Sir Elton John has accused BBC One talent show The Voice of producing ‘nonentities’.
The veteran musician has often been a critic of TV talent shows in the past and has now blasted the poor track record of The Voice on both sides of the Atlantic. And Sir Elton said the contest – commissioned for a third series by the BBC – was more about the coaches than the contestants.
His comments in an interview with Radio 4’s Front Row programme come in the wake of last year’s winner Leanne Mitchell suffering a sales disaster with her debut album. It peaked at number 134 in the album charts after selling fewer than 1,000 copies in its first week. And 2013 winner Andrea Begley only made it to number 30 at the weekend for her track My Immortal following her win.
Sir Elton said: “The Voice is all about watching the judges, it is in America. Nobody on The Voice in America has had a hit record. Nobody on The Voice in England has had a hit record – they’re non-entities.”
The star claimed many shows were fast-tracking people to fame who were not in a position to deal with it, and then moving on to the next wannabe.
Sir Elton said: “Television and video have done a lot of damage to music. They’ve propelled people into stardom that aren’t ready for it, you know, and it can’t sustain it. And they’re only as good as the next song. I hate that, I hate people being cast aside. It breaks my heart to see people like Michelle McManus who won Pop Star, whatever it was, but it’s not fair.”
Speaking about the title track of his new album The Diving Board, he said: “It’s about the pitfalls of being a young star, like a young Justin Bieber. It’s hard when you’re young to go through that incredible fame, when you haven’t had a childhood and then you want to grow up. Luckily, fame came to me when I was 23, and then I lived my teenage years during my fame. But I wouldn’t want to be Justin Bieber or any of those young artists. It’s tough on them.”
During the interview, he suggested that being a father of two young sons would affect his touring commitments of up to 120 dates a year as they got to school age.
Sir Elton also committed himself to a gay marriage to his civil partner David Furnish at the earliest opportunity.
The edition of Radio 4’s Front Row is being broadcast today (Wednesday July 3) at 7.15pm.