As sure as night follows day, summer follows spring and Miles Kane follows Alex Turner, clawing on to a childhood friendship that’s paid his mortgage for the last seven years, so the first round of The Voice inevitably leads into the battle rounds – a two-week contestant genocide that gets rid of a dozen hopefuls per episode with all the grace and decorum of Liz Jones addressing intersectionality.
As has become apparent by now, whoever came up with the format for this show was three days into a week-long meth bender. As such, each episode of the battle rounds is over two hours long, rattles through 24 auditionees and introduces a weird bargain bin “steal” option, where you can pick up an unwanted contestant at a knock-off price. This means that a singer can be in the show, out of the show and then back in the show within the space of nineteen seconds. Quantity, not quality, is the order of the day here and The Voice are throwing so much shit at the wall there’s surely got to be one hopeful pop turd that sticks. That’s certainly been the mantra by which Ricky Wilson lives his life anyway.
Obviously the idea of going through every single one of these “battles” – surely the most flagrant exaggeration of a competitive situation since a particularly slow news week back in 2000 attempted to make a war out of the Sophie Ellis-Bextor v Dane Bowers & Victoria Beckham chart race - would be as tedious to read as it would be to write or, let’s face it, to watch or be involved in. But here are some things that were at least shit enough to be funny. Kind of.
The bits that felt like a Sega Megadrive fighting game from the 90s
The Voice are really trying to push the whole battle vibe, and seemingly the battle they’ve chosen to channel is the battle between Ryu and Eagle in Street Fighter. Every time Gary from Rotherhithe or Tracey from Weston Super Mare struck the anticipatory beginning pose (Vital Statistics: Talent: 0, Charisma: 0) I kept trying to press the buttons on my remote and change the player selection, but sadly there’s no reset button on real life guyz.
The hilariously budget choices of guest stars
I guess the permanent judges bring in their famous mates to help train their drones because a) makes everyone watching realise how A list they are and b) it injects a new personality onto the show to add some witty repartee and hi-lar-ious anecdotes about the time they fell over at Elton John’s white tie and tiara ball and spilt a gin martini on Sandra Bullock. Oh how the other half live. Suffice to say, Will’s choice of Leah – one of the contestants who didn’t win from last series – didn’t quite yield the level of pizazz they were after.
Will.i.am having no control of his facial expressions
If you hadn’t gathered yet from the triangular wedge missing from his hair, the nonsensical ramblings seemingly based solely on words that vaguely rhyme like the Dr. Zeuss of the iPad generation or the fact he wrote an entire song about tits, will.i.am doesn’t really give two shits about what other people think. This also applies if you are some Irish Barbie wailing through a Jessie J song – 10 points to whoever decided on that particular camera edit.
Most of the contestants clearly despise each other
In the happy clappy world of prime time Saturday night reality shows, everyone is perpetually as inoffensive and gran-friendly as a Will Young song and contestants are obliged to parp out dead-behind-the-eyes clichés about “being so happy to be here” as though their bloodstream has been replaced by a constant Prozac drip. Last time anyone threatened to have the vague glimmers of an, albeit fucking terrible, personality, they got thrown under the bus for doing half a line of coke and booted off The X Factor. Congratulations then The Voice, for coming up with a concept that pits all the contestants in direct and specific competitions, thus meaning that no amount of careful editing can do anything to help a stroppy teen saying, “Who the hell even has a harp?” not feel like the school bully pushing the speccy kid with an oboe in a puddle for having dreams.
The song choices from Now That’s What I Call Music 1978
I’m not saying that Leo Ihanacho, former singer of The Streets, regrets leaving his old job per se. But I’m just gonna throw it out there that singing a Leo Sayer song in a fake wresting ring in 2014 on national TV might not go down in the top five credibility highs of his career.
The second half of the battle rounds continue next week, by which time someone will hopefully have realized the literal element missing from the episode and brought an array of Tasers and swords to spice things up a little.
Follow Lisa on Twitter: @LisaAnneWright