The Voice Australia: Say her name – Batshon crazy about Sabrina.
It’s taken a pretty friggin’ long time, but after two and half months of song butchering, never-ending Ford, Australian Super and Qantas ads and enough will.i.am one-liners to fill a joke book, we may have found The Voice of Australia for 2014.
With two weeks left, Sabrina Batshon is on track to put the disappointment of finishing tenth in the last ever season of Australian Idol in 2009 (remember that show?) and run away with this year’s title. She has emerged as a $2.25 favourite to win according to Sportingbet — and deserves those odds due to her consistently spectacular and on-song performances. Her quest was made all the easier this past week too when one of her main rivals was a shock elimination – right at the top of the show.
Remember that horrendous scheduling I bemoaned about last week? A lot of people must have thought the same thing and vented their frustration, because the producers finally got their s**t together!
In a much more digestible format this week, the performances and results were still broken up into teams, but we had the winner of the public vote perform almost straight away. Then, we got the two contestants with the lowest votes singing for their lives, followed by the one-minute Homecoach save-you-favourite-in-the-app snap vote.
After rounding out the first two ‘live’ performance shows, Team Ricky was up first this week — and Sabrina was declared the winner of the public vote. Once again, she emerged as a vocal powerhouse by going from extremely soft to mega-elevated in her version of Florence and The Machine’s Spectrum (Say My Name). Afterwards she broke down in tears — probably overwhelmed by it all — and got a hug from both Darren McMullen and coach Ricky to wipe it all away.
Her success left Elly and Jackson to fight for their right to stay. Elly took on Jessica Mauboy’s Never Gonna Be The Same and did it fairly well, albeit with a few weird notes in the verses. Jackson replied by doing Bridge Over Troubled Water — a song which Ricky thought ‘had his name written all over it.’ There were a few awkward classical flourishes and a clearly obvious stream of fireworks spilling down from roof (how they didn’t hit the band is a huge surprise), but Jackson produced a passionate display, nailing it with a long high note at the end.
RESULT: Despite Jackson’s great effort, it was presumed Elly would still get through. WRONG! In arguably the shock of the series so far, all of Jackson’s fans got on the app at just the right time to get their boy over the line, sending Elly home. A huge loss, but someone had to go.
Jackson’s victory set off a chain of ‘WTF’ moments when the voting results were revealed. Next up, we discovered Kat Jade had won the public vote in Team Kylie and was heading straight to the final 8. She was good last week, but by viewing the package that precedes her performance – which sees her sobbing her eyes out and on the verge of a breakdown over her makeover and her identity – you wonder if the viewers had voted for a singer or a Big Brother housemate.
She then got in a big glass phone box and did Telephone by Lady Gaga — a song choice which I’m sure would have made her super gay BFF very happy. It was ok, but lacked most of the attitude Gaga put in the track. She then topped off her stint in the spotlight by publicly declaring that she needed to go to the bathroom. You stay classy, Kat!
Robbie and Johnny then had to sing for their lives — and the size of the divide between them was obvious. Robbie was fragile both physically and vocally, recapturing the cat-warbling form from his diabolical showdown with Jackson earlier in the series and destroying The Temper Trap’s Love Lost. On the other hand, Johnny ditched his drum kit and found a choir at his disposal to help deliver his soulful take on Sam Smith’s Stay With Me.
RESULT: Johnny soars straight into the final 8 with Kat while we bid farewell to Robbie. Nice guy, but the man needs to gain a truckload of on-stage swagger before he can take the next step with his career.
For the second week running, Holly wins the public vote. Considering her rancid cover of Single Ladies last week and the fact she is bringing up the rear as a 14/1 longshot to win the whole thing, who exactly is voting for her?!
After getting a cuddle from Joel and some more remarks from him that she’s his “favourite girl”, she sings The Cardigans’ Lovefool. It was far more suited to her swingy/sassy vocals which she’s been unloading on us since the start of the live shows. There was more glitter raining down on her this time as well, so she’s definitely getting her fair share of the production budget.
Issac and Frank were sent into showdown mode – and like Team Kylie, there was a huge contrast between their two performances. Despite trying to stick to his indie rock roots, Issac went a step too-far with a slightly slowed-down, pretty messy take on Sheppard’s smash hit Geronimo. Try telling that to his mum, who crashed the judges’ convos to give him a big hug and tell him how good she thought he was. Cheese central.
Frank — sorry, that should now be ‘Lakoudis’ — instead went for his ‘big vocal moment’ as billed by Joel and got the crowd swinging to Queen’s We Are The Champions. It was no Freddie Mercury replica, but it was better than your standard version by the cover band at your local pub.
RESULT: With 72% of the vote, Lakoudis wipes the floor with Issac and gives him his long-overdue exit from the competition.
Remember how I said this week was filled with voting shocks? Well this well and truly capped it off: for the second week in a row, ZK were announced as the winners of the public vote. Really? Next thing we know, everyone in the audience has a torch — and they’re singing Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. Ricky goes as far as to say they could win the show, and Will reckons they’re going to be performing at the Sydney Opera House not too long in the future. Yes, it was ok, and they work well as a duo, but honestly, where is this groundswell of hype coming from?
Therefore, Gabriel & Cecelia and Anja were left on the chopping block — and the kooky brother and sister known for ‘tearing up the musical rulebook’ went a step too far with their version of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. While it was quite different and could be appreciated if it wasn’t for the track’s mega distorted and angsty roots, the guys took a leaf out of Holly’s book of sins and failed to realise you don’t mess with a classic. Somehow, it still left will.i.am jumping off his chair in awe of them.
Having dodged elimination last week, Anja had to dig deep once again to survive another round. And decked out in her tiger attire, she did that in droves, showing total gusto in her version of Jessie J’s Wild, with an epically long high note at the end.
RESULT: In a nail-biting result, 52% of the Homecoach button pushers picked Anja and Gabriel & Cecelia’s run was over. In some consolation, coach Will invited them to collaborate with him on his forthcoming solo record during his downtime from the show.
Oh, and our musical ‘treat’ was left right to the end with The Madden Brothers performing their new single We Are Done. Casually standing around the mic stand in the middle of the stage, they exuded about as much energy and enthusiasm as a sleepy hippopotamus, even though Kylie was jumping around like maniacally.
Best performance: Hmmm… tough call, but Anja gets it this week, with that amazing high note right at the end sealing the deal. Hard to believe that she is barely 18 and has such a great set of pipes. She’s a deserving second favourite to Sabrina to take the whole thing out.
Kiel’s tip: No offence to Jackson, but it would take something magical (and downright wrong) for Sabrina to be denied a place in the Grand Final. Sanity will hopefully prevail in Team Joel too with Frank to topple his coach’s musical crush Holly, and Johnny will hopefully send Kat out the door as well.
Anja also deserves to be in the final four, not just for her killer voice, but to offer some competition to Sabrina. However, given the apparent avalanche of support for ZK, they could cause another boilover and become the first duo in Voice history to make the Grand Final. I’m still going with Sabrina, Frank, Johnny and Anja for the final four, though.
Images and video courtesy Channel 9.
Each week, KIEL EGGING will be dissecting the best and worst of The Voice Australia 2014 for readers at home and abroad with THE VOICEbox, exclusively on AustralianTimes.co.uk
See all editions of Kiel’s The VoiceBox, here
Leave your comments below and interact with Kiel on Twitter via @keggs87 and #thevoicebox