CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews the weekend’s TV: The daft new game show that’ll make you beg – ‘Give us a break!’
I Can See Your Voice
Game of Talents
Show! Us! Your! Talent! the celebs yelled on ITV. Over on the Beeb, they were bellowing, Let’s! Hear! Your! Voice!
And in front of my telly I was pleading, Give! Us! A! Break!
If we needed proof that Saturday night gameshows are now designed by committee according to a strict template, it arrived with the launch of two almost identical formats —both trying desperately to replicate the recent success of The Masked Singer. In a contest to create the most ridiculous title, I Can See Your Voice (BBC1) would win hands down.
The Saturday night gameshow I Can See Your Voice is hosted by Paddy McGuinness
The show is based on a formula from South Korea (as is The Masked Singer) and combines the same themes of pop music, guesswork and double bluffs. Three celebrities, two members of the public and a guest singer study a line-up of six silent figures and try to work out who can belt out a song . . . and who are duffers.
One by one, the mystery figures give away a clue or two — posing with a microphone, lip-synching to a cover version, answering a few questions about their lives (with their voices electronically disguised) and so on. The players attempt to pick out the fakes. As each contender is dismissed, he or she steps forward to perform.
The bad ones shriek and squawk fit to burst your eardrums. The good ones aren’t much better — leather-lunged pub singers backed by a tinny studio orchestra of synths and electric keyboards.
Alison Hammond, Jimmy Carr and Amanda Holden trade comments that are blatantly scripted. Even presenter Paddy McGuinness’s chit-chat with the non-celebs — couple Lee and John, who stood to win ten grand — felt heavily rehearsed.
It was all far too complicated, and so intensively stage-managed and edited that the end result lacked any spark of spontaneity.
What it did have was a hook to keep us watching — I don’t say watching with much enjoyment, but hanging on to the end, to see who the couple finally picked and whether their intuition was right.
I Can See Your Voice is one of those shows you don’t switch off, though you make a mental note never to tune in again.
Game Of Talents (ITV) has all the same elements, including the stupid staccato catchphrase that everyone hollers at the climax of each round. It shares the same annoying, and completely unconvincing, canned studio applause, too. But this gameshow, based on a Spanish format that has aired from Belgium to the States, is much more of an old-fashioned Saturday evening variety smorgasbord.
Helped by Tess Daly and Craig Revel Horwood, both on loan from Strictly, the two players competed for ‘moneyballs’ containing hidden sums from £500 to £50,000 (like Deal Or No Deal, but with white globes instead of red briefcases).
Vernon Kay on the set of Game of Talents, where contestants compete for ‘moneyballs’
Eight unknowns stepped forward, and the teams had to guess who was the rock guitarist, who was the carnival dancer, who was the world’s loudest burper, and so forth.
Some were genuinely outstanding, in particular a 21-year-old ventriloquist called Max Fulham, with a doll called Eugene who looked like a close cousin of those curmudgeonly Muppet hecklers, Statler and Waldorf.
Most weren’t hard to guess. Any 12-year-old girl on a talent show is guaranteed to be a dog agility expert, for instance.
The semi-cryptic clues made it even easier. A fake news report about Swiss cheese and Tina Turner’s River Deep Mountain High helped identify the yodeller early on.
Unless you happened to care which player wound up winning, there was less reason to watch to the end. But this is a neat twist on the traditional talent show, and entertaining enough.