Last Saturday, Holiday Park singer Leanne Mitchell beat fellow singers Bo Bruce, Vince Kidd and Tyler James to win the first season of the UK installment of popular reality singing competition television show The Voice. Mitchell, who was mentored by Sir Tom Jones, won the show after being completely overpowered by teenage powerhouse Ruth Brown for weeks; however, when with Brown was voted out of the process in the semi-finals Leanne was finally given time to shine.
|Finalist Lady Catherine Anna Brudenell-Bruce (aka "Bo Bruce," God knows why)|
With her rendition of Whitney Houston's "Run To You," Mitchell shockingly won around the nation and came out first. However, as an avid watcher of The Voice I feel that her victory was undeserved. Mitchell constantly received comments during the series about how she was "growing as a person" or "getting better week by week"; however she was, for a long time, trapped under the incredibly larger shadow of her team, specifically the breathtaking voice of Ruth Brown. James, mentee of Black Eyed Pea will.i.am, came up against one of the greatest singers in the process, and still managed to get himself noticed as well as performed incredible songs such as Michael Jackson's "I'll be There", Terence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name", and even tackling Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".
Even James, though, was completely overshadowed in the process by Lady Catherine Anna Brudenell-Bruce, also known as Bo Bruce. Bruce, whose unique voice sent shivers down my spine, outshone every other member on the show consistently. With songs such as Kate Bush's "Running up that Hill," Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U", and Rihanna's "Love The Way You Lie", Bruce shocked week after week, these songs, which are all varied in style, showed that Bruce's unique voice could fit any multitudes of songs and it's that characteristic that makes her a fantastic contestant. For me, Bo Bruce was the uncrowned winner of The Voice UK, and fully deserves to receive a recording contract, if simply for the fact that the EP she released on her own label was so phenomenal (I suggest listening to "Brighter Moon").
With much of The Voice UK not being seen in America, I would definitely recommend watching Bo Bruce's performance of "Running Up That Hill", Tyler James' "Sign Your Name", Ruth Brown's stunning rendition of "Get Here", Vince Kidd's "Back To Black", Toni Warne's "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word", or my personal favourite Danny O'Donoghue's group's performance of "Somebody That I Used To Know".
For those who are unfamiliar with The Voice series, contestants are put through blind auditions. If a certain judge, or judges decide they like the contestant's voice they vie to have them on their team (rounding out the judging roster were O'Donoghue and singer Jessie J). The teams then go through a series of eliminations: from the Battle Round, where the contestants go up against members of their own teams for a place in the live finals, to the Live Shows, where one of the two contestants from each team with the lowest votes is taken through by their mentor in each episode (editor's note: unlike in the multi-time zone US, UK audience voting can be done live, so there is no need for "Results Shows"). One singer from each judge's team competes in the Finals.
This being the first season of the show in the UK, the broadcast saw a constant battle for ratings with the sixth series of Britain's Got Talent, which it started off winning; however, after the first few weeks of the show the ratings dramatically dropped so the future of the judges in the TV show are currently under question. The show's unique format, and the way that it showcases the talent in ways different to The X Factor or Britain's Got Talent, made it a winner on television, an incredibly interesting watch.
James Phillips is a student in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Read our recaps of The Voice in the US and interviews with contestants from Season 2