THE most irksome aspect of any series of The Voice is that moment the judges invite auditionees’ kids onto the set.

You know the ones. They’re usually a big fan of, a fact the parent has oh-so-subtly dropped into conversation. So, dressed up as making a child’s dream come true, on they trot in a fit of all-round self-indulgence, adding nothing to a show already over-bloated by an almost complete absence of editing.

For reasons completely lost on me, then, ITV has made an entire series out of kids invading the stage. It’s The Voice Kids, a format that airs in 28 countries which, under the BBC’s stewardship, was never deemed necessary here.

With good reason, on the evidence of Saturday’s curtain-raiser.

It’s everything I feared it would be. A wall of niceness where the coaches — Will, Pixie Lott and McFly’s Danny Jones — spin for almost everyone (eight of the ten hopefuls in episode one) and tell those rare cases they don’t put through not to give up.

Well meaning though that is, it’s the last thing some of these youngsters need.

What many of them, aged seven to 14, should be getting is a wake-up call that they’re wasting their formative years and have only one shot at education. is the biggest cheerleader for the assertion that just because these are children, it doesn’t mean the standard is worse than the adult version.

It does, though. Most of the voices are a work in progress.

To allow for this, the judges’ threshold is much lower and there are far fewer contestants — the series is half as long as The Voice UK.

As a result, the over-praise is almost suffocating, with the tone set when Pixie assessed the first hopeful as “the best thing ever”.

It’s regrettable too that the one main change since the show’s move to ITV — the chairs remaining facing away from the singer if nobody turns — has been abandoned for the juniors.

This, of course, means we have those awful, unnecessary moments where the panel have to justify why they didn’t spin, which they usually fudge by falsely claiming they “made a mistake” or were “an idiot”.

With youngsters it’s even worse because the coaches have to let the rejects down even more gently, to the point that Danny found himself telling one of them: “Sometimes, if we don’t turn, don’t take it as a no.”

Some of them really don’t need encouraging, especially pretentious little madam Charlotte, 11, who already has a producer and a manager.

It also feels unsettlingly “Minipops” that the kids are belting out decades-old numbers, like Queen’s Somebody To Love by Jessica who’s too young even to remember the George Michael-fronted version at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, let alone the original.

And by using the same template as for the grown-ups, some of the scenarios are frankly ridiculous.

So we had Ryan outlining his career ambitions: “I’ve got a paper round at the moment but it’s not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.”

And Danny Jones asking: “How long have you been singing?”

He’s 13, for heaven’s sake.


ITV’s eye-popping, life-affirming The Real Full Monty.

Love Island’s Kem pouring his heart out to Amber on a romantic date in a lemon grove surrounded by chickens: “When I came into the villa I said…” “COCK-A-DOODLE-DO!” “… you were my type. Every time I look at you I think…” “COCK-A-DOODLE-DO!” “… you’re unbelievable.”

Tipping Point’s question: “Which artist painted The Story of Noah and the Great Flood on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?” Contestant: “Banksy.”

The Chase USA: “The abbreviation SAHM refers to what kind of mothers?” “Single alcoholic mothers.”

And Springwatch’s Chris Packham on a bird of prey nest: “Wings are very important for kites.” And that’s why they pay him the big bucks.


EastEnders’ nonsensical Max Branning revenge story.

Big Brother, being thwacked in the ratings by Love Island, resorting to the barrel-scraping desperation of shoving hateful Gemma Collins, Nicola McLean and Marnie Simpson into the house as guests.

The Voice Kids host Emma Willis backstage: “This is where the next Justin Bieber has breakfast with the next Michael Buble.” (Then, for the love of God, stop them before it’s too late.)

And Great British Menu contestant Ryan Simpson, who served his starter in mini polytunnels, to rival chef Nick Deverell-Smith: “You’ve gone quite simple on the presentation, as in plates. Is there a reason for that?” Yes, it’s because food is served on plates. Get a grip.