If you can name a winner – any winner – of The Voice then you’re already doing better than I am. Billed as the BBC’s X Factor, the show that gets through more judges than will.i.am does hats has never quite made the impact it promised. Still, falling viewing figures and failing artists have done nothing to reduce the BBC’s appetite for it and so, on Saturday, a fifth season began.
Voice stalwart will.i.am – the only original judge/coach on the TV talent show – didn’t disappoint with his clothing choice. During the judges’ opening performance (a mash-up of “You Got the Love”, “Get Up” and “Whole Lotta Love” and, yes, they murdered all three) he sported a knee-length pink jacket, shorts, socks and a wide-brimmed hat. He had the good grace to remove the hat for the auditions though, replacing it with a flat cap.
He was joined by returning coach Ricky Wilson and newbies Boy George and Paloma Faith for the format in which contestants perform a “blind audition” while the judges’ backs are turned. If they like what they hear, they push a button to spin round and see the singer.
They then try to persuade the would-be star to pick them as a mentor. Will.i.am clearly views himself as a higher being and while the other judges scrapped among themselves, he sat back and enjoyed the show.
Paloma Faith slipped easily into the role of “generic annoying female judge”. She laughed too enthusiastically at her own jokes and spent most of the show with her mouth partially open in a half gurn/half smile, which I can only assume was to prove she was enjoying herself. Either that or she’s undergone jaw surgery.
Boy George was a brilliant addition, his camp quips and lightning quick put-downs were exactly what this tired format needs. “I’m the other Queen of England,” he proudly told fishmonger Tom Rickels. “I’m more of a camper van than a coach,” he told another potential protégé.
Unfortunately for George, the average age of the contestants was about 18, which did not go in his favour. No one chose him as a mentor – because no one knew who he was. 1980s? They’re as current as the 1920s to these people. It took 17-year-old Cody Frost – the last audition of the episode – to make the bold move to join Team George. “There’s a bit of an Eighties vibe going on there,” George said of her outfit. “So there’s only one place for you to go honey child.”
Speaking of Eighties vibes, the nightmare continued for poor Martin (now going by the name Moritz Stamm) in Deutschland 83. Having been forced to work as a spy in West Germany in last week’s opening episode, the baby-faced border patrol guard found himself in even murkier territory as he tried to steal secret documents from a Nato chief.
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