COUCH POTATO: The TV crimes of The Voice’s Jessie J and Hollie Willoughby

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What do Jessie J and Joseph Goebbels have in common? (Go with me here.)

No, the answer isn’t: “One’s responsible for some of mankind’s worst atrocities... the other’s Nazi Germany’s Propaganda Minister.”

Now, now, that would be cruel. Even taking Price Tag into consideration.

It’s that they’re both advocates of the theory: “If you tell a big lie often enough, people will start to believe it.”

And boy, Jessie J’s come out with some whoppers, these past six weeks, on The Voice.

“We’re not here to judge, we’re here to critique.” (Or “judge”, to put it another way.)

“Nate James, I’m happy you came on the show. It shows how credible the show is.”

And the classic: “It’s all about the voice.”

Is it heck. That’s what BBC1 would have you believe about its £22 million karaoke failure.

But you don’t have to dig very deep to discover its hypocrisy.

If it truly was all about “the voice”, there’d be no sob-story procession, which now includes shyness, for crying out loud, no focus on contestants’ charity work, or telling Cleopatra’s Cleo Higgins: “Come to my team and I’ll make sure you get the right lighting and stage presence.”

Aside from two extra blind auditions shows (ooh, lucky us), nothing has improved since series one of TV’s most sloppily, choppily edited show, which looks all the worse compared with even a misfiring Britain’s Got Talent.

(Incidentally, BGT, getting Labrinth’s older brother to audition last night just so Simon Cowell could praise his own record label’s act was a poorly disguised cheap plug.)

Danny O’Donoghue’s been nicking’s soundbites and found himself telling 40-something pair Diva: “The only reason I didn’t turn round is that duets scare me.”

Says the man whose last big hit was a collaboration with

The Black Eyed Peas frontman in turn speaks only in code: “For me to hang out with the eagles, the duck that looks like a duck has to work extra hard.”

Erm... right.

Holly Willoughby is getting away with the worst links on TV: “Just up from Wales you’ll find Blackpool...” and announced a pair of wet drips as: “Here come Harry Smith and Katie Jones,” only for the couple to introduce themselves afterwards as: “Katie Smith and Harry Jones.”

And the show could really do without the pandemic of acoustic guitars, 90s has-beens, tribute acts and musical theatre pigeonholes.

Above all else, though, it needs to ditch Jessie J, a woman who it might surprise you to learn is a woman: “I feel like as a female, they will never understand how nerve-racking it is to be a female on stage.”

“If anyone knows what it feels like to be a female in this environment, it’s me.”

She goes around mistaking viewers’ intelligence for amoeba, feeling the need to point out: “We are literally facing the other way.”

Though the dummy-proof format did need explaining to Jessie J superfan Lemuel Knights who said: “I’m going to try to avoid eye contact.”

Shouldn’t be that hard, Lemuel. What with them facing the other pigging way.

Her biggest crime, however, is the precious little joy she sucks out of a series that takes itself way too seriously.

Which is why there’s a natural response to Holly Willoughby wrapping up last night with: “The blind auditions are over, which can only mean one thing...”

ITV, Saturday night, until further notice. That’s what.


Jonathan Ross to Russell Tovey: “You’re not yet in Madame Tussauds but it’s only a matter of time.”

Damn right. Next time they’re doing two-for-one on entrance tickets, he’s there.


Carol McGiffin on Loose Women: “If there was a list of what a woman has to do to be a real woman, like the washing, the cooking and the cleaning, we’d be sitting here going, ‘That’s disgusting,’ and turn into angry feminists.”

Turn into?


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes go to...

David Walliams, the only judge who gets Britain’s Got Talent.

The Job Lot’s Sarah Hadfield proving she can do comedy after all, despite appearing on Miranda.

Sky1’s lovingly crafted Greggs: More Than Meats The Pie, especially the bakery chain’s “big boss” driving to work over the Tyne Bridge to The Sopranos theme Woke Up This Morning.

UCL’s Adam Papaphilippopoulos sending University Challenge’s announcer into spontaneous combustion every time he pressed his buzzer.

Aardman clay model Ed Miliband appearing over Daybreak’s news caption: “Record levels of animal cruelty reported by the RSPCA.” Poor Gromit.

And the hubby of Corrie transsexual Julie “Hayley Cropper” Hesmondhalgh revealing on All Star Mr & Mrs: “When we first got together, Julie had a pink caravan called Lola.”

So you met after the op, then.


In his most stretching acting role since voicing Iggle Piggle, on CBeebies In The Night Garden, Derek Jacobi is having a camped-up thesp-off with Ian McKellen in sitcom Vicious, ITV’s largest gathering of luvvies since The Olivier Awards, 24 hours earlier.

It’s a humour-free zone that’s decided rape is fertile ground for comedy, along with insult-flinging at 120 decibels from McKellen: “I don’t know what would be preferable at this point – if you woke up dead or I did.”

After watching Vicious, there’s no contest.

Me waking up dead. Definitely me.


Gok Wan on The Secret Millions: “I’m very nervous about going to meet the charity. They might think I’m going to be like some big TV homo that’s going to jump around waving a big feather boa at them and trying to get them all naked on television.”

Why change the habit of a career, Gok?


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates go to...

David Tennant’s terrifying hair highlights on The Politician’s Husband.

Lauren Laverne hanging around like a guff in a stationery cupboard, on 10 O’Clock Live.

The Wright Way’s script sounding like it’s begging for assisted suicide: “We’ve got to stage an intervention.”

Loose Women’s Andrea McLean describing an X-rated dream where Gary Barlow performed an act unsuitable before the watershed. Singing?

And Bill Bailey justifying his BBC2 Jungle Hero junket to Indonesia’s Maluka islands, Jakarta, Borneo, Singapore, Bali, Lombok, Sulawesi, Ternate and Halmahera: “Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace’s brilliance comes from his insatiable curiosity of the natural world. That’s a passion we share.

“I chased butterflies as a kid.”

Oh, well why didn’t you say earlier? Here’s a return ticket to Kuala Lumpur.


This week’s TV Show Most In Need Of A Name Change award goes to...

ITV gay sitcom Vicious, with Jacobi, McKellen and Rigsby’s Miss Jones, Frances de la Tour...

Rising Camp.


Least original show of the year? C5’s Big Fat Gypsy Weddings rip-off The Truth About Travellers, with cut-and-paste merchant Henry McKean:

“Marrying within the traveller community is encouraged. However, these traditional attitudes are changing.”

“Divorce has generally been frowned on. However, these attitudes are changing.”

“Being married at a young age is quite normal for a traveller. But there are signs...”

Don’t tell me. It this, perchance, changing?

“... that this might be changing.”

Time to change the channel.


Liz McClarnon, of ITV2’s Big Reunion fame, revealed on This Morning: “I have a severe phobia of flying. I’ve missed out on a lot of big gigs all over the world doing solo stuff.”

Next week, McClarnon speaks of her compulsion of telling complete porkies.


Your Style In His Hands, the first show on new channel TLC (standing for Tired Lacklustre Cack, I think), saw a bloke given £5,000 to buy new outfits for his fiancée Lou.

Host Lisa Snowdon asked her: “Why on earth have you decided to surrender your whole wardrobe over to Tom?”

Wouldn’t have anything to do with the five-grand of free clothes, would it?


Daybreak’s phone-in quiz question: “Solar energy originates from what?”

A) The sea

B) The rain

C) The sun

The answer, of course, is D) The continuous stream of thermonuclear explosions as hydrogen atoms fuse into helium with the resultant energy striking Earth’s surface in the form of radiation prior to conversion into electrical energy.

But they’ll also accept C