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I TALK The Voice UK (Series 5, Quarter Final)

Last night, the fifth series of The Voice UK (the last on the BBC) kicked off their live shows with a Quarter Final, and I was invited along to watch.

This year’s series has seen a couple of changes when it comes to the coaches; Sir Tom Jones was replaced by Boy George, whilst Rita Ora moved over to The X Factor, making way for Paloma Faith to join the line-up.

When the announcement was first made, I was excited to see Paloma and less excited to see Boy George, but as the series has continued, the opposite is now true.

Whilst I’m a fan of her music, and have always enjoyed seeing her in interviews, Paloma Faith as a coach doesn’t do it for me. I’ve found her a bit all over the place, moaning about not turning around EVERY TIME she didn’t turn around, not to mention picking the wrong three to take through to the finals. In my opinion, Deano, Dwaine and Aaron each deserved a place in the live shows.

Boy George on the other hand is someone I had not been looking forward to seeing on The Voice UK, but in my opinion, has become the saving grace of the show this year. He’s funny, he’s charming, a lot more down to earth than I thought he would be, and gives the best comments.

For the third year in a row, I was invited down to Elstree to sit in the audience for the live Quarter Final of  The Voice UK. Going into the show I was mainly Team Ricky and Team Will. Kevin Simm and Chloe Castro being my favourites from Ricky Wilson’s team, and Lydia Lucy and Lyrickal being my favourites from’s team.

Unfortunately, just as I was entering the studio, it was announced online that Chloe Castro from Team Ricky had withdrawn from the competition due to health reasons, and Beth Morris from Team Paloma had also left the competition, after "personal reasons” which saw The Voice producers and the BBC agree that she should leave the competition.

With each coach able to give a ‘Fast Pass’ to one of their acts, it meant the public would have to choose which 4 of the 6 remaining contestants deserved a place in next week’s semi-final.

Opening the show was Team Will, and kicking it all off was Lydia Lucy, who eagle-eyed viewers will remember from The X Factor. She gave a very confident performance of Jocelyn Brown's Somebody Else’s Guy, even throwing in a cheeky rap... Not to mention hitting some incredible notes!

Lydia’s performance was a perfect way to kick off the semi-final. If you’re looking for someone who has the whole package, out of all the finalists, Lydia is probably it... but there are stronger voices in the competition.

I must be honest, last week was the first time I had properly sat up and paid attention to Lyrickal. He can wrap, he can sing, and last night he proved that he’s got a whole load of soul.

Described by some as this year’s novelty act, something usually associated with The X Factor, the 46-year-old from East London proved that he is anything but, delivering a very moving performance of James Morrison's Just Like A Child.

Last to perform for Team Will was Lauren Lapsley-Browne who in my opinion gave a very safe (and dare I say, clichéd) performance of Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer. The least said about that, the better.

Next up was Team Paloma, and kicking things off was Heather Cameron-Hayes who matched her dress to her piano. Aside from the matching piano and but what really impressed me was her voice. For the youngest contestant on The Voice UK this year, she perhaps has the most mature and controlled voice out of anyone. I don’t like to compare people to other artists, but there’s definitely a touch of Adele in Heather.

Despite not a single coach turning around during the blind auditions, Jordan has found her way into the Quarter Final. I’ve never been a big fan of Jordan. I can appreciate that she’s a great singer, but it just wasn’t for me.

That was until last night, when she sang Florence + The Machine’s Shake It Out. Not only did she deliver on the vocals, but she has stage presence. She’s able to command the stage like no one else in the competition, and even decided to throw into her performance a couple of signature Michael Jackson moves

Team Ricky were next, and having lost Chloe, it was the turn of the boys, Kevin Simm and Jolan. Up first was Kevin (yes, him from Liberty X), who proved once more that he’s got an incredible voice, but sadly I have to agree with who described Kevin’s voice as the best this competition had EVER, but thought the song choice wasn’t the best.

Chandelier was such a strong first audition that it was always going to be difficult for Kevin to top it, but as long as he continues to prove himself as a great singer, I don’t see any reason as to why we won’t be seeing Kevin in the final.

Dubbed the ‘Comeback Kid’, Jolan first auditioned for The Voice UK in Series 3, whilst his mum was still alive, but it wasn’t meant to be. This time around Jolan is doing everything he can to prove himself but I’m afraid that much like Ricky, the song choice wasn’t right.

Song choice is perhaps THE most important thing to consider when it comes to proving yourself on shows like The Voice UK, and with 2/2 bad song choices this week, next week I’d imagine someone else will be picking the songs.

Closing the show were Team Boy George. First up was Harry Fisher, who dared to do what most would avoid, and cover a legendary David Bowie track. It’s hard to make such an iconic song your own, but Harry managed it, and his performance was one of my favourites from the night.

The penultimate performance of the evening came from Vangelis, who sang the Eurythmics classic Here Comes The Rain Again. I don’t know about you, but up until last night, I hadn’t really heard of Vangelis, and I’m afraid that after a rather safe song choice I might struggle to remember him next weekend!

A favourite with the viewers at home, Cody Frost was left to the very end, closing the show with a haunting and powerful performance of Duran Duran’s Ordinary World. I’ve not been Cody’s biggest fan throughout the previous rounds, and couldn’t really see why she was so popular with the viewers at home, but actually I can’t really fault her performance.

What’s nice about Cody is that she knows who she is. She isn’t trying to be anyone else.

Unlike other talent shows, the results show isn't pre-recorded and saved for Sunday, instead they decided it airs on the same evening, with 10 minutes between the live show and the results. So if you don’t want to know who missed out on a place in the semi-final, please don’t read ahead!

The results show started with a performance from all four coaches, who collectively took to the stage to sing Get It On by T. Rex. I know that group performances don’t go down well with viewers at home, I’m partial to a tweet or two about how awful these performances are, but when you’re in the studio, it’s a whole different matter.

Musically, Ricky, Paloma, Boy George and are all very different, so obviously picking a song that will suit them all is a difficult task but I can only go by the atmosphere in the studio, and actually I thought each of the four coaches delivered great vocals.

Last year The Voice UK started to follow The X Factor’s lead by inviting the previous winner back onto the show to perform and the same was true last night, as reigning champ Stevie McCrorie, who reached number 6 in the UK chart with his debut single Lost Stars and number 35 with his debut album Big World, returned to the stage to perform a track from his debut album. I couldn’t tell you the name of the song, or even sing you any of it. Make of that what you will.

Also performing during the results show were one of the UK’s hottest bands, Years & Years who performed their latest single Desire.

Sadly, two people did have to leave the competition and it was between Lydia, Lauren, Jolan, Vangelis, Heather and Harry after fast passes went to Lyrickal, Jordan, Kevin and Cody.

The first contestants through were Lydia and Jolan, followed by Vangelis and Heather, meaning that Lauren and Harry both missed out on a place in next week’s Semi-Final, which will see the eight remaining contestants perform with their coaches.

All in all it was a very entertaining Quarter Final, I always enjoy going down to watch The Voice UK, and I do genuinely think there is some great talent there this year. Emma Willis holds it all together like the pro she is, whilst Marvin is resigned to “The V Room” where he’s forced to ask the contestants (and coaches), some awkward and often dull questions from the viewers at home.

A particular highlight of mine from last night’s Ricky Wilson quoting Louis Walsh (yes, him from t’other side), telling Irish girl Lauren that she “looks like a a pop star” and “sounds like a pop star”, a line made famous by Louis on The X Factor.

With only two weeks left until the final (ITV, please make the live shows longer next year), it really is anyone’s for the taking. If you ask me who I’d like to win, it’d have to be either Kevin or Lydia - but if you ask me who I think will win, I think it’s going to be between Jordan and Cody... meaning that we could see the first ever transgender winner of The Voice UK.

The Voice UK continues Saturdays at 7pm on BBC One


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