Hugh Montgomery: Rant & Rave (13/05/12)

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Rant

The charade is over. BBC1's The Voice, that showcase for new singers is – shock, horror! – just another reality TV monster. At least, that's the conclusion to be drawn from last week's reports that the producers have told its platitude-friendly judges (including Jessie J) to "toughen up, be meaner and to really speak their minds".

At the same time as viewers have been speaking their minds by switching over to Britain's Got Talent. Well, thank God. Rarely has Saturday night entertainment been less entertaining than this twin showcase for piety and disingenuousness.

On one hand, it has bored on about being "all about the voice" while happily trading on the perceived novelty of its contestants' looks. And on the other, it has trumpeted itself as a forum for "real talent" while providing us a mix of contestants so cruise-ship calibrated, it makes The X Factor look like the Marquee Club.

You hardly need to be an unfortunately V-necked impresario to know that talent shows have always been a TV concern rather than a musical one. And the less we pretend otherwise, the better for all concerned.

Rave

Forget the careless whispers. This week George Michael again proved himself my favourite celebrity tweeter with a scattergun but right-on rant that encompassed the red tops, politicians, police and good ol' Lord Justice Leveson.

"I was asked to talk to the Leveson inquiry, but I declined. It's all bullshit," he declared, cutting through its sluggishness at a stroke. Ever since coming out, Michael's devil-may-care puckishness has been a shining example of how to deflect the slings and arrows of public scrutiny.

If the inquiry hasn't, in fact, asked him to appear, as it claims, then it really is missing a trick.

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