The Voice – Live Shows 4

“Tonight is going to be explosive,” we were told, shortly before a mortifying false start from Jessie J’s microphone. “This has never happened before, I swear, I was just distracted, I’ve heard it happens to a lot of guys, etc.”

The group performance of Fun’s ‘We Are Young’ predictably favoured Vince and Becky in terms of arrangement and lyrical allocation, perhaps simply because they are young or perhaps because the show wants to push their talents. Either way, the number didn’t appear to be put together with Toni in mind.

Max went up first, like an especially bouncy lamb to the slaughter. Leanne survived the death slot last week but she did so from a considerably less talent-packed team. Max’s song choice was uninspiring, as the coaches pointed out, and The Voice just haven’t invested enough time or emotion in Max thus far, which is a pity because I think he’s one of the more interesting and charismatic performers – at least in the context of the Radio 2 snoozefest that is The Voice.

Next under the bus was Cassius, who has been done about as many favours as Ruth-Ann St Luce in this competition. Jessie’s assertion in his VT that Cassius needed to give an unforgettable performance regardless of the outcome was hardly fighting talk. Even now, I am struggling to remember a single thing about his performance other than the fact that it was a boring arrangement of one of Adele’s more boring songs. I doubt the viewing public will remember enough of it to pick up the phone.

My heart broke a little to hear that Kate Bush approved of the posh pretender to her crown, Bo Bruce. In Bo’s VT, Danny gesticulated wildly whilst saying “watch ME burn” and my mind was suddenly filled with wonderful images of The Script frontman going up in flames. Bo’s song choice, Love The Way You Lie, seemed to show favour but the tempo showed her up a bit. Bo is very lucky that The Voice doesn’t demand that contestants showcase versatility as she does rather struggle to hold a note beyond one very quick gasp, almost as if her life force (or inheritance) is ebbing away with every word she sings.

Up next was Vince Kidd, whom The Voice still seems to be holding rather close to its chest. On the one hand, Vince always wows with great arrangements and unique performances and is rightly rewarded with praise of his artistry. On the other, he has never exactly been pushed to the top of the pack. He often performs in a midway slot, which has not harmed him thus far but I felt that Vince needed something a little more special than tonight’s half-time rendition of ‘My Love Is Your Love’ in order to guarantee a place in the semi-final when Becky and Toni appeared to receive much better treatment. To Vince’s credit, he always gets a great reaction from the studio audience and he has a strong online presence but whether he can win the popular vote is tough to call. I’m crossing my fingers that he can.

The arrival next of Aleks Josh enforced my fears that David Julien is the producer favourite for Team Danny. I’m quite gutted that Aleks didn’t perform the big band rendition of Jet’s ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ because the Jack Johnson cover was about as exciting as a Jack Johnson cover and felt like a huge step back from last week. Danny’s assertion that Aleks was “not a strong singer” wasn’t exactly encouraging either. Will Aleks’ charm be enough to wangle the popular vote? If this were X Factor, well, firstly it would be a lot more interesting but, secondly, I’d say yes. Aleks could be safe. Unfortunately, this is not X Factor, it’s “Make Me A Radio 2 Superstar” and Aleks just doesn’t cut the mustard.

Becky’s erratic behaviour seems to setting her up nicely for a journey towards self-confidence but once I realised that Toni was primed for the pimp slot I began to have doubts. Obviously, only two out of Becky, Toni and Vince can progress to the semi-finals and The Voice haven’t been too ambiguous with their allocation of the headline position thus far. I do so hope that Becky will progress as her version of ‘Seven Nation Army’ was one of my series highlights up to this point. Having said that, I wouldn’t want that to be at the expense of Vince who to me feels like one of the show’s only true stars. Oh dear, dear, dear.

So everybody’s favourite everyman, David Julien, went up last for Team Danny and I knocked back a double espresso to ensure my consciousness throughout. Danny took great pleasure in reminding us that David is a hardworking, honest guy from a working-class Manchester background (he probably stacked shelves in Waitrose for booze money whilst doing a degree – after all, the only painting and decorating Matt Cardle could ever account for was his parents’ multi-million pound barn conversion). The BBC should be above pandering to class ideals. David Julien is not the voice of the revolution. His vocal was solid, enjoyable even, but ultimately boring. I was slightly confused by Danny’s suggestion that he had previously gone ‘ left field’ with David, as I struggle to tell the performances apart. Will did a pretty good job of calling the performance boring. The question we all need to be asking ourselves is simple: Do we really need another Matt Cardle? I wonder how much this thought could be in the public subconscious.

And so the pimp slot went to Toni Warne. Now I feel bad laying into Toni, because she seems like a lovely lady and I’ve had nothing but venom for her since the show began, but I honestly don’t know what she’s doing on The Voice. Love them or hate them, these programmes should be about creating opportunities for artists and the only place I see Toni in a year’s time is performing Liza Minelli covers at a broken hearts-themed drag cabaret night at the top of Blackpool Tower. The gurning, the gushing and the weeping are all just too much. Get a grip of yourself, for goodness’ sake. Sorry may have been the hardest word but after that performance, sorry was quite apt.

Finally, we were subjected to a montage of Danny’s inspirational leadership as he ‘jammed’ with his acts (puke) and then went go-karting (except Bo couldn’t join in because she’s been bending over too much in her performances). The theme of Danny’s group song was ‘art’ and, as Danny has previously explained, ‘art’ is “the only justification for all the pain in the world.” How fitting, then, that ‘art’ as a visual theme should frame (justify) the pain that was inflicted through Team Danny’s interpretation of Gotye’s hipster whinge-anthem, Somebody That I Used To Know.

So what can we gather before tonight’s results are aired tomorrow and we can finally take a good look at our eight semi-finalists?

It feels fair to dismiss Cassius in Team Jessie. Before tonight, I would have written off Toni Warne as well but, as I mentioned before, The Voice haven’t allocated the pimp slot lightly yet. I’m struggling to see Toni beating out both Vince and Becky in the popular vote, which means she could be a likely contender for Jessie’s save.

Team Danny still feels like the hardest one to call, as I feel it has been from the beginning, but if I were to go out on a limb I’d guess that David will win the popular vote and Danny will save Bo. It’s a real shame because Max and Aleks both have the charm of good, honest, unpretentious popstars and I find the ‘authenticity’ of David and Bo to be ever so slightly tiresome.

What do you think people? Will we see any big surprises? As always, keep us posted with any leaks that might come up.

20 comments to The Voice – Live Shows 4

  • Jake

    Ok it’s official, the producers have no clue.

    The painfully obvious pimping last week now just looks like pulling names out of a hat.

    Toni got the pimp slot? I was honestly shocked. The performance was hardly show finisher material but it also now threatens Becky and Vince’s chances. Maybe the producers are acting out revenge on Jessie’s ‘STOP THE MUSIC’ moment earlier 😛

    I was surprised at Max being on first. Seemed a bit cruel to do that after his early slot last time plus bottom 2. Complete opposite treatment to Toni. Surely he has much more potential as an artist though?

    Becky may have blown her chances with how she acted after finishing. The performance was good (other than the goof) but her attitude was awful.

    Vince was the only one who impressed me tonight. But his early slot may have killed his chances to top the votes. (Though I’m sure Jessie will take him through unless Toni rears her head). He really impressed me in the group song (partly because he was the only one singing in tune) so I’d live for him to be given a more ‘mainstream’ song plus pimping to really connect with the public. He’s chugging along well though (slightly odd treatment considering his style is so ‘out there’).

    Aleks and David were fine but forgettable. You were right to predict David would be treated favourably for this show (at least order wise), but the judges comments and other elements would suggest that the BBC just have no clue what’s going on.

    I’m now sure Jaz and Ruth are plan A. They seem to be the only contestants who TPTB have a plan for.

  • Jake

    Forgot to say I predict:

    Aleks will top the vote and Bo will join him.

    I honestly can’t call Jessie’s team. Toni/Becky/Vince could all top the votes. Dunno who Jessie would pick out of Becky and Vince though?

  • lolhart

    Amusing review Dug. I’m surprised that you’re a fan of Aleks. He came across as a sulky teenager during the coaches’ feedback and I’m sure he’s playing up his awkwardness and lack of confidence. After all he has been doing “research” on his target fanbase. I was also surprised Toni got the pimp slot ahead of Becky or Vince. Maybe the producers are confident they’ll do well enough in the vote and wanted to end things with an “emotional” read overwrought performance. Or it’s possible they’ve taken heed of the comments about unsubtle bias towards certain acts. I didn’t know what to make of the judges banter tonight. It was good to hear them actually giving some critique, although things seemed to go a bit too far with Danny and Will. Maybe they took the producers’ memo to bring a bit of drama too seriously

    • Dug

      Aleks definitely has the twit factor, lolhart. I’m not sure I’d go as far as to call myself a fan but I’d rather see him continue on his journey than say, David or Bo who fall to closely to the the Gary Barlow category of funsponge for my personal taste. I think Aleks is a little more ‘what you see is what you get’ to use an old reality tv cliche.

  • Jake


    Apparently Vince topped the public vote (woo) and Jessie chose Becky

    Bo topped the public vote and Danny chose Max (surprising).

  • eurovicious

    OK, it’s egg/custard pie of Damocles o’clock – spoiler-wise the word is that on Team Danny, Bo topped the vote and Danny picked Max over David.

  • lolhart

    If those spoilers are true, I’m surprised Danny chose Max over David. It’s a shame the voting percentages aren’t going to be released, as I have a feeling Toni did better than Becky tonight.

  • Boki

    Lol, this time they didn’t put the “powerful voice” to the death slot but still the pattern of saving the 1st performer continues (if the spoilers are correct). Didn’t look the show but saving Max is a big surprise (or actually not if you believe in a previous sentence :)).

  • Donald

    Haven’t followed the show but on reading this I Googled one thing, but if spoilers are correct which must be very surprised David gone.

    That search was based on what might be going on. Just as well haven’t been on this show as would have probably backed.

    Let’s see tomorow.

    Hi Boki, missed ya!

    • Boki

      Like Sahara… 🙂

      Btw speaking of X-fac, did anyone see a tweet from judge (@xfactorupdates):
      “1 contract signed (that I know of) for this years xfactor finalists, month’s before judges auditions even start.”

      • Donald

        Just checked the tweets on @xfactorupdates, well everyone signs on entering anyway.

        That info could be spot, but they hardly that blatant unless those involved demanded it to audition this year.

        Any odds available on group or boy or girl winning?

        Liverpool Wednesday, Robbie Williams is guest judge.
        Anyone going? as they might hastag on twitter #seeafinalistatleast

  • Andrew

    Without having seen the show yet,the class warrior in me is a little depressed at Bo topping the vote from third.

    Was Max picked as her weakest opponent for the semi?

    Re Toni, it seems possible that they have been reading criticism of them being too transparent. Might they also have been throwing her under a bus marked Champions League buildup on ITV? Would be interesting to see the overlap viewing figures.

    A joy to read as ever Dug.

    • Jake

      Yeah I wondered that too.

      Interesting how this week one of the group songs happened before all the acts meaning that Toni’s performance was pushed into the clash. Also, unlike with Jaz last week, voting wasn’t opened until after Danny’s team had performed rather than as soon as Toni had finished. Which meant the impact of her pimp slot wasn’t quite as strong.

      • Dug

        Well spotted, Jake, that’s incredibly unfair if it is the case. After that traumatic ‘art’ performance from Team Danny, I’d be careful picking up the phone for fear of finding it had turned into a lobster.

    • Dug

      The gender balance could be quite telling. They’ve kept it even so far and other versions have ensured a well-mixed final. With two boys on Team Will and two girls on Team Tom that would sort of suggest it’s Bo and Vince OR Max and Becky.

      Of course, they could always surprise us and allow the acts to pass to the final on the basis of something other than their genitals but I’ve got a hunch that they’re gunning for a 2boys 2girls situation. Hopefully no cups.

  • Highlighted

    Being honest I think most of all it is clear the producers don’t show their cards at all and it’s a good thing for the show. XF is almost blatant in how it deceives the public at times and with its never ending subliminal messages.

    Of course we realise Ruth and Jaz are the faves thanks to producers hyping but wouldn’t surprise me if we still get a shock.

    My Vince bet still looks good.

  • Boki

    Btw how Bo could win the public vote? Because of the split vote between 3 Danny’s boys?

  • Rob44

    i’m not following this betting wise and i’m reading this after the results show, but in all honesty guys, and don’t get me wrong as i get loads of insight here and appreciate the hard work you put in, but i have to say besides the call on vince kidd and toni the assessment was a bit of a train wreck this week… much like most of the performances.

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