The Voice UK: The Beeb comes roaring back

Yema Stowell 25 January 2014

There’s something refreshing about The Voice UK. It brings a new dimension to talent shows: no longer are the audience left raising their eyebrows in disdain as a scrawny, anxious, probably-going-through-a-mid-life-crisis man wails his way through one of Whitney’s classics, because everyone on The Voice comes with talent. And lots of it. Potentially too much of it. Watching yet another super-talented seventeen-year-old fly through the audition process can be a bit dispiriting for tuneless and procrastinating undergraduates like myself. But ultimately The Voice is uplifting: even when contestants are turned away, they’re still able to leave confident that they have some singing ability. The whole concept is innovative and, while it’s not the best show on TV by a long-shot, its ease of viewing makes it something of a guilty pleasure.

What also gives The Voice the edge is its judging panel. On the BBC there’s no Piers Morgan judging talent, but four high-profile members of the music industry. They know exactly what it’s like to be in the contestants’ shoes. Not an episode goes by without a reference to Tom Jones’s ‘legendary’ status, while by the looks of the series so far we may as well be renaming The Voice the Kylie Minogue Show. The BBC always put on a fantastic production, and it’s to their credit that they’ve even managed to do the same with a reality TV show.

The one area where The Voice falls, however, as both the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent always have, is in attracting an audience once the auditions are over. The innovative element of the show is lost when the chairs stop turning and ratings predictably drop once the live shows begin. Perhaps The Voice is too nice; it’s easy to miss the hilarious misfortunes of X Factor hopefuls, and even perhaps the cynicism of Cowell and co. Yet, after years of ITV’s domination, the BBC have invested in something new, exciting and classier. Whether it’s the likeability of the judges, the original concept of the auditions, or the highly educational vocabulary lessons from will.i.am, The Voice just has that little extra something. It’s really quite dope.