BBC’s The Voice started promisingly and was rightly billed as a credible alternative to ITV’s somewhat exploitative shows X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent; but is it truly enough of a departure from the format to make a difference? Simon Weeds prods and pokes to find out.
It’s been sold to us as the virtuous and true younger brother of The X Factor. While big brother has been gallivanting around, in a sea of vocal debauchery and/or spending his Saturday evenings laughing at bemused smelly people, The Voice has been beavering away, crafting a better method to find actual musical talent. Unfortunately the apple never falls far from the tree – or in this case (because I’ve used a sibling analogy) an apple, which falls from the tree, always lands pretty close to another apple of the same tree.
Here’s the premise – the judges cannot see the contestants, only hear their voices, until they decide to turn around and by doing so, state their interest in being their mentor for the duration of the show. This however, is only for the first round. After that, things start filtering back to something we’ve seen before. And the things we haven’t seen before are irritating. The amount of name-dropping by the judges makes you want to forget your own name and your entire family’s in an attempt to stifle the downpour.
The demise of the show is occurring because the programme makers kill off their greatest benefit – blindness. They should have kept the judges blindfolded for the entirety of the process, therefore never falling into the trap of judging them for anything except their vocal cords. Imagine it – Tom Jones walking down a corridor at the BBC with a blindfold on, being led by the supple sounds of a singing lark (a female contestant), who, unbeknownst to him looks like Jim Royle.
Admittedly the show is trying to be professional by only auditioning participants who are clearly capable. But you can’t help but feel like instead of this show taking a step in the right direction, it’s more just taking a step in another direction altogether. They should probably just let these people find their own way into the music business. If they’re good enough, they’ll get there. Tom Jones should know that.
Words: Simon Weeds