[Sofabet commenters have been engaged in a lively discussion of The Voice all through the preliminary rounds. With the live shows starting tonight at 6.45 on BBC1, here’s a fresh thread for continued discussion – kicked off by regular commenter Guildo Horn Forever giving his rundown on each of the four teams].
The public finally get a voice in The Voice tonight. Each coach will award one of their acts a ‘fast pass’, while the public vote decides which of the other two acts on each team also lives to sing another Saturday on BBC primetime, and which has to hang up their microphone and share in a consolation cuddle with their coach.
As we go into the live shows, Sally Barker (Team Tom) heads the outright market at 5/2, followed by Christina Marie (Team Ricky) at 7/2 and Rachael O’Connor (Team Kylie) at 11/2. All three members of Team Will are available at around the 10/1 mark.
So let’s look at it team by team, starting with the trickiest one of all (the odds given below are to be the mentor’s last remaining act).
Jermain Jackson (13/8)
Sophie-May Williams (15/8)
Iesher Haughton (5/2)
Will is a kind of Svengali figure who likes to promote quirky, kooky female singers. Last year’s championing of Leah McFall is a case in point. Does this point towards Sophie? Or perhaps Will would like to develop the ingénue that is Iesher? Jermain doesn’t fit into this broad, irregular mould.
But then Jermain is an extraordinary guy in his own right. The potential ‘1st singing black Prime Minister’ and keen Hackney Labour Party activist is cutting an increasingly impressive figure on the show. I dare say he reminded me a bit of a young Sidney Poitier last week when his version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ kicked Chris Royal’s to the kerb.
The only drawback from a betting point of view is that he is a black man with a black mentor on a BBC popularity contest show. Still, he seems to have ditched that initial over-confidence and grown more likeable.
Sophie-May is a beautiful girl and her granddad love seems for real. Her endearing off-beat, vintage dress sense is also likely to endear her to the traditional BBC audience in general.
Her blind audition piece, where she sang ‘Time After Time’ with a voice that captivated, was a wow moment – but she hasn’t had one since. Also, she loves jazz and this is has the potential to bring out the worst in Will’s song choices for her. It’s painfully easy to imagine him arranging some scat-heavy, vote-divorcing, niche number for her to sing.
Iesher has that dangerous shy swan phenomenon going for her. She seems to genuinely lack confidence and seems a really sweet kid. I like her growing sense of humour and Will seems a good influence on her. And the little girl can really sing. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of internet love for her, though.
She seems to even be suffering for name recognition. I like her and rate her highly but she hasn’t yet had a true breakthrough moment, at least not to the same degree as others in the competition. She’s capable of one but needs one ASAP.
Personally, I’m growing to believe that Jermain will not only be in the final, but he is a growing threat for the whole thing. I think there’s greater potential value to be had in backing him each-way at 10/1 for the outright than at 13/8 to win the competitive theee-horse race that is his mini Team contest.
The only reason I haven’t backed him is because I can’t forget last year’s final where Matt Henry undeservedly finished 4th. I should remember that this year free multiple internet voting will be a factor. This year could be all change.
Rachael O’Conner (1/2)
Jamie Johnson (4/1)
Lee Glasson (5/1)
Team Kylie interests me from a punting perspective. I’ve spoken at length previously of my lack of estimation for Lee’s chances on The Voice. His acquired-taste voice, slightly goofy look of the lower face, likes-himself-a-bit-too-much personality and so forth. Too niche.
In his favour, he does sound original, has an extraordinary voice and I imagine his fan base will be passionate multi-voters. Further his fan base may be more likely to be internet voters.
Rachael has the mighty Northern Irish voting demographic behind her, but then she also has her dad behind her. Rachael reminds me of Sophie in that she hasn’t really lived up to the promise of her audition. 1/2 seems a skinny price for her, as it is a bet on her returning to form, rather than maintaining form.
Myself, I’ve taken the 4/1 on Jamie prevailing from the Team as last one standing. Jamie is warm-hearted, has a powerful and pleasant voice, a friendly personality and delivers a very good performance every time.
I feel Jamie’s “battle” with Joe has built a quiet fondness for the lad that the public has not yet had the chance to reward. I think Jamie has the beating of Lee and I think a very good performance by Jamie is neck and neck with the not entirely unconvincing performances that Rachael has recently delivered.
A top of her game Rachael – the girl whose voice has a touch of musical theatre about it and which brought us a gorgeous version of Emeli Sandé’s Clown – beats Jamie I think, but the 4/1 for Jamie looked too generous a price to turn down.
Sally Barker (3/10)
Georgia Harrup (7/2)
Bizzi Dixon (20/1)
This seems much easier to call. I find it very difficult to see anyone but Sally as the Team winner. In the elimination market Bizzi looks a worthy favourite, too.
With her golden singing voice, Sally is obviously the apple of Sir Tom Jones’s eye. After that VT where she was shown ringing up her sons to ask them who Olly Murs was, she seems to rule both the heart and the head.
I also suspect that the mum of two teenage lads would be an acceptable winner to the BBC demographically, as they seem to be aiming for the show to have multi-generational appeal, rather than exclusively at the youth market.
Christina Marie (2/9)
Chris Royal (5/1)
Emily Adams (12/1)
Christina Marie’s remarkably long price (20/1) to be the next act eliminated from Team Ricky is based on the logic is that Christina is Ricky’s favourite, so she is most likely to be awarded the free pass. On the elimination betting, Chris is 11/5 while Emily is 4/9.
Chris bores me, I find his singing out of tune and I was amazed at the judges’ pimping of him last Saturday. Whereas I find Emily under-rated and slightly unfairly seen as a poorer version of the diva that is Christine Marie. Christina and Emily are different types of performer who favour different types of song.
However, there seems to be plenty of hateful comments on the net for Emily. I think rookie coach Ricky is partly to blame for the misunderstanding about her. He set Emily and Kelsey-Beth at each other by choosing ‘Fighter’ as their song choice. Emily decided to method act her way through rehearsals.
The public seem to have not realised she had thrown herself into the part. Further, she copied the vocal style of Christina Aguilera for the vocal. In sum, she looked and sounded like an aggressive person performing a tribute act!
But I find Chris dull and his voice over-rated. On that basis, I think Emily has a fighting chance of pulling a terrific performance out of the bag and overcoming Chris. I just wish Emily would realise that she needs to show the public her vulnerable side, through song choice and performance.
I slightly favour Chris to be eliminated at 11/5 and I would take that price, but for how Emily seems to have built up a perception of being a bit hardened and rough.
It’s difficult to see past Christina Marie to top the team, but at 2/9 she is priced accordingly. She has delivered back-to-back wow moments. Her battle-cum-duet with Nathan blew my mind… and nearly my eardrums. Then in the next round she chose one of the hardest pop songs in the world for a female to sing and delivered ‘Vision of Love’ with total control and aplomb.
The worry is that it was a little too Mariah-like, just as her blind audition Whitney number was a little too recognisably Whitney. Though at least she left behind the American twang in her voice this time.
I hope she gets to sing something a bit different for her next song. If Ricky tips her off that the free pass is hers this week, she might feel liberated to show her range through her song choice and performance.
A huge callout to the prescience of David Cook, who highlighted Christina as a potential winner last month, when she was a huge outsider in the betting odds, not the 7/2 second favourite she is today.
The song choices have been revealed for tonight:
Money On My Mind by Sam Smith
Treasure by Bruno Mars
To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees
If You Really Love Me by Stevie Wonder
Rather be by Clean Bandit
Shine A Light by McFly and Taio Cruz
Moondance by Van Morrison
One Day Like This by Elbow
A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton
Lets Get It Started by The Black Eyed Peas
Everlong by Foo Fighters
Happy by Pharrell Williams
Help Me Make It Through The Night by Kris Kristofferson
What we don’t know yet is who will be singing them.
What’s your reading of the competition? Who are you expecting to be departing tonight, who will top each team, and who are you on for the win? As ever, do keep the conversation going below.