Friday, June 17, 2011

Honking Box Preview: The Voice

So it was confirmed today, after much blathering in the gutter press solely with the purpose of attaching Cheryl Cole’s name to something, that the BBC have acquired the rights to produce the British version of The Voice, the Dutch format currently getting US audiences whooping like... well, US audiences. Have you seen the crowd on The Ricki Lake Show...?

For those not in the know, here’s a quick guide to how it all works (we really can’t be bollocksed typing out our own explanation when the good folk at NBC have done it with bells and whistles). But beyond the initial gimmick of blind auditions and revolving chairs, does The Voice actually have legs? Well, it’s pulling in US audiences beyond American Idol’s achievements this year, and presumably way beyond what The X Factor will manage, given the good folk of America will be sick to death of it before the titles even roll on the first episode.

Maybe it’s the snarky tweet-battles going on between coaches, maybe it’s the impressive vocal talent on display, maybe it’s the straightforward, gloves-off approach to singing. But a significant part of its success most likely comes from its stellar judging line-up.

There’s Christina Aguilera, who in spite of her fucking atrocious recent output and shocking contribution to the X Factor final, is quite the booking. Cee-Lo Green and Adam Levine are both pertinent, exciting and hugely successful in each of their fields. And there’s some country fella who we’ll assume does alright in the square states.

So who might we hope for from the BBC version? Let’s cogitate over some of the options...

Dannii Minogue
Her stint on The X Factor turned her into a national sweetheart for the media-savvy, garnering unfaltering support from the online world when we were all supposed to be adoring Cheryl. Widely noted for being the most hands-on mentor, her coaching style would transfer nicely to The Voice, as well as ticking the box of dance diva, should genre come into play. Also, SHE IS AWESOME.

She’s already appearing on the US version as the brains behind Team Aguilera, so who better to get the promotion to chair-mistress on the UK version? Granted, approximately four people in Britain even know who she is, but Sia – in particular, her haunting, inimitable mandolin-esque voice – demonstrates the aims of the competition with finesse.

Jamie Cullum
The only decent judge on Sky1’s recently-passed Must Be The Music, he may actually be a likely contender. He’s Radio 2-tastic, he fits the jazz niche very nicely, and can be ably assisted by his missus, renowned TV chef Sophie Dahl. And when asked to give her thoughts, she can just repeat that week’s theme ad nauseum, which was pretty much the entirety of her food show.

Not the most obvious choice, perhaps, but Skin is a rock vocalist with some serious chops and an abundance of personality. Would the BBC ever put her front-and-centre on a Saturday night entertainment show? Of course not. But this is our game, so don’t ruin the fun. Go Team Skin! Give a 50-something divorcee Twisted (Everyday Hurts) to wail through!

Josh Groban
Housewives go all damp ‘n’ giggly over him, he’s got some impressive pipes, and he also fills the seat of opera singer without being an out-and-out window-shatterer. Aside from anything else, he’s uproariously funny, as his Buzzcocks stint proved with aplomb, so even if he doesn’t get the gig on The Voice, he’s added to our Official List of Popstars We’d Like To Go For a Pint With.

Beverley Knight
She’s openly criticised reality TV more times than Katie Price has slipped a tenner to a paparazzo, but with The Voice taking an incredibly different viewpoint, maybe she could be talked round. She’s an endowed musician with a killer voice and some great ideas, as well as being quite the character. Hell, at the very least, it’d remind the British public she exists.

Hell, if Tulisa can do it, why not Dappy? He’ll just sit there pressing the button over and over, essentially turning the chair into an expensive roundabout. Then when he tries to give a standing ovation, he’ll be so dizzy he’ll faceplant the stage and go, as they say, viral. That’ll give The Voice a whole lot more attention than a certain reality show filling the scabloids with tales of fake sackings.

However, given the BBC’s meek, watered-down adaptation of So You Think You Can Dance, it’s likely we’ll end up with Pete Burns, Jade Ewen, Daniel O’Donnell and Sonia. Fingers crossed they learn from their mistakes and give The Voice the budget and the backing it needs to make a clout – in short, sending the Good Ship Cowell and all its overblown, contrived shark-jumpery packing once and for all.

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