Jess Berney made a wise choice in selecting Ricky.
It’s been a few days since the last episode, with Voice fans forced to subsist on repeats and glimpses of what promised to be a surprising round of blind auditions.
These early rounds are arguably the best thing the show has to offer, a chance for the Susan Boyles of the world to have their moment in the sun. But this is still television after all, and there is a quota of good looking people to fill.
25-year-old Sydneysider Carly Yelayotis fit the bill in a sheer blouse, hotpants and stilettos. In the introductory package she spoke of the boyfriend who forced her to choose between him and singing, thus fulfilling the other unspoken rule of reality television - that everybody needs a sob story.
Ricky Martin becomes the popular choice.
Team Ricky had been lagging with only five artists joining his ranks so far, but his vow to be more aggressive and “become the bullfighter” paid off and he picked up the show’s first contestant.
20-year-old mumma’s boy Brandon Duff had a relaxed alternative look going on, his flesh tunnels and hairy chest a far cry from the super groomed child star his mum seemed determined to make of him.
As he took to the stage, Kylie joked that she wanted to “install a rear vision mirror” on her chair which was entirely unfunny as it would defeat the whole purpose of the show.
Will.i.am gets a bad rap .. literally.
Duff’s super-enthusiastic stage mum was rapturous before, during and after his performance of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love, insisting her boy was “already a star” though seemed to be convincing herself. Either way, we’re likely to see more of her as her precious boy was picked up by Team Ricky.
I mean, there’s something very unsettling about someone who skips out of a room singing “we’re off to see the Ricky, the wonderful Ricky of Oz”. I’m rooting for this guy only because I want to see what other musicals Mum can butcher.
Ricky is big on the self-affirmations himself and gazed off camera to deliver this corker – “every time I sit in that chair, I sit with the attitude of a winner”. I mean, who’s the real competitor here? The judges, or the people actually up there singing?
Joel won the TV quinella with his next acquisition – sob story and happy family. Taila Gouge’s dad has had heart surgery three times, she has bright red hair, plays guitar and sings country, which has practically guaranteed her a spot in the top 30.
Another male contestant, another set of flesh tunnels, this time teamed with a ballerina bun and a glossy side fringe. Gold Coast resident Jacob Lee started out strong and Will.i.am hit the button early, which proved to be a giant fail.
Will’s much boasted about production skills (AKA autotune) may be able to fix this guy’s off notes, but what about that weird thing he was doing with his eyes? Perhaps his eyes rolled back into his head to avoid the awkward smile-with-a-hint-of-panic on Will’s face.
The dude can’t rap, and even the usually affable Joel threw some shade his way with his uninvited advice to Will.
“Maybe you should have him sing-rap, rather than rap,” he said.
“I don’t think you should ever take him all the way (to rap).”
At this point I feel obliged to inform you of an upcoming minor Game of Thrones spoiler alert…
Call me crazy, but I couldn’t look at brother-sister duo Cecilia and Gabriel without thinking they belonged beyond ‘The Wall’. Gabriel bore a remarkable resemblance to Bran Stark, while astute social media users compared the pair’s look to Gotye and Lorde.
Ricky and Joel turned their chairs during their rendition of Bastille’s Laura Palmer, and swapped busking at Byron Bay farmers markets for a spot on Aussie Ricky’s team.
Cute 16 year old Keely Brittain from WA’s south coast failed to impress, but was told to try again next year because the pretty ones are always let down gently.
Returned contestant Tom Oliver proved more successful this time around, having shaken off the Garfunkel of last year’s failed duo. The Melburnian turned Kylie’s head and chair with his version of Andy Grammer’s Keep Your Head Up.
Clearly American singer-songwriter Grammer didn’t have anything better to be doing on a Sunday, as he tweeted into the show.
Unlikely songbird Jess Berney from Adelaide was heavily promoted during the week and at several points during the show. A curvy, mohawked lesbian with deeply religious parents, she preceded her performance with a cryptic “I don’t think my voice matches my look”.
She got that right. I had her pegged for a soul diva, but out soared angelic classical piece Pie Jesu. Was it perfect? Nope, but there was a richness to her voice which suggested we might just be blown away later in the series.
With all four judges to choose from, Berney made a wise choice in selecting Ricky, the only one who seemed genuinely enthusiastic about her.
Nine appears to be grooming a star in the making, promoting an exclusive interview with her on A Current Affair tomorrow night. Exclusive by default, as none of the other stations would touch a story promoting a rival network’s show.
So Ricky now has nine in his entourage, leaving Will, Kylie and Joel with eight apiece. A few more blind auditions to go before the real competition begins!