The Voice, TV review: These singing battles have become a war of attrition
After more than two hours, these singing battles became a war of attrition
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Sunday 09 March 2014
The Voice must have one of the most complicated formats of any talent contest on TV. As if the role of the spinning red chairs wasn’t baffling enough, there are four distinct audition stages before the public gets to vote on acts. This Saturday night it was the final show of what are called the “Battle Rounds”, in which the celebrity coaches whittle down their acts by having them sing against each other in competitive duets. The rejected singers then have a chance to be “stolen” by a rival coach.
What’s the art to matching singers in battle pairs? Is it to choose singers with different styles so that they bring out the best in each other? To compare close matches? Or should the coaches use the battles as a way to eliminate acts they’re having second thoughts about? After this marathon 130-minute episode, we were none the wiser.
Amelia and Rachael must have been paired in the category for 16-year-old girls who have been made up to look like 35-year-old women. This is something of a trend on these shows. Soon they’ll be sending teenage contestants on stage with prosthetic wrinkles and dyed grey hair. Vicky and Melissa were facing off in the rock-chicks-with-lip-piercing category – and it was Miles vs Max in the battle for the title of Man of Medium Height with a Guitar and an “M” Initial.
The highlight of the evening was Obama look-a-like Femi and Iesher, the spit of pop rapper Nicki Minaj, in the People Who Look Like Other People category. They did a version of “Stop, Look, Listen (to Your Heart)” which gave Kylie a chance to use her final steal, Tom Jones a chance to name-drop Diana Ross and Iesher a chance to show off her stony singing expression. Everyone was happy – except Iesher, obvs. Will.i.am says she needs to emote more, but I disagree. Those perma-frozen facial muscles only emphasise the effortlessness of her talent.
The battle round’s real format issue is not the illogical match-ups. It’s that it just takes far too long. Two hours and ten minutes is more than enough time for the earnest thank-yous to sound clichéd, for the hysterical meltdowns to get old hat and for the paucity of will.i.am’s vocabulary to become apparent. “Awesome” is a fine adjective, but it will not do for every situation. Worst of all, when Tom Jones does one of his boggle-eyed double-takes, it proved impossible to tell if he was surprised by an auditionee’s bum note, or had just been rudely awoken from an afternoon nap.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Poldark finale episode 8, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
Peter Kay’s Car Share, TV review: The perfect vehicle for Kay’s comic talents
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove