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Reality TV Blog

'Voice' UK review: Swear words, bust-ups and Holly's cleavage

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Louis Walsh branded The Voice UK boring earlier this week, and someone behind the scenes at the BBC was clearly listening. Tonight's fourth live show was many things - shambolic, chaotic, bonkers - but never dull.

From the moment Jessie J had to call off and restart her group performance at the start of the show because her earpiece wasn't working ("This is live TV, people!"), I knew we were going to be in for a great night.

The Voice UK: Jessie J and her team perform.

© BBC/Wal to Wall/Guy Levy



It suddenly turned into the Crossroads of reality shows - you half expected one of the giant hands to fall down at any moment and land on Danny O'Donoghue's bouffant. It felt like an episode of Brucie's Generation Game. Slickness and professionalism was replaced with a bit of edge and a little more light entertainment.

Every tabloid TV critic and close friend of Simon Cowell has had a pop at The Voice in recent weeks. Falling ratings has encouraged a sense of smug satisfaction from those who deemed the show a failure before it even aired. 'It's too serious', they moaned. 'It's not as funny as X Factor', they whinged.

Besides the rather glaring fact that you'll struggle to find a show more conceited or happy to celebrate its own glory than The X Factor or Britain's Got Talent, tonight's Voice live show felt like a double-finger salute to the critics. It was barmy and silly, rather than pompous or self-important. Two traits the show has perhaps been guilty of in recent weeks.

The Voice UK: The Judges watch their acts perform.

© BBC/Wal to Wall/Guy Levy



All the show really needed was a bit of edge and a bit less Danny O'isn't everything wonderful.

will.i.am provided the bite, digging into Team Danny's acts with some laidback snarkiness that had more spike than his shoulderpads.

And the edge was provided by the acts themselves. Aleks Josh delivered a hands-in-pockets Jack Johnson cover that felt like one cheeky elongated laddish wink at every female viewer, before scowling and backchatting the coaches when will.i.am suggested that he was being lazy.

Vince Kidd dished up a ragged Notting Hill Carnival take on Whitney Houston's 'My Love is Your Love' while dressed in leather trousers and a Brian Harvey-esque baseball cap.

The Voice UK: Aleks Josh

© BBC/Wal to Wall/Guy Levy

The Voice UK: Vince Kidd

© BBC/Wal to Wall/Guy Levy



Cassius Henry pulled the short straw and had to sing on a spinning stage, Max Milner spent the first half of his performance mucking around with an effects pedal and Bo Bruce came along dressed as Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Meanwhile, Becky Hill rattled through 'Seven Nation Army' - sporting crimped hair and an army surplus jacket - barking out her lyrics in the faces of the coaches and seemingly mouthing the word "f**k" after forgetting her words. Whatever you wanted to call it, it definitely wasn't dull.

Of course there are still glaring problems - like the V-Room. I keep half expecting Holly to cut to Reggie Yates in his little studio, sobbing: "Why am I here, Holly? What's even the point? Nobody cares about our social media wizardry apart from some suited BBC exec who wets his knickers at the words 'Twitter interaction'."

The Voice UK: Cassius Henry

© BBC/Wal to Wall/Guy Levy

The Voice UK: Becky Hill

© BBC/Wal to Wall/Guy Levy



But tonight, it was easy to forgive the show's weaknesses. Sir Tom Jones seemed to still be operating on a five-minute delay from everyone else, but witnessing him rapping "how now brown cow" at Jessie J was surreal genius.

Holly Willoughbooby's insistence on keeping the Daily Mail Online's pictures team busy with her bust continues to amuse. Not even an addition of what appeared to be a WWE belt could distract from the gaping hole in the middle of her outfit, or the fact that she teamed the dress with a pair of heels so high they made her tower over every male act like a Russ Meyer sex-vixen. Poor old Cassius didn't know where to look.

The best compliment I could pay tonight's Voice is that the weakness of the vocals didn't bother me. Even the show's strongest singers picked dodgy tracks and gave wonky vocals tonight. But I couldn't give a fig, when it feels like there's some energy and fizz inside the Elstree studio.

The Voice UK: Danny and his team perform.

© BBC/Wal to Wall/Guy Levy



Who's going to go home tomorrow night? Our guess is Toni, Cassius, David and Max. Regardless of who stays and who leaves, as long as the show is as loopy as this evening's instalment, we'll be back every Saturday until the final.

What did you think of tonight's Voice UK live show? Share your verdict below!

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