Dunno about you, but I think my favourite part of The Voice last night was when guest mentor Megan Washintgon‘s eyes went all funny, and she tuned an electric shade of blue as she screamed at Joel “Instead of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen, not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn, tempestuous as the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth! ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR!” They really are bringing the drama this year.
In all seriousness, though, The Voice has turned mean, and I’m kind of loving it. We’re in the thick of the showdowns, which means we get to see the contestants’ unfiltered reactions as they eye their competitors off from the sidelines. You could start a Tumblr based solely on the disdainful looks that the normally lovely Soli was throwing time traveling pre-revolutionary French peasant Matthew last night. That’s to say nothing of Washington, who brings an all new, much-needed level of meanness to proceedings.
What horrible and wonderful things will she say tonight? Follow our Voice Australia live blog from 7.30pm on Channel 9.
7:24: C Major and Frank are all up in A Current Affair‘s grill tonight, palling around and talking about their hopes and dreams after the show is done. The angry ghost of Karise Eden hovers just above their heads, hissing at the camera and tugging at her hair, but nobody pays her any attention.
7:32: “Who will bomb, and who will be the bomb?” asks will.i.am in the opening clip package, the wisdom in his question undercut only slightly by his shit beanie. For his first showdown, he chooses Louise, a person we’ve all decided to call ‘Voice Lady’ for reasons that remain unclear. Also competing are trail bike riding Anja, and Jacob, who will be played by Tilda Swinton in the Jim Jarmusch movie adaptation of The Voice Australia Season 3. Jacob will be singing One Direction‘s ‘Story Of My Life’, because he wants a challenge. “Do you want to be One Direction or do you want to be Jacob?” asks will. Oh, The Voice. Never, ever change.
7:39: Musical T-1000 Louise strides around the rehearsal room screaming ‘I’ve Got The Music In Me’ in everyone’s faces, and if her strategy is to psych the other singers right the fuck out, then it’s working. Jacob literally hides behind a box until she’s done. When it’s time for the live performances, Anja goes with the Lauryn Hill version of ‘His Eye Is On The Sparrow’. Her vocals are controlled and fairly powerful and at the side of the stage, Louise is flashing a look that’s about 85% teeth and 15% disgust at how good she is. Anja seals the deal by crying at the end, and has the audience in hysterics. Well played, Anja.
7:48: Jacob, who is about as baby-faced as Danny Trejo, is introduced as “the baby-faced busker from the Gold Coast.” He jumps around the stage enthusiastically and holds his hand to his heart through ‘Story Of My Life’. He’s eager and I’d sort of like to know where he bought the t-shirt/hoodie combo he’s wearing, but his vocals are a little thin. Louise strides onto the stage full of the knowledge that she is indeed the shit. Her platinum blonde hair is piled high in a fauxhawk sort of situation and her dress has various metal plates, including one under her bewbz, which does not not make her look like a robot sent from the future to kill us all. She is so creepily confident that even will seems a bit taken aback. He chooses Anja to go through, and sends Jacob to the sing-offs. Wow. A shockingly sensible decision on his part.
7:50: will may be smiling now, but he won’t be so happy when Louise extends her metal arm through his milk carton and head.
8:00: For his showdown, Ricky chooses chill, workin’ on the railroad dude Jackson, former Hi-5-er Fely and dead-eyed killer clown Brandon. “Australia’s number one DJ” Havana Brown says that she’s not “feeling” his performance in the rehearsal room. Fucking hell, wait until she clocks the 13 or so inches of weirdly symmetrical chest hair he’s showing through the neck hole of his singlet. After critiquing his performance, there are several seconds of painful silence, most of which she spends staring at his chest hair, before looking away, unable to take it. Jeez, Brandon’s face is up here, “Australia’s number one DJ” Havana Brown.
8:07: Fely is up first in the live performances, with ‘Hit ‘Em Up Style’. Aww. Whatever happened to Blu Cantrell? Fely is a pretty effortless performer, and proves that confidence doesn’t have to come from stomping around like The Terminator. Her vocals are strong and she gives a fun performance of a fun song. You see, these recaps don’t always have to be snarky. A few more performances like Fely’s would go a long way.
8:13: Dressed in the shiny blue suit that he will wear to your funeral, Brandon takes to the stage to perform ‘Break Even’. Clearly, Dexter Morgan has finally caught up with him and is waiting backstage, because he’s stiff and nervous and uncomfortable as all fuck and sweating like he somehow knows this will be his last ever performance. The judges are clearly waiting for it to be over, so that the lovely Jackson can make it all better. He sings some ballad, and whatever, it’s fine, he’s going through, and tomorrow, pieces of Brandon will be dumped in the ocean off Miami in garbage bags.
8:18: Ricky sends sweet young Jackson through to the finals, and Brandon nods like he knows death is coming soon, his blue eyes filled with terror. Sure enough, Fely goes through to the sing-offs. Have fun atoning for your crimes, Brandon.
8:24: It’s time for Team Joel next. Surfer and metaphor-mixer Laura-Leigh is up against sweet-natured acoustic dude Isaac and person who is probably going to win because she is this season’s Susan Boyle, Jess. “This person is singing pop for the first time,” Joel tells Washington. “What does she normally sing?” Washington asks disdainfully, before it’s explained to her that opera is Jess’s thing. Jess picks ‘Whenever You Need A Friend’, aka the worst Mariah Carey song you could ever possibly pick, and Washington tells her she sounds half-hearted. Laura-Leigh parries back with ‘The Voice Within’, aka the worst Christina Aguilera song you could possibly pick. For a show that’s notionally about pop music, these people hate pop. I’m predicting Isaac’s version of Lorde will win the day.
8:31: Laura-Leigh’s live performance is up first, and she’s strong, if not quote Aguilerean. Next up, it’s Isaac, who does Lorde‘s ‘Tennis Court’, a song written from a woman’s perspective, and to his credit, he doesn’t even try to switch the genders. I hate when people do that, so good on him for, y’know, not. Lorde’s arrangement of the song is lush but his is simple and acoustic and unadorned, and actually really good. If memory serves, Jackson did a really good job with ‘Royals’ a few weeks back. The Lorde covers this year have been really strong. Jess is up last, and her vocals are probably stronger than they have been at any point before, but she doesn’t have the right tone for pop music. Joel sends Isaac through to the finals, and amazingly, it’s Laura-Leigh going through to the sing-offs. Whoah. I was not expecting the Jess narrative to end like that. Tonight was the first of her performances that I’ve actually enjoyed, so now I feel kinda bad. Sorry, Jess.
8:48: Kylie‘s battle team tonight consists of person I still don’t remember Jhoanna, cat ear-wearer Kat, and beardy sex dude Robbie. Kat will sing Paramore‘s ‘Still Into You’, because it shows off the “fun side” of her personality. I guess the ears weren’t doing enough of that on their own? Robbie chooses a Farnsey song and because he knows which way the wind is blowing, he gives a sultry, eyes-closed rehearsal room performance just for Kylie. The first live performer in this round is Jhoanna, who does Alicia Keys‘ ‘Falling’, and out of absolutely nowhere, she kind of kills it. She has very good control, and manages to do the runs without sounding vocally incontinent like so many other hopefuls on singing shows do. She may actually be in with a shot.
8:59: Robbie, the thinking Voice blogger’s boxer-dropper, is up next with his cover of Farnham‘s ‘Burn For You’. He’s a strong performer and has very nice tone, but to be totally honest, if I had to pick just one sensitive, acoustic dude tonight, it would probably still be Isaac, whose vocals have that little bit something extra. Finally, it’s Kat, who is not going down without a fight. She’s wearing her fancy, leopard-print ears and a matching skirt, and swishes around the stage enthusiastically like a slightly demented kids’ show host. Paramore‘s ‘Still Into You’ is a fun, bouncy song and she pitches it just right. Not to be mean to Kat, because she seems really lovely, but the other performers in this bracket were both stronger singers.
9:04: Surprisingly, Kylie takes Kat through to the final, sending Robbie through to the sing-off. This is a bit of a bummer, because I was just starting to warm to Jhoanna, but at least I’ll get another few weeks’ worth of fan fiction stories about running my fingers through Robbie’s scruffy beard, so that’s a silver lining. Night, all.
Picture: Caroline McCredie via Getty Images