After seven long weeks, the battle rounds of The Voice UK began this weekend, in a programme that was almost as drawn out. There were a lot of battles to get through, as duos from all four teams – Will-i-am, Boy George, Paloma Faith and Ricky Wilson – took to the ring-like centre stage to try and earn a place in the Knockouts. Even so, did the show have to feel as drawn out?

The problem was there was also a lot of talk, many video packages of the wannabe stars' home life (recycled from previous shows in many cases) and a series of awkward moments in between battles as the presenters tried to interact with the coaches. These drawn out moments – such as the one where Marvin gets jealous over Will's hat – didn't help to create a smooth, engaging show over this 2 hour programme. The bigger problem, however, is that the show seems to be running out of ideas and its inability to add a fresh new approach to the format means that many viewers will have felt their attention slipping somewhere around the 90 minute mark. Even Wilson and Will-i-am seemed to have lost their enthusiasm at times.

It wasn't for a lack of trying. The big twist to the battle rounds for 2016 was the fact that the big spinning chairs – usually static at this point – now had to be turned if any of the coaches wanted to make a steal. It was a decision that was surely made to add some more drama to proceedings, but it didn't work. Instead, the constant turning pre-rounds and for the steals just added more minutes to the show.

There were of course two other twists to the battles, both of which came from new-girl Paloma. First she decided that she disliked the term battle and wanted her singers to duet and compliment each other, rather than fight for their place. It wasn't the worst idea, as some of the over-sung, aggressive battles showed, but it did take the 'competition' element out of the show. The other twist was that she had to call in a replacement for her team and decided upon Jordan, a singer that no-one turned for based on her audition, but that became an interesting choice once she learned that she was transgender.

The issue of the motives behind choosing Jordan are sure to be debated over the course of the week. All that is important for now is that she gave an impressive performance and deserved to go through to Knockouts. There were some stand out vocal performances this week, but the show itself felt flat. Hopefully the show can be edited into a neater, smoother, 90 minute offering for the next battles. #Television #Celebrities #Music