will.i.am joins Jessie J as coach on BBC’s The Voice UK

American rapper, songwriter, singer, actor and producer joins the panel for the forthcoming talent show

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will.i.am is the second celebrity coach to be confirmed for The Voice UK.

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The 36-year-old American will join British pop star Jessie J as one of four coaches and mentors on the BBC talent show when it launches next spring. 

“I’m proud to be doing The Voice UK because the UK was the first place I saw success,” said will.i.am. “It’s the place I’m the most creative outside of home.”

After rising to fame as a member of the hip-hop band Black Eyed Peas in the late 1990s, will.i.am has gone on to sell more than 50 million singles and 35 million albums worldwide.  As a producer, he’s worked with some of the top names in the business, including Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, U2, Rihanna, Usher, Justin Timberlake and Cheryl Cole. 

BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said of the announcement “I am thrilled that will.i.am has signed up to be a coach on The Voice. He is a huge star who will bring a unique creativity to the show.”

A Dutch format from the creator of Big Brother, The Voice has been sold all over the world and has topped the ratings in America with coaches Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera.  The programme aims to find “incredible singing talent”, but unlike The X Factor and similar singing contests, there’s a twist.  The contestants begin the TV stages of the programme with a blind audition where the coaches judge them purely on their voice alone.  This is followed by a battle round and then the inevitable live finals.

The UK version of the programme will be presented by Reggie Yates and Holly Willoughby.

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At present the final two coaches are yet to be announced by the BBC.