With news that The Voice UK’s viewing figures dipped to 6.6 million on Sunday’s results show – 4 million lower than the 10+ being pulled in during the audition rounds – critics are starting to write the BBC singing competition off as “too boring”, “too arrogant” and “a bit wobbly”.
So what’s the problem? Back when the show first started in March, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Viewers loved the fact that no bad singers were humiliated, and when the show clashed with Britain’s Got Talent it managed to attract around double the audience size. So what’s changed?!
OK, so we all whine and moan about how melodramatic The X Factor is, we all like to call the show a fix when someone we like gets voted out, and we all get outraged whenever Tulisa claims never to have heard of one of Aretha Franklin’s most iconic hits. But the fact that we were even able to get so irritated by it in the first place is a sign of how gripping it is. Surely it’s better to be provoked into a passionate rage than to not be provoked at all, and that’s the major difference between The X Factor and The Voice at the moment. How can that be fixed? We’re not sure. It would completely undermine the whole point of The Voice if it resorted to media-baiting hysteria, but it needs an injection of something. It lacks, pardon the pun, a certain X factor (‘X factor’ in the old sense, that is).
Both formats are flawed. The X Factor will gladly take a tabloid-grabbing wildchild like Frankie Cocozza over an astonishingly talented singer like Team Jessie’s Toni Warne, but what The Voice doesn’t quite realise is that an astonighingly talented singer doesn’t necessarily translate into record sales. If One Direction and Jaz Ellington were to bring out a new single on the same day, it wouldn’t take a chart geek to accurately predict who would go to No. 1, regardless of who was technically ‘the better singer’ (we’re not saying One Direction aren’t good singers, but you get the point).
Another problem The Voice seems to be having is that we can’t really connect to any particular artists because we only get to see them once every two weeks. Of course the upside of splitting Teams Will and Tom from Teams Jessie and Danny is that each Saturday show is only 90 minutes rather than three hours, but is there a way the format could be tweaked next year such that we can really get behind someone?
Why do you think The Voice is struggling? Do you agree or disagree with what we say? Leave your comments below.