How The BBC Can Save The Voice In 5 Easy Steps..

The first series of The Voice UK is nearly at an end and what a debut it has been. It’s received a constant battering in the press (admittedly more in the BBC-phobic papers), suffered a tumble in the ratings and even its own stars have taken to bad-mouthing it on chat shows fronted by funny Irishmen. With a second series already guaranteed, we wonder what the BBC could do to return its new talent show to Saturday night glory.

Here are our wonderings..

1. Speed It Up

On programmes like The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, the judges’ commenting on a performance is what we’re all really waiting for. On The Voice, the ‘coaches’ remarks are the least exciting part of the whole process. When he’s not saying the word ‘dope’ like a stuck record, Will.I.Am seems to take an eternity to make a coherent sentence, littering what he does eventually say with random full stops, numerous “ummâ€? noises and enough sound effect impressions to make Larvelle Jones from the Police Academy movies jealous. Tom Jones also has a tendency to ramble about his favourite duet or his favourite type of cheese (I’m not sure that’s true – I lose interest mid-sentence) before finally deciding that the performance was “greatâ€? and Jessie J has an irritating habit of whining that the other coaches are picking on her before screwing up her face and adding ‘u-lo-so’ to the end of a word. Danny’s on the other hand isn’t bad at all. And he’s got a brogue. The point is, this section needs to become snappier, more stream-lined and less rambling, especially during the elimination stages as the tension is mostly non-existent.

2. Curb the ‘singing’ chat

‘Licks’, ‘runs’ and ‘light and shade’. We hear these phrases bleated weekly on The Voice but to the average viewer it means very little, unless you happen to be a singer, a singing coach or eating an ice lolly, suffering from diarrhoea, under a parasol on a sunny day. More relatable language might make the comments from the coaches seem less thunderingly dull, as at the moment, Gary Borelow on The X Factor seems a more exciting proposition.

3. Jessie Hold On

Poor Jessie, the woman with a speech impediment when she sings. She was meant to be the star of the show, the new Cheryl Cole but with actual vocal ability, so where did it all go wrong? There are rumours about her diva-ish behaviour behind the scenes, internet chatter about her propensity to moan a bit and then there are her ridiculous hairstyles (her recent council estate Princess Leia meets urban Minnie Mouse look set Twitter abuzz). The main problem with Jessie seems to be that she just looks bored. She started off full of life, bashing the buzzer with her feet and screwing up her face like a toad eating a pickled onion when she liked a singer, but as the live shows dragged on, she has become limp and lifeless. She barely even makes up ridiculous words any more. If Jessie does return next year (there is reportedly an option in her contract to do so), she needs to become the bright, sparky, likeable, stuttery popstar we used to know and kind of love.

4. Get Better Contestants

Let’s face it, the contestants on The Voice are a bit boring. Max was a dull-a-thon, Bo is like a wispy-voiced posh ghost girl, Jaz never really lived up to his name and the girl who made it to the final instead of Ruth is utterly unremarkable, so much so that she is known as ‘The girl who made it to the final instead of Ruth’. The only contestant that really showed any life was stompy, stroppy, sweary teenager Becky. The premise is ‘all about the voice’ but some participants you actually gave a crap about would make series two a bigger draw.

5. Rejig the Rounds

The early audition stages seemed to breathe new life into the TV talent show genre, even if it was just a spinny chair gimmick. However after this, the programme immediately started to fatigue and fell into the same mould as every series with judging panel. Even though the Battle Rounds caused the singers to bellow what were largely guttural animal sounds into a microphone, they were rushed through in one weekend and they probably would have worked better spread over two, instead of galloping straight into the live shows. The live shows themselves also seem to be over in a flash, meaning that you don’t really get to know any of the contestants (we’ve only seen the finalists sing five times competitively) which therefore renders tension nominal. A thought out episode plan for the second series would allow for better pacing.


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