Little Mix prove they have the Power in fun, fresh and innovative The Search

The BBC's latest talent show actually has something to offer us, says Helen Daly.

Little Mix The Search review
4.0 out of 5 star rating

“Ladies all across the world listen up, we’re looking for recruits,” Little Mix called out in 2013. Flash foward seven years, the world’s biggest pop group quite literally are on The Search.

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Their new BBC talent show sees the X Factor 2011 winners attempt to form a band from some seriously talented soloists – just like what happened to them nine years ago.

Little Mix: The Search makes for a rather unique format: each audition episode centres on the formation of a different style of band. We will get a boyband, girl dance, girl vocal, mixed, vocal & instrument and finally, rap & R&B.

The best soloists need three yeses to get to “The Band Room”, where the hard work starts. Little Mix put them into groups before putting their final choice in front of a live audience where they make their ultimate decision and the four/five-piece is made.

Admittedly, it’s a little confusing at times to remember all the different room names, the different stages of the competition and, within the space of 70 minutes, we have one band. It’s very quick.

However, unlike most talent shows, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen.

With a distinctive social media ambiance in mind, including nods to Instagram here and there, Little Mix: The Search has a similar quality to the platform, in that I can easily spend hours on it.

It’s all very shiny, modern and pink; aesthetically, it’s fresh and current. It’s a long way from that obvious rival which was already tired and boring when it decided to take a break.

The real draw is, of course, Little Mix. We know they’re all fantastic vocalists and pop stardom clearly comes naturally to them. But who would have thought they would be able to carry a brand new talent format with ease and confidence?

It’s impressive to see just how far the girls have come, turning the tables so they’re now are the ones offering expert feedback, vocal criticisms and general life advice. It works – they all have their unique takes on things, with Perrie Edwards focusing on vocals, Jade Thirlwall on the bigger picture, Jesy Nelson on the vibe and energy, while Leigh-Anne Pinnock offers her heart and soul to every contestant. It works, and it’s very genuine.

Little Mix The Search
Little Mix The Search (BBC)

Perhaps this is because they’ve been working hard of late at carving out a real platform for themselves, speaking up for what they believe in, altering perceptions and shining a harsh light on society’s flaws – they’re not afraid to make changes, and good for them. Nelson’s Odd One Out proved to be an emotive and powerful documentary which offered an insight into the life of a pop group and it wasn’t all fun and games. Pinnock is about to release her landmark documentary which looks at how race and multiculturalism sits in the UK society.

It’s nice to see four girls who really can turn their hand to anything and who know their place, the power of their status and how they can use their platform for good. No one has quite managed to break out of “Just Being Popstars” quite like Little Mix. It’s very powerful and, more importantly, aspirational.

We’ve seen many new talent shows come and go over recent years, but The Search is interesting and different enough it could stick around.

To put it simply, it’s cool. The Search taps into those aspiring singers on Tik Tok, the youth of today who want to make something of themselves. For the first time in a long time, a new talent show is engaging directly with those who are auditioning on it and it feels fresh. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I wanted to be a part of it.

That’s just how a talent show should be, otherwise how is the winner ever going to make a dent in the charts?

That’s something Little Mix may have already dominated and, with The Search, they’ve conquered the entertainment genre too, proving once and for all who really does have the Power.

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Little Mix: The Search airs Saturday on BBC One at 7pm. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our handy TV Guide.