Gary Flockhart: The Voice gets off to a stormer

IT’S sadly indicative of how we should all get out more, but many of us seem to think that checking out new musical talent constitutes a night in front of the box with a can or two, watching one of the many TV talent shows.

Thursday, 29th March 2012, 3:49 pm

That being so, most will have liked what they saw as BBC1’s The Voice aired for the first time last Saturday.

At worst, it seemed a more humane alternative to the likes of Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor, which rely on ridicule and pity to boost ratings.

Indeed, bar the inclusion of one or two sob stories among the contestants - we’d been promised there would be none - there were no novelty acts and no deluded nutcases. No-one got near the cameras unless they could sing and the show was all the better for it.

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The Voice has a neat gimmick in that the first round is a ‘blind audition’, which means that the coaches – Tom Jones,, Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue – pick contenders on the quality of their voice and are not influenced by looks.

It works a treat and it gets even better if more than one coach presses their ‘I Want You’ button, for that contestant then gets to choose their mentor, sparking a ‘bidding war’ among the coaches.

On Saturday, that’s when the fun really began, as it led to a name-dropping contest between Jones (“Did I mention the time I went to Elvis’ house?”) and Will.i.a.m (“Did I tell you about the time I was in Ireland with Michael Jackson?”).

It’s too early to know if The Voice can topple BGT and The X Factor in the big TV ratings war, but it’s certainly got off to a flyer.