The Voice UK belatedly ended the 2020 season only in November, but now the show is back with more hopeful singers hoping to spin at least one chair.
Will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones and Olly Murs are back as coaches, while Anne-Marie replaces the departing Meghan Trainor. Emma Willis returns as host.
The first round, the Blind Auditions, begin this week. If a singer gets at least one chair turn, they advance to the Battle Rounds. If not, the singer heads home, without comment from the coaches. Multiple chair turns give the artist the opportunity to choose their coach. Additionally, each coach gets 1 opportunity to block a coach from “turning” for a singer. It’s a brand new twist for The Voice UK. In the age of COVID-19, the series has a virtual audience.
The coaches open the show with a group number. The quartet sings “You’ve Got the Love” by Florence + The Machine.
Mariam Davina – Anyone by Demi Lovato – 18 – Mariam is a part time hairdresser and McDonalds worker. She lives in Brixton with her family. She began singing in the church, and it’s wear she is used to performing. Olly hits his button first. Miriam is a little off pitch, but her strong deep tone is compelling. She hits those notes in her upper range. A little screamy on the top notes, though. Anne-Marie turns next. Tom takes a minute to make up his mind, and turns at the last minute. Will thought it was two people! She got off to a shaky start. Anne saw her emotion, and calls her “amazing.” Tom could feel what she was doing. Olly calls her “effortless” and “pure.” Even Anne-Marie declared she’d make the finals, Mariam picks Tom. – Anne-Marie, Tom Jones and Olly Murs Turn, Mariam picks Team Tom Jones
Billy Beech – Falling Like Stars by James Arthur – 17 – Billy lives in Grimsby with his close-knit family. He sang on stage all the way through school. He’s mumbly and a little offkey. The coaches listen intently, but nobody turns. He has some nice moments, but he needs a little more experience. A turn wouldn’t be out of the question, though. He should come back. Ohh. Anne-Marie almost turns, but no. I hate that the coaches don’t turn around to meet the singer they rejected. The coaches feel he didn’t let go. “He was thinking of the notes,” says Tom. – No Turns
Nathan Smoker – Can’t Pretend by Tom Odell – 20 – He’s an intern for a Digital Marketing company, and speaks with a thick accent. I need captions! He lives in South East London. He admits to not being very experienced. It’s an interesting song choice. He’s kind of bluesy. Anne and Olly turn at the same time. Hm. There are some pitchy moments. But he powers through the chorus. Really, he’s not much better than Billy before him? But he’s got presence, which helps. Tom finally turns at the last minute. Olly declares one of the best performance he’s heard on The Voice. He compares Nathan to himself. Anne calls the performance “pure and natural.” Olly’s persistence pays off. Nathan picks him. – Anne-Marie, Tom Jones and Olly Murs turn. Nathan picks Team Olly Murs
Lauren Drew – Mama Knows Best by Jessie J – 27 – She’s a musical theater performer from Wales. She’s been performing on stage since 11 years old. Her boyfriend is very supportive. Oh jeez. She’s got a powerful voice. It’s almost too much. You aren’t on a Broadway stage girl. Sing like a pop star. It’s a bit overwrought, I think. Anne and Will hit their buttons pretty fast. Olly and Tom are next. PLZ honey YOU DO NOT NEED TO YELL SO YELLY YOU’RE ON THE TELLY! This gal has to scale it down for TV and smaller stages. Will compliments her strong presence. Olly says she smashed it out of the park. Anne calls her great, and believes they’d work well together. Tom promises he’d give her 100 percent. Lauren hmms and haws before choosing Anne-Marie. – 4 chair turn. Lauren picks Team Anne-Marie
To celebrate her first Team Member, Anne-Marie sings her hit song “2002.”
Okulaja – Everything I Wanted by Billie Eilish – 17 – He’s currently a student. He loves school. He’s studying politics. He would love to be the first Black Prime Minister. He starts the song with a spoken introduction. But oof HE”s PITCHY PITCHY. He jumbles through some awkward rapping. It’s weird? Will turns. Which actually isn’t surprising. He has a soft spot for underbaked young male singers. Will turned because of his unusual and passionate rap. Anne-Marie regrets not turning. She wants a rapper on her team. – Only Team Will.i.am turned
Drew Thomas – Exile by Taylor Swift – 27 – Drew is from Grantham. He had singing and piano lessons in school. He formed a band in school, but it didn’t work out. He skipped University to pursue music. Drew admits to being very nervous. He has a beautiful tone. I’m a little surprised nobody is turning. Maybe there is a pitchy note or two? But he’s passionate. There are a few hands hovering, but no turns. He’s VERY upset, poor dude. Tom admits he was close. Everybody regrets not turning, especially Anne-Marie and Olly. “WE’RE IDIOTS,” Olly shouts. Aw. Drew should come back next year. – No Turns
Jérémy Levif – How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding – 29 – He’s a French and German teacher. He’s originally from France, but has been living in Scotland for the last 7 years. He’s engaged to a local girl. He starts in a lovely, lyrical falsetto. Very nice. His phrasing is gorgeous. And he sings a verse in French. The entire panel hits their buttons. But RHUT RHO. Olly is blocked. After the turns, Jérémy gets a little overexcited and misses a high note. Still, he has a lovely voice. Will compares his voice to playing a musical instrument. Anne loves hearing music in different languages. Tom compliments his control, “It was human.” The singer admits that he follows Olly on Instagram. Maybe he would have picked him? Will actually beat Tom, who also tried to block Olly. Ultimately, Jérémy picks Will. – 4 chair turn, but Will used his BLOCK on Olly. Jérémy chooses Team Will.i.am
Stevie Wonder appears on the screen! Tom recently celebrated his 80th birthday. Stevie does a snip of his own version of “It’s Not Unusual.” He calls Tom a “wonderful” and “lifelong” friend. “I love you with all of my heart,” says Stevie. That was very sweet.
Hannah Williams – Stay With Me by Lorraine Ellison – 38 – She’s a singer and vocal coach from Winchester. She’s married with one 7 year old son. Jay Z called her to sample her voice. However, things petered out after. Hannah is obviously a pro. She sings with a ton of soul. She reminds me A LOT of Bonnie Raitt. Same tone, similar phrasing. Not quite as raspy, though. And she’s got a powerful midrange. Olly turns first, and then Tom. I’m surprised more didn’t hit their buttons. Will magically and immediately finds the song on which Jay Z used her sample? OK then. Will never explains why he didn’t turn. Anne said she thought Tom and Olly were better fits. Olly admits that Tom is major competition. It’s like he’s handing her over. And indeed, Hannah picks Tom. – Tom Jones and Olly Murs turned. Hannah picks Team Tom Jones