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Lauri Tähkä (back left), Elastinen, Michael Monroe and Paula Koivuniemi, judges on Voice of Finland, with the show’s presenter, Axl Smith (front).After four months of interminable wailing, unnecessary light shows and needlessly bitchy judges, Voice of Finland is finally over. This was (is?) Nelonen’s latest great ‘reality’ show hope: a talent show based around some unique concept or other involving adjudicators who fulfilled their responsibilities through the unique act of judging the contestants based on their voices rather than superfluous stuff like the size of their boobs or biceps, depending on gender.

Unfortunately, this brilliant, revolutionary, Dutch-conceived model itself proved entirely superfluous after about ten minutes of the first episode. The format revolves around the idea that even a really ugly member of Joe Public might win if they possess the voice of an angel. What actually happened, of course, is that the judges were the only people to not see the singers, while the audience, who were the only ones with the power to decide who actually won, started making their minds up about them immediately. Since the judges, having thrown in their lot with one or another of the wannabees, also turned their chairs around and saw who was making all that noise, the contest almost immediately ceased to be only about the voices.

Perhaps the worst thing about the show were the judges themselves: Elastinen, one half of the popular Finnish rap group Finntelligens; Lauri Tähkä, a moderately admired singer; the omnipresent Paula Koivuniemi; and the most celebrity of them all, Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks fame. As it happens, despite semi-rock god status, the latter celeb came across as something of a plonker. The most pot-and-kettle scenario occurred when Monroe had the cheek to criticise a Swedish-speaking Finnish contestant for her English accent! When she slyly suggested singing something in Swedish, Monroe spluttered an outraged refusal: Finnish or English ONLY!!! As if anything he’s ever sung was renowned for its poetry-like lyrics.

Anyway, Monroe didn’t do too well as none of his chosen ones won. Mikko Sipola (a thoroughly nice chap from my home town of Ekenäs, by the way) was the victor. The lad can sing so let’s not take that away from him. Whether he was the best over the whole season is debatable, but his tattooed biceps did win over two talented but chubby blokes who wouldn’t have looked so good on an album cover, and one angry-looking woman, thereby reproving the pointlessness of the format.

After all the hype it ended up as just another identikit sing-along a talent contest to be honest, albeit with some dark mutterings of rigged voting, not that anyone should really give a damn either way. Surely the viewing public must be getting bored of essentially undistinguishable aptitude contests? I got bored of them five years ago. The only people who don’t seem to be experiencing any ennui are the schedulers at Nelonen, and you can bet your bottom dollar that there’ll be at least another five voices of Finland in the very near future.

Nick Barlow This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The writer knows the art of channel surfing.
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