Middle rounds of singing competitions are always pretty listless. They’re that one part of the season where nobody ever quite knows what to do. Some producers have tried their best to come up with interesting twists, while others have really tried to emphasize drama more so than the contestants.
Personally, we think that the best way to handle this round is to actually make it similar to the auditions. Look at what “America’s Got Talent” has done over the years with their Judge Cuts, where you basically just have another round of straight auditions. There, you narrow the field while still getting to know the contestants at the same time.
For “Let It Shine” on BBC One, the show took almost the opposite approach on Saturday, as they did their best in order to speed through all of the performances at rapid speed in order to get to the start of live shows. The remaining performers were all placed into groups of eight, where they then hit the stage to perform with a known act like Kaiser Chiefs, Melanie C of the Spice Girls, or Olly Murs. When the acts were performing, these for the most part felt like really fun group numbers. Think of them as better renditions of some of the opening performances that you end up seeing at the start of an “X Factor” live show. They were fun, but nothing about them can be considered a revelation.
The biggest issue with this episode is that you simply had too many contestants, and no real time in order to get to know any of them. Hercules Smith was probably the contestant that we were the most invested in coming into tonight’s show, and even with that we didn’t have a ton of confidence that he was going to make it through. He felt more like one of those contestants who was brought on for the memorable audition but didn’t seem like a great fit for what the show was actually meant to be. His elimination brought a chorus of frowns to our face.
Beyond the performances, where the show started to really drag was in the rehearsal segments and the judges’ feedback, mostly because you couldn’t really spend much time singling anyone out, or showcasing any individual story to go along with it. This is also one of the problems with giving us so many contestants from the same gender and age range — they all kind of blend together other than a few here and there.
Overall – “Let It Shine” is still a better singing show than “The Voice UK,” which only works when it’s in the midst of its primary gimmick. This is a show that will get better as we get into the next round and we start to get to know some of these people better. Grade: B-.
What did you think about the latest episode of “Let It Shine”? Share some of your thoughts with a comment below! We’ll be back to offer up some further news on the series as we progress further and further into the competition, so be sure to follow this link. (Photo: BBC One.)