Well Sir Tom Jones was in no doubt how good Rita Ora was going to be on The Voice. And in my view he wasn’t wrong.
“There were a few names suggested [as a replacement for Kylie Minogue] and when they suggested Rita I said I hope so… you’re so fresh, a natural,” he told her at the show’s premiere. Fellow judge Ricky Wilson was also filled with high hopes.
“I hope she’s trouble – we could do with some trouble,” Ricky said of the R.I.P and How We Do (Party) singer who took the place of Kylie on the show which started its fourth series tonight. He added that she was “naughtier” than her predecessor, adding: “Just look at her”.
For Rita herself, who shocked some One Show viewers with her choice of outfit this week, taking Kylie’s place in the spinning chair on The Voice was a chance to “show people what I am really like”.
And on the evidence of episode one, what she is like seems to be a very funny and rather engaging person who will bring much to the show. She clearly has quite a rapport with her fellow coaches, especially Will.i.am, her friend who persuaded her to join up.
But the the singer also admitted to being very nervous – something she didn’t hide in her many asides to the camera tonight.
Her anxiety also showed in occasional moments of hesitancy on screen as she failed to bag a contestant for a large chunk of the opening programme until 17-year-old Ryan Green from Essex was finally landed for Team Ora.
Knowing The Voice and how nice everyone is on it, one wouldn’t be surprised if her fellow coaches secretly allowed her that one as a freebie.
But it all amounted to a very genuine performance from a young woman (she’s only 24) who wasn’t afraid to be herself.
My only gripe with her is that she appears to be copying the Kylie shtick of getting all hot under the collar when her chair turns round and a sexy male singer is revealed.
Maybe she felt she has to live up to the fact that she plays Christian Grey’s sister Mia Grey in the upcoming Fifty Shades film. But the way she was swooning over young Scottish fireman Stevie McCrorie seemed a tiny bit phoney and over-done. But it was the only bum note in a pretty good night for lovely Rita I thought.
The Voice is on BBC1 on Saturday at 7pm