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The Voice UK 2020 Winning act

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The Voice

The Voice’s most influential contestant this year has been the coronavirus. The 2020 series has, because of it, lasted almost a year with the initial stages being broadcast in January only for the final live stages to be postponed because of the virus. But a pesky pandemic is no match for reality television and The Voice is back, and Covid-secure, so the public can decide the winner for 2020.

The central conceit of the show, as the name suggests, is that it’s all about the vocal talent of the contestants. The public auditions are conducted without cameras so there are no shows with cringing footage of people who think they can sing but really really can’t. And, by the time it gets to the televised shows and the blind auditions, the producers hope that everyone the judges hear have the potential to make them hit the button and turn their iconic chairs.

This year’s series has been a reflection of life in the UK. It started in January full of hope, those new year’s resolutions were still fresh in the mind: it was a new year and new decade, anything was possible. But then those early winter months dragged on. And coronavirus came. But, with plenty of hand-washing everything could carry on, and we’d get through this. Until, suddenly, we wouldn’t and The Voice joined the rest of the country in lockdown, unable to complete the live shows unless they did it in a park or could claim it was essential work.

So, instead of in-person coaching sessions the judges took to Zoom, pointing out to their contestants they were on mute, occasionally wondering if the app had frozen, or they were just sitting really still and watching singers who are slightly out of sync with the sound. Meghan Trainor’s team have been particularly hard hit. Trapped in the US by travel restrictions and pregnancy, their coach won’t even be able to attend the semi-finals and finals to support them.

But, finally, the show is able to follow the government’s exhortations to get back to work and get the economy moving. The semi-finals and finals, along with the inevitable public votes, will be on our screens in November. After the novelty of earlier stages with blind auditions and head-to-head battles decided by their coach, contestants are now singing for public votes. No matter how noble-minded a show might be at the beginning, when it comes to finales in reality TV the public is the only judge that matters.

The two shows, complete with virtual audience (and in the case of Trainor, a virtual coach) will whittle the nine remaining candidates, by way of solos and a duet with their trainer, first down to the four finalists and then crown one of them champion. Sadly, the show’s champions do not have a great track record: last year’s winner would hardly have been dizzy with their high of 73 in the chart. But they needn’t worry too much, production has already started on The Voice 2021 so the title will not be theirs for too long.