The Voice By Choice: Will.i.am Provides A Handy On-Ramp( 'Takes about 8 minutes to read. )


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The last Blind Auditions of 2016 were aired on The Voice UK by the BBC on BBC1 in the UK on Saturday 20th February, and probably on BBC America and other BBC channels since then.

You’ll know, if you’ve read it, that I wrote an article about the end of the Blind Auditions on this website last week. If you haven’t read it follow this link. – I’m not regurgitating it all in this article… Apart from these words: “If the very last act is chosen out of necessity again this year I think I’ll definitely try to swing it in the future: I’ve nothing to lose and I will be assured a place in the competition – no matter how crappy my act is; deliberately or otherwise.”

– Well guess what: The very last act was chosen again, by will.i.am again. – But even if I were to apply for The Voice UK there’s no certainty that I’d make it to the Blind Auditions. let alone be definitely the last act to be seen. – And I think that goes for anyone.

I applied once, for series 2. I chose Wales for audition, as it was a better train journey, and I prefer Cardiff to London anyway.

After almost a 1-hour wait outside in the partial August sunshine, from about 2PM to almost 3PM, (There was nowhere to sit down despite my disability.) we were herded in to the venue in a huge several-person-thick line, in I think it was around 16 groups of about 25 to 30 performers, and their families in some cases. The queue slowly made its way to a double-table where several staff were frantically trying to deal with mountains of paperwork. We candidates all had to bring a filled-out questionnaire of several pages in length that we’d printed out from the link the BBC had sent us online, and filled out the details.

The staff members – and there were seemingly only 2 actually involved in this tricky operation, with a third who appeared to be a consultant who they called on if they experienced a problem – took the questionnaires, checked them, filled out more paperwork, and handed us a larger questionnaire of several tens of pages thick to fill in; having filled in our details, reference number, and other things assigned to us, on the front page.

This was 2013. You’d have thought it was 1963! – There wasn’t a computer in sight, and there were no disabled facilities whatsoever. In fact there were no facilities at all until we were called in from standing on a paved walkway alongside a main road for what seemed like forever.

When I started to fill in my huge second questionnaire I was glad to sit down: In fact it hurt to sit down because I’d been standing so long, and that was even more painful.

I finished my questionnaire fairly quickly and handed it in at the desk. A helpful staff member said I was looking a bit pale and asked me if I’d like a coffee. Since I was thinking exactly the same at the time I took her up on her offer and she brought me over a rather nice coffee in one of those thin white plastic beakers that melt on your hands, then collapse inwards from the top downwards and cover you in scalding hot coffee. Fortunately there was a table nearby; so she put it down on that table and was then called away.

We hurtled upwards like a tin of pilchards destined for destiny.

10 minutes later the coffee was just about cool enough to be palatable, and, just as I took the first mouthful, the group that I was in was called. Fortunately there were 2 missing artists, so I had time to sink the cup-full before we departed into an elevator. ‘Packed like sardines – I couldn’t help but blurt out that the first person to fart would be taking flying lessons via the nearest window when the lift stopped. – A polite titter erupted briefly as a result, and died away as we hurtled upwards like a tin of pilchards destined for destiny.

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We went into a room with a number of easy chairs. Everyone started filling the chairs and I could see that there were more chairs than people. I flopped into the one nearest the door, just as at the same time a rather dainty young lady carrying an instrument did the same. “I didn’t know you cared so much!” I chided with a smile, as she fell into my lap and let out a little shriek. She looked so embarrassed, so I tried to say as little else as possible. Then I had to move anyway because they took away the easy chairs and gave us all normal chairs. This was a nuisance, as when I sit in an easy chair I become a part of it as it were. Also if it’s a low easy chair I find it hard to get up and expend a lot of energy doing so. We were offered tea or coffee. Disabled facilities were still non-existent.

 

We were then asked to bring our chairs next door. I might have quietly but audibly muttered something like “What the fuck’s going on here?”. That might have explained a strange look I received from another artist.

 

We were then asked by the guy who’d ushered us upstairs along with a couple of girls to position out chairs in an arc-formation, with our backs facing a huge plate-glass window with a panoramic view of part of Cardiff. After waiting 5 minutes we were then asked by another guy who I’d not seen before to form them into a line parallel with the window.

 

I resisted the temptation to exclaim something like Up, down, up, down, – like a whore’s drawers!”; partly because I was so worn-out by all this that I felt like curling up on the sofa in the corner and having 40 winks.

I was quite surprised at the lack of facilities.

The guy came back into the room and had us stretching and doing a preparatory breathing exercise. He then listened to all our initial acts. I was second to last and I felt like shit. – It showed in my act too, and I was eliminated.

 

I was quite surprised at the lack of facilities. We had been warned of the lack of facilities while we were waiting outside by the BBC months before we arrived I didn’t realise just how “zero facilities” it was though: It was actually zero; not even a wall to sit on.

 

Inside at least there were seats, and a few refreshments. There were also a few extras in the way of refreshments available; if you didn’t mind paying over £1 for a coffee. – But I repeat that it was like travelling back to the 1960s in some ways, even though the decor was fairly modern.

will.i.amBut will.i.am, by his reticence and over-cautiousness, has ensured an “on-ramp” for the final act: No matter how talented or otherwise they may be.

That really sucks; because better acts with more talent are getting overlooked due to this, and the blame has to be placed firmly at the feet of will.i.am. I actually don’t think he was going to turn for the final act; but the producer instructed him to in his earpiece and his button was held open a little longer in order that he could press it.

Ricky had been slow to press in previous programmes in 2016; but this last ephisode he was trigger-happy. Paloma and George were playing the game like veterans, and they soon caught up with Ricky to fill their teams; which left Will with 2 places… Again!

Something has to change BBC. – The Voice (UK) is still unfair, and it has to stop. – But I don’t want them to lose Will: He’s a cool dude and is an essential part of the show. Boy George and Paloma Faith are new and are really good. Ricky Wilson with his waistcoat fetish is again an important part of the show. – So it’s not the people that have to change; it’s the structure.

Becky&JessieThe Voice (UK) no longer selects the best acts, nor the most talented artists. In fact The Voice (UK) hasn’t featured anyone who’s actually had a celebrity career after The Voice; except for ultra-talented Becky Hill; who was a runner-up on Team Jessie with superstar coach Jessie J in the first series in 2012. – And that shows that The Voice (UK) is for entertainment only. Although it’s fair to say that the show helped Becky become a celeb by giving her the universal platform to display her talent; there followed many months of exceptional effort on Becky’s part; assisted by her family, before she became a celeb. –  It wasn’t The Voice (UK) that made her: She made her. Even though Jessie offered Becky any assistance she needed; Becky actually turned down Jessie’s help and did it herself.

So on the face of it The Voice (UK) is a joke. – It’s entertaining, it’s extremely popular; but it doesn’t find talent as such, nor does it make stars.

In my opinion it’s time to move on from The Voice. – Entertainment must evolve, just as everything else must. – Something new and more creative is needed. The Voice (UK) has had its day.


 

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Sharron

I'm a singer - songwriter - producer, as well as an electronics & computer geek. 1 lifetime is not enough! S to the H to the A to the Zee; to the Zee to the A, L.I.V.E. - Shazzalive is alive! YOLO.


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