The Blog

The Voice, Week Seven: Second Round Live Shows

LIVE, LIVE, LIVE! The BBC love a bit of LIVE don't they? They spend so much money sending people out to report LIVE for no reason whatsoever because they just can't get enough of it.

LIVE, LIVE, LIVE! The BBC love a bit of LIVE don't they? They spend so much money sending people out to report LIVE for no reason whatsoever because they just can't get enough of it. Some poor, soaked and miserable journo has to stand outside the houses of parliament to talk about a politician who's not only not there but is watching at home from the comfort of his own gimp mask.

Why? We know what the houses of parliament look like! Just do it from the studio and save our license fee a few quid.

"NO!" Auntie Beeb would reply, "We are the BBC and we do live TV, reasons are for commercial channels!"

Well, you'd think they'd at least be good at it, wouldn't you?

At the very least they'd drop this ridiculous pretence of , "what a great show last night was" for the results show even though EVERYONE knows it was filmed on the Saturday. They get away with it on Strictly because... well it's Strictly, but this is meant to be a slicker than snot, smoother than the cream in Simon Cowell's Twinkie, all singing (no dancing) flagship live broadcast to put them on top of the global talent show pile.

Will someone please just admit it's filmed right after the live show and be done with it? These contestants are already way out of their league just by being asked their name so expecting them to remember to lie to 11 million people is asking too much, and all that , "err... yeah, last night was great! (wink, wink)" rubbish makes it look like Wayne's World.

Last week's Live final was roundly criticized by pretty much everyone with a keyboard. The production was stilted and awkward. There was more dead air than a séance and the whole thing had the feel of a corporate training weekend where unwilling participants who, would rather be at the bar, have to stand up and 'tell the group' about themselves.

This week they responded by pulling it off with a touch more professionalism but it was still way short of the mark.

Now, I'm no fashionista, as anyone who has ever seen me will contest. In fact I get snotty looks from the old ladies in 'Age Concern' and was actually paid to leave Abercrombie & Fitch to spare the screams of the models that work there, in spite of it being too dark for even 'Most Haunted' to see anything. But I have to ask what was going on with the wardrobe department?

Billy Piping's jacket was yet another variation on the same thing he's never seen without. He looked like and extra from TRON and I'm sure he's flogging them out of a van in the BBC car park. Jessie Jay was in her grandma's pajamas and feint uncle Tom was still waiting for someone to colour him in.

Even the contestants weren't spared the horrors of 'S.Wonder &Co' (" We guess- You dress") in the dressing rooms.

Poor Ruth- Ann was thrown into a neon metallic blue jump suit from 1976. I couldn't help wondering if Sheila Fergusson of the 3 degrees wasn't at home rummaging through an old suitcase with the sneaking suspicion something was missing. She didn't sing well, but then again she never does. It's a bit much of the live finals of a talent contest when you get a standing ovation from your coach for, "Singing a whole song, in tune, and smiling!" Jeepers! Someone book this genius a stadium tour immediately!

Vince Kidd, whose weight was quadrupled to 8 stone when he put his chains on came out looking like he was going to sing, 'Eye of the Tiger' and Toni looked... well, to be honest I have no idea what she was wearing because I'm constantly mesmerized by her head whenever she's on stage. She has a very strong bone structure too, which doesn't help because for an attractive woman, and she's certainly attractive, she can come over a bit 'Zelda'. If there's one glaring wardrobe requirement in the whole production it must be to put something on her head, surely, if not just for the cameraman's sake. The lens flare from her scalp must be like filming a solar eclipse if she stands in the wrong place.

Holly looked very nice, but then she's clearly some kind of angel and incapable of being anything but heavenly, and she was a little more relaxed about the in-betweeny bits where she has to draw blood from the stony judges and overly emotional contestants.

This week she stopped short of adopting everyone who got rejected and blubbing into her cleavage. She even opened with the classic, "What will you be looking for tonight Will?" And I half expected him to reply,

"Somewhere to plug my iphone charger in."

I suspect this subtle shift in attitude came about because someone high up in the BBC had been reading the reviews and sent a memo.

The memo should have been along the lines of, 'Stop being so nice and giving everyone who manages to crawl on stage a standing ovation. We paid a fortune for those spinning chairs, and your opinions- use them both with greater effect!'

But what it probably said was something far more vague and open to interpretation because what we actually got was judges- sorry, 'coaches', avoiding anything like real criticism or, for that matter, a language spoken by humans and swapped some of their vacuous praise for just babbling like a Tasmanian devil, mid-exorcism.

At one point Will had to correct Jessie for saying' boom' when, of course, it should have been 'zoom' (everyone knows that, right?) and I seriously suspected they'd been sharing a back-stage 'doobie' with Derren Brown and Paul McKenna. He even threw a 'knock- knock' joke in there which nobody but him was aware of and so it took about half an hour and no small amount of TV agony to get to the end of and even THAT got a standing ovation from Danny!

It was to young Aleks who had just crooned his way onto the next round. Again, the praise was way over the top and everyone said that it had effectively ended Michael Buble's career. Really? Some kid built like a finger puppet can come on and blow his way through one song, and suddenly the biggest selling male artist on the planet is yesterdays chips?

I suspect a slightly stronger memo might be in order.

All in all, there was some redeeming quality. Max was fantastic and so was Bo, who Danny was extremely proud of choosing for his team, (yes, well done Danny, you're an excellent Bo Selector.. sorry) and the right people went home so all the frailty of the BBC's dedication to bad live TV was forgotten for another week... well, not really, because The Voice was followed by 'Planet Earth Live' which was just about the most pointlessly live thing I've seen since Frankenstein's Monster.

Oh well, see you next week and remember, if you can stomach it, and if I can get to a TV on time, you can follow my live tweets @MrIanWatson during next week's show.