The Voice: a conversation

A seal
By Liam Quinn from Canada, via Wikimedia Commons

Friend: “You should write a Benign to Five column about The Voice.”

Me: “What’s The Voice?”

“Are you jok- ? Oh, you’re not. It’s a reality singing show. On Channel 9.”

New Faces?”

“What? New Faces hasn’t been on since 1985.”

“But like New Faces?”

“No! Nothing like New Faces! Not at all. Not really. Well… a little bit, I suppose. No! Not New Faces.”

“But my columns are about work and toilets and cassowaries and stuff.”

“What if… you… wrote about what would happen if job interviews took the format of The Voice.”

“YES! Brilliant! Bert Newton would be one of your interviewers – it’s gold!”


“OK. OK. Who’re the judges then?”

“There’s four. Um… Delta Goodrem…”

“The piano one.”

“Uh – yeah. And then there’s… uh… Seal.”

“A seal? One of the judges is a marine mammal? I’m definitely watching the show now. Why haven’t you told me about this show before?”

“No. A singer from the UK. And then there’s Joel Madden.”

“Oh yeah. The NFL coach? Isn’t he a bit old?”

“No, the… you wrote about him in your letter to KFC.”

“That was Michael Slater. He’s a cricketer.”

“No. He has tattoos.”

“Ah. That was Ian Healy. Heals loves the ink.”

No! He’s a singer from a band called Good Charlotte.”

“Oh… the KFC guy. At the cricket. Yep. Shit; the seal would be devastated it lost out to Joel Madden.”

“Yeah, well, anyway, what do you think?”

“Hang on. Who’s the fourth judge?”

“Ricky Martin. Der.”

“Oh yeah. Obviously. Der. Look, so far you’ve described to me the worst show ever put on television. What’s the gimmick?”

“The judges are all facing away from the contestants.”

“Even Bert?”


“Even – “


“So they’re choosing totally blindly.”


“They’re basing it entirely on someone’s voice and not their appearance or clothes or ability to answer badly worded questions?


“I don’t see how that could translate to the interview room, to be honest.”

“Well, could you at least think about it?”

“I’ll think about it…”



An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

You can read Benign to Five in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the BusinessDay section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)

Read more Haught newspaper columns

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