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Next year I suggest that The Voice UK might be better just as one of the rounds in X Factor UK as it really isn't turning into that brilliant a series. There are a few potential star acts remaining, though, so I'll do my best to stay awake long enough to keep you informed of developments.

This week it was the turn of Danny and Jessie to slice their teams in half. Difficult for Danny as he had four good acts. Difficult for Jessie as she only had one.

Danny's team

Max

I think the title's Black House With A Cherry Tree. At least that was the main line of what seemed more like a traditional folk song turned into a 21st century track. Nicely done by Max, though, if not inspirational. This fellow is very comfortable on stage and, whilst not an amazing voice or a big new star in the making, he's a likeable chap and I'd like to see him in the final 8.

Bo

This is one of the best that the programme has found. Will praises her in style for her presentation of Love The Way You Lie which made Rihanna's seem positively boring. Rihanna needn't worry too much, though, as I can't see Bo doing the desk romp on Jonathan Ross any time soon. She's is, however, really good and current. You can imagine her selling her records now and definitely should be in the last 8 and, indeed, in the final 4.

Alex

Mr Laid Back. Good singer and, although he gets bundles of criticism for being chilled out and not prancing around, he did what he's good at and, strangely, his style is more likely to get him album sales at this time than many of the others. For some reason, though, other judges seem to think he's not making an effort.

David

A sort of older version of Matt Cardle. Very good singer and performer, doing Maroon V this week and doing it really professionally. In anyone else's team he'd be a natural for the semi-final. As it is he'll be famous for showing the world Holly's knickers.

Jessie's team

Cassius

Yet another tired version of Turning Tables that wouldn't have got him past the first auditions on X Factor UK Very weak and instantly forgettable. In fact all I can recall now is the image of him being clutched by Holly and looking tiny, speaking to her at a height that any normal tv producer would have said was just plain wrong.

Vince

Some reggae take on My love Is Your Love or something like that. UB40 have been there, done that. I know it's supposed to be about the voice but, really, no sleeve T shirt and arm pits on show do nothing for me at all. All just too plain ugly. I don't know how he survive the last round.

Becky

Seven Nation Army. Now here is talent. This girl will go far. She's today, natural, unbridled as well as being a bit stupid, just right for the teen market. You give her a track and she delivers it in a unique way, makes a few mistakes as she prances around and has yet to learn some microphone technique but she could definitely make someone some money. Simon Cowell should put a bid in for her before Jesse takes her down in case she takes her market away.

Toni

This is the girl with no hair. She is so shiny. A good singer but all a bit much, nothing that really grabs you and says that she is something special.

The results show, despite being live, was broadcast after most of us had a pretty good idea of some of the names going through, thanks to some poorly managed publicity by the Jesse team and Will's twitter account!

Danny gets Bo from the public vote and chooses Max - good choices but images of a very sullen Alex won't have done his career much good.

Jesse gets given Vince. How the hell did he come first in the public vote? Weird. She chooses Becky to join him in the semi-final. at least she got that bit right.

So that's it. Not an inspiring night and the viewing figures are reflecting that. Things ought to improve now that the remaining acts should be a bit more capable of entertaining without the need for the judges to prance around with their teams or get hugely different people to attempt a sing-a-long.

As future votes are purely down to the public, you do have to remember the four that won through on that basis: Ruth, Jazz, Bo and Vince must stand a good chance. Becky is the only one I would add to that list in place of the awful Vince. If they made the votes such that it was the top four that go through, rather than one from each team, then Max might also stand a chance.

After two weeks I had forgotten what some of Tom's or Will's team sounded like. Maybe that says a lot.

Leanne

I Put a Spell On you
Great song and, yes, she can sing, all notes where they should be and even one or two where you might not have expected them to go for good measure. But she's not going to win this thing. Just a bit ordinary and not really a star in the making.

Frances

Show The Love
Now she's modern, reminds me of Cher Lloyd from X Factor a couple of years ago. Not the best performance, though, and she's not going to get much further either.

Matt & Sueleen

Missing
An excellent version of this track and, however odd they look, this was actually a good performance. I still don't see them hitting the big time or winning this competition but they might just squeal through for another week.

Joelle

Stronger
You look at this girl and think 'Yes, she could make the big time'. there were good bits and some not so good bits. Nothing particularly special, though, and if she gets through it'll be purely because Will needs to have a girl on his team for a bit longer.

Ruth

Next To Me
I know everyone's talking about this girl and how good she is and, yes, she is very remarkable, doing things with tunes that are quite extraordinary. Not always that great, though, and she does tend to mash up the lyrics so that you have no idea where she's going with the song or, for that matter, why. She's certainly one hell of a find for this programme and whoever styled her this week deserves a medal. She'll be through to next week.

Tyler

Sign Your Name
Very well sung - his falsetto worked well. he's looking so much healthier than a few weeks ago and I'm beginning to see some decent talent there. He does still strike me as an 80s star returning to the stage but made a brave effort tonight and might get through if Will prefers him to Joelle.

Adam

High And Dry
This was good - he sings well, across a good range and can interpret the words well. One of the few modern artists in these two teams. He didn't come across as anything like as weird as last time and deserves to get through.

Jazz

You're Amazing
Talented guy and a potential winner. he'll be around for a while. He's always spot-on, in tune and original, tonight mixing both tracks of the same name and doing that well.


Who knows what the voters will make of this lot? No-one actually grabs me really and the whole show was a bit of neither one thing nor the other, the highlight possibly being Will's team performance at the end. Usually those things are dreadful but he'd put a lot of effort into its production and it showed, Jazz and Tyler, interestingly, taking all the lead and getting virtually all the limelight.

My guess would be Jazz and Tyler from Will's team and Ruth and Adam from Tom's. Joelle and Matt & Sueleen might just scrape through in place of either Tyler or Adam but I'm pretty sure it's farewell to Leanne and Frances. The choice isn't exactly going to occupy my mind that much, though. It's all a bit forgettable. Things will improve as the numbers get whittled down.



The producers really do seem to have trouble knowing how to start this programme. This time we get some very embarrassing dancing from the judges - and more than once too as they seem to have trouble staying seated at times. This show dragged horribly. Although Hollie is pretty quick with the announcement of the two at risk in each group, the time taken by both Jesse and Danny to explain how difficult it is to make a decision (when we all know they must have made their minds up some time before) and then to describe at length how each of the four is this or that and everybody's wonderful and everything in the garden is lovely.

Get on with it, guys! This is tedious viewing and the same old well-worn phrases are trotted out over and again. People say how much 'better' this is than X Factor but so far I don't see it. It's a flawed selection process and, whilst the weekly team competitions are sound enough, there's a need for some changes.

Anyway, I realised that the two I would have sent home were both in the same team! It was bye bye Ruth-Ann for sure. Instead of Vince (who got enough votes to be safe) it was between Max and Hannah on Danny's team to go. No competition there, it had to be bye bye Hannah.

That's about it. Not a great deal more worth writing about.

Mercifully no singing judges this week. Two more to go home tonight, one from each of Danny and Jesse's teams. That shouldn't be too difficult and even if the voters get it wrong I get the feeling Will's already got plans to get some on his books anyway. Jesse looks really pretty in the recorded mentor shots but tonight in the chair she looks like she's just dropped in after doing some vacuuming.

Toni

Proud Mary
So many artists wear wigs whether they've actually got any hair or not. Someone needs to tell her it's OK and will make her mouth less obvious as it is huge. Anyway what came out of it was a stop start, oh what shall I do now affair. Screech, yes, that's a good idea. And wave my hands about. Energetic. In tune, sure. But all a bit boring. Jessica did a far more impressive and professional version on American Idol this week. If they both released the record Jessica's would be the hit.

Max

Free Fallin'
Annoying audience. Excellent and different version of the Tom petty number. Reliable and very competent guy. Nice job. He'll be around for a while.

Ruth-Ann

Promise This
Tough song. Oddly out of tune and no rhythm. Pretty awful and not saved by some fancy notes at the end either, however good they were. Tom says "There's things in an 18 year old that come out." OK.

Hannah

Cry Me A River
You could tell from the start that she knew what she was doing. Or at least I thought I could but then she changed completely and that was odd. Back on track for a while but she never actually returned to the amazingly smart start she'd made. She's good. I didn't like it but she should stay, if the voters get it.

Vince

Always On My Mind
Classic, beautiful song. Crap, ugly treatment by this guy.

Alex

Dream A Little Dream Of Me
Remarkable. Loved it. laid back, very cool, junior Brat pack member there.

Cassius

Paradise
Not many people cover Coldplay songs. Cassius can't either. He could be good but needs to try something else next week. Luckily, he'll get a chance with Ruth-Ann in Jesse's team.

David

Sweet Disposition
No idea where this comes from but it's great. Nice track - difficult but very well performed by this guy who comes across as one of the best this week. And by quite a way out of those we've seen so far.

Becky

Good Luck
This girl is a natural. Rough and ready. Performs out of the box and you can see she's really enjoying being good at what she does. Owned not just the stage but several platforms around it too. Very well done.

Bo

Running Up That Hill
Wow. This lady is fabulous. Everyone sat spellbound as she weaved some kind of magic with this song. Absolutely perfectly delivered and, yes, with genuine passion too. Another ready-made star tonight.

Bye Ruth-Ann and Vince. Hello Max, David, Becky and Bo.


In no particular order... Now, where have I heard that before?! Quite surprised to see several of them wearing exactly the same dresses as last night. Odd. Maybe the BBC's budget didn't stretch to two.

This is the results show. Mercifully short and Tom has to choose between Gandalf & The Fringe and Sam. I'd thought Sam would have got the granny vote but clearly there weren't enough and it would have been a reasonable bet that the odd couple would get the lowest votes.

Will.i.am had to choose between Joelle and Sophie. Not the two I would have predicted so that's an interesting guide to who's voting.

Lana Del Rey is the guest act. Nice to see she's not miming to a backing track so that's one good feature of the Beeb production. Having said that, either her mic was malfunctioning, my ears are no good any more or her diction is virtually non-existent. Pity, because her song-writing produces some of the more interesting lyrics but I have no idea what that was about.

I do like the way she just stands there and doesn't feel it's necessary to prance around. Reminds me of Florence of similar style and genre but without the big show and maybe better for that.

Tom sends Sam home. Didn't expect that. Nor did Gandalf & The Fringe. Let's hope they do more Fleetwood Mac next week and not Nina & Frederick. Sam hoped that it wasn't the end for him, whatever that means. No-one liked to tell him that it probably was.

Will.i.am keeps Joelle which seems reasonable. Hopefully he'll get her a new dress in a colour other than salmon now. Sophie was, in my view, the better in terms of a modern artist but he could be right about Joelle - she is probably the more reliable. I see a commercial number from her next time.

So that's it. Hollie is a good presenter but is just a little bit too warm and cosy for a show like this. Reggie sounds like he's reading the autocue - not as wooden as Steve Jones thank goodness but still pretty boring to watch. The whole programme lacks spark and sparkle. Everyone is professional - perhaps just a bit too much so. It's only when Danny or Jessie let loose that it tends to come alive.

Will.i.am and Tom Jones' 10 acts start the live shows off as The Voice UK gets properly under way. If you recorded it you may want to fast forward through a terrible performance by the four judges at the start. However brilliant they may be in their own right, they were not very good together at all. In fact you could run right through and see the summaries at the end and you will not have missed a great deal. Generally, yes, a far higher standard of vocal ability than the Top 20 of X Factor or American Idol give you at this stage but there's something missing.

Joelle

The very last bit was good. Maybe she'll do Roberta Flack next. Reliable performer to start the show but not very inspiring. Dated, 90s sub-Beyonce style. One of the few 'normal' contestants, though, which is in her favour and she'll stay a while.

Sam

The BGT entry, grandmas will love this odd fellow. Oh isn't he a dear, I can hear them saying. Hilarious to watch, initially, but that'll soon wear off. He does have a great voice in the higher range and an Erasure track sounded pretty good. He's entertaining, I suppose. Well, for some.

Frances

More today than the first two with a nice Lulu-esque raunchy sound. If the show is about a talent for today's market then she could do well. The oldies won't get her, though.

Adam

Another odd chap. He has a disturbing manner and vacant look. Does a Foo Fighter's rock track which was rubbish to start but ended in some style. The very strange persona, though, makes strange television and he won't last unless someone sorts him out or ends up as the only young male and gets the girlie vote, if his mannerisms don't put them off too.

Jazz

With a name like Jazz Ellington he's off to a good start. Everyone says how brilliant he is but I thought he was off key. Clearly I have a lot to learn. We'll see more of this guy for sure - with so many accolades he'll get plenty of votes and is, at least vaguely normal.

Leanne

A superb singer and Tom did well by getting her to do a Pink number instead of some anthem. Excellent performance, maybe one of the most natural and, although still middle-of-the-road and hardly likely to hit big time in the charts after Christmas is over, she is in the right genre to attract a good number of votes across the board.

Sophie

This youngster suddenly seemed to wake up after a dodgy start and produced a pretty cool performance. She deserves to get through but, once again, much depends on the audience and how she appeals to it.

Matt & Sueleen

Choosing Tom as their mentor by flipping a coin was bad manners and plain wrong in the audition round. However, he still chose them in the battle round so I guess that's been forgiven. An odd couple - seems to be the norm though for this show at the moment! The old bloke with the Gandalf hair and beard did an good job and, together, they produced a good cover of the Fleetwood Mac number. That's about it, though. No-one's going to rush to their gigs.

Tyler

Amy Winehouse's friend, we get told each week. Looks like he's been sleeping rough for months and yet another weirdo. Vaguely reasonable track and he puts his own interpretation on things well but a future successful big name artist? I doubt it.

Ruth

I don't know what they put in her hair but it made this teenager look about 85. She also wore a ridiculously silly short yellow dress which, bearing in mind her pretty massive size, made her look like a cartoon character and bending down was definitely not a decent possibility. Luckily she didn't. What she did do was warble away amazingly well, totally naturally and believably too. The audience went mad which, assuming that it didn't comprise solely her relatives, is a fair indication that she'll be way ahead in the votes this week. To be honest, the others are pretty forgettable already.

I think Danny and Jessie's contestants have more interesting talents which we'll discover next week. First, though, all eyes will be on the votes for this lot which might provide a guide to the Voice electorate and thus what chance the few potential stars may have.

All in all, now that the perverse selection process is over, this is not much different to the other programmes I  review, more BGT than X Factor so far and whereas X Factor and Idol have a clear aim - to produce a new chart act that will sell, for better or worse, and entertain us in the meantime - I can't quite put my finger on what The Voice UK is meant to do. I suspect that might depend very much on who reaches the final stages.



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