difficult to try to match up the others, although I’ll be surprised if ‘Help Me Make It Through the Night’ isn’t Sally, if only because I can’t imagine anyone else doing it. Prepare to be surprised. The coaches are retaining the Fastpass again this year, with the public only getting to vote on two acts from each team – this has to be one of the most annoying features of the programme – why not just have an open vote for all three? Who will the coaches pick to push straight through?

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Watching El Clasico, 2-2 at half time. Benzema has both Madrid goals but could have had 5 by now. Mascherano is one useless centre back for Barcelona. Di Maria is an insanely talented and exciting left winger for Madrid. More goals looks likely.

    It’s recently come to light that Barcelona spent nearly double than what they initially reported on securing Neymar. They obviously needed central defensive cover as a priority. Up against a strong team in the Champion’s League, and with Mascherano continuing as a makeshift centre back, they definitely will be conceding goals.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Topped up EW on Big John at 100s and had a small bet on +2.5 at odds of 12/5 in the Wawrinka vs Roger-Vasselin match later today.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Topped up again on BJ, who’s still 100s. The worry with him is that he played Indian Wells with tightness in his knee. At those 100/1 odds I’ve been easily prepared to chance that that niggle is in the past.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Berdych is in the form of his life this season, but I still fancy Isner to edge him this evening. Took the 2/1 for that.

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