‘The Voice’ UK review: Are Leah McFall, Cleo Higgins, Karl Michael finale contenders?

The Voice“The Voice” UK really pulled out all the stops for the performances Saturday: Microphones falling out, coaches breakdancing, big anthems, controversy, and what we can best describe as winner Leanne Mitchell at one point getting thrown under the bus. A great show, no? While we still can’t stand the hosts non-questions and the constant powder-puff attitude about how “amazing” everyone is,some of the vocals were pretty phenomenal.

Of course, the following are just the crazy quick-takes from a guy who has seen about a billion singing shows over the course of his life, and we want to hear from you! Vote for your favorite in the poll below, and also be sure to share some of your thoughts in the comment box!

Team Jessie J

Group performances, “Stay” – The voices worked genuinely well together, and that was something that we weren’t sure would happen. The common link here is soul: Ash, Matt, and Jessie all have it, though Jessie singing the pants off of this song (take that, Rihanna!) somewhat overshadowed them.

Ash Morgan, “X Factor” – Maybe we’re demented, but we found it funny that Ash performed a song with the same name as Britain’s rival singing show. The random “group singing on the stoop” was weird, but we love the guy’s voice.

Matt Henry, “Girl on Fire” – To be honest, we thought that Matt had about the same shot of advancing tonight as Jessie J did potentially having her long hair sprout back up in 24 hours’ time: It wasn’t gonna happen. However, he gave himself a shot with a powerful take on the Alicia Keys hit, even though his sound equipment was clinging on for dear life throughout.

Team Danny O’Donoghue

Group performance, “Let Her Go” – This was lovely, and what we actually liked about this performance was that it didn’t feel like something on a singing show. It was a subtle, soothing performance with some great harmonies. These three really blend, and it never felt like Danny was overpowering anyone.

Karl Michael, “I Believe I Can Fly” – Hated the song choice when we first heard that he was doing it, since this song was like a mound of radioactive nacho cheese that you are forced to dunk your face in. However, Danny gave him a nifty arrangement that was a little bit more like R. Kelly done in the style of U2, and it worked rather well. As for whether or not that is enough to take down Andrea, we’re not sure.

Andrea Begley, “One of Us” – To be frank, we thought that this was boring. We like Andrea as a person, but we just can’t see her being on the radio. This is a series that needs artists that can sell, and we don’t know what the British public is thinking of when voting. (We’re skeptical after Christopher Maloney made it all the way to the final three on “The X Factor” UK.)

Team will.i.am

Group performance, “Rapture” – This was weird. We knew it would be to be fair, given that Will is not really a singer more than a rapper / performer with two unique voices at his side. Cleo and Leah do not sound very good together. By far, the worst of the group numbers tonight. The best part of it was seriously Will’s dancing.

Leah McFall, “Killing Me Softly” – Leah once again reminded us of just what sort of crazy musical talent that she has, and Will reminded us after the performance that Leanne Mitchell is a terrible winner. Oh, and this was only the beginning of Will’s antics tonight that possibly angered the show.  (Well, Will’s left toe has probably sold more records than Leanne has thus far.)

Cleo Higgins, “Don’t Let Go” – This was unexpected! It was a powerful and emotional take on a song that we’ve heard plenty of times before, and it may have given this returning star a shot at winning this. Will apparently liked it enough to drop the s-bomb on live TV, meaning that the British watchdog groups are probably going to either release the Kraken on him, or lock him in the Tower of London.

Team Tom Jones

Group performance, “And the Games People Play” – Joseph proved that he wasn’t ready for the big-time. He fell behind the vocals, and maybe briefly forget his lyrics for the song. Maybe performing with Tom is intimidating (we’re sure it is), but you still have to be able to bring it.

Joseph Apostol, “End of the Road” – This was probably more in Joseph’s style than what he sang with Tom and Mike, but it did not help at all to ease our concerns that he can really only do one style of song without struggling.

Mike Ward, “Picking Up the Pieces” – We didn’t like the arrangement here at all. Way too loud, and everything going on distracted you from the fact that Mike has a pretty nice country voice. This is really a genre that is about simplicity, and not throwing a bunch of stuff at a wall and hoping something sticks.

If you want to check out where we ranked some of the contestants prior to this weekend’s show, check out the story over at the link here. We’ll have our full take on the show’s finale a little bit later in the night.

Photo: BBC One

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