So this is it, The Voice UK is back in business! We start by getting reacquainted with the coaches; there’s pop heavy weights will.i.am and Jessie J, Danny O’Donaghue who says he is ‘ready to rumble’ and Sir Tom Jones, the current show champion. Between them they have over 100 years of experience to share. Are they going to start the series by singing together – of course they are! They perform a retro medley, taking it in turns on lead vocals with each change in song. Will does ‘Shout’ and this show is amazing already!
Then Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates, back on presenting duties for the second series, remind us how it all works and that the winner will receive a record deal with Universal. Tonight is the first blind audition round and the coaches will have to make their decisions purely based on the voice they hear. If more than one coach pushes their button, it’s up to the artist to choose who they want to work with.
Without further ado, we have the first audition of the show, which comes from Ash Morgan, from South Wales. Ash runs art sessions for special needs children and has had no singing lessons and very little experience! He is singing ‘Never Tear us Apart’ and Jessie J turns fast! In fact she doesn’t just push her button, she runs to the stage and lays at lucky Ash’s feet. Meanwhile Danny, Will and Tom turn too. It’s a full house that want Ash and well deserved after his gorgeous performance. As it’s up to Ash to choose, there’s naturally some Welsh camaraderie from Tom and even a Gavin & Stacey reference. Danny says he’s exceptional. Will says spectacular. Jessie J actually seems nervous because she is so keen to work with Ash and says he didn’t ‘sing’ he ‘saaiiing.’ It’s clear they all really want Ash but he opts to be Team Jessie, much to her delight.
Next up its Danny County, whom we think Will might describe as a pretty dope dresser. It’s only the third time Mr County has sung in public and he treats us to a lovely rendition of the Sugababes song ‘About You Now.’ The judges are slow to decide but Jessie J and Danny hit their buttons right at the end and praise Danny for the tone and character of his voice. They both clearly want him on their team and coach Danny is up, doing his trade mark fist pump, then Will gets involved with some confusing advice then there’s A Boom Boom Pow reference (yay!) and a denim on denim insult from Jessie! Eventually Danny opts to join team Jessie.
On to Leanne, who we are informed has hit hard times and shares a room with her mum. She is singing ‘Stay with me Baby’ a big song and brave choice. Will the coaches like it? They definitely do. Jessie is first to turn. Will, has a new plan to impress by turning in varying poses and Danny & Tom turn too. We love that when Jessie J says she turned around first, Will says ‘but I turned around cooler’. Which is true. After some pretty vicious coach squabbling and a Will impression from Jessie, Leanne becomes the first artist to join team Will.
On to Louis, he’s 16 and he’s inspired by Elton John (who isn’t). Louis taught himself to play the piano using YouTube and looks like a young Matt Smith. He sings ‘Learn to Fly’ and plays the keyboard on stage. The judges look impressed but no one is turning. Uh oh, Jessie J said ‘musical theatre’ which can’t be good and that’s it, the song ends and Louis looks devastated. Danny says it was ‘just too proper for him’ and Jessie thinks Louis should audition for Les Mis. Will, ever the innovator, tells him to write his own musical instead but Louis is one step of the game apparently. Doctor Who the musical maybe? Tom puts in a request for some Jerry Lee Lewis and the crowd love it when Louis, sings again.
Next it’s Andrea, from Northern Ireland, who is visually impaired. She hopes the blind audition will level the playing field and she sings ‘Angel’ by Sarah McLachlan. Danny turns pretty quickly and although she sounds a little shaky Tom turns too in the last moments. Danny plays the Irish card and Andrea is the first contestant to join Team Danny.
Kirsty Crawford is next. We learn that she has had singing experience but struggles with nerves. She waits an age to start her song and it’s clear the nerves are an issue. Sadly for Kirsty no coach opts to push their button. Jessie tells Kirsty that nerves are easily under estimated.
Next up, it’s Mike Ward from Salford. Is this our first rapper? The VT certainly shows him rapping with his little brother…no wait, it’s all a ruse! He’s no Eminem, he’s a silky voiced country singer! Jessie turns, Danny goes and Tom too. Will adopts a movie voice-over voice to help Mike decide and calls Tom the silver bear! Amazing! We think he should choose Danny just because he works so hard to whip the crowd into a frenzy but Mike goes for team silver bear/Tom.
Now it’s Katie, she is a vintage fan who gets a sepia tint and everything. Katie sings ‘Feeling Good’ and there’s plenty of vocal acrobatics. Jessie says she can’t tell if she likes it but then she turns! They seem like they will be a good fit to us and team Jessie is up to 3.
It’s former pop star Kavana next. We remember him! He won a Smash Hits Award – we remember them! Enough memory lane, on to the singing. Kav performs ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ and it’s a shaky start, we wonder if his dream will be over? Poor Kav gets to the end without any coaches hitting their buttons and we feel a bit sorry for him.
Last up its Matt; he works at the Dogs Trust and he’s been in the Lion King in the West End. He also looks remarkably like will.i.am! Matt is singing ‘Trouble’ and it’s pretty amazing. Danny is first to turn, quickly followed by the other three. Matt has definitely been our favourite tonight and deserves a clean sweep. Danny notices that Matt looks like Will – hooray! Will’s fights hard, wearing his heart on his funky sleeve and it works. Will and Matt could well be a force to reckon with this a series (and an amazing future pop duo).
So that’s it for week 1. What did you think? We will, of course, be back next week for more blind auditions and general will.i.am worshipping.