The Voice UK belatedly ended the 2020 season only in November, but now the show is back with more 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 are underway. 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 one 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.
Joe Topping – Forever Young by Bob Dylan – 42 – He loves being a stay at home dad with two. When the kids are at school, he writes songs in the woods. His voice is soft and a bit off pitch. He picks up some steam in the second verse. But I’m not hearing anything special. His phrasing is flat. Regardless, Olly and Tom Turn. And Olly finds him good enough to use his block. Olly calls his performance “impeccable” adding “I genuinely loved it.” Tom is sorry he didn’t hit sooner to avoid Olly’s block. Will compliments Joe’s timing. – Olly and Tom turned. Olly blocked Tom. – Joe joined Team Olly
Yana Bing – Stupid Love by Lady Gaga – 21 – Her dad accompanied her to the studio. But we also meet her best friend Esther who is also a singer and will audition for the coaches next. Both singers are from Cornwall. The Gaga song she chooses isn’t a great pick. It doesn’t really showcase her voice. She’s yelpy, pitchy and obviously nervous. The coaches bounce their heads, but aren’t even close to hitting their buttons. Unlike the US, the coaches don’t turn to interact with the no turns. The rejected walk off the stage in silence–and often in tears. – No turns
Esther Cole – Let Me Down Slowly by Alec Benjamin – 21 – Esther lives with her mom and dad, who are “massive” supporters of her music. She came to the audition with her friend Yana, who auditioned first and didn’t get a turn. Now she’s nervous! She chose a better song, a ballad. Unlike Yana’s choice, the song allows Esther’s voice to shine through. She hits some big big notes at the end, and at the very last minute Olly and Tom hit their buttons. Aw. What’s Yana feeling? Esther chastises the coaches a bit for not turning for her best friend. The coaches say, “Tell her to come back!” Anne-Marie calls her voice Angelic and pure. Tom calls her voice “lovely.” Olly mentions that the last time he had a girl from Cornwall, they won. Esther picks Tom. It’s so funny, he’s such a legend, he barely has to sell himself at all (usually, he doesn’t!). – Olly and Tom turn. Ester chooses Team Tom.
Leona Jorgensen – Sunflower by Post Malone & Swae – 26 – She’s a full-time musician from Sheffield, who loves to play basketball. She wanted to play professional, but not tall enough. She’s been busking. “The streets are the stage,” she says. Also, she’s found some success on TikTok. Hm. I think her voice is an acquired taste. She’s flat and nasally in spots and her enunciation is bad. But there’s something about her that’s compelling. Anne-Marie hits her button. Anne-Marie knows her from TikTok and Instagram! But didn’t realize it until she turned. Leona demonstrates her rapping for the coaches. It’s not bad. – Only Team Anne-Marie turned
During a break, Tom takes a song request from one of the virtual audience members. He sings “Cry to Me.” Dang. His voice hasn’t diminished at all over the years. It’s hard to believe he’s 80 years old. PLEASE KEEP HIM SAFE FROM COVID HE’S A TREASURE.
Kezia – You Love is King by Sade – 33 – She has two sons who are 13 and 14. She loved being a mother. Her entire family is musical. Also, she’s dyslexic. She got pregnant at 18 and had to put music on hold for a bit. It’s an unusual song choice, and she does her own thing with it. She probably would have gotten more turns, if not for a few pitch problems. Her phrasing is real nice. Will hits his button near the end. Tom looked close. But I think her pitch got in the way. Will loved the twist she put on a classic song. Tom and Olly regret not turning, a little. Her mom is watching from the virtual audience. – Only Team Will turned
Kim Jennett – Losing My Religion by R.E.M. – 25 – From Warrington, she was a bit of an “emo kid.” She loves “rocking out.” The beginning of the song is too low for her, and she’s having issues staying on pitch. Once she hits the chorus, she fares better. She’s got a typical growly rock voice. The sound is dated? But she’s decent. She ends on a big note. But, she gets no turns. Rock these days is a hard sell. Both Olly and Anne-Marie were rolling their eyes a bit. – No Turns
Matt Croke – Come What May by Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor – 33 – Matt’s from Sheffield. He and his sister run a “dancing school.” They teach musical theater, including vocal lessons. It’s been a tough year for Matt, with theaters closing all over the world. His falsetto is lovely, but a little shaky at the beginning. Eventually, though, he hits his stride. Ultimately, Matt has a lovely voice. Olly hits his button. He had said earlier he wanted a diverse team. Tom didn’t feel comfortable coaching a musical theater artist. Olly admits he has no musical theater experience, but he’s excited. – Only Team Olly turned
Benjamin Haycock – Restlessness by Benjamin Haycock (Original song) – 24 – He’s originally from Birmingham, but now he lives in Devon with his wife. It’s by the sea! Benjamin was 16 when his father died. His original song is an “open letter” to him. He plays guitar, using it as a percussive instrument. He sings the first verse, but then breaks out into a very fast rap verse. It’s the kind of performance that would flummox the US coaches, to be honest (also The Voice US doesn’t allow original songs until the final). His singing is very gowley. He performs with the raw urgency of an artist like Jeff Buckley. He’s interesting. Will and Anne-Marie turn first, and then Tom and Olly at the last minute. Will calls him the real deal. Anne-Marie loved his flow. Tom compliments his rhythm and timing. But he also loves Benjamin’s singing. Olly calls him stunning and wants to break the rules–Benjamin should sing his own songs every week. Will promises to let him do his thing, and then Benjamin chooses him. – 4 chair turn. Benjamin chose Team Will