The Voice – Live Show 1

syc·o·phant [sik-uh-fuhnt, -fant, sahy-kuh-] noun a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.

We get that The Voice is all wholegrain and authentic but there are times when you need a pantomime villain in high-waisted trousers to slag everyone off. As well as making great TV, it gives punters a lot of clues as to which contestants are favoured. With the inauguration of The Voice into our TV calendar, we have to learn a new language based on compliments, great compliments and uber-praise. This means that seemingly supportive words, for instance ‘you are a real professional’, might translate into ‘you are mediocre’. The true measure of favour is now the liquid volume of tears expressed in response to a performance. Crying is the new pimping. If anyone really raises the bar then the coaches will just have to strip off and wee on the floor. Jessie J could simulate a really tuneful orgasm, could invent something. All other methods for expressing admiration will have been exhausted.

We started the night with a group performance during which appeared not to give a shit, Jessie J sang some notes and Tom Jones showed us his best impersonation of a Tom Jones impersonator. Danny then attempted to compete with Jessie’s vocal gymnastics before executing some hideous thrust-and-skid dance move whereby he attempted to insert his manhood through the camera lens and into every living room in Britain. Holly Willoboobies, who definitely makes her house-guests remove their shoes, alerted us to the dangers facing someone called Tim. Danny had been given a haircut. THANK GOD.

Opening the show was Joelle Moses, whom Will saved because she left her comfort zone, not because the barmaid she sang against was shit. Her vocal was pretty awesome but due to her early placement, bland styling and poor song choice she was largely forgettable. It’s interesting to hear that Joelle expressed dismay at being sent out first. Clever girl. Do we think The Voice is that willing to dispose of her or did they just need a big voice to open the show?

Next up was Carol from HR doing a ‘number’ at the office Christmas party. Nope – wait – it was Samuel Buttery. Sam was nervous which seems sort of unnecessary considering his chances of winning. I think it would be best for Sam if he just focused on enjoying his time in the contest. If he’s still alive in two weeks, I suggest Lady Marmalade as a suitably sophisticated song choice.

After some RIDICULOUS complaints from Jessie J about dance distraction and ‘seeing’ people’s voices, we were introduced to Frances Wood whose tone was so hollow and reedy that her vocal chords might well have been cling-filmed. Ain’t Nobody is a great song choice but it did Frances no favours tonight. I wonder if the whole Northern ‘thing’ will be enough to secure her some votes.

Up next was Adam Isaac, whom I can never remember. The Voice is branding Adam as a ‘rock god’ in order to prescribe him some much needed personality. Rock music, you know? Like The Script. Adam’s performance was unmemorable and probably won’t appeal to a broad voting base. It was up Danny’s street because Danny is serious ‘n’ authentic and knows about rock music because he reads NME and he knows how to do the thing that I always confuse with a Vulcan salute (not Klingon – thanks Eurovicious). The problem is that rock music and reality TV aren’t the most natural of bedfellows and I doubt that Foo Fighters fans are likely to pick up the phone.

After Adam, it was the one-to-beat, the man who makes people cry (bully), Jaz Ellington. Jaz’s stylist had attempted some sort of early 2000s-themed trilby and humpty-dumpty trouser combo that wasn’t flattering at all.  As a song choice, At Last might seem to show favour but, in fact, a classic song teamed with bad styling only served to create the impression that Jaz is not a contemporary artist, as Danny did point out to his credit. I’m sure this won’t be a massive problem for the market favourite but it does feel slightly like the show was trying to put the breaks on the Jaz Train after the fallout from the initial blubfest. That, or they genuinely don’t know what to do with him.

As a side point, I will give a hundred million pounds to anyone who can enlighten me as to how Danny O’Donoghue has worked with Boyz II Men. It’s baffling. Danny is baffling, it’s like we’ve been tricked into believing he’s a person at all. A few months ago, I was only vaguely aware of The Script as a lame guitar wielding boyband who did that song about pretending to be a hobo in order to impress your ex-girlfriend (because nothing says ‘take me back’ like the smell of stale urine). And then I’m just supposed to accept this dreadful man claiming to have collaborated with Boyz II Men on my television?

Next up was Leanne Mitchell, the holiday camp singer. Perhaps she should have kept quite about that because it’s all I can picture when she sings and the association will be in the nation’s mind now – Leanne Mitchell: holiday camp singer. Danny rocked out with his eyes closed whilst Joe McElderry’s backing dancers pranced about in the background. I can easily see Leanne in the danger zone tomorrow.

If anything restored my faith in The Voice tonight it was Sophie Griffin whose performance of David Guetta’s hard-to-sing Titanium was quite the showstopper. We were clearly informed in Sophie’s VT that she was Irish, seventeen and really nervous (so she has a potential journey towards self-confidence). It all screamed ‘vote Sophie’, which is sort of justified by her talent. I definitely think it’s time to sit up and take Sophie seriously as a contender.

Up next were Matt and Sueleen (M&S), who had been styled as a pair of maniacal Bond villains. M&S managed not to completely butcher Fleetwood Mac, which was nice, but it became clear that Matt is really the voice of the act and Sueleen just harmonises nicely. I imagine that they might have a deceptively wide appeal but I’m unsure of how likely people are to vote for a pair. They do have individuality on their side.

The penultimate performance of the night came from Amy Winehouse’s ‘best friend’ (if they were best friends, why aren’t there more than three photos of them together?). I’m not sure what makes Tyler James so hard to warm to – he doesn’t seem like an unpleasant person but he’s far from endearing. Vocally, he’s far more at home in his falsetto range and a reasonably nice arrangement tonight could see him safe tomorrow. I had initially predicted that Tyler would fall at the first hurdle but we shall see.

And so it was pimp slot for Ruth, whose colour-changing corkscrew curls are fast becoming my favourite thing about The Voice. Ruth has officially trumped Jessie J in the hair stakes and she’s having a pop at the vocal stakes too. She definitely got a lot of help and hype tonight but I wouldn’t overreact and bet on her for the win just yet. True, she has a great ‘journey’ to go on, youth, charm and amazing vocals but it’s only week one of the lives and we have all the time in the world to see other acts getting pimped. If you feel like gambling your entire life savings in order to get a good return, Betfair have Ruth at 1/25 to represent Tom in the final. After mediocre performances from Leanne and Adam, that almost looks generous.

So who’s in danger then? I reckon a late placing and nice arrangement might just about see Tyler safe so Team Will is fixing to lose Frances or Joelle. I can see The Voice wanting to ditch the latter before she picks up any momentum in the event that they plan to get Sophie to the semis, which seems relatively likely. For now, Jaz and Sophie seem safe as houses. The dignity of Team Tom is currently surviving on the lone shoulders of Ruth Brown so anyone else could be in danger. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Matt & Sueleen will be safe tomorrow but Leanne, Samuel and Adam had all better watch their backs.

Happy betting. And may the odds be ever in your favour.

19 comments to The Voice – Live Show 1

  • Daniel

    Great article as always, Dug. I agree with your analysis: Joelle was a strong vocal opener who may end up being as successful as Treyc Cohen; the rest passed me by until we got to Sophie who wasn’t perfect but I reckon has legs in this contest; and Ruth Brown with whom
    the show (perhaps not undeservedly) has achieved Cowell-esque levels of pimping.

    • Dug

      I’m not sure that out-pimps Jaz’s audition which I felt went further than X Factor ever has in the pimpstakes. I mean, he did TWO performances just because they liked him. And then they all cried.

      Yes, tonight was all about Sophie and Ruth for me, although I do sort of enjoy a bit of M&S on the side. They’re the closest thing The Voice has to Wagner (although Sam’s dancers weren’t far off).

  • eurovicious

    Hi – think you mean Vulcan, not Klingon! 🙂

    I thought the best tonight were the first three, plus Jaz and Tyler. Joelle was awesome, Frances was very good and gave a really polished, entertaining performance, and Samuel (who I didn’t like in the audition stage) was stellar – a star is born! A real engaging character and lively performer with a great voice and huge range – tons of fun. I don’t agree that his days are numbered, I think the public will warm to him massively and the show will want to keep him around for the entertainment factor, X Factor-style.

    Agree on Adam being unmemorable, though I think they’ll want to keep him around for the rock factor. Leanne was vocally good but the approach to the song was totally wrong (it needs to be wrenching and passionate, not staid and cruise ship); I see her in danger and it’ll either be her or (more likely still) Mutt and Servalan going tomorrow. I thought Sophie’s vocal was appalling – worst of the night. If there’s any justice, she’ll go, I thought she was absolute rubbish.

    I was surprised at the Boyz II Men comment too. Danny is Irish though – maybe he’s referring not to the group, but the Catholic paedophile ring of the same name? And I doubt Jessie J could simulate a tuneful orgasm (or a tuneful anything), even with Danny skidding across the studio floor at her like a dog with an itchy arse…

    • Dug

      Thanks for the Trekkie corrections – I have amended above!

      Oooh, we shall have to agree to disagree on the Frances/Sophie issue. I feel like Fanny Woo hit a lot of flat notes again tonight but I’m really impressed with Sophie. I think we’ll have to put it down to a taste thing or else we’ll end up slinging poo at each other over who was better.

      Hmm, M&S… I have a feeling that they’re going to be OK just because they are so novel in comparison to the others and I’ve heard a lot of people speak highly of them.

      And yes, perhaps Danny was just itchy. That might explain a lot. He’s probably just itchy. All the time.

  • Ben Cook

    Ruth is going to walk it.

  • Ronnie

    You guys are aware that the evictions have already been made?

    Voting lines closed at 9pm when they started filming Sunday’s show. There are rumours going round on Twitter, strong rumours, about what two went home.

    I won’t mention any names as they haven’t been confirmed and I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but a little look at Twitter or Digital Spy will tell you all you need to know. I hope they are wrong as, if right, it will mean my elimination bet has lost.

    As for the show itself – I wasn’t as impressed as everyone else regarding Ruth. She was good – but not that good. I was more impressed with the end of Leanne’s song than that of Ruth’s effort (Leanne was dodgy at the start – wrong song choice).

    The thing about this show is that it isn’t that long – done and dusted by the start of June. If last year’s X Factor had been the same length, Janet would have won. There isn’t that much time for any long kills or for the public to get bored. As such, it is easy for the judge to heap praise on the ones TPTB want to win with the knowledge that their reputation may last long enough to get them to the final. Yes they are good but the praise for both Ruth and Jazz seemed very predetermined to me.

    In summary, I think it will be easier for TPTB to get their chosen acts to the final – especially as they can choose from the bottom two and we still haven’t been told how the finalists will be picked.

    Also, not sure why they just don’t do a live results Sunday show. The viewing figures will be affected due to some knowing the result.

  • Boki

    I didn’t see the show yesterday and trying to catch up. What’s with the odds !? Team Tom elimination still up on BF but team Will suspended !? Due to the leak maybe?

  • Boki

    Also see Sophie drifted on all markets, it’s not a good sign for her…

    • Boki

      Sophie’s performance was really static to me for such energetic song (unlike Frances). I see Ladbrokes offering 100/1 for both S&S win so that’s it most probably.

      • Boki

        This is the last one (feel like talking to myself):
        At the end it seems that Sophie was used only for Mary J kill and then disposed. We were fooled to believe Will will keep her and the Irish vote didn’t help either…

  • Dug

    Wow, well I shall prepare for a whole lot of egg on my face if Sophie’s out tonight. Aside from Ruth in the pimp slot, I really thought she blew everyone else out of the water and then some. And what’s happened to the luck of the Irish?

    Matt and Sueleen also favourite to go which surprises me somewhat in a category featuring much less memorable contestants. I guess their appeal doesn’t necessarily translate into voting power.

  • Deb

    Re Ruth, the audience’s reaction wan’t pimped and that just about said it all. A clear winner imo.

  • R

    I’m writing this while reading the DS spoilers:

    It looks like Sam “Uttery” Buttery and Mr Forgetable Adam Thingy were bottom 2 in Team Tom, with Sam being sent home.

    There were rumours that Joelle had gone but this has now switched to Sophie being the one to leave. I’m a little surprised if Joelle was in bottom 2 but was then saved as she was given the death slot etc as mentioned previously. I also noticed said something along the lines of “You were complaining…um not complaining but worried that you were going up first.” which I felt was a deliberate attempt to make her seem like an difficult person to work with.
    Meanwhile, Sophie was praised for her performance. I felt her performance sounded flat but the song choice was unfair on her as the original version of Titanium is so auto-tuned that it would have been impossible for anyone to reach those high notes leading to Sophie sounding poor in comparison.

    One other pointer could be who the judges give a standing ovation to. Joelle had all 4 judges stand up while only stood up for Sophie.

    • Boki

      So Mr Forgetable didn’t end up in bot2 lol.
      Rg Joelle I can only think of that they wanted to start the show with a big voice (but why ‘going down’ then) and slots 2,3 or 4 for the chop while Sophie let down with votes despite a late slot. So Will have rightfully chosen (nobody can complain because Joelle has indeed the better voice) and in the end it doesn’t matter because they will get the chosen ones to the final anyway.

      • R

        No Mr Forgettable didn’t end up in the B2. That was a surprise to me as I didn’t pick up on threads mentioning M&S being in the B2. I thought there was a certain charm to their performance leading to sufficient votes although Sueleen’s vocals suffered in comparison to Stevie Nicks. I will need to reassess.

  • R

    I was also surprised at how effective Tom’s “applause” gimmick worked with the audience after Ruth’s pimped performance.

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