The Battle of the Reality series: The Swivel chair vs Simon Cowell

by | Mar 5, 2012 | All, Reviews

It was announced today that BBC1’s much hyped singing competition The Voice will debut on Saturday 24th March. The series which features judges Jessie J, Sir Tom Jones, and  Danny O’Donoghue in swivel chairs is spawned from a Dutch reality series that has already proved itself a hit in the US with judges like Cee-Lo Green and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine in those infamous chairs. The singing competition is nothing new but perhaps the saving grace of this series is that it doesn’t employ the tactics we’ve all become so over familiar with. Unlike series like The X Factor or American Idol  it doesn’t feel the need to parade those with no chance of progressing in front of the judges just for the amusement of a Saturday night audience. Instead it chooses to focus on those with real potential and the acts often stood looking bemused as the judges fight and squabble over why the contestant such pick them to represent them for the duration of the competition.

The Voice, Saturday 24th March BBC1

If you’re not over singing competitions (which I believe I am) then The Voice is at least a new take on an overused format (did I mention the swivel chairs?). The judges start each performance with their backs turned to the contestant to allow them to judge what they hear without making judgments on what they see. When the judge is impressed enough by what their showbiz ears hear they push a button and they’re sparkly red chair swivels (see) around to allow them to see the act for the first time. The decision to swivel let’s the singer on stage know that that judge is interested in taking them further in the competition. The Voice is a simple premise and like I said has proved itself more popular than American Idol in the States but the question  here folks and folkets is whether it will prove popular enough to compete with ITV’s offering on that very same night.

BGT’s revamped Judging table, Saturday 24th March ITV

Equally talked about, and in an attempt to dent the viewing figures of the Voice ITV has cunningly scheduled the return of Britain’s Got Talent on the very same night. That’s Saturday 24th March for those who have already forgotten.  I think we can all agree that last year’s series was a real shambles with Michael Mcintyre the only really memorable and enjoyable thing about it. Simon Cowell will make a surprisingly welcome return to the judging table (the table doesn’t swivel) in 2012 joined by new judges David Walliams and Alesha Dixon who was poached from cleverly from Strictly. In its hay day Got Talent was unbeatable Saturday night entertainment for the entire family but as often happens with these things, its grown tiered and predictable. It has spawned some successes notably Su-Bo, Diversity and George Sampson but how many more can you remember? Needless to say I find it difficult to get excited by Britain’s Got Talent anymore although I’m fairly sure David Walliams is going to be an interesting addition but I’m not sure if he can bring the show back from the brink.

So what will you choose to watch on that Saturday? The Voice may just have the edge just because it’s a new format and features the hugely popular Jessie J and who doesn’t swivel chair! It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top when the ratings are released but ass I say I think most people know what to expect from Britain’s Got Talent now so might give The Voice a punt.  Both series will debut on Saturday 24th March on BBC1 and ITV1.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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