WE-E-E-E-E-E-E-ELLLL. Bosses at The Voice UK are apparently keen to get Lulu or Annie Lennox to replace Jessie J as head of Team Jessie.
Presumably they will rename it Team Annie or Team Lulu.
The Daily Mail claims that Jessie’s “frosty” relationship with producers, including BBC One controller Danny Cohen, makes her an easy target for dismissal… despite being the most popular coach among younger audiences.
Reggie Yates, the “co-host” (“the one who said a few bits from a room backstage once or twice”), is apparently also facing the axe, with Holly Willoughby’s media-baiting cleavage said to safe.
Lennox, famous for all the Eurythmics stuff, has previously been a huge detractor of Simon Cowell’s talent shows, but has a good relationship with Universal – the label with whom the winner scores a record deal.
As for Lulu, she was a judge on Just The Two Of Us (?) in 2006 and also grated slightly on Strictly Come Dancing last season.
Here’s an interesting debacle. It’s all about The Voice – the producers of the BBC show like to pride themselves on favouring vocal talent over personality, image, etc etc etc. But today Misha B-style reports have emerged claiming that Jaz Ellington is becoming quite the diva backstage, to the point where none of the other contestants or members of the production crew particularly like him.
Of course, there is a very strong possibility that it’s all bollocks and Jaz is the world’s nicest man ever. But let’s hypothetically say it’s true. Seeing as Andrew Stone (!!) is his manager, it wouldn’t be the biggest shocker anyway. But should we as viewers care?
It (very tenuously) links me to one of my very few quibbles with The Voice, and one that the coaches and producers seem to be forgetting. The public vote. It’s all very well priding yourselves on the vocal ability, but if these Jaz ‘diva’ reports continue during the next few weeks, as they did (rightly or wrongly) with Misha B on X Factor, his standing with bookies and his chances of winning will inevitably decline because people won’t care enough about him to vote. Of course he’s the best singer on the show. He’s the best singer by a country mile. But if people stop connecting with him, they will stop voting, and they sure as hell won’t pay his records any attention. It won’t matter how good his voice is.
He’ll probably get to the final, and the reports are probably bullshit. But it’s an interesting one to chew on.
And while we’re on the public vote, just a quick shout-out for Ruth-Ann St Luce and Jessie J. Jessie, babes, it’s incredibly well-meaning of you to take through a “Work In Progress” (i.e. “not very good”) singer like Ruth with the aim of developing her over time, but the problem is that if she’s bad, nobody will vote for her. And then her career will be over at the grand old age of 18 because the public will forever know her as That Girl Who Was A Bit Bad On The Voice.
Instead of letting her go at the Blind Auditions, get better in her own time and then come back when she’s ready, they’ve taken her forward to an inevitable lose-lose slaughter. The likelihood is she’ll go tomorrow and her career prospects will be 0. Failing that, she’ll stay in the competition at the expense of someone significantly better.
And all the while that Harriet girl who sang ‘What’s Up?’ in the blind auditions is sitting at home going “FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!!”
She just wants to make the world dance, and it seems to be working – Jessie J’s sales have rocketed 89% since The Voice hit the airwaves last month.
Who You Are, her debut album, rocketed back into the Top 10 following the BBC talent show’s premiere in March, and it’s still there this week.
There are also two albums from The Script in the Top 40, as Danny O’Donaghue increases the band’s fortunes by 57%. Sir Tom Jones’ album sales have bumped 32%, and the Black Eyed Peas have increased their sales by 6% thanks to will.i.am.
Gennaro Castaldo of HMV says:
“So far Jessie has seen the biggest lift – with sales of her album nearly 100% up on the period before the show started… It tends to be the performing guest artistes featured on reality TV audition shows that normally steal the headlines and see a lift in sales of their products, but for the first time it’s actually the panel of judges on The Voice who appear to be benefiting.”
What’ll be really interesting is how the guest performers’ sales are affected once the live shows kick off. Lana Del Rey, Scissor Sisters and Emeli Sande are already in the pipeline, and with The X Factor Effect slowing down considerably over the last season, The Voice could be a powerful marketing tool.
If you’ve missed anything in the poposphere over the past week then you need our 3-minute TLTV round-up.
It’s your essential round-up of all things pop from the last seven days, from Jessica Sanchez’s dramatic near-elimination on American Idol to Emeli Sande’s confirmation as the first guest performer on The Voice.
We also had the exciting news that Joe McElderry is planning his fourth album (and that he wants a duet with the not-so-exciting Dappy), the announcement of Alexandra Burke’s second album title, the chart success of Justin Bieber, Rebecca Ferguson’s international chart invasion, and new videos from Paloma Faith, Jessie J and Lawson. Oh, and a lovely new Diana Vickers cover.
It takes a person either brave or stupid to go on a talent show and sing a song written by one of the judges, but Jessica Hammond risks it in this clip from tomorrow night’s first episode of The Voice.
She takes on ‘Price Tag’ and manages to get all four judges (sorry “MENTORS”) to spin around, but sadly the clip ends before you get to see what happens next. It’s pretty funny when the four of them try to out-do each-other, so don’t miss it on BBC One tomorrow (Saturday 24th) at 7pm.
Danny Cohen, BBC controller, has blasted reports that the show is under pressure to launch to 10 million viewers, telling Broadcast: “I’m conscious that Strictly launched with 4.9m viewers, The X Factor 5m and Britain’s Got Talent around the same. I’m not going to put a number on what we see as success for The Voice.”
Last month I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the press launch of The Voice UK, the BBC’s new high-budget Saturday night talent contest that premières in just under two weeks’ time. And before sitting down for interviews with the on-screen talent, we were treated to an extended preview of what’s to come.
The premise, in case you’ve managed to stay hidden from it over the past few weeks, is slightly different to the usual X Factor style of star-searching. Singers audition for the four mentors – Jessie J, Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am and The Script’s Danny O’Donaghue – without actually being seen by them. If any of the mentors like what they hear, they swivel their chair around and, in so doing, offer to take the contestant into their “team”. Each mentor must have a team of ten candidates, who then go head-to-head in the second stage (the Battle Round) before the final few take on the inevitable live finals.
But don’t take my word for it…
The coaches are throwing round the word “credible” to the point where it’s almost a cliché, ITV have “parked their tanks on [the BBC's] lawn” by scheduling a clash with Britain’s Got Talent, and a senior production member on Strictly Come Dancing has even jumped ship to ensure the new project is a hit. There’s no denying The Voice can talk the talk, but can it walk the walk? Is it actually any good?
The Voice has the same moral centre as shows like Got To Dance and Strictly, by which I mean it manages to provide riveting viewing without resorting to melodramatic twists and media-baiting controversies. Right from the opening, in which the four mentors perform Black Eyed Peas’ ‘I Gotta Feeling’, it’s pretty obvious that this show could potentially become something very special.
The chemistry between them is electric. will.i.am is a lot funnier than you’d expect him to be, Danny O’Donaghue applies just the right amount of sincerity and charm and Jessie J more than holds her own as the sole female on the panel. Truth be told we didn’t get to see a lot of Sir Tom Jones from the preview clips, but we’re assured that he turns out to be quite the character as well.
The major difference between The Voice and The X Factor is that it’s fun, feel-good TV. Simon Cowell’s juggernaught may provide enough drama and kitchen-sink hysteria to keep us absolutely glued for three months, but more often than not it’s a stretch to actually consider it a pleasure to watch. That is not so for The Voice. The contestants are all super-endearing as well as super-talented (sob stories are out in force, BTW), the banter is high among the coaches, and the show just feels fresh enough to be a huge success. It is to X Factor what Strictly is to Dancing On Ice – simpler, classier, and all-round nicer.
Whether or not its lack of scandal will be enough to keep millions of viewers hooked remains to be seen, as there’s no doubt that Britain’s Got Talent will be putting up a strong fight for tabloid column inches. But when the two go head-to-head on March 24th, I know which one I’ll be watching. 2012 might just be a bad year for SyCo.