Coldplay kicks off The Voice.
Welcome to the live finals, where the very first thing you’ll see is a live taped performance from Coldplay, “the world’s biggest rock band”, according to people who probably don’t care much for Metallica. Sky Full of Stars is a twee number from their twee new album Ghost Stories and Martin bounds about the stage gaily and flails his arms and legs and looks like a bit of an idiot.
There’s confetti and neon lights and it’s all supremely naff but Kylie claps along wildly and Ricky beams while Joel looks vaguely uncomfortable and Will.i.am looks indisputably uncomfortable, to the point where the camera decides it’s better not to show any more of Will.
Mercifully, the song ends, and we cut to our finalists, who have been taken to the showbiz hometowns of our judges Kylie, Ricky, Joel and Will - London, New York, LA and LA again because there are only really three showbiz cities in the English-speaking world, right?
Team Kylie went out to dinner to convey how Kylie has let her guard down and how natural this all is.
Will, for his part, isn’t a fan of Hollywood - he’s more about Venice Beach, home of Gold’s Gym and scantily clad rollerbladers, and also home to his pimped-out home studio.
“You walk in here and you expect the place to practically lift off,” says Will’s charge Matt Ververis, and he’s not wrong - it’s like a spaceship.
Encouragingly for the rest of his team, Will declares Anja Nissen his prize singer. She’s a busty blonde babe but tonight she is more demure in a long gown singing The Jackson Five’s I’ll Be There.
Kat's makeover on The Voice.
She’s no Mariah Carey, but Anja has a fair crack at it and is generally better than most others on the show.
Will applauds with vigour and looks more excited than he has since Beats Electronics was bought by Apple.
Mat Ververis is up next, and both he and Will are wearing beanies in the rehearsals so perhaps it’s unseasonably cold this time of year in LA, who knows.
Matt continues his penchant for headwear in his live performance of Fine China by that woman-beater, Chris Brown. He wears a porkpie hat a bit like the one favoured by Walter White in Breaking Bad, but Matt’s just plain bad. Ah ok, he’s not terrible and he’s energetic at least, but he comes off a bit like a poor man’s Justin Bieber, or Jay Kay of Jamiroquai.
Will smiles broadly though, and again, this is strange behaviour given his recent lack of enthusiasm, but then again Will also appears to have some sort of accessory on his back (a backpack? A quiver of arrows?) and so perhaps we should take everything he says and does tonight with a truckload of salt.
ZK, the South Australian pair, are next, and they’re quite real and adorable but they’re also pretty average. U2’s With or Without You is a big song but their performance isn’t, it’s kind of small and meek.
Brother and sister pair Gabriel and Cecelia are next, they didn’t go to Venice (California) for reasons I couldn’t figure out - could they not afford to send the two of them so neither got to go?
Anyway, they do an acoustic cover of Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun and to these ears it’s kind of horrible but Friar Tuck, sorry, Will unfathomably decides that it’s the best of the lot and the brother and sister pair go through.
We head to London next with Team Kylie, and they go out to dinner in a restaurant and this is meant to convey how Kylie has let her guard down and how natural this all is, never mind the cameras in their faces. Kylie says something odd about letting the particles go down to which Kat nods sagely - Kat wears cat ears a lot of the time and probably speaks in oddities herself.
The singers visit one of the biggest studios in the world that no one has heard of, Metropolis Studios, and don’t do a great deal else.
Johnny Rollins performs first in the live show, Kylie has told him she wants to see him look sharp in a suit but he appears to have only been able to afford three quarters of one - his suit pants are capri style and paired with sandshoes and it would appear he might have shared a stylist with Ricky Martin, who tonight wears a white hooded suit jacket.
He’s cute though, has a bit of the Lenny Kravitz about him, and this probably has helped him get to this point because it doesn’t appear to be off the back of his singing. He plays drums too and sings Happy by Pharrell Williams and it reminds us of how good Pharrell Williams is. Joel Madden is spotted clapping along with all the enthusiasm of a limp fish.
John Lingard is next, he’s a bit forgettable really, so it’s fitting that Kylie’s chosen a song for him by someone we’d forgotten about - David Grey. The song is Babylon and it’s admittedly a good fit for Lingard, his voice is not unlike Grey’s, only not as good. It’s pleasant enough but definitely not unforgettable.
Kat’s up next, sans cat ears and looking all sultry in a sleek black dress with finger-rolled brown curls. This girl’s voice is good - unlike most of the others, she sounds like someone you’d actually hear on the radio and not at a Rock Eisteddfod.
Kat might have lost the ears but her proud family, including Gramps, sport them as they cheer loudly from the stands.
Little Robbie Balmer is up next, and the shy kid has clearly come out of his shell a lot - he keeps his eyes open for the entire performance of By My Side by INXS for a start, but like Joel’s, his performance isn’t one that will linger long in the memory.
Kylie chooses Johnny Rollins to go straight through, which has me wondering if Kylie is single and ready to mingle, but hopefully Kat will assume her rightful place in the finals next week.
Joel’s team is next and they’re not great.
They’ve been hanging with Joel in LA, strolling along the Hollywood Walk of Fame n’stuff.
The cute kid, Isaac McGovern, is first, singing that really annoying song that’s all over TV and radio, Best Day of My Life by American Authors.
His set is made up to look like a tin-roofed house for reasons that are unclear. It’s not the best day of his life, he’s just ok.
Holly Tapp sings Bang Bang, the ‘60s version not the dance remix.
She has a bouffant and there is glitter falling from the sky and it’s all a bit Felicity Shagwell, which distracts us from the fact that she’s actually quite good. But it’s not a showstopper of a song.
Joel has saved that privilege for one Frank Lakoudis, a likeable kid who looks to have his wet dream realised when a backdrop is decorated with the image of speakers branded Lakoudis and his name is literally in lights on the stage he strides on. He sings I was made for loving you by Kiss and he’s no Gene Simmons but he gets an A for effort from me.
Taila Gouge is next, singing Who Knew by Pink, which makes me hate her almost immediately by default, but she’s got a powerful voice and is still only 17 which makes me wonder if she should be on The Voice Kids instead.
Madden wisely chooses Lakoudis to go through.
Last but the opposite of least is Team Ricky, whose team is eons ahead of the others.
They spent some time in the Big Apple with Ricky, singing with homeless buskers and doing all those other New York things before returning home for the finals.
Elly Oh is first singing If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys and if this competition was based solely on voice and if there was any justice in this world, Elly would win - the opera singer is better than anyone on the show, judges included.
Does she have star power though? Not sure about that.
C Major, on the other hand, needs a new name but apart from that there wasn’t much to pick on tonight. He sings Sing by Ed Sheeran and plays bongos and dances with sexy girls and does it all rather well.
Jackson Thomas is next, singing an Armin Van Buuren song, at which point I look for my glowstick but Van Buuren appears to have gone the way of David Guetta and is currently clogging commercial radio with dance-pop instant migraines.
It’s called This is What It Feels Like but Jackson comes across more Meatloaf than superstar DJ, in fact I feel like I’m watching an audition for Beauty and the Beast: The Musical. He sounds pretty good though.
Ricky LOVES it, but then I’d be grinning too if this was my team.
Sabrina is next, but there’s no footage of Sabrina in New York because she didn’t go to New York because she has a fear of flying, which bodes well for a future career as an international superstar.
She sings Chandelier by Sia which makes life easy for those inventive set designers. Along with chandeliers there are drummers with flames on the end of their drumsticks and at this point I must thank The Voice for being something other than godawful boring. I’ve had some good laughs tonight.
Ricky chooses Gaston, sorry Jackson, which causes me to laugh some more - I’m starting to like this show again.
Coldplay perform again and it’s that Magic song that you might have heard on commercial radio. There are no streamers or neon lights and for these reasons it’s better than the first song but also not as funny.
The good news is that now we’re into the finals The Voice is only screening once a week. By this time next Monday I might even be looking forward to it.