ANNE GILDEA

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - REAL LIFE -

ever go spin­ning out of con­trol, whisk­ing the judge up to such a ve­loc­ity that he’s pro­pelled through the roof of the He­lix, out of the strato­sphere, never to be heard of again, hopefully. And could that judge please be Kian Egan?

Ba­si­cally, you end up de­vot­ing a huge tranche of your life to a pro­tracted, padded-out karaoke night. Mu­si­cally, it’s the equiv­a­lent of some­one pour­ing blanc­mange in your ears. But you hang in there to see what hap­pens in the end. And what hap­pens in the end is: you have a five-sec­ond ‘hur­ray’ for the win­ner, some­one whose name you in­stantly for­get. With all the time you’ve munch­ing weak spot has al­ways been the fact I’m a sucker for any show that in­volves peo­ple want­ing to build a wacky house and de­cid­ing to go for it, with a smug pre­sen­ter snoop­ing around, e.g. Grand De­signs. Grad­u­ally, over the aeons I in­vested in watched that telly-fest of bricks and mor­tar, I re­alised I couldn’t care less about joists, in­su­la­tion and prob­lems with site man­agers. I get the gist: self-builds are in­evitably com­pli­cated and time-con­sum­ing, but they shouldn’t also be so for me, the viewer, watch­ing from my sofa in my plain old home. I just want to see the plans, and then the fi­nal thing. The rest is wadding. Now what I do is tape it, watch the be­gin­ning, speed to the end, see the fi­nal house, go ‘oh right’ and Bob’s your un­cle! An hour of telly time-waste con­densed into 10 min­utes. With the sound down so I don’t have to lis­ten to Kevin McCloud: re­sult.

And don’t talk to me about the mul­ti­tude of se­ries you’re told are ‘must see’, like Home­land, Break­ing Bad, True Blood, The Wire. Yeah, yeah, I get the idea — it’s a golden age of Amer­i­can telly, but that doesn’t mean I’m go­ing spend an age de­voted to be­ing ‘au­di­ence’. It’s a trav­esty, I know, but here’s how I en­gage with such telly, if at all: bor­row the box-set off some­one, watch the first few episodes, then re­vert to Wikipedia, read the rest as episode syn­opses, and whoop-de-doo — I’m keep­ing up and sav­ing time, at the same time.

But you can’t do that with The Voice Of Ire­land. It has to be watched fresh. How would a syn­op­sis read? ‘Week 112: A bloke called Jim got knocked out; Kian called Bressie a dough­nut, again; Sharon was lovely, and fierce thin, again; and Jamelia won­dered how she’d jug­gle her two brothers. That hardly cap­tures the ‘magic’ of it all. Mean­while, I’ve leapt over the first two items on my res­o­lu­tion list straight to the third: learn to ac­cept your­self as you are. It’s a great feckin’ ex­cuse.

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