‘The Voice Australia’: Live Blog Grand Finale

So here we are, physically and emotionally exhausted, at the end of another season of The Voice. Soon, Kylie will squirm her last; will.i.am will utter his last nonsensical, run-on sentence; Ricky will rise from his usual deck chair on the beach, and after a moment of fleeting eye contact with Jackson in the surf, will collapse and fall down dead; Joel will continue to be a vaguely human-shaped lump of trucker caps and tattoos. 
And what of the contestants in tonight’s Grand Finale? Yesterday, we learned that The Voice will not be foisting another dodgy victory single on the Australian public purely for its own sake, so the music-buying public will have to wait a week or longer before the business of utterly ignoring either Johnny, Frank, ZK, Anja or Jackson can commence. Sorry, I keep forgetting we’re meant to be referring to Frank as Lakoudis now, because it makes him sound more grown-up and edgy.

The stakes are pretty low tonight, and frankly, unless there’s some kind of last-minute twist where Sabrina shows up in a Godfather 3-esque helicopter gunship to blast the place to smithereens and claim victory for herself, I don’t have a hell of a lot invested in this finale. I do have a hell of a lot of hard liquor, though, so the evening may not be a total write-off. 

Strap in, and follow our Voice Australia Live Blog from 7.30pm on Nine. This is going to be a bumpy-ass ride.

7:34: The nation has already voted, so this could all be over in five minutes, but Nine has the top-rated program in Australia so they’re gonna milk this thing for all it’s worth, dammit. Number of ciders I’ve consumed so far tonight: two. Number of judges currently performing a Russell Morris (not Midnight Oil) song to full up space: all four. Ghosts of Voice eliminations past Sabrina BatshitGabriel and CeceliaElly Oh and more all join them, a reminder of how much more interesting this could all have been.

7:41: As we welcome the judges, Joel does jazz hands and pokes out his tongue, trying some sort of late-game gambit to establish himself as the quirky one. Sorry Joel, that ship has sailed. will holds up an iPad for no reason other than he’s probably getting paid tens of thousands of dollars to do so. Voting lines are open for another few minutes, but the finalists won’t be singing for your approval, so you’l have to base your last-minute decision on their stunningly awkward banter. The phone numbers flash by and there’s no surprise sixth option to vote for Sabrina. Let’s burn this whole damn thing to the ground.

7:47: Dinner montage! The finalists head to a fancy restaurant in Sydney. ZK don’t know what fork to use. Kylie tells an anecdote about the first oyster she ever ate, Joel gives a speech about the importance of following your dreams, Jackson‘s eyes bore holes into everything, and Frank is just really, really happy to be there. That’s just classic all of those people. I’d watch a Vine of Kylie eating an oyster in slow-motion.

7:55: In a montage, will takes ZK to visit a school for indigenous kids, and takes Anja to the zoo to watch performing seals. Make of that whatever you want. Johnny goes home to visit his family, and they’ve made a ‘Welcome Home Buster’-style sign for him. Frank eats a big Greek dinner surrounded by various family members, and grins like a lunatic. I don’t remember a damn Jackson does. All this padding is giving me a lot of time to chug reasonably-priced ciders so I’m not complaining.

8:00: A tracksuit-wearing Johnny is performing a duet of ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ with Kylie, and it’s one of the more bizarre things The Voice has served up this season. Seeing the two of them perform together, you truly realise how much he towers over her. He’s showing a scandalous amount of ankle and she’s twirling around the stage like the baby jellyfish from Finding Nemo. Johnny’s chill, soulful dude thing doesn’t really fit with this song, and he’s clearly taking the piss. The audience are on their feet because they’re too confused to be anywhere else.

8:09: Little-known fact: will.i.am single-handedly saved the world in the wake of 9/11 by gifting the world with the Black Eyed Peas‘ ‘Where Is The Love’. At least that’s the outrageous lie what he’s telling his team right now. When they all perform it together, he’s gracious enough to let ZK and Anja sing a few bars here and there as he raps around them. The Z half of ZK is wearing a lime green leopard-print vest that he stole from Dennis Rodman. K‘s grandma is in the audience and it’s very sweet. Apparently, there are some results coming, as well as something called Sheppard. I don’t know what that is but I don’t think I’m going to like it.

8:21: Oh, that’s who Sheppard are. Somewhere on the Gold Coast, whatever’s left of Operator Please is probably fucking fuming.

8:25: There’s a “very special” duet coming up next – I’m guessing that means Ricky is going to teach Jackson about the perils of underage drinking or something like that. ‘Every Breath You Take’ is an appropriate song choice, because when ol’ starey eyes Jackson sings ‘I’ll be watching you’, I’m inclined to believe him, and a little bit creeped out. It’s all very polished and polite until Jackson hits a bum note at the end. He has never not looked terrified to be on stage, right?

8:36: Beardy face Robbie is backstage, looking like someone’s dad. Rawr. I’m into it. Meanwhile, Joel and Frank are preparing for their duet. Frank’s mind is blown that there’s a 13-year age gap between them. I feel like it doesn’t take much to blow Frank’s mind, though. He’s a sweet kid. They duet on Imagine Dragon‘s “Radioactive’, and vocals-wise, the student definitely surpasses the teacher. There’s a confusing amount of black leather on stage. “There’s a strange smell on stage now,” says Darren. On point, as always.

8:46: I don’t know what will.i.am is keeping in that backpack but it’s not his sense of dignity.

8:42: The Voice is really taking its sweet time to get to those results. The coaches sit around in a bar making stilted small talk about how much they love Australia. Kylie looks physically uncomfortable. Her smile is tight and her bun is tighter and she’s counting down the seconds until this is all over. Finally, the finalists are ushered to the stage. Frank is smiling giddily and I’m not sure he understands what’s happening.

8:57: Thousand-yard stared Jackson is still in the running, and joining him is Johnny. It’s consolidation time, and the last one through is Anja. This is actually a fairly surprising turn of events. Poor Frank is still just happy to be there. “I got to live all my rock and roll fantasies,” he says, which is a little grim. ZK look a little bit crushed. Where does this leave us? Of the contestants still in the running, I guess Jackson has the potential to be some chilled, Matt Corby-esque tunes and do okay. I’m not sure who’s going to be buying Johnny or Anja’s songs, though. 

9:01: Aww. Frank was going to propose to his fiance if he won, but he’s still smiling his way through this.
9:11: Further hammering home the Matt Corby thing, Jackson performs ‘Resolution’. With his hair down, he has the raw, animal sexuality of Kenny G. Twitter seems to agree with me that Jackson makes altogether too much eye contact, and he does that trick a few more times, staring directly into Australia’s soul with his baby blues. He throttled that song a bit but everyone’s already voted and there’s a fairly good chance he’s going to win, right? The show pads things out even further with a montage of Jackson’s greatest hits, including his Death In Venice meeting with Ricky on the beach. Darrne then asks Jackson what it was like for him watching all that back, and then in a few seconds, we’ll see a clip package featuring this conversation. The Voice has officially eaten its own tail.

9:18: will
is still sulking because ZK are gone, and in the most dramatic moment of the evening, he totally ices Jackson out. Kyles says that Jackson smells like Team Kylie Spirit. I have no idea what that’s like, but I’m guessing there’s a hint of pineapple lube in there.
9:26: “We’re getting closer and closer to crowning the new voice of Australia.” SHUT YOUR LYING MOUTH, DARREN. Anja is up next, performing ‘When Love Takes Over’ in front of a giant disco ball ball-slash-love heart. She fells like she has this in the bag, there is glitter exploding behind her. This whole thing may or may not be some sort of a backdoor pilot for a Perfect Match reboot. 

9:38: Ugh. Look, I dunno, maybe Johnny‘s sexy, but I just got through having a conversation in the ad break about ranking the sexiest Hobbits – for the record, it goes Sam, Merry, Pippin then Frodo – so it’s fair to say my tastes might be out of step with the general public’s. Johnny rehashes his earlier performance of ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ and everyone goes pretty apeshit for his soulful crooner routine. I might have read this all wrong, and Johnny might be walking away with this whole thing tonight.

9:41: I forgot Young Bilbo, dammit. This changes literally everything. Time for more cider.

9:42: “For someone who doesn’t watch The Voice, he’s the least offensive,” my friend says of Johnny. Fair play. Kylie is trying to sum up her feelings on him and she is positively frothing. “Beneath that calm exterior, you’re hungry for it,” she says, her voice dropping about eight octaves.

9:50: In third place, it’s Johnny‘s handsome face. Anja looks visibly stunned. He immediately stumbles down to Kylie, who wraps him in a big hug.

9:51: Aaaaand it’s former trail bike-riding tearaway Anja. Whoah. I didn’t see that coming. will makes good on his pronouncement that she’s the new Katy / Miley / whoever by offering to sign her on the spot. This has been an intense and surreal journey, and now it’s all over. Thank you, dear readers. I’m off to sink a few dozen more ciders and contemplate my life and my choices.

Photo: Brendon Thorne via Getty Images