Andrea Begley wins The Voice

  • BBC

Andrea Begley won the 2013 final of The Voice, to the surprise of all the pundits who had predicted a comfortable victory for hot favourite Leah McFall. Begley, who has impaired vision, won the people's vote with renditions of soporific ballads 'My Immortal' and 'Angel'. The cynics will use her victory to support their argument that, like the X Factor, victory relies as much on a touching back story as the actual voice.

Begley countered that notion. "There were people who just had the view that I was good TV, but I am about music and first and foremost," she said. "I’m not under any illusion that vision impairment will come up as a problem from time to time but I’ve had that all my life. I think it would do the industry good to have someone as a positive representation."

Begley now has the opportunity to emulate the soaring success and global fame of last year's winner Leanne Mitchell. Oh, wait that isn't quite true. Mitchell's debut single failed to obtain the handful of sales required to make the top 40 and her album didn't even make the top 100. It's apparent that the influence of The Voice may have been considerably overestimated.

Punctuated pundit Will.i.am seemed to indicate as much before the final, saying that the show was useless unless it produced a genuine star. "These shows render themselves pointless if they can't identify something that's going to be on the radio," he said. "After the show is finished everyone should be scrambling, just like they were scrambling to find the next singer, just to make sure the person who won has a chance, has a shot, at the radio."

Will.i.am may feel a little less committed after his protegee, McFall, was beaten, but his point was that the talent shows are only as good as the end result, and if the winner is a week-long sensation and then swiftly forgotten, the shows are not doing their job. "That's what the premise is," he said. "The premise isn't just a record deal, the premise is a career."

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