I have been well over reality TV and talent shows for some time now. I never watched the last series or two of Australian Idol and have avoided all of the Channel 7 offerings, as they insist on having Vile Sandilands on all of them and that man is the definition of the term “not worth watching”. But The Voice seemed to offer something else, even though I was thoroughly sick of all the promos that have been running, since before Christmas it seems.
The reason The Voice seemed different was because initially the judges pick their contestants without seeing them, listening only to their voice with their backs to the stage. So I thought this may cut out all of the snide comments and opinions about people’s body shapes, fashion sense, weird haircuts or whatever, that Australian Idol became famous for.
Secondly the judging panel did not seem to be cast as ‘the nasty one’, ‘the nice one’, ‘the music biz guy’ etc. As has become the norm.
Finally and most importantly, I had read that all of the contestants could actually sing. So it would not rely on ridiculing people, making them feel small and destroying their dreams.
Well the first show lived up to all of that. The judging panel of Delta Goodrem (The Pretty One), Joel Madden (The Punky One), Seal (The Black One) and Keith Urban (The Other Pretty One, OK maybe The Country One) started the show with a dramatic rendition of Seal’s song Crazy. They all sang parts of the song, while Delta played piano and Keith laid down some nice guitar licks.
During the rest of the show I enjoyed the banter between the judges and their assessments of the contestants, even the ones they sent home.
Casey Withoos – Is a big girl and undoubtedly would have drawn comments about that on Australian Idol. But she has a very good, pure voice and with the mega success of Adele, there must be every hope for her. She was wanted by all of the judges, but she chose Seal.
Adam Martin – I liked his voice, it seemed to have a lot of feeling, but I found that I had forgotten about him by the end of the show. He will need to boost up his presence to make it on the show, but he could sell records. He was also popular with the judges and he chose Keith Urban.
Jerome O’Connor – Sang Coldplay’s Yellow, so that put me off right away. I think Coldplay make music for people to slash their wrists by. I think his voice was OK but he may have gone off key a few times, it’s difficult to tell with that song. None of the coaches wanted him and I wouldn’t have picked him either.
Yianna Stavrous- A very attractive girl, who has been performing professionally in an all girl trio. I thought she was a little pitchy and probably wouldn’t have picked her up, but she will get by on her looks. She ended up on Joel Madden’s team.
Carmen Smith – Has a wild mop of wooly hair. She sang Alicia Keys How Come You Don’t Call Me, soulfully and really well. I don’t now why the judges didn’t turn around sooner, but when they eventually all did she chose to go with Joel Madden too.
Jimmy Cupples – I wonder if that’s his real name. He was a genuine old rocker at 46. He sang Wolfmother’s Woman. He has a great voice and it was an excellent performance, but I think he will struggle to get anywhere in what really is a young man’s game. Joel Madden and Keith Urban both wanted him on their teams and I liked Joel’s reference to the Australian boys chat and plea to Jimmy to go with an American. But he still chose Keith.
Melanie Dyer – Sang Domino, she has a good voice and is a beautiful girl. But I thought her voice lacked power at first and was a bit unsure of her myself. None of the judges selected her, but they all changed their mind when they turned around. They asked her to sing one of her own songs and that was better and they all regretted not picking her.
Karise Eden – They saved the best until last. Karise’s intro came with a heavy dose of hard luck story. The sort of thing you expect from this type of show. But she had an awesome Joss Stone / Janis Joplin like voice and sang a great song, James Brown’s Man’s World. Once again all of the judges wanted her, almost immediately. She chose to go with Seal.
Monday night’s show promises more tear jerking with a blind audition for an actual blind girl. Despite that, I will be sticking with this show for now.
The home site for the show is TheVoice.com.au
You can pick up some of the judges recorded material below.