This week we saw The Voice settle into it’s boots a bit more and start to look, to me, more like the program it isn’t, but at least a program I can get into.

If you’re going to review a series then not liking it from day one is like deciding to run the London Marathon dragging a sled full of naked women. You know you’re making life hard for yourself and you can’t get away from it so at least turn around and enjoy the view.

That’s what I’ve had to do and I did it by subtly adjusting my definition of the show’s premise. The Voice isn’t about finding the best voice they can. It’s about finding the best act they can develop from just THE VOICE.

So rather than being all about vocal ability and singing skills, it’s just the same as the other shows like X-Factor or American Idol, but the job of the judges is made harder through handicapping.

I still don’t believe it’s fairer, as so many fans have said, because at the end of the day they’re looking for an act- not a voice. So it just means that when they hear, for instance, Matt and Suleen [the fact that they’ve allowed a couple on to sing together in itself destroys the show’s over-stated premise] they might imagine ‘The Carpenters’. When they turn around and see it’s actually ‘The Carpeted’ they’re already committed.

‘Exactly!” I hear you cry- that’s fairer than someone who looks like Leona Lewis getting the spot light even though they’re as flat as Denise Lewis. Yes, it is, except that doesn’t happen does it? If Leona Lewis, who has a better voice than anyone that’s been picked for any of the teams so far, looked like a bull mastiff  in a wind tunnel then I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be the star she is today. To be a real success in their business you need to look as good as you sound if you’re not absolutely incredible at singing.

Now, before anyone throws SUBO at me (again) I understand that, in those very rare exceptions where the combination of massive popular support, a great (not my opinion) voice and the right channel for milking the crap out of every land line in the country come together to create the perfect money-making storm, looks can be ignored.

We haven’t got a Susan or a Leona on here and, lest we all forget, this is the BBC.

Glasgow grannie, and Playmate of the Month 1965 compared to Ms. Boyle, Barbara came on and sang Wild Horses in a blatant attempt at becoming ‘SUBO II- This time you probably would’ but her voice wasn’t earth shattering- good, great in bits even, but not, as Tom Jones of all people put it, “As strong as Aretha.” What was that Tom? Are there two Arethas out there or have you got a relative called Etha who sings in pubs? I was eating a grape at the time, alone. I could have died Tom! Performing the Heimlich maneuver on yourself is nigh on impossible!

As if to make my point far more succinctly than my ramblings ever could, Barbara was followed by Kerry Ellis.

The star of the West End and Broadway and someone who’s face appeared in my mind, and possibly some of yours, when I heard the show’s title for the first time, was next on… and then she wasn’t. Hang on!

We get to  see Kerry talking about risk and then we cut to a shelf stacker called David.

You don’t suppose they might be building us up for a bit of tension do you?

David sang very well. I loved his voice and his version of ‘Man who can’t be moved’ almost stopped me screaming stuff about singing judges songs.

Again, the experience was tainted for me by the insistence on telling us all how he’d quit his job so he too was taking a huge risk. He was stacking shelves not piloting the space shuttle. I know times are hard and even I can’t get a job, but shelf stacking is the kind of career you can afford to take a bit of time off from. ‘You quit your job? No way! You crazy maverick son of a gun! You’ve sweated blood working your way up to ‘frozen foods’ and then turned your back on it all for the chance to sing!’

That’s another thing. Don’t you find it uncanny how they just happen to crowbar the big important question in there? It’s not as blatant as watching someone backstage crying over a broken heart and then walking out to be asked by Simon Cowell, ‘so tell us a little bit about your love life’ completely out of the blue, but when Danny suddenly decided to ask 16 year old Goth Holly how old she was I swear I heard a tiny voice shouting ‘Age! Age! Ask her age! Quick!’ into his earpiece.

Tom said he thought David was a girl, then again he also said he thought Vince Kidd was two people and that Matt and Suleen were one. I don’t mean to be unkind but, looking at them, I thought Vince wasn’t even one and Matt and Suleen were nearer three.

Then Kerry comes on- the VT is all about how nervous she is (in spite of having sold out the Royal Albert Hall).

She goes on, she sings ‘Son of a Preacher Man’. Nobody turned around. Maybe she’d have been better with a Bonnie Tyler number? Tom tells her she’s already made it so it’s no biggie and Billiam tells her she was phenomenal- nothing new there. Then we get an insight into what game we’re watching. Jessie, like a nightclub bouncer, says there’s only ‘ten people’ allowed, and Danny says he’s looking for a specific type of girl singer. Sorry? What?

Afterwards, as we’re growing to understand how the mechanics of the show really work and that these judges are not only hamstrung but forced to gamble and, therefore, make huge mistakes like this, we get to hear Tom telling the viewing public directly something like, “You see? She’s an established star and she didn’t get picked! It just goes to show how tough it is with so many great singers!”

Well it would be if there were Tom but give me Kerry over ALEKS (yes, that’s how he spells it) and I might believe you.

Little Aleks was cheeky and nice enough to listen to but I doubt three seconds is long enough to really judge anyone’s voice and yet Bill was spinning like a top before he’d cleared his throat. Again, the backstory was all about how he’s a bit of a romantic and the ladies love him. Low and behold, he’s got Jessie on stage and he’s trying for a kiss... I really should get those odds through any day now.

Other contestants came and went, as they tend to. The pattern seems to be, if William likes you he pretty much offers you a record deal there and then and a world tour, in spite of the fact that only one act can win. Danny tells everyone he picks that they’re going to win (see above). Jessie, gorgeous and genuinely funny though she is, seems to have her Lycra suppliers on standby in case one of her catch phrases sticks and they can go into print before start of business the next day. As for Tom, well he gets his own little five minute name-drop game with Billy boy played on a loop. It’s now called ‘Jacko Verses Elvis Time’ because I doubt they were mentioned this much when they were alive.

Don’t get me wrong. For every “How come she’s gigging all over the country in pubs and clubs if she’s only sixteen?” I also had a smile on my face. I love the chemistry between the judges. Jessie is like a female Robbie Williams, a natural comic and totally relaxed with an audience. Will.I.AM is also a good laugh. I like his humour. Like I said last week, The BBC have really pulled it out of the bag in picking these four and, to be honest, it’s this that is keeping me hooked.

My fear comes when we see the final teams and realize none of them would make it to the live finals of American Idol and we need the judges to really sell this show. Without the hype-building skills of American networks or even ITV and with the need to maintain a little decorum on behalf of the license fee payers, we might end up with something caught out by its own premise. We shall see.