It's night four of The Voice, so it's all pretty predictable: People sang, chairs span ... or you know, not.
Following on from the previous nights dramatic To Be Continued ... which appeared to have been borrowed somewhat ironically from a silent movie (where you saw, but didn't hear), we return to the sight of Joel and Ricky going all Zoolander at the computer on their buttons, while poor Kathy sings away oblivious, finishing to the sight of the back of four chairs.
WHO SPUN: No one, but Joel and Ricky wanted to
Joel has an amazing solution, he stands up.
Ricky kneels on his chair peeking over the top.
Kathy Hinch is 25 from Melbourne and Joel is pitching himself hard for the role of mentor, almost as hard as the techies backstage are beating on the cogs with wrenches. They have some success as finally the chairs turn.
I can't help but wonder if Seal and Delta weren't a little distracted by the button chaos to contemplate whether they wanted Kathy, but it doesn't matter as ...
... Ricky starts seducing poor Kathy. He's doing the voice. He's doing the look. He offers to help Kathy "maybe even play rock". Poor Joel looks lost. He knows he can't compete with this, except he can.
"In my heart I'm a soul R&B artist" says Kathy.
Joel asks if she's saying him. "I'm saying you Joel." And everyone is happy. Except for the guy whose leg was jammed in the chair mechanism, who will going forward simply be known as stumpy.
Kudos to Kathy who handled that well as it was all pretty surreal. The upshot is Ricky and Delta having a moment of button pressing practice which lets Ricky get in a quick "She bang, she bang" gag that was bound to happen really.
Meet Glen Percival ...
Glen is an artist with big shoes to fill, specifically last year finalist shoes, as he is six years younger than his brother Darren Percival, the guy who came second in this competition last year. Glen is his own man though with his own style.
Backstage Glen practices half-singing a note at some big orange lights, while Darren turns up to watch from backstage. Glen walks on stage.
The chairs are nervous.
SONG: Times Like These by Foo Fighters
To be honest, Glen sounds OK. A step above a really good karaoke performance. Perhaps this wasn't the moment to try really hard to NOT sound like his brother, as he is instead NOT sounding like Dave Grohl.
Joel feels like he knows the voice he's hearing, but no chairs turn and this time there are no technicians to blame.
WHO SPUN: No one
"My name's Glen Percival"
"Are you Darren's brother?" asks Delta.
It could be really awkward or just OK. Joel goes for the former as he somewhat ties himself in knots as he tries to explain the familiarity of Glen's voice, and how he sounds like Darren who has a great voice, while not quite explaining why he didn't turn.
Seal brings the calm, explaining that he enjoyed the song more than the performance. Delta felt it was pitchy. Ricky doesn't think it was the right choice of song ... and admits he has no idea who Darren Percival is.
It's all been so dramatic that Ricky takes to a room that looks remarkably like the white MasterChef room of thinking, but is in fact the white Voice room of thinking, to explain he won't be sugar coating his responses. He doesn't need to of course. He has THAT accent. He could just tell every contestant they sang like a teaspoon in a blender and they'd just gaze lovingly at him.
Meet Maya ...
Maya's been gigging with her dad since she was 8 and is now 18 and talking about her father in the past tense so I'm concerned that there is a heartbreaking story coming. I'm concerned for less time than it took to type that sentence as it turns out Dad is alive and backstage, he's just lost in a black bandanna that's pulled so tight around his skull a phrenologist could do a reading from the television.
Maya's mum and dad surprise Australia by believing in her, which is her cue to walk on stage.
"Here we go" predicts Joel. He's right.
Song: Stepping Stone by Duffy
As Maya hits the chorus for the first time she delivers the merest hint of a trill that really lights Joel's fire and he finds himself giddy from spinning so fast.
Seal is doing that soulful hang over the button thing that he does so well, but having almost faked even his own hand out, he commits to the button and spins.
Delta gives her trademark should I, shouldn't I look to the crowd before landing on shouldn't.
WHO SPUN: Joel and Seal
Maya wants to be like Duffy, so that was a good song choice.
Joel heats the crowd up with the sort of accidental implication that got Delta in trouble last night. "Female artists are my favourite to work with because I feel like we communicate well together"
He tries to recover by saying he's a momma's boy, but everyone's still thinking he's got a crush on Maya.
"I'm a lot of fun to work with but i also know what I'm talking about," Joel adds.
"I'm fun but I don't beat around the bush" counters Seal.
"Neither do I" quips Joel.
"They're both fun" sums up Delta who has seen this schtick go on for hours before.
So, it's clearly going to be fun for Maya but choosing isn't. She came in not knowing who she wanted as a mentor ... so she interviews Seal and Joel by asking Seal one question.
"I think I've made a decision..." says Maya finally and Joel is sure he's about to lose so leaps to his own defence.
He assures her he's able to be serious. "It's not all Heeeey Wucka Wucka Wucka."
It's Fozzy Joel! All I want now is Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets to pop up and give a quick: The comedian's a bear! No he's not, he's a wearing a Ramones T Shirt.
"I'm serious about her dream coming true" summarises Joel. The crowd wants Maya to choose Joel. Seal wants to say more. The producers want this to end before The Following begins.
"I've made my decision" Maya says before pausing for a very long time in order to make her decision.
"As much as it would be my world to work with you, I believe you want me more" she says. Between camera angles and her lack of use of names, its not clear who she means.
Joel's head is hanging in the of a man who has spent too many nights as Seal's vocal wing man. But she means him. He looks up, looks shocked and stands on his chair. He's happy. Of course he is. Maya has red hair. He's hoping she's this year's Sarah de Bono.
A round up of the teams tells us that Joel has six, Seal has six, Ricky has five, Delta has five. It's neck and neck and slightly below the neck ... say the thorax, yes thorax ... it's neck and neck and thorax and thorax.
It's time for the montage of not-so-great performers, focusing on the "classic Aussie men of rock" who didn't make it. It's almost like we can expect a "classic Aussie man of rock".
Meet Tim Morrison ...
Utterly unpredictably, we next meet Melbourne boy Tim who was in a band, Trial Kennedy, for 12 years, playing his guts out without making a cent. Six months ago they called it quits and he's been building caravans ever since.
That's the sort of phrase that should be a euphemism, but isn't.
Tim then explains that music is like a cancer.
That's the sort of phrase that shouldn't be a euphemism but now is.
Shea is Tim's girlfriend, and wouldn't you know it, she thinks he's good.
Tim gets ready to take the stage and reminds himself it was all his bands fault up until now. His band and the caravans. Neither of them will be on stage with him, tragically.
SONG: Sunday, Bloody Sunday by U2
Seal raises his hands above his chair in two V's for victory, or for peace or maybe for The Voice. Then he air drums before ... and there it is, he Seals. To Seal: A new verb meaning to leave ones hand throbbing over the big red button (and that is DEFINITELY not a euphemism).
We are reminded that Bono is a very hard singer to emulate, but Tim is doing well. He's inspired a button fake-out session among the judges, but finally Delta turns, though she is looking straight at Seal not Tim when she does. She thinks she's got Tim until the very final note is fading and Seal drops his hand.
WHO SPUN: Delta and Seal
Joel helps Tim decide by saying that Delta is caring and nurturing and Seal is ... not. "I've been loved by both of them," he explains.
Tim makes his decision and it forces Delta to put her shoes back on and hop up, only to discover her legs are asleep as she teeters up to welcome him to her team.
Meet Michelle Cashman ...
Michelle is from New South Wales. She had a tough childhood and has a Karise Eden esque background. She's also got a really cute son Jack who is singing in the ready room.
Song: Wicked Game, Chris Isaak
She's got a much more resonant singing voice than her conversational tones suggested and the judges spend an entire song loving it but really NOT pressing their buttons.
WHO SPUN: No one
Poor Jack's eyes are the size of plates back stage and Australia's heart breaks for him.
"Holy shit look at all these people" says Michelle who admits she didn't connect to her lyrics because she was seeing the backs of the chairs and saying "oh crap turrrrrrrrn"
She's got a cracker personality and her voice touches Delta's skin, which is why she didn't turn as she has a contractual arrangement to only use specific skin products.
Seal feels blessed by Michelle and Joel is shocked and she killed the song. She heads back stage and consoles Jack and he gives her a hug and we love him even more.
Meet Jessika Samarges...
For Jessika its not just about the looks.
We know this because she repeatedly points out that she is always judged by her looks and that she loves fashion. She pauses her 'looks' tirade just long enough for her guitarist to point out that she's beautiful. Then she goes to audition, saying she's glad for the chairs, because, shockingly, they won't judge her on her looks.
You see it's not about looks, it's about talking about it not being about looks.
After the break Jessika admits she does think people have judged her by how she looks and just when you think we can't get another reference to appearance her sister backstage points out that she looks great in those shoes.
Is it just a little bit possible that it is at least partly about looks for the Samarges crew?
Jessika may sing tonight, but I'm not banking on it at this point.
SONG: Stuck, Stacie Orrico
It's a decent rendition but its full of energy, even if Jessika doesn't actually hit the top note first time round. Joel turns and upon laying eyes on Jessika gives Seal the eye and mouths WOW. Delta turns. Seal is willing the button to press itself. He is Sealing. Seal turns on the final note AGAIN.
WHO SPUN: Joel, Delta and Seal
Delta isn't pitching very hard to get Jessika, but believes she cold guide her well. Seal thought it was fantastic ... "for a 20-year-old." Ouch.
Joel says she sounded fun and thinks she sounds hot, also she's really pretty. So as we know Jessika isn't about looks, she won't choose him.
She chooses him.
Meet Chris Sheehy and Kim Sheehy ...
A brother and sister pair from Brisbane, their parents say its impossible to pick who is the better singer. I suspect the judges may not be as challenged.
Kim is hoping to disprove an old cliche by showing those who teach music can also do music.
Chris on the other hand is a professional musician, which mostly involves cover work in pubs. At this point his back story becomes a World Vision commercial: Chris is 22 and no one applauds his songs.
Both Chris and Kim discuss what would happen if she got through and he didn't. Sometimes I wonder if the producers don't stage these conversations just to set up an upset. Let's see.
Kim's up first ... swiftly. She's running on to the stage and Seal can hear it.
Song: Love Song, Sara Bareilles
To be honest it's ok, but no one really looks like turning at any point.
WHO SPUN: No one
Seal didn't sense hunger. Delta blames the song which has a limited range. Joel likes her style.
Mum and Dad fret as to how Kim's failure will affect him, because he thinks she's the best there is. I'm now worried about what bands he sings covers of.
Chris comes on stage and he will be playing the guitar as he sings.
Song: One More Night, Maroon 5
He's raised Ricky's eyebrows with one note. Delta's into it. Joel's getting members of the crowd to confirm he's playing guitar.
Delta stands. Joel stands. Delta presses. Joel presses. Seal presses. Ricky gets his groove on in his chair then the song ends and he looks up as though bewildered as to where all his friends went.
WHO SPUN: Delta, Joel and Seal
"You've got a lot of soul in your voice. I'm quite surprised actually," says Seal. He DOESN'T add "because, you know, you're white" and Delta takes notes on how this is done.
"You have something I can't give you. That natural soul. You make me believe," finishes Seal.
"That's beautiful" says Chris whose soul is in love with Seal.
Joel admits he cheated outrageously and checked that Chris was playing the guitar.
Chris doesn't know what he wants. He's gazing into Delta's hypnotic eyes. She says to tune everything out. And he chooses Joel who looks a bit surprised as he had surrendered to Seal's soul. "I felt for sure he was in love with seal"
Joel nabs his fourth artist of the night, Seal is artistless, and Joel has his smug on. It has to be said, even that looks good on him.
Meet Juliane Di Sisto ...
Juliane is an only child from Tasmania. She's here with Mum and Dad, her biggest fans and Mum is possibly a little too quick to explain it took seven years to conceive Juliane.
Juliane has been trying to carve a career out of music for 10 years but has only managed to carve a few wooden boats that her Mum's very proud of. Backstage, mum predicts she's going to cry and does.
SONG: Good Luck, Basement Jaxx
Ricky turns! This man is just looking for something different.
Joel keeps almost pressing. Seal doesn't even Seal his button. Ricky is excited, and Ricky gets his girl.
WHO SPUN: Ricky
"If Ricky hadn't turned around I would have turned around," says Seal and the crowd's not buying that.
Joel mocks Seal: "He doesn't follow, he leeeeeeeads."
"If he would have turned around I would have fought like crazy to have you on my team," adds Ricky which rather slam dunks that conversation.
"I turned around because I felt you turned me on," adds Ricky which has Joel howling. Not with laughter. Actually howling. Cue the latino music and Tasmania has just joined South America.
Meet Luke Kennedy ...
It's all about the D words for Luke: Daughter and Depression.
He battled the latter, has photos of the former on his phone, and he has a really cool pocket kerchief going on. That's probably a tip he learnt as part of the Ten Tenors.
Song: Un Giorno Per Noi / A Time For Us, Josh Groban
Ricky is DETERMINED and slams his button after the first line. "Oh wow my god" says Seal and presses. Joel is conducting. Delta is turning.
Joel stands on his chair, commands an ovation, then turns with an almighty slap of his shoe on the button before sitting down to just enjoy the magic.
WHO SPUN: EVERYBODY
He's got an ovation at the end. Seal is bowing. Joel is swearing. Ricky WANTS this guy. You can see it in his eyes. You can hear it in his lack of breath. "Breathtaking" Ricky points out somewhat needlessly. "I will do my best to explore other genres with you. Is that ok?"
It's ok, but it's Seal time. And he's bringing his A game. "That was a stellar performance," he begins before asking "what is it you feel has held you back?"
Cue the emotional backstory. Luke says he was diagnosed with a depressive illness two years ago. Seal asks for details. Luke explains he couldn't get off the couch and was crying all the time.
Seal says the good news is you are doing better, which gets a laugh. Then Seal admits he had severe anxiety attacks and depression at age 22.
I have to say, if anyone believes this conversation wasn't set up by the producers, there's a Zimbabwean prince who would love to talk to you, but Seal is clearly genuine in his desire to work with Luke.
Joel, whose own tough start in life is well documented, talks about us all having our s---, but moving on. Joel's here to lighten the mood.
"Your voice is like butter, put it on anything and it tastes good."
Joel is "on one" and he's riffing well. He gets Seal singing Crazy. Joel explains that he thinks Seal would be the perfect coach.
Game, freaking, on.
Ricky is up. He is not giving up on Luke. "I feel your pain because I've been there," he says to Luke. "I feel your pain too," he says to Seal and nearly threatens to add to it if he doesn't give him Luke. "It's about writing your next chapter. I've been there man."
It's IMPASSIONED plea time. "Please, please, allow me to take you there."
Delta senses she's missed this boat but rightly wants to note she is meant to at least get a go. She says she got goose bumps but is laughing as she says that because Joel said go Seal she says go Ricky.
Luke has a tough choice. "I'm absolutely spoiled for choice. I have to pick one." He picks Ricky.
And Ricky goes off!
With a "Let's have fun man" he jumps up. He's hugging Luke, he's dancing across the set, he's hugging Seal. Now he's up in Seal's arms, climbing him like a tree. Joel is loving it, tries to join in and suddenly I realise that JOEL IS INCREDIBLY SHORT and can't reach! Delta comes over to hug the big ball of man love.
Back in his chair, Ricky explains that he's been looking for "that sound." And by explain, I mean he repeats that one phrase over and over. And over. Because he's been looking for that sound. He found the sound.
And he can't believe it's butter.
FINAL STANDINGS: Ricky 7, Joel 8, Delta 6, Seal 6 despite turning a lot of chairs tonight.