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Posts from — April 2012

The Voice: Battles 1 – 8

Having missed all the excitement in the team-building, chair-turning rounds, I am tuning in expecting to – at the very least – be seduced by Keith Urban, amused by a Madden (or two), captivated by Seal and… well… bored by Delta. I know there has been speculation as to how engaging the show will be now the auditions are over, but it’s got to be rolled-gold compared to the fool’s gold challenge I caught due to The Block running overtime. Eeek.

So it seems we have battle rounds – where teams will be cut from 12 members to 6 by their coaches – but first! The Voice’s own version of Il Divo, with the coaches showing off their pipes in a cover of Mary J Blige’s version of U2’s “One”. Darren McMullen tells us this is aimed at inspiring their charges. I give this round to Keith.

Seal gives his crew the “who wants it more?” speech, then pairs Paula and Karise to sing “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse. Seal asks Karise to tame that thing that scares the crap out of him and he wants to hear Paula’s pain. (She explains that it’s taken her years to let go of the pain, so… yeah.) Ricky-Lee as mentor doesn’t get a lot of screen time. The song was well-chosen for these two voices. In their just-for-the-hell-of-it, non-binding assessments, Joel, Delta and Keith give the song to Karise, but it’s all up to coach Seal.  He decides to keep Karise on the team. (Props to Paula who was a very gracious – and in my opinion, unlucky – loser in that match up.)

Because it’s all about THE VOICE, Joel makes sure we know he has a very good looking team. He matches Ben to Chris and wants them singing “The Only Exception” by Paramore. Benji advises Chris to give the song a chance, which is necessary as he is really bludgeoning it in rehearsal. Ben is struggling to deal with memories of his brother, which are being brought up by the song, but he decides to channel that in his performance. Delta and Keith both call it for Ben by a whisker, and Seal gives it to Chris. Joel keeps Ben on his team. Hopefully he and Benji can work on Ben’s boy-band-hands.

Delta pairs her former backing-singer Glenn with Matty and they are going to be doing Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”. Darren Hayes gives Matty some advice to help him through one of the “difficult runs” and Matty cops it like a true fan. Both guys bring it on the stage and I join the judges in seat-bouncing. Keith finds it hard to pick a winner, but gives it to Glenn, as does Seal, who sensed a lack of confidence in Matty. Joel leans towards Matty and Delta takes a time-out to check with Darren. She handballs the decision to Darren and he chooses Glenn.  Is she being indecisive, or did she feel her connection with Glenn compromised her objectivity?

Over in team Keith, Jaz will battle Diana with “Mr Know It All” (the Kelly Clarkson one, not the Stevie Wonder song). They both have “sassy out the wazoo”, according to Keith. Heh. Megan Washington is worried that Jaz is belting the whole thing, which could work in Diana’s favour if she doesn’t dial it back. Just as I remark “it’s a bit lacking in energy”, Diana lifts it in the second verse, and Jaz seems to rise to that challenge. Seal gives Diana the “accessibility” vote, but Delta likes the power in Jaz’s voice. Joel worries about Jaz’s theatrical instincts overwhelming a more natural performance, so sides with Seal. Diana joins team Keith.

Seal’s second battle is Mitchell versus Fatai, singing Eminem’s (and Rihanna’s) “Love the Way You Lie”. Fatai is unnerved by how much Mitchell improves through rehearsal. (And I have just realised where I have seen Seal’s edge-of-sanity intensity before: Marco Pierre White.) Joel goes with Fatai, Delta with Mitchell. Keith felt Fatai dominated with emotion but Mitchell was the star. Seal seeks Ricki-Lee’s advice and Fatai is the keeper.

Delta pairs Rachael and Adam for the Eva Cassidy version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. I’m wondering why she specifies the version (and I have to admit to being totally clueless as to what this particular version entails. Now, if it were David Cassidy…). Adam sounds awful in the initial rehearsal and Rachael admits to a strategic “holding back” so as not to show her hand. Delta and Darren fall for it. Okay, now maybe it’s the Eva Cassidy version rather than the performances, but I found it a complete snorefest. Delta’s interjection of “beautiful” during one of Adam’s parts made me question her judgement. I am clearly an outlier here, because Keith found it beautiful and ethereal and celestial and angelic… and goes with Rachael. Seal is usually annoyed when people mess around with perfectly fine songs, but he doesn’t mind Adam doing it. Joel finds another heavenly metaphor – a shooting star – and gives it to Rachael. Delta keeps Rachael’s hopes alive for another week or so and I wonder whether her deliberate lowering of expectations at rehearsal worked in her favour.

Adam is going up against Abbie and Keith has chosen a Fray song, “Heartbeat”, for them.  Poor guys.  I mean, the Fray? “Don’t pass out” is excellent advice from Megan, as she notes that Abbie isn’t taking a breath in her first bit. I’m surprised at how under-confident Adam seems about this song, as the Fray seems much closer to his comfort zone than to Abbie’s. Seal didn’t feel any connection from either performer, which I get, but in my opinion the song was the true liability. Still, he gives it to Abbie on how he judges who “wanted” it more. Joel can’t pick between the two, and Delta goes with Adam, but the judges energy matches the performers across the board. The A that stays is Adam.

The final battle pits Mahalia against Prinnie. Joel wants to see what they will do with Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”, which is definitely an eccentric choice for those voices. I like Prinnie’s attack during rehearsal. It was a good decision to show more of the one-on-one performance notes from Benji and Joel to the singers for this match-up. I’m sure it’s happened for all pairings, but it worked particularly well for this battle, given that they have a friendship outside the competition. Prinnie really Lady Marmalade-s it up on stage. Delta goes with Mahalia on vocals but gives it to Prinnie on overall performance. Keith thinks Mahalia took it, and Seal thinks Prinnie’s ego gets her the win. After a time out, and and ad break, and some more agonising (hell, we’re only 20 minutes over time on a 2 hour show), Joel says goodbye to Mahalia.

This is a tough competition. I think it’s amazing how well the “battlers” worked together in their songs. I enjoyed (most of) the performances as duets, which is a tough tightrope to walk – trying to shine as an individual but make it work as a song. Despite the fact that it is only the coach whose opinion counts, I didn’t mind hearing what the others thought of each match-up and I like the fact that we get snippets of the judges’ group reactions to the decisions, too, as it gives more insight into what it is they are looking for.

April 30, 2012   42 Comments

Can’t wait for MasterChef Australia?

It’s less than a week until the launch of season four of MasterChef Australia, but perhaps you are finding that your life is lacking meaning in this hiatus between MKR and Ten’s competitive cooking behemoth.  Lifestyle Food is screening Country House Cooking Contest, which might tide you over for the next few days.

In a stunning country house, six competitive amateur cooks take on the ultimate culinary challenge. In a battle to win a 1000 pound prize they must produce food fit for the aristocracy.

If you’re interest skews more Downton Abbey than devilling kidneys, the show promises “a glimpse of life inside one of the country’s oldest houses as well as the lifestyle of one its oldest families.”

Tune in at 8.30pm on Thursdays (repeated throughout the week).

 

April 30, 2012   1 Comment

Fashion Week Uncut – Reality Ravings Reporting Live From Fashion Week With Fashion Blogger Frockwriter

You may be wondering what that flashing button is on the right of the blog and it is a link to a collaboration I am doing this week at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia with highly respected journalist and fashion specialist Patty Huntington. Patty has an influential fashion blog called Frockwriter.

Fashion Week Uncut (www.fashionweekuncut.com) is a live blog which will provide an ‘all access’ pass to backstage, front row and the catwalk. This year fashion week has been infiltrated by reality TV personalities behind the scenes, on the catwalk, and in the front row. In fact the highest profile designer there this year is Whitney Port who is a veteran of three reality shows, The Hills, The City and is a judge on the next series of Britains and Ireland’s Next Top Model.

Also the winner of Project Runway Australia, Dylan Cooper is showing along with judge Kirrily Johnson. There will also be a plethora of Australia’s Next Top Model contestants and winners strutting down the catwalk.

And of course Lara Bingle is rumoured to be filming her new reality TV show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week as well.

Then there is always the front row….

Now I realise that not all my readers give a hoot about fashion week, so Injera has kindly agreed to write for the blog this week to ensure there is a steady diet of reality TV news. Also Network Ten kindly did not commence Masterchef Australia until next Sunday.

However if you are into fashion or just like the carnival of big events, it is the biggest fashion event in Australia, come and check it out. 

Our aim is to provide comprehensive “real time” reportage, covering the models, designers and their collections, the celebrities, and the fashion pack.  It will also include left field fashion analysis, interviews and conversation to make it informative and entertaining viewing.

Patty and I are being helped with our coverage by Anthony who is a intern at this blog, and also Anielka who will be photographing the collections and the colour and movement of the week.

April 30, 2012   9 Comments

The Biggest Loser – It Is Now Down To Four

Tonight on The Biggest Loser Bek Gilchrist was eliminated for the second time. She fell below the yellow line and was up for elimination against Kasey. Can Kasey win The Biggest Loser? Surely not.

Bek has lost 44 kgs since she has been in the competition.

The other elimination this week was Graham, and as much as I loved The Amazing Race style challenge in the Swiss Alps, I thought the elimination was a little unfair. The person had to pick a food off the table and the person who selected the food with the highest amount of calories was eliminated.

The final of The Biggest Loser will air on Tuesday 8 May. It is Margie’s game to lose from this point.

April 29, 2012   11 Comments

The Block – The First Room Reveal

Tonight was the first room reveal on The Block and wow what a positive addition Shaynna Blaze has made to the judging team. She is not backwards in giving her assessment of the rooms at all, and also provides a different view point from Neale Whittaker and John McGrath.

The other good thing about the room reveals is we start to get a sense of how the teams are going to decorate.

As usual we get to see the teams push themselves physically and emotionally to get the rooms finished, and then stand before Scott Cam in a zombie like state before the judges do their assessment.

The room this week was a small room that could serve a variety of purposes and all the couples did something a little different.

First up were Sophie and Dale who did a dining room. Their style is quite similar to Josh and Jenna from last season. They were sticking to the retro style the viewer saw in their children’s room they did to actually win their way onto The Block. Shaynna said retro rooms also needed some level of sophistication to make it a great room. She also did not like the curtains, something that appears to be a bug bear for her judging on her comments on the other rooms.

Neale hated the chairs of the dining room and the bon appetite sign. They did like the light feature which they made themselves.

Mike and Andrew did a study, which had the clever feature of a bed in the wall. The issue the guys had according to the judges were they over styled. This is not going to be their strong point, however they were also criticised for bad skirting and architraves. Also the football in the fireplace earned the ire of the judges.

Lara and Brad who had been wracked with indecision earlier in the week actually ended up with a separate living area. The judges liked the concept and some of the execution particularly the arm chair. However Neale was not rapt about the TV as it became the focal point of the room.  John realising it was a sponsor gave it a plug saying it was up todate technology.

Dani and Dan did a 4th bedroom and study. John queried whether there was a demand for a four bedroom house in this area. Shaynna was critical that there was not one feature in the room said it was a beautiful period home.  John McGrath was not bothered about Dani and Dan going modern. I must say I was not a fan of the built ins.

However the judges obviously were fans of their execution and style as Dan and Dani surprisingly won the room of the week and received an extra $5000.

As most readers know The Block has already been completed which means that fans of the show can drive by the South Melbourne location and see the finished product. One blogger took voters not only of the front of the finished houses but managed to get some shots of Mike and Andrew’s finished kitchen. Alerting readers – be warned that internet surfing might result in tripping over spoilers!

April 29, 2012   10 Comments