The Radio Times logo

Why losing The Voice UK could save Sally Barker's career

The 54-year-old is streets ahead of winner Jermain Jackman in the mid-week charts as the BBC1 talent show continues to put a curse on talented singers, says Susanna Lazarus logo
Published: Friday, 11th April 2014 at 2:08 pm

The curse of The Voice UK lives on. Not satisfied with leaving the careers of Leanne Mitchell and Andrea Begley in tatters, it looks like the BBC1 talent show has found a new victim in series three champ Jermain Jackman. 


The 19-year-old singer and wannabe politician's cover of Dreamgirls track And I am Telling You is currently lagging at a lowly number 50 in the midweek charts with fellow finalist Christina Marie's version of The Power of Love hovering just behind him at number 52. 

It makes for grim reading for BBC bosses who have just lost Kylie having already committed to two more series of the flagging show which, despite a judging panel reboot and early buzz, slumped to its lowest rated final last Saturday. 

But the news isn't entirely gloomy for third finalist Sally Barker. The 54-year-old's rendition of Olly Murs hit Dear Darlin' is riding high (well, sort of) at a lofty number 35 – fifteen spots above Jackman. 

It doesn't make sense. More viewers voted for Jackman so, surely, he should be the one enjoying any (limited) chart success. But The Voice UK isn't cool and winning it is, if anything, seems to be a detriment to any music career.

While Leanne and Angela's careers stalled before they even got started, their beaten opponents have at least shown a little more promise. Series one's Bo Bruce managed a top ten album while Tyler James' Why Do I Do? peaked at number 25. Year two gave us's sparky contestant Leah McFall who, with her mentor's backing, has an album of tracks ready to unleash on the British public. 

And they aren't the only reality-show runners up to usurp the success of their victors. Susan Boyle may have finished second to dance troupe Diversity in 2009's Britain's Got Talent but she has since scored three number one albums, selling millions of records across the globe. 

First X Factor winner Steve Brookstein spends his days grumbling through pub gigs but his rivals G4 released three successful albums while Olly Murs and Stacey Solomon have easily outstayed the show's series six winner Joe McElderry. 

Barker's early success offers The Voice a glimmer of hope. She's clearly connected with viewers and developed a fan base – nothing comparable to X Factor fame but a grounding to build on in months to come. And, crucially, she offers something a little different with her haunting vocals and effortless stage presence standing out from the crowd. While Jermain seems destined to fade into the ether, Tom's contestant has the tools to carve herself a niche. 

I'm keen to see what Sally does next. Either she'll follow her predecessors down the ill-advised covers route (please god, no) or she'll opt for something original. The latter could be the making of her.

She's already joined a successful early career as a singer-songwriter and the BBC1 talent show could be the launchpad to pursue "the dream" once again. Without the spectre of The Voice crown casting a shadow over her future endeavours, she stands a chance, and with some wise choices we might still see Sally Barker in the charts in years to come. 



Sponsored content