The Voice 2014: Live Shows Preview

[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).

Team Will

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.

Team Kylie

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.

Team Tom

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.

Team Ricky

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.

30 comments to The Voice 2014: Live Shows Preview

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Felt keen to avoid committing the narcissistic signifier of being the first to reply to this thread!

    But, shucks, the live Quarter Finals are homing in on broadcast time and I feel I should report over on DS, it’s being stated that ITunes already have the studio versions of tonight’s performances up for sale.

    This is the list so far:

    Lee Glasson – Help Me Make It Through the Night

    Bizzi Dixon – If You Really Love Me

    Sophie May Williams – Moondance

    Chris Royal – One Day Like This

    Iesher Haughton – Rather Be

    Sally Barker – To Love Somebody

    Jermain Jackman – Treasure

    Jamie Johnson – A Thousand Miles

    Feel confused as to which of the remaining songs Christina Marie will be performing.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Christina, Emily, Georgia, and Rachael must each be singing one of:

    Money On My Mind

    Shine A Light



    This is on the presumption that The Black Eyed Pea’s (of which Will is a member of course) ‘Let’s Get It Started’ (of the baker’s dozen of songs) will be another coach supergroup rendition, mirroring the start of the opening show of this series. Unless that is, the Black Eyed Peas are in town to perform it?

    My initial reaction thoughts are that Will has picked Sophie May a corker of a tune for her voice. I can almost hear her singing it already.

    Jamie could have been chosen a more upbeat song :-(. I don’t see a fit between his upbeat nature and the slightly downbeat sense the instrumentation brings to ‘Thousand Miles’.

    I fully expect Sally to redefine a classic with her original phrasing, feeling and interpretation, as usual. But will she bring her guitar along, tonight?

    Lee’s been handed a good, emotional song whose central lyric and overall narrative are a perfect match for his pleading, plaintive sound. He’s been given a chance.

  • Chris Bellis

    Honestly, class will out. Sally had it for me and I am glad I put money on her early on. Out of all the karaoke shouters she stands out.

  • Nissl

    Enjoyed reading that. I haven’t been watching the show, but just checked out 1-3 performances for all of them on Youtube.

    I’d agree with you about Jamie being the value to go far (not win). Looking at the rest of the team, there’s something I find very unappealing about Lee, and Rachel reminds me of the first two knocked out this season over here on American Idol – pretty young white girl, solid but not incredible voice, questionable ability to connect or be interesting. Jamie seems like a pretty complete package in terms of looks, attitude, voice. Should be the most attractive guy on the show this season, and that has to count for something. Do you all think Cowell might consider pushing him if he had gone out for XF instead?

    I’m having a hard time disagreeing with the market on any of the other teams.

    A lot of my interest is really in post-show careers, and I see Christina and Jamie as the possibly marketable ones in this lot. Sophie-May might have a nice little indie career, certainly has the look. As far as people who might be something with a little seasoning… Iesher has a technically solid voice and pretty good stage presence. Unfortunately her voice comes off a little… reedy? Not sure how to describe the tone.

    But does the BBC care about that at all? A lack of post-show success for contestants hasn’t hurt The Voice here in the US. And if I understand the format, they’re only giving them each a half-dozen performances, hardly enough to get the audience to warm up to them.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Nissi,


      Yeah, I think you’re right. If Jamie had for instance entered last year’s X Factor, then the producers may have managed a concerted season-long push for Jamie Johnson. He could have been the principal ‘eat away at Nick’s vote ‘ rather than the vocally challenged Luke Friend. I could imagine a revised finishing order for XF 10 of:

      1st Sam Bailey
      2nd Jamie Johnson
      3rd Rough Copy
      4th Nicholas McDonald

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Thinking in this The Voice vs X Factor way seems to highlight the quality of contestant on this series of The Voice.

        Sally is even better than Sam Bailey.
        Jamie is a monumental step up on Luke Friend.
        The divine Anna McLuckie is superior to Abi Alton.
        And Christina Marie would wipe the floor with Tamera Foster.

        How would you say Tessanee Chin, Jacquie Lee, Candice Glover and the like compare with the limey artists mentioned above?

        • Nissl

          Er, not to be difficult… but I was going to make a similar point until I watched Sally/Sam and Christina/Tamera back to back a few times on Youtube. For my money the core voices on XF are more powerful and flexible, while the Voice performers have more X-Factor in terms of putting on an engaging show. Irony abounds. I wonder how well Christina and Sally would wear over the 15-20 performances XF (UK) requires vs. the half dozen of The Voice.

          I don’t think Sally can belt at all, and may not even be able to go quite as delicate as Sam. However, she connects great and all of her performances so far have delivered emotionally. On XF, assuming she didn’t fit into plans, I think she would start getting pegged as samey, nice but but a little dull, after a few weeks. (Well, I would expect them not to let her through, as she would threaten to take away a commercial launch slot, but that’s another discussion…)

          I like Christina, can see some pop potential there, but as of now she has a lot of trouble getting power on her lower register, and she tends to rely on breaking into shouting to connect (very successfully) every performance. Her core voice doesn’t really draw me in. Tamera only connected intermittently and weakly on the show, but dang does she have a lot of fluidity, control, and subtlety to her voice, much more than I remembered.

          Agreed on Jamie/Luke. But there the biggest pluses for Jamie are his physical appearance and consistency. I find Luke a bit more likable, not sure how that would translate with teenage girls.

          Abi isn’t necessarily a fair comparison because she was always planned to be fodder. But yes, Anna is an improved version. She connects but still I don’t love her tone.

          I will have a look at the Americans you mentioned in a bit…

        • Nissl

          Tessanne Chin – Excellent technically, but I rarely get goosebumps from her. She sings the emotions properly, but most of the time she does not allow herself to be fully present/exposed in the music, and when it does happen, it seems to be an accident. She seems to really focus on the technical aspects and enjoy getting them as perfect as possible. Because of this I find myself a bit disinterested, but feeling a bit guilty about it. Does all of that make sense? She’s also not quite as good at going quiet as you might initally think. She tends to lose delicacy and resort to vibrato, which is a style I don’t like. Overall I understand why she won her season, though.

          Candice Glover – This a powerful voice. Less goosebumps/connection than I was expecting from her lives based on having heard a few tracks from her debut album. Generally good control both loud and quiet, seems sloppiest when transitioning between the two. I have a hard time finding all that much interesting or distinctive about her given that I’ve been watching a lot of divas all day. Just leaves me a bit flat most of the time.

          Jacquie Lee – Comes across like a hard worker, has the looks no doubt, but she really can’t do much but some belting and some specific affectations. Thin sounding voice. I feel shut out and frankly a bit put off.

          Ultimately, all 3 of these are kind of Sam types… and I’d take her ahead of any of them, as she connects far more consistently than Tessanne and has more nuance and technical ability than the others. I find Sam’s career prospects dubious, Candice has already done poorly, and I do not expect Tessanne to fare that well either. I’m afraid backup vocalist/session musician/musical theater path beckons, ultimately.

          As long as we’re talking recent Americans, you should also watch XFUS champs Alex & Sierra do Gravity and Say Something for references. For me Alex >>> Jamie in charm, nuance, and interest, though he would lack stage and physical presence if he were solo and can get a little awkward at times. (I much prefer that to emotional veiling via vibrato, rock grit, or other affectations, but ymmv and it would be an issue for him as a solo boy in, say, XFUK.)

          Sierra can go quiet and emotional like none of the above girls. She clearly would lose a diva belting contest (having only started singing 18 months before) but none of the other Americans are capable of the end of Gravity. Perhaps I’d say she is more of an Anna, but I find her much more likable, warm, and open.

          Notice, by the way, the massive difference in view counts between A&S’s videos and all the other US acts despite the fact that XFUS bombed horribly that season, with The Voice roughly tripling its ratings. This is why I think A&S have a legit shot at a musical career. Nuance, warmth, connection, emotional rawness >>> technical skill.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Tessanne Chin never did it for me, either. For me, the most inspiring aspect of her story was her winning last year’s US Voice. I doubt a Jamaican born woman of mixed heritage with a background in reggae will be winning a UK singing show or talent show anytime soon!

            I remember Cheryl Cole on UK X Factor V remarking that it was a credit to (the glorious and mighty) Ruth Lorenzo that she had progressed so far in that competition, sans the advantage of a regional vote backing her.

            I hope Ruth does well in this year’s Eurovision, but doubt it. Pastora Soler performance of the slow building epic that is Quédate Conmigo had me in rapturous bliss every darn time. And she could only finish 10th for Spain, a couple of years ago – so I figure Ruth faces an uphill struggle.

            I share the same general feeling about Candice Glover. Nothing remarkable. I thought Kree would win that season (I was never into the early Angie Millar hyperbole.) Though my absolute fave by a mile was Janelle Arthur. Boy, am I a sucker for a girl with a guitar! I thought she would have been challenging for the title too (instead of finishing 5th), what with her being a blonde, country WGWAG. But I was way off.

            I’ve listened back to Sam and yes I see I’m retrospectively underestimating her (though even Sam has her shaky moments in the lower registers). I was a believer in her (and backer of her) early on in her XF journey, but I seem to be hook, line and sinker deep in a Sally Barker love-in currently! Though I do believe Sally has more power up her sleeve than she has so far shown. She has vocally hinted at her strength. Her style is to draw the listener in; as distinct from Christina, who tries to impress (and does) with all the power and range she possesses.

            Like everyone else on earth, I too wasn’t immune to the impossible real-life-Disney charm of Alex & Sierra. I think what made Sierra super special, in a popularity contest, was that she naturally achieved the Voting Holy Grail of every guy fancying her and every girl loving her and wanting to be girlfriends with her (and everyone just falling in love with her generally).

            I loved watching A&S more than listening to them, I think. Personally, I would prefer to listen to Anna McLuckie than Sierra. Anna has the delicacy and the power.

            I can see why struggles to win The Voice UK. He ditches his best acts in the knockouts! I think the voters can’t abide the thought of him emerging as a series winning mentor. Last year, he discarded Liam Tamne (who carried my early bets! Grrrr!). If Liam had have picked Jessie, he would have been through to the lives at least. This year if Anna had have picked Ricky…same again.

            Personally, for beauty of tone, though, no-one betters Celia. This link provides a battle-duet featuring her and a girl who would might have progressed against anyone but Celia.


            I said I was a sucker for a girl with a guitar, yeah?!

          • Nissl

            Both of those girls in the duel you linked are very good. The other one cuts a little deeper, while Celia has more control and a prettier tone. If we’re scoring for the post-show pop market, I’d worry a bit about what will make Celia distinctive. I see she has an EP coming out.

            Watching clips I understand why Harrison won that season, super-pretty crooner with a disability that constantly reminds viewers of its presence. He has a Kermit the frog kind of tone when he’s reaching for soaring emotion that wears thin for me very quickly, but the rest of it’s great. I’m sure XF would have taken this guy instead of Nicholas last season.

            One of my biggest interests in A&S is how good their online metrics look coming off a show barely anybody actually watched on TV. I’m curious if it translates to post-show success for them. These days we might have one contestant make it every ~2 years in the US (that’s one winner in roughly every 5-10 shows.) Phillip Phillips and to some extent Pentatonix (internet kings & queens, minimal sales or radio though) were the most recent.

          • Nissl

            By the way, Sam looks to have landed an easy #1 album this week, which will sell roughly in line with other recent winners’ opening weeks despite the limited label support. Very amused that the rush Mother’s Day cover album strategy is not only being used but actually paying off. (Nicholas didn’t fare so well, landing at #6 last week). Expect to see much more of it in the future for certain classes of acts…

            Speaking of beauty of tone… give this live performance (it’s mislabeled) a shot. Ideally open it in a new tab and *don’t* look at who it is until after it plays, you may be surprised….

  • stoney

    Seems most of us are on sally. I’ve put all my eggs in the one basket. Might have a little cover come the final but I see no reason to do so at the moment. Its a 2 horse race. The show would prefer a christina win but when have the bbc voters ever cared about that? Sally should walk it from here

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      It felt like a show scripted for the common good of the visible sofabet community!

      Sally backers have seen -on betfair- their girl move in to 5/4; and Christina backers have seen their girl contract to 13/8.

      As you allude to, stoney: the show massively pimped Christina last night. But Sally was as excellent, warm and humble as always.

      I’m cock-a-hoop with how the markets are solidifying as I win big with either a Sally or Christina outright victory.

      Plus: Jamie has shortened from 4/1 into 4/6 favourite to win through from Team Kylie; Jermain Jackson opened the show with an excellent performance and is now the 1/2 favourite to prevail from Team Will; and additionally Lee Glasson put in his best performance of the season and is now up to 5th in the betting on the outright.

  • Natasha

    I though a lot of the performances tonight we awful!! Lots of x factor ‘colour vomit’!! My money is also on Sally and I too think it is between her and Christina Marie. I think it’ll be a close one and think it’ll go 55% Sally 45% Christina (hopefully anyway!!)

  • David Cook

    We were out again on Saturday so didn’t watch the live show until last night. I did still manage to cast my votes though – I’m starting to worry about myself. Without seeing the performances I wasn’t too surprised with the voting options.
    Last week when the acts chose the songs we had a great selection of songs, generally well matched to the acts and some decent arrangements. This week with the involvement of the coach’s it was more mixed – some good, some poor. For a programme called The Voice I think they could have cut back on some of the staging and dance routines and just concentrated on the singing. None of the acts who had big routines seemed to benefit from it at all – quite the opposite in most case. For me there seemed to be problems with the sound – again mainly on the acts with the bigger routines, where the balance was far too in favour of the band, and the vocals seemed a bit lost. The recorded shows have generally worked well – perhaps benefiting from the editing, but the live show somehow lacked pace and at times seemed to fall completely flat. There were a few very awkward moments – mostly centred around the comments and interviews which they really need to try to sort out. Emma tried hard but it just wasn’t working. In football terms Tom often seems a yard off the pace.
    Best performances on the night – Sally and Christina again. Song choices could have been better for both though. Surely both finalists and top two overall – and probably in that order. I think Christina would be well served by holding back on the big vocals for just one week, we know she can do that, so why not show a broader range of what she can do – something like her version of ‘The Way We Were ’ would be perfect.
    Overall Will’s team seemed strongest, it was unlucky that any of them had to go out at the expense of some of the acts in other teams. They really need to look at this system in future. I was looking forward to Moondance, which I thought would be Sophie. Reading a couple of comments on DS I was expecting to see a bit of a car crash performance – but it was good. In absolute terms it wasn’t spot on – she’s still a bit awkward on stage and it lacked a little bit of polish. But for someone of seventeen to sing so well in that style she has great potential – even if it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It was Iesher who missed out, it was a good and entertaining performance, but at times the vocal seemed a little bit lost. I’m not entirely blaming Iesher for this and I don’t know why she drew attention to mistakes that no-one else spotted. Jermain put in another good performance too – vocally the best male act again. But I do have a slight issue with Jermain – and Will unwittingly hit the nail on the head. He did a recent Bruno Mars song but still made it sound like Luther Vandross. It just sounds a little bit dated, but not quite classic – others may disagree. Probably not an issue for the voters, but if he wants to make a career beyond the show it’s something he needs to consider. Iesher on the other hand seems to be the ready made pop star.
    How Bizzi is still there I do not know. I’m just glad the reward / risk ratio on the elimination market was so poor – otherwise I might have been tempted into losing my money. The only explanation is how poor Georgia was. I didn’t need to consider whether this was in or out of tune this time – it was badly out of tune. Four performances, not one with secure tuning – it’s not good. At least Bizzi was in tune – infact he’s a decent enough signer it just seems a bit dated and uninspiring.
    Back on Team Ricky I don’t think that either the song choice or arrangement did Emily any favours at all – it might have been called ‘Happy’ but the performance didn’t exactly convey much joy. Chris Royal did very well, he’s decent and quite likable, but I’m still not entirely convinced about his tuning. Over the series I think Emily has been the better act, and was unlucky to go out.
    And that just leaves Team Kylie – now looking like a team of also rans. Rachael – what on earth were they thinking – this really was a car crash performance. Totally unsuitable song choice, poor arrangement, awful sound quality – staging was an utter mess and the whole performance just looked lost. If this was X-Factor people would be shouting ‘under the bus’. Was it deliberate or a very bad mistake? Jamie did well and deserved the Fastpass through, but even Lee managed to cut down the howling and made a decent job of ‘Help me Make it Through the Night’. I’m not sure what Kylie’s plan was – I thought she looked a bit surprised when Lee got through. I tend to agree with Guildo that Jamie’s looking the better bet for the final now.

  • Hi All,

    Im more of an X Factor follower than anything else, so when it comes to the Voice, I trust on everyone elses views/opinions…. tell me am I wide of the mark here.

    Sophie May Williams
    Previous favourite for the show
    Imo has very good performances throughout
    Was favourite for Wills group last week

    Why is she now backable at 13-8 with a few firms to beat Jermain, is this purely down to the fact that Jermain was given the fast pass?

    How key is the fast pass? I mean can it work in Sophies advantage that she now has voting fans, and as we know, fans are less likely to switch once alligned with someone? Do we even know Sophie isnt more liked than Jermain with a voting public? Could fast pass been given to him because he was more likely to finish bottom of the vote than Sophie, so kept them both in that way.

    Views welcomed 🙂


    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi JS2002.

      A short history of the fast pass.

      I guess that the fast pass was inaugurated for series 2 because of the complaints of the coaches from series 1. Will implied in that grand final that Ruth Brown had lost to Leanne Mitchell in the previous week’s semi-final due to racism on the part of the British public. That Leanne Mitchell went on to win the final seemed to rile the judges even further, rather than assuage them with the fact that Ruth lost out to the eventual series champion.

      Last year, in series 2, the Quarter Final fast passes were handed to the favoured artists, or perhaps the artists probably deemed to have the best chance of winning the competition for their respective judges.

      Jessie J gave the fast pass to Ash Morgan.
      Tom Jones handed it to Joseph Apostle.
      Danny handed it to Andrea.
      Will handed it to Leah.

      Arguably, Tom knew he had a better shot with Mike Ward, but he handed the pass to Joseph because a) he rated him more highly as a singer and b) he knew that the big lad originally from the Philippines might struggle to attract the votes he deserved.

      In the Semi Final, it’s worth noting that 2 of the previous week’s pass recipients were in fact eliminated. Matt Henry beat Ash Morgan, despite bad X Factor style staging for Matt’s rendition of ‘Girl on Fire’; and Salford country boy Mike Ward defeated Joseph Apostle. For some, the fast pass can prove to be more of a hospital pass; or it but temporarily keeps an acts weaknesses away from exposure in the cold-light-of-day arena of public opinion.

      The public might consider it an unfair advantage to a singer to be given immunity from the public vote and might resent that. The fast pass card also possibly disadvantages its recipient in that the public will have had no experience of voting for that act.

      It’s worth mentioning that last year there were also fast passes allocated in the preceding knock-out round. In that round, Tom put Mike through; and Danny put Karl through. These were the 2 passes that didn’t match up with the semi-final pass choices. I was surprised to see, upon checking, that Danny had put Karl through in that knock-out round and not Andrea. I had thought that Danny had advanced Andrea all the way through.

      • David Cook

        I’m not going to disagree too much with Guildo’s comments. In Maison Cook we have enjoyed Sophie’s performances, certainly her blind audition was one of the best of the series and she has the basis of a good and distinctive vocal. All four song choices that she has performed have been good songs and should have really suited her. The problem is that her voice clearly isn’t fully developed yet and she really lacks experience – particularly in performance terms. She was left most exposed on the Battles where Cherri was clearly the best on the night, except that underlying that you could still tell that it was Sophie who had the better, richer voice. Opinions will vary, should you just put through the person who performed best, or do you take into account the relative experience and potential. This year Will has put through three people who are all younger, and with relatively little experience, but personally I’m happy for him to do that – I think it’s a good approach because all three really do have great potential and it made for a well balanced team. But also one which had little chance of producing the winner. Jermain has emerged as probably the strongest male vocalist to reach this year’s finals – he’s put in consistently good preformances and he’s technically good too. He’s also possibly benefited from other acts that haven’t made it through to the finals who may have competed for votes – Leo who perhaps had a more contemporary style, and Femi who was very smooth. So I think I’m in agreement that at the moment Jermain looks to be ahead of Sophie.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I think Sophie May was an adored and respected contestant but after a string of very disappointing performances, she is now reduced to being a very well liked, lovely girl.

    I think Jermain is liked and his vocals are highly rated. If the top 2 most popular, A+ grade vocalists in the competition are Sally and Christina, then Jermain is in a small group of A- rated singers along with Jamie and Lee.

    I’d class Sophie as the most limited singer left in the show. She struggled badly with a big band jazz arrangement of Van’s ‘Moondance’ the other night and was previously simply outclassed in a “battle-duet” by Cherri Prince in the laid-back, expected-to-be-scat-rich arrangement of The Cure’s ‘ The Lovecats’.

    To me, Sophie is body conscious. She dresses in the style of a flapper, partly because she a sweet-natured girl who doesn’t like being held up to comparison. Unsurprisingly, therefore , she is also a slightly ungainly mover. She moves like a cygnet who has nearly but not quite learnt how to walk. The stillness of her opening blind audition performance of ‘Time After Time’ suited her. Standing still, she can be delicate, beautiful and poised. It would be revealing to know in advance the song choice for her this Saturday, and if any intricate choreography and mark-hitting is involved!

    Jermain’s show opener from Saturday, ‘Treasure’, was a bit outside of his comfort range, but he coped admirably, I thought. Made a good fist of it and got the show off to a strong start. I liked his natural interaction with the dancers, too. He always looks comfortable on stage and unleashes a great, beaming smile throughout his singing. Her has a good singing face, if you know what I mean.

    The vt for Jermain on Saturday’s show focused hard on his political ambitions. Sure, the vt needs to sell an identity, and it made a refreshing change to hear about someone’s worthwhile ambitions rather than feel manipulated into feeling sorry for a contestant, but I did feel it had risked portraying Jermain’s feeling for music as secondary to his political ambitions. And does a singer on a talent show really need a vt featuring that habitually awkward looking individual, Labour Leader Ed Miliband?

    You can read in David Cook’s piece 3 posts above different evaluations of both Jermain’s and Sophie’s latest performances. I think David would and could perhaps answer you differently than I have.

  • Natasha

    Only Kylies team song choices have been revealed, thought it was everyones!

  • stoney

    More money seems to be coming in for sally this week, shes only just above evens now with most firms, and evens with a couple

  • Natasha

    Lets hope she prevails 🙂

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Yes! Sally busking with her acoustic. Sir Tom provided the opportunity – the savvy man and top bloke.

  • David Cook

    What on earth are they thinking with some of these song choices? I suppose I should reserve judgement until we’ve heard the arrangements – but the choices don’t look promising at all. Unless Will does have something up his sleeve in terms of arrangements the choices look bizarre. I must confess that just from the title I didn’t even know what ‘Royals’ was, having looked it up on YouTube it’s one of those insipid songs that entirely pass you by when you hear it on radio. If this is sung straight it’s a disaster. It probably would benefit Sophie to do something more contemporary, but I would think something by Lana Del Rey would have been a much better choice (as suggest by a post on DS). ‘Without You’ by David Guetta for Jermain doesn’t seem much better – there’s very little substance to the song to make it into a soul version. But it’s much more contemporary, so I hope Jermain doesn’t resort to giving us a Luther Vandross version of the song – and please give the Scooby Dooby Doo bits a miss too this week. Jermain is probably already ahead of Sophie, but the song choice should ensure he makes the final.
    In my opinion Sally seems to have got the better song choice of the week with ‘Whole of the Moon’ by the Waterboys, which I think still sounds good now. Again I’m not sure about ‘Everything Must Change’ by George Benson for Bizzi – I’m assuming this is actually a version of the Nina Simone song. If so it will probably fit the style perfectly, but again I think it’s just going to sound very dated. It can only be Sally.
    Are they trying to kill off Christina? Is this a Sophie Haibis moment singing ‘Bang Bang’? Who knows perhaps Leah was on course for a landslide victory in the final last year until she pulled out this most unlucky of song choices. She should however be saved by Chris singing ‘Smile’. The original is a much better song than ‘Bang Bang’ – but I can’t help thinking that this will expose some of the worst, rather than better traits of Chris’s voice. Chris is no Nat King Cole. Christina should still make it through.
    It’s Team Kylie that seems the closest to call. On the face of it Jamie looks to be ahead of Lee. But Lee probably has some very solid support, perhaps more so than Jamie so things might be very close. Lee gets a good song choice too – ‘Strong’ by London Grammar – and it lends itself to Lee’s vocal style. I can just about hear it in my head now – if you like Lee you’re really going to like this – but I’m pretty sure I’m going to hate it. Jamie is singing Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, it’s a decent enough song, and Jamie should be able to do a good vocal version, but it’s very MOR – I doubt it’s going to be really inspiring people to vote for him. Jamie should edge it but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Lee.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    A c&p from tellymix.

    The Voice 2014 spoilers: Song choices for semi-finals


    Jamie Johnson
    Bonnie Raitt – I Can’t Make You Love Me

    Lee Glasson
    London Grammar – Strong

    Group performance
    Kylie Minogue – Into The Blue


    Christina Marie
    Nancy Sinatra – Bang Bang

    Chris Royal
    Nat King Cole – Smile

    Group performance
    The Kinks – You Really Got Me


    Sally Barker
    The Waterboys – The Whole Of The Moon

    Bizzi Dixon
    George Benson – Everything Must Change

    Group performance
    Martha & The Vandellas – Dancing in the Streets


    Sophie May Williams
    David Guetta feat. Usher – Without You

    Jermain Jackman
    Lorde – Royals

    Group performance

    The Voice UK 2014 semi-final airs this weekend, Saturday 29th March, on BBC One at 7PM.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Initial thoughts:

    Obviously (?), the Sophie and Jermain are the wrong way round. Sophie must be singing the Lorde song; with Jermain singing the David Guetta song.

    This is obviously right:

    Am concerned about Sally’s group song. I don’t want to see her singing anything with ‘dancing’ in the title. Worse, it’s a song that might better suit Bizzi. She might be overpowered. What’s Sir Tom thinking?

    Much prefer Sally’s solo choice. Classic, meaningful, much-loved song – of which I’m unfamiliar with other versions than The Waterboy’s original. Ripe and rich for Sally’s gift for lyrical reinterpretation. Looking forward to it.

    Beautiful song for Chris, but an unnecessarily ancient track? Charlie Chaplin as a backing dancer! Chris will need to smile while he sings, this time!

    Christina Marie’s Bang Bang. There’s so many mixes of this song. Could be anything.

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