Growing rivalry ... coaches Joel Madden and Kylie Minogue (from left) fought hard to add singers to their teams as Ricky Martin and will.i.am danced along this week. Photo: The Voice
Like its rival reality show, the Federal Budget, The Voice is a terrifying glimpse of our nation’s future. Unlike the Federal Budget, tonight’s episode sees the rivalry between Joel Madden and Kylie Minogue come to a head. Although I wasn’t watching the Budget, so it’s possible that happened there too.
But first we have to meet two women from Perth who call themselves Divalicious and say things that don't instill confidence like: “We have the same warped sense of humour.”
Divalicious sing The Flower Duet, which confuses the judges, who think they are listening to a car commercial. None of them turn their chairs around but everyone has a lot of fun and that’s the main thing. “You guys did a great job,” says Joel in defiance of all the evidence. Back they go to Perth, to have warped senses of humour and laugh like hyenas over wine.
Powerful and soulful ... Thando Sikwila during her blind audition. She chose Kylie Minogue. Photo: The Voice
Up steps John, son of Gordon, who hopes to one day be a full-time musician, but is appearing on The Voice anyway. He is playing a ukulele, which is just adorable. Will.i.am plays his air ukulele. I think. (Unless he’s actually … no, I think it’s supposed to be a ukulele.)
Anyway John sings that song Riptide that you’ve heard somewhere and he sounds radio friendly and plays well. Eventually Will and Joel and Kylie spin around. Will informs John that his voice he has that “special thing”, which I am pretty sure is sexual harassment.
Speaking of which, Kylie is next to speak to John, asking him about his ukulele in a way that makes you wonder if she is talking about the instrument or something else. Will and Joel and Kylie begin fighting over John, but John’s dad told him to go with his gut, and his gut says Kylie. Although again, when he says “gut” I wonder whether he means “ukulele”.
Next is Tasha, pronounced “Tarsha”, who is willing to set aside the excitement and wonder of working in a clothes shop to pursue her dream of becoming rapidly anonymous after this season of The Voice ends.
She sings Ho Hey confidently. Kylie starts dancing, but she still hasn’t hit her button so she can’t be enjoying it that much.
Then Will hits his button, and then EVERYONE hits their buttons because this is apparently just a weird game of chicken to these people.
Joel says he waits for a moment in each song to “knock him over”, and claims that Tasha achieved this, but suspiciously fails to specify which moment it was. Ricky says he wants to know more about Tasha, because someone just told him this episode is running a little bit short.
Joel says he’s going to take very good care of Tasha, which coming from Joel … well we can all tell what he means. She picks Will, because he’s been licking his lips the least this whole time.
Next is Peter, who is from Adelaide, where the hairbrush has yet to be invented. Only apparently he’s not next, it’s a girl called Thando. Did I fall asleep for a bit there? We just met Peter and then he was gone.
Thando starts singing and the judges are all bopping away in their chairs to prove that, in fact, they understand the concept of music and are aware that it is what they are currently listening to.
Joel stands up and claps but doesn’t turn. Kylie turns, though, which Ricky finds hilarious.
Finally Joel does turn and the crowd goes moderately wild. Joel and Kylie are locked in a fierce battle for Thando’s charms, but she chooses Kylie, opting for strength in sisterhood.
There is now a brief interlude for Joel and Kylie to gallantly pretend that their rivalry is real and that they care about any of this. “I’m going to crush her,” says Joel, in the voice of a man selecting a new brand of muesli. They then do a sort of improvised comedy skit where Kylie puts on a weird voice and everyone watching just shrugs. I don’t think Kylie even knows what this show is about.
On with the auditions, and Annabelle has an emotional backstory so she’ll probably win the whole thing. But is her voice conventional enough to drive the judges wild? It sure is! Or maybe not. Ricky is either lost in the beauty of the music or has a muscle spasm in his neck.
Kylie keeps thumping her knee, believing it’s the button and wondering why her chair won’t turn around. Eventually it comes down to Kylie and Joel, who have to fake a bit more rivalry, which is hard because they are very close to falling asleep. “You would fit perfectly on my team,” says Joel. It’s a tense moment, but eventually Annabelle chooses Joel.
Time for another interlude where the judges sit in a bit white space and talk some MORE about the Joel-Kylie rivalry. It still doesn’t sound like very much of a thing.
Here is Andrew, who sings Coldplay’s Yellow, wanting to give a fresh, limp spin on Chris Martin's greatest hit. “Girl or a guy?” Kylie asks Will. The judges nod along with the song, in an extremely sarcastic manner given none of them turn around. “Stuffed it,” Andrew accurately says. “No no, far from stuffed it,” Kylie says soothingly but it is clear he fell short.
Next up is someone we can’t see, because The Voice is doing the thing where we get to know how the judges feel, by only hearing the singer and not seeing her.
Of course, we don’t know exactly how the judges feel, because we don’t have production staff constantly refilling our vodka flasks, but anyway we hear her sing and her voice is quite nice and then we see her and she looks fairly normal really. I feel a bit cheated – I was hoping she’d turn out to be just a head in a jar or something shocking.
The next contestant is Luna Envy, who describes her look as “a bit of everything thrown together” even though her look is actually a bit of Goth thrown together with Goth, and then some Goth put on top.
Also her name is Luna Envy, so you know. Strap yourselves in. “I don’t think my mum has ever been as proud of me as for me being in The Voice,” says Luna, proving either that her mother has terrible priorities, or that Luna has literally never done anything worthwhile. Luna sings My Immortal but doesn't win over hearts or minds or judges.
At the end of the song the judges learn that Luna Envy’s name is Luna Envy, and congratulate themselves on an excellent decision in not pressing their buttons. “You’re a star,” Ricky says with cruel irony.
Joel and Kylie engage in a bit more awkward banter and then – oh it’s Peter! The guy with the hair who we saw before and then he didn’t sing.
For some reason we’re subjected to another introductory sequence in addition to the introductory sequence they played earlier in the show, but finally, they’re going to let him sing. Peter’s dad hasn’t come to see him sing, because he doesn’t like to fly. But since they live in Adelaide and would not have had to fly, he probably just doesn’t like listening to his son sing.
Peter begins to sing and Kylie pulls a face. It’s that face people sometimes pull when they hear a guy sing really badly. He’s singing Sweet Disposition, which is a bit funny when you think about it. After a shaky start in falsetto, Peter opens up with his chest voice and starts nailing the notes. Kylie stands up and waves her hands and then thinks better of it and sits down again, ashamed of her exhibitionist streak.
Then Ricky hits his button and Joel hits his button and Kylie hits her button and everything is just going crazy out there, it’s an Escape To Victory-style comeback story as he chooses Ricky as his coach and gives hope to everyone out there who dreams of singing songs that are a bit out of their range.
We then have to sit through the other three judges doing their Ricky impressions in a fairly vicious example of workplace bullying. And then it’s over, but next week promises to have episodes that go even further over their scheduled running time!