Gary Flockhart: The Voice better without Jessie J

Jessie J. Pic: Comp
Jessie J. Pic: Comp
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IS it just me, or is The Voice so much more enjoyable now Jessie J has quit?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Jessie as a pop star - but as a coach on the BBC show. . . sorry, but she was irritating as hell, always speaking when it wasn’t her turn and constantly craving the limelight.

Jessie was grating so much that I just couldn’t watch The Voice, which was a pity, because I like the show’s format, especially early on when they have ‘blind auditions’ with those cool swivelling chairs.

With Jessie gone and replaced by Kylie Minogue, I tuned into the new series last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Kaiser Chiefs’ frontman Ricky Wilson, brought in to replace The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue, is proving to be another inspired addition, and the show has now struck a perfect balance with its coaches.

All bases are covered: there’s the legendary crooner (Tom Jones), the pop princess (Kylie), the indie idol (Ricky) and the cool urban one (Will.i.am).

As for the contestants, I was seriously impressed.

An early favourite of mine - and yes, it’s early days - is Leo Ihenacho, who I’ve actually seen live a few times when he was a member of The Streets.

Leo - aka Leo the Lion - is probably best known for his vocals on the hit Dry Your Eyes, and boy, can he sing. It was no surprise, then, that Leo made it through the ‘blind audition’, with Kylie pouncing on him in the opening episode.

A mention should also go to Edinburgh harpist Anna McLuckie, who looks like a real talent.

The sixth-year Broughton High pupil chose Will.i.am as her mentor after wooing the coaches with her cool, spacey rendition of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. She’s likely to go far in the competition.

Those who like to ridicule TV talent shows won’t want to hear it, but the new series of The Voice is shaping up to be must-see viewing.