For the first time this season The Voice UK goes LIVE as the Top 8 from Team will.i.am, Team Tom Jones, Team Jennifer Hudson and Team Olly Murs perform for viewer votes. The episode airs Saturday (March 31) on ITV 1. After the LIVE vote, four singers will be sent packing. The Final Four will compete in next Saturday’s grand finale for the crown, which includes a record deal with Polydor.
The show opens with the SUPERSTAR COACHES taking the stage with their two-member teams. Will there be a group number tonight? Nope. Sads. Team Olly is up first.
Jamie Grey – Team Olly – Say Something by Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton – Jamie is very excited about Olly’s song choice. He’ll be the only contestant tonight performing with a guitar. This is actually a terrible pick. The song doesn’t highlight Jamie’s strength–his vulnerability. And it lays bare his weaknesses–his tendency to sing flat. That was pretty lackluster overall. “You deserve to be in that final!” says Olly. Tom liked that he played the guitar. Will noted that he didn’t get a turn last year. He calls Jamie “a person that doesn’t give up.” Jennifer “felt the joy in it…living your dream.”
Lucy Milburn – Team Tom – One Last Time by Ariana Grande – Lucy thinks the song isn’t in her niche–it’ll take a lot of work–but she’s up to the challenge. Her breath control could use some work. She’s better and more comfortable in her belting voice. She’s hitting high notes just outside of her range. This song is obviously a challenge for her. While she doesn’t nail it, she finishes admirably. “You sang that song better than the original,” says Tom. UHM. Jennifer says, “We could feel your passion and your heart.” Olly wondered who she was singing it to. She sang, she says with emotion in her voice, for the city of Manchester.
Tai – Team Will – When Doves Cry by Prince – She had done that crazy arrangement of “Jolene” earlier in the competition and she’s worried that the public may not really like her offbeat arrangements. She turns “When Doves Cry” into a labored affair–the song just plods along, without much in the way of dynamics. Will is speaking gibberish, “It was amaze dot com!” Oh boy. Jennifer says she just loves going to “Tai-land.” Har har. Olly says, “You did your thing on it. Fantastic.” Tai graciously thanks the coaches, “for having me” as if she knows this is the end of the road for her.
Gayatri Nair – Team Jennifer – Alive by Sia – The sixteen year old contestant is a little intimidated by the song. I really like her phrasing here. She’s soft and urgent on the verses before opening up on the chorus. Unfortunately, the tune is a little too big for her. By the end of the song, her voice sounds hoarse. Jennifer compliments her energy and ability to engage the audience. Tom is impressed with her control and range. “You’re definitely alive…you’re making me feel alive,” Tom says.
Belle Voci – Team Jennifer – Skyfall by Adele – The classical duo will once again flip a pop song. Jennifer notes that if they make it to the final, she’ll have the opportunity to sing opera with them. That would be something. Welp. I’m not a big fan of pop opera so… I don’t like this arrangement at all–the song performed in English with trilly high notes and clipped pronunciation. There’s no passion in this interpretation. HARD PASS. Jennifer felt like she was at the Academy Awards. OK then. Will compares their performance to advanced geometry. “That was amazing, in more ways than one!” says a smitten Olly.
Ruti Olajugbagbe – Team Tom – Waiting for a Star to Fall by Boy Meets Girl – Ruti battles nerves the closer she gets to the finals. Interesting, because she’s a real contender. But her artlessness is her charm. Her unique tone is so effortless and natural. She has a little wobble on a high note at one point, but other than that, it’s a beautiful performance. The best of the night so far. “Ruti’s voice is so fresh…she doesn’t sound like anyone else,” says Tom. He’s very emotional! He sings a bit of “Tuti Fruti” Heh. “You’re so special and unique,” says Jennifer, “I’m sitting here learning from you.” Will calls Ruti the best singer on the show.
Donel Magena – Team Will – Happy by Pharrell Williams – He’s the youngest contestant in the competition. And his gran is adorable! Donel chose the song and Will is skeptical. He warns that Donel needs to bring something totally different to his interpretation. Donel is not the best singer in the competition, but he’s surely the most entertaining, with his sunny personality and confident dance moves. This performance, with its African flavors, is pretty great. Will is standing on his seat because Donel took the competition to a higher level. Olly says, “You are born to to do what you’re doing.” Jennifer says, “You take us out of competition mode, because we all want to cheer you on.”
Lauren Bannon – Team Olly – In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins – When Olly delivers news of his song pick to Lauren, the look on her face says it all. But eventually, the singer warms up to the song and wraps up the competition portion of the show strong. Her vocal delivery is passionate, unfaltering. She nailed that. Olly says she smashed every bar. “You need to be in the finale.” Lauren calls Olly an incredible coach. Will says, “spectacular from the beginning.”
Now it’s TIME TO VOTE. If you live in the UK. Viewers can vote by phone app or phone/mobile. The vote closes in only 8 minutes.
And now, the reigning The Voice UK winner Mo Jamil from Team Jennifer takes the stage to perform his new single, “That Feeling.” His album was released yesterday. The VOTE IS NOW CLOSED. Results after the break.
THE RESULTS are pretty predictable. The last four acts in tonight’s performance order–one from each coach–advanced to the finale. I’m OK with all the results, except for Belle Voci. But I suppose the finalists are a diverse lot, right?
I’m hoping either Ruti or Donel takes the crown next week. How about you?
Moving on to Next Week’s Finale
- Ruti Olajugbagbe
- Lauren Bannon
- Donel Magena
- Belle Voci
- Jamie Grey
- Lucy Milburn
- Gayatri Nair
*You can watch The Voice UK live, online. ITV streams the show through the ITV Player. However, ITV blocks viewers from outside of the UK. To get around that, you need to use VPN connection. If Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is your preferred browser, install Hola extension and set them to UK server. Then open the ITV Player, make a free account and pick the right channel. The player will ask you for a ZIP code. Find an active UK ZIP code HERE. Make sure you have the cookies enabled. You can also try to find a working ITV stream on MyiPlayer.com, TVPC.com or FilmON.com.