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.
Abilio ‘Abs’ Joao aka BrokenPen – 28 – Original rap – Born and raised in Angola. He grew up on Portuguese music. He’s a social worker who works with youth. His girlfriend is off in the wings watching. Abs is a rapper. Anne-Marie turns pretty fast. She wants a rapper on her team. He’s pretty good–good lyrics and tons of energy. Will turns too. Anne-Marie regrets not blocking Will. “I wrote so much that my pen broke,” is how Abs describes his stage name. He sang in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Anne-Marie points out that Will already has two rappers on his team. Will acknowledges that he’ll be taking a risk if he is chosen! But, Abs considers it a risk worth taking. Wow. Not scared! – Anne-Marie and Will turn. Abs picks Team Will
Leah Cobb – Ex’s & Oh’s by Elle King – 16 – She’s an A student from New Castle. But she likes singing more than school. She’s close to her family. Leah has a big powerful, bluesy voice. Although she exudes confidence, she sounds very young! She has a ton of potential, though. Olly turns pretty fast. And surprisingly, that’s it. Olly calls her “unbelievable.” He says, “You really sold the story to me.” Tom didn’t turn, because his team is filling up. Anne-Marie says she’s already got a singer like Leah on her team. – Only Team Olly turns
Laura Sidney – One Look from Sunset Boulevard – 25 – She’s from South Wales and works as a radio broadcaster. She lives with her grandparents and sister Emily. We don’t find out what happened to her parents. Before her performance, Laura admits to being very very nervous. It’s a tough hill to climb, because she sings a musical theater song in an operatic style. The coaches have balked at classical styles so far. She’s a decent singer, not extraordinary–but decent. Unsurprisingly, there are no turns. She walks off the stage alone. The consensus between the coaches, “I wouldn’t really know what to do with her.” Why do the producers even bother? – No Turns
James Robb – Shape of My Heart by Sting – 27 – He still lives at home with his parents and sister in Hitchins. He does music wherever he can, as he works in a chocolate shop. James has a nice tone and a pretty falsetto. Really fine phrasing as well, despite a few pitchy moments. Anne-Marie turns immediately. Olly hits his button at the last moment. Will calls his voice “juice” adding “Not like that though!” Anne-Marie is swooning. She loved his control, tone and emotion. Olly appreciates his style, and would like choosing his songs. Ultimately, James chooses Anne-Marie because she turned first. – Olly and Anne-Marie Turn. James picks Team Anne-Marie
Midé – My Love by Route 94/Jess Glynne – 33 – He calls himself a “singer-songwriter.” He’s a working musician, living in London with his wife and baby daughter. Having a child has really helped his focus. His R&B sound is dated, but he has a great tone and soul. His voice is very smooth. It takes a minute, but Tom hits his button at the last minute. Probably the best coach for him in any case. Tom calls it “tremendous.” Olly calls his rendition “sexy.” – Only Team Tom turns
Jamie Leigh Nelson – Set You Free by N-Trance – 34 – She lives with her fiance in Essex. Her parents aren’t musical. BUT one of her cousins is Jesy Nelson from X Factor alums Little Mix. So that’s something. Her voice is big. But really really LOUD. Starting at 11 with nowhere to go is not a good strategy. Because she pretty much yells her way through the song, she gets no turns. A performance with more dynamics might have gotten her somewhere. Tom thought she tried to get too much into one song. Will agrees. She tried too much. – No Turns
Jake O’Neill – I Want Love by Elton John – 23 – He’s a telecom agent from Lancashire, who has been singing all his life. He gigs at weddings and pubs. He’s a very soulful singer. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting that. His tone is a little nasally, though. I don’t think I like his harsh tone. He’s pitchy at times, too. But Tom likes it! He hits his button. Will thinks Jake has a great coach. Anne-Marie says, “You didn’t go off pitch once.” (Uhm. yeah he did). Olly compares him to Shawn Mendes, and regrets not turning. – Only Team Tom turned
Grace Holden – Wherever You Will Go by The Calling – 18 – She lives with her dad and older brothers in Essex. Her mother, also a singer, died of cancer five years ago. Dad cries talking about her. “It’s very hard knowing she should be here, but she isn’t.” Grace begins the song in her lower register, and sounds pretty great. That’s a sign of a good range, and indeed, she hits big clear notes later in the verse. She has a sweet, clear, bell-like tone. Nice. Olly turns at the very last minute. Olly is delighted to learn that she’s also from Essex. Currently, she works three jobs, including working at a theater school. Anne-Marie didn’t turn because she’s already got a female singer with a big voice. Olly loved how Grace layered the song. – Only Team Olly turned