Last night, instead of watching an episode of Game of Thrones or playing a game of chess or working on our family tapestry like we normally would, H and I experimented with popular culture and watched The Voice. If you’re not from these parts, The Voice is a TV singing talent show. The twist to it seems to be that there is a round of blind auditions in which the four judges can’t see the singers. Each judge has a buzzer and if they like what they hear they can buzz and spin around to see the singer. If they are the only judge who buzzes, they get that singer on their team. If two judges buzz, the singer gets to choose whose team they go on, and thus one judge gets a taste of rejection.
Don’t ask me what happens to the teams once the audition rounds are over. Maybe they fight each other with foam sticks. Perhaps there’s a cook-off where they have to produce a Ferran Adria dish of molecular muesli while renovating a medieval cathedral using only a $25 Bunnings voucher and their pluck. I probably won’t stick around to see.
The judges are Keith Urban, Seal, Joel Madden and Delta Goodrem.
Keith is a country singer who is married to Nicole Kidman. He seems markedly less lunatic than Tom Cruise.
Seal is a English singer, recently divorced from supermodel Heidi Klum, who sports some terrific scars on his face from when he fell in a rosebush, an event he immortalised in his breakout hit of 1995, ‘Kiss From A Rose’. (I think he may be a sea lion, actually, not a seal, because he appears to have external ears, which true seals don’t.)
Joel Madden is the guitarist from a band called Good Charlotte, whose music I have not heard, and he’s the son-in-law of Lionel Richie. He has a lot of tattoos and seems like a nice fellow.
Delta Goodrem is the former Neighbours starlet turned over-emotional recording sensation. She has done very well despite her disability – she has eighteen-foot-long arms.
The set of the show is very red. It’s looks like what it would feel like to live in a Coca-Cola showbag circa 1989.
One after the other, the contestants front up with two mates, or their parents, or their parole officer and a lion tamer. They all sing well, even though they must all be exhausted before they start on account of each having been on a Journey. There’s lots of talk of said Journeys, and of the love the contestants have for their family and friends. Except for one bloke, who rather surprisingly admits: ‘My wife Samantha works really had to make sure I’m not content with my life.’ I don’t think that’s really what he means, but you never can tell. The same man has kids called Elvis and Delilah, so you can be pretty sure there will be some tough Journeys ahead of them too.
But watching the performers is only about a quarter of the fun of this show. The true joy and pain lies in watching the judges listen without being able to see the singers. They all groove along in their own ways. Keith shakes his shaggy locks and mouths the words along with the singer. Joel is quite cool. He listens and reacts like a normal person, even if he is a bit too prone to leaping out of his seat, but at least he seems genuine. Delta and Seal make me cringe like nothing has since that scene at the end of Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze and his band of sweaty gutter dancers shimmy down the aisle towards a mortified-looking Jennifer Grey.
Delta is so very beautiful and so tremendously awkward. She has two moves: a dicky shoulder dance worthy of a mother of three having a night on the margaritas, and a cheeks-sucked-in, eyes-closed ‘feeling’ the music schtick. She’s like a judgmental praying mantis with hair extensions, and when she has to get up she looks visibly pained. Her shoes aren’t made for walking.
It’s fantastic when someone gets buzzed and thus will have the opportunity to continue on through the competition and share their gift (they all have a ‘gift’), but it’s more fun when no judge buzzes. Then you get to see them all turn around and face the unfortunate whom no one wanted on the their team. No one knows what to say and everyone looks embarrassed. ‘It was so lovely to turn around and see your shining hair,’ said the ever tactful Delta to one poor girl.
I watched The Voice for nearly the whole hour, and it was definitely engaging, but then some pictures of an extremely cute newborn in our family appeared on Facebook and I lost interest. Thus probably ends my reality TV watching for the year.