It’s Grand Finale time, with this year’s winner of The Voice being voted entirely by the public for the first time ever.
Whether or not this will produce an outcome more desirable than that experienced by past winners remains to be seen (and is highly unlikely, Andrew P. Street pointed out in his piece today) - but let’s cast reality aside for moment and focus on the big night - because, let’s face it, it probably won’t get much better than this for our winner.
Welcoming us to the proceedings/bewildering us is our four coaches performing a song together – Russell Morris’ The Real Thing. It kinda makes sense for Kylie, being an Aussie and all, and oddly, Joel looks at home with the song too, but Ricky and Will seem a little at sea.
It ends, mercifully, and we cut to the red carpet – to the contestants’ arrivals with our judges, to them giving speeches about why each of their charges should win (Will is the only with two contestants left – ZK, who are actually a pair, and Anja,after she was “saved” last week and given a second chance). None of this is particularly memorable or worth repeating, least of all Joel’s claim that he “needs one [a win]”.
Then, because there are only five contestants left and we need more filler to stretch out the 2.5 hours of The Voice ahead of us, we cut to the remaining five (or six) eating at Rockpool, because why not. Neil Perry’s restaurant gets a good plug and he even comes out to wish our contestants good luck on Monday night.
Kylie tells everyone she ate her first oyster at Neil Perry’s Rockpool in 1990, everyone is prevented from making any jokes about her age, and they duly clink glasses.
We then cut to each of the finalists celebrating being a finalist at home and with their respective judges.
ZK visit a primary school frequented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and Will talks about the importance of giving minority groups something to aspire to.
Anja does not belong to a minority group so they instead head to a zoo and watch seals do flips in the pool.
Back at home in the Blue Mountains, Anja’s family are wearing #anja t-shirts.
Johnny Rollins heads back to his hometown of Geelong and reminds us that not long ago he was “frothing coffees” and is now fronting press conferences with Kylie Minogue.
Jackson and Ricky, meanwhile, head to the top of Melbourne’s Eureka tower and pose for photos wearing shades.
Frank Lakoudis has a Greek feast at home and smashes plates. His party looks the most fun.
Back in the studio, Kylie reminds us that the day she turned around for Johnny Rollins, she thought it was her lucky day. Because he’s got an amazing voice, and not because he’s a babe, right Kylie?
We’re not shown Johnny’s partner in close up but I can’t help but think that she wouldn’t be loving the fact that her Johnny is spending so much time with Kylie.
She might be even less thrilled about Kyles choosing I can’t get you out my head as her duet with Johnny. Kylie wears a Grecian white minidress with a long transparent train, looks great and sounds pretty good towards the end of the song. Johnny wears a white hoody and a white pair of those cropped pants he seems to favour. He looks uncomfortable and sounds just ok. This might have been a slightly indulgent song choice from our singing budgie, who has recently announced a tour of Australia next March.
“He’s got star quality,” says a breathless Kylie after their performance. Hmmm yeah but nah.
ZK and Will.i.am and Anja are up next singing the 2003 Black Eyed Peas track Where is the Love? They’re all pretty good, but the way Anja holds that note at the very end? Damn girl.
Bonita Mabo, grandmother of Kristal (the K in ZK) cries tears of pride, as she has done every time she’s appeared on the show. Bless.
A Brisbane band called Sheppard sing a song called Geronimo that was apparently quite popular a couple of months back. I like it less than when evicted contestant Isaac McGovern covered it a few weeks ago, and I didn’t care for it much then.
Jackson Thomas, “the meat and two veg sparky” as our indefatigable host Darren McMullen has somewhat cruelly dubbed him, is musing over what’s better – being a finalist on The Voice, or getting followed by Ricky on Instagram. No comment.
Ricky and Jackson then duet, and breaking the trend of coaches performing their own songs, they sing Every Breath You Take, which Ricky last sang with Sting.
Jackson is no Sting, but to be fair, even Ricky can’t seem to breathe much life into this one, and I’m distracted by his particularly awful sheeny checked blazer.
He also looks pained at various points throughout. Jackson is, you know, ok, if you’re into nondescript nice guys with muns (male buns). Superstar in the making he ain’t.
At song’s end Ricky makes a speech about how proud he is and says something about Jackson having so much to say, but the irony is that he doesn’t really.
Joel and Frank Lakoudis are up next singing Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
It’s not awful, and is well-suited to their rock (and I use the term loosely in the case of Joel Madden) voices at least. It is explosive, radioactive? No. Not at all.
We are reminded that the Madden Brothers are touring in November and that we (as in Australia) have given the Madden Bros their first number one single and this is mildly depressing but not altogether surprising news.
At this point we’re only about halfway through what is the most interminably long episode in what has been a long and painful series, during which most of what happens is of very little consequence. Let’s cut to the chase with dot points.
• Will.i.am is the last coach to perform solo on this series, because this episode wasn’t long enough as it is. He sings It’s My Birthday with Cody Wise, which hasn’t set the charts on fire here but is apparently big in the UK. Some sort of optical illusion has made it appear that there are cloned Wills everywhere. Thankfully this is just an illusion.
• The top five become three, with ZK and Frank Lakoudis sent home. Here we spend an inordinate amount of time revisiting the evictees’ respective journeys. Frank thanks the show for letting him live out his rock and roll fantasies and tells the crowd, “I’m going to be going global.” Crickets are heard outside the studio.
• Kristal makes an overlong speech in which Will is thanked for saving ZK from their normal lives. Pretty sure Bonita is crying somewhere.
• The top three sing AGAIN. This time it’s solo performances, with the public having voted for what they want them to sing. Jackson sings Resolution by Matt Corby which is as unmoving to these ears as the first time I heard it. All the coaches are asked to pass comment on each of the remaining three. GIVE ME STRENGTH. Will is still smarting from the loss of ZK and can’t muster many words for Jackson. Kylie talks about how the world works in mysterious ways (referring to Ricky picking up her reject). Joel gives Jackson a backhanded compliment about not expecting him to get this far. Ricky asks him to go on the road with him next year. This might outrank getting following by Ricky on Instagram.
• Anja sings When Love Takes Over by Kelly Rowland. She looks and sounds terrific. Will is dancing in his chair. He says that the world’s best songwriters and producers will be wanting to work with Anja. I haven’t
believed much of what Will’s said this season but Anja is a genuine talent, and only 18. He might just be right.
• Johnny Rollins sings Beneath Your Beautiful. He sounds much better when he’s not singing a Kylie Minogue song. His coach makes a long and rambling speech and says something about being able to see Johnny on
stage at music festivals all over the world. I do not share Kylie’s vision.
• An eternity after the show began, we are at the pointy end. Johnny Rollins gets third place. Jackson Thomas comes second, quite possibly on account of his coach’s popularity. And, rightly, Anja Nissen is crowned winner of The Voice 2014. Her family clamber onto stage to congratulate her, a sea of #anja tshirts beneath confetti falling like snow. Will tumbles onto the stage before making the last hefty promise we will hear him utter this season, saying that he wants to sing Anja to his label. Perhaps for the first time, I believe him – of all his charges, Anja is the one he has seemed to back – sincerely - from the very start.
And it’s over. Promisingly, though, the third winner of The Voice is by far the most marketable in the show’s history, and the most likely to have a crack at an actual career. Australia, you’ve chosen well. May the barely-legal bombshell from Winmalee go far.