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.

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.

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.


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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.