COUCH POTATO: Cardiac arresting on The Voice

Kylie joins The Voice series 3 as a coach.' Kylie Minogue - (C)  Darenote Ltd 2013 - Photographer: Leanne Buckham
Kylie joins The Voice series 3 as a coach.' Kylie Minogue - (C) Darenote Ltd 2013 - Photographer: Leanne Buckham
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OUR square-eyed goggleboxer on the week’s TV:

First up at the blind auditions, it’s insurance salesman Lee Glasson taking a “massive risk” by tackling one of the judge’s own songs.

“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head,” he wailed, like Roy Orbison humming a funeral march.

That’s what I heard anyway.

The panel, however, heard vocal majesty, including the woman he’d come to impress, Kylie Minogue: “Your voice is really arresting.”

Cardiac arresting.

Paramedics on standby, then, we were off and running for The Voice, where boldly stated from the outset: “Season three is the bee’s knees.”

As opposed to the wasp’s armpits I’d feared.

Not least because of the singer they’d deemed the series’ curtain-raiser, The Big O’s death rattler.

So it is to my amazement that, 90 minutes later, I could honestly say I enjoyed an episode for the first time, for three enormous reasons.

Two of which are the new coaches – a 50 per cent clearout that’s made a 100 per cent improvement.

Ricky Wilson seems to possess a wit and charm absent during Danny O’Donoghue’s tenure, though he is still “that bloke from Kaiser Chiefs”.

The real difference maker is, of course, Kylie. It’s all about Kylie.

She’s an adopted national treasure and a breath of fresh air following over-singing, abhorrent limelight-hogger Jessie J.

My only advice would be to ditch her predecessor’s bad trait of making a big deal about being female “in a man’s world”, including her open invitation for a girlie chat to harpist Anna McLuckie, the standout singer for me last night.

The most surprising effect from the personnel changes is and Tom Jones are the ones who now seem to be out of place, lumbering with the baggage of two dreary series.

And that’s the third big reason for the show’s vast improvement.

It has finally developed a sense of humour, outside of Will’s odd little world.

We had banter, a Nessa impersonator and a six-year-old girl who had this celebrity rug-pulling question for decent new host Marvin Humes: “Have you ever met Peter Andre?”

And The Streets’ ex-singer Leo Ihenacho (available in all good cinemas with a choice of jalapeno toppings and salsa dip) replied to Humes’ question: “You look familiar. Where do I know you from?” with: “Crimewatch.”

A line that previously wouldn’t have made the cut.

The one sob-story, cancer widow Sally Barker, was done without tears (watch and learn, X Factor), and she appeared to be the mother of Benny from Crossroads.

And I’d rather watch this than nobodies like Anna Williamson on Splash! or Towie’s Gemma Collins recreating the final scene in Free Willy.

That said, some fixing is required.

Kylie’s flirting with Leo smacked of a Take Me Out desperado, the clichés are everywhere (“You’re what this show’s made for”, “This could be an exciting journey”) and, to put it in footballing terms, you can only take a Yeovil Town so high in the League.

That’s what this show is. It will never create a Premier League superstar because once the chairs stop spinning, the whole point collapses.

Most of all, though, one insurmountable obstacle remains.

It’s still The Voice.


BBC1’s shiny new Saturday night filler Reflex, “the ultimate test in human reaction”, came with its own self-analysis from Ken Bruce: “Eh? What’s going on? That was utter carnage.”

A fair reflection of a game show based on super-slow motion (I can’t watch without the x30 fast-forward) and wants to be The Cube but is actually Friends Like These.

New name required.

Gag Reflex.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Paddy McGuinness holding Take Me Out together.

Benedict Cumberbatch holding BBC’s finest comedy Sherlock together. (It is a comedy, right?)

Dara O’Briain declaring: “It’s already an historic episode of Stargazing Live which features actual stars being gazed at live.”

And the certain magic of BBC2’s BDO World Darts Championship that’s missing from the rival PDC drink-all-you-can beer festival on Sky Sports.

Especially this from the brilliant Colin Murray: “Only at the Lakeside would you get a three-time world champion up against a Canadian called David Cameron.

“Up after this one, Stephen Bunting against Barack Obama.”


BBC3’s The Truth About Skunk.

Don’t tell me.

Pepe Le Pew was actually gay?


Live now to Borehamwood where Emma Willis has this breaking news: “It’s all been kicking off in the house tonight.”

But don’t you worry about that, loyal viewers.

The meddlers at Channel 5 will put a stop to that, pronto.

They’re going through with the least needed twist in the show’s history, a tired old fake double eviction that amounted to a cooling off period.

And like that, on Wednesday evening, the compelling train wreck that was Celebrity Big Brother’s best ever start to a series shuddered to a halt.

It’s had it all.

Romance, deception, cheating, envy, fury, tears, a hot-tub lesbian kiss, saucy shenanigans away from prying eyes in the loo, and a love triangle between Blue’s Lee Ryan, an American named Jasmine Waltz and the injured party in the affair, glamour model Casey Batchelor.

It came to a head on Day 6, at which point C5 thought it necessary to stick its oar in when the entertainment was taking care of itself, pluck Ryan and Batchelor out of the house and squirrel them away in a secret room.

I have to give props to C5 for a cracking line-up and the best task since Gods and Mortals in 2012, the Alien Invasion which began with the Geordie announcement: “9.03am. It’s been 31 minutes since Lee and Liz were taken into the spaceship to undergo experiments.

“First up, Liz and an electric lightning wand.”

But if it turns out the series’ momentum has been lost because of the fake eviction, I’d ask the aliens to return with their electric lightning wand.

I know a TV channel they could experiment on.


This week’s Headline of the Week award goes to...

“Honey Boo Boo And Family In Car Crash!”

They certainly are.

It’s called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, on TLC.


In 2012, BBC2’s Stargazing Live sent Liz Bonnin to South Africa, at licence-fee payers’ expense, to stare at clouds for three nights.

Lesson learned, this time they took no chances, chartering a private jet to fly her 32,000ft above Norway to marvel at the Northern Lights.

There was the small matter of the night being cloudless.

And a solar storm meant she could have stayed in Britain to see the spectacle.

But we wouldn’t want to accuse the Beeb of wasting our money, would we?


The 7.39.

Give me leaves on the line and a cancelled service instead, thanks.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

Celebrity Mastermind allowing Sherlock as a specialist subject from just six episodes.

National Television Awards allowing Sherlock on its shortlists despite not being on TV for the whole of 2013.

The night terrors that followed C4 documentary Secrets of the Living Dolls.

C5’s Autopsy: Michael Jackson’s Last Hours taking 60 minutes to tell us he died from prescription drug overdose and a negligent doctor. (Who knew?)

ITV assuming anyone wanted the return of Birds of a Feather.

And Dancing On Ice viewers voting out Jorgie Porter, denying us 10 weeks of glorious awkwardness with skating partner Sylvain Longchambon who cheated on her best friend Jennifer Metcalfe. Damn them.


Tears, swearing, “self-discovery” and contestants pleading: “My life is in this spoon,” arrived with C4 cookery contest The Taste, featuring Nigella Lawson, US foodie Anthony Bourdain and “the very, very French” Ludo Lefebvrefbvrevrebfvre.

It also had the laughable claim it’s a competition “like no other”.

Unless you include The Voice, The Face, X Factor, Gregg Wallace’s big MasterChef spoonfuls and Great British Bake Off’s winners’ aprons.

I’m not swallowing it.