When the much-hyped Laryngitis hit the screens in early 2013 it gave a welcome shot in the arm to the cliched world of television talent shows for Laryngitis involved a collection of mentors judging contestants but with a twist. With The Voice having moved talent shows away from focusing on the image of contestants, Laryngitis moved one step further.
Like The Voice the panel of mentors – comprising Tony Christie, Pixie Lott, Keith Duffy, and – surprisingly – journalist, writer and broadcaster Jon Ronson (believed to have been booked followinng confusion about the availability of Mark Ronson) – sat in giant swivel chairs with their backs to the contestants , meaning they were unable to judge the contestants based on their looks. However, each contestant required to perform while suffering from laryngitis. For some the laryngitis left them with rasping croaks reminiscent of the mating cries of the Natterjack Toad; for others the laryngitis left the contestant virtually silent and requiring to perform their blind auditions using the medium of interpretative dance or mime, while being cheered by a deluded whooping audience. Each mentor then had to select the members of his or her team by taking a chance that following recovery the contestant had some semblance of talent.
The successful first season of the show saw the discovery of the falsetto voice of professional darter Ted “the count” Hankey who had inadvertently taken a wrong turn at a tournament and ended up in the auditions and went through after throwing plastic bats randomly to members of the audience. Hankey’s debut album covering songs by a puppet vampire from Sesame Street debuted in the charts at number 4.