Wednesday, 18 May 2011

BBC considering 'The Voice'?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Following its current success on NBC, the BBC are allegedly keen to buy the UK rights to singing competition The Voice, based on the Dutch series The Voice Of Holland.

Designed as a rival to the British Pop Idol and X Factor formats, which have been sold around the world to great success, The Voice is basically a merger of those two shows. The differences are in the details, with a "blind audition" (contestants are chosen without the judges actually seeing them), and a "battle phase" (contestants sing the same song, and the best performers are voted through.) But it effectively takes the mentoring aspect of X Factor and applies it to the Idol format. They've even appropriated the X Factor's "arms crossed to form an X" by having the Voice promo's have people raising their fingers in a "V for Voice" salute.

The BBC are considering The Voice as a possible Saturday night primetime series, and Dannii Minogue's name has already been mentioned as a possible judge now she's quit X Factor. My guess is The Voice could replace low-rated flop So You Think You Can Dance next year, as Strictly Come Dancing has the autumn/winter weekends covered as the BBC's rival to X Factor. Or it could air earlier in the year and go up against ITV's Dancing On Ice.

What do you make of the BBC's intention? Is The Voice a shrewd acquisition, or is it just X Factor-lite? Do you think Dannii Minogue would be a great signing, or would it feel like the BBC are just grabbing X Factor's cast-offs? As I tweeted recently, the BBC would have a more immediate hit if they managed to get Dannii's sister Kylie involved! The US version of The Voice has Christina Aguilera as head judge, so wouldn't Kylie be an equivalently famous singer? She would certainly be someone whose opinion mattered, and likely knows the deal with these shows thanks to her sister's role on X Factor and Australia's Got Talent.

The only obstacle might be the fact Kylie still has a viable music career to think about (albums to record, gigs to play, perfumes to sell...) Mind you, so does Take That's Gary Barlow, but he's now confirmed as a new X Factor judge. Do the BBC have £1.5m spare, which is what it cost ITV to get Barlow aboard? I doubt it. That's a controversial use of license fee payer's money. And I don't see Kylie agreeing to give up months of her schedule for anything less. Looks like I've talked myself out of my own suggestion.

A taste of the American version of the show's "blind auditions" is below: