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The Voice Must Find Its Own Identity And Not Be An X Factor-Lite

06/03/2017 17:42
Doug Peters/Doug Peters

It is often thought that good things will come to those that wait, so for the viewers that have persevered with The Voice, the live shows should be their reward. Now there would be an air of unpredictability and nervous tension that you just don't get with the pre-recorded part of a TV talent show.

The Voice was not being heard on the BBC and no winner of the show had gone on to have any chart success, so the move to ITV was meant to breathe new life into the format.

Without the razzmatazz and tabloid headlining stories that accompany The X Factor, the show is still seeming a poor relative of Simon Cowell's juggernaut.

So, when Emma Willis introduced the first live knock-out show of this year's The Voice by saying we are "finally" at this point, it felt that even those involved were relieved that they'd reached a point of interest.

The problem that ITV faced was the fact that viewers were turning off in their droves. The last round of the 'battles' that decided the coach's teams had only been watched by 4.1m, on primetime Saturday night. This was the lowest level The Voice had ever plummeted in the UK.

Some of the reasons for this may be 'X Factor fatigue', as viewers had fallen out of the love with Cowell et al and now The Voice was treading the same worn path.

Instead of finding a new way, it seems that producers decided that the X Factor way would be what everyone wants. Cue the tear-jerking back stories of those auditioning and the 'my life will end if I don't get through to the live shows' statements being made by wannabees that haven't even reached their twenties.

The live shows could change all that though as this was the opportunity for some edge-of-your-seat entertainment. Unfortunately, it seems that old X Factor scripts had been copied as The Voice continued to struggle to find, well, a voice of its own.

Act after act show how they struggle to reach the high notes, struggle to get to grips with the composition they'd been given before rising like a phoenix out of the ashes of their rehearsals. They make a few tweaks, they change a song here and there, they overcome the odds stacked against them and the crowd go wild... except they don't.

With the The Voice being all about how the performers sound, it means that we have a version of The X Factor that technically sounds better but has no production values. You are left with the singers trying to look like they are massively into their song, in the hope that the lack of any stage presence can be forgotten if you close your eyes and listen to how well they can sing.

The problem is that it leaves you wishing for some X Factor-style shenanigans with OTT props and dancers. Even the studio audience looked like they were at Top of the Pops in the 70s, just swaying and looking mildly interested.

Emma Willis was, as always, the perfect host and proved once again why she is so suited to live television but the coaches seemed as ambivalent as the rest of those in the studio. Sir Tom Jones looked like he needed reminding why he was there, before choosing to save an act that was clearly not the best. Gavin Rossdale continues to give reasons why he won't be back for the next series by looking almost bored throughout. At least will.i.am was into it, just no-one had any idea what the points were that he was making.

It may have been the plan that The Voice didn't steal The X Factor's thunder but unless it looks to find its own identity, it will become inconsequential and never have a chance of propelling a star to the top of the charts.

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