Last week, The Voice
UK's series one winner stumbled to a chart position outside the top 100
. Meanwhile, the show, for a second year in a row, took a big tumble in the ratings
after yet more jigging around in the schedules from the BBC. Despite a
third series already being recommissioned, things were looking bleak.
But this week, there was a glimmer of hope for The Voice
UK. A Belfast girl called Leah McFall is one of the final eight contestants on this year's show. And whisper it quietly, but she could possibly, maybe, be a star in the making.
She looks likely to achieve the show's first ever Top 10 single
with her cover of 'I Will Survive' this weekend, pop production powerhouse will.i.am is in love with her and she oozes cool. So could she save the reality show's bacon?Digital Spy
's pop and showbiz experts give their verdict on the exciting 23-year-old singer.
Digital Spy's Music Reporter - Lewis Corner
© BBC / Wall To Wall/Guy Levy
She's the contestant who could possibly achieve The Voice
UK's highest charting position before she's even competed in the semi-finals, so Leah McFall clearly knows how to shift a few records. Whether the success is down to the alternative spin of a karaoke favourite or the performer herself is yet to be seen, but one thing's for certain: McFall can really sing.
The winner will sign to Universal Music, and if Leah really does go all the way, the company has a roster that already complements her style. Before her time on the show, McFall regularly posted soulful covers of modern and classic R&B. It's clear that she belongs to Island Records; a label who currently boast signings including Florence + the Machine, The Weeknd and Jessie Ware, as well as developing the career of the late Amy Winehouse.
McFall's ability to effortlessly acrobat through several registers, while enchanting an audience with her smokey tones shows that she can cut it on the live circuit - which is where most artists make their money these days.
However, the real test will come in the studio. The public prefer an artist who can write their own songs. Leah's alternative sound and image requires her to be an artist in every sense of the word in order to make her presence on the music scene credible. Her future status as The Voice
UK's first true star depends on whether she can surpass her quirky covers and become an original talent in her own right - and if she manages that, then the world really is her oyster.
Digital Spy's Showbiz Reporter - Daniel Sperling
The Voice: CJ Edwards, Leah McFall
Leah McFall has an amazing voice, that much we know. But the problem is that's pretty much all we know about her. Being the most popular out of 12 people when you're getting major exposure on a weekly basis is easy. The hard part is remaining as prolific in the big wide world where there's countless stars around you, and long gaps between singles and albums where you're supposed to make your own news.
Arguably the most successful acts from last year's Voice
were Bo Bruce and Tyler James, who could market a Danny O'Donoghue 'showmance' and a connection to the late Amy Winehouse respectively. Over on X Factor
, contestants like Rylan, Jedward and Stacey Solomon have been able to forge long-lasting careers for themselves off the strength of their personalities. We're not sure if Leah has a personality - and that's not us being mean, it's just never been shown.
One of the few things The Voice
has established about Leah is that she's fashionable. She's achingly stylish and drips cool even before she opens her mouth - she's the sort of person that would make your publication seem more on-trend by association. Journalists will want to talk to her, even if they're not entirely sure what she's going to say. Glossy fashion shoots in prestigious publications where she chats about her style icons combined with column inches dedicated to an eye-catching outfit in the tabloids will help her maintain a mass appeal.
It pains us to say this, but as a young, pretty girl people are also going to want to romantically link her to others (there's already been a story this week about her dating fellow Voice
contestant Karl Michael). The harsh reality is that Leah may have to steel herself, roll her eyes at the silly stories behind closed doors and be content with the fact that people want to write about her. Of course she can correct false rumour, of course she can avoid leading an overly showbiz, 'turn up to an opening of an envelope' life if she wants to, but she probably shouldn't shut down certain topics of discussion altogether.
There are musicians out there that gain huge success while remaining relatively quiet and private, people like Adele and fellow talent show alum Leona Lewis. If Leah is lucky enough to get to the stage where she can achieve massive record sales without all the press hassle, then great. But to get there, she might need to prove she's more than a voice.Do you think Leah McFall can be The Voice UK's first star? Let us know below.