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It's taken four years but at last The Voice has some razzmatazz

Congratulations to The Voice of Ireland which, as the fourth year of the talent search dawns, has finally come of age.

Because with the announcement this week of two new judges for the next series, Una Foden and Rachel Stevens, the show's finally realised what it is.

When launched in 2011, the show had lofty ambitions. Pitched as an "anti-X Factor", it promised to eschew all the glitz and razzmatazz of other talent shows, and concentrate solely on the singing voice of the contestants.

It pledged to unearth genuine talent, which was not dependent on sex appeal or a heart-wrenching back story.


And, four years on, they've finally admitted defeat...

After three years in which the contestants, and winners, have faded into obscurity as soon as the cameras stopped rolling, RTE has finally ditched is tiresome mantra, and decided to focus on the entertainment factor.

And in announcing that Una Foden and Rachel Stevens will be joining Bressie and Kian in the judges' chairs, they seem to have accepted that the chief reason people tune in to The Voice is for a bit of drama, a bit of tension, and plenty of eye candy.

And they seem to have hit the jackpot.

With Una, they will get someone who appeals to the show's young audience, is guaranteed to look glamorous each night and, most importantly, will engage with social media by tweeting about the show mercilessly.

With Rachel, they will attract a slightly older demographic because, let's be honest, she was at the height of her musical fame a good 14 years ago.

In the meantime, she has become the darling of the lads' mags, with her last major claim to fame being voted Rear of the Year in 2009.

And if nothing else, her presence will give the tabloid press a reason to write endless stories about the series, knowing that each will give them an excuse to trot out old photos of Rachel in her smalls.


Of course, some people may cling on to the lofty ambitions of yesteryear, and indeed Una is among that number.

Because in announcing her new job, she has provided what is going to be hard to beat as the most absurd exaggeration of 2014.

"I'm on the search to find Ireland's next international superstar... can't wait to get started." she tweeted.

No you're not, Una, you're on The Voice of Ireland. Now let's just hope that, in all their excitement about the judges' sexual chemistry, RTE don't forget to hire some contestants...