Will ‘The Voice’ knock Cowell’s crown off his flat-top?

‘It’s all about the voice’ said the tagline for BBC’s new concept talent show. And it is, partly. But it is also largely about the one-upmanship of the judges.

‘It’s all about the voice’ said the tagline for BBC’s new concept talent show. And it is, partly. But it is also largely about the one-upmanship of the judges.

For the first episode, this was entertaining, with even the legend that is Tom Jones getting competitive over the acts. But soon it began to wear, and the thinly veiled ego boost to the judges became clear.

For those of you who haven’t seen The Voice yet, the basic concept is thus; four judges (Tom Jones, Jessie J, Will.I.AM and Danny O’Donoghue) sit facing away from the stage whilst an act auditions. If they like what they hear, they turn around, signalling that they want this person on their ‘team’ (you would be forgiven if you thought they were organising an amateur game of rounders). If more than one judge turns, the auditionee gets to choose which judge they want to work with. And so the games begin.

To be fair, The Voice has not one but two battles to fight; for whilst critics are comparing it to one–time sweetheart of the nation, The X-Factor, it is also having to battle Britain’s Got Talent in the Saturday night viewing figure race. In the first episode, BGT got a total of 11.5million viewers compared to The Voice’s 9.8million, but in the 20 minute period when they overlapped, The Voice came out ahead by over 2 million.

There is no presenter, which means a saddening lack of Dermot dancing, and an eerie silence where the boomy voiceover guy should be.

Disappointing also, is the fact that all contestants have been scouted out and invited to compete in the show, which means none of the truly terrible, can-they-be-serious type auditions that we all love to laugh at while watching X-Factor. This does, however, make for some toe-curlingly cringey moments when the judges realise they have just rejected an already professional singer, Sean Conlon of Five being  a case in point. 

Yet despite a few minor blips, the series has been successful so far, predominantly because it is so different from anything seen before, and allows people to be judged on talent, and talent alone. Following the first episode, it was widely commented that it could have been improved further by not allowing the audience to see the singers before they hear them, affording them the same first impressions that the judges get. Some viewers have overcome this by starting a new viral trend of filming themselves facing away from the TV, and turning round if they like what they hear. It’s a riveting watch, really.

Is The Voice here to stay? The viewing figures suggest so, but once the initial novelty wears off and the judges egos no longer fit in the studio, people may find it too samey and head back to ITV, or they may even switch off together. Monopoly at mine if anyone fancies it.

On a side note, does anyone else think that Tom Jones is looking remarkably like the love child of Sir Alan Sugar and Morgan Freeman? And what a child that would be!