I really want to love The Voice. The X Factor is over and so there’s a gap in my viewing schedule ready and waiting to be filled with more singing and more sob stories (yes, I’m painfully aware I should get out more). But The Voice hasn’t got its formula right just yet.
The spinning chairs are great, obviously. New coach Rita Ora using a different body part each time to twirl her way around is brilliant. I’d like my own chair at home to join in properly. But, what is it with the constant praise?
Boring singers take to the stage, mumble out a tune and no one turns around. Fine. Tell them why it wasn’t good enough and send them on their way. Will.i.am’s bizarre ramblings – such as wanting a well-done steak and getting a medium one – are the closest the coaches come to a negative comment. Yet the main party line seems to be “I don’t know why I didn’t turn around”.
You do know, coaches. That singer wasn’t going to be any good on your team, and certainly wasn’t going to win the show. You were secretly kind of hoping someone else was going to turn around so it didn’t get this awkward, but you definitely weren’t prepared to take one for the team.
This is where some of those X Factor clichés we love to hate would actually come in handy. Tell the singer there’s “not a gap in the market” for them. Suggest it was a bad song choice. Heck, go full Louis Walsh and say they remind you of a young so-and-so and that, given that that’s been done before, they could do with “finding their own style”. Anything has got to be better than, “Oops… we all sort of forgot to push our buttons”.
Perhaps in the absence of one of the coaches stepping up to take on a ‘head coach’ role, as Cowell does on The X Factor, the presenters should lead things. I think host Emma Willis, who genuinely seems to get quite emotionally involved with the families, would be brilliant at calling the coaches up on their choices. After all, she’s had plenty of practice in the cauldron of bitchiness that is Big Brother.
“Hey Will,” she could say, “get off Twitter for a minute and tell this girl exactly why you didn’t hit your buzzer”. “Yo, Tom,” (can you say ‘yo’ to a Sir?), “we know you weren’t sure if it was a man or a woman singing, but forget that, what gives?”
It would speed things up a bit too. There’s a fair amount of dead time while the judges wait for another singer to come along, or when they each talk repeatedly about why they didn’t turn. X Factor newbie Mel B certainly wouldn’t put up with the hand-holding. She’d probably just get up, turn her chair round using brute force and demand the next singer was brought out. Meaner? You betcha. But what can I say? It’s better than being too nice…