The Voice recap
Claws come out on The Voice
In the show's first tiff since its debut, tension brewed between Delta Goodrem and Seal when he disagreed with the use of backup dancers in one of the performances.PT1M57S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-1zgof 620 349 May 29, 2012
There might have been rumours that Seal and Delta were getting on famously. But the love fest which is The Voice experienced its first tiff last night. Seal wore his cranky pants, clearly unimpressed with Delta’s tactic to make good friend and backing singer Glenn Cunningham look more like a front man with the help of five backing dancers.
The host with the genial brogue asks Seal to comment. “Ask me about sport or something,” he says, reminding us at every opportunity that this is “the voice” and not some all-round talent experience like those aired by opposition channels. Then he tells Delta to sit down.
When his own charge Fatai delivers a well-crafted heavenly experience, complete with cloud-like stage smoke, violins and a harp, he almost forgets it’s his job to talk her performance up. “Maybe there should have been dancers,” he says.
Glenn Cunningham with the controversial dancers
So Seal’s got issues with Delta. Who would have thought? Only a week earlier they were sharing the same nail polish.
In Los Angeles, it's 2.30am, and it seems producers aren't able to borrow a swivel chair from the American version of The Voice for Keith to sit on.
Instead, he's got an uncomfortable-looking seat designed for keeping rock stars awake. He waves at the camera and apologises that he can't be in the real studio. Rather, he's where one must be after having just performed a concert in Louisiana – a place darker, and far less inviting than the love fest which is The Voice. But the show, as Seal would often have it, must go on.
Team Delta sings Born to Try.
And it was a night where Keith – don't we love him – showed us his undies; Joel showed he can keep his girlie fantasies to himself; Delta and Seal showed up their teams in belting group performances; and contestants showed off their nerves.
Why wouldn't they be nervous? There's a screaming crowd, millions of people watching, and a light guy named Ian who's having a birthday. It's the night when teams of four become two, and The Voice – unlike other talent shows that labour through a slow elimination process – tailspins into three weeks of rapid conclusion.
But first, the ruthless evictions of the previous week must take place. Singers look nervous. Why? Haven't they seen the iTunes results like everyone else? As the accented host reminds us, a song download is worth double the votes. The bookies will tell you that. They've got skater boy, the angel, the foster girl and that nice tall man battling it out in the final. One might argue this part of the process is due course, a formality, elementary, a necessary evil even.
Team Seal sings Kiss From a Rose.
The tall nice guy Darren Percival and Brittany Cairns are voted through by the public. “I hate it that I'm not there with you now,” Keith says as he chooses the previous week's best performer Diana Rouvas and pretty boy Adam Martin to continue, leaving Taga Paa and Jimmy Cupples to pack their bags. “All of you have such individual styles,” Keith tells them in consolation. “You have already grown your audiences exponentially.” Maybe Keith hasn't bothered to look at iTunes either.
The love fest is infectious. Keith sends hugs, Joel tells his team they're all winners, then sends Laura Bunting home after a week earlier she'd butchered his version of Somebody That I Used To Know like he'd instructed her to. Sideshow Bob had already disappeared, of course, after it was declared she was unfairly advantaged in a video with the brother who must not be named as it may give an unfair advantage to, er, well, his brother.
Bitterness occasionally transcends the love, for this is reality television, where decisions must be made. Joel argues Prinnie Stevens is unlike any other in the competition. It is agreed, she has legs like no other in the competition. Boy wonder Ben Hazelwood also gets the nod, and the public put through Sarah De Bono and skater boy Lakyn Heperi.
Fatai V sings Ave Maria.
Seal's outfit tonight is not as striking as his emo getup of last week. It's an all-black number which during his performance later proves to have that little bit of “star qual-lit-ty” in the form of bright red shoes. Then, lo and behold, out steps his first team member – a gelled up mini-me; a shiny Seal-like dude dressed in all-black with his chest puffed out, singing a cover of a song also covered by – you guessed it – Seal. Perhaps it's a good thing Chris Sebastian is the only bloke remaining in the team. Seal may have run out of covers.
Keith reckons it's a good song choice, Delta acknowledges the teamwork and suggests Chris actually sounds like Seal in places, and Joel says “You have arrived”. Seal is proud of his charge: “You sang it better than I did. I told you,” he says, closely followed by “I told you. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.” Seal apparently told Chris something, perhaps along the lines of “look like me, sing it like me, puff your chest out like me, and you'll have star qual-lit-ty”.
Danni Da Ros must wait for former Fuzzy to do her sponsor thing. But during an inspired preview, it seems Delta considers it worth the wait. She's about to reveal the new, less wind-affected Danni – “a young woman.”
A dancer emerges behind Glenn Cunningham
“Just because she's a diva doesn't mean that she has to be older,” Delta says, or something along those lines, whatever that means. Probably something along the lines of making her charge look younger without the use of a jet engine. The teenage member of the family throws in a reminder that red sequin tops are now “in”, but we failed to address the fringed haircut, black mini and high heels. “Ooh Dad, you're such a bitch.”
Keith loved the rasp in her voice, Delta reckons it somehow showed that Danni was once a dancer, and Seal summed it up in one of those random end-of-song coach scrums where they pair up and talk about spontaneous stuff: “She's got the pipes, but this showed her in a different light.” It's a little more difficult to pair up tonight with Keith in LA. Ask Delta. She's left talking to herself, and this is the same Delta who only a week earlier was sharing nail polish with Seal. Have they had a falling out?
Then comes a Seal favourite. Emma Louise Birdsall sings Burt Bacharach's The Look of Love, and her sultry tones set the scene for the night. In rehearsal, it seems she's worried she might be over-thinking the song under Seal's watchful eye. “Just sing it, just do it,” she says.
Joel, who was only half an hour earlier aired on a current affairs promo as a fun-loving family man, is careful not to again put his hoof in his mouth. “I'm trying to keep my composure,” he says. “Every time you sing, you make me feel nervous. You have your own swag.” Seal, who for weeks now, has failed to understand Australian colloquial interpretations of the word “business” tells Emma Louise she can handle her “business”. OK Seal, she sang it impeccably. Great job. Star qual-lit-ty.
Viktoria Bolonina surprised many last week with her theatrical performance of Bang Bang. Delta might have taken it a bit far this week by trying the same stunt with Nirvana classic Smells Like Teen Spirit. “You'll either love it or you'll hate it,” the Russian says during the prelude. Who knows what Kurt Cobain would have thought if somebody told him his work would be presented in an on-stage musical. Maybe Keith was speaking for him when he suggested the artistic license was a little overboard. “You lost a bit of your identity,” he says.
Ah, those lyrics: Here we are now. Entertain us.
Former Fuzzy breaks in at the end of the song with the news that Emma Louise fans call themselves songbirds. Emma Louise tells a lucky songbird she's wanted to do a duet with Michael Buble since she was 12. Why bother to tell you this? Point taken.
Then, a highlight of the night. Seal sings Kiss From a Rose with his four remaining team members. He proves why Chris Sebastian is not allowed to wear red shoes. It's all about star qual-lit-ty Chris. And Seal's still got it. Contestants remind everyone how hard it is to sing that song, and Seal gives Emma Louise a piece of valuable advice: “Think of the wildest thing that it means to you, Emma.”
Delta's mate Glenn Cunningham is next and does a version of Closer by Neyo. Delta finds he's been singing with short, choppy breaths, so she teaches him how not to do that. Then she throws in five dancers to, as she puts it, create mood. Despite his own little slidey feet dance, which he admits is his only move, Seal is not impressed by the dancers and won't comment on the performance.
It's at this point in the show we learn two things: It's the light guy Ian's birthday (happy birthday, Ian), and Keith wears Calvin Klein undies. “The only reason I didn't stand up was that you couldn't see me,” he says, standing up to reveal his belly button and the top of his knickers. Delta, need it be said, thought Glenn was brilliant.
Fatai V., whose name nobody can say, nor spell, is given Beyonce's version of Ave Maria to sing. This is where the show gets clever. If anyone's watched the show before, they'll know that Fatai likes going to church. She sings there. She prays there. So, why not let her sing a prayer … in a white dress … with violins, a cello and a harp … and smoke which makes her look like she's sitting on a cloud. Yep, heaven, right? Genius.
At one point, Ian the birthday lighting boy had to pull her out of the fog, but she has a voice which brought tears to many eyes, including Seal's. “Taken to church,” says Joel. “I have to be respectful. That was a very spiritual performance. I'm not sure what it was like for people at home, but that felt electric in here.”
So, Seal's dragged the angel rug right from under the feet of blind contestant Rachel Leahcar. This means Delta's got nothing more to work with than a bit of vintage theming. In the first of a string of clichés, Rachel says: “My laneway is the old time music. I should have been born back then.” Delta says Rachel's diaphragm is the steering wheel of her voice.
The song, Someone to watch over me, silences the crowd. Rachel's breathing is evidently affected by her nerves, but Keith says all people hear when she sings is raw talent – a voice so “natural and thick and creamy”. Delta says it's one of Rachel's best vocals of the show: “You are willing to give every part of your being, from head to toe.” A tweet on screen agrees: “First goosebumps of the night.”
That left Karise Eden, the soulful foster kid whose voice has already topped the online charts. There are two things waiting for – Karise's near-unbelievable voice, and the joke Joel will tell at the end of her performance. Nerves tonight are a factor as she sings Landslide, but Joel doesn't disappoint, dragging a pair of sunglasses from behind his swivel chair. “You know why I got these on?” he asks. “Cause you're shining, girl.”
In rehearsal, Karise cries during the song. “These things (her past) still bother me, but I know they're in my past,” she says.
Every week, there's an addition to the Karise look. This week, it's the hair extensions. Each week, she is primed as more of a star. “There's no stopping you,” Joel says. Seal adds, referring to nerves: “Of the people I've heard in the past 21 years, you have something really special. You have a gift. Your 50 per cent is better than most people's 80 per cent.”
If Karise wasn't a good enough finale, it's Delta's turn to belt out a tune with her team. Rachel is awed by the opportunity to sing with her idol, Glenn has reverted to backing vocals despite the front-of-stage position, and Danni and Viktoria harmonise beautifully.
Each week, the numbers dwindle. Let's hope the judges can find a way to help get rid of the nerves – of the contestants, not their own.