There's something about the latest series of The Voice UK that's better. And I'm not entirely sure what it is. Maybe it's the addition of Kylie Minogue and Ricky Wilson as coaches. Or maybe it's the new presenting duo - Emma Willis and Marvin Humes.
Or perhaps it's a combination of both those things plus Will.i.am and Sir Tom Jones who have always been great. Whatever it is, it's working as The Voice UK is great this year. And last night's first live show of the series, the Quarter Finals were no exception. I was lucky enough to be invited down to watch the show live from the famous George Lucas Stage at Elstree Studios. Here's what went down at The Voice UK quarter finals...
Most of my night was spent watching a man from the future taking selfies at any given opportunity. That man was of course, Will.i.am. The man really is fascinating. I'd love to get inside his head and find out what he's thinking, because wherever his brain is... it's not on this planet. Little did I know that the man sat just metres away from me, with seven pairs of glasses on his head, was starting a UK trend, and that trend was #glassFACE.
Basically thousands of people began sending him photos of themselves with several pairs of glasses on their head which he'd then retweet. When the show had finished I had one quick scroll down his timeline and it was clear to see why for most of the night his eyes were glued to his iPad. If he wasn't taking selfies, or taking pictures of the performances he was setting a new trend.
For Will, everything was a selfie moment - a selfie with Kylie, a selfie with Tom, a selfie with Ricky, a selfie with Emma - in fact the only person Will didn't seem to take a selfie with was myself and Marvin! Never mind... there's always next time. Since the show began in 2012, Will.i.am has always been my favourite. I love the energy he brings to the stage, I love his unpredictability and I love that not everything he says makes complete sense. As for Kylie, I've never been a massive fan, and when The Voice UK first started this year I wasn't too keen on her as a coach. However as the weeks went on I have really warmed to her and I love what she brings to the show.
It seems like the selfie craze has rubbed off on the Aussie pop star too as in between going live, Kylie was able to squeeze one in with presenter Emma Willis. As for Sir Tom Jones... well, what else is there to say? Other than the fact the guy is a massive legend and to be in the same room as him last night was a real honour and it was great to see him at work. Shame he didn't perform. And finally Ricky Wilson, (or 'Ricky from The Kaiser Chiefs' as he's not known - take note Danny from The Script) has been a great addition to the coaching line-up and with a team as strong as his, the overall winner could emerge from Team Ricky.
Then there's Emma Willis and Marvin Humes, who together seem to have turned this show around. Sure I'm a big fan of Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates, but the casting of Willis and Humes couldn't have come at a better time. JLS have only recently split up so having Marvin on screen every Saturday is perfect for any mourning fans. And what about Willis? Well... she's just the nations sweetheart at the moment isn't she? If she's not presenting Big Brother she's getting all social up in This Morning's hub or presenting a regular radio show on Heart - she really is everywhere at the moment, but deservedly so. It's been a long time coming for Emma to really hit the big time and I feel that only now people are starting to appreciate how great a TV presenter she really is.
Together Emma and Marvin have great chemistry and even just since the Blind Auditions, Marvin seems to have come on leaps and bounds and is actually turning into a decent presenter.
There were lots of great performances last night, however for me, there were three that really impressed me tonight and they were Jermain, Sally and Christina Marie. Opening the first live show of the series was never going to be easy but somehow Jermain Jackman, from Team Will definitely managed it. Jermain really brought the soul last night as he covered Bruno Mars' Treasure and to quote Will.i.am, sang it the way Luther Vandross would've sung it. The soulful tones Jermain has are second to none and I have a feeling that as well as being well on the way to being Britain's first black Prime Minister, Jermain may also become our first ever singing Politician.
Then there was Sally, Sally Barker who's on Team Tom and what a perfect fit that is. As soon as she started singing the room fell silent, and I was mesmerised by her tone, her maturity, and the way you could really feel the emotion in her voice. Sure, Sally may not be your typical pop star but there's no denying that she has a great voice that moves people (including Tom Jones) to tears - and for that reason alone I have a feeling she could really win over the British public and become the winner of The Voice UK 2014.
And finally, proving that "saving the best 'til last" really is a thing was Christina Marie from Team Ricky. Out of all the performances tonight, she was the one who really gave me goosebumps and sent shivers over my body. I was taken in by the power of her voice and those notes... just wow. It didn't feel like a Quarter Final performance, but rather a Winner's performance - or better still, a professional performance from an artist who has come on to promote their latest single.
Luckily, Jermain Jackman, Sally Barker and Christina Marie have all made it through to next week's Semi Final and will have to sing with their coaches. Jermain with Will.i.am, Sally with Sir Tom Jones and Christina Marie with Ricky Wilson. Now there are three duets I do not want to miss.
There was also the group performance which every year I've sat at home and tweeted about how bad it sounds. And having watched last night's show back it's fair to say I would probably said the same about last night's group number. However, it's a whole different ball game when you're in the studio and hearing them sing it live. For me, it was one of the highlights of the episode - everyone sounded great and the audience were pumped and ready to party. It's a real shame that this didn't come across to the viewers at home.
Sadly it was the end of the road for Iesher from Team Will, Rachael from Team Kylie, Georgia from Team Tom and Emily from Team Ricky as twelve became eight and they were sent packing. Do I think I've spotted a potential star? Yes, I do... and more than one. I feel that now the show is in it's third series the time has never been better for The Voice UK to produce a real UK star. Something the show has so far failed to achieve.
If rumours are to be believed, then Kylie Minogue may not be returning to the show next year, and that's a real shame as I feel she has played a big part in turning the show around and turning it into the show to beat in the Saturday night ratings. Let's hope Ricky, Tom, Will, Emma and Marvin all stick around for series four, but let's not forget, this series is not over just yet as there are two live shows left before the winner of The Voice 2014 is revealed. We were also treated to performances by Jason Derulo and One Republic.
Next week's performances are having somewhat of a Latin makeover as both Enrique Iglesias and Shakira will be performing on the show. Having been a fan of the show since day 1, it was nice to go and experience the live shows in person and I'm glad I waited for this series to do it, as I really do feel it's the best yet!