Sunday, 23 June 2013

My weekend reality TV round-up - Big Brother and The Voice UK.

Last night saw the final of The Voice UK 2013, and even though the song choices for all the finalists didn't exactly fill me with excitement (bar Jessie J and her finalist Matt Henry singing my favourite Luther Vandross song 'Never Too Much', and The Script with Danny O'Donoghue's finalist Andrea singing 'Hall of Fame') I still enjoyed the show. I really like The Voice. But what I wasn't too keen on last night was the way certain judges seemed to try and guide the voting public - and not in a subtle way, either. Leah McFall was the obvious favourite going into the final last night, and she sang incredibly well, I have to admit. Yes, she really does have an individuality and a unique voice that makes her stand out from the crowd, and I thought her performance with last night was fantastic. The most entertaining of the night, probably. But Tom Jones spoke a lot of sense when he said that one man's meat is another man's poison - what one person likes, another won't. And he felt that the public should vote for who they want to vote for, not for who Will or Jessie tells them to.

And, in a way, I can't help thinking that their blatant canvassing for Leah might have backfired slightly, and maybe even cost her the title. When Andrea Begley was announced as the winner, well, not everyone's faces were alight with excitement. Because I think everyone really thought Leah had it in the bag. The thing is, though, that sitting there almost telling people who to vote for can really have the opposite effect with the public. And we don't always want to see an obvious winner, either. I always had a feeling that Andrea could throw a curve-ball in the final, and, if you think about it, this show is called The Voice. And that's exactly what Andrea has - a beautiful, beautiful voice. No gimmicks, no image, just an incredible voice. She isn't exactly my cup of tea, and I can't say I'll be rushing out to buy her album, but then, the same goes for Leah. She isn't really my cup of tea either. I'm still with Team Tom. Out of all the finalists on that show last night Mike Ward is still the one whose records I'd listen to, being a big country fan, followed by Matt. I loved Matt's voice. But Andrea is, in my eyes, a worthy winner. Whether people like it or not she was the one the public voted for. And, let's face it, Leah is guaranteed a career in the music industry, winner or not. In fact, I'm surprised Simon Cowell isn't banging on her door as we speak...

Winner of The Voice UK 2013 Andrea Begley with host Holly Willoughby and coach Danny O'Donoghue
So, for all of those people banging on about how unfair it is that Leah didn't win, shut up! She's probably going to be the biggest winner out of this series anyway. The one who gets the biggest career, the most exposure and, in reality, if that's what she's looking for, then it's probably best for her that she didn't win. I mean, let's look at a case in point in here when it comes to talent shows - when Joe McElderry won 'X Factor' there was a huge hoo-ha that year because everyone thought Olly Murs should have been the winner. Fast forward a few years, and let's look at their careers now - Joe McElderry is appearing at two-bit music "festivals" in a park opposite the beach in South Shields, whereas Olly Murs is supporting Robbie Williams on his stadium tour. Who's the winner now, huh? Sometimes, if you want better control of your own musical future, it's best not to win these shows. And I think even Leah, and hopefully Mike, know that. They know that they've built that platform now, had that exposure, and they can work on that. We'll be seeing a lot more of quite a few of the contestants from this year's show in my opinion. But congratulations to Andrea Begley - in the true spirit of the show, she really did have The Voice!

And just before I leave the subject of The Voice, I'm aware that a lot is being said - especially on Twitter - about Andrea winning only because she received the sympathy vote. For those of you who don't know, and I didn't mention it because I didn't think it was relevant - Andrea is visually impaired with only, 10% I think it is, vision. Should that have any bearing on her quite obvious natural talent? No. It shouldn't. And anyone who's said she won only because she's disabled should be ashamed of themselves. She has a true, God-given talent and that is the reason she won. Enough said.

OK. Onto Big Brother! And what a first eviction night we had last Friday! It almost reminded me of the BB early years back in the day, when I'd actually get excited about eviction nights, and care about who went and who stayed. Did I agree with this year's first eviction of Sallie Axl? Oh God, yes! Now, I'm not usually one for advocating the eviction of the more entertaining housemates so early on in a series, but in my opinion she wasn't really entertaining - she was just downright bloody annoying! She got on my nerves, anyway. I just think she took over the house too much. It was always her mouth you could hear, above everyone else's, and I think that's why we haven't really had a chance to see much of a lot of the other housemates yet. Now she's gone a few more may start to come out of their shells and make more of an impact than they have done so far.

First BB evictee Sallie Axl. Can't say I'll be sorry to see the back of those shorts...
Anyway, back to that first eviction night - as far as entertaining TV went (if you like that kind of thing - which I do) it was brilliant! Sallie did a first class job of showing herself up big time during her eviction interview with a very beautiful, I have to say, Emma Willis. She was quite obviously gutted to be the first one out but then, when you've had most of the other housemates telling you for most of the week that you're going to be safe and you aren't going anywhere, no wonder she was a bit miffed to be booted out first. But I really don't think she handled that interview well at all. Yes, the crowd probably are a bit "pantomime" with the all the booing - it's what they do on eviction nights now - but she didn't deal with it in the best way. Shouting "Shut the f**k up!" at them is only guaranteed to aggravate them even more, and anyone with an ounce of intelligence who was familiar with Big Brother would work that out. She should have played to it, not fought against it. That tactic worked wonders for Nasty Nick...

But her shining moment came when Michael, "the People's Puppet", was finally unmasked, and forced, poor bugger, to share a stage with Sallie whilst Emma interviewed him, too. And that was almost car-crash TV. Despite the fact Sallie had been made aware of the fact Michael really was an actor, she still didn't seem to get it. She kept calling him fake - of course he was fake! It was his job to be fake! That was what he was being paid for! I think, by the time she appeared on Big Brother's Bit on the Side later on, it might have finally sunk in, but all she did during Michael's interview was show herself up. Kudos to Emma Willis, though, for doing a brilliant job. Not sure I'd have had the patience meself...

Personally, I didn't really take to Sallie as a housemate, and I'm not sorry to see the back of her. In fact, I was sick of seeing the back of her to be honest. Quite happy those shorts of hers aren't going to be inflicted on us any longer.

"People's Puppet" Michael with BB host Emma Willis
Still, the first week in the Big Brother house has certainly been a good one. Michael "the Mole" did a good job; there've been arguments, fights, and possible breakdowns, just the kind of thing we like to see on Big Brother. The only fear now is that things are going to settle down just a little too much. What doesn't make good viewing is too much "nicey-nicey" behaviour. Everyone being the best of friends can be a bit boring to watch, and whilst I'm not advocating all-out war (although, that did liven up Big Brother 5... just saying...), a little bit of friction can really help to liven up a highlights show. Take note, Channel 5. Don't let this good start wane into a series that becomes dull and lacklustre, because I think we have quite a good mix of housemates this year. It has all the ingredients of a really good series, so I just hope it turns out to be one. I don't want to have to switch off halfway through because the boredom's setting in, so I really hope there are a few ideas being worked on to mix things up again. And if you don't have any, please feel free to get in touch - I've got plenty! ;)

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