Johannesburg – The third season of The Voice South Africa which kicked off on M-Net (DStv 101) on Sunday, 3 February has somewhat less in-show exuberance, and the new collection of coaches are less jack-in-the-box, but it doesn’t mean that the reality singing competition isn’t still as much fun and enjoyable to watch.
With the well-liked swivel-chair music matriarch Karen Zoid, the bouncy and easily excitable puppy-dog like Bobby van Jaarveld, as well as Kahn Morbee gone, and replaced by Riana Nel, Riky Rick and Francois van Coke, with Anele Mdoda replacing the previous presenters, the third season of The Voice is more tempered in tone yet still a fun and joy-tension will-they-or-won’t-they viewing experience.
The more mature poise of songstress Lira – the sole returning coach – seems to rub off on her fellow red chaired coaches who are less jumpy, less showy, taking more time to actually listen during the blind auditions.
Unconsciously it’s now very clear that the coaches – although all competing against each other – are now taking their cues from Lira as the queen bee in the new pecking order.
Counter-intuitively but a positive format change, is that the coaches no longer turn at the end if none of them turned for a talent. It spares and cuts out the obligatory schmaltz when coaches have to give a pandering “soft-landing” goodbye to people who didn’t make it.
Anele is a great addition as new presenter, wonderfully emoting without coming across as insincere, behind-the-scenes with parents and family members of singers. Often too stressed to visibly react, Anele picks up the slack on their behalf as a well-fused version of the British Ant and Dec and how they visually and cleverly emote backstage at Britain’s Got Talent auditions.
Problematic are the multiple scrapes, marks, and dull surface bits on the supposed high-gloss black stage that are constantly visible in panning shots and detract visually from what is supposed to be a premium, high-definition show. Was the amended stage chunks simply taken out of storage and plonked down with no meticulous producer look-over and touch-ups?
Some other slight format changes are coming, for instance where and how the battle round fit in, but The Voice SA in its third season remain sparkling as a Sunday night TV outing. While it probably won’t worry or be noticed by ordinary viewers, it’s off-putting that the producers and editors are deliberately slow-motioning the studio audience reaction during performances. While singers sing and perform at normal speed, their backstage walk-in and audience shots are slowed down. It’s slightly jarring since a purported reality competition show at least has to present the appearance of unaltered “reality”.
As before the performers’ emotional video backstories are well crafted, “wow”-moments are done to great effect, and the on-stage band and musical instruments actually functional in showing how much of a difference a live on-stage band can make to a show like this (“Do you want to use one of their guitars?”).
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:
Catch the Voice SA on Sundays at 17:30 on M-Net (DStv 101) or the rebroadcast on Mondays at 20:00 on VUZU (DStv 116).