I Can See Your Voice and its panel of irritants only just beats ITV’s Game Of Talents

SATURDAY night’s viewing ordeal began with ITV’s Game Of Talents host Vernon Kay spinning on to his mark with a dangerously honest question.

“It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?”

No, it doesn’t, Vernon. It gets a lot worse, in fact.

So I flipped over to BBC1’s version of the same show, just in time to hear Northern Ireland’s Nadine Coyle make the vowel-mangling claim someone called Guitar Star: “Has got the coroner’s w**k going on.”

“Errr, what?” responded a flustered host, Paddy McGuinness. “The coroner’s w**k,” she insisted. “He w**ked.”

He did? I missed that bit.

Some frantic rewinding and subtitling later, though, I discovered Guitar Star merely had: “The crooner’s wink.” And with that, the excitement was pretty much over at I Can See Your Voice, which is the BBC’s answer to The Masked Singer, in as much as there are no masks and half of them can’t sing.

Instead, aided by Nadine and a panel of “celebrity investigators”, two contestants simply have to guess whether six acts are good singers or bad singers, via a series of lip-syncing challenges and interview rounds.

All of the performers come with nicknames that are either appropriate to their day job or talent (The Body, Voice Of The Oceans, Guitar Star etc) and there’s £10,000 up for grabs if the contestants can eliminate all the duff ones.

Panel of irritants

The even number means, of course, Paddy has to issue the entirely unconvincing disclaimer that “Nobody knows how many good singers and bad singers there are”.

Yet, on both episodes so far, there have been three of each and sod all tension about the final reveal as a result.

Five or seven, there would’ve been no problem.

Let’s face it, though, it’s hardly The Shawshank Redemption the BBC’s arithmetic geniuses are ruining here, is it, and, weirdly, the singers aren’t even the most eye-catching detail about I Can See Your Voice.

’Cos that would have to be the four celebrity investigators who (and I don’t say this lightly) may be the most significant panel of irritants ever assembled on a British talent show.

One slot, every week, is reserved for “a musical expert” – or Nadine Coyle, if they’re unavailable.

Two of the permanent fixtures, though, screeching away in stereo, are Amanda Holden and This Morning’s Alison Hammond, who are an assault on the senses and have that unerring celebrity ability to turn every conversation round to the topic of themselves.

No detail about their lives is too trivial to stifle. Not even the fact Alison once “went on a cruise ship”, as I think we all saw when the Costa Concordia turned turtle.

In the normal run of these things, obviously, the audience just has to sit there and endure this stuff.

The possible saving grace of I Can See Your Voice, though, is that someone also booked comedian Jimmy Carr, who insults everyone and everything, for the very good reason that, if he didn’t, he’d be insulting the viewers.

Amanda gets it in the neck for her name-dropping, Alison for her self-absorption and bad grammar and Nadine for the fact that, technically, Cheryl has slightly more experience of lip-syncing.

They hate Jimmy for it, clearly, as does Paddy, who’s totally put in the shade.


But not nearly as much as Jimmy, with all his cosmetic procedures (I Can See Your Hair Transplant), obviously hates himself and his inability to turn down this show.

As a recommendation for turning on BBC1 every Saturday night, I realise that’s not much of an enticement, but it’s slightly better than the only other one I can think of at the moment.

I Can See Your Voice, it’s not quite as heinously bloody awful as Game Of Talents. (BBC1, Saturday, 7.25pm).

Optimist of the year 2021

The woman who popped up on EastEnders to announce: “My name’s Amelia. I’m a talent scout.”

Amelia. Run.

Random TV irritations

SKY Cinema’s Promising Young Woman getting five Oscar nominations despite having all the artistic merit of Milkshake! Monkey and The Octonauts.

Jed Mercurio seriously over-burdening Line Of Duty’s plot with real-life storylines.

BBC1’s This Is My House refusing to shift its lazy, useless a**e out of England’s home counties.

Steph McGovern attempting to hold a European Super League discussion with Russell Kane, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Anton Du Beke.

And the richly varied documentary questions the BBC and Channel 4 have been asking recently: Is the Church racist? Is football racist? Is Britain racist? Is Covid racist?

Or is, perhaps, television dying from its own crippling lack of imagination and right-on, echo chamber prejudices?

Unexpected morons in the bagging area

THE Chase, Bradley Walsh: “In the name of the building material MDF, what does the M stand for?”

James: “Density.”

Tipping Point, Ben Shephard: “Which term for a grievance or a complaint is also the name given to meat obtained from cattle?”

John: “Rancid.”

Ben Shephard: “Which small, round vegetable shares its name with a bright shade of green?” Jennifer: “Potato.”

(All contributions gratefully received)

Doomed to see Greta

HERE’S a global pandemic raging. Most of the planet is grounded. No one’s flown anywhere for months.

Exactly the right time, someone at BBC1 must have thought, to lecture the viewers about airline travel and their carbon footprint.

The result is Greta Thunberg: A Year To Change The World. A three-part traipse round the globe that, I hoped, might explain why the BBC is so pathetically smitten with the “Swedish doom goblin” (© Rod Liddle).

It doesn’t. The girl has a point to make, obviously, but she is more than a little condescending. To the point that when she meets some Polish miners, who are far more clued up about global warming than she expects, Greta pronounces herself: “Positively surprised.”

She’s not a particularly persuasive speaker to some ears either, so the BBC’s had to hire dozens of academic gloomsters to do the heavy scientific lifting and address all of the uncomfortable truths, except the most uncomfortable one of the lot, over-population.

’Cos that issue, of course, would force a lot of them to address their own child-bearing hypocrisy, rather than just point the finger at other people.

They all sound a bit uneasy discussing Covid as well, which has inadvertently delivered many of the things they’ve been demanding for years.

So you want to scream “HAPPY NOW?” at “Sustainability Researcher” Mike Berners-Lee when he says: “We don’t have to have a no-fly world, but there’s no escaping the need to reduce the amount of flying that goes on.”

But that’s just the point, isn’t it. The moment any of them do that, they’re all out of a job.

They will never, ever be happy.

Great sporting insights

JOHN FENDLEY: “I’m looking at live pictures recorded last week.”

Joleon Lescott: “West Brom have scored some exciting goals, especially for West Brom.”

And Gary Neville: “He didn’t clatter him at all. Only a little bit.”

(Compiled by Graham Wray)

Great TV lies and ­delusions of the week

Jonathan Ross: “One of the ­funniest comedians in the world, the hilarious Alan Carr.”

Steph’s Packed Lunch, Steph McGovern: “We haven’t found you irritating, we’ve found you brilliant, Tez Ilyas.”

Weekend Best, Roman Kemp: “When you come back, the brilliant Vick Hope will be telling us all about her brand new podcast. You won’t want to miss that.” And yet . . . Click.

TV Gold

CHANNEL 4’s beautiful Lucy, The Human Chimp documentary, with the heroic Janis ­Carter. I Am Burt Reynolds, on Sky Documentaries.

The return of “Patricia bloody Carmichael” to Line Of Duty.

The cast list you couldn’t make up, including Ken “The Trumpet” Drury and Met Chief Wally Virgo, on BBC2’s Bent Coppers: Crossing The Line Of Duty.

And ITV’s immaculate coverage of Prince Philip’s funeral which was, by some distance, the most moving, beautiful and magnificent royal ceremony I’ve ever seen on television.

Lookalike of the week

THIS week’s winner is This Is My House host Stacey Dooley and Jessi Glaser from Big Mouth.

Sent in by the incomparable Reenie Francis. Picture research: Jim Taylor.

Unfinished sentence of the week

I Can See Your Voice, Amanda Holden: “Andrew Lloyd Webber once said to me . . . ”

“It’s Cats, not Dogs?”

TV questions

How would mainstream networks ever cope if they were banned from using Romesh Ranganathan for an entire week?

Why does Naked Attraction’s credits feature two “Wardrobe Assistants”?

Will television ever make a show bad enough for Katherine Ryan to turn down?

And was anyone else utterly stunned to discover Alan Carr wasn’t hosting ITV’s royal funeral coverage? Or was that just me?

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