What's next for Karise Eden?
'Who cares about the prizes?' Teen winner of The Voice, Karise Eden, thrilled to win a recording contract and move on from life in women's shelters.PT2M50S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-20kws 620 349 June 19, 2012
It's here at last, the night when we all get to discover who will be The Download – sorry, The Voice – of Australia. This is the grand finale part two, and it promises to be good, but how can it possibly top Sunday night’s show, when Lionel and Joel bonded so manfully in the key of Easy? Will Nicole join Keith for a rendition of Redheaded Stranger (well, they've barely seen each other lately)? Will Flipper join Seal for a chorus of Sea of Love? Probably not, but we are promised that Mahalia Barnes will join Prinnie Stevens for a rematch of their duel from the battle rounds. It's like Rumble in the Jungle 2.
The little man without a contract for season two reminds us that his name is Darren McMullen then says "these guys don't need an introduction". Which is his cue to introduce them.
Delta says Rachael is no longer a shooting star, she’s a star, which is a distinction that’s a little lost on those of us without a degree in astrophysics.
"Here's Seal" the wee hostie says, and Seal gives a V for victory sign, which probably means he's been peeking at the iTunes charts and has duly noted that the top three positions are hogged by his girl Karise Eden. Moving right along, D-Mac introduces (though he doesn't need to) "the very cool Joel Madden", who proceeds to wiggle insanely in his chair like a hyperactive five-year-old who's just discovered where Mum hides the red cordial. Next is "the gorgeous Delta Goodrem", who smiles ice-queenishly and blows kisses to the crowd. Finally it's "Mr Amazing, Keith Urban", who at least has the good grace to chuckle in embarrassment.
Seal of approval... Karise Eden and her mentor, Seal, celebrate victory in last night's final of The Voice. The show has been a massive ratings hit for Channel Nine, which has already confirmed a second series.
The voting closed at noon, and each iTunes song purchase counts as two votes, so given the strange calculus in play here it's impossible to see how the winner can be anyone but Karise, who starts the show with five of the top 20 songs on iTunes. Darren Percival has three in the top 20, and Rachael Palindrome and Sarah de Bono two each, but the outcome seems a foregone conclusion. We shall see.
They kick things off with Chain, a Fleetwood Mac four-way (which is kind of a tautology, when you think about it) that may or may not be loaded with symbolism. Karise is first (a-ha!), then Rachael, and then Darren goes up in a puff of smoke, and finally Sarah appears at the top of a staircase, with her hair straightened. As if that wasn't confusing enough, there's suddenly a whole bunch of people on stage with them who have all touched Australia deeply and whoever they are it's great to see them again.
After a brief interlude during which Joel howls at the moon, the magic of time travel takes us back to where it all began, a studio in Los Angeles where the four coaches came together for the first time. Because this show is all about them. "I remember it so vividly when the four of us met," muses Keith. "My first thought was, 'Aah no, everybody gets along real well. This'll never work'."
And that's why he's a muso, not a TV executive.
Delta tells us Joel is funny, warm and "incredibly intelligent". We'll just have to trust her on that.
Joel says Delta is like a sister, and he gets "to see a side of Delta that I swear to God like no one else gets to see". Hey, we know this a family show, Joel, but enough of that hillbilly lovin' talk already.
Seal has a confession. "Yoda not at all, I think I am," he says. "Just a different approach, I have."
Keith, he insists, is the wise one, and Joel agrees. "Keith is like a safety blanket for me," he says, which explains why he's always sucking on his ear and dragging him along to the toilet.
Joel and Sarah duet on Bruno Mars's It Will Rain, which meteorologically is a safe bet, at least when freed of all temporal and geographic constraints (smart guy, that Bruno). Joel says "We really want to win, we gave 110 per cent," thus proving that if music doesn't work out for him he's got every chance in the world of professional sports. But if Joel really did give everything as he claims, Sarah must only have put in 10 per cent. Which, incidentally, is about how much of her body is covered by the weird Morticia Addams stripper ensemble she's barely wearing.
They hit all the high notes, and Delta and Keith give them an ovation by standing on their chairs, as if they're trying to reach that hard-to-get-to Tupperware in the top cupboard at home.
Next up it's Seal and Karise with Many Rivers to Cross, and when Seal moves towards her mid-song he lumbers with all the grace of Frankenstein's monster rising from the slab for the first time. "He gave me life."
His voice is a little raspy (well, he's only just been born, I guess), but when he lets her hand go and she pulls away at the end it's as if he's setting his songbird free. It's a calculated but perfect gesture that almost makes up for his relentless cheesiness over the past couple of months.
Up next are Rachael Palindrome and Delta Goodrem. They're singing The Prayer, a song Delta has sung "with some incredible artists" including Andrea Bocelli, she tells us, but never before with a female. "And I've only ever sung it on my own," says Rachael Leahcar, whose back-and-forth name seems expressly designed to ensure she's always got company.
Delta's advice focuses on footwear. She calls Rachael "Mini Me" and puts her in her fluoro stiletto-stilts; given Rachael’s near-blindness, this has to count as some kind of attempted manslaughter.
They sing it in a set made of Doric columns, Delta dressed in a gold sheath like some Greek goddess, Rachael in flowing white like a caryatid. The song, though, has been sacrificed to the gods, with Delta seemingly focused on not being outshone by her SWF understudy and Rachael getting close to Bocelli only in the eyesight stakes. Yes, she's been sick but her presence in the final four is looking more and more problematic by the minute.
The final duet is from Keith and Darren on the oh-so-bromantic Without You, and it's a terrific performance of a surprisingly good song that won't do either of them a scrap of harm. Pity they couldn't have sung it yesterday – Darren would have been a shoo-in to score the boot-scooting vote.
Cut to an ad for the mini-series Howzat! "There's never been a man, an Australian, like him," says the voiceover of doom. "Never has, and never will be." Which might be just as well: one look at that Darren-Keith lovefest and he'd have been on the blower straight away. "What the f--- do you c---s think yer doing? Get that f---ing shit off my network NOW!"
He might have been happier with the Prinnie-Mahalia rematch. They do a stonking take on River Deep Mountain High, with Keith on guitar, and then Barnesy – yes, Mahalia’s old man – appears at the top of the staircase to join them for one last utterly unnecessary but hilariously enjoyable chorus. Well, if Joel and his father-in-law could ham it up last night, why the hell not?
Then the most remarkable moment of the night so far: Emma Louise Birdsall, a defeated finalist, pops up in a two-minute spot that showcases the song Woolworths is using in its campaign to rebrand the chain as all warm and cuddly by barely mentioning who it's for. She looks and sounds great, the song is a beautiful smoky reworking of Ross Parker's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (I Love You) from 1949, and as a piece of stealth marketing by insinuation it’s hard to top. It almost makes you forget how mercilessly they’re screwing all those suppliers, doesn’t it?
Back on the show, Seal is asked how he feels about tonight, and he answers by giving Australia the finger – the little finger, which he's had painted with a tiny Australian flag on it. Ah sweet.
Joel wants a piece of this Aussie-Aussie-Aussie love-in action too. "I love Australia so much and being here I've really felt welcomed, and this place is so special for me and yada yada yada."
Delta says Rachael is no longer a shooting star, she's a star, which is a distinction that's a little lost on those of us without a degree in astrophysics.
Keith thanks Australia, thanks his wife (who she?), thanks his kids, thanks the band and by the time he's finished with all the thank yous I'm feeling a little slighted that I didn't get a personal shout-out. Hey, man. Come on brother.
Finally the wee hostie cuts to the chase and announces the winners, starting at the bottom. And first – which is to say fourth – is … oh my God, it's Sarah. So much for the power of Joel's social media magnetism. She leaves with $10,000, straight hair and a Joel Madden on her arm.
Second – that is, third – is Rachael Leahcar. Her life flashes before our eyes in a matter of very long moments. She shares her wild rock-n-roll animal fantasies of sipping hot chocolate with Delta and reveals she suffers from a rare aging disease that means she's gone from 18 to 21 in a few months. She leaves with Delta on her arm and 20 grand in her pocket and heads straight to the nearest Max Brenner outlet.
And then, the wee hostie tells the mathematically challenged amongst us, there are just two left. "You're going to hate me," he says. "We'll be right back to find out who the winner is." Everyone groans and curses his name, whatever it is, to hell and back.
After those messages from our sponsors, we're back for Darren's journey, at the end of which he thanks the coaches, Team Keith, his wife and kids and Mahalia Barnes. "I LOVE you. YOU saved my life. You know it's true." The meaning of which we will probably come to understand exclusively in the next issue of the Australian Women's Weekly.
As we unspool Karise's journey, Seal reveals that part of his job "has been to get inside her head" and to "bring out something she didn't quite know was there". The frontal occipital lobe, perhaps? No. "Self belief." Ah.
Thanking the coaches, Karise channels Jeff Fenech. "I love yous all so much," she says. She thanks her fans, and cracks up sweetly at the very idea that she even has such a thing.
And the winner is …. Karise Eden. It rains golden confetti.
"I'm so happy for you baby," says Darren, who gets $30,000 and a footnote in history. "You did it, you did it."
The show descends into a mad hugfest, out of which Karise somehow emerges, still giggling, to sing her debut single You Won't Let Me, a song that by the end of the night has become her sixth in the iTunes top 10.
It's probably her weakest performance of the series, but no one gives a damn. She's won Australia over, she's won the competition and she'll still be number one when she wakes up tomorrow.
Frankly, she deserves it. Not for the back story, moving though it is. Simply for the voice.
It's been a feast of Eden.