So the 'blind' auditions are over at last. They may have been about as blind as the 'all-seeing-eye' but more on that later.
I want to get the good stuff out of the way before I rant about the auditions because, regardless of what may or may not be wrong with it, we've been given the chance to see some real quality.
The best bits of this week's show were people like the young Ruth Brown, a 19-year-old with a voice like Gloria Gaynor-meets-Mischa B. Lindsey Butler, the 41-year-old who sang like I, personally, really wanted to hear her sing - beautifully and with genuine tone, depth and character. There was Becky Hill. A great voice but with 'trouble' written all over her face. I can see her storming out more often than Cher Lloyd with the trots.
Finally - and I do mean finally, we had the wonder of Jaz Ellington. So good, just so very, very good indeed. I cried, I packed and I left for the nearest HMV where I have decided to camp until he wins the competition and releases his first album so I can get it as soon as humanly possible. He sounded like the best bits of Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross and maybe a little Sam Cooke rolled onto one sweet sound and poured over my soul. Jazz is a Gospel singer and a Christian, I am neither, but I do have a real love of black church music and Mr. Ellington ticked boxes I never knew I had.
Wouldn't it have been nice if we could have had Jaz presented to us in another format? One that doesn't treat us all like idiots and then preach, louder than Jaz ever has I imagine, about how virtuous it is.
For those of you who haven't spotted it, my rant has begun.
I'll come onto the 'Ellington Miracle' as it's bound to be tagged but let me first point out what appears to be something of an agenda by The Voice and, therefore, the BBC against people from a musical theatre background.
I'm biased - I know that. I'm connected to MT closely enough to want good things for it albeit not as a performer myself. But even someone who has never known the joy of a twelve quid bottle of warm beer will have spotted a pattern in these shows.
How many times have we seen someone labeled 'West End' like it was leprosy? Poor Ben Lake was, like those before him, built up to be knocked down. He sang well and took his rejection with the humility and grace of a real professional but when Indie and Pixie, a pair of giggling girls that looked like 'Two Shoes' had met the devil at some crossroads and swapped their talent for looks, came on and sang badly, and I mean badly, they were rewarded by ALL FOUR coaches!
I'm starting to think that the secret formula to success on this show is to be as far removed from 'The West End' as possible.
Next year I'm going to apply and say, "I've never heard of musicals, or even theatres... In fact my entire family were killed by Andrew Lloyd Webber on roller skates and my musical background is... East... Beginning!" Then go on with eight mates or so and sing a black-eyed-peas medley wearing lycra leggings, a black blazer and shirt and a bouffant hairdo. That should cover it.
Will.I.Wont.I said 'dope' I said, 'no shit!' Danny said he was waiting for something really unusual to hit him, I looked for my penguin wrapped in tinsel and took aim.
It's ok, crap gets through, I can live with that. It's a TV show, not open heart surgery. I should relax and let bygones be bygones. It's just entertainment isn't it? Well, not according to the BBC.
Fast forward to the arrival, on stage, of Daniel Walker. Who's he? He's the poor sap with the dreads and the pregnant wife who went on before Jaz and never stood a chance.
Here's why. Everyone has their 10 and Bill.a.rickey still has one spot to fill. There are two people left to perform and, even if this were completely open and fair with no set-up involved there would be only two options:
Daniel doesn't get picked so we see who is last. Or, Daniel gets picked and Jaz gets told, "sorry mate but everyone's got 10 now so there's no point in you going on - thanks for coming down though... good luck with the baby and all that."
It was NEVER going to happen was it? The pure maths of the situation meat that Daniel was never going to be picked or we'd have sat through Jazz singing to four chair backs for no reason at all.
Even worse. Before Jaz even came on he should have been told that he was picked regardless of how he sang because there's one space that needs to be filled and he's the only choice. The fact that he was the best thing on the entire series was academic. They could have wheeled a dead budgie in a shoe box onto the stage and Will.a.mena would have had to pick it, so why did he try and convince us his mum is residing somewhere in his pancreas with all that, 'listen to your gut everyone' nonsense?
It gets worse - a Lot worse. You know those toe-curling moments when Simon Cowell holds up an arm, like Caesar at the Colosseum, and stops the music about two seconds into a song on BGT? The audience is in awe of his foresight as he asks, "what other song have you brought?" and the poor cow on the stage has to keep reminding herself not to say, "the one you told me to Simon" and we're all supposed to think it's a natural situation. Don't you just hate that?
When Jaz finished and Jessie asked, out of the blue of course, "Can I just hear you sing?" I was thinking, 'that's a bit of an odd thing to ask but he was very good.' And I imagined the producers screaming about schedules and the live band looking at each other in disbelief and there being a polite but definite 'no'.
Instead the producer probably counted the band in with a gentle, "'ordinary people', just like we rehearsed, in three two, one..." and it all just miraculously happened about as naturally as Gary Barlow turning up at the fake door of the fake house in the studio of Michael Buble's Christmas special and everyone acting all surprised. "Look everyone, it's Gary Barlow! Who knew?"
The difference is that Mickey Bubbles did it with a twinkle in his eye and a tongue in his cheek and even Simon Cowell doesn't expect us to believe his little charade any more. The BBC tried to convince us that we were all witnessing some kind of spiritual awakening for Steel.I.Span and the coming of the new messiah for everyone else.
What were the chances that the VERY LAST competitor would turn out to be such a great climax to the auditions? Or that he'd be able to telepathically transmit his own version of 'Ordinary People' into the minds of a live band with no warning whatsoever? It's almost as if the producers had seen every competitor sing before these auditions - oh they have, and arranged this from the very beginning! Surely not - this is the BBC!
This entire show has been a smoke screen. People are told what to sing, set up to fail and thrown to the lions - they must be hoping Satan Cowell will jump ship and join the BBC if they do things his way.
Afterwards every judge said Jaz was amazing - and he was. They all bleated about how they wish they could have him in their team because he's really something amazing. Shame for the 39 - sorry 41 as there are two couples in it, previous contestants who sat and saw all the promises of world domination and certain victory dissolve to be replaced with the sad understanding that they were just the warm up act for the Jaz Ellington show. Oh well.
Next week we have face-to-face battles in a stage designed around a boxing ring. Fists may fly, faces will be covered in spittle, grills will be got 'all up in'.
Very cultured - makes BGT look like the Royal Ballet.
Follow Ian Watson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/elywhitley