The Voice UK: The Final
So that’s it. The first series of The Voice UK has come to an end. The new show was a popular hit with viewers, even competing well with Britain’s Got Talent and Eurovision at times and its fresh new format (well, in the first two stages of the competition anyway) made it interesting and exciting. Over the past couple of months we have seen all kinds of singers with different voices and looks trying their luck at being recognised and appreciated just on their vocals – some getting their big break, others unfortunately not and some getting a second chance at a career in the music industry. From just 40 that were picked in the intriguing blind auditions to the 20 left after the intense battle rounds, to the final four at the weekend, the show’s journey has shown some surprises, seen some tough decisions and of course, had its fair share of predictable outcomes.
Saturday – thankfully it was all fitted nicely into one evening this time – saw Bo Bruce, Leanne Mitchell, Tyler James and Vince Kidd as the only members of their coaches’ teams left to battle it out to be crowned ‘The Voice’. Bo, who has been consistently saved by the public since the start of the live shows went first singing 90s classic ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’. While all the coaches raved about how ‘unique’ Bo’s voice is, we couldn’t help notice just how similar she actually sounded to Sinead O’Connor who sang the original, which wouldn’t make her so unique after all… Leanne then took on James Brown’s ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’, throwing in so many runs you’d think she was competing in the Vocal Olympics or something, and although she gave a very impressive performance, the song choice made us wonder again just how many more like this she can sing before we tire of the same old thing.
Tyler James – who was Amy Winehouse’s best friend, if you hadn’t already heard – sang ‘I’ll Be There’ by The Jackson 5, once again showing off his now-signature technique of singing almost an entire song in falsetto. This guy does in fact have a lovely lower register; it’s a shame it’s not showcased as often. Quirky kid Vince Kidd chose ‘Many Rivers To Cross’, a lesser-known song, which allowed him to venture into the world of the gospel genre. We admire his versatility and bravery in doing so, but it just wasn’t him. Maybe taking notes from Jaz Ellington might have helped?
Round two was the highly-anticipated duets, where the finalists each performed with their coach, as the US coaches also did in their second season. So like on The X Factor last year then really. Bo and Danny performed Professor Green and Emeli SandÃ©’s ‘Read All About It’, which yes, meant Danny doing some rather bad, cringeworthy rapping and Bo’s ‘unique’ voice once again sounding not-so distinctive compared to Emeli’s. Maybe they should have stuck to busking that one on the streets? Leanne and Tom Jones then sang ‘Mama Told Me Not To Come’, a song Jones has covered before, and it was nice to see Leanne shaking things up a bit with an uptempo track for a change.
will.i.am decided he and Tyler should do their own version of Usher’s ‘OMG’, a song which Will co-wrote and featured on – and by own version he meant flying in by the use of wires and having Tyler sing half of it in falsetto again, while he does the same thing he does on the original record, which is thankfully not attempting to sing too much. Jessie J and Vince sang Jessie’s own hit ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, which meant a chance for them to both make strange, random noises in between actually singing and bouncing riffs and runs off one other.
In round three, after Vince was eliminated and finished in fourth place, the three remaining contestants went on to perform their favourite song from the show so far. Bo and Leanne both repeated their performances of ‘Charlie Brown’ and ‘Run To You’ from the semi-final – talk about wearing something thin – while Tyler sang ‘Higher Love’ again, as if to unnecessarily remind us of when he first began overusing his falsetto skill.
The coaches’ megamix medley of each other’s own hits was always going to be just as interesting as seeing who won. Together they performed ‘It’s Not Unusual’, ‘Breakeven’, ‘Price Tag’ and ‘Where Is The Love?’ and although it was better than their previous attempts at a group performance, let’s face it, we all know it would have been far more entertaining to see Tom Jones sing the lines ‘Dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty sucker / You think I can’t get hurt like you, you motherfucker’ and ‘We can do it like the mandem, mandem’, right?
We were also treated to – or tortured with, depending on how you see it – appearances from Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5. Ed bored us all and took us to the land of nod with an uninteresting performance of his new single ‘Small Bump’ while Maroon 5 debuted ‘Payphone’, the less exciting follow-up to their previous mega-hit ‘Moves Like Jagger’ which Adam threw in a bit of at the end, as if in a bid to rescue what was otherwise very average.
After the mere ten minutes of time given to vote and a very short but nail-biting pause, Leanne ‘overshadowed by Ruth Brown’ Mitchell was announced as the winner, while Bo and Tyler, who alongside Vince had been bookie favourites, looked on dejected but forcibly happy. It may not have exactly been the most dramatic of finales, with no information given about a winner’s single, but the underdog coming out on top was certainly a shock for some. Or maybe to some, Leanne, having a bigger voice than the other three put together, was not a surprise winner at all.
What did you think of The Voice UK in general? And do you think Leanne deserved to win?