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The Voice may have to fight dirty to win the ratings war


Whatever expertise Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh bring to the talent-spotting process, you certainly wouldn’t want to hear them sing.

It’s an X Factor failing that The Voice immediately takes advantage of, with an opening sequence, in which its judges, sorry “coaches”, Sir Tom Jones, Jessie J, will i am and Danny O’Donoghue rip through the Black Eyed Peas hit I Gotta Feeling in full-throated fashion.

There are no ego-fuelled bitch-fights between the panel, who settle into a family-friendly routine, bigging up the talent presented to them, already weeded to remove timewasters and engaging in, at best, gentle one-upmanship

The “blind audition” format is shown off when alopecia-sufferer Toni Warne, 34, removes her head-scarf and sings bare-headed for the first time.

The coaches, facing the audience, buzz her through and their chairs swivel round to reveal their heartwarming choice.

Jessie J is in tears, a common sight, one imagines, during the series. Are there any disabled or wheelchair-bound contestants though? The BBC said not.

Sean Conlon, a member of 90s boyband 5ive seeking a career boost, can't shake his anonymity even when he is face-to-face with the judges.

Once the coaches have approved a singer, they must “bid” to persuade them to join their “team”. Sir Tom establishes his credentials with an anecdote about meeting Elvis in Hawaii. Will i am ups the ante by recalling a recording session with Michael Jackson. Jesse J, a relative newcomer to all this, offers “I met Justin Bieber once.”

The Voice may not prompt X Factor-style controversy but its mix of clean-cut hopefuls emoting over Radio 2 ballads should appeal to the Saturday night audience which flocked to Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Saturday theatrical talent shows.

But if a revitalised Britain’s Got Talent, in all its brash glory with Simon Cowell returning to UK screens, lands square in its path, The Voice will need to drop the niceness and fight a little dirty to win the ratings war.