If you're a veteran of Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor and whatever other fresh hells Hymen Cowell has brought forth one of the things you're very familiar with is the shitty early auditions where the terminally deluded get laughed at by the likes of violent criminal Cheryl Blowall leading to a glut of articles seeking to pathologise strangeness that call the auditionees mentally ill when they are really just cocks. Well you don't get any of that on The Voice. Turd filtering auditions take place before the program starts so don't expect a Susan Boyle, tattoo lady or Chicken Man moment here because, my friends¹, that ain't happening. Basic levels of competence are guaranteed. So why do we give a shit?
"They can't judge on looks, charisma, style or stagecraft as we know that all these things have NO place in show business and that when you purchase a record what you're really purchasing is a disembodied voice."
I'll tell you for freaking why: because The Voice has a unique feature where judges sit with their chairs turned away from the artist as they perform. They can't judge on looks, charisma, style or stagecraft as we know that all these things have NO place in show business and that when you purchase a record what you're really purchasing is a disembodied voice whose corporeal form is as irrelevant as the exact genetic code sequence of TV's Sean Maguire (Aidan from Eastenders and Donovan Brink in UPN shitcom Eve).
"Fanny from The Crypt is so anonymous he has to be introduced to his own mother. Members of his band don't know who he is."Not that The Voice eschews talent show cliché. Oh good fuck no. It's as mired in X Factor trope teed as any show out there. The wanky biog, the sob story, the stirring music track - they stick to the blueprint like John Peel stuck to underage American girls. Transported more or less intact from the US show The Voice has four gatekeepers from the music industry rattle through auditions to assemble a team of 10 singers for each judge who will then do battle for the ultimate title of The Voice.²
The mopes sing to the backs of the judge's chairs. If the judges dig the voice enough to want it on their team, they whack a buzzer and their chair turns around. If more than one judge expresses an interest then the mope gets to choose who they get groomed by and this is where we get to a pretty key weakness of the format. For the show to retain any credibility the judges need to be of more or less equal standing and are they? Are they fuck. There is a clear hierarchy with Will.i.am.a.cunt from The Black Eyed Pleasefuckoffanddie at the top and Danny O'Donoghue from The Script at the bottom. Fanny from The Crypt is so anonymous he has to be introduced to his own mother. Members of his band don't know who he is.
No one is more aware of this than Manny who is submissive and deferential at all times to his superiors. He continually asks Jesse J (second in the hierarchy) if she's going to buzzer in as an act sings, terrified that he may have to go up against her. When he does swing around he goes for the "you really made that song your own" line and his pitch to the artist sounds like a begging letter "I'd really, really like you on my team!" forcing the shitbird songbird into an embarrassingly phoney "this is such a hard decision to make..." speech before opting for Shill.i.am, industry operator and smuggest hump on the planet.
"Jesse J for her part spends most of her time fussing over her fringe, saying 'good licks, mate, good licks' and doing that dance girls too drunk to stand at nightclubs do in their chairs."
Jesse J for her part spends most of her time fussing over her fringe, saying "good licks, mate, good licks" and doing that dance in her chair girls too drunk to stand at nightclubs do. Having had some recent success in the world of pop, Jesse at least has some relevance to the contemporary music scene, something you could never accuse the final judge Tom Jones of. Tom Jones's career path has run thus: was Tom Jones, was ironically rehabilitated in the 90s, turned up on The Voice. He plainly doesn't give a rat's ass about being here and why would he? He's stuck here with these bozos for the duration and when selling himself to the singers he can only utter "you've got a great voice" blandlings. It's pitiful.
The show has started out well in the ratings but spoiler alert: this ends badly. Everyone dies.
The verdict on The Voice: You're The Voice, try and understand it
Marks out of 10: 4
¹ Drown in your own leavings, slime. You are not Aerial Telly's "friends"
Imagined: Thursday, 12 April 2012