Last Saturday saw the return of The Voice on BBC1, the only reality TV singing show on the telly that I can just about put up with I should note. It was not amazing television but at the same time it was not X-Factor style garbage television either. Fresh into the new year with the nothing much to watch on the box on a Saturday night after Strictly finished at Christmas time, then I definitely think this show has a welcome place on our TV screens in early January.
If you have seen this show before then you will know that the best time to watch it is at the start of the series. This is because it involves the pulsating action of the blind auditions where the judges slam down their red buttons(all dramatically), and swing around in their bright red chairs for the singers that they like and want on their team. Fair enough, me describing it as ‘pulsating’ is intentional sarcastic hyperbole(if such a thing exists) , nevertheless to be fair it does have you on the edge of your seat at times. The only thing that does my head in here is the manic behaviour of the supportive friends and family backstage. They just go a bit overboard with their support for me, like kids who have overdone the orange juice before going on a family day out somewhere, i.e nightmare. Why nearly give yourself a coronary for a fourth judge to press his/her button when all the others have already turned around, I don’t get it………CALM YOURSELF DOWN PEOPLE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD???
On Saturday night we saw that two new superstar judges had joined the show in the form of Boy George and Paloma Faith. I might be in the minority here but I was overjoyed when I first heard last year that Sir Tom Jones had been given the boot from The Voice. Undoubtedly Sir Tom is a music legend, however he is also one that bored me to tears at times whilst being a judge/coach on The Voice. I thought Boy George was really entertaining and witty in this first episode. I loved his bitchy banter with the rest of the coaches, especially his funny duel with Paloma Faith right at the end of the show. He is the complete opposite to Sir Tom in so many ways and I think this bodes well for the rest of the series. Already after just one sitting I much preferred ‘mad as a box of frogs’ Paloma Faith, over Rita Ora from last year(who jumped ship over to The X-Factor). I think Paloma is a much more interesting character than Rita is. She seems fierce and yet also has this childlike vulnerability about her too. She also seems more of a free spirit, as well as saying some really amusing things like Boy George did. I think my highlight was her saying how much she hated musicals straight after this charming Vicar had just brilliantly sung a musical number to them all. , i.e bit harsh, but funny.
None of the singing talent in this first show ‘blew me away'(to coin a very common cliched phrase associated with reality TV, sorry it just slipped out). Nevertheless, one man singing did stand out though. To my surprise and utter joy the well-known comedian Bernie Clifton(now in his late seventies) auditioned. Now to people under the age of thirty this name will probably not mean anything to you. However, as a kid I fondly grew up watching this man pretend that he was riding an ostrich. It might not sound funny but believe me it was. It was good old fashioned comedy suitable for all the family, bereft of any vulgarity that we see a lot with comics today. I have this vision in my head of seeing him run the London Marathon a few times on the telly …..in his ostrich outfit. None of the judges turned around for him as he sung ‘The Impossible Dream’ very well, but this did not matter. The studio audience loved him and his performance went down an absolute storm. I loved how Bernie’s presence brought an nostalgic element to the show. He reminded me and many others I’m guessing, of treasured childhood memories that now seem in the long distant past. Rather than mocking him the show embraced this old TV star. It was rather moving to see just how touched Bernie was at the great reaction he received from the audience and judges.
On the negative side of things regarding the show, the the video background clips of the contestants did start boring me towards the end. There were no X-Factor type sob-stories thank goodness, but they were a bit over-the-top at times. I love my Mum dearly, but not sure we needed to hear about much this sixteen year old girl loved her Mum before she then belted out a song called ‘Brokenhearted’. I’m also getting a bit desensitized to the contestants bringing out their cute kids on to the stage too. I know this guy must really love his boy but we have seen this ‘awww scenario’ done a million times now. JUST SING THE RUDDY SONG AND DEPART PLEASE PEOPLE, I’LL PUT ON AN EPISODE OF LONG LOST FAMILY IF I WANT A GOOD EMOTIONAL CRY THANK YOU……and breathe!
All in all it was a decent watch when not much else is on the telly at the moment on a Saturday night. Is it perfect? HELL NO. Do I much prefer watching it to The X-Factor though……….. then ONE HUNDRED PER CENT YES! All together now, THERE’S ONLY ONE BERNIE CLIFTON, ONE BERNIE CLIFTON, THERE’S ONLY ONE BERNIE CLIFTON!!! 3.5/5.